Interview with the Beast
By Daravon Ragnar in Dark Ages
Dedicated to Kraven.
I hope you are safe somewhere, comrade.
As some of you might know already, I have become obsessed with
Sgrios since the first time I met him. I wrote a treatise about
his nature and joined his secretive cult soon thereafter, in
hopes of learning more about the subject. I soon noticed each of
his followers had their own beliefs about the entity they served.
In fact, I suppose that if they spoke their beliefs freely among
the fellowship, it would divide into several factions (as it in
fact did afterwards), since many of the ideas are completely
opposite in nature. For instance, there are some who believe
Sgrios spawns his larvae for them to practice against and grow
stronger. I, on the other hand, think he wishes us to defend them
and make sure they achieve adulthood. Many questions started to
puzzle me as I learned more about Sgrios and his fellowship. Why
would the Dark One accept followers with such conflicting ideas?
Were my theories about his objectives correct at all? Did Sgrios
himself have anything to do with his fellowship, or was it just a
collective delusion of grandeur to presume that he actually cared
for the people who so fervorously try to serve him? Oh, how I
wished I could ask him directly...
Ironically though, such opportunity wasn't made available to me during my dedicated research efforts, but rather while I sought to fulfil other, far less noble pursuits.
The Mysterious Green Liquid
I once met an individual who actually appreciated the strong poisonous liquid known as "Hemloch Deum". His name was Kraven and we soon became friends. I always enjoyed his stories about the places, entities and truths he would encounter in his travels, during the trance caused by the dangerous substance. Of course, I used to consider those to be merely halucinations, until I decided to conduct some tests myself, with a few willing subjects. I was perplexed to notice that, sometimes, pale emanations of light of varying colors would envelop random parts of the subject's body in dynamic, quick successions. I have heard reports of similar events happening in graveyards, something people usually refer to as "elf-fire", though I never had the opportunity to observe it myself. In the case of my experiments, as soon as the phenomenon ceased, the person would fall into a deep comatose state for about four minutes. After this period, the light patterns would return, and the subject would regain consciousness soon thereafter. This would only happen to two of the ten volunteers, for reasons I never found out. Also, the phenomenon, at first very rare, would become more and more frequent as the experiments progressed. By the end of them, it was happening virtually 100% of the times the hemloch was administered to the two volunteers. They claimed to have much more enjoyable, realistic "dreams" when in the comatose state and seemed to be inducing it somehow. Unfortunately, the priest who used to supply me regularly with hemloch travelled to a far land outside of Temuair. No other Aislings were willing to sell me the substance, as it seems to be a taboo in our society. I could obtain it from less reputable sources, but I preferred not to have any dealings with them, not to mention their price was not affordable by me. And so I had no choice but to interrupt my experiments.
The First Encounter
Some months after the hemloch tests, several unfortunate incidents occurred in my personal life. For reasons that are not relevant, I was stricken by a deep depression. The last vial was there in the basement, with it's charming green liquid beckoning to me. I remembered the expressions of joy from my volunteers, after drinking the substance. And so I drank it, hoping to relieve my pain.
I was thrown into some kind of Limbus, infinite darkness could
be seen in all directions but the ground, which was enveloped by
a thick, low fog. A creature sat there, observing me patiently.
"Argus, is that you?" - I said, walking towards the dog who lost his life protecting mine during my childhood. A voice echoed in my mind.
"You must direct your thoughts to me. I can not hear material sounds"
And so I did - "I thought you were dead, my dear friend!"
"I apologize. This image leaked from your mind and I just presumed this form would be pleasant for you. I am not who you believe me to be. Well, in a certain sense, I am..."
"Who are you then?"
I could feel the creature was amused at my question. "Well, Daravon... judging from what you have just done down there, I assumed you wished to see me. Is my assumption incorrect?" - it said, morphing into a huge, decayed skeleton...
That was the first of four encounters I had with Sgrios
(except, of course, for those in which he was too busy trying to
swallow me up to actually talk). The last of them could be
achieved without the use of hemloch, so I assume the liquid is
not responsible for the effects themselves. It seems to merely
provide optimal conditions for them to occur, by seriously
weakening the link between soul and physical body briefly. The
fact that the encounters always ended abruptly and regardless of
my will seemed to enforce that idea. In any case, during those
encounters, I could ask Sgrios numerous questions. My curiosity
soon turned into a deep admiration for the formidable entity. I
couldn't believe that was the same Sgrios everyone, including his
own minions, spoke of.
The Answers I Sought, At Last
Following are the conversations I had with Sgrios. Wether those actually happened outside of my own mind or not is still not determined, but the hemloch experiments I conducted earlier make me believe they were real. My questions and comments are in blue, Sgrios's answers are in red.
So Daravon, what did you want with me? Don't be afraid, I'm not going to attack your soul this time.
This is a big surprise. But now that you honor me with your presence, there are so many things I'd like to ask you. Could I?
Curious as ever, I see. Go ahead.
You seem to know my past and my intentions. Can you read the minds of other creatures? Or perhaps, only those of your followers?
No, I cannot. However, when a creature is being affected by strong emotions or a few particular types of drugs, some thoughts start to "leak" from it's mind, and some entities such as myself can read those.
Ah, that explains it. Well, Sgrios, what are your general intentions and motivations? Just random destruction and chaos?
Answer me yourself, Daravon. Do you believe any entity with some intelligence goes around commiting "random" actions that accomplish nothing at all? It's part of the nature of many creatures, including humans, to always view their supposed enemies as the harbingers of doom, the masters of evilness, while looking at themselves as some kind of paladins of justice and righteousness. To me, the concept of good and evil is irrelevant. I merelly attempt to defend my interests like any other creatures in this realm do. I do not do anything, like you humans say, "for the hell of it", or just to show how "evil" I am.
I understand. But could you elaborate on what those interests might be?
To survive, to expand and to grow stronger. Really, even though I have the knowledge of trillions of entities within me, I'm still as lost as you. I don't know what the purpose of all this we know as reality is. I'm still looking for my real purposes. And for that, gathering knowledge about everything is the key.
You said you have the knowledge of trillions of entities?
I am one and I am many, Daravon. The souls I supposedly devour, in fact join the collective that I am. We have a combined sentience. >From your human viewpoint, this might be hard to imagine, but one day, you shall be one with me too. Then you shall understand. The knowledge, the experiences, the very emotions of all, running through your mind, because there's no longer a difference between you and them. No need for words, just pure, raw concepts in their very original form.
That seems like a very efficient method of communication. In fact, it sounds just perfect.
(contented smile) But of course. It is no wonder I am the next step in the evolutionary ladder. Oh, but it's a pity that the same trait which grants creatures their ability to survive also hinders their evolution. Fear. Creatures are afraid of change. They fear the different. I don't blame Danaan, despite everything...
If I understood you correctly, you do not consider yourself an enemy of us, Aislings. Yes?
That's correct. I will still retaliate in full force, however, for as long as your kind mercilesly slaughter my children in the material world.
That makes sense. I always wondered why you were still an ally of Deoch, despite he having helped in our creation. If you really do not see us as enemies, then that's no longer an issue.
Exactly. Deoch's intentions were very noble. Yet, his creations have a will of their own, as was his objective. But he is not to be blamed by their actions.
I'm still puzzled, however, at the fact that you attack anyone who falls within your grasp, including your own followers.
Oh, the scars, I see. That has to do with the nature of my sensorial apparatus. This will be as hard as describing the concept of image to someone blind since birth, but I'll try... well, my senses detect the environment around me in a much broader way than most creatures. In most situations, that makes me more efficient; however, that comes at a price. I cannot focus my attention on details such as a single creature or object. In other words, I can not distinguish one of my followers from a radish most of the time. There is one special procedure I can use, that converts simple signals in gigantesque sets of redundant information, making them readable by my mind. That's what I'm using to keep track and communicate with you now. But the process is complicated, takes a considerable period of time to be activated and only works for a few objects at any given time. I must use it sparingly, mostly to evaluate and gather the support of new followers (smile). In other words, I cannot distinguish an allied Aisling from any other newcomer to my collectivity.
Hum... Well, some of your followers claim to have received their instructions directly from you. Do you confirm that?
It is possible. I have spoken with many of them just as I am doing with you right now.
What I find strange is that each of them has a different view on you. Some ideas are completely opposite in fact. And, they still claim those to have been told them by none less than Sgrios himself...
(smiles) Daravon... as if you didn't know the nature of your own species. They hear what they want to, despite what you say.
Heh... Very true. Bias and prejudice are commonplace among our species. The facts are the same, yet, everyone tries to "shape" reality to fit their interests. I am sorry to have asked that.
Do not be sorry. There's nothing more powerful than logic. Blind loyalty is pale in relation to a trust gained through the overwhelming light of reason. You are to use your judgement always, I have nothing to hide. I know you will make the right decision.
I understand, exulting one. Now please tell me what you'd like accomplished in the material world.
(smiles) Protect my dubhaimid and try to convince your kind that I represent no threat to them. I sincerely do not wish to fight your species.
Some Final Considerations and a
At first, I joined the fellowship of Sgrios merely out of curiosity. It was necessary to complete my studies. Besides, I really appreciated the power to dispatch and feed upon the soul of my enemies at will. However, after talking to the Dark One himself, I was convinced I should fight for him. I had nothing to lose. Sgrios wasn't asking me to slaughter my comrades, his requests were very fair and his speech was inspiring. Today, I'm not sure anymore. I have gruesome nightmares every night, sickening thoughts assault my mind constantly. It's as if something were trying to take it over. I have tried to abandon the fellowship of Sgrios, but I just... cannot. I'm starting to believe Sgrios is a master at seduction. He seems to know exactly what everyone expects from him. He speaks that which they want to hear and gains their loyalty easily. And once they are within his grasp, he corrupts and takes over their mind, to serve him blindly, as thoughtless zombies in the physical world. That's merely an hypothesis though. It may be just a dark portion of myself, that I do not wish to accept, finally surfacing. Whatever is the case, I shall find out. Or die trying.