Treatise on the Nature of the Dark Masters
By Daravon Ragnar in Dark Ages, Athar Wizard of Temuair
From the very first time I met him, I was filled with an insatiable desire tounderstand such a remarkable being. A desire to understand his motivations, his origins, the inner workings of his existence, his nature itself. I read all the literature I could find about the subject and could learn much about him, but it also unveiled to me a lot about the human nature as well. It was made clear to me that people (and I believe this applies to any creature) tend to be much less neutral than successful observation of reality requires. Historiographers will agree with me on that one. And considering that all literature I have access to is of human origin, plus the fact that the being I'm speaking of always induces strong emotions on our kind (as well as on any living thing), it's hard to find unbiased material on the matter. I'm speaking, of course, about Sgrios, the master of Death and Decay. This document is my humble attempt to offer hopefully neutral, unbiased conclusions made from my experiences with Sgrios, Chadul and the Dubhaimid. Please note though that, being human in nature, I might fail in that task. Use your discretion while reading it as well as with everything in life.
Sgrios's Physical Appearance
It is believed that Sgrios is actually the huge, human skeleton that is often seenin the material world, but I personally believe that's nothing but an illusion, an inaccurate projection of the actual being. The real Sgrios seems to have no physical body.
The Impenetrable Shield
I still remember it as if it had happened yesterday. I was in the Crypts of Mileth,still amazed at my newfound powers as a wizard. The centipede chased me into a corner; a battle took place. Despite being heavily wounded, I was the one standing at the end and proceeded to claim his precious gland. It was then that its previously unseen partner stabbed me from behind. That was the final blow... I don't know how much actual time transpired, but it seemed like mere seconds. The sensations that followed are indescribable to anyone who has never experienced them, but all Aislings have or will experience the same as I did in the course of their lives. I could feel the presence of two other entities around me. The pattern of vibrations from one of them looked just like the centipede I had killed moments before. It spoke to me not through words, but by pure, raw concepts echoing into my mind. It was a mix of anger, fear and an immense desire to survive. Anger for having me invade his territory and kill him, and fear... of the third entity in the room. I then turned my attention towards it and I was overcome with awe. Our existences seemed completely insignificant in relation to the sheer power of that being. There were several ethereal structures much like the tentacles of a squid but thicker, coming out of it's main body and moving towards the centipede, until it was completely engulfed. The tentacles then retreated back and I watched in terror as nothing but vestigial energies could be felt from where the centipede once was. The tentacles then slowly came in my direction, just like before. But when they were about to touch me, something best described as a bubble of pure light emerged from my soul, completely enveloping myself. The entity, that I now understand was Sgrios, seemed frustrated and kept poking the impenetrable shell for a few minutes and then, all of a sudden, I was back at my material body. It seemed like my soul had been "wounded" after that though.
Sgrios, Complete Opposite of All that is Living?
As I have said before, since that experience, I turned the focus of my research towardsSgrios. Is he (I shall refer to Sgrios as male, but that's merely out of convenience, as I believe "him" to be asexual) so absolutely different from the creatures of the physical world as is believed? I suppose not. It's a well-known fact that all creatures, directly or indirectly, feed upon the death of others. Our species itself herds several animals with that purpose. Another curious fact known to occur with Aislings, is a sudden surge of power that, in the absolute majority of the time, happens after the Aisling has killed many creatures. It's often referred to as an "insight". Some claim that the added power comes from experience, but I highly doubt that experience alone would make an Aisling hundreds or even thousands of times more powerful overall than originally. This is observable in Aislings that have had many insights and, up to this day, I haven't met a single of those that could remember how many foes they had killed in battle. This leads me to conclude that, like Sgrios himself, we need to absorb the life energy of other creatures in order to maintain our existences and grow stronger. Our physical bodies, however, are highly inefficient in absorbing ethereal energies and only a tiny portion of the defeated soul is actually "devoured" by us. Sgrios, on the other hand, being a completely ethereal being, is very effective at doing that, as the insignificant lifeless remains of the centipede's soul emphasized. Given the enormous complexity of his body, Sgrios would starve to death if he couldn't absorb that much energy, I believe. I see Sgrios as the creature at the very top of the world's food chain. Nothing, except Aislings, seems to ever escape his hunger.
The Bubble of Light
Pondering about the bubble of light that saved me from Sgrios several times already(and certainly does the same to all Aislings), I came to the conclusion that it could be related to Danaan's sacrifice in the past. Through her ultimate act of altruism, she was somehow able to grant her children's souls a light-based defense measure against Chadul and his minions. Up to this day, Sgrios seems unable to do anything about it, although the process does damage the Aisling soul.
Sgrios and the Dubhaimid
Studying the relations between Sgrios, Chadul and the Dubhaimid, I am inclined tobelieve the latter are the infant forms of one same species. It is believed Sgrios first came into existence during Chadul's reign of terror over the material world, when the Dubhaimid were free to feed upon all that is living. So, I believe Sgrios one day has been a mere Fiend Pupa, lucky and capable enough to accumulate the vast amount of energy that is certainly necessary to transcend into the final stage of it's life cycle: The utter transformation of the physical body into an ethereal one of immense power. I also suppose that most of the Dubhaimid do not manage to absorb the required amount of spirit energy before their physical bodies achieve the critical metamorphosis time, and thus die in the process. This is extremely fortunate, as we would have thousands of adult specimens just like Sgrios himself to deal with, otherwise. Regarding Chadul, I believe he's an older and thus more powerful individual than Sgrios, though not different in essence. He must have been able to gather a massive cache of soul energy in the past wars though, as apparently he hasn't been feeding for a long time. It seems he is surviving and healing his wounds off the stocked energy and letting his promising son Sgrios have all currently dispatched souls to grow as strong as Chadul already has.
Relations Between the Dubhaimid and Humans
One fact disturbing and reluctantly admitted by many is the uncanny resemblancebetween the latter larval stages of the Dubhaimid and us, humans. What mysterious relations could there be between those humanoid forms and ourselves? It is believed that the Dubhaimid first appeared when wizards started experimenting with the fifth element. So, I believe it would be reasonable to suppose they may have evolved from ourselves. Darkness might have acted as a catalyst in the process and also granted the new species many of it's properties. Some say the Dubhaimid were in fact created by the wizards, but I doubt a human mind could devise something as complex and incredibly powerful as Sgrios and much less manage to turn it into reality. We can't even replicate the simplest of creatures, despite continued experiments of wizards (myself included). Others say the Dubhaimid always existed and were awaken from their slumber by us, but that doesn't explain their humanoid form, unless it were us who evolved from them instead.
It came to my attention that a group of secretive people actually worships the Master ofDeath himself. Why they would wish to do so is perfectly understandable, considering how powerful Sgrios is. What used to puzzle me was why Sgrios would befriend his former prey. Well, it seems to me that just like the adult frog can no longer breathe water, Sgrios can no longer interact with the physical, material world directly. His children can, but they are far too limited by their vulnerability to Light and can barely leave Dubhaim Castle. Aislings would then be the perfect allies for Sgrios, carrying out whatever tasks the Dark God would need completed here, dispatching more souls for him to feed upon and so on. Also, I believe Sgrios somehow needs physical entities to actually deliver his children, the Dubhaimid, into this world, though more information needs to be gathered about that particular matter. Sgrios seems to encourage his worshippers to kill their fellow Aislings. He offers them a small amount of already processed soul energy when they do so, and it's generally a welcome gift for the power hungry Aisling, unable to process much of the raw soul energy gathered by killing other creatures as explained before. Why would Sgrios do that, considering he can not feed upon the light-protected souls we Aislings have? I suppose it's because Sgrios sees Aislings that are not under his control as a threat and although he can't devour us, he can harm our souls every time we fall into his domain. Considering that my assumption is true and he does fear us, then we might have the potential to cause him harm or even put an end to his existence entirely.
Another curious ability he grants his followers is the power to summon Succubi. It issaid those humanoid female looking creatures seduce men in their dreams, but I believe that's merely a legend. In fact, I have never seen a Succubus and the information I have available does not allow me to make any considerations about those curious entities for now.
Danaan and Chadul
Just like the Dubhaimid are probably the children of Sgrios and Chadul, we Aislingsare the children of Danaan, as well as the Fae before us. Deoch may have helped we Aislings prosper and develop after our mother's death, but I doubt he might be of the same species as us, being so different from Danaan in nature. So, maybe just like a rare few especially capable Dubhaimid manage to achieve adulthood, some of us might do so too, becoming beings of power comparable to Danaan's. The fact that all known Gods except for Deoch, Sgrios and Chadul like to represent themselves in the physical world with a human image might hint towards their former nature. They're probably "adult Aislings" while we are the children. And maybe that's what Sgrios and Chadul fear about us Aislings, our potential to greatness beyond the tridimensional, physical world, the potential to manipulate the sixth element directly and freely, like Danaan could.
One curious fact however is that we can reproduce even in our lesser forms. That mightmean we're either not "children" of Danaan in it's exact meaning, but merely her creations, or that for our species, the adult stage is optional for it's perpetuation. It's imperative that we research further into that, as it might hold the key to defeating our eternal enemies as well as to transcending into the next stage of existence itself...
This was my humble attempt at presenting the information I have gathered as well asthe conclusions I've come to through direct observation, about the most hated entities of our world and beyond. I hope I have been as unbiased and free of prejudice as humanly possible and that the majority of the theories I've proposed in this document correspond to the Truth itself.
But only time and further investigation of Reality will tell.