Theories Regarding the Scars of Sgrios
The implications of the darkness are an often pondered and debated topic by a great many aislings, and with obvious cause. While many would reject the followers of Sgrios as being horrid, wrathful beings who seek only the undoing of what others have strived for, the power they hold is undeniable. Who among us who have witnessed the summoning of the Dubhaimid at the hands of mighty priests could ever again refuse that it is of incredible strength? That notice and dark appreciation have caught the spirits of many an aisling, and research and philosophy has gone to the very depths of what one might hope to be understood of it. A certainly recognizable example of this would be Daravon Ragnars work, "Nature of the Dark Masters", among others. In reading those, it becomes quickly and increasingly apparent that this is a topic worthy of time to further knowledge of it. While the very nature, beliefs and thoughts regarding Sgrios, Chadul and the Dubhaimid have much left to be addressed, and will probably never be fully understood, I have set the focus of my work over these few days on an aspect known very well to all aislings, young and elder alike. I seek to define and educate of the Scars of Sgrios, a dark reminder we have all had set upon our souls at some time. Here, I will offer my theories regarding their purpose to their creators, their meaning to the poor person that falls to them, and the nature of the act of removing them, replenishing what was lost.
II. Relation to Sgrios and the Dubhaimid, and the Purpose they May Serve
It would go without saying, of course, that these are not scars by the normal definition of the word. They are not mere tissue which closes deep wounds literally, but rather a magical form of energy derived mainly from the recently established 5th element, darkness. They occur similarly in a sense, as they take the place of the energies that compose a conscience which are lost in death. When a life comes to nothing, Sgrios and his servants rip away a small part of it as they send it back to the world of the living (this will be discussed later), which can be seen in the loss of the experience obtained through life. This can create serious issues in both physical, mental and emotional strength.
So it must be realized that the act of imbuing one of these horrid energies into an aisling must hold use to someone, as it would be done at the cost of the will of that which creates it similarly to any form of magic. Even the infernal beings that lay the scars upon their victims souls would not do so without some result beneficial to themselves or those that they watch over. Their exact purpose, and who it would assist, is not yet understood. I have prepared theories on this, which follow:
As would tend to be the first example of this which comes to mind, the scars may issue a form of punishment on the recipient for sake of ill preparation or failure to successfully engage the opponent who dealt the fateful blow. As mentioned, they can be quite taxing on any who befall them in innumerable ways. A loss in experience hard earned also means a difficulty in progression, and ultimately, a loss in potential strength. This forces a far higher degree of devotion and skill in the person it affects, and would cause those things to be practiced, perhaps preventing a repeat of the original error. It is easily seen that this would be an effective solution to a person dying at personal fault.
Also, despite inciting a solution to the problem, they can also punish in way of harming socially. Should a legend display a high number of scars, others may question the person. This could be harmful in finding hunting partners, gathering political support, and so on. Again, this could also end in a more intense drive to avoid receiving additional such marks.
Replenishment of Darkness
All elements can be deplenished, as signified by the necessity of fior and elementalists. As darkness is in itself an element, it would require a source of continuation to continue. While it does, of course, grow stronger naturally, deaths are so often and destruction so plentiful in a significantly corrupt society (an issue for another day), there would have to be an addition source to allow its operation without pause. Now, the soul could be called the strongest form of magic known. Is it not plausible that a portion of an aislings soul, torn away in his defeat, could be broken down or diluted into a larger amount of a lesser magic, for example, the darkness? The gap that this creates could then be filled with an amount of magic already possessed by the dark creatures, in the end gaining more than they lose in the process. With so many deaths each and every moon that passes, this could create an almost infinite source of power for Sgrios and the Dubhaimid.
Persuasion of Power, Establishment of Following
It can be easily noticed in worship, common mentality, and history, among other things, that the dark beings in question here were never the type of creatures to accept their position; they always sought dominance of everything they overlooked, mastery of every person under them, and power so absolute that their possession could never be shaken. Throughout the earliest ages of our history, both theological and recorded, this has been the way of things. Before the name of Sgrios was heard, in the times of Chadul, this was accepted. Now, things would probably be no different. These beings would desire only complete rule over all of my fellow aislings of Temuaire. What better way to do this than to provide them with a reminder that they owe their lives to the darkness, and that without it, they could never have returned to their homes. This may be nothing more that a symbol that the dark ones are that much closer to again attaining the lofty position they once held.
All of these things are, of course, theories, and are open to the evaluation of those who come across them.
III. The Scarring of an Aisling, and the Resolution Thereof
Now, we all have or will experience this. Whatever the case, something can go wrong. An unseen enemy, a personal error, a fallen comrade; any of these things among countless others can end in a horror beyond mention, the event of your own death. Your body is twisted in an incomprehensible direction, your equipment falls to the ground with you in it, and in what may seem as moments, you face one of the dark ones. There is but one comprehendible solution; abandon a portion of who you were in exchange for the continuance of what was lost. A portion of your soul, and other items you may have which held magical powers, are taken for inhuman purposes, whatever they may be, and you are sent back, vulnerable and unprepared. However, there is now something different. The very essence of ones existence is changed, and you are accompanied by a new, dark presence; the scar in discussion.
Some may let these accumulate, lessening their ability and humanity continuously. In the end, they may become so pathetic or unsociable that on their next fall, they might decide not to sacrifice any more of what remains, and to accept the dusk of their life. Now, while I do not preach morals, I must insist that life is always the more correct choice.
The gods Glioca, Deoch and Cail can all remove scars, presumably due to their connection to the makings of what is lost to them. When a worshiper prays to a god for the act, a portion of their faith is converted in to and indescribable concentration of normal magic, capable of emulating what could be the constructing forces of an aislings soul. The harmful dark energy is dispersed, and the light energy of Danaan restores what once was. Again, this is theory.
Now that the scar is gone, certain things must be understood. While this removal is effective, it is only an imitation of the original spirit; it is not yours until you make it so. You must fill it with more experiences to replace those lost to the darkness. Then, and only then, would you be complete once more.
Certainly, this is not without lesson. Remember what happened, and learn from it. Let the trouble of removing the scar be your reason to avoid another.
The Scars of Sgrios are undoubtedly intended to devastate those they befall by their master, but that must not be the case. I would hope that any others with ideas or concerns about the writing or the topic it concerns might write me ((Nagisa)) with those thoughts, and perhaps, through the furthering of our understanding, they may no longer be a problem. Thank you for your time in reading this.
-Nagisa Kaoru, Sal Wizard
V. Bibliography and Further Reading
Chaltier, "Analysis of the Darkness, Light, and Soul" Theories on light and dark
Chloe, "Reflections on the Interactions between the Gods" Information on Gods, including scar removal supplications
Daravon, "Nature of the Dark Masters" Excellent work regarding the masters of darkness, Sgrios, Chadul and the Dubhaimid
Hendle, "From Whence Nightmares Come" Some information on the Dubhaimid
Thissus, "Prospect of
Darkness" View of darkness among aislings