Dark Arts Essay

The Dark Arts; a Personal View

"Therefore, with the same necessity with which the stone falls to earth, the hungry wolf buries it's fangs in the flesh of it's prey without the possibility of the knowledge that it itself is the destroyed as well as the destroyer."

Introduction

I have always associated with that statement, and to be frank with you, it scares me every time I read it. Still does, even though I must have memorized it long ago. It has followed me for years like a loyal dog, always at the back of my mind - a little devil sitting on my shoulder reminding me that each time I.. well now, how should I put this as not to offend.. "feed", a little piece of me dies as well. It reminds me of what I am, what force allows me to continue my existence in this wondrous world and to what I owe my very "life".

Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself.

My name is Azash DuMonde', I am undead and I would like to speak to you about bad magic.

My goal here is to discuss the dark field of magic. Chaos, necromancy, dark magic, whatever you like to call it and all it's variations and strains. My position on this subject might surprise you : I believe that my current state of (im)mortality has granted me a certain perspective that others lack, and I'd like to share my experiences with it with you. I am not, however, going to speak of myself personally, my "crimes" or my history, for I do not want to dilute this little diatribe with separate subjects. Those are different matters and ones still open to interpretation. Perhaps they will be addressed in the future in a different forum, perhaps not. It is of no matter here.

I have been studying dychotomy since I was a young man. In more recent times I have begun my explorations of formal ritual magic, once again in the field of dychotomy. This should give me some weight as an expert in the field of dark magic.. that and the fact that my very existence requires it.

Some might argue that Darkweavers would be a better type of mage to speak on such a subject, but I disagree. When all you know is the Dark, how can you have perspective?

Through conflict knowledge is born, and I dare say that each and every dychotomist struggles with the temptation to reverse his or her spells, especially in life or death situations, and sometimes in the peace and security of their own bedrooms. Some claim absolute purity : that they have never and would never cast chaos, but they are either lying or fanatics and I trust neither. Besides, if what they say is so, why aren't they Lightweavers?

I believe that the existence of this temptation is not a negative thing. A world in which this particular temptation didn't exist is a scary place my friend. It is the resistance that makes you strong.. but the temptation is always there. If temptation is a crime then we are all guilty, and I dare you to find me an innocent soul.

Identifying the Enemy

There are many theories on dark magic, as I'm sure you're aware. The debates have existed as long as the knowledge to cast such magics has. I personally classify dark magic into three separate groups. These are:

Chaos

Chaos magic harms the body directly. It targets the spirit, as chaos cannot be effectively cast on targets without spirits. But it only seeks to destroy the shell, the flesh. It is essentially the reversal of healing magics. In fact, in some planes of existence healing magics can be reversed with a simple rewording of incant; a simple redirection of channeled energy. Here it is not so simple, perhaps for the betterment of all our health. This of course makes it more of a crime here, at least morally. Is that not the difference between murder and manslaughter? Premeditation, I mean. Here, one cannot us the defense of "spur of the moment".. reacting without thinking. Not that I believe that will mean your escape from the executioner's block, but we're speaking of moral law here, not civil law.

Chaos falls into several sub-categories, such as corrosion, infestation, infliction, but they are all essentially the same : destruction of the mortal body through harmful means.

Necromancy

These spells are spirit based and seek to harness and control a spirit. They reach out into the void and snare a spirit, then drag it kicking and screaming back into the mortal realm and force it into a corpse.

I personally believe necromancy is akin to summoning magics but in a more cheating way. This is probably the most debated field of dark magic as there are many confusing and seemingly contradictory questions involved. I'll give you a taste of some.

- When cast on a corpse, is it the same spirit that originally inhabited that corpse that returns to the body? Or does the spirit simply believe (wrong) that it has returned "home"?

- If it is the same spirit, how is it that a relatively simple spell can do such a thing - especially without a truename involved?

- Why is it that a spirit may only be returned to it's corpse through necromancy once? Yet how it is possible to use ritual magic to "bottle" an undead creature?

- Why do greater undead resurrect, yet lessers do not?

- What is the relationship between a spirit that has taken it's final death and is created as undead, and a spirit that has not taken it's final death and is raised?

- Is the life contained within a spirit a limited thing and is there some way to measure this "volume of existence"?

I find these questions high intriguing, perhaps more so then any other philosophical/magical debates I know.

Dark Magic

This magic, to my knowledge, is unique to this plane of existence. I am hardly an expert on planes, so excuse me if I use the wrong terminology here. What I mean is, this is the only "world" I have seen these spells exist. I lack the ability to cast this form of magic myself, so I speak not from first hand experience but merely by knowledge gained through speaking to others.

From what I am lead to believe, this is "pure" chaos in a sense. It is this field of magic that gives birth to such horrifying tricks as the creation of darkswords, darkbolts and chill spells. And if you think that's bad you should see the formals my friend. These spells target the spirit, damaging it directly. They don't dilly-dally around with the body, they go straight for the throat, which I suppose I can relate to.

So why is Chaos Bad?

Everyone's favorite heated debate, a guaranteed way to pick a fight. Here are some of the more lucid theories I've heard, some from delightful conversations with my intellectual peers, some from nobles screaming them into my face.

It destroys the earth/world/universe/ju-ju!

This is the most accepted view, probably because it's also conveniently vague. But whatever the variation, (and there are hundreds) it basically states that the casting of dark magic tears the fabric of the universe in one way or the other.

This of course is bad, bad, bad.

The casting of chaos leaves a residue, essentially corrupting that space for all time.

Some say that casting chaos attracts more chaos but that doesn't make much sense to me. Undead are basically physical manifestations of chaos and when was the last time you saw a ghoul forsake a living target to chew on his brother undead? I suppose you could argue that they come to the source of chaos to seek healing and pleasurable sensations, but once again I've seen skeletons blindly walk off of cliffs, so this doesn't hold much weight with me either.

I have yet to see any actual proof that chaos is slowly destroying the universe, although much proclaimed "proof" has been offered to me both politely and forcibly. For all I know it's elemental magic that cause such examples, however.

There must be a balance!!

I like this theory, it appeals to my intuition.

It states that there must be a balance between Light and Dark and currently there is too much dark around. If ever the balance is tipped too far it will hold too much gravity (so to speak) and will be unable to be realigned.

I have actually met organizations dedicated to righting this balance one way or the other. They seek out areas of high concentrations of light or dark, then essentially hose down the area in the opposite field. Odd folks.

Some claim that the balance is universal and some claim it is regional or even local. You can guess where this is going.

Chaos is Negative Energy!!!

Another one of my favorites, at least for it's consistency.

It claims that chaos is linked to emotions and thoughts much as the Aspects are. The more hatred in the world there is, the more the Aspect of hatred grows in power. Well, chaos is negative emotions such as greed, jealously and vengeance. Light magic is positive emotions like love, trust and that tingly glow after sex.

This theory states that there is a direct link between mental states and these fields of magic. Makes sense to me, considering that both Light and Dark magic are clerical based and Gods and Aspects are either emotionally or intellectually influenced. Thus, the more chaos that is cast the nastier your neighbor becomes.

Undead : The Smart and the Mindless

I have met many sentient undead and Dark Mages in my time and I think it's safe to say that I've despised them all.

If they're not brooding and serious they're creepy and in need of a bath. I have a personal philosophy on undead, necromancers, chaos-casters.. the whole grab bag lot of 'em. This is it : Survival of the fittest.

I not only accept the hunting and slaughtering of these people and creatures by both the law and their fellow brothers and sisters in the dark arts, but I encourage it whole-heartedly.

Why you ask?

Well, I firmly believe that Dark Magic, morality aside for a moment, is the most destructive and potent of all the forms of magic and I personally don't want every Tom, Dick and Harry to know how to use it. Basically : Those that can survive whatever the world can throw at them deserve to possess the knowledge of the Dark Arts.. and woe be those that try to take it from them.

I am no hypocrite either. I believe it safe to say that I have never held any personal grudge or vendetta against any law maker or noble because of his or her view on the Dark Arts. If they desire to take my unlife from me, by all means, let them come. And if I fail and am destroyed I accept the fact and congratulate them on a job well done.. I no longer deserved to wield this power.

A favorite cop-out of the Necromasses seems to be this:

"Chaos is a tool, much like a sword. It is not the sword that kills people it's the wielder that kills people".

Gods I despise that line. My response:

"Yes, right, but how any times have you seen a sword used for a purpose that didn't involve death and dismemberment? The sword is a tool designed to kill. Outlaw the sword and there will be far fewer deaths."

To this they reply:

"Outlawing the sword will not prevent violent death."

To which I answer:

"Fine then, outlaw all other offensive-based magic as well, see if I care." A joke, but think about it.

This is an ignorant and one-dimensional argument. Chaos SHOULD be outlawed because with it one has the power to overthrow entire kingdoms, and if there is to be any attempt at social harmony this must be done. Anyone who disagrees is a barbarian or an anarchist and doesn't deserve the rights and privileges that existing within a civilized state grants. Outlaws.. kill 'em all, I say.

"What about you"?, you're probably asking. Well yes, I suppose so, but few have attempted to collect on my soul.. a rather sad reflection of our moral state of affairs if you ask me.

My Soapbox

As I stated in the beginning I am undead. I was changed into this form by a large, intentional magical attack.. a curse of sorts. But that's irrelevant because I've done nothing to change my spiritual state back to normal, even though I possess the knowledge, power and ability to do so. I use chaos magic to heal myself. My life force is fed by dark magic and without it I am dead. (So to speak). There is also the whole drinking of blood thing as well, but I believe that to be a different topic, dealing not with necromancy and chaos but with a slightly kinky personal practice. In my own defense I'll state that I've never slain to continue my existence and those that know me know this to be true. But back to chaos.

As I said, I cast chaos on myself to heal my wounds. I've also used it in self-defense. Even for myself it's hard to resist. Anyone who's ever cast chaos can tell you, it literally feels good to cast. Some compare it to a sensual sensation, but I disagree. It feels good the same way eating the last piece of your roommate's chocolate fudge cake at 3am feels good : You know you shouldn't, you know it's probably bad but that's what makes it so damned fun. Simply put, chaos is sin and those that can resist it have my respect for they are far better men then I. However, I will say this. If it were not for my current state of being I doubt I would cast it. And I say that honestly.. though I doubt I could go cold turkey now.

Dark Magic is a separate issue. I have never cast it and the lack the desire to do so. If chaos is emotionally similar to chocolate cake at 3am then dark magic is breaking into the bakery, killing the chef then gorging oneself until death. I have enough addictions in my life already thank you, I don't need that kind of monkey on my back.

I don't know why exactly, but I see dark magic as being bad. I'm sorry if that is rather pathetically simple, but it's enough for me. I don't trust Darkweavers and doubt I ever will. They possess the zealous attitude of Lightweavers but are always in a crappy mood. If I were King the law would be simply: "Darkmagic is bad. Don't cast it. As to why, just because, for I am King, damnit."

Necromancy. This is where I focus my personal dislike and this is why:

No matter what your belief on the moral stand of dark magic and chaos, necromancy is evil. I'm sorry, but it's spiritual slavery. Who knows what lies beyond the veil of life, but taking a spirit from that place and forcing it back into a corpse to be a slave to your personal desires is simply wrong. Wrong, wrong, a million times wrong. I have personally hunted and slain more necromancers for just that reason then most kingdoms and I would offer my services and skills to any who would have me fill that role. Slavery is the lowest form of personal crime and necromancy is one step below it.

I used to believe that this held true only to lesser undead; that greaters retained their intellect and thus were granted a second "life" - and what could be more wonderful then even another minute here, conscious? What a gift! But here, on this plane this is not true. There is a mental corruption here that exists nowhere else I've been. The mental and emotional state of greater undead deteriorates here at a rather alarming rate, causing even the most compassionate and law-abiding undead to sink into depravity, hatred and moral bankruptcy. "Driven to Destruction", to steal a term. Trust me, I know from first hand experience.

Learning this has caused me to fear something new however.. a small yet significant pondering that frankly sends shiver down my spine. Prepare yourself.

What if this mental deterioration is not limited to this plane of existence? What I mean is, what if it is happening everywhere, on all planes, to all undead? A change - not something unique to this plane but instead something new that's happening everywhere all at once.

"So what," you might ask, "big deal. A rather tiny change in the large scheme of chaotic magic if you ask me."

Well, it scares me and this is why. What if this is the proof. THE proof. Proof that the balance is tipping, has tipped.. and I am serious think about this : This one small, seemingly insignificant event could mark the first drop in the tidal wave of final absolute evidence that the balance has tipped too far and we are all doomed. The slide has begun and there is no way to right the balance again. Our worlds will continue to tip until all is darkness, undeath, pain, nightmare and corrupution.. and if that is the case my friend, kiss your wife on the cheek and ruffle your child's hair one last time because both you and I are headed into oblivion. A fate worse then hell, for this hell will be made from the mortar and stone of our homes, our future and our current reality.. and may the Aspects protect us.

Sir Azash Dumonde', Esquire/Vampire

(Dedicated to Saava)

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