Subtle Illusions

Beyond Dominia: The Role Playing Mill: Subtle Illusions

By Shadow (Shadow) on Wednesday, July 25, 2001 - 11:01 am:

795, Talismanian Reckoning

"Yes, Jaron," he addressed the youth, not really moving but shifting a bit from side to side, "I'm dying, and I'm happy for it. As all things that die are prepared for their deaths, I stand likewise, weary, ready. I welcome death, yet I still have some quarrel with my existence. 'Tisn't good to die with matters left unsettled.

{Why would I help you? You destroyed life on this world. You tortured my sister and left her stranded at the beginning of time. You are the very essence of what I hate. You lack any virtue I'm aware of, and seem to exist only to bring pain to the world. Why should I even trust you, let alone help you?}

"Aye, you should not! If you're to believe all that you've seen and heard and known, you have no reason at all to trust me. But what is trust, anyway? What is belief? Why do we trust or believe anything? How do we know anything at all? How can we be sure we aren't just fancies in some poor soul's dreams? We can't. At any moment, some dreamer may wake and we may cease to exist, so I say take action while you're still here, whatever action it may be. How do you know you weren't suddenly spawned into life, fully packaged with fabricated memories, but a second ago. I chased truth for a long time, and I came to the conclusion that all you can ever be sure of is the present. You can be sure of your own sanity only in the sliver of time that makes up each present moment. The rest might as well be phantoms, subtle illusions with which we decieve ourselves.

"You spoke of me bringing pain to the world. Let me tell you about pain. You read the book, you know what parts of my story are material enough to be cast in ink and printed. Yes--if we're to believe our memories--I brought pain and suffering and death to the world. But even so, where would they have been without me! Have you ever thought what a world would be like without villainy, pain, greed, treachery, rage, jealousy, hatred, envy, torture. A world must have some evil in it, and if evil comes not from those things it must come from elsewhere. Putting pain into the world leaves the world's more virtuous things to remain virtuous. Pain fills its station happily, so that no other must be there in its stead.

"Nevertheless, I don't remember ever intending to play that part, bringer of pain. We're all just actors, you know. Just figments of some sleeper's dream, pawns in Fate's game. I never remember wanting anything more than any other man. But Fate hunted me down and stared me in the eye, and I stared back. I thought I would rebel, but found that my rebellion only changed the part I played.

"I was as trapped as ever, just as I'm now trapped, bound to this dying world. You're trapped too. But, trapped though we may be, we still have a certain latitude in our actions. There's still something you can do. I don't want to die a prisoner of this plane. It's ludicrous: I'm trapped because of ancient fears and grudges of men that no longer even exist! I'm a walker, Jaron, I'm not meant to be bound like this. Please, don't let me die this way. I don't know what it is that you're to do, but I know that you can, somehow, free me. I know it's within your power, because I know the role you've been cast in this existential ballet. You have the mark of the hero, Jaron Githain, though you seem to avoid its wearing. I can feel your potential. I'm not sure that freedom would even come in the form I imagine, but I don't care. Anything is better than this.

"I knew your father, once. He was a great man, Phaema's greatest hero whether any of them knew it or not. You can take up his mantle and point your heroics towards the only other soul left, or cast that role aside. It makes no difference to any but you and I, because we're the only ones left. I'm fairly sure of that. Just ask this glorified garbage can you're living in to tell you if anybody else out there is living, anywhere. Phaema's people are dead, Phaema is dying, and I am dying. Trapped, I'll die with the plane; free I'll die anyway. My existence has gone on far too long as it is. So even freeing me will have no real meaning to anybody but the two of us. Remember, all that exists is now. All that are alive are You and I. All that is left is the choice: act, do not act. Search your consciousness for answers, if you wish. I have no more power left; the choice is yours."

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