Word from Our Sponsors 4: the Lie

“Oh- come in! Come in!

I’ve started to think you’ll never come! Seriously, I was sure I’ll be the first one you’ll turn to when you started making all of those interviews- but it better late than never. Oh, I’m not angry- here, sit! Feel comfortable! Would you like some wine? Something to eat? Caviar? Roasted quail? I have access to some.. rare delicacies. My servants search all around the globe after the most exquisite dishes ever been known to men. No? Are you sure? Not every day someone gains such an opportunity… Are you sure? Oh well.

Now, we should start, shall we?

You seem a little bit confused. Ah, I see! My agent was the one to arrange that meeting with you, so they must have kept a few things out. It is not their fault- I make sure to never show all of my cards to those who work for me. Truth is a dangerous thing to work with in my business, so you can’t just let anyone know anything. You give each of them a small piece of information, and allow them to build around it using their own previous understanding and experience. A king doesn’t tell a servant what they need to do, you know. The servant has to think for themselves and decide how is it the best to serve their king. If they do a good job, they will be elevated and distinguished. If not… well, kings have their executors for some reason, am I right?

Now that we all feel comfortable, allow me to help you with your confusion. I assume that my agent told you you are going to meet the “Exarchs”. What a nice word is it, right? Exarch- a ruler from the outside. It has a nice ring to it. You rule some distant territory, one you can’t even touch, without actually lifting a finger. You make the world dance to your strings without even getting up from your chair. That’s the sign of a good ruler, you know. A good king doesn’t need to intervene in every small squabble they have int their kingdom- that’s why they have servants, and servants have servants of their own, and so one and so on. The king simply has to be, and the world would fit itself to the will of its ruler. I think it was called once “the Unmoved Mover”. He was close, that one- close, but not close enough.

Anyway, we are diverging. Here, let my servant feel you glass- you have to drink something! Your cheeks are so pale, and your hand is shaking! Relax, no one is going to harm you in here. You are under my protection, and everyone who knows whats good for them won’t lift a finger against you. Now, like I said, my agent has promised you that you’ll meet the Exarchs- but what exactly they told you? I assume that simply meeting one of the lower members of the pantheon wouldn’t have have satisfied you. One of the Iron Seals, perhaps? Was it the Father? The Eye? The Chancellor? One of the lower Seals, perhaps? I am especially fond of the Prophet, myself- he was so fun during the days of ancient Egypt! Perhaps you even thought you were going to have an audition with the all council? Like, all of those terrible, godlike beings sitting around some round table, sharing their views about the world while having some peacock for dinner? Would you like peacock? I can have one slaughtered and cooked right before your eyes!

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Oh, I love that look on your face. You really thought you were going to meet the Exarchs, some of the strongest beings which ever existed, waiting for you ask you’ll politely ask them questions. Oh cute. Oh naive. The funny thing is, that in a way, you are right- in this moment, you sit with the Exarchs. All of them- from the smallest saints of the Throne up to the ten seals which hold the world. From the patron of the smallest Ministry up to the Archigenitors themselves. The Exarchs, the “Kings of the Lie”. What a ridiculous concept. It works, and works rather good-countless souls call their name, praying to them at night, begging them, serving them, making sacrifices and doing some terrible, terrible things, all in their honor, when everything they believe in is just, well, a lie.

And I am the Lie.

See, the Exarchs are, in fact, masks. Oh, don’t get me wrong! They exist! They fully, absolutely, exist. Call their name in vain, and they’ll kick you in the nuts, as someone I hold dear once said. You can talk with them, meet them, see them. They whisper you commands in the middle of the night, engulf you with all of their divine majesty. You could join their ranks, and become one of the Exarchs by yourself. They are the kings of this world- but what is a king if not a symbol? Symbols exist- that’s the whole point of this world. The fact that something is a symbol doesn’t meant it can’t bite off your head, as said the same dear one from before. But the fact is, that they are symbols- they are masks, and I am quit a good theater actor. The exarchs rules from the outside- but even they had to listen to the commands of the emperor. It is in their name. You call them “the Kings of the Lie”- but ever you thought why? No, they are not the ones to rule it- but to serve it. Ten exarchs, serving under the emperor. Ten kings, serving under the lie. And I can’t let someone like you to meet no one less than the true emperor of the world.

Yes, ten. Not eleven. We’ll get to it in a moment. Please, be patient. Here, have some more wine.

Now, after clarifying those small misunderstandings, let’s move to the bigger ones- for example, like how, for some reason, everyone seems to blame me that this world is all messed up. It is easy to blame me- after all, when the land is in ruin, the small people immediately blame the king for their sufferings. “Why my wife is dead?” they ask “why my fields are barren?”, “Why my children are taken to fight the war?”. Why, why, why. They search for someone to save them, and they look for the one who holds the reigns. “He is responsible for our lives” they say “She is the one who should help us, but doesn’t”. They beg for the king for help, and when they don’t answer, they blame them. They call for rebellion, wage war against the king in hope for so called “freedom”. And guess what happens? The corruption grows further. More people end up dead. More lives are lost. Sometimes, the rebellion even succeed- and the king lose their head. Do you think it makes the world into a better place? Of course not! On the contrary- the land keeps on falling, the chaos keeps on spreading, and eventually- the land is gone. There is a reason why immediately after the French Revolution you got the Terror, and that Napoleon was the one to bring the land back from its ruin.

Here is the thing- the king, like I said before, is only a symbol. The world is messed up because the people who live in it are messed up. The king is only the representation of the land, of the people, of the world. The king can’t stop and supervise every little thing- they must look on the bigger picture, on stopping the chaos from spreading. Kill the king, and the chaos would consume the whole world. That’s what I am doing- I’m here to protect humanity from itself. Oh, don’t give me that look- I know what you think about me. That I’m a petty, selfish tyrant. And you are right- but that is because what this world needs. I’m no saint- but you can’t be a king without servants, you can’t rule upon an empty land. I care about humanity- more than any other of my companions and rivals in this grand game. The reason is that, unlike them, I am human. I am selfish and petty because humans are selfish and petty. I’m power hungry and tyrant, just like every human being. Everything I do, everything I am, is human.

Ah, the peacock has arrived. Are you sure you don’t want a taste? It is delicious.

Now, I assume that we can;t finish this interview without answering the most important question which has probably bugged you since you heard about me and my half siblings- what really happened? What exactly was the all deal about the “Fall”? How the grand and magnificent Atlantis truly was?

Not that great, actually.

Here is the thing about symbols- they are perfect. Now, Atlantis is perfect- an ideal civilization, a place ruled by the just and worthy. But symbols, while they exist, are not actually the real thing. The thing you call “atlantis” wasn’t that great- it was a petty civilization, made mostly out of mud and stinking from pigs. Oh, it was heaven compared to the way those barbarians lived out in the wilderness, but still, far from perfect. Most of the people in atlantis were fine with it- but not all. Some wanted more. We wanted more. I wanted more. We knew that the truth was there- we saw it, and we wanted to grasp it. We reached out to the stars, but we were far too low. Far too fallen. Yes, the world was messed up already then, fallen and dirty and reeking from pigs. Pigs! Mud and pigs and stench! That’s what you all yearn for much- being covered in mud and pigs! Pigs!

No, we couldn’t live that way. We knew better. I knew better. I knew that the truth was there, but I didn’t knew how to reach there. I knew her name, I saw her face, but she was always out of reach. We chased after her, but she escaped again and again. No person should hold the truth, she told us. No person should rule the world, she told me. Rubbish. I can’t say lies- she can’t lie even if her life would depend on it- but she really lacks the vision. We had to capture her- for only she had the strength to make our dreams into reality. So we built a ladder- climbing high to her palace, breaking through the window in the middle of the night, and challenged her over becoming the true king of this dirty, mud covered, pig scented world.

We failed.

How can you move an unmovable object? How can you stop an unstoppable force? You can’t. We were powerful, greater than any human who ever walked the earth- but she was stronger. You met her father, and believe me, she is her father’s daughter. We had no chance against her, and she slaughtered us again, and again, and again. Countless times Atlantis was destroyed for it “hubris”, countless times we tried to rise again that primordial force of nature, only to fail. That was the truth, and in that time, the truth was all we knew. We couldn’t change the course of event. We were attracted to her like moth to fire, and we got burned each and every time. We had to try and climb from Atlantis, for this was the truth. We had to fall and die like the pigs we lived with, because that, too, was true.

And then, in one of the countless times we again tried to take over the heaven, she came.

She was her sister, she said. She saw our efforts, and she wished to help us. There, in the crossroads of a land without a name, in a night darker than any other, she taught us the one thing we didn’t know, and in a world of truth, we could never know.

She taught us to lie.

And so I lied. And so, I became the lie. That time, when I rose to her palace, she throw a spear at me. I told myself she missed, and she did. She unleashed her servants at me. I told myself they killed each other, and they did. She stabbed me in the heart. I told myself that I couldn’t die, and I didn’t. She I could never bind her to my will. I wold myself I will, and she was. She told me I could never be a king. I told myself I am, and I was.

That time changed the world. I shattered the ladder, making sure no one else would try to recreate my action and take my crown. Of course, that had some.. undesired actions. See, this was the world of truth- but as her sister taught me how to lie, the world was corrupted. Her father awakened from his sleep- and believe me, he was pissed off. He sent his armies to free is daughter and destroy me- but her sister step for our favor once more. She sat on the edge of the abyss, and started singing- a soft, creepy voice. As she did, the beasts of her father stopped in their place, bowing their head or simply standing enchanted. In exchange for her help at dethroning her sister and keep on singing to calm the darkness, she asked to be represented in my kingdom. Of course I agreed- what choice I had? All she had to do to ruin everything I build was to stop her song. You may say I didn’t really thought it through, but what other choice I had? As such, I allowed her in. She sits at the edge of my kingdom, right before the sea, singing her songs to the waves and wind. I owe her everything, and I’m afraid her more than anything. I don’t have any clue why she decided to help me bind her sister, and I’m not going to ask. I would have recommended you to do the same, but we both know it won’t happen.

So, now you must think to your self “how do I know everything I just heard is true?”. Well, of course it isn’t! It is a lie. Everything is a lie. My all existence is a lie. This is the world of the lie- and I am the Lie, capital “L”. But I don’t tell any lie you don’t want hear. No one is forcing you to listen to me- no one is covering your eyes, or binding your hands and feet. The truth is out there- but you are scared of it. You are scared of going out to the sun. You are afraid of crossing the sea. You prefer to sit in your little cave and watch your own shadows. Again, a smart guy- almost smart enough. The world lives in a lie- but only because it wants to. Only because it is a lie it tells itself. You want to go out? Be my guest! Go and leave my kingdom, take your chances in the uncivilized wilderness which never knew the touch of a man. I will not stop you- go and deal with my half sisters, or their father. Go and be eaten by their beasts or torn apart by their loyal soldiers. Go and search for the truth. Who knows? Maybe you will even manage to free the poor bastard from her suffering, and she will be powerful once more and she’ll dethrone me and cut off my head. But it won’t be enough for you. You’ll become hungry like we were. You’ll tell yourself lies, like we did. You’ll bind her once more- and you will be me. And I will be you. It happened once. It will happen again. It is happening right now.

I am you.

After all, why do you think I’m wearing your face?”


 

 

 

 

And here we have our new interview- and this time, the Exarchs! Kinda. Again, things are always more complicated in my cosmology. I’m sorry I didn’t made a post in the last few weeks- first the forums were down, and then a friend of mine asked me to serve as a DM for a 5e D&D game, so I had to make a setting for the game, and learn the rules, and make and adventure, etc, etc. Anyway, I hope you’ll like it, and I hope I’ll make another post for next week! 🙂

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