Thursday, September 17, 2015

Personnel Files: Hades

At the dawn of the era before the one in which you lived and died, three brothers drew lots to determine how the universe would be governed. To one, rulership of the sky was to be granted. To one, rulership of the sea was to be granted. And to one, rulership of The Underworld was to be granted. It is for this reason that Zeus reigns from his heavenly throne on Olympus, his rule enforced by his almighty lightning bolt. It is for this reason that Poseidon reigns over the vast seas, over its currents and its tides, and the many plants and animals within it. And it is for this reason that Hades reigns over the dead, sitting atop a lavish throne in the otherwise dismal land of The Underworld. Yet this partitioning of the powers was not left to mere chance. It was guided by the hand of Fate.

Though Hades cursed his fate to rule over the dead, his position is, in truth, by far the most important of the three. The Dead play a role of utmost importance in the grand design of The Fates. It would be impossible for The Moirai to carry out their schemes without the knowledge and consent of He who rules the dead. This is why Hades was chosen. Of the three brothers, he is the best able to keep a secret. This is imperative, as the god of the dead must be privy to sensitive information, shared only with The Moirai, kept hidden from even the king of the gods himself. Hades is also far less prone to letting his base desires rule over him than his brothers, though there is one historical exception to this, which one may read about in Personnel Files: Persephone.

Though it was never his wish to rule over the dead, it was always his wish to prove himself, to his brothers, the other gods, and himself. Thus, he takes his job as serious as the grave, and jealously guards his realm from those who would pervert the sanctity of Death. Though he longs for the acceptance of his peers, he tends to keep to himself. (I know you three technically outrank me, but could you leave my personal life out of this? You don’t see me blabbing to my servants about Lachesis’ inferiority complex -Hades) (What? I have no such thing –Sis) He loathes nothing more than outsiders trying to meddle in the affairs of The Underworld, be they from Olympus, the mortal world, or any of the other celestial spheres. There are but four beings in all the cosmos to whom he will acquiesce unquestioningly. It goes without saying that we, The Moirai, who weave the Fate to which all men and gods must answer, are among these. Yet the fourth is not Zeus, King of the Gods, as one would naturally expect.  Perhaps the identity of the fourth is a secret that Hades has requested we keep. Or perhaps it will be known to you, all in due time.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Miscellaneous Files: The Physiology of Mortals

The beings referred to in this handbook as “mortals” are actually two (2) discrete entities: a mortal body of flesh, and an immortal soul of Quintessence. The body shares a symbiotic relationship with the soul that is no different from the one that it shares with the bacteria that assist it in digestion. The body provides the soul with a corporeal form that allows it to inhabit the mortal world and experience sensation. In return, the soul provides the body with true cognizance. The bond between the two is so close that neither can survive long without the other without extensive external assistance.

Without the input of the soul, much of the body’s nervous system shuts down, and the body becomes incapable of voluntary action. The body can perform homeostasis, but unless intensive “life” support, if it may be called that, is provided, it will quickly experience physical death. Without an immune system to protect it, the body is broken down by bacteria and other microorganisms that return its elements to the Earth. Similarly, without the protection of a body, the soul falls victim to The Scourge. The body, of course, offers no physical protection against The Scourge, as they are incorporeal, unimpeded by the matter and space of the mortal realm. The body does, however, provide the soul with energy necessary for the functioning of its own immune system. Without this immune system, the soul decomposes, just as the body does. Reapers ensure that this does not happen by preserving the soul as soon as the mortal is Due (the body experiences physical death) and transporting it to The Underworld.

This distinction, between the mortal and the immortal, is key to the greatest secret kept by The Bureau of Death (at least, the greatest secret to be known by one such as yourself). When a new human is born, they are imbued with a soul, and a seed of quintessence is sown by The Bureau of Life. When this human dies, their soul is taken to The Underworld, and a fruit of quintessence is reaped by The Bureau of Death. To the gods, the mortal world is little more than a farm, a vast field growing a crop of quintessence. This quintessence is of priceless to The Gods, its value surpassed only by its rarity. It is the aether through which sentience propagates. An incorporeal substance whose motes of light, strands of shadow, and plumes of dusk form the atoms of thought and emotion. Yet it cannot be manufactured artificially, at least, not by any process known to men or gods. It can only be grown organically. This growth is carried out by the soul, and it is fertilized by hardship and pain. This is the reason for every heartache suffered by mortals, for all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Needless to say, it is of paramount importance that they not be made aware of this.