Saturday, December 26, 2015

Personnel Files: Charon

Charon is the most miserly being in existence. He is as greedy as Zeus is horny. If Zeus could only get laid by paying a whore with Charon’s money, the opposing forces would cause a black hole that would engulf all of creation (NOTE: This is science fact). Perhaps the only thing he values more than money is his title as “the most miserly being in existence”. He has even gone so far as to sabotage greedy mortals into Heel Face Turning, just so they don’t surpass him in greed. The most famous example of this is the tale of one Ebenezer Scrooge, against whom Charon exacted the most unusual revenge of teaching him the true meaning of Christmas. This all started with two pence, plucked from the eyes of Marley’s corpse, because Scrooge figured he didn’t need them where he was going. Charon has a rule that is among the hardest and fastest in existence: No fare, no passage.  So Marley was damned to wander the Mortal World as a seriously spooky ghost. Some folks on Olympus weren’t terribly thrilled about that, and one folk on the mortal world was terribly unthrilled about it, so Charon made a deal. Rather than money, he’d accept payment in the form of the only other thing he valued: his title. He’d ferry Marley across the river Styx if Marley helped him protect his title from Scrooge. Of course, Charon knew that Scrooge, a lowly mortal who often spent money to make money, could never step to him. Legend has it that the only thing Charon’s ever spent money on is the ferry that is now his claim to fame. But he wants to do more than just win. He wants to win so hard that it’s not even close. He’s not just going for the gold, he’s going for the silver and bronze, too, because them metals are precious too.

What followed was an epic haunting, seven years in the making. First, Marley visited him on Christmas Eve, exactly seven years (astute readers will note that seven is a pretty mystical number) after his own death. He rattled some chains, said how much his afterlife sucked. Standard, entry level stuff, really. But the real haunting hadn’t even begun yet. That was just an appetizer for the three course meal of horror that followed. Marley’s real purpose was to warn of three ghosts that would haunt Scrooge on that night. The first was the Ghost of Christmas Past, a candle lookin’ dude, who flashed him backwards to his memories of previous Christmases, and what he was like before he was a runner up to the Biggest Asshole Award. In particular, he showed how Scrooge’s love of money drove away the love of his life. It was pretty brutal. Ebenezer, unsurprisingly, didn’t like this one bit, so he extinguished candle-ghost. This… may have killed the ghost? I know ghosts don’t usually die, but I don’t really know that that guy technically counted as a ghost. I mean, none of the other “ghosts” were actually ghosts, we just called them that because it’s not like Ebenezer would have known any better. In any case, it’s not really my problem.

 The second “Ghost” was the ghost of Christmas Present, played by freakin’ Zeus himself. I never really pried into why exactly he agreed to it, but it I’m not going to go around pretending that it was anything other than an elaborate scheme to get laid. He pulled off the role surprisingly well. He showed Ol’ Ebenezer some scenes of how his greed was shafting everyone around him. Ebenezer’s greed, that is. When Zeus shafts everyone around him, it’s in an entirely different way. Particularly screwed over by Scrooge’s greed was Tiny Tim, some kid with rickets, which was majorly sucky back then, especially since Scrooge was too busy literally telling the poor to hurry up and die to help get Tiny Tim treated. Zeus actually threw those words back in his face when Scrooge started taking pity on Tiny Tim, which was a nice touch. There wasn’t any lightning or thunder involved, which was probably for the best, but Zeus was kinda bummed about it.

The third Ghost was the real Coup de Gras. We called him “The Ghost of Christmas Future”, but Ebenezer, total dweeb that he was, said “The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.” The ghost (played by none other than Captain Thanatos himself) would have corrected him, but his whole schtick was that he didn’t say anything, so he just kind of rolled with it. I wasn’t really a fan of him being silent, insisting it would be more effective if he said, “SCARY Christmas to all, and to all a good FRIGHT!” Instead, he mostly just stood around, looking exactly as he normally does, (Drop-dead spooky) showing Scrooge all the trash-talking people would do once he finally up and died. But he wasn’t the only one who up and died: Tiny Tim followed suit, all thanks to Scrooge’s greed. And since he didn’t specify which God he wanted to bless everyone, his whole “God Bless us every one” thing didn’t even count.

After being spooked proper, Scrooge became super nice. I mean, he did things that were super nice. Whether or not that makes him actually nice is something best left to philosophers, not me. Like, if someone puts a gun to your head and tells you to donate to charity, and you do it, does that make you nice? I don’t really think so. But, like, you know, whatever. In any case, Charon got the satisfaction of clinging to his title, and I get the satisfaction of knowing that Scrooge has read these very words, telling him how hard he got tricked. Even if he didn’t realize it. Merry Christmas, ya old bastard.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Miscellaneous Files: Rogue Reapers

The phrase “Rogue Reaper” commonly refers to any being which kills mortals in a way that is not in compliance with The Bureau of Death. There are two classes of beings commonly referred to as “Rogue Reapers”, only one of which fits the official definition of a Rogue Reaper as set by The Bureau of Death. This definition, which a surprising number of those under the employ of The Bureau fail to understand, is that a Rogue Reaper is a Reaper who has gone rogue. id est, a reaper, formerly under the employ of The Bureau, who has willfully broken The Rules of The Reaper and refuses to face judgement for their transgressions. This rarely happens, as The Moirai are very selective of who they choose to be Reapers, but it is not unheard of. Reapers were often powerful people in their mortal lives, and such people often have enemies. Occasionally, grudges from one’s mortal life will persist even in death, and the Reaper will abuse their power to seek vengeance. If you find yourself troubled by memories of your mortal life in such a way, you are advised to seek out Lethe, who can cast your unpleasant memories into the river of oblivion. It goes without saying that you are very much advised to NOT act on these desires. Rogue Reapers are detained by The Special Task Force and you do not wish to find out what becomes of them once they are detained.

The second class of beings known as “Rogue Reapers” are more properly called Extra-Hellenistic Reapers (EHR). An Extra-Hellenistic Reaper is any agent of Death not associated with The Pantheon. Though other mythologies are largely thought of as extinct, having been exterminated by The Pantheon after we claimed victory in The Divine War, the truth is that some fragments of these mythologies yet remain. Though none are powerful enough to pose a severe threat to the dominance of The Pantheon, some, such as The Asgardians, remain a thorn in the side of The Olympians. Their Valkyries are dangerous EHRs who tend to claim the souls of those who live a life of battle. If you should ever meet a Valkyrie, you are strongly advised against attempting to fight it, for they are extremely adept warriors. Report to a Higher Ranking Official immediately, and a Special Task Reaper will be dispatched to handle the situation as soon as possible. Note that, while the term “Reaper” typically refers only to those employed to directly facilitate the death of mortals, one who oversees death in a different theology can be considered an Extra-Hellenistic Reaper. exemplī grātiā, Hel, the Asgardian Goddess of Death who oversees the land of the same name, (It seems that the irksome habit among gods of naming one’s domain after oneself is not limited to The Pantheon) would be considered an EHR, even though Hades, her analogue in The Pantheon, is not considered a Reaper.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Personnel Files: Zeus

The King of the Gods. The Head Honcho. The Big Cheese. The “Citizen Kane” of deities. When it comes to the gods of Olympus, Zeus’s authority is second to none. When it comes to the whole of the Hellenistic Pantheon, his authority is fourth to me and my sisters’, but hey, who’s keeping score, right? Though he has no official association with The Bureau of Death, as king of the gods, he has considerable sway in all of the celestial spheres. Fortunately, Hades usually does a pretty good job of making sure he doesn’t try to interfere with our plans in The Underworld. Though he’s not really the type to care about that kind of thing. We ever find him in The Underworld, it’ll probably be because he’s trying to fornicate with a spirit of the deceased or something wacky like that. Because Zeus may be the absolute king of everything, but he’s still best known for being the biggest horndog in all the known universe. He’s gotten it on with more types of beings than you’re likely to see during your eternity as a Reaper. Goddesses? Of course. Nymphs? Oh, hell yeah. Mortals? Check. Dudes? You betcha, even if it was just that one time. It’d be shorter to make a list of all the types of beings he hasn’t fornicated with: Extra-Hellenistic deities (I certainly hope not), The Moirai (I CERTAINLY HOPE NOT).

But, despite all the shit we give him, Zeus isn’t a bad guy. After all, there is a reason that we rigged that game of chance deciding who would rule what so that he’d become king of the gods. (By the way: Don’t go around telling that to people.) He may be a little arrogant, but I certainly wouldn’t call him “ambitious”. He’s strong enough to lead when he needs to, but his libido usually prevents him from abusing his power. (Except for in one extremely predictable way, which, while unfortunate, may be the one thing that is beyond even Our power to stop. If there is one thing in this universe more certain than Fate, it’s that Zeus will always be mackin’ on the ladies.) He loves being the guy in charge, but hates having to actually take charge, so he mostly leaves the gods to their own realms, except when emergencies arise. When that happens, his desire to get on with getting it on usually motivates him to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

If, for whatever reason, he or one of his agents starts bossing you around, it’s usually easier to just go along with it. Most of the gods have learned this by now. Unless, of course, his orders conflict with The Rules of The Reaper. If he starts getting cheeky with you, name-drop Atropos, and that’ll usually shut him up. The two don’t get along well; Zeus hates being reminded that he’s not the strongest, and Atropos hates how he cares more about his erotic escapades than her Grand Design of Fate. Which is why I’m writing this section instead of her. I know this hasn’t exactly been a glowing review, but you don’t want to read what Atropos has to say about him, and I certainly don’t want Zeus to read what she has to say about him. Zeus is like that one wacky coworker whose hijinks should’ve gotten him fired years ago. His continued employment is a mystery to all, up until circumstances force him to step up to the plate, and he knocks it out of the park. Because, while he may be a goofball, he’s a goofball that’s damn good at his job.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Personnel Files: Loki

The entirety of this paragraph is to be considered a direct order from Atropos, which must be obeyed without exception. All Reapers are to do everything in their power to minimize their interactions with Loki. Under no circumstances are they to intentionally speak with him, or in any other preventable way communicate with him. Reapers must not knowingly let his words or actions in any way influence their words or actions. If you believe that Loki is speaking with you, or in any way attempting to communicate with you, please notify a Higher Ranking Official of the Bureau with all possible haste that does not require sacrificing the performance of your duties.

                Loki is among the few Gods not of the Greek Pantheon permitted by The Fates to act with some freedom. The reasons for this number two. The first is that he is something of a tenuous ally of ours. Without his treachery, it is possible that Zeus may never have been able to wrest the dominion of thunder from Thor. The second is that we know not if we even have the means to bind him. Though he is far less powerful than his brother, he is something far more dangerous: He is cunning. A trickster god whose antics put even Eris to shame, his tongue has more silver than all the riches of Hades. In the rare instances that his charisma fails him, he resorts to deception. As a shapeshifter, he can assume any form, allowing him to easily impersonate any on whom he has laid eyes. It is for this reason that The Fates never speak with him directly; the damage he could potentially cause by impersonating one of The Three cannot be overstated. It is also for this reason that no image of him is provided here to identify him. Though he has a form that he commonly takes when he is not taking measures to disguise himself, it is unknown if this is his “true form”, or even if any of his forms can be said to have more truth than the others. Even if you do not see him in a familiar form, you can never know with certainty that Loki is not among you. Though few among the Olympians can claim to have never fallen prey to one of his japes, they are never so cruel that we all cannot have a laugh about it. And yet, as surely as we know that Death comes to all, we know that he is up to something. The most dire possible scenario is that he is secretly conspiring with the Norns to overthrow us. Yet we believe this to be unlikely, for there is only one thing we know with certainty about Loki’s next move: we won’t see it coming.