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Thread: The Poison of Pessimism

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    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    The Poison of Pessimism

    The Poison of Pessimism

    I. Slavedriving

    "Slave, hear my words!"

    "I am come master, I am come!"

    "Tell me why I should take up slavedriving for a craft. Why should I raise whip for the thralls of others?"

    "Oversee, master, oversee! To control the will and life and labour of mortals lesser than yourself is true power, even if it is in the service of another. It is an honourable and reliable craft for respected men and women, and you need rarely if ever fear to pay out of your own purse for when slaves of others are killed for their laziness. You would hold their lives in your hands! You could vent your wrath upon them at will!"

    "Now tell me why I should not take up slavedriving for a craft. Why should I forsake such power?"

    "Do not oversee, master, do not oversee! It is a thankless and dirty task among the rabble. Ever would you be on the lookout for uprisings and assaults against your hated person, and ever would you and your ilk be surrounded by hundreds who wish your death. Only fear and chains and arms keeps them down, and the vile Hobgoblin taskmasters beneath you could never be trusted to stand when faced with strong danger. The work is petty, and the slaves you drive would fill coffers other than your own. The pay is low and rarely would you rise above your station. You would become an angry and sour man indeed, and marriage to you would be a miracle or shame. Your abilities are better spent in more worthwhile crafts!"

    "O well slave, then I shall not take up slavedriving for a craft!"




    II. Mining and Quarrying

    "Slave, hear my words!"

    "I am come master, I am come!"

    "Tell me why I should take up mining and quarrying. Why should I raise my pickaxe in toil?"

    "Dig, master, dig! To toil for wealth and search the riches of the earth sings in the hearts of your race. Ever would your wits and muscles be tested in pursuit of the fickle veins of ore, or the perfect blocks of stone. You would rise to the challenge and overcome it, and rejoice would you drink from your success. Respect and honour would be yours to sip. Fortunes could be made, glory extracted! The ores you mine will make tools and weapons and wonders, and the stones you quarry will make houses and fortress walls and towering ziggurats. Your greed would guide you. And you and your god would know it to be well!"

    "Now tell me why I should not take up mining and quarrying. Why should I forsake such honest riches?"

    "Do not dig, master, do not dig! The way of the miner and quarryman is slow and long and ponderous, and sweat and blood would you shed. Your back would bend and ache while stone dust would rasp your lungs. The yield is ever uncertain, and quicker ways to wealth there are aplenty in the world. You would dig until you die!"

    "O well slave, then I shall not take up mining and quarrying!"




    III. Crafts

    "Slave, hear my words!"

    "I am come master, I am come!"

    "Tell me why I should take up a craft. Why should I labour meticulously for the making of items?"

    "Craft, master, craft! To work with your hands and glory in your skills sings in the hearts of your race. The beasts and wild slaves do not craft, or craft but little and unwell. To forge or cobble or carpent or build or melt or blow glass or tailor or shape clay or weave basket or carve or sculpt or paint or lay pipes is to make for the benefit of community and god, to build His Order of Things and tame Chaos in your hands. Beauty would you make, and praise would you have for your fine handiwork. Respect and honour would be yours as well, and youngsters would flock to learn their craft under your tutelage. You would make the world around you!"

    "Now tell me why I should not take up a craft. Why should I forsake such fine profession?"

    "Do not craft, master, do not craft! The way of the craftsman is patient and arduous and demanding, and long would you toil beneath a master as apprentice and journeyman. The skills of yours would be sourly gained, and failures would gnaw at your heart. Your amassed wisdom would be taught to beardlings, who would in time rise themselves to rival your skills and your business. People would complain at you whenever your work is finished late, and they would curse your soul should the shafts or shoes or pipes and items made by you chafe or leak or break or fail their purpose. Your life would be difficult!"

    "O well slave, then I shall not take up a craft!"




    IV. Trade

    "Slave, hear my words!"

    "I am come master, I am come!"

    "Tell me why I should become a merchant. Why should I haggle with coin and ingot and barter?"

    "Trade, master, trade! To live by iron and silver and gold is to live by good wits. Buying and selling with goods in exchange raises us above the beasts and allow the raw materials and produce scattered across the world to reach where they are lacking yet sought for. Yours would be a welcome stranger's face in distant places, and folks would flock to you to hear of the world at large. With deft skill and luck could you fortunes make, and become soaring rich beyond your dreams!"

    "Now tell me why I should not become a merchant. Why should I forsake such easy wealth?"

    "Do not trade, master, do not trade! What is quickly gained is quickly lost, and the way of the merchant is fickle and fraught with danger. A caravan raided or a ship sunk or a store lost to fire could be your undoing, and you yourself could succumb with your wares in foreign parts, or else get lost beyond hope of returning. The world is filled with perils and savages and monsters, all hungering for travellers and tradesmen to devour in the wilds. Yet devoured too you may be within the safety of high walls and sturdy gates, for you would dance with theft and corruption and dishonesty and the whims of the mighty and divine, and all your possessions and profits could disappear in a heartbeat should ever your cunning and fixing of scales and shady deals fail to match the shrewdness of others. Your gold earned would gild the razor upon which you would balance!"

    "O well slave, then I shall not become a merchant!"




    V. Investing

    "Slave, hear my words!"

    "I am come master, I am come!"

    "Tell me why I should invest silver and slaves in a venture. Why should I risk my savings?"

    "Invest, master, invest! The man who does so keep his capital while his interest climb.The wise businessman who spreads his investments on many ventures will ever rarely find them all fail and collapse under his feet, and the gains to be had are enormous. Much would you earn from the efforts of others loaded with your gold, and power would you have over them and their kin and their enterprise. To own is to rule, and your god will view you favourably. Friends and allies are to be had among the rich and mighty, among who you yourself could enter. Don't sit on your stale savings, but invest them and watch them grow!"

    "Now tell me why I should not invest silver and slaves in a venture. Why should I forsake such position and gains?"

    "Do not invest, master, do not invest! Making loans is to hand your wealth away to others. They may fail or play you false and take away your capital and curse you for a miser. They may make you lose your interest on your investment. Who can you truly trust, and who can truly deliver?"

    "O well slave, then I shall not invest silver and slaves in a venture!"




    VI. Litigation

    "Slave, hear my words!"

    "I am come master, I am come!"

    "Tell me why I should go to court. Why should I let my lord settle my dispute?"

    "To court, master, to court! Beneath the gaze of your god and His shackled Daemons and mighty idols and Prophet surely none could speak falsely? If your cause is just, your words will be heard, and legal protection by extension of your overlord's power will you have from your rival should you win the litigation. Wealth and vengeance may be had under the wings of the mighty at court. Let justice reign!"

    "Now tell me why I should not go to court. Why should I forsake such righteousness?"

    "Do not go to court, master, do not go to court! Spells and curses and viler sorceries still will be worked against your person and hidden away in your home upon curse tablets to draw the evil eye and squander your cause. The gods themselves might fall to confusion among such deceptive malice. Then how could you ever trust the judgements of the high and mighty when fell magics are at work against you? Whenever you speak, your words will be weighed against you. Whenever you remain silent, your silence will condemn you. Your rival will play you falser still than you do him and his bribes will be more vast. Your downfall will be bitter and beyond legal revenge, for your overlord will hold sway over court and its outcome. No, better settle your grievances with armed kinsmen at your side in the dark streets. Let justice rot!"

    "O well slave, then I shall not go to court!"




    VII. Intrigue

    "Slave, hear my words!"

    "I am come master, I am come!"

    "Tell me why I should scheme against my betters. Why should I work upon their downfall?"

    "Plot, master, plot! Treachery has opened the gates to fortresses and power where honest arms have failed. The world is false and scarcely rewards loyalty. Then why should you not play the game and master treachery for your own good? Women and wealth and worldly power are yours to be had, should you but grasp them from others. Spread lies and make pacts in secret. Break oaths and make the highest overlords of your race condemn your betters to exile or degradation. Fell them to make way for your own ascent!"

    "Now tell me why I should not scheme against my betters. Why should I forsake such attempts at power?"

    "Do not plot, master, do not plot! When playing false you yourself may be played false. What co-conspirator could you ever truly trust? Who will break the pact and betray your own treachery? The gains are towering, but so are the perils. How many plotters have we not seen drenched in molten metal or flayed alive or impaled or exiled into the dread Infernal Guard? How much shame and hardship and suffering have not failed schemers endured for the sake of their ambitions? And should they reach such high positions, they will only find themselves higher up the ladder, with ever more underlings thirsting for their place and plotting for their downfall. The march of the ambitous is a dance on molten gold!"

    "O well slave, then I shall not scheme against my betters!"



    VIII. Service to Lordship

    "Slave, hear my words!"

    "I am come master, I am come!"

    "Tell me why I should offer up my services at the palace and receive honours. Why should I put my life and abilities wholly in the hands of my ruler?"

    "Serve, master, serve! The strong and the mighty will make good use of your skills and set you on a course to greatness in their service. Loot and dark glory may be had from far-away lands, and secret prospecting, sharing of confidence and important tasks of the powerful may all be part of your duties. To be a lieutnant of the ruler is to share part of his might and prestige, and plunder and harlots will be yours for the taking. Lands could be earned, and walls and seat, and your loyalty and service could gain you much in the circles of the mighty. Serve the high ones!"

    "Now tell me why I should not offer up my services at the palace and receive honours. Why should I forsake such golden opportunities?"

    "Do not serve, master, do not serve! Your abilities could be judged wrongly by his lordship, and you could be accepted as a lowly underling or worse yet spurned. The missions your ruler would send you on would many times be hazardous, at risk to life and limb, and ever would you be in his thrall. You would be his pawn and ever could the ruler sacrifice you as yet another game piece. He would send you to gods know where, take you upon a way you do not know and which you would not have chosen for yourself. He will take away your free will and make you suffer agony day and night in his service. Eschew the high ones!"

    "O well slave, then I shall not offer up my services at the palace and receive honours!"




    IX. Service to Temple

    "Slave, hear my words!"

    "I am come master, I am come!"

    "Tell me why I should offer up my services at the Temple and devote myself to my god. Why should I offer up my life and will wholesale to the priesthood?"

    "Devote yourself, master, devote yourself! The priestly order wields power and status and wealth and dread, and far is its reach and heeded is its word. To be one of the priests is to wear divine and unholy power, in the name of your most high god. Your words would please Him and purchase a finer afterlife for yourself. And if He wills it you will rise high in the ranks, and mortals will bow to you and obey your command, and worldly wealth and women alike will be yours for the taking. Those ordained as Sorcerer-Prophets ever keeps the largest harems. Your pious faith and sacrifice will be rewarded with power from on high. The gods are good!"

    "Now tell me why I should not offer up my services at the Temple and devote myself to my god. Why should I forsake such holy power?"

    "Do not devote yourself, master, do not devote yourself! You would repeat endless rituals. Only those blessed with sorcerous talent and otherworldly blessings ever rise high in the ranks of the priesthood. To serve your whole life as the lowliest of acolytes is to sing dirges and recant hymns with ashes on your tounge and bitter blood in your heart, for century upon century. Knowing neither glory nor worldly wealth, you would languish in petty servitude while gifted beardlings rose above your station, for you to obey their will. And even if you would be so fortunate as to be blessed by high Hashut, a life of backstabbing and scheming and otherworldly horrors would await you. As a leader of your people, you would risk death upon the battlefield and torment at the hands of Daemons. Should you overcome such perils, you would nevertheless succumb to stone in time, and while still alive you would suffer to the hells of despair and pain as limbs and guts and phallus and eyes and beard turns into granite or obsidian. The gods are cruel!"

    "O well slave, then I shall not offer up my services at the Temple and devote myself to my god!"


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