Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reflections on Conjuration

Kate has moved me to a new kind of training this week: we're conjuring things.

Conjurations get used for any number of things. (If you've been following along, you know that already.) Attack and defense, guarding and stealing, spying and hiding things... I knew about those, at least in theory. Nevertheless, studying conjuration has been a bit of a revelation.

The Watchers have access to some rituals that aren't included in the general areas of the archives. Some of them are simply too dangerous to employ, like the one that High Priestess used to summon the Corpsewalker, but we have to know about them anyway. Others are things that the Watchers use to monitor our fellow worshipers - things that would be harder to use if they were more commonly known. But some of them are just... obsolete.

In the old days, if somebody really crossed us - or, for that matter, if one of our own left the ranks or revealed our secrets - we would summon something horrible and set it after them. We don't do that any more, because nowadays we aren't just concerned about hiding how to do that; these days, we don't want anyone to know that we can do those things at all. An eight-foot-tall monster that looks like a cross between a jackal and an ape, but with wings... well, that's not exactly subtle, is it? And sure, maybe any witnesses wouldn't be believed, or maybe we could keep them quiet - but between the advanced state of modern forensics and the fact that about 90% of the population can record high-quality video with their cell phones, maybe we couldn't.

We're a lot safer if only a very few people know about the things we know. It gives us some advantages in dealing with the rest of the world. But that isn't the whole story; that isn't the only reason we keep these things secret. The rest of the world is safer this way, too.

That's what Kate tells me, anyway. I was raised to believe that we serve the Ancients - or, more precisely, that we serve the Elders, who in turn serve the Ancients - and that we would eventually be rewarded, or at least spared, for our service. "Eventually," in this case, means, "when the Ancients rise up and tear the world apart, spreading chaos and destruction until nothing remains." But the Elders, or at least the Watchers, seem to be actively working against that goal - at least in some cases.

I haven't asked about that. To be honest, I'm not sure I want to know. Well, no: that's not true. I don't want to know badly enough to risk the possible consequences of asking.

But it's... interesting.

Reflections of a Deranged Cultist is a work of fiction. No monstrous entities from beyond our world were conjured in the creation of this post.

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