2013 Previews #13: To Serve a Prince Undying

As promised yesterday, the Boomerific background for this lovely tome. While the mechanics are fun, sometimes you just want to sink your teeth into something with this much flavor.

This text, ancient even to the oldest of living civilizations, has wound far across the world in the intervening millennia, alternately treasured or banned, and may be discovered inscribed or entombed nearly anywhere upon the planet. Within are contained detailed commentaries on investigation, interrogation and ideologies of martial servitude, several of which many more modern cultures would find reprehensible. Champions of freedom, in particular, will find the work unutterably offensive at even the most casual glance, for a central tenet of the piece enshrines a rigid definition of class structure that includes slaves, workers, warriors, priests and an infallible god-king as inviolate and unchanging parts of a harmonious whole. Some current-day hunters of witches, heretics and other monsters, however, might find a great deal to admire within the tome — especially because it does not espouse the lordship of any particular deity over any other; instead, it paints a simple portrait of a chain of command that is not to be disobeyed lightly, moving from the unknowable beyond to the actions of the righteous without error or delay. As the text states again and again: some rulers are kind, and rule fairly; some rulers are cruel, and rule unjustly; some are violently insane, and rule with abject bloody-minded terror … but no matter the result, they have a divine mandate to rule, and it is not for you — as their merely-mortal servant — to judge their actions. To quote further from the book:

“Kings are chosen by the gods, not by men; the rain may bring floods, serpents and drownings, while the sun might bring forth drought, starvation and wildfires. So be it — we shall thank the gods, regardless, and pay them their due tribute in kind; our Princes, more-so even than the skies above, are the heavenly manifestations of a holy and unknowable will upon this mortal earth, and are beyond your rude and fumbling reproach. You are to do the bidding of your master, though it seem for good of for ill, without question; in truth, you know not better than the gods, and what you perceive from your tragically limited view as ‘wrong’ is but the pathetic prattling of a blind, ignorant child. As your master demands that you hunt down his enemies, real or imagined, and gut them — and their children, alike — in their beds, without trial or warrant, well: be you thankful only that your Prince has given your meaningless life some purpose — however briefly — by allowing you to hear and obey his divine voice.”

For this reason, the book is popular amongst many mortal tyrants; given the incredible power of the mystical curses, fighting techniques and destructive retributions available to a student of the work, as well, it is no surprise that cults of personality and power spring up in its wake. An elite para-military police-force trained in the lore of this tome would be invaluable to any ruler, be they despot or saint. Rumors persist that a secret ritual can be unlocked from within the text that allows servants to bind themselves to their masters, even in death — or beyond.

See you tomorrow for the next preview!


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