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On Corruption and Duty of Faith

An Introspection into the Nature of Law and Matters of the World
by Tadhg von Artigbrauer

As a forward to this essay it should be most important to mention that this is neither the rigorous Truth, nor is it merely the ramblings of a book buried scholar. The conclusions drawn in this passage come from experience most real, both current and historical. It should be taken as, perchance, an idea. Such things are for most certain open for much debate among the faithful and it would be for most certain, too far to outright consider such things heresy. Given but a little time, my own views of the world may change dramatically, for that, I have found, is in part, the nature of existence. Take all things in stride, dear reader. Take all things in stride.
     Saying this, now where should I begin? I should be supposing that I should begin with something that I should hope would be a concept that the reader will understand. As such I will start with law. Since the beginning of the world, virtually all sentient races ordered themselves, and kept watch over the people with law. It seems, as such, such a simple and integrated concept, that many would simply push it aside as unworthy of debate, or research. "The fish do not question the water," as is the saying. However, it is most central to the well-being of all of us that we, in fact, should think about it. It is important for, sometime during the first few years, good beings walked the barren soil, corruption sprouted root.
    How can one tell the corrupt from pure, one may ask? Many of my own faith would answer that the impure of mind and heart will be known for who they are, through actions contrary to this concept of law. Does this truly do justice to reality? Can it be so easy to remove evil from the world, that such a simple and arbitrary barrier between the forces of light and dark can be drawn? I would answer not.
     I shall, perhaps, shed light on this conclusion with an example. In my dealings with the citizens of the underworld, I have seen upon multiple occasions now, that even societies which expunge corruption like water from a stream, too hold this concept of law. Just as much as do we, the faithful, hold it in high regard law, so do they, the forgotten of our world. A simple man would take this to mean that even though a tribe or race may have become evil and corrupt, that there is still hope for redemption as long as they hold law. I am hardly a simple man.
    Among the many races to be found, there are those who hold strength to be the most important quality for a man to possess. In these societies, it seems to not be uncommon, for there to be laws to the effect of stating, that in daily conflict between two beings, that he who is stronger is most right. If one offends you, you may, and in fact it is expected, that you extract revenge, in a most unholy and offensive manner. This, for them, is law. These being the tenants of fiber of their being, act accordingly. They are raised in this manner, and they die as such.
    Aye, by Lathidus, is this the law that we should uphold?! It reaks of the influence of greed, sloth, and hate. I would hope to Lathidus that no true man would uphold such laws. We should not continue to let these poor, forgotten souls continue down the path of unholy damnation. We should free them, and give them peace.
    And here I shall make a distinction between the law of man, and that of Law. It is not that, as members of the faith, we should uphold law, but rather that we should strive to bring Law to this world, and all others we encounter. And here is the crux of this matter. The law of man can be as easily influenced and corrupted as a newborn child. True evil seems to, in fact, not rely on itís opposition to law, but rather works from within, using it as a shield to itís wicked purpose. For the law of man seems, all too often, to be a device that those in power use to keep the weak under the heal of their steeled boot. It is no wonder then, that darkness seems to envelope our world, and mock the very sun in the sky, for even we the faithful seem to be unwilling to step up and challenge this ďlawĒ when we know in our hearts that it is wrong. And for this we are all to be blamed.
    I would be suggesting then, that as faithful in our lord Lathidus, that we not worry so much about law, but rather concentrate on Law. How can we know the difference? I would suggest that all Law, or as much as I would ever be claiming to understand of it, is always for the greater good of the people. Such being the case, this Law then can only come from our protector and we should uphold it even at the cost of our lives. We should strive to replace law, with Law, everywhere we go.
    This being said, I should like to take a small tangent if I may. Some might at this point be thinking that Iím only jabbering about the underworld. In fact it does seem upon the surface, to use a queer shade of meaning, that the root of evil lies below the surface of our "natural" world. This, however, does not limit evil. The darkness is everywhere. In every country, city state, and in the heart of every man. In every set of law, then too. In every town and state, upon the surface, as well as the sky and ground, we should be looking for this corrupt "law" and destroy it to the best of our ability. To do no less would be to allow our own faith to be mocked for all to see.
    Destroying corruption and chaos is another matter of concern too. Should we simply lay it to rest by sword, no matter what itís shape or form? Should we always present ourselves in an upright manner so that we may be treachered upon by evil? Both concepts, used by many, seem overly simplistic and a bit of a fools philosophy to myself. For most certain, those who may be capable of change should be given the chance. We can only but hope that when they see us, that they know that their time has come. I would be referring to all sentient creatures capable of making their own decisions here, I suppose. If they refuse, only death awaits them. Make no mistake that there are far too many beings who would give their lives to keep their corrupted "law." For them death is the best peace we can give.
    Still there are those that, while they may be sentient, are unable to make choices in a normal manner. As such it would be seeming to me, that we should be more kind to these souls and not slay them outright, should they refuse our help. Even if they conspire against us, there is quite a bit of latitude to be given before final rest is granted. It is our duty to protect such peoples as much as we are able.
    Then there are those for who, there can never be forgiveness. Beings of pure evil for which no broken Law, or corrupted law, is beyond reach. Even those who are unnatural to this world. For such beings only a swift death by any means awaits. Even at the risk of a small amount of corruption ourselves, it will be for the greater good to destroy such beings, before they can lay death and corruption upon others, for as I have seen, the grace and forgiveness of Lathidus is wondrous indeed. No sacrifice should be too great for him. (As a side note to the more adventurous types, Iím not talking about dying a fools death for some vague purpose. Lathidus doesnít need more fool martyrs than he probably already has.)
    Unfortunately the darkness is powerful and vast. In such a battle one would be a fool not to use everything at oneís disposal. As it happens we do have allies in our war. As the many gods of darkness array against us, we should look to our brothers, the faithful of Arden, for another good sword by our side. I have had dealings with them in the past, and know that they can be a good ally in times of need. Do not persecute them, as we should embrace any who hold goodness in their hearts. Beware, however, not to rely on them too strongly. As outsiders, we can never quite be sure of their intentions, or even if the darkness has infiltrated into their ranks. They should be our friends, not our protectors. There are many things that we must do alone.
    And so I will close up this little passage with a few thoughts. Do not live the lives of men, but of Lathidus. Always remain faithful, and steadfast in your duty, no matter where it takes you, what you fight, or who you must fight against. Look for allies in your fight, but always take upon yourself the things you know you must do for yourself. Uphold Law, and act in an appropriate manner for the situation presented. Be as the light, crushing the darkness. And always, always remember, that evil, darkness, and corruption, are everywhere: In law, in society, and even in our own faith. It would be quite an irony to stomp out evil at itís source only to find that our own homes have been overrun with it. Be wary.