Doom in the hands of The Fates is a weapon all mortals fear, but what is it? The encyclopedic definition of Doom, at root, is simple enough. It is a condemnation or sentence ordered in the name of justice. If that is the case, then The Fates must be some kind of arbiters of justice, and therefore, Doom is their method of carrying out their judgments. Oh, if that were the case, things would be so simple. Nothing can be further from the truth. As with life, death has its complexities.
The Fates, Death, and The Lords of The Nine Hells vie for the souls of those who die uncommitted to The Gods. Each of these parties have devised different methods for harvesting unspoken for souls. Most of the time, none of them dare to step over the line and onto the toes of The Gods. Since most souls are given to one God or another, the three parties fight against one another for these limited resources.
Death is a patient sort. This harvester of souls is the most Cosmic and most ethical of the reapers of lost souls. It waits in the shadows on the periphery of life with its baying hounds for the end to come to a mortal's life. Generally, Death doesn't step on the toes of other harvesters. When The Fates or The Lords of The Nine Hells have set their eyes upon any given soul, Death usually backs off and lets destiny take its course.
However, Death is ethically minded and has a sense of fair play. Every once in a blue moon, The Fates or The Lords of The Nine Hells step way out of line, and Death intervenes on behalf of the trodden upon mortal. The most famous intervention occurred on behalf of Bloodla Gisdain who became Madame Death. She now sits beside Death in The Deadlands. Such overtures are far from the norm. Conflict is just not Death's way. It views its process as a natural one, rather than a combative one.
The Lords of The Nine Hells are a consortium of daemons who have risen to the highest heights of authority within The Hallowed Halls of Power. Nobody knows how many daemons are in this consortium, just that it is a chaotic order that views death as a combative and violent process. These Lords harvest souls they perceive would be useful for the stability of The Nine Hells. It is not unheard of for these harvesters to make deals with The Fates to obtain coveted souls.
The Fates are three cantankerous women who wield Doom as a curse to prey upon those souls unlucky enough to have caught their attention. They just love the hunt and the take down of the souls they crave. They use vice to weaken the mortal and mark the soul. Once a mortal's soul has been marked, the hunt begins.
A destiny, usually a violent one, is tied to the souls of their unlucky marks. It is infused through vice; things like whiskey, sex, gambling, and anything to excess. Continued use of the vice, scars the soul to such a degree over time that the soul eventually has no defenses in which to fight. Any effort by the mortal to fix or alter his or her destiny is akin to picking a scab that will never heal, and only serves to draw Doom closer. In the end, cracks appear within the shadows around the mortal, and Doom eventually springs from the cracks to harvest the desired soul. The Fates are persistent, capricious, and nasty, old crones who almost always get their way.
Doom is many things, but not any one thing in particular. It is at once a concept, an entity, a curse, a harbinger of destiny, and a weapon. Although Doom works most closely with The Fates, the questions of the day are, does Doom have its own agenda and if so, what might that be?
Webster defines Nothing as something that does not exist. Ironic that something is within the definition of nothing. In any event, imagery of blank darkness immediately comes to mind. What if Nothing did indeed exist? With fantasy, anything is possible, right? And what if this Nothing served as the souls for supernatural beings with draining properties such as wraiths or vampyres?
If The Cosmos is indeed infinite then every possibility must therefore exist, including the concept of Nothing. Webster defines infinite as being limitless, boundless, and endless. Just because something is not comprehensible or conceivable does not mean it does not exist. Do not make that fatal mistake. Just ask those who arrogantly waltzed into the crypts of The Unfathomable Serviturs with the hubris only mankind dares to wield like shields. Oh, we can't, because those simpletons were never heard from again!
Nothing is connected to The Dark and is filled with endless layers of eternal darkness. It feeds on everything and gives the gift of potentiality back to The Cosmos, which in turn spins that potentiality into infinite possibility. For you see, Nothing is an integral part of a Cosmic ecosystem on the grandest of scales.
Supernatural beings like wraiths, vampyres, and banshees have no natural souls like mankind, fore these creatures are no longer a part of mankind if they ever were connected to our species in any manner. At the moment of creation of these kinds of creatures, Nothing fills the void of these beings and becomes their de facto souls. A hunger consumes these creatures of the night and dominates their very existences. It is a painful process that continues until the day of the destruction or dooming of these tragic creatures.
Unfortunately, Nothing must be fed, and the Cosmic ecosystem must be serviced, both at the expense of these supernatural creatures. No natural born man should want any part of the curse these dark beings shoulder every minute of their pitiful existences from their creation to the very day of their demise. Doom cannot come too quickly for these creatures who no longer feel The Light with souls of Nothing!
My Thought Trains keep rolling every minute of every day. They are loaded for bear with ideas of every stripe. When I unload them, I discover new characters, creatures, spells, towns, plot lines, and so much more. These Passing Thoughts quickly become new friends that beckon me to them. All I have to do is find the right home for them. Yippekiyay!
Ideas are powerful things to behold. Think of all of the wars that have been fought over the notions of liberty, freedom, and fair play. Philosophers have written tomes upon tomes about these ideas. Some of the greatest fiction has based plots on these mental constructs. Tolstoy's, War And Peace, and Shaw's, Arms And The Man, come to mind in that regard. Since concepts arouse and fuel our passions in real life and in other works of fiction, why don't they play a central, or even more prominent, role in fantasy stories?
Concepts, by their very natures, are intangible and untouchable in any normal way or by any ordinary means. The existence of magic and supernatural elements are game-changers. Those things make it possible for characters to manipulate these untapped resources to whatever fantastical ends authors can dream up within the tapestries they weave for their characters. Ideas are hidden gems just waiting in the shadows for fantasy authors to shine a light on them!
No good author or game master creates without some level of conflict within his or her stories or games. Without friction or disagreement of some sort, fiction or fantasy games would be as dull as watching paint dry, or perhaps, more so. At least something changes as paint dries, if only the glare of the paint on the painted surface.
At root, conflict is the clash of opposing elements, ideas, or forces. It can stem from hostility or be part of a natural process or progression. In either case, conflict changes things for better, or for worse. This latter alteration is where the meat of something interesting waits in the shadows to be discovered and explored by the reader or player. Conflict is intrinsically fascinating and peace, not so much, although we all like to live our lives peacefully and free from trouble hounding us every other minute.
The literary world has historically put conflict into a framework of four categories: Man against Man; Man against Himself; Man against Nature; and Man against God. Another category of conflict could be: Man against Ideas. One could place Ideas in the Nature column, but concepts are different and distinct from most naturally-occurring elements of Nature.
Although a hurricane embodies the concept of pressure, is pressure something separate from the natural phenomenon of the hurricane? Is pressure one of Mother Nature's tools, or is it an idea with which she must contend? If the latter is true, then another kind of conflict has reared its mighty head; Nature against Ideas.
Why not mix it up? Why not write fantasy stories or create fantasy scenarios from the point of view of Nature or one of The Gods, or even from the perspective of a Concept? When you start mixing and matching, the windows of opportunity begin to fling wide-open. These openings feed the fires of the imagination!
Time is a concept most of us take for granted. Sometimes we personify Time by referring to it within sayings like, "Time marches on whether we want it to or not," and in lyrics to songs such as, "Time flexes like a whore, falls winking to the floor, her trick is you and me, boy." Websters defines Time as a period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues. This definition doesn't shine much of a light upon the concept, but at least, it's a starting point.
Many people are slaves to Time and pay attention to every passing second, while others fritter away their Time as if it is an endless commodity. Everyone deals with Time in their own way. For all of the effort spent on keeping track of Time and measuring it, nobody seems to have much of a handle on its nature.
Hang Time, the shifting Sands of Time, a stitch in Time saves nine, Time waits for no one, The march of Time, lingering Time, wasting Time, and managing Time are all within the lexicon of common usage. Within the context of a fantasy setting, Time can be weaponized and used like a stick to beat beings into submission. This concept can even be utilized to grind away at reality. The idea of Time can be so much more than something through which characters move forward and backward through eras or histories of reality. What if Time were measured in echoes, moments, and glimpses, rather than in seconds, hours, and years, or referred to as the past, present, and future?
The idea that Time is relative to the observer has yet to be explored fully by fantasy artists. Does it have to be one observer, or can it be a team or system of observers? What if two observers are equidistant from one another and from the object of their mutual observation? What factors come into the equation? Does geometry have anything to do with it? Can Time stalk us like a predator, and if so, what would that be like? The imagination just fires and fires when you begin to think about the possibilities of this cool little concept, we call Time.
Time is an integral part of the physics of The Cosmos. It is connected to gravity, space and thus is embedded into the fabric of The Cosmos, and movement which is a measure of objects going from one space within The Cosmos to another. Time, however nebulous a concept it may be, is important to anyone hungering for Cosmic Truth.
Diluvians understand these connections and have embraced this understanding within their magics. Diluvians manipulate equations to manifest physical changes within The Cosmos and Time is often the focus of their theorems and algorithms. Humanity woefully needs to catch up to The Diluvian's mastery of Time, or these creatures so alien to the human condition will either enslave or erase humanity altogether. For years cosmologists have been warning of these dangers that have been lurking in the shadows, waiting for a window of opportunity to open. Whether humanity can survive its ignorance is yet to be seen!