Concerning the Worship of Marlu (essay)

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This is a creative work set in the world of Elanthia, attributed to its original author(s). It does not necessarily represent the official lore of GemStone IV.

Title: Concerning the Worship of Marlu

Author: Lord Silvean Rashere H.S., D.S.A, Patriarch, House Chesylcha

I present this treatise as an indirect commentary on the nature of sorcery. More evidently it is a theological essay concerning Marluvian worship and the nature of the often-misunderstood entity referenced as the Destroyer.

It’s necessary that I note my own inability as a mortal to make truly meaningful comments concerning beings as complex as the Arkati. I am simply unable to make any assertions that are verifiable beyond all reasonable doubt in these matters; all mortals suffer from this limitation. Yet, we look to our gods and we attempt to understand them for our own sake. It’s necessary that we make the effort as a means of enabling us to better understand our own minds and souls. It all seems rather chaotic given these facts, I think Marlu approves.

I. The Nature of Marlu

Marlu is often seen as an entity focused entirely on the destruction of Elanthia. He is perceived as having no other goal except the complete and total annihilation of all life. However, it is more likely the case that Marlu views reality in a way that is beyond our understanding and we have placed incorrect labels upon his goals as a result.

Our realm, encompassing Elanthia and its universe, is separated from others by phenomenon commonly referred to as veils. There is a separate “veil” separating our reality from each separate reality existing on other, seemingly infinite, planes. Further, there exist further pocket realms within our own reality that contain such entities as the lesser and greater demons. These realms go by a variety of names depending on the scholar or sorcerer you read (circles, outer planes, valences, and so forth). It is remarkably difficult for even the greatest of scholars and magic-users to truly comprehend the infinity of the greater reality. As we have seen through the encounters with the Ur-Daemons and Vvrael, the veils separate us from races so alien that they defy any and perhaps all propositions that we had formerly believed to be laws of science or reality. Thus, perhaps Marlu’s insistence upon exploring these realms and weakening certain barriers is due in part to his increased understanding of the nature of what lies beyond our reality.

To see Marlu only as a destroyer is to take a shortsighted viewpoint of his nature. Marlu is a being of intellect so alien and vast that he is privy to a comprehension of the true nature of reality. Mortals (and many Arkati), on the other hand, are destined to live in a smaller circle of reality that we refer to as Elanthia. Understand that this is both our blessing and our curse. Just as we are kept from seeing the totality of worlds as they truly are, we are allowed to live in relative peace in our own circle of reality.

The conclusion is that any judgments we may pass upon Marlu as being bent upon total destruction are erroneous in that our understanding of his own infinitely complex mind is extremely limited. Clearly, Marlu’s own survival is testimony that he is not completely reckless; he has a plan, some sort of outline based upon his greater understanding of the nature of the outer planes and their barriers.

II. Unimaginable Loneliness

The Arkati and all greater entities have the emotions of mortals with an intensity that is greatly amplified given their superior state of existence. Marlu is no exception and the key emotion to a greater understanding of his suffering is his loneliness. Shunned by the Arkati, a unique being living in an alien realm, and engaging in an eternal search for those that are like him.

Marlu is incapable of identifying with any Elanthian virtues offered by mortal, Arkati, or the realm itself. Be he a demon lord or an actual Ur-Daemon, he is spurned and hated by nearly all that even dwell on his often passed over name. His followers are despised and often persecuted due to the overt and idiotic actions of priests with lesser intellects.

The torment of Marlu’s condition is of great importance to understanding an appropriate way to worship him. In fact, his following often attracts those who due to superior intellects or varied ideals feel a sense of alienation from the rest of society. Often, they attempt to identify with Marlu and his own plight. Many sorcerers find that through the summoning of the demonic they are manipulating a force that validates their own existence through its very nature. A great deal of it comes down to raw power and in this the subtleties of Marluvian faith are often lost.

III. Chaos

Now, here is where it becomes interesting! Let us assume that as a sorcerer I craft a spell so complex that it requires a hundred different elements and two weeks to cast. Let us assume that the effect I wish to create next doubles this and requires two hundred elements and a month. It has come to the point where the spell is so complex that it is likely one of those elements will fail in some way and produce an unexpected result. Since the nature of all magic can be analyzed down to near infinity it becomes evident that the nature of magic is at its root a chaotic system with an underlying order beyond our grasp within that very chaos (See The Religion of Sorcery for more on this abstraction). Even the most simplistic spell can be reduced to two hundred separate elements that produce unpredictable results from time to time.

Marluvian worship is traditionally based upon chaotic elements in our world, our magic, and our society. The attempt to order everything into neat categories is a mortal shortcoming. To attempt to place predictions and definitions upon magic is an exercise in futility that injures the magical process. For instance, sorcery is an artform and at its best it is creativity and passion given substance through the use of raw power drawn from our realm. This passion is an exercise in chaos. To enforce one’s will upon the surroundings is the addition of a random variable into the makeup of our world. A variable that creates chaos.

As for demonic summoning? It is an engaging in the great seeking of Marlu. It’s a search for an expanded understanding of reality. As mortals all we can do is hope to expand the range of our circle of reality an inch at a time until we have reached enlightenment. This knowledge is worth the risks commonly associated with the demonic. There is no evil in it, only a desire for further knowledge.

IV. Conclusion

It’s the quest of the worshipper of Marlu to seek an enlightened viewpoint. It’s necessary to see the world in different ways in order for we as mortals to expand the narrow views we have been presented with and advance forward. Looking to Marlu, attempting to understand his nature, is a beginning step on that path. It’s a worship that can take many forms and involve many activities considered unsavory, but at its heart it is a worship that centers on the advancement of the self.

Contributor's note:

Taken from the House Chesylcha library, c.1999.