The Balance of Life and Unlife (essay)

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Title: The Balance of Life and Unlife
Author: Nevrek Araknathalin Faendryl

The fine greyish-blue leather of the front cover bears the embossed image of a pair of scales in perfect balance. Pieces of inlaid emerald depict a living grass snake in the left pan, while tiny pieces of chalcedony depict a snake's coiled skeleton in the right pan. The spine of the book has been textured in a pattern akin to the scales on the living grass snake. Narrow lettering engraved beneath the scales reads, "On the Balance of Life and Unlife, As Theorized by Nevrek Araknathalin Faendryl".

You flip back to the first page of your book.

When one considers the nature of Life and Death, they are most often regarded as polar opposites, with Life being the vibrant, living state of activity and flowing blood against Death and its ceased heart, cold eyes, and utter inanimation. This thinking is flawed, however.

Long ago, as detailed in the myriad historical documents of the world and various suppositions on the demise of the Drakes, another force made known its existence in the arrival of the Ur-Daemons from beyond the Veil. With those from Beyond the Veil came Unlife, the true antithesis of Life.

The Veil itself became a bridge, and through this bridge the Unlife entered our world and adapted as best it could.

In its native plane of existence, Unlife manifests in a much more different way, as it is the dominant natural force Beyond the Veil. Here, as seen many times, even daily, on Elanith, the Unlife settles in the bodies of the Dead and reanimates the bodies of the deceased into a different form of animation and, perhaps, comprehension, giving rise to what we term as The Undead.

It is very likely that in the Unlife's introduction to our world the introduction of Life occurred on the other side of the Veil, and is, perhaps, causing similar adaptation-related trauma Beyond the Veil. One can only guess at the State of Living on the other side of the Veil, but it is not too far a stretch to surmise that Life is a problematic force in the Unlife dominant plane Beyond the Veil.

The Undead are then in a State of Undeath, similar to how those with Life are in a State of Living. Death becomes the Neutral State of Existence, an inert state between Living and Undeath, Life and Unlife.

Force of Life <-> State of Living <-> Neutral State of Death <-> State of Undeath <-> Force of Unlife

In this thinking, the Order becomes more apparent, and the State of Balance between Life and Unlife comes to rise.

Through the breaching of the Veil the balance of Life and Unlife may be achieved. Once this Balance is realized, the problems associated with adaptation-related trauma would resolve, and then, soon after, the Order of Life and Unlife would become manifest.

In order to facilitate the creation of this Order, one must first assist in enabling and promoting the Balance of Life and Unlife. The breaching of the Veil must not be regarded as a dire situation in need of "repair" or a call to arms.

While certainly those from Beyond the Veil must be controlled, as history has shown much of their number as hostile, their precious Unlife is required here in order to achieve Balance, just as much as we need to introduce Life in their realm. The Undead must not be regarded as evil abominations of Life. They are not simply shambling masses of the once-living, they are in a perpetual struggle to adapt to our Life-dominant world......and should be aided accordingly, as foreigners lost and confused in a new land rather than as hostile invaders bent on eating one's eyes.

The Order of Voln must reduce its war against the Undead to controlling the populations of Undead and, perhaps, helping them adapt to our world. It is possible to reach the Undead; they can be taught and are capable of rational thought, muddled as it may be among certain forms of Undead.

This means, essentially, that they are not mindless menaces in a never-ending search for meat. They are marble, albeit potentially violent marble, in need of a good sculptor. It is our duty to sculpt the Undead into functioning members of Elanthian society. Once Balance is achieved, the problems of adaptation will cease, and all Unlife-related problems will virtually disappear.

The Balance of Life and Unlife must be achieved if society is to advance beyond its current incarnation of ignorance of the Unlife and warring against the Undead. This Balance is Natural and should be embraced and encouraged, rather than a cause for countless deaths and catastrophes.

When one considers the nature of Life and Death, they are most often regarded as polar opposites, with Life being the vibrant, living state of activity and flowing blood against Death and its ceased heart, cold eyes, and utter inanimation.

This thinking is flawed, however.