Some time ago, The Secret World ran a series of contests as as part of their “IAMTSW” festivities. Among these was a character backstory competition, and of course, I had to enter.
I chose my Templar as the subject. While she’s not necessarily my favourite of my characters, I think her backstory is probably the most unique and potentially the most interesting.
In an effort to stand out, I chose to emulate the writing style of the in-game lore entries from the Buzzing. I wanted it to feel just like the lore you’d pick up while playing.
Unfortunately, I didn’t win anything in the contest, but I’m still fairly happy with how it turned out, so now I’m sharing it with you, dear reader. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.
TRANSMIT – initiate Brutus signal – RECEIVE – initiate the Frankenstein lexicon – HAVE NOT I CHOSEN YOU TWELVE, AND ONE OF YOU IS A DEVIL? – initiate the black in the red – WITNESS – Dorotea Senjak.
A young woman works at a computer. Clickety-clack, clickety-clack. Her world is full of tax codes, surcharges, and compound interest. Money is a nonsense thing, a set of imaginary rules that governs the lives of all sweetlings. Yet she is content with her life. She brings order to nonsense. She feels safe.
She walks home, sipping her third Moca Loco of the day. She finds her bed and sleeps, but her dreams are strange. It is there that we find her.
Her fingers spit flame. She gasps, and primal forces rend her furniture, burn her clothes.
Time passes. She learns to control her new powers, but her fear does not subside. She believes she has gone mad. If only madness were so simple.
Then comes the knock at her door. A clean, polished woman greets her with the symbol of the cross.
A plane ride to London. A vision on the street. Understanding dawns, and the accountant learns that there are stranger things still than tax laws. Her mind fills with images of fangs in the night, and shadows that whisper.
Initiate biological scan: The eyes widen. The pores excrete saltwater. The heart pumps faster. The voice is silent, but the flesh screams in terror. The neat little world she knew was a lie.
She finds her way to the Templars. They fill her mind with images of pride, strength, and tradition. The flash of steel and the heat of righteous fire. The smooth baritone of a man named Richard soothes her, and she begins to feel safe again. Monsters are real, but so are heroes.
But there are no White Knights in the Dark Days, sweetling.
She thought she would save everyone. She thought mercy was the watchword. Templars do not understand mercy. “We cannot offer salvation on a case-by-case basis,” says the man behind the desk.
For every howling undead she puts down, for every slavering wendigo that meets its end at her hands, ten take its place. The horrors of the night are without end. The black water overflows.
Hope is a concept we do not understand. What is time to us? We stand outside. Everything has happened. Everything is happening. Hope is a product of a linear mind, an ambition for a bright future based on fragile emotion.
We can only see the effect hope has on sweetlings. Its presence can give you the power to withstand the darkness. Its loss can break you.
Our little accountant with flaming fingers lost hope.
Knowledge is a terrible burden. We have broken sweetlings before. We will do it again. We seek the greatest among you, but little do we understand your fragile kind, and you are cursed with free will.
Enter the other voices.
“We can make everything right again,” they purr. “We will reboot the world,” they hiss. “You need only accept our gift,” they breathe.
Tears stain her cheeks. She accepts.
Initiate biological scan: She is changing. The eyes redden. Terror metastasizes to madness. They whisper in her mind. Always whispering, louder and louder. Whispers that scream across the black voids of time and space.
Part of her still wants to save everyone. It fought to a standstill with the part of her that dreams of the stars that scream, and now each pretends the other does not exist. She saves a child one day. She opens the door for the hungry void the next. The left hand and the right hand are no longer on speaking terms.
O, poor Mr. Sonnac. If you only knew the dark little thoughts that dance in your star pupil’s decaying mind. You would weep, even as you boiled her in her own skin.
We have created a monster, sweetling. It is not the first. It will not be the last.
Be seeing you, sweetling. In the reddened half-light.