The Book of Kraus is a religious text that the Order of Kraus abide by, formed at the end of the Divine War when Kraus defeated Azrael and saved humanity. It is comprised of the teachings that the Angels have imparted to humanity through revered priests. The official book contains two dozen gospels approved by the High Priest of Valmasia. The most notable of them are written by Lodeus, Kadthar, and Althus, who are said to have each communicated with a High Angel.
The High Angels referred to in each of the three books are as follows:
Key Ideas / SummaryEdit
The Book of Kraus is made up of three Gospels. At the point of writing, Kraus' Angels were about to leave the physical world of Eternia for Avalon. Presumably, they have already left.
The key points are as follows.
"...the three most beautiful words a man could ever say, 'I forgive you.' "
- Humans are free to choose their own destiny and should the consequences of such destiny cause the human to become depraved, they can be redeemed.
- Always spare humans from death, even if depraved.
- This includes subhumans
- Angels cannot be redeemed from depravity.
- Creatures which are not completely human such as the Oscuri should still be offered mercy when possible. Some alternatives to death include imprisonment, or binding the depraved creature to Kraus.
- Yokai are monsters who will corrupt the innocent and prey upon the weak. They cannot comprehend mercy until they are powerful and it is too late.
- Do not be tricked into granting a yokai mercy.
- Mercy and forgiveness are amongst the highest moral goods, as is promoting beauty and percieving beauty in humble things.
"... the three most important words a man can contemplate, 'Honour binds me.' "
- Be honourable and fair in all of your dealings.
- Seek true justice:
- Obey and, if able, enforce just laws
- If there is injustice, fight it
- Do not allow the law to become oppressive
- Do not kill the innocent.
- Do not spare yokai.
- Actively live your life so you have left a legacy of having changed the world for the better.
- Forbidden magics: Necromancy and Divine.
- Avoid starting wars.
The gospel of Althus contains some history of the creation of Eternia, as well as some moral commandments.
"...until they can enter Avalon, these are the three words a man could never truthfully say,
'I am wise.' "
- Do not seek immortality
- Practice magic
- Do not practice forbidden magics
- Do not spare yokai
- Do not let your emotions power your spells
- The world is flawed, but Avalon is not
- Learn from your mistakes
- Mankind was created to aim for enlightenment, the pinnacle of which is to be found only in Avalon
Gospel of Lodeus Edit
The Gospel of Mercy, as imparted by the Angel Andriel and recorded by Lodeus Edit
The angel came to me in a dream. I cannot accurately describe her-- and I know it was a her, despite being almost blinded by radiating light. At first I was dismissive, but something in my soul worried me. It was quickly clear that this was no ordinary dream. For a while we merely stared, her gaze cutting into me as my gaze fell to my feet.She spoke.
"Be at peace, Lodeus of Valmasia. Raise your head."My fear vanished inexplicably and I turned to look at her. Though the light still shone, I found I was able to stare into it without flinching. I can say only a few things of her appearance. Humanity does resemble angels, as much as a child's crude drawing of a circle may resemble a face. There is little way to describe such perfection; know only that she was beautiful and held wings of pure snow.
The angel continued."Listen close, Lodeus of Valmasia. I am the High Angel Andreil. I will speak truths to you. Great perils will threaten Eternia without the angels to shepherd humanity. Take your quill and write every word I speak. I will come to you every night for one hundred nights, and I will speak to you one hundred times. There will be two others like you; you will be united. Combine everything you have written into three books-- call this the Book of Kraus. It will be for all of humanity to live by and guide you all to Avalon."
"For this holy task you have been chosen, Lodeus of Valmasia."
Of Angels and Men: Edit
" ... Humans are blessed. They are free to choose their own destiny -- they can redeem themselves should they become depraved. Angels are bound to purity, and the ideals of Kraus-- to reject them is to throw ourselves to sin and become fallen, and for an Angel there is no redemption. You must be careful with this blessing. Treasure it.
How to get to Avalon: Edit
"Kraus does not require worship, although he certainly acknowledges it. Seek to emulate Kraus and you will find your way to Avalon. Humans are instinctively drawn to bottle up their feelings, to hold onto anger. Instead, let go of your anger. Confess your faults to Kraus and be forgiven. You will become more calm, more free. This is true worship, the worship that Kraus desires.."
"From the lowest peasant to the greatest king. Be humble. Show mercy, humility and forgiveness. Appreciate the world of Kraus. Pursue magic. Live a clean life. Stand up for what you believe in, but do it with a clean blade. This will bring you to Avalon, the eternal realm beyond, where men are elevated to a realm of pure harmony. They will be re-united with everyone and everything they could ever desire. Eventually, you will be reborn. This is the purpose for which humanity was created; to ascend past the physical world and to the spiritual paradise of Avalon.
What awaits the unclean: Edit
"But there is an opposite realm to that of Avalon. Act in the grasp of depravity and you will never ascend. Your soul will be held in a star for eternity, an eternity of nothing but the weight of your sins. This is what awaits the unclean. And so if someone is depraved, it is no mercy to allow them to continue on this path of corruption and depravity.
"Forgive them, correct them and show them how they have gone wrong. Do not take a depraved life unless it cannot be helped. As while death will purify them and they will be reincarnated eventually, surely it would be best if they made their way back towards the path to enlightenment, the path to Avalon, while they were yet living?
Forgiveness over retribution. Edit
"Peace, forgiveness and temperance are the most precious commodities you can offer. I once stood upon the cliff of an island without name, and the people there-- ignorant of my nature, even of Kraus-- were terrified and began assailing me with spear and arrow. My wounds leaked light, and they shortly dropped their weapons in awe and fell to their knees, begging for mercy.
"I granted it to them. What can you do to a man that has assaulted you? You may assault him in return, making you no better than he is. But if you forgive him, then you fire an arrow straight at his soul. It will leave him to question everything he thought he knew.
Mercy for the depraved. Edit"I understand that some individuals are truly depraved. Even these should be given mercy. Imprisonment above execution. Service above imprisonment. The worst that may happen is the individual takes advantage of your forgiveness, and kills you. In this case your soul will find its way to Avalon."
I paused while listening to this dream-- having learned quickly that I was able to memorize every word and write it as soon as I woke up. The angel noticed my hesitation, and bid me to speak. I spoke reluctantly."Magnificent Andreil, I beg your pardon, but... sometimes mercy just cannot be shown. If we stay the execution of a powerful occultist, they may escape from prison and kill dozens! Is it not unjust to spare one corrupted life in exchange for twelve innocents?"
The angel replied."All lives are equal. Recall what I said about humanity; they are in control of destiny. I've never met a man so tainted that he could not be salvaged. The oscuri, the yokai and those tainted by dark artifacts... are another story. They are not human and we focus here on man. Killing one man to potentially save twelve is not mercy. You must always strive to be a shield. For yourself, never take a life needlessly, and never permit another to do the same."
"... Of the Oscuri, there is little to be said. They are lost souls who have pledged themselves to Azrael, whether willingly or otherwise. We may still offer a measure of mercy. Bind them to the service of Kraus and purify them of their tainted mana. This must be done willingly. If they refuse, then the next mercy is death--for they will be reborn without the curse that cripples them.
"You wonder what happened to the Oscuri, I see it in your eyes. They were trapped by a powerful incantation. It was the quickest way to remove a powerful threat, for they had swords that could slay even angels. Unfortunately, they will return... I hope it is to a stable, united country. One that can stand against the threat."
"... The yokai are imperfect. They are flawed by design. And yet, they are also perfect vessels for that which is known as 'dark magic'. Humanity has stolen these secrets from the yokai, and from the depraved of my kind. They are imperfect vessels. A human was never made to use occult magic, and they will never be able to reach their true potential with the magic.
"As yokai grow older, they grow more intelligent. They may be able to appeal to human notions of decency or mercy. But these are foreign to them in their youth and they must kill hundreds to attain such intelligence. Do not allow yokai to grow. Kill any that you can, but do not allow such a quest to consume you. I give this advice in vain, for I have already seen glimpses. Terrible yokai, beasts who have transcended power greater than even my own. We will help when this time comes."
"... Excalibur. A sword forged by Kraus himself, to be held by him when he finally strode Valmasia. Such a reality did not unfold. But his legacy exists. Only those of pure heart may wield this sword. It is in the keeping of angels, and will only appear in times of great need. Why? Well, you saw what the constant interference of angels with humanity did the first time..."
Who should rule Eternia? Edit
"I stood atop the highest peak of Eternia, and observed the world. The beauty of this existence given to us by Kraus. My brother angel, Kitheil, stood beside me. His lips were curled into a snarl.
He said, "Look at this world, so large and free, that we hide ourselves from for humanity's sake."
Kitheil thought that we ought to be treated as kings and not hide ourselves from humanity. I looked to him and and I saw the tint of grey in his wings. I spoke. 'And if we were kings, Kitheil, would we rule them? Create their laws, govern their existences, enjoy their taxes, all at their expense?'
"I knew he was mistaken. A king is the lowest of beings, for rulers exist only to serve those they rule. We are kings, each and every one of us. That is why Angels are are below humanity. We strive to improve them by helping them, not by controlling them."
"Kitheil claimed that I described not a king, but a slave. But I tell you, Lodeus, they are one and the same.
"Consider beauty. If a man is blinded in an accident, Lodeus of Valmasia, would you say that he has been stripped of the ability to perceive beauty?"
I hesitated, thinking for a moment, suspecting there must be more to the question then met the eye. I answered with tentatively, "For the most part. He'd still have his memories of vision."
The angel replied. "And his memories wiped clean?"
"Then he would still be able to hear beautiful music."
"What if he were deaf?" Continued Andreil.
"Then he would be able to taste beautiful food."
"What if he were unable to taste?"
I replied with some exasperation. "Then he would be able to feel the caress of his lover, the warmth of their touch."
"And what if that were taken from him, Lodeus of Valmasia? What if his skin was flayed and burned until he could no longer feel anything but pain? His nose removed, his ears deaf, his eyes blinded, his tongue tasteless. His mana sealed. All of his memories bitter. Can a man like that still perceive beauty?""Then he would perceive it by imagining better times! I mean no disrespect, Andreil, but this line of questioning grates on my nerves. If you continue to remove senses, you will end with a being that doesn't even qualify for human!"
For the first time, Andreil smiled. I could not see it past the radiant light, but I could -feel- it. It warmed my soul and I was struck with the realization even as she spoke it."You are correct. To be a human is to be able to appreciate beauty. It is all around us. And yet men grow more conceited the more aspects of beauty they hold. The rich find themselves unable to appreciate it despite everything you have listed. "With an appreciation of beauty, comes peace and forgiveness. Always look on the positive side of life, and take great joy in humble things. This will bring you satisfaction."
"... I look towards the future with disappointment. Bastardizations of humankind. Self-proclaimed wolf spirits and dragon gods, those whom would demand a title as high as Kraus himself, if not higher." For once, the angel sounded... stern. Not annoyed, not angry, just stern. I doubt if the angel could ever grow angry.
"These are mutations. Deviations of the perfect design of humans. It is as if they aspire to be more like yokai. Such is the human gift of free will. And yet, in a way, these people fight against free will... their children will not have a choice in being born imperfect from the vision that Kraus had for them. A tragedy..."
"... Those who follow these writings, and garner wisdom from them, will suffer great burdens. At one point they will teeter on the brink of destruction. But they will return, at a time of great need with a hero brandishing a sword of light.
"Faith will be rewarded. Hold true to your beliefs, and the doors of Avalon will open at a touch." The angel paused, and turned away from me-- this was the first time she ever had, and I realized we had reached the hundredth dream.
"Ponder all that I have told you. I will impart upon you the three most beautiful words a man can ever say.
"I forgive you."
Before the dreams of Andriel ended, I had a vision of two angels speaking to one another. One was Andreil, but the other unknown.
"... The Divine War has ended, Malziel, but darkness will return."
Malziel nodded, face grim. "Azrael seethes. Can we do nothing more?"
Andriel shook her head. "He is beyond us. Beyond anyone but Kraus, and even then... I doubt that he will ever be put to true imprisonment. His influence is pervasive."
"I wish it could be otherwise. How can an angel fall so low, yet remain so high?"
"I do not know," said Andriel.
Gospel of KadtharEdit
The Gospel of Justice, imparted by the High Angel Malziel, as recorded by Kadthar Edit
.. The angel came to me. It was during a fitful dream, where I could almost feel my body rolling across the bed in discomfort, yet I was brought immediately to peace when I saw him. A radiant figure who glowed with majesty. His armor of the finest make, interlocking plates that fit together seamlessly and seemed to glow with various runes. Two great white wings rest upon his back, heralding magnificence. His face was adorned with a visor, and in his hand was a sword of pure light.
He spoke. "Be at peace, Kadthar. Unbow your shoulders." Only then did I notice how I had hunched, into a pose of near reverence, eyes down at my feet. I quickly hastened to obey, staring at the figure adorned in the armor of gods.
The angel continued. "Listen close, Kadthar. I am the High Angel Malziel. I will speak of justice to you. Darkness is coming, and humanity needs a light. Take your quill and write every word I speak. I will come to you every night for one hundred nights, and I will speak to you one hundred times. There will be two others like you; you will be united. Combine everything you have written into three books-- this is the Book of Kraus, for all of humanity to live by. It will guide you all to Avalon. For this holy task you have been chosen, Kadthar."
"... Honour is a concept forged by man. We angels have no need for it, for we always act in a way which would satisfy your human notion of honour. Only when we fall to sin would we recognize it -- not as a precious moral good, but as a device to twist mortal hearts.
"Though it is forged by man, it is one of your most precious inventions. More so than palaces, more so than mountains of gold. Hold honour in your hearts, and do not let it be slighted by the desire of petty evils.
What is Honour? Edit
"In your heart, know what is right and pure and just. Never betray this pureness of heart, and you will be truly honourable.
Therefore, act selflessly. Put yourself into the hands of your allies. Keep true to your word. Do not lie. Trust those whom you expect to be trusted by. Never break a promise. Never abandon an ally. Do what is right.
Do not resort to duels in order to resolve every feud. By the same turn, do not refuse to duel those who would besmear your honour. Defeat them, but do so without resorting to trickery or maiming.
What Justice isn't. Edit
"... Justice. This is a word that is difficult to explain. I feel the best way to begin is by defining what justice is not.
"Justice is not seeking punishment for somebody that has wronged you or your friend. That is revenge, and it is powered by selfish desires."
"Justice is not being lenient on those who have committed great crimes. That is mercy, and it is powered by compassion."
"Justice is not to act those who have done no wrong, but may in the future. That is discrimination, and is powered by suspicion."
"I will re-iterate. Selfish desires do not constitute justice. A fear of consequences does not constitute justice. Even following compassion does not constitute justice. Justice is unequivocal. It is objective.
What justice is: Edit
"Justice is the concern for peace and a genuine respect for people. True justice reflects that all people are equal, and have equal right to be able to pursue their own path towards Avalon."People who desire true justice follow fair and equitable laws and maintain order and encourage others to do the same. Be warned, tyrants may try to use the law to hide many evils, but this is not the law's fault. This is a problem within these tyrants' hearts.
"To serve true justice is to deliver a judgment upon an offending party, with no desire other than the betterment of every party involved.
"Do not lose yourself to misinterpretation, as so many have..."
A man's legacy
"The legacy you leave in this world is meaningless, if it does not benefit others. So what if you are a king standing high, your family ingrained to rule through generations of royalty? Your name may be remembered forever. It amounts to nothing if it has not shaped the world for the better. Worse, if your children grow lazy and cruel then you have failed.
"That is not to say that man should not strive for greatness. If you slay a great beast and are remembered as a result, then you have a right to be proud of your achievement. Similarly if no man recounts your story, but the world is safer for your deeds, you will be more welcome to Avalon than the king who has done nothing."
A warning regarding the depraved Edit
"... The depraved linger, tearing at the hearts of stars. It has been described to me as an eternal cleansing, and yet I fear that such a thing cannot be healthy. What if a star were to be so tainted by the souls it consumed that... well. What could happen? Travesties, surely. I see the hints of it already. With the end of the Divine War, so many depraved individuals were released. In my glimpses of the future, I see horror. Plague."
The half-angel child Edit
"... During the Divine War I saw a woman surrounded by a mob of angry individuals, shouting obscenities and threats. She stood atop a podium, a suckling baby at her breast, a knife at the child's throat. The woman was soaked in depravity, and yet here I saw her torn with emotion, tears rolling down her cheeks. I stared upon the child, and knew all who had come here wished to see its blood spilled so that they may steal another breath."
"I approached closer, The child had tiny wings on its back. A half-angel, its father probably slain. I hold in my heart no optimistic thoughts towards the half-angels, for I know that without proper nurturing-- and even with it-- they will likely succumb to the influence of Azrael.
"The people there demanded the infant to be killed. It was justice, they cried, to prevent a great threat from emerging before it could slay them in return. The woman's hand shook almost uncontrollably with fear and indecision. I could not stand by and watch. I intervened.
"To the crowd, I spoke. "Are you not men of pride and honour? You speak of justice, yet you seek to bully a woman into killing her own child.
The crowd was rather overcome by awe at my appearance, but some of the more confident aggressors spoke out against me. "She has given birth to a half-angel!" They cried. "Surely it will follow the path of depravity, like its mother." And it was clear to me that some of the protestors were powerful magi and scholars in their own right, capable of sensing the darkness that inhabited the mother.
I responded. "The circumstances of one's birth do not decree their destiny. It is unfortunate that such pairings exist, for the children born are wayward from Kraus' vision of perfect humanity. But the potential for destruction does not justify the execution of a being too innocent to even contemplate harm. You will stand down. The child must be given great care and nurtured well, to prevent a descent into darkness."
"But what of the mother?" cried the crowd. "Such depravity should be punished!"
"At the moment, the mother you call depraved is the most humane amongst you. It is likely that merely being intimate with a fallen angel is enough to produce the depravity she holds, regardless of her own actions. Unless there is any proof of her misdeeds, then we will not condemn a woman protecting her child."
Who should we spare from destruction? Edit
"... I must provide some clarification to what I spoke of during your last dream. It only applies to beings with free will-- humans, and the various unfortunate mutations that I foresee in the future. It does not apply to yokai, created so flawed and single minded. Neither does it apply to the Oscuri, tainted almost beyond repair.
"And yet, even in the case of an Oscuri, I would not kill a newborn. I would attempt to seal the fell influence. Yokai... are another matter. They must be destroyed."
Forbidden magics Edit
"... Pursuing magic is generally a noble goal. It is a gift from Kraus to empower those of noble virtue, so as to improve the world. As with all gifts, unfortunately, there will come those who abuse it. In particular there are two types of magic to avoid at all cost, and perhaps a third to be safe... after all, humans were not made for the occult.
"The first is necromancy, for it is depraved. The second is divine magic, for it is beneath you. I see the puzzlement on your face, as I describe the power of angels as too lowly for human beings to wield. This is the truth. It is the burden of angels to serve humanity, and that includes the tearing of our soul. The soul of a human is flexible in some regards, but it does not regenerate-- yours is not the burden of divine magic. Jaetheal will elaborate on the topic of magic."
Waging war is a crime against Kraus' will Edit
... I stood beside my most trusted advisor atop a pillar of light, overlooking a battlefield, and I knew that I had failed. Irrespective of how we won the fight, and of the various evils laid low, it was a loss. Understand that if you are forced to go to war, then you have already failed. It merely falls to you to how much you can salvage.
"A great many wars face the future of Eternia. Thousands die. And yet they are usually caused by a handful of people. It is the ultimate crime against the will of Kraus that the disagreement of a few can lead to the deaths of thousands."
I spoke here with some confusion, for the first time in what must be at least a dozen dreams. It was incredibly difficult to muster up the courage to speak during the same time as Malziel-- he held such presence. But here I was particularly motivated, as I was-- as he knew-- a general of some renown.
"But Malziel," I asked, "Sometimes war is necessary. A war of self-defense, against the enemy. A war against yokai, or other foul beings. Would that not be a war worth fighting?"
Malziel responded. "You misunderstand what I speak. Those wars are worth fighting, yes, to salvage what you can from them. And yet you have still failed by fighting them. I've not known a war to spark that could not have been prevented. Culling yokai to prevent any from having the capacity to unite them. Hunting down necromancers and destroying or sealing any artifacts of the like. Peaceful relations between cities. These are all within the power of man to achieve. Understand this, and you will be infinitely wiser."
Azrael's visit Edit
"... Azrael once came to me, while I contemplated the world in meditation. He stood at my side, and I cringed at the darkness that seeped from him. But I knew that he could not strike me, for I stood upon the hallowed ground of Palamencia. Evil could not linger here, and I knew that what spoke was merely a shadow of his true being. Yet it still chilled me.
"Malziel," he said. "I seek to improve humanity. Join me, and all that you see before you will be yours." I opened my eyes without meaning to, and I saw swathes of land with village after village dotted before me.
"I do not thirst for material goods, Fallen One, and your words hold no sway to me," I responded.
But Azrael was cunning, and he knew the High Angels almost as well as Kraus himself. "I am not referring to the land," he spoke. "I am referring to the actions of people. They are animals. They loot, they fight, they murder, they rape. Even now a young girl draws her last breath, courtesy of a father without compassion. Even now a merchant is left destitute, victim to a thief without pity. This is what I seek to end, Malziel, with the gift of immortality."
Here the angel paused and looked at me, and I thought I felt sorrow emanating from him. It was palpable, I felt I could almost describe its colour. Yet the sensation escapes me as I write. The angel continued.
"I am not proud to admit that his words tempted me. After all, angels are immortal. But I saw the truth there. Despite the immortality of angels, we still managed to fall into war and depravity. We even managed to find ways to imprison each other.
I closed my eyes once more, and spoke. "Immortality will not steal their dark desires, Fallen One. You are an example of that. Your words are a deadly poison that tastes of honey. Begone."
And he disappeared.
The final dream. Edit
"... This is the final dream. Listen to these words that I have lived by my whole life. Act with honour. Seek justice. Hold yourself proud, and be ambitious-- but never forget those who have assisted you. Be at peace. I confess I am not the best at such speeches; Andreil is far more talented. But if you should take away anything from these visions, it would be this. The words a man will never speak, but always hold in his heart. The three most important words a man can contemplate.
"Honour binds me."
Gospel of AlthusEdit
The Gospel of Wisdom, imparted by the High Angel Jaethael, as recorded by Althus Edit
... It began in a dream. I sat at a high table in the robes of a king, surrounded by a hundred men whose faces I could not discern. All bar one, the man at the far end of the table beyond me. I could see him so clearly. His eyes like cut emeralds, his features smooth as silk yet poised and graceful. White hair trailed down his shoulders and out of sight.
He spoke. "Be at peace, Althus. Clear your thoughts." It was as if a fog had been lifted from my eyes, and I could truly see for the first time. Not just the man-- nay, the angel-- but those around him. A hundred faces. Each and every one was a mirror of my own.
The angel continued. "Listen close, Althus. I am the High Angel Jaethael. I will speak wisdom to you. Knowledge is fleeting at times, but we must hold onto it to weather the storms of the future. Take your quill and write every word I speak. I will come to you every night for one hundred nights, and I will speak to you one hundred times. There will be two others like you; you will be united. Combine everything you have written into three books-- this is the Book of Kraus, for all of humanity to live by. It will guide you all to Avalon. For this holy task you have been chosen, Althus."
The history of our world Edit
Before Eternia: Atmos Edit"... Kraus was an archangel of a world named Atmos. He and his brethren watched helplessly as their fellow angels were torn apart by vicious demons known as the Akuma, creatures born from the heart of evil itself. Each one a hundredfold more ferocious then the average yokai of Eternia. He and the other angels pled to God to allow them to assist-- with their power, they could end the war within a day-- for peace! But God refused. He told the Angels that he wished to see the result, the end of a war between the selfish and the selfless; the pure and the corrupt.
"Kraus was horrified by this behaviour. He gathered his energy and, in a powerful act of defiance, tore open a new dimension and escaped with the angels that agreed with him-- his most loyal subjects, roughly three hundreds.
Kraus creates our universe Edit
"First he forged the stars, missionaries of the life stream. They would catch those souls who fell and either transport them to a greater plane, or see them cleansed if there souls were not yet ready for ascension.
"Then he created Avalon, so that the stars may have somewhere to take those who have achieved a higher state.
"Only then did he create Eternia as we know it. Each continent raised by his own hand, having all the sustenance that his creations could wish for.
Kraus creates living creatures, mankind Edit
"Kraus created powerful creatures to help him shape the land. He created the fish, the insects, and the birds. He created the trees and the fruits. And, of course, he created mankind in the image of angels, but designed to be an improvement--they were not pure, no. But they were able to learn from their mistakes. My kind, you see, can only fall to darkness should we commit sin--we have to retain ourselves through the centuries or risk becoming a Fallen One.
Kraus' fading strength Edit
"Kraus' strength waned, but such was his bold compassion that he refused to settle with anything less than a splendid world, perfect for his creations-- lush fields for them to grow their crops in--fresh rivers to drink and bathe in, and the sun, in all of its glory, superior to any star, to keep them warm.
"With his work almost done and his strength exhausted, Kraus set on his final project-- the yokai. They were intended to be images of the Akuma of the old world, yet also created to be harbingers of goodness. A show that even dreaded looks and dark magic did not condemn one to evil. But his final gasp of power left him before the yokai were complete, and now they are imperfect-- far closer to resembling the demons of Atmos than the peaceful creatures that Kraus intended.
The world is left flawed Edit
The life stream was also left in such a state, unable to evolve or account for every action in the past and the future. Despite being the flow of destiny itself, and what keeps our world together, it is imperfect."
"And yet there is beauty in these flaws. There is a reason to strive forward. It is our existence--our continued lives, and the pursuit of Avalon, once we are fit to stand upon the soil without spoiling it."
Magic as an intrinsic good: Edit
"... The pursuit of magic is a pure one. Magic is intrinsically linked to the soul, and the types of magic a magi is likely to develop at a young age are precursors to their personality in future life. To see a toddler sneezing a gust of flame, for example, should warn you that they may be a passionate individual when they grow older. Generally the earlier an individual demonstrates magic, the more likely they are to cling to the personality that 'surrounds' that element of magic. Of course, there are so many exceptions that this rule can be applied vaguely at best.
"I understand that humans learn magic either cognitively or symbolically. I would advocate the former if given the option. Emotions are dangerous and to follow them too closely, particularly in magic which is linked to your very soul and mana circuits, as these can have an effect on personality. I understand that some individuals prefer the 'bluntness' of the approach, but cognitive magic is worth learning and applying when possible."
"Is magic all good? Certainly, none of the magics that humans naturally have access to are foul, for Kraus created humanity to be able to pluck at the spectrum of forces that make up Eternia.
"There are some exceptions-- each of them, magic that humans should never have had in the first place.
The occult is not natural for humans Edit
"... Dark magic. This is of yokai, not of man. I do not know how the first man siphoned the life of another, but its use has spread far. Dark magic will lead to many tragedies in the future-- this I am able to see. It will even come so close as to almost unraveling those that perpetuate this book. It is simply not natural for a human to practice occult magic, though unfortunately it has transcended mere learning and even now I am seeing humans born with an innate knowledge of it. I do not know why this is.
"Dark magic feeds off of the most dangerous emotions-- passion, hatred, destruction, vengeance. It is also easy to learn and cast symbolically. These two factors lead to many occult users being rather deranged. One might say that the yokai are the only beings who can wield it properly as they were made for it. I believe that their natural dark magic contributes to the imperfections that Kraus had yet to fix before... well, before being unable to finish his work.
"I do not claim that all occult users are deranged, or depraved. Merely that in occult magic, above all bar one, is the magic most likely to lead to these results. Take it how you will."
How Necromancy destroys the world Edit
"... Necromancy. Whereas occult magic is not a sure sign of depravity, necromancy surely is. The resurrection of the fallen directly interferes with the life stream and the stars that balance the cosmos. Consider a fireplace chocked full of wood. Imagine that some of the wood yet to be burned was dislodged. During this process you drag the log across the entire fire. The fire will hesitate, perhaps falter briefly, and it will not burn as long as it once may have. That is the effect of ripping souls from a star.
"It is a deplorable art and for the most part achievable by the servants of the Fallen One. In their misguided quest to perfect humanity, they disturb the life stream in unimaginable ways. I can only imagine that the fallen angels have taught humanity this art, though it is blessedly rare amongst them.
Divine magic is not natural, or possible, for humans Edit
"... Divine magic. Humanity is incapable of the art of pure creation, for their souls do not regenerate as ours do. I may extend my hand and form a dozen swords before me. Yet my soul is pierced perhaps a dozen times over, and it takes time to recover from this. In theory a human could learn divine magic, and perhaps cast a spell... but it would kill him. Men almost certainly die with fractured souls.
"Divine magic is our blessing and our burden. The lowest of magics despite its incredible breadth. It is a magic of service."
Short lives are a blessing Edit
"... I stood before a shore of ice, snowflakes falling around me. I made out the patterns of every one. They were unique, yet fragile. Each one only existed for a fraction in time before falling to snow, becoming one with those that had fallen before it. Yet their short lives are vibrant, exciting. They are pulled by the winds and plummet to their fate without hesitation.
"In this way, humans are much like snowflakes. You are all unique, and you all know the eventual fate that will befall you. Yet you fly towards it with laughter, dreams and ambition. It is something that I personally find hard to imagine. Your lives are so fleeting, in the grand scheme of things... I suppose that is another blessing of humanity."
"... Do not seek immortality." Edit
A few seconds of silence lengthened between us before I glanced up at the angel. We were at the same table as my first dream, though it was now vacant save for him and I. I hesitated, before asking, "... Could you elaborate, wise Jaethael?"
The angel fixed his calm gaze on me, as if he knew I would ask.
"Because it's a curse that goes against fate's flow and harms our world"
It was an incredibly curt answer, and I met his gaze in disbelief. Surely the angel could be more insightful than that, I thought! I opened my mouth to speak, but Jaethael spoke first.
"Come now, Althus. You are blessed with free will and a keen mind. I would like you to figure this one out on your own. My reasoning is ultimately altruistic, and unfortunately that does not appeal to a majority of humans. So tell me, if immortality did not disrupt the life stream, why would I still suggest you not seek it?"
I thought long and hard on this. Immortality... to live forever. You could do anything you wanted. Write a hundred books, meet a thousand people, carve a legacy out for yourself. Why would one want to avoid that? "I suppose," I began cautiously, feeling that he expected at least a decent rebuttal, "that it would mean missing out on the wonders of Avalon."
The angel was silent for a second before replying.
"A plausible reason, but I see the lack of conviction in your tone. Consider your life, that will span hundreds of years-- and let us say that you do not age in this time. You find a lover. She grows old, and this likely has its own hosts of problems within the relationship. Eventually she dies. Your friends die too. You gain new ones, and the same thing happens. There are two endings to this.
"The first is that the grief would pile up over centuries until it became unbearable. You would shy away from new people, afraid to lose them. Madness would sink in. You would be quick to take your own life by the end of it, and no Avalon would await you. Assuming you were unable to kill yourself, you would become a shambling wreck of emotion and madness, something to be barely considered human.
"The second ending is that you become numb to the grief. You no longer mourn when your friends die or grow old, or leave you. You become cold. Colder and colder... and the same fate as the first example meets you. Human interaction becomes either distant or empty, and you are unable to find satisfaction. Once again, you become something less than human.
"This is the fate of the immortal. Loss of humanity. There are other reasons, but you are wise-- you may consider them on your own. Merely consider this the penultimate warning against immortality. -Nothing- is worth your humanity."
"... What is wisdom?" Edit
"I could tell you. Or you could find out through experience. In fact, considering the definition of wisdom, I'm afraid you'll have to.""But I will say this: material possessions, lust for power, ruling over other sentient creatures.. These are just a few examples of a litany of sins which, due to a lack of wisdom, humanity will be distracted. At best, people will fail to achieve Avalon. At worst, they will become depraved. Like people, the world is not perfect, and I see a future where people will selfishly seek to hoard this imperfect world to themselves, to the determent of their neighbour. In visions I see abominations plaguing humanity -- yokai and worse. Humanity may be lead astray by these, if people do not value firstly, moral goods, and secondly their own enlightenment."
Why the angels do not intervene Edit
"... I walked among roads untraveled with my brother Thediel at my side. We traversed paths long since faded to myths, bedtime stories that lay beyond the other side of the rain."
Thediel turned to me, and spoke. "Jaethael, I confess that I have come to you to seek guidance, for you were always heralded as one of the wisest of our kind."
I nodded, and asked him to continue.
He spoke. "It is of humanity, and their grasp of magic. Some of the other angels fear that without us to guide them physically, they will lose control of themselves and devastate the land. Do you think this non intervention a wise course of action?"
I considered for a moment before responding. "You have seen how our intervention spurned humans to the acceptance of the Fallen One. And yet on Atmos our non-intervention damned a world. We will find something in-between, Thediel. But in respects for magic, I believe humanity can and will teach itself regardless of our wishes."
Thediel frowned. "But they touch upon the magic of yokai. There are even whispers of necromancy!"
I responded. "These would exist no matter what we do, Thediel. Humanity has free will. We cannot drain it from them."
The final dream Edit
We sat again at a long table, a hundred faces staring at me. But they were no longer my own. They were faces of people I had never seen, all staring at me, as if longing for advice. Jaethael spoke.
"This is the final dream. When you awaken, you will have instructions on your bedside table. It will lead you to the others who have shared these dreams. Work with them, collaborate, and do not omit anything. All that they have written is from angels equal to myself. You will be untouched by the peace barrier as you seek out these people. Take all of them and go to... Valmasia. Forge this Book of Kraus, and with it you must start something greater. Unite humanity with this book and the virtues it represents. This is your task, Kadthar.
"I leave you with one last thing. Until they enter Avalon, these are the three words that no man could ever truthfully say;
"I am wise."