Letters from Baator 23: Thrice by Thrice Damned
Department of Humanities
For: Chief Engineer
Subject: The Inverted Mountain
Though infinite in size, each of the nine layers feels smaller than the one above. Although this is a well documented fact, nobody’s ever bothered to ask why. I think I have come to understand the metaphor that mocks Mount Celestia. The oppressive feel of the layers serves as a reminder of the plane’s power and ruthlessness. It filters out the truly evil of the diabolic.
To the denizens of Baator, the plane feels like an embracing vice welcoming them into the fold while squeezing out any traces of good and free will. Many claim the ancient Baatorians, if they existed, displeased the plane and were thusly confined to the mountain walls surrounding the layers. Should the Baatezu fail, they too will be consumed, so the chant goes.
To serve as a counterpoint, the servitors of the plane move freely through their charges. Issuing edicts to wean out the weaker Baatezu who can’t conform to law as thoroughly as they dictate, these elite Baatezu are unknown even to the Lords of the Nine. Some claim that the Lord of the Ninth knows some of these mysterious figures, but no one knows them all. Baatezu who recognize what they are quickly step in line. Not even pit fiends dare cross them.
I know this to be true because one approached me to ensure I was following Baatorian laws. It knew of my purpose and agreed to shed some light on the plane. As I’m aware to the level of deception the Baatezu can stoop, I took the being’s words with a very large grain of salt. However, the display of power I witnessed was very convincing, to say the least, making it that much harder to disbelieve.
Accordingly, the point of Baator, I was told, is to find those worthy of dominating their peers. Those who conform to the plane are shielded by it. This supposedly allows them to better oppress their fellows. In a way, it’s a form of artificial evolution where the species survives not from adapting to hardship, but to strictly adhering to the system others have put in place. Ignoring environment and all things beyond the rules previously set by Baatezu society. These things are mere distractions for the foolish.
If you don’t play the game, the plane quickly disposes of you. If you don’t play by the rules, the inhabitants will destroy you. If you play the game well, you consume yourself. Drink deeply, my friends, from the bottomless well of power. May your rivals impale themselves on their own sharpened tongues.
Xavierra Tempeste, Shaper 2