Dear Dark Lord,
I’m sure you get a lot of letters from creatures who want to turn away from the path of Darkness. Creatures that want to “follow their dreams” or “go against the grain” or something like that; creatures for whom killing and destruction have begun to feel like a chore rather than a calling.
As an undead being dedicated to the craft of consuming human flesh, I never understood how one who serves the Night could have such aspirations.
That is, until recently.
The other night I was out for a feeding. I had just smashed head-first through the window of some apartment so I could eat whoever was inside, when I noticed there were beautiful paintings lying all over the place. Evidently the tenant was an artist, and a good one. Looking at these paintings stirred emotions in me that I hadn’t felt since I was alive, and I thought to myself, “I want to do that.” I knew right then I wanted to be an artist.
So when I finished eating the artist and his wife, I started doing some research. Did you know there’s never been an undead painter before? At least none of significant note. And why not?
People are always saying how the undead can never become artists. They say we don’t have the right motor skills or ability for abstract thought because our brains are lifeless piles of mush. They say we could never be painters because our fingers fall off every time we pick up a brush and our hands leave streaks of rotting sinew across the canvas.
Well, maybe the art world needs more streaks of rotting sinew.
I realize I’m new to art, and there will be a lot of adversity to overcome. If I go to art school, I’m worried the other students won’t accept me there for what I am. I’m worried they won’t be able to see through my lack of a heartbeat or my propensity to tear open their stomachs and feast on their organs to recognize my true talent.
I’ve been undead for Bog knows how long. And, like many undead, at one point in my unlife I considered this my “calling.”
But to tell you the truth, I’m over it.
I’ve lost my passion for ripping people to shreds, and eating them full time has become joyless and methodical. Painting helps me express the arbitrary emotions that pop into my mind as my last remaining brain cells fire off at random better than flesh eating ever could.
It’s time to become an artist. Sure, I’ll still have to eat people part time to survive, if you can consider this existence surviving. But art is where my true passion is. Do you think I could succeed?
Rotting Slowly, Thine,
Undead and Over It
Dear Undead and Over It,
I knew a goblin once who wanted to be a dancer. True story.
Now, you know as well as I do that goblins can’t dance. But I could tell in his spiteful, tiny little goblin heart that dancing was his passion.
He worked hard at it, too. He went to auditions, practiced in his lair for countless hours, and even tried dancing on street corners. But everyone was so repulsed by his horrid goblin stench, cackling laugh, and rhythmless dance moves that they would immediately look away in horror every time he took to the floor. He couldn’t even get people to look in his direction. But he had a feeling that if he could just get them to watch a little longer they would learn to appreciate, and even love, his sliming, spasmodic dancing style.
So he got an idea.
If they wouldn’t watch him dance of their own free will, he would make them watch. Surely they would grow to love his dancing then. It just took time.
In a series of daring night raids, he captured all of his region’s leading dance critics and instructors, cut off their eyelids, and chained them to seats in a basement dance hall he custom built for the purpose.
Then he danced.
Night and day, he danced before their perpetually open eyes. At first they were horrified. Many of them vomited on themselves out of disgust and a few had strokes and died.
But they watched. They watched, at first, because they didn’t have a choice. But after a few months, things started to change. They began watching because they wanted to. Then they watched because they enjoyed it. After a while, they enjoyed it so much that the goblin loosened their shackles a little bit and they would give him a round of applause after each number. The ones whose tongues he didn’t cut out would cheer wildly and shout words of praise.
And they’re still there to this day, as far as I know. The goblin dancing the night away, and his adoring fans loving every minute of it. Not because they don’t have a choice, but because they want to be. Although they also don’t have a choice.
Bottom line is, these things take time. You won’t become a famous artist overnight. You’ll have to overcome adversity and the critics every step along the way. But if you stick with it — and employ violent acts of coercion and/or outright captivity to drive your critics past the brink of insanity — you’ll come out all right in the end.
So make your art, and don’t worry about the critics. If they don’t come around eventually, you can always eat them.
Dark Lord Dörgu Bøgerleshk, Bane of the Nrymbobl, Usurper of Forlorn Souls, Blood Govourner of the Flaming Infernal Swamplands
Watchest this video to see if the cobbler gets what ist coming to him:
More stories from ‘round the Realm:
Dear Dark Lord Letters: