Dear Dark Lord: Should I Wait Until After the Darkness Has Cast the Realm Into Eternal Shadow to Get Married?
Dear Dark Lord,
I finally met the perfect girl. She has six eyes, spider legs, a strange growth on her back that mutters incantations in the Black Tongue, and a perfectly sinister personality. We’ve been dating for some time now, but I can’t decide when to pop the question.
I know she’s the one, but the timing never seems right. We’re both so busy at work: me managing the slave quarry, her in the dungeon where she pokes prisoners’ eyes out with her spider legs.
On top of that, money is tight. Not that we need much. We have a decent apartment with a view of Grossdeath Mountain, but we’re by no means rich. A wedding might put us in the red, what with the costs of the traditional ritual human sacrifices, boiling cauldrons of elf blood, and cake. We’re certainly looking forward to the End Times when all wealth is destroyed and all beings must endure an equitably endless squalor. But until then, we have to get by with what we’ve got.
I know eventually the Final Battle between Good and Evil will come and make things right. The big question is should we wait until after the battle, when the Realm has been cast into Eternal Shadow, or should we pull the trigger and get married now?
She’s the one that I want to be with forever (assuming, of course, that your plan for the End Times does not involve destroying all life as we know it. That’s not your plan, right? If it is, I’m totally cool with it, but that would certainly change things for me from a relationship planning perspective). I cherish your diabolical advice in this matter.
Lost in the Troth
Dear Lost in the Troth,
I remember my first marriage. And my second marriage. And all the ones that ended in multi-decade civil wars and/or premeditated murder.
The one thing they all had in common was that I never felt ready. It was always “Maybe the timing will be better after we burn so-and-so village to ash” or “Maybe we should wait until we conquer the the kingdom of Wood Elves on our southeastern border so we don’t have to worry about raiding parties and can finally get an evil lair with a yard.”
But sometimes you just have to dive headlong into love. Sometimes you need an armada of ships for the upcoming naval campaign and you need to cement your alliance with her kingdom — whose power at sea is unrivaled — now. Sometimes you’re young and stupid and coming off the hubristic high of a successful military offensive and decide to marry every woman within a 30-mile radius.
Whether your decision is right or wrong, you won’t know unless you try.
Here’s some things I like to ask myself before I decide to tie the knot:
Do I truly know my partner? I can’t tell you the number of times I got married too soon, only to wake up the morning after our wedding with a dagger embedded in my chest in an attempted assassination. Physically I’m fine when that happens — I always sleep in body armor and I’m pretty much invincible. But it hurts emotionally.
Is there a decent chance one of you will die violently in the near future? You never know when you might be killed by a stray arrow, or purged in one of those famous purges that I tend to do from time to time. If you think one of you is up for a purging, it might make sense to get married now to enjoy the good times while you still can.
Does she get along with your family? I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve brought my wife to a family holiday weekend and half the house woke up in the morning with a dagger embedded in their chest in an attempted assassination. It’s a convenient way to get rid of a pesky family member, sure, but not ideal if you’re trying to endear your new wife to them.
Are her spider legs suitable for household chores? Spindly death claws are great for tormenting prisoners, but are less suited to tidying up around the house. Before you tie the knot with a spider-lady or some other sort of hybrid freak, make sure you have a shared understanding of what each partner’s domestic responsibilities will be.
Do you still think of yourselves as individuals, or as one with the Darkness? When you talk about your future together, do you talk about “I/me” or about “Us in the Darkness/We in the Darkness/the Darkness in All of Us”? This shows that your mindset has shifted. In marriage, it’s not just about the Evil you can spread on your own, but the Evil you can spread together.
Nobody ever feels ready, and nobody ever really is. But we do it anyway.
That’s love. Even if it does end in war and intrigue, which, speaking from experience, is the most common outcome.
I remain, dear vassal, thy Vile Master,
Dark Lord Dörgu Bøgerleshk, Bane of the Nrymbobl, Usurper of Forlorn Souls, Blood Govourner of the Flaming Infernal Swamplands