The "Powers That Be"

No one is really sure Who or What the "Powers That Be" are. Some say God or Yahweh or Allah. Some have entire pantheons of deities. Some don't even believe in them or doubt they're there to start with. It's probably closest to the truth to think of it as a sort of benevolent and immaterial Borg: a sort of committee hive-mind of sentient creative energy. The "PTB" (for brevity's sake) basically set up the rules of the game, as it were, and then watch as things unfold from there. When people speak of the "laws of physics" or the "laws of nature" they're effectively talking about the way the PTB have set things up on Earth.

Unfortunately, the PTB are not infallible. They can and do make mistakes, and they have made some DOOZIES (see also: Cain). There really isn't a "test" environment; everything goes straight into production and sometimes errors and glitches creep in and make things... awkward. The PTB try their best, and, through millenia of practice, have got a pretty good handle on things now, but... well. No one's perfect.


One of the most stunning failures in PTB history is the creation of Death. Death as a natural force already existed, of course, but PTB wanted to... personalize it, make it easier on the dying. Most people of religious/spiritual bent think of Death as leading their soul to some sort of afterlife; it's closer to the truth to say that Death takes their soul/energy and channels it to where it's most needed in the overall "system" (like the Circle of Life, to steal from Disney).

So, when the PTB decided to create an incarnation of Death, they were ...a bit cocky. Getting the universe and the galaxies and this particular solar system and this one planet set up had all gone really really well, despite their being fairly new to all this. Life was evolving and was starting to gain some serious intelligence, so they figured it was time to spice things up with this whole Death-with-a-capital-D idea. They wanted someone reliable; someone comforting, but not "break down sobbing" emotional; someone who had no thought but to do this job. What they got was the being who would eventually be known as the Master/Cain/Qabil/etc.

Cain (for ease of conversation) wouldn't just show up when people were already dead in order to collect their energy; He'd show up and execute them Himself. He had no guilt, no conscience in the matter, and He didn't just mindlessly do this job: He enjoyed it immensely. All He thought about was murdering people; it gave Him a thrill to concoct newer and more terrible ways to kill those who had reached their "expiration date", if you will.

The PTB were more than a little horrified when they realized how badly they'd cocked things up. They attempted to "fix" Cain, but only proceeded to make Him worse and worse. By the time they decided to scrap Him and start over, He was so much a part of the world that erasing Him would've caused more problems than it would've solved. They created a new Death and marked Cain's forehead so that people would hopefully flee before He could murder them. Death 2.0 couldn't just kill Cain because He didn't have an "expiration date"; He had never been meant to die, after all - He was supposed to have been Death!

The current Death dresses all in black, but the scythe and long black hooded robe are relics of the past. Death is also not skeletal but is, instead, androgynously beautiful. Death is completely asexual and doesn't even have genitalia, but its face is, somehow, the most beautiful, calming, and soothing face everyone has ever seen. Death's warm, smiling, comforting face is the last thing mortals see in this world before their energy is "recycled" as it were. Cain is, of course, the exception; if Cain is somehow killed, He sees nothing but black oblivion... and then, of course, He recovers, usually re-awakening to pain as His body heals itself. Cain has never met His replacement.

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