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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Motiv8 Blog Tour: Wayne Thomas Batson and The Roots of Darkness

On the West Coast Tour, I was taken off-guard by a fan who asked me rather bluntly: "Paragal, I don't understand--he had everything--why'd he do it? Why'd he betray King Eliam?"

After an awkward silence, my first thought was something like, "Well, what do you mean, why did he do it? He's a villain. That's the kind of thing that villains do." But as soon as I thought it, my mind reprimanded me quickly, and I realized, no, there's a lot more to it than that's just what villains do. And I think we Christians have a bit to learn from Paragal's fall, his betrayal, and his descent into his new identity.

So, at the risk of weirding some of you out a little bit, I've chosen to allow Paragor to appear as guest blogger today. He will answer the question for us: Why'd you do it? And after you read, if you have questions for Paragor, submit them as comments, and Paragor will respond. Read on, but don't be surprised if you recognize a bit of yourself in Paragor. Learn from his mistakes. For him, it's too late, but not for you.


EnterTheDoorWithin (EDW): We have the unusual experience of welcoming Paragor, the Prince of Paragory to the blog. Paragor, thank you for taking the time to visit with us.

PARAGOR: It is no noble impulse that drives me here…a respite, nothing more.

EDW: Before we begin, readers will want to know…well, how can they trust anything you have to say?

PARAGOR: All has been laid bare. His light is so terribly brilliant. I am impelled to tell the truth.

EDW: Paragor, why do you think King Eliam chose you to be Alleble's first Sentinel?

PARAGOR: I always assumed my prowess in battle was the principal reason. Among the Elder Guard, I was best with lance, sword, and bow. I always loved the competition, and drove myself to be unsurpassed. In the end, no one even came close to my skills at warcraft. And when others shrank back from terrible dangers, I forged ahead. No one in the history of the Elder Guard achieved skills and valor as I did, and as I said, for most of my time in the Realm, I believed that is why I was chosen Sentinel over the others. But since then, I've had quite some time to examine the events of my life more closely. And though it horrifies me to admit what I have discovered, I must admit it now. King Eliam chose me as Sentinel because…he loved me.

EDW: He chose you out of love, but…you betrayed him. And King Eliam knew you would...

PARAGOR: Press me no more! Your words burn as unquenchable fire. And yet, it is true. Even as I held the Blue Blade aloft above his neck, I saw love in his eyes. In his infinite wisdom, his timeless perspective, King Eliam knew I was not worthy of his love, and still, he gave it.

EDW: You saw love, but went through with it anyway. Why?

PARAGOR: I had to find out.

EDW: I don't understand…find out what?

PARAGOR: Of course you do not understand, and nor will you if I explain.

EDW: Please, go on. Maybe someone will read this. Maybe it will--

PARAGOR: Enough. I have no pity. But neither have I pride…any longer. You wish to know how I could slay King Eliam in cold blood even though I saw that he loved me still. What you do not understand is that I had already travelled so far down the bitter road, that I had to find out if the end would bring me what it promised.

EDW: I still don't--

PARAGOR: No, you wouldn't...not yet. You see, I did not just wake one morning and think, "Ah, today I shall go and kill the King of the entire Realm." It does not work that way.

EDW: I think that's what our readers really want to know. What changed you? Why weren't you content with your position? What happened?

PARAGOR: Your questions allow me too much grace…as if I am somewhat of a victim in all this. Make no mistake, I made the decisions all along the way. I chose the path I trod. It began I think early in my career as Sentinel. It was little things, really…things I should have guarded against but did not. King Eliam gave me the privilege of reading all the scrolls in the Library of Light. This was ecstasy for me as my thirst for lore could hardly be quenched.

I read and read and read and found myself drunk with the adventures of the Realm. And suddenly I realized that I was not as great as I first thought. In the span of history, my tale was just one among many. I should have been content. But I was not. I felt drawn to greater things, which is again one of the reasons King Eliam chose me as Sentinel. It was a strength, but every strength, like a sword, has the other side of the blade. It cuts just as deep.

I began to gain audiences with rulers from other kingdoms: Frostland, Clarion, Baen-Edge, and others. My wisdom was to them very great. They coveted my thoughts on even the most idle subjects. I found I enjoyed the authority and notoriety. And again, I felt the need for more. They began to deliver unto me riches and countless relics of their kingdoms, and my treasuries began to grow. I began to make trips to the armory and enjoyed what I could purchase. Somehow there always seemed to be a new sword or a novel piece of armor I had not seen before. Of course, I had to have them.

With my own coffers filled to overflowing and with countless Glimpses coming to me for counsel or simply to enjoy my presence, I began to look over my shoulder. I was Sentinel, but how much did I really rule? King Eliam was always greater, and it was simply understood by all. I shook such thoughts away. Comparisons are seldom of any noble use. But I did not push the thoughts far enough away.

In weak or tired moments, I welcomed them back and played with them in my mind. What if Paragal had more power? What if Paragal wrote the next scroll of Alleble? What if Paragal sat on the white throne? Each time, such thoughts came with persistent guilt. "Ah, what madness am I thinking?" I would say to myself. "No, I am fortunate to be so honored by the King. How dare I think of more?" But they were wisps of smoke, shadows of my former character as it slipped away.

Soon, aside from duty house, I began to spend less and less time with King Eliam. Of course, I was at my post…always on time if not early…there for all to see. But at the changing of the guard, I vanished, finding far too much pleasure alone. I began to seek a little more of everything. More. It was what I always sought but was never quite able to grasp. I should have learned from the smaller failures, but I did not.

King Eliam came to me several time, wondering if I was well. But in my mind, I made him a villain, pestering me, prying…accusing. By making him out to be the problem, I was better able to justify the new and somewhat disturbing ideas clambering into my mind. I began to make secret alliances and agreements. I found the promise of wealth and power was not just of interest to me and so my plan grew.

Ah! How many times did I second guess myself? I could have stopped the wheels of my plot so many times, but it took on a life of its own. Even as the Elder Guard and their families were rousted from their beds, I could have stopped it all. I remember hesitating at the rear throne room door. I stood at the bottom of that winding stair and gazed into the torchlight. I wondered how history would record my actions, and for the briefest moment, I regretted the path. And yet, nothing in my pride, nothing in my reputation, nothing in my past successes, nothing in my treasuries could quite satisfy me. Surely, this last deed would grant me all I'd ever wanted and I would be satisfied. I took the stair and never looked back.


EDW: Well, did it? Did the end of the road deliver all that it promised?

PARAGOR: I would laugh were it not for the wrenching in my gut. NAY! That road has no end! I slew the King, but that was not enough. I had the Elder Guard left, and they would contend. I put them to the fire. And then, there was the First Scroll in the locked chest on the ninth level of the Library Tower. And even with knowledge of my own future, I could not be assuaged. Oh, misery…I chased…I grasped and clutched. There was nothing to gain and everything to lose.

EDW: I'm sorry.

PARAGOR: And to think…I might have been loved.

33 comments:

B. D. Eastman said...

Wow scary! I've never been first on here. I guess I am a bit anxious for the contest points.

S. J. Deal said...

Peragor, a couple of questions: Would you do it again? What is your passion now? If, theoretically speaking, redemption was possible for you, would you seek it? And finally, are you jealous of those who may be redeemed?

Kittybeth said...

And to think…I might have been loved.

Wow. That sums it all up, doesn't it?

Mae said...

Wow. Commentary of Paragor, that's awesome.

I agree with SJ would you do it agaim?

Mackenzie said...

Wow, such insight. Thank you for interviewing Paragor, Mr. Baston.

So Paragor... if King Eliam were to still offer you forgiveness now, after all that has happened, would you take it?

And while you had your issues with the King, why did you feel it necessary to kill the Elder guards and their families so brutally?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for you. But, on the bright side, you're still loved! -Katie P.

Paragor said...

S.J. and Mae,

Would I live my life step-by-step the way I did before, ending in the betrayal of King Eliam and my ultimate defeat? Your question is both painful and irrelevant. I can no more live my life a second time than I can undo what I have done. Redemption is only for the living, for those who still draw breath under the free sun. Once you pass over the final threshold, your time is over.

Nathan Petrie said...

Paragor...the perfect rep. of Satan.
Eliam..Christ.

The best line in that book is "You do not comand this...I am allowing it"

What a thing to say, to me I think those words are what sprung on Paragal's final stroke...his pride. much like the devil in fact.

Mr. Batson I must say how much I admire your work. I've grown up in a Christian school all of my life so I catch similarities such as this oftern...I love to find them...I love my King, even if He is represented in fiction...especially when it is done as well as The Door does.

Paragor said...

Mackenzie,

Do you know that there is still a part of me that would refuse King Eliam even if he appeared to me now and offered forgiveness. Something hardened in me, and I do not know that it will ever change.

And yet, now, since death and judgment have brought me agonizing clarity, I would fall on my face before King Eliam and declare him High King over all the Realm…and my King personally as well. Alas that I will never have that chance. Do not hope for me. But rather warn all who still have time so that they do not suffer my fate.

And why did I murder the Elder Guard and their families? In my mind, I had no choice. To murder a beloved king and then allow his most loyal knights to live would be foolhardy indeed. And to kill the Elder Guard but allow the wives and children to go free would condemn me to a life looking over my shoulder. But remember, all these deed, every last drop of innocent blood, began with small decisions. The first cracks of evil, and yet, I did not fear them as I should have.

Anonymous said...

Now I totally get what you mean by very dark presence! No offense Paragor, but this is to cool.

Ryan Paige Howard ><>

Rien Takhid said...

Paragor, did you notice when the blue stones of Cer Muryn (now Charrend)no longer shone brightly? If so, did it bother you?

Ian said...

Thank you so much for doing this, Mr. Batson. Seeing Paragor's path has really shown me something about myself...and what I must do to stay on the correct path.

:)Ian(:

the lion hearted said...

Whoa, that was great! Thanks for that, Mr. Batson. I do have a question for Paragor, though. Why did you try to win over green-eyed Glimpses even thought they'd be carried off to the Gates of Despair anyway?

Shyeloh said...

Wow...that was, well... heart changing.

Isn't it incredible to know that the seemingly smallest sin can cause the greatest problems? Like the butterfly effect. Y'know, most villains...I guess they become what they are because they want to be loved, why they ruin everyone else's lives because they are jealous and can't have love.

Paragor...I think that's the saddest story I've ever read.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering, could you please interview Aiden and his friends? Or Kearn!!!!! Please Mr. Batson? -Katie P.

Rien Tahkid said...

Oops! Not Charrend just Cer Muryn. A misread on my part.

a fellow writer said...

LOL, that was actually very creative, Mr. Batson, to interview one of your characters! I wish I had thought of that... :) But I agree with Katie P.! Are the other characters in your books allowed to visit this cite also?

***Flinn-fan-of-the-Twins*** said...

Oh yes!!! Perhaps a visit from a certain pair of Twins...lol

Back on topic...

Paragor,I know you were a member of the Elder Guard, and after reading the account of what happened during Sir Aidan's adventures, I have come to suspect that the members of this group are a tightly knit unit...with deep, heartfelt friendships between one another other. The thought of killing my best friends AND their families...is unbearable.

Before you passed the point of no return, didn't it hurt you, even the smallest bit, to even think of destroying such friends?

Jamie said...

i agree with ***Flinn-fan-of-the-Twins***, what about interviewing the twins?

cson said...

What twins? Nock & Bolt?

Can't wait for the point update!

Galadriel said...

Paragor, why are you being so blunt? I understand the whole "death brings clarity thing" but even so, most villians never recognize their evil.

Paragor said...

Rien, the blue stones in Cer Muryn remained alight for longer than you might suspect. They vexed me, for I knew my purposes and my plans, and yet, there seemed to still be something noble in me. When they darkened at last and for good, it pleased me.

Paragor said...

Lion-hearted, the undecided Glimpses were essential to my plan. Aside from needing a steady supply of expendable soldiers, every single Glimpse I turned to my side or kept unsure was, in my mind a victory of Eliam.

Paragor said...

Flinn, you like the others project too much of yourselves into me. You might have had many friends on the Elder Guard. I did not. They were distant to me, aloof. Jealous of my prowess and successes, they were. And by the time I watched them burn, I felt nothing for them.

Paragor said...

Galadriel,
I am curious. When you say most villains do not recognize their evil, how do you know this? Perhaps you base your theory on the point at which you have encountered these villains. While in the Realm, I certainly recognized the malignant darkness growing in my mind, but of course, in my vanity, I suppressed it...or even worse, I convinced myself that I could handle it. Towards the end, I lost the capacity to discern. There is no greater consequence until life's end.

Now, you call me blunt. If you knew one moment of the pain that I will bear for eternity, you might think otherwise.

Nathan Petrie said...

Galdriel, villains often realize evil...pain can do that to you. I'm a wittness to that.

In a very small part I understand Pargor...and I do not doubt his motives. While the act was wrong I find myself in him indeed.

I'd be surprised greatly if you could not say the same.

NoahR said...

Paragor, I wonder at all of your defeats leading up to your attack on Abelle. Did you not see that King Elaim was winning and that he had everything under control? Did you not suspect that the king would bring people from our world to help and if you did why not seek them out and kill them? What did it feel like when you opened The Scroll of Prophecy fragment and found that through all of your battles King Elim had been using you for his purpose of glory and honor? Do you still feel King Eliam's love or are you oblivious to it? Finally, what makes you hate King Eliam so much? Is it that he was everything you were not?

IndinaTookOfMithegard said...

Paragor:

CAN I HAVE YOUR AUTOGRAPH?!?!?!?!? lol JK!

i just wanted to be random :)

Arysta said...

An interview with Nock and Bolt would be awesome, but Aidan would be very cool 'cause he's my favorite.

fire phoenix said...

Amazing...and slightly scary. The smallest evil unchecked grows more and more...until ultimately death. Wow.

Anonymous said...

mr baston,i think u should write books of all your characters back stories like wat it was like growing up that would make them need the king.like lady merwin(exuse spelling)just pops up we know little of how she bcame paragors i guess knight.kaliam, mallik,oswyn,etc

Anonymous said...

mr baston at the end of the book when king eliam comes back wat happens to the undecided glimpses in the other parts of the realm and in alleble do they go with paragor and the rest or do they go blue.i also think you should add more to the door within trilogy is there somthing like this fore the isle of fire series cause i have a lot of questions.

Anonymous said...

Paragor, aren't you dead? (Spoiler Alert)