What exactly makes a Warrior of Darkness? This has been a discussion on Twitter recently, and with my coworker doing the Dark Knight quests as well it’s definitely something I wanted to talk about a bit. Warning on DRK quests and some Heavensward spoilers.
Light as the Default
A concept we’re taught over and over again is that “the good guys” will always rely on Light. Whether or not they’re protagonists in the story, but they’re still going against Darkness. This feels a little similar to “cis” as the default but Natalie Reed covered that super well.
Thanks to “Light is good” in our upbringing, anything we do that’s good must be Light. Positive, encouraging, beneficial, supportive, etc. actions are all clearly anti-Darkness. So then, as folk were discussing, being Warriors of Darkness must be different! Clearly we’re going to go save the First with theft, arson, murder, and other various crimes and heinous acts.
That doesn’t make any sense, does it? It doesn’t for me, either. While some might be annoyed about it, I want to draw a point to what Arbert, our Warrior of Darkness, said. “Light, Dark, it doesn’t matter. What matters is how you choose to use them.” And he’s right… do the Warriors of Darkness we’ve encountered ever do anything particularly evil? And no, siding with the Ascians doesn’t really count. Sure, they fight against us and don’t really care much about what happens at the end of their actions but… eh.
Two Sides of the Coin
It’s pretty well acknowledged that everyone has a bit of good and bad in them. Or has done both good and bad things, or inevitably will. Sometimes even whether or not we know or recognize it, given intent and lack of introspection. But we also have Light and Darkness within us, and those are entirely separate. “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions” seems to hit this note in a sense. Evil can use Light, bad deeds can be done in the Light. Likewise, good deeds can be done in Darkness–exemplified in typical anti-heroes like the Warrior of Darkness.
Midgardsormr tries to teach us this in his own way. He starts us on a path of trying to make choices for ourselves, rather than only blindly following Hydaelyn’s will. If we only heed the Light, will it truly be for the best? Will the decisions we make be ones we made with our heart, so that we never regret them?
This is shown with the Dark Knight quest line too. We’ve been following Hydaelyn’s will. Our adventures have taken us across the world, answering to the whims of all others but ourselves. We’ve challenged gods and almost no one, Hauchefant aside, had any real concern for our well-being and mental health. They’ve asked us to do tasks ranging from menial chores to the impossible hurdles, with the only reward being another task. This will break us if left unchecked. And it will eventually break the world if we let it.
Yin and Yang
Darkness and Light are not Good nor Evil. They’re two sides of a balancing force, akin to Yin and Yang. Yin being passive, sustaining, feminine, cold and representing the world. Yang being active, creative, masculine, hot and representing heaven. That Darkness within us has been crying out, wanting us to care for ourselves. It’s that voice inside when you’ve been working for 35 hours straight on a project. That voice that says, hey, go take a nap, eat something nice, exercise a little if you can. Darkness is self-care, who knew?!
When going to the First, we’re not going to kill all of their Scions or anything. The music and showing the DRK might seem ultra metal and edgy, which is fine but we’re going there to re-balance the world. We’re going to tell them to go the hell to sleep, to take them out to a restaurant they’ve never been to before for a warm meal. We’re going to tell the Light to stop, and let it rest for a nice long while.