Benevolent vs. Benign

David’s eyes regained some of their focus and he looked over at Jaz. The hard stuff could wait for later, but this was a good chance to gather more of the information that interested him.

“So do all the entities that we deal with have negative aspects like that? I mean, all the ones I know about do, but I’m a dilettante who’s read some books and you’re a specialist doing your life’s work. Is there really one truly benevolent ‘something’ out there keeping the rest in line or anything?”

“Negative aspects?” Jaz considered that, drumming her fingers on the table. “Not always. Not necessarily. Remember, belief has created all of these spirits - they weren’t handwaved into existence. They reflect the needs of the people who created them.”

“The Loa were created by a people who’d been enslaved, you understand. Their world was filled with constant death and terror and pain…so you have spirits that represent that reality. Baron Kriminel, who is one of Baron Samedi’s aspects, is considered the first murderer - an analog of Cain.” She shuddered. “I’ve met him, and I could live without repeating that experience.”

“I hate to group so many people together, so for sake of convenience, the native cultures tended far more towards literalism than the abstractness of the Loa. American natives tended to feel like there was enough bad stuff out there already - the spirits they created are generally ambivalent at the very least, if they aren’t benevolent.”

“Benevolent isn’t benign, though. For instance,” and she looked over at David, “Chesa’s patron is very benevolent…but that means she will do whatever is necessary to achieve her benevolent aims. Azrael,” she nodded at Rafe, “isn’t benevolent, but he is mostly benign. Mostly. Unless you are very clearly an Evil Doer. In his pantheon, his nature is pretty clearly defined, but not all angels are so straightforward.”

“And no, there isn’t some big guy in the skies keeping everyone in line, unfortunately. We created these things, we deal with the fallout. But,” and she leaned forward on the table, her eyes intense, “that does not mean there are no checks and balances. The universe is a funny place that way. Dragons are created? Huh, look at that. There’s dragonslayers. A bunch of benevolent but overly nosy and micromanaging gods exist? Oh, whaddya know, there’s a trickster to keep them occupied.”

“The long and short of it is, there is something out there to counter everything. Sometimes, it takes awhile to find the dragonslayer, and a bunch of maidens get eaten, but then, once the dragonslayer comes, the dragons are put on the endangered list. Our goal, as guardians, as protectors, is to fix an embalance that has occurred. That’s why we have the patrons with us - if the balance isn’t kept, then they’re goners, just like the rest of us.”