- they're predictable. They come right at you, like bundles of white-hot rage given fangs and claws. But a devil
- he'll be your friend, and like a friend, he'll help you out of a jam, see. Need a few coins to get by? The devil's got a few to spare. Need a warm body to fill your bed? The devil knows the best ladies. Want status? Riches? Property? Power? The devil has the answers. He'll give you all you want and more. And what does he want in exchange? Just a little thing - a trifle, really. And it won't affect you in the slightest. All he wants is your soul.
Creation is a terrible, uncaring place. The gods are corrupt. Heaven is a sham and a scam, full of grifters and liars and con-men. The divine embodiment of virtue and righteousness hasn't left his pleasure dome in years. The average mortal is born into grinding poverty, breaks his back laboring for his entire life, and dies an ugly, undignified death. Then everything he is as a person is erased, his soul passes through an impersonal sorting system, and he begins a new life of pain and toil. His children will face more of the same. Those who stand up and stride forth and try to do something about this tend to get crushed under the tread of the truly mighty—corrupt provincial gods (which is most gods), their gifted sons and daughters, or the haughty Terrestrial Exalted. If you're really unlucky, maybe you'll come down on the bad side of a Lunar who wants to re-order your society into something he likes and you don't. Or an Abyssal will want to kill you for existing. Or you'll get drafted into a militia to face down a Solar. Or you'll get drafted into a militia by a Solar, robbed of your desire to stay on your plot of land and protect your meager belongings and loved ones by his honeyed, Essence-driven words. And then you'll die for a cause you have no investment in, or to further some magic asshole's agenda.
What about that is worth preserving? You just got a fat kick in the nuts from the world, again. The latest in a series of them. You are despondent. And then a terrible thing comes slouching out of the tree line, and it says that the architects of the cosmos understand your pain. They, too, have been unjustly overthrown, and imprisoned, and mutilated into the horrible thing you see before you. But they need a hero to save them. To bring down the cruel hegemony of the uncaring gods. To castigate a world steeped in corruption. So help us, they say. We cannot act, but we can give you power that will make the bickering gods of field and storm that ruin your crops every other year quail in terror. We cannot free ourselves, but we can give you a guide to help you set us free. We cannot reach beyond the bounds of our prison, but we will give you the strength to brush the stars out of the sky and set armies fleeing in terror before you. We cannot save those you love, but we can give you the cosmic might to do it yourself. All you have to do is serve us, and help us, and you will be Exalted above all other men when we are free, and the world will be yours.
They're lying with every second breath, but they're also telling you everything you want to hear. So you say okay. You say, yes, I'll change the world. And then the demon explodes into a hideous web of Essence and viscera, and closes about you, and your heart leaps in terror and revulsion and horror, but it's too late.