Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura (aka Arcanum) is a computer role-playing game with a cult following. Developed by Troika Games and published by Sierra Entertainment, it was released in August 2001. It is played in isometric perspective and takes a steampunk-high fantasy setting. The player's main objective is the completion of a central quest, which may be aided by a party.
'Greetings. Long have I waited for your arrival, and finally this moment has come. I am Kerghan, first of the Necromancers, voyager in the lands of the dead. My life, in the world you call Arcanum, seems so very distant, clouded like the memories of a child -- and a child I was, then, probing the darker magics, given glimpses of the truths yet to come.
'Look at me, and what do you see? A monster? An abomination? You have no idea what I have discovered. You see with eyes tainted by Life and all which that accursed state embodies. My vision is clear because of those magics you hold in disdain; and the Council, it is they I have to thank for it. This place, this "Void", has no Time as you know it. I feel as I did the moment they sent me here, or as when the Dark Elves first called to me. Do you not see? Here, I can do everything I could do in your world, yet I am unfettered by the chains of mortality that Time hangs upon us.
'My reasons for returning are not what you would think. I have no aspirations for power or domination as so many do. No. Those are the motivations of the living, and I no longer place myself among them.
'If only I could show you the places I have seen, you might understand the things I say. I have been to the Desolate Lands, wandered by those souls who still see the lands of the living but wear the cloak of the dead. Blind to their own ends, they cry, passing through one another like shadows in the dying light of day. I have travelled to where souls rot in torment, pierced with the jagged shards of life and vision, clinging to memory -- regrets of the flesh. I saw that this prison was of their own making, and that the key was in unknowing, in release... and still, I travelled on.
'And finally, I came to the place where souls go to die. Where the mirrored and worn spirits fall into an endless sea of grey, mirrored glass... and I lowered myself within...and lay among them... and I almost did not return.
'And do you know what I found there? There, among the silent and battered shells of the innumerable? Peace. Enlightenment. Truth. Only then I realized that this place, this "Life", is an abomination, a horrible distortion of the natural order. This "Life", who mothered Pain, and Fear, and Envy - these twisted children who exist only because we are here to feed them, to nourish them. This "Life", this... afterthought - a disturbance, a mere ripple in that great, dead sea, not even the cause, but merely an effect, sending these souls upwards, screaming for release from the day they are torn from their waters! The effect of what!
'I do not know. Nor do I care.
'Have you ever spoken with the dead? Called to them from this side? Called them from their silent rest? Do you know what it is that they feel? Pain. Pain, when torn into this wakefulness, this reminder of the chaos from which they had escaped. Pain... for having to live. There will be no more pain. There will be no more chaos. And so I go to Arcanum to be an end to it, and then I will join the souls of the dead, when it is done.
'I see your soul, traveler. It screams, tattered and spent. Do you feel its pull? Do you hear its wailing? It is within my power to calm these waters, and that is what I shall do.
'I realize that you have followed the path of the righteous. Or, at least, that is the role you have decided to play. You have yet to see the other side. Follow me, and I will show you things that you have never imagined.'
-- Kerghan, final speech.
part of this can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMZi217RUUY
'He showed me that you don't always have to take what life gives you... that there's always a better path, and that its always your choice to travel it.
'The dead have no family, and remember not their pasts.
'I must go and do what must be done.
'As if I've got a bloody choice. Aren't we all just pawns of prophecy?
'We've all got blood on our hands.
'In the end we all just play the role given us... sometimes they don't fit so well, but I guess we make do.
'Burdens like mine... they don't go away... they always come back to... to collect what is due them. Someday, the balance will have to be paid...
'As I've said, the past is in the past.
'Joachim says the free man is defined by what he does today. I'll look no more behind me