Dear Dark Lord,
I’m a lowly minion serving in the Dark Army, and, needless to say, my life sucks.
Like, maybe ‘tis not as bad as the souls of the captured enemies you torture in the Dungeon of a Thousand Sorrows, but it’s certainly close. I’m shuffled from battle to battle like an anonymous cog in the Great Machine of Evil, and I can’t seem to figure out my purpose.
It’s not the senseless killing that has me questioning things, and it’s not the total lack of empathy for all the peoples we subjugate. Those parts I enjoy. It’s that I’m out there on the front lines risking my life in combat over The Prophecies and Sacred Relics and such, yet nobody seems to notice me.
Just yesterday a new minion joined the platoon. We got into a skirmish with some elves on the edge of Bloodleaf Forest. We were charging blindly down the hill straight at them like we’re taught to do in minion school, when out of nowhere he was hit in the eye by an arrow and died. I saw the whole thing. He was right in front of me, so I kicked his still-writhing body down the hill. It took out a few elves’ knees before rolling into a ditch. When the fighting was over we left his body in the ditch and went back to wandering the forest looking for another fight.
Typical day. But it got me thinking.
Who was he?
What was his name?
We left him out there to rot and nobody gave it a second thought because nobody cares about a minion, not even other minions.
Like, maybe this guy had a family. Probably not because we’re all taken captive from our families in childhood to serve as slave soldiers til death; or we’re otherwise birthed from a concoction of dark magick and desecrated earth. But you never know.
I thought about getting married once. She was a minion, too. She was killed in the Battle of Gruyry’s Gulch, trampled to death if I remember correctly. I actually thought about retrieving her body from the carnage, but a lot of things were on fire by that point in the day and everyone was running around all crazy like they always do when things are on fire.
I can’t even remember her name.
Come to think of it, I don’t even know my own name. Or anyone else’s for that matter. We all just grunt at each other and make snarling sounds during the march into battle. The battles themselves are always way too chaotic to talk to anybody, and then when it’s over I just sort of black out until the next major event. Every time I come to I’m marching into another battle or standing guard in some dreary mountain lair.
Is that normal?
Please don’t take this as me complaining. I knew what I was signing up for when that raiding party pillaged my village all those years ago and I chose to become a slave to the Darkness over death. (I assume this is what happened. I have no recollection of my own backstory.) But sometimes I just feel alone and invisible.
Is my existence meaningless?
Minion Searching for Meaning
Dear Minion Searching for Meaning,
The easy answer is: Yes. Your existence is meaningless.
But the reality is more complex than that.
In this great battle between Evil and Good, everyone has a role to play, no matter how insignificant. Mine is to lead the Dark Army to victory and cast the Realm into an Eternity of Shadow. Yours just happens to be dying anonymously for the glory and/or entertainment of more important people.
You’ve probably heard that I started my career as a minion. So when you say you feel alone and invisible sometimes, trust me, I know what you mean. Even as an all-seeing, all-powerful Evil Overlord I feel that way sometimes.
I remember the last time I felt that way was after the Battle of the Mallow Marshes (probably a little before your time, because if you were a minion there you’d be dead now). I had just won a great victory over the knights of S’möria. The marshes were strewn with corpses, both our side and theirs. The stench of muck and death filled the air and everything was covered in a horrendous sugary goo.
I had just conquered a new territory and should have been celebrating. But in that moment, as I gazed around at the carnage wrought by mine own hand, I felt acutely alone and invisible. Technically I was, because everyone else was dead and I was going through an invisibility cloak phase at the time. But I also felt that way on the inside.
What did I do about it?
I took off my invisibility cloak and summoned a few of my lieutenants back from the dead so we could celebrate.
Simple as that.
You probably don’t have that option because you’re not a supernatural demigod, but you’ll figure it out. Take a walk, or go murder somebody, or do whatever it is minions are into these days. Before you know it, you’ll be back to your normal feelings of blind rage and unconstrained bloodlust.
I wish you the best, and I look forward to seeing you back out on the front lines once you put this behind you. The Dark Army needs all the expendable flesh it can get.
Until then I remain, dear vassal, thy Vile Master,
Dark Lord Dörgu Bøgerleshk, Bane of the Nrymbobl, Usurper of Forlorn Souls, Blood Govourner of the Flaming Infernal Swamplands
P.S. If you discover that you are, in fact, a supernatural demigod, let me know immediately. This would be a threat to my supremacy and you would have to be eliminated.