"Life has no meaning. Look
around, it's a joke. It's a joke that's just so plain funny that nobody's
laughing. People live, breathe, love, despair, and die for no reason. The
vastness of the planes is everywhere, and nothing that anyone does makes any
impact on anyone. People might try to be charitable to their fellow man, but
everyone's going to die, and all you'd be doing is patching them up emotionally
and physically until they passed on too. Action means nothing, because it's just
a hollow reflection of feelings and feelings mean nothing because they're no
good without action. There is no connection between any two events: things
happen because they must, and there's no changing what's happened before. I
exist for no purpose, and that's not going to change anytime soon. Some would
call me a member of the Bleak Cabal. I say I'm just a sod that's finally
realized the utter joke that is the multiverse."
"There is no meaning outside of
me. The true meaning lies only within. I bury myself in my knowledge, in my
books, and I discover everything that there is to know about the meaningless
multiverse so that I can apply it to myself. Magic... yes, magic. Magic is my
savior, I draw on it from within and lose myself with it."
"The multiverse has no meaning.
After about two years of charity work at the Gatehouse, I'm just beginning to
realize this. There's no reason that people go hungry in the Hive and die. No
reason whatsoever besides the fact that people are greedy and evil. Without me,
these people have nothing. Nothing at all. If I'm not here at the Soup Kitchen
every morning at five after antipeak, then who will be there for them? Who will
look after them from the rogues of the Hive? Who will save them? I can't save
them forever, but I can ease their suffering in this existence. To me, the
symbol of the Bleak Cabal is a symbol of mercy. We're all that they have."
The Bleak Cabal are those that
look on the multiverse and laugh, because it's all meaningless. Those that
attempt to assign a meaning to the multiverse (like everyone but themselves) are
just wasting their time trying to assign values to the meaningless. Looking for
a purpose to the multiverse? You won't find it, no matter how hard you look. So
say the members of the Bleak Cabal (Bleakers, for short), at least. No real
meaning to the whole barmy thing. Almost without exception, ever Bleaker in
existence is tortured and insane. They're so sure that they're right that it's
difficult for them to fit anything into perspective. The multiverse is a big
place. It's not really easy to accept that all the horror that takes place
across its vast expanse is for no reason... but when they do realize it, they go
completely insane. Some manage to remain coherent through this all, but most of
them eventually succumb to it and end up gibbering wrecks in the Gatehouse,
their headquarters of Sigil and the asylum of the Hive Ward. That is the life of
the Bleaker: a constant struggle against debilitating insanity. This may seem
noble, but it's not. The Bleakers aren't antiheroes, fighting the good fight
against insanity... that implies that there is a reason to their battle.
Why should they stay sane?
Because there's no real meaning to the multiverse, one would think that a
Bleaker would be more tempted just to give up and let the multiverse go on its
own merry nonsensical way. However, many Bleakers don't want to give up. They
see the people suffering out in the Hive, suffering that is for no real reason
whatsoever. They see this, and they want to help. They want to ease the
sufferings of the Hivers, seeing them as the teeming masses looking for
something in their life to uplift them. The Bleaker's aren't here to uplift them
or even help them find something uplifting, they're just there to make sure that
they can survive to the next day. Some say working the Soup Kitchens helps them.
Others say that it's more likely to drive them insane faster: looking out upon
the wretched masses makes Sigil look even worse than it already does.
The factol of the Bleak Cabal is
Factol Lhar, a completely insane half-orc completely dedicated to the prospect
of retreating into the depths of insanity... and returning. It's called the
"Grim Retreat", something that ever Factol in the Bleak Cabal has undergone. Not
once has a factol returned from the Grim Retreat, and they usually end up insane
madmen gibbering away in the Mad Bleaker Wing of Sigil. A few still remain alive
in there... and some plan escape, having developed powerful mental abilities in
Not all Bleakers work at the Soup
kitchens, though. Some are intense scholars, seeking in magic and knowledge what
other people and the rest of the multiverse cannot give. Others are artists and
poets, attempting to express themselves through their work. These are the "Bleakniks",
those that write such desultory philippics as:
"Sea of gray,
sea of black
Waves crashing onto the multiverse
Washing away all."
The Bleak Cabal actually does
attend the Hall of Speakers, declaring themselves the voice of the unprivileged
of the Hive. The ones that are seen in the Hall of Speakers are the ones that
obviously care enough about the common person to voice their concerns. They're
the ones that actually care.
The Bleakers are a mixed lot. The
most common of them are those that sit around, completely insane, in their
cells. Being a Bleaker tends to drive someone barmy. However, there are those
that still show some signs of caring about the outside world: these as the
members of the Bleak Cabal that are most likely to interact with those outside
Foremost in the maintenance of
the Gatehouse as an institution to help the poor and those driven insane by the
infinities of the Planes. These are the Caretakers of the grounds of the
Gatehouse. They clean its floors, feed its wards, and make sure that the grounds
are presentable - in a relative sense. Let's just say that the Gatehouse isn't
completely spic and span: partially because the Caretakers don't have the energy
and partially because it's just not possible to keep any section of the Hive
clean. It's like the place accumulates filth. The Caretakers of the Gatehouse
are usually extremely depressed individuals: their minds are scarred by the
sights their eyes have seen and the sounds their ears have heard.
Other members of the Cabal choose
to help the poor and starving in the Hive: if they don't do it, then who will?
They work the Soup Kitchens, distributing what could best be termed as dirty
water to the masses. Without the Bleak Cabal, though, who would do it? The
masses see the soup as a relief from their struggles and hardships of every day,
and the Soup Workers are glad to help.
Of course, some Bleakers see that
their goal is to enlighten the multiverse as to the true meaninglessness of it
through poetry, art, and music. These are the Bleakniks. The majority of this
fare is quite frankly awful, full of bland angst and post-modern imagery which
manages to annoy the majority of anyone who comes along. Going around dressed
all in black, they give out their observations about existence to anyone within
earshot. This is rarely welcomed.
surrounds me is black.
Death decay and doom
- Written on a scrap of paper found in a Bleaknik Tavern
Both the Xaositects
and the Bleakers acknowledge that the multiverse makes no sense. However, while
the Xaositects exalt in the nonsense, the Bleakers simply try to stay alive
through it all.
The Bleak Cabal hates the Sign of
One because they are focused on creativity and continue to claim that the
meaning of the multiverse is the Sign of One. It also stems back to an incident
many many years ago where the Sign of One announced that it had set up teams to
imagine the Bleaker's factol to death. The next morning, he never woke up.
The beliefs of the Godsmen are
diametrically opposed to those of the Bleak Cabal. Whereas the Godsmen believe
in self-improvement, the Bleakers see the self as something that is crippling,
something that means nothing.