People do politics. It’s human nature, unfortunately. Get three people into the same room, sooner or later two of them are going to pressure the third to go along with something – subtly or not. This makes life tricky enough in the world we know, where for better or worse your alliances and enmities with any individual end with their death.
But what happens when you add reincarnation to the mix? Especially if some of those reincarnated have significant memories from their past lives?
…Then things get complicated.
Of course there’s the classic, “Demon Lord reborn, Hero reborn to face him” scenario. You have to feel for both sides of that mess, especially if the poor Demon Lord at least started out trying to live a normal life. Until, of course, his Minions of Evil tracked him down….
That’s the interesting part more stories ought to tackle. If reincarnation is known to happen, suddenly grudges – and alliances – ripple out a lot farther, and last much, much longer.
Take the whole “Demon Lord and Hero do a mutual kill” scenario. If one or both sides know the pair may come back, they’re going to be looking for them. And if they find them….
Resulting events will range from the benevolent to the grimmest extreme. Some I can think off offhand include: Taking in your reborn ally to teach them again and better so they win next time. Taking in your reborn enemy and trying to turn them to your side with the Power of Friendship and found family, so when they do recover memories of evil/good they will, at the least, be torn and might even pull a Heel-Face/Face-Heel Turn. Taking in an enemy or ally and sealing their memories so they live a normal life. On the grimmest side of the scale, grabbing your enemy when he’s most helpless and either imprisoning them so they can never get out… or tracking them down and killing them while they’re still powerless. Over and over and over again.
Yeah. Dark, that one.
A thing that strikes me about that darkest scenario is, it might not be either the Minions of Evil or hidebound Good At All Costs people who’d go to those lengths. I could easily see that “track both sides down and kill them” done by people who want to stay neutral.
After all, they saw the last Demon War. Or they have legends of it. Sure, maybe the Hero saved the world at the last possible moment – but that didn’t stop the Demon army from wiping out innocent lives, kingdoms, maybe even whole continents. Wouldn’t it be better just to stop the mess before it can start again? No Hero, no Demon Lord, no war. I can see people thinking it. Believing it. Dedicating their lives and descendants to carrying the Plan out.
(Yes, there are some Assassin’s Creed vibes here. I’ve read some really snarky AC crossover fics; Desmond rocks.)
It might even work for a while. But I suspect that after a few centuries of the Hero and Demon Lord being silently killed off, other people would end up filling those roles. Because politics, and power, and human (or demon) nature. Meaning the original Hero and Demon Lord might finally reincarnate without being noticed, and things go boom….
Another interesting story-seed might be, what if it’s not the Hero or Demon Lord, but one of their allies who’s reincarnated? The great and powerful Sage, the Dragon, the mighty Warrior, the ominous Necromancer. Does someone come looking for them? Does more than one group come looking? Do they get snapped up by friend or foe, or do they make a break for it until they can find out what’s going on?
“Happy 16th birthday! You’re the Demon Lord’s High Executioner reborn!”
…Yeah. Murphy’s gonna love sending that story down in flames….