The essence of Evil is to cause suffering. There exist many varieties of suffering: from common corporeal pain through the rarefied torment of the psyche to deep wounds dealt to the soul. Whence then does Evil arise? Does it appear on its own? Or does it only spread when conditions are ripe? And finally, the most important question: How can Evil be defeated?
Most believe Evil has always existed, for none remember a time when it did not. Yet is that sufficient proof? I dare to doubt it, for I am a scholar, and the essence of scholarship is to question all hypotheses until they have been rigorously proven.
The appearance of Evil is closely tied to the existence of Good, its opposite and antithesis. Good without evil is dimensionless and therefore imperceptible. Evil, then, is an integral part of our lives.
Evil wears many faces and appears in many different forms. One of them wears a skin of flesh. This Evil incarnated as man travels the world, sowing death and suffering. Such Evil is devious and difficult to discern. We usually only note its presence when its already too late.
In my scholarly wanderings through the myths and legends of a great many cultures, I've come across descriptions of a certain individual which all display a striking similarity. I do not mean in terms of this individual's outer appearance or name, but of his modus operandi. This Evil works through trickery, tempting at first with the offer of something seemingly good. The price one must pay for this object of temptation, however, is enormous and nonrefundable, and the promised good often contains horrifying hooks and treacherous traps. Beware, then, of any who promise the impossible, for such can only be delivered through the machinations of Evil.