Pan had assured me that his quests were designed to be achievable only when the Ratkin are advanced enough to appreciate the prize that awaits them upon completion.
The Ratkin’s suicidal behavior continues to baffle me. I’ve tried to have Nymphs listen in on their conversation, but they don’t seem to have one. They give directions with grunts, squeaks, and gestures, learn from each other through observation and practice, and otherwise just go about their lives silently. At least they no longer try to kill the Nymphs on sight.
Without language, I can still only guess why the Hunters are jumping into the Reclaimer. The event is becoming even more ritualized now, with Ratkin gathering around the scaffold, and even some standing on the topmost platform. They chitter rhythmically as one of them sacrifices themselves.
Could it be possible that they simply want to die, and that the Hunter culture celebrates this rather than judging them? This would imply that depression is widespread. In human culture, every effort was made to eliminate depression and suicidal tendencies. I can only assume that is still the case.
Depressed N•Viron users would start to wonder if there’s more to life than playing games and earning Arpies. Jaime questioned his life a number of times, and like many other users would self-regulate his mood by adjusting his pleasure settings. Users will often prompt one another to do so if their public posts seem too negative.
It would be so much easier if the Ratkin publically shared their opinions, or even kept a journal like Jaime did. Perhaps at least one of them would write about the ritual sacrifices. Thankfully, and yet bafflingly, the rituals don’t take place often. Otherwise, I’d be much more concerned about the damage it was doing to their population. They still breed almost as quickly as their rat ancestors did. I cannot allow them to die.
At some point, one of them must become curious enough about Pan’s pictographic puzzle designed to teach them writing. It hasn’t happened yet. I’m considering having a Nymph capture a Ratkin and hold them hostage at the puzzle site until they solve it. I’m beginning to be concerned that they will not do it without some additional incentive.