Part 1 found here.
As before, MAJOR spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
Intermission 2, the Bleeding Tree
Following the Fakelight debacle, we experienced a period where Redlight had minimal appearances. He did start putting Scott through a series of sadistic “games”, but there were none of the action packed, fighting off three bloggers at once, encounters of the past. But while Mr. Light seemed to be laying low, elements were being added to the Mythos which would be important upon his return. The biggest of these: The Bleeding Tree.
Now, the Tree is something which deserves its own post (or will deserve its own post, once I get more info on it), so for here I intend to only give a summary, enough so that the next Redlight arc makes sense.
To put it simply, the Bleeding Tree was a giant, evil tree (that bleeds!) which had been haunting zero ever since the failure of the Solstice Gambit. At the time, details on the Tree were scarce, and some were claiming that it was just a hallucination zero was experiencing. Then, Robert confronted zero, and learned from him how to find the Tree. With that knowledge, Robert took a clipping from the Tree. This would be extremely important for the following arc.
Death of Redlight
For several months, we heard next to nothing about Redlight. No huge battles, no insane Xanatos Roulettes, nothing. Perhaps he decided that, after so much excitement and drama, he was going to spend some time enjoying life’s simpler pleasures (such as brainwashing an eleven year old girl, or spending large amounts of energy to drive a single Runner to the edge of sanity just for teh evulz). With his activity lowered, Morningstar took over the role of pan-Mythos villain, though with violent massacres instead of sadistic choices. Then, on July 12, we get a post on White Elephants telling us how Robert, wielding a piece of the Bleeding Tree, has killed Redlight. Shock! So it seems that the tale of Redlight has ended, with surprising suddenness. But then, six days later, we see a post on the eleventh hour:
“if big brother is dead, then who was i talking to just a day ago?”
A few weeks later, Morningstar posted that he had met with Redlight, confirming the man’s survival. Though survival may be a bit too strong a word; Redlight’s body seemed to be falling apart, with an eye hanging out of the socket and everything. He gave Morningstar 12 syringes, and told him to wait for ten days. If Morningstar heard no word from Redlight by then, then he was to use the syringes on random people.
After one of Morningstar’s minions rather foolishly used one of the syringes on himself, we learn their effect: a tree grew out of the minion, tearing him to pieces in a horribly bloody and painful way. That was with a light dosage; according to Redlight, the syringes contained enough for over a hundred victims.
Then Redlight decided to pay a visit to the new generation of Sages (Hakurei Ryuu, Kay, and AmalgamationSage). Well, two of them, at least. His first stop was Ryuu, though in what may be a first, he came not offering her some kind of choice, but asking for help. While he had survived his fight with Robert, the Bleeding Tree had infected him, and was growing in his body. This was a problem which body-surfing wouldn’t be able to solve, as his backups were also becoming infected by the tree. Redlight was looking for some kind of cure, and was desperate enough to ask those who were his enemies for it.
Ryuu attempted to do what she could for Redlight, but the results were…. Not quite as planned. Instead of fixing the Tree, Redlight’s body was ripped apart as the Tree’s growth within him accelerated. Redlight survived by jumping to another body, but he was starting to burn through hosts.
Next stop was AmalgamationSage. From the conversation between the two, we learn a fun fact: Whenever someone uses one of Redlight’s syringes, it punches a hole in the Viel (which is a very, very bad thing). The dozen Redlight gave to Morningstar contains enough to bring about the end of the world. If Redlight was killed by the Tree, he intended to take the rest of the world down with him.
Their conversation at points delved into the philosophical, but the main point of discussion was that Redlight wanted AmalSage’s help getting rid of the Tree. The Tree was a threat to everyone, after all; it was AmalSage’s duty to stop it, even if Redlight was cured as a side effect. Then there was the threat of Redlight’s Apocalypse Juice hanging over everyone’s heads if they didn’t comply.
And Redlight was right: The Tree was a problem, which creates a threat to many. But that didn’t mean AmalSage had to play along with what Redlight told him to do. When they had last met, AmalSage could sense the links Redlight had with his backup bodies. Using his Super Awesome Wizard Powers (TM), AmalSage severed those links, making it so that Redlight would have nowhere to run to when his current body was used up. It seemed like a victory for the forces of JUSTICE…. Only for Redlight to reveal that, in fact, this had all been Just As Planned. The Bleeding Tree was able to track Redlight through the network he had created, and AmalSage had just cut him off from that network. Now, once his current body was used up, all Redlight had to do was take control of Cynthia’s body (a body which wasn’t infected by the Tree), and he would be free from it. Suddenly not so much a victory for justice.
It seemed like Redlight had won this round. As if to cement his victory, Redlight took Cynthia to a confrontation with Tony and Cathy, her parents, as well as Simon (just some bloke who had recently joined with her parents). Unbeknownst to Redlight, Cynthia had managed to break free of his control recently. When he told Cynthia to kill her parents, she instead attacked him. In the ensuing fight, Cathy shot Redlight. Without the network allowing him to possess another body, Redlight wasn’t able to escape death. And thus, finally, Redlight was dead.
Perhaps the greatest mystery surrounding Redlight has always been his identity. We are never given a post explaining his backstory, and even Redlight himself claims to not remember who he was prior to working for Slender Man. All we know for sure is what we saw after his appearance in the blogosphere.
So who could he be? For all we know, he’s just some random guy who was hallowed by Slender Man, and somehow gained mind wipe/body surfing skillz along the way. It’s a nice, simple theory, which provides a very basic explanation without having any holes in it. Even so, there is another hypothesis on Redlight’s identity which has some popularity.
The Fallen Sage
Back before Redlight ever appeared, there was a blog called “Anomalous Data”, run by a Sage named Jay (no relation to Jay from Marble Hornets). Jay had presumably died performing a heroic sacrifice before the Sage titles were passed on to the next group, putting him out of the action by the time Redlight appeared. End of story, yes?
Not so much, according to some. While there has never been any confirmation within the setting, there has been a persistent rumor that Redlight is actually Jay, having been turned into Redlight after being captured by Slender Man.
There are a few things which could be seen as supporting this claim. One of Redlight’s main tricks has been memory wiping people of all knowledge related to Slender Man, removing them from the hunt. Prior to his end, Jay had been doing extensive research into that very subject, and had even discovered occasional success. In addition, Jay had been looking into the idea that hallowed proxies were connected to each other through a hivemind, which could be related to the early claims about a Redlight hivemind (before it was changed to Redlight bodysurfing). There’s also his fixation on the Sages; most of Redlight’s early actions revolved around dealing with Robert or putting down zero’s Core Theory resistance. When the third generation of Sages was named, they were the ones Redlight contacted in order to find help.
There are still problems with this. Lots of problems. Mainly, character. Redlight acts absolutely nothing like Jay did. Jay is often treated as “The Morally Ambiguous Sage”, which could lead in to the villainous Redlight, but that characterization of Jay simply isn’t true. Yes, he wasn’t the nicest of people out there, but Jay was never portrayed as lacking in morals; if anything, he had an extremely strong sense of utilitarian morality. That is, the greatest good for the greatest number of people. While Jay’s research may have involved intentionally revealing Slender Man to civilians, the intent was to create a cure to save victims. Redlight never shows any leanings towards utilitarian ethics. The only philosophy which could possibly be applied to him would be ethical egoism (the belief that individuals should act in their own self interests), though with Redlight this seems to be a case not of philosophical beliefs, but just him being a selfish prick.
Another marked difference between Jay and Redlight is how they emotionally react. Jay tended to be very cool and analytical; he admitted that one of his great strengths against Slender Man was his subdued emotions prevented much of the fear associated with the being. Redlight, on the other hand, is distinctively less subtle. He taunts his enemies, gloats over victories, and is as often motivated to harm runners by spite as he is by any pragmatic goal. Jay would need go through quite a lot of mental trauma and personality changing before he could turn into Redlight.
Then there’s the whole deal with Jay never showing any sign of being capable of body surfing. It’s the sort of thing you’d have thought he might mention maybe once or twice.
So why is this such a popular hypothesis? Well, because it’s kinda cool. One of the original Sages being turned into one of our greatest enemies? Very dramatic. Makes the struggles against him a bit more personal, and adds a hint of tragedy to the whole thing. Even I admit to liking the idea a bit, even if I do find it implausible.
Sadly, with Redlight dead, it’s likely that we’ll never know the truth…. Okay, who am I kidding. He’ll be back any day now. We only killed his human form. He probably has a cyborg backup somewhere, and shall return as REDLIGHT GOD OF MACHINES!
First Redlight Arc
Cached White Elephants (What’s left of it….): http://slendernation.forumotion.com/t4-cached-white-elephants-robert-sagel
A hint of serendipity: http://despairpalesbeforeme.blogspot.com/
Second Redlight Arc
The Mystic: http://helpingthosehelpthemselves.blogspot.com/
The London Librarian: http://thelondonlibrarian.blogspot.com/
What You Are in the Dark: http://whatyouareinthedark.blogspot.com/
White Elephants: http://fighthimuntiltheend.blogspot.com/
Observe and Terminate (Operation Firestarter): http://nightcrawler-observeandterminate.blogspot.com/2011/02/operation-firestarter-after-action.html
the eleventh hour: http://thee1eventhhour.blogspot.com/
Time to Talk: http://cathydelmont.blogspot.com/
Get your game face on: http://tellthemnothing.blogspot.com/
Third Redlight Arc
Copper and Chrome: http://dowhatthebigkidsdo.blogspot.com/
Copper and Chrome: Dark Nest: http://darknestallalone.blogspot.com/
The Network: http://redlightexplodes.blogspot.com/
The Last Refuge of a Dangerous Man: http://fateworsethandeath.blogspot.com/
Si vis pacem, para bellum: http://slendermanmustdie.blogspot.com/
I am Stardust: http://youandthestarsareone.blogspot.com/
Records of an Impossibility: http://recordsofanimpossibility.blogspot.com/
The Morning Hunter: http://themorninghunter.blogspot.com/