The Stagrench Classes

By Wolfram And Hart

Disclaimer: I don't own The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis does.

Chapter 1: School Is In Session

Good morning, class.

Welcome to the Tempters' Training College for young Devils. A new school year has begun, and with it, begins the next step in your temptation training. I see many new faces here today, and I sense a great deal of eagerness from our new additions to learn the art of temptation. Excellent. Your desire to begin leading human vermin away from the Enemy is certainly pleasing to Our Father Below.

You older students will remember me, but for you new students, I am Professor Stagrench, your dreaded teacher. You will find me a very capable and wise teacher, listen well and you'll reap the benefits of my wisdom. Disobey me, however, and you'll be severely punished. I do not tolerate disobedience or slacking off. Laziness is a fine tool to snare souls, but in Hell it will get you served on a platter along side those very souls.

Always remember why you're here: to hurt the Enemy. Causing humans suffering and leading them to eternal destruction is of course fulfilling and fun, but don't think that our enjoyment of their suffering is the only motivation of our endeavors. Our mission statement is to foil the Enemy, and ruining the little pests is merely a way of achieving that end. The Enemy made man in His own image, so remaking man in our image is the closest we can get to actually inflicting pain and suffering on Him. At least, that's as close as spirits like us can get. No doubt Our Father could inflict even worse pain directly on the Enemy if he wanted to, but his current strategy is to let us, his noble servants, to get our own victories over Him before the final triumph.

Over the next year, you will begin to see the correct way to destroy the humans and the right methods to keep them from realizing that they are in fact walking to the slaughter. It will seem complicated in the beginning, but never fear, it gets easier as time goes on. You will learn our time-tested methods of evil, and faster than you can say "Mephistopheles", you'll be up on Earth leading every mortal you're assigned to into Our Father's House. This should be the ambition of every able bodied devil in this room, because Hell demands nothing less.

Some of you no doubt think that this class will teach you how to turn an insignificant McDonalds employee into the next Hitler, but I'm afraid you've got the wrong impression of what this class teaches. As much as I wish we had it in our power to turn all our cases into spectacular monsters, I'm afraid that isn't all up to us. The Enemy has made the humans with the catch that we can't override their free will to make them do anything. We're still allowed to suggest, entice, and of course deceive, but we can't reach into their heads and force them to go on a killing spree. Unfortunately, the vermin aren't a race of puppets. If they were, our job would be so easy that I wouldn't need to teach you all how to tempt them.

Luckily, the humans don't know that. Hence the old phrase "the Devil made me do it." This only shows their ignorance of their own nature. They would prefer to think that we could override their will because it frees them from personal responsibility. They hate the idea of the Enemy because they hate being held accountable. They'll do anything to shift the blame to somebody else. Even when the Enemy asked the first vermin why he had sinned, he shifted the blame to his mate. And nowadays, the humans use psychology to somehow show that what they do isn't their fault. It's always blamed on their environment, their childhood, their society, their needs, and anything else that alleviates their accountability for their actions. If there's one thing humans excel at, it's making excuses.

They've built up this idea that their lives are determined only by what happens to them and that they can't help giving into their sinful natures. They can't help drinking when everyone else does it, they can't help being abusive because they were abused, and so on. They never realize that they actually can help themselves, and that they have the power to resist the temptations from themselves and from us. It's easier to shift the blame somewhere else than to look at themselves and make the choice to change. Indulging desires is easy, but being strong enough to resist takes a lot of work and the ability to admit mistakes. Thankfully, we can convince most of them to take the easy street to our dinner table than the hard road to the Enemy's Throne.

Though, don't think for a minute that our job is easy just because humans have an tendency to follow the path of least resistance. Don't forget that we are at war, and the Enemy opposes us. The Enemy Himself is always present on the battlefield, as are His soldiers (our former comrades who are still taken in by His propaganda) and human vermin who have come to know and serve Him. Not to mention the fact that nothing is naturally on our side because we oppose Him and thus the very nature of reality itself. We fight under great disadvantage, but that doesn't matter. In the end we will win! The humans are mostly ignorant of the war and thus we have the advantage of surprise. Remember that Our Father's greatest trick was convincing the vermin that he doesn't exist, and it is difficult for anyone to fight when they don't know whom they're fighting or that they're even supposed to be fighting. Our task is far from being easy, but we must always remember that it is worth doing. I look forward to sharing my diabolical wisdom with all of you, and even more to the time when you will put that wisdom to work on Earth.

Class dismissed.