|Official Name||Lapis Lazuli|
|Accessibility||Middle and Upper Classes|
Lapis Lazuli is a deep blue gemstone with black, white, and golden speckles best known for its ties to the Undead. While various myths speculate on its origins, its effect on the living is clear, as large quantities of it have been known to disrupt the soul and thus force an Undead into being. Exactly how much Lapis required for this to happen is unknown and seems to even vary from person to person. Regardless, this niche application is eclipsed by its much more common use in decoration and jewelry.
Lapis Lazuli has a very uncertain history, mostly due to active suppression by many governing bodies across time, stemming from the general distrust or outright hatred against Undead common in Alorian societies. However, the earliest known reference to Lapis Lazuli comes from before the Allorn Empire rose, in the collection of Meraic-curated fables known as the Tohn Qarma which exists today among the Maraya. In it, the story of the Exist Colossi known as Nehret, The End can be seen, in which Nehret shed tears when the first person in the world died, and these tears became Lapis Lazuli as they hardened in the soil. The substance, even in this ancient text, mentions the material being capable of disrupting the soul and thus, forming an Undead even from a still living, healthy person. In the Allorn Empire, there are scant records to the use of Lapis Lazuli in this manner, but many Altalar saw and still see to this day that using this substance is unnatural and undignified, depriving them of their rightful afterlife on the River of Memories. It did not help that Nehret, unlike all other Colossi, was firmly tied to the Dewamenet Empire and both did not, and could not, be culturally adapted as a result. Instead, both she and the substance related to her went on to be suppressed.
But other parts of Aloria lacked such ties, even if the myths of Nehret did survive in whispers. In Farah’deen and Corontium, the material became known and used in jewelry. Even the distant land of Guldar spoke prominently of “Deepnight’s Bricks,” a substance confirmed in recent decades to have been Lapis Lazuli. However, it wasn’t until after the Cataclysm that the material’s effect on the Undead became widely known, as in all of that chaos, many died and some were found to be risen as Ghüls as they had expired near Lapis. However, the amount of Lapis required for this process was always large, and as time went on, and Ordial cults emerged to promote the worship of their deities alongside the Asha reclaiming their history and Nehret along with it, Lapis Lazuli’s abilities became common superstition among several areas of post-Cataclysm society. Nowhere was this more true than Etosil, with the Undead problem widely believed to have been the rest of Etosil huge natural deposits of Lapis Lazuli, in addition to the powers of The Bone King. Etosians came to emphatically believe that Lapis led to the birth of the Undead, but also paradoxically, that it could ward them off once they had been formed. While untrue, this allowed the boom in Lapis Lazuli-based jewelry trade out of Etosil, with vast mines carefully built to avoid collapse yet extract as much of the mineral as possible. Due to the bettering of Etosian and Undead relations today, however, both beliefs are on the decline, as the amount of Lapis required to make an Undead solely from that substance has largely eliminated the fears and desires of the everyday citizen, though the Lapis jewelry business still thrives from Etosil and a select few other areas.
Lapis Lazuli appears as a grey-blue stone when found raw, with the golden streaks that appear on its surface an easy indicator of its identity. They are often in a rough crystal formation but can appear like normal ore. Once refined, Lapis Lazuli’s deep blue color shines through, though it is still speckled with small flecks of black, white, and Gold.
Lapis Lazuli has one main use as decoration. It is most commonly crafted into necklaces and rings, often pairing very well with Gold or Silver, or similarly toned yet cheaper metals. Lapis Lazuli also often pairs well with diamonds, and can be used in larger pieces like carvings, but is generally kept on the smaller side given its one ability, which is its theoretical final use. Further, Lapis Lazuli also serves a role in crafting blue dyes and paints when ground up.
How or why is often beyond many of Aloria, but Lapis Lazuli is best known for its main characteristic of forcing the creation of Undead. While tales speak of still living, healthy subjects having their souls ripped from their bodies and then disjointedly rammed back inside, crafting Undead over a process of minutes, the reality is instead a gradual change that can take hours, and only happens as someone is already dead, or is dying. The Bone King supposedly made use of Lapis Lazuli-lined coffins to force an Undead into being, but his rumored practices are almost gentle when compared to other groups, who often capture the healthy living, put them in such boxes, and then stab the body through to either die slowly, or to immediately perish, and create a new Undead. For their part, the cults who follow Nehret do not engage in such practices, instead much more passively engaging with creating Undead.
- The unknown nature of Bintaar and its relationship to Lapis Lazuli have some theorists believing that the material is a conduit for that other dimension, and that the substance exists in a state where it is in both the undead and living realm.
- Individuals who buy Lapis in bulk are often immediately put on the radar of the various states of Aloria given what the material can be used for, which often means obtaining such quantities legally is not an option for anyone but a jeweler.
- The special canes used by worshipers of Nehret, The End are often inherited relics or passed out from the community to its most prominent members, as commissioning such a piece can leave a trail back to the hidden society.