|Affected Races||Mundane Human, Magus (except Yanar), Maraya and Asha|
|Contraction||Death early on, or at the result of, a failed love or lover scorned|
Morvali are a very rare form of shades and remnants of emotions and memories once belonging to whole people, now resorting to staying alive by feeding off the memories of others, craving the love and affection they never had, or were robbed of. Morvali are made when a person dies, directly as a result of or related to circumstances around a scorned love affair or marriage. Commonly Morvali are women murdered by their husbands but have also been known to be men who could no longer go on without their wife who died from an unexpected cause early on in the marriage, or a woman scorned and betrayed to the sorrow of lifelessness by a lover who chose another. Morvali are denied the peace of death as the conflict between their emotions and memories cause their memories to be trapped by their agony and passionate emotions, not quite becoming undead, but not quite being alive either, instead condemned to drift not unlike a phantasm. They leave their body behind, but still manifest in a physical way, hungering for the memories of love returned and passionate moments in others, seeking them out with subterfuge and feeding off them to sate their hunger and sustain their existence.
Morvali, sometimes also called Weeping Wraiths, have existed for thousands of years, as references to these beings exist even in ancient Altalar texts, sometimes mistakenly calling them Rime Crones, thinking it has something to do with an ice curse, as they seemed to proportionally appear more in the colder environments of the Allorn Empire than elsewhere, the harsh life in the tundras resulting in more lovers abandoned to the frost. It is recorded that these Rime Crones caught wandering loners in the tundras and snowstorms, presumably feeding off their memories, and then leaving them to die alone and confused. A folk tale among the Altalar eventually arose that the Rime Crones actually lured men away to eat them, but this is not accurate to the truth. It is in fact far more likely that the Morvali simply fed off their memories, left them in a weakened state, only to be eaten by wolves or bears, to be found later by others half-eaten. Because of the prevalence of Memorymancy among the Altalar, it should come as no surprise that the Altalar have a particularly strong hatred for the Morvali, who they consider memory thieves and parasites, taking particular pleasure in killing (even temporarily) any Morvali they find in the name of Estel and Ulley.
In other societies, Morvali appeared less often. Altalar society developed a cruel and abusive element early on, while most Ailor societies remained fairly simple and fair, thus proportionally creating less Morvali. The frequency of Morvali increased as Ailor society grew more complex, especially during the zenith period of the Regalian Empire. In fact, Morvali appear proportionally more in the upper classes of Ailor society than they do among the commoners, especially among the Ithanians and New Regalians where arranged marriages and strict monogamy or polygamist values result in somewhat skewed relations. While no true location is home to the Morvali, there is a proportionally higher number of Morvali present in the Forest of Secret Whispers, a dark pine forest spanning the regions of Ober and Unter Calemberg, between Alexanderburgh and Lutherstadt. This sparsely populated region is known to have cruel male-preference customs, as well as the darkness and depth of the forest hiding many stories and myths untold and forgotten by time. While Morvali do not actually recognize each other all that much (since they cannot feed on one another), Morvali have sometimes known to come together in these so called Weeping Whisper Councils, a form of Coven not too dissimilar from Vampire Covens. Yet, these groups do not exist to aid one another in the traditional sense or for some sense of community belonging. Rather, they exist for Morvali to exchange knowledge on victims, who has the juiciest memories that sate the best, and who is the easiest to deceive. Even while a Morvali is not actively hunting for memories to feed off, they take satisfaction in pretending even if just for a little while, to be the person from their victim’s memories, reliving a normal life before the hunger returns and they must feed once more.
The Morvali are actually accepted and within the norm in Qadir society, the only society in the world that permits them to exist openly among them, and might even be inclined to protect them in foreign societies like the Regalian Empire when one is hunted. Among the Qadir, the dead take on a different type of role, as many ‘die’ in the traditional sense when their Soul Essence is transferred to clockwork machinery, but still live on in a conscious way. As such, the Qadir already have a more relaxed attitude towards the undead. But what makes the Morvali exceptionally useful to the Qadir is that they can feed off the memories of those who have also lost a lover or have bad memories of a failed love affair, but continue to be alive. Qadir already make a habit of modifying and messing with memories and emotions to be more efficient in their work and inventions, and as such, Morvali are accepted as those who offer peace of mind, by stealing away memories and anguish of a past love affair to give peace of mind. Some Morvali have even set up businesses in Al-Alus and Mooriye, where customers gladly pay for their hunger with their memories, to clear their mind, and make them more focused on their work.
Infection & Curing
Morvali are created when a person dies early on in an intense love affair, through whatever means, or dies from a broken heart after the death of a cherished lover, or is scorned by their soulmate who chose another. At the moment of death, their soul is unable to properly unravel like it does for all who pass on, the intensity of their emotions clinging onto their memories that refuse to leave the mortal realm. Instead of Undead who have their soul bound to their body however, Morvali are not bound by their old body which may well remain in the grave or crypt they were buried in. Instead, their memories use Ordial energies to manifest a physical body from thin air, a body that looks somewhat like the old body, but not quite, as memories are prone to fade and misremember small details. In this form, the person might appear just like any other normal person to the untrained eye, but exists more like a shade on reality, or a ghost, than an actual physical person. They are also immediately beset by a hunger for the love that they craved when they died, a hunger that can only be sated by consuming the memories of love, passion, and affection from others who have had it. The vast majority (9 out of 10) Morvali are female, though male Morvali can also exist, they are simply much rarer. Scholars have largely theorized that this is because most Alorian societies are patriarchal or male-dominated, and as such, it is far more likely for a woman to be murdered by her husband, or scorned by a man who abuses his lovers, than it is the other way around.
Morvali cannot be cured in the traditional sense. Since they are not alive, nor dead, and not even quite undead either, no known exorcism ritual works on them, and there is no way to restore their soul back to normal as it has long since left the body. Morvali are presumed to be immortal, as long as they can keep feeding on the memories of love and affection belonging to others, that which sustains them in the physical realm and prevents what remains of their soul to deteriorate into a poltergeist that loses all sense of self and reality (which is what all Morvali turn into if they stop feeding for several weeks). As time passes, the original person becomes more and more faceless, the memories of who they once were fading with each feeding of emotions and memories, with particularly old Morvali who have wandered Aloria for hundreds of years having a blank featureless face. Despite being essentially ghosts, Morvali can be killed, temporarily, through physical harm. Their body remembers how the living function, and any kind of mortal harm applied to them causes their memories to unravel, turning them into an invisible specter that cannot interact or perceive the world outside of Bintaar. It then travels back to the rough equivalent location where it became a Morvali for the first time in Bintaar, where it will then re-manifest a physical body after 5 days. Morvali, as such, cannot be permanently killed, and the world is only so lucky to have fairly few walking around.
Morvali have a number of Abilities that aid them in feeding off the memories of others. In many ways, Morvali resemble Vampires, seeking memories instead of blood, but using the same shape shifting mechanics to seek out their prey, and immobilizing during feeding. Morvali Abilities are Ordial in origin, and as such don’t have any strict counter, except if an Ability would counter Primal Powers, or inhibit the use of Primal Powers.
|Echo Shade||Ordial Power||Self||
The Morvali is able to target a person in visual range and browse individuals that person had numerous personal encounters with, such as a family member, a friend, a lover, a servant, as long as it is not a complete stranger. They can then instantaneously choose one of these persons, and take on their appearance to a perfect degree, including the body, clothes, face, and voice. When they appear like this person, their mannerisms may be different, but due to a manipulation aura, whatever person they targeted for this shape-shifting will be unable to distinguish this. While a counter to Primal Powers can prevent a transformation from taking place, a Primal Power counter does not remove the transformation after it has taken place. For all intents and purposes, when Echo Shade is used, that form is permanent until changed. The Morvali themselves can return to their normal shape, or the approximate memory of what they looked like what they were alive as, or use Echo Shade again to pick another appearance. Morvali are able to maintain this form indefinitely.
|Banshee Shade||Ordial Power||Self||
The Morvali temporarily casts aside their lingering shackles of mortality, their exterior appearance unravelling into ribbons like peeling wallpaper and exposing their ghostly inner self. In this form, the Morvali appears as a Banshee-esque specter of themselves: partially translucent and tinged with a pallid green or teal color, their hair a messy wind-swept mop, clothes in fluttering tatters and what facial features they had before distorted and exaggerated with sorrow or blistering anger. While transformed, the Morvali cannot physically interact with anything (though cannot phase through solid objects) and is completely immune to mundane attacks and anything that would impede their action and movement (such as ensnarement, trapping, stunning, movement-inhibiting abilities, etc.). They are only able to be effectively ‘harmed’ through non-mundane attacks, artifacts, enchanted weapons, and abilities that inflict pain or actual damage, causing fragments and shards of their being to physically flake away. If they are completely destroyed in this way, they revive in the same fashion as described in Remember Death. This Ability can be maintained indefinitely but must be canceled before any other Morvali Ability can be used.
|Memory Feeding||Ordial Power||Direct Touch||
The Morvali can, as long as they are alone with their victim, paralyze their victim with physical touch, and start feeding on their memories. The memories chosen are always of a lover, love affair, marriage partner, or some sort of memory involving the victim’s love and affection for another person, and their love returned. This must also always be the most recent affectionate encounter, not some lover of many years ago. During this process, the Morvali consumes the memories and sustains themselves, sating their hunger. While the victim is awake and conscious during the episode, they will be dazed for 5 minutes after the Morvali releases touch (and as such the paralysis), and forget the entire encounter, instead having trouble recalling what exactly happened after they went alone with the Morvali. Furthermore, their memories will be affected. For example, if the Morvali consumed a man’s memories of love for his wife, he will be unable to recognize or recall any memory of his wife for 7 days after feeding. Any memories involving a group including his wife, he can remember, but cannot remember his wife being part of it. His wife will simply appear like a stranger, and he will have no recollection of ever meeting her, until the memories all suddenly come back after a week. When a Morvali consumes memories, the victim forgets everything about that person who was key in these memories of love and affection. It is not possible to Counter or Prevent this Ability from working, even with Primal Power resistance or an Area Effect that denies Primal Powers. The only individuals who are immune to this Ability are those who have never known love or affection, and as such have no memories to be fed upon.
|Remember Death||Ordial Power||Self||
Morvali cannot die. While Morvali are able to be killed with whatever physical damage can kill a normal person, their soul turns into an invisible and immaterial shade that can neither perceive nor affect the world, traveling to Bintaar, and re-manifesting after 5 days of being dead. Each time they come back, their revival is perfect, but they are very hungry upon being revived. Because Morvali are essentially immortal, Kill-Perms are always granted to everyone. Morvali, besides the affliction of Morvali itself, are mundane. It is as such not possible for a Morvali to use any Abilities besides Morvali Abilities, and any Racial Abilities the Morvali would have had before they became Morvali.
- Morvali, while not hungering, function just like normal people. They eat, drink and sleep, are physical, and warm to the touch. Morvali cannot however engage in passionate encounters, romance, or love, as this would cause their soul to enter an enraged state, forcing them into the Banshee Shade form.
- The life, death, and subsequent revival of Morvali are commonly the subjects of more macabre pieces of theater all around Aloria: When the Nightingale’s Cry Comes is a particularly noteworthy Sihai play that features a fantastical (and otherwise impossible) romance between a common man and a Morvali.
- Morvali are not undead because an undead is a person whose soul has not yet properly unraveled and passed on to the appropriate realms. Morvali souls, however, started unraveling and then wrapped back together as memories were caught up in strong emotions. Because part of it already transitioned, or because emotions seeped into Bintaar however, it is more accurate to say that they exist more in the Death realm than they exist in Aloria, and as such are closer to being dead than alive.