Contentious and conflicted, the Undead curse that lingers in Aloria is one that brings both variety and debate on the moral implications of it all. Undeadism has been part of Alorian history for as far as historians have been able to translate Ancient Elven records. Previously a normal part of Elven society, Undead served specific roles within the Empire that made them accepted among the living; after the fall of the Empire, this changed. The corruption of the Undead creation rituals with Magic diversified the number of Undead, creating a variety of twisted and evil, or reversedly morally good characteristics. What passes for an Undead in present day is a wider category of any creature or living being that has died, but whose soul did not pass on or leave their body after death. Undeadism is controversial throughout Aloria; some view it as a perversion and corruption of life, grouping them in with Vampires; some Races, however, hold the Undead as part of their culture. Due to this, opinion remains divided.
- 1 Types of Undeadism
- 2 History of Undeadism
- 3 Turning Undead
- 4 Traits of Undeadism
- 5 Trivia
Types of Undeadism
Mortis Daël were the first recorded Undead and the only form of Undead for thousands of years, acting as Altalar ancestral guardians. Although many scholars assume other types of Undead existed, a combination of a lack of records and the largely unknown circumstances of Undead creation hold this assumption squarely as a theory. Much like Ailor Unionism has the practice of monks entering into monastic service to care for the community, the Elves have a ritual called the Condemnation of Daël, in which an Elf is turned into a Guardian Undead. Guardian Undead are Elves who sacrifice their lives of self-indulgence for an eternity of guardianship and servitude. In theory, this all works perfectly; the Condemnation of Daël is seen as a repentance for a lifetime of idleness, and the ultimate sacrifice to the protection of one’s offspring and preservation of Elven society. However, the ritual can go very wrong.
Mortis Daël are so called morally good Undead, in that they have no murderous or vile thoughts brought about by their being, and are still very functional. They appear exactly the same as they once appeared, except all their hair has turned pitchblack, their skin almost akin to that of an Isldar in paleness, and their eyes foggy-white. They speak and move just like a living person, though do not eat, sleep, rest, breathe or indeed age and die. Mortis Daël are the ideal steward of a lineage of aristocratic Elves, a cousin or a brother who was passed over from the crown to serve as a protector of the lineage for centuries to come. If, however, the person changing into a Mortis Daël has ill will or jealousy in their heart and has not fully and without coercion accepted their fate with tranquility, they will become Mortis Käl. Mortis Daël do not die of aging, but can be destroyed conventionally by destroying their head. Simply cutting off the head is not sufficient; like any Undead, any part removed from the body can be lived without, and the head can in theory also survive without a body. Only burning or complete blunt destruction of the head will properly kill the Undead.
OOC Note: Because of aging principles, it is not allowed to play a Mortis Daël that is older than 280 years. It is also strongly recommended that Mortis Daël are played in cooperation with other players who are playing living descendants of the Mortis Daël, because Daël are guardians for life. A Mortis Daël can only be an Altalar, Cielothar, Kathar, Avanthar, or any kind of Maraya and in any and all cases, they lose their racial abilities. Keep in mind, the practice of Mortis Daël is culturally only accepted among the Altalar. Among the Avanthar and Cielothar it is even reviled as unnatural.
Mortis Käl are very similar to Mortis Kul, though are uniquely something that occurs when the Condemnation of Daël goes wrong when performed on an Elf, or when the Condemnation ritual is performed on a non-Elf. Mortis Käl are Mortis Daël with vile intentions; the hatred, jealousy, and disdain they had for others in life is amplified in death, and honed in on the very linear goal of revenge. Mortis Käl are hard to detect at first, as after the Condemnation of Daël, they appear like normal Mortis Daël. After several days however, they might randomly fall into a comatose state that is very similar to sleeping, but to them feels more like lucid wake dreaming. They receive repeated mental images of torment at the hands of those they were sworn to protect, and reminders of how unfair the world has become that they should be denied the pleasures of life. After a few of these episodes, a Mortis Käl starts to change physically; their eyes turn as black as their hair, and their nails grow out longer and sharper. After this stage, the Mortis Käl will usually become violent or hostile, particularly against those they were sworn to become the protector of. If they manage to break free from them either by traveling far away, or by killing them, the Mortis Käl suddenly experiences the feelings of life again. Even though the Mortis Käl does not need to breathe or eat, they can derive satisfaction from it while a Mortis Daël might experience the sensations as if breathing ash. A Mortis Käl usually tries to re-create a resemblance of life elsewhere, but their appearance makes this hard and they always retain occasional violent visions that drive them to become aggressive. Mortis Käl do not die of aging, but can be destroyed conventionally by destroying their head. Simply cutting off the head is not sufficient; like any Undead, any part removed from the body can be lived without, and the head can in theory also survive without a body. Only burning or complete blunt destruction of the head will properly kill the Undead.
OOC Note: Because of aging principles, it is not allowed to play a Mortis Käl that is older than 280 years. It is not necessary to play with supporting roles for Mortis Käl. A Mortis Käl can only be an Altalar.
Mortis Sul are what are colloquially referred to as saddening undeath, as their state of Undead is always bound to some form of tragedy. Mortis Sul in life were either mentally unstable, or suffered a period of extreme mental anguish right before they died. Dissonance of the Soul disrupted their means of passing but also damaged their memories. After dying, a Mortis Sul completely lacks memory of their death, the memories leading up to it, and the fact that they are even Undead to begin with, trapping them in a constant, repeating memory cycle. For example, a Mortis Sul might once have been a mother who died of grief at the deaths of her children in a house fire This Mortis Sul will continue to function like a normal person, though much paler, until another memory latch is presented. A memory latch is an event in their life that is similar to the conditions of their death. In the case of the mourning mother, if this Undead hears or sees the death of another child, their mind starts filling the blanks and they think that this child is theirs. They will experience that same anguish that they experienced when their own child died, which will eventually lead them down the path to their death, either by heartbreak or otherwise.
Each time a Mortis Sul experiences their death, they forget again, and cycle through the same process again; after each cycle, the Mortis Sul appears older, with more wrinkled skin and whiter hair. In fact, the average rate of cycling is once every three months; a Mortis Sul could only have been 35 at their death, but after 8 cycles over 2 years, would appear over 100 years old. As a result, Mortis Sul are the only undead who do eventually die. The repeated cycles of dying tears further and further at their mind and their soul, until the soul itself is extinguished and the corpse simply drops to the ground. Mortis Sul are also very frequent on major battlefields. Soldiers from both sides die in the anguish and fear of death, only to rise again in the morning and continue the battle on the field. This is often why battlefields are declared off-limits to the locals or general populace for some months after the battle has taken place, as increasingly aging undead soldiers continue to fight and die and rise again until they have all spent their Soul Essence and dissipated.
OOC Note: Because of rapid aging principles, a Mortis Sul cannot be undead for more than 2 years. It is recommended to play a Mortis Sul who has died twice or three times, and to allow for the same process to happen IC a couple of times. Mortis Sul can be played by any race.
Mortis Kul are some of the most frequently seen Undead and unfortunately also the most hostile, and are the result of a person dying in extreme hatred or anger at either an individual, or the circumstance of their death. Unlike the other forms of Undeadism, Mortis Kul do not immediately rise. Instead, they remain in a state of death for up to two days before becoming Undead. Mortis Kul can range from rabid, mouth-frothing Undead that merely exist to attack the living, lacking any advanced vocabulary, to highly functional persons who simply have a never-ending thirst to kill living creatures, suppressing this desire through mental fortitude or by killing animals. Mortis Kul are in most cases still mentally functional, but do have odd personality quirks that they did not have in life. These can be obsessiveness over possessions, compulsive tics or other odd mannerisms that would seem out of place. Mortis Kul appear similar to the Mortis Käl, with their pale whitened skin, their pitch black hair and sharp claw-like nails. Mortis Kul eyes, however, appear more glossy and glazed over similar to the eyes of a blind person. Their iris and pupil are still visible, though hazy and whitened. Mortis Kul is also a state of being that can affect any race, even those who can become Mortis Daël or Mortis Käl, and any of those races that does end up becoming an Undead, will (unless becoming Mortis Sul due to their circumstances) become a Mortis Kul. Mortis Kul can become violent and aggressive and above all mindless, and the exact circumstance of why or how this occurs is not known.
Even those that do not become mindless are still far more aggressive than they were when they were alive, and have a unique disdain, mistrust and hatred for anyone who is alive. This does not necessarily mean that they will seek out the company of other Undead and hate all their loved ones, but it does mean that they have a different kind of relationship with their loved ones. While old feelings do not simply disappear, there is always an unshakeable sensation of resentment over the fact that the living are still alive and can experience life to its fullest, while the Mortis Kul cannot.
OOC Note: Because of aging principles, it is not allowed to play a Mortis Kul that is older than 280 years. It is not necessary to play with supporting roles for Mortis Kul. A Mortis Kul can be of any race.
Mortis Javalis are the most recent form of Undeadism that has been developed in Etosil by the Bone King and his minions and later the Etosian Patriarch. The Mortis Javalis are Undead recruited by the Bone King as well as his agents across the lands to become Undead, either voluntarily or by force. Mortis Javalis are far more subtle than Mortis Kul. Appearance wise, they retain their old hair color, though their skin does become very cold and pale. Their eye sockets become dark gray, almost as if they are wearing eye shadow, while their pupils and irises become very glossy and foggy, as if they are blind, though their iris color is still very visible. They do not have the same sharp nails as the Mortis Kul or Käl, and otherwise retain their old personality without any quirks or increased aggression. Mortis Javalis are simply a continuation of the person who was once alive as an Undead, with all the advantages and disadvantages that come along.
OOC Note: Because of aging principles, it is not allowed to play a Mortis Javalis that is older than 180 years. It is not necessary to play with supporting roles for Mortis Javalis. It is currently not allowed to play an Undead who was part of the Freya Lo campaign, or one who became Mortis Javalis through the Patriarch of Etosil's work.
History of Undeadism
The first modern record of recurrence of undeath (not Elven related) was a woman who passed away in Regalia in 211 AC. A single mother, the woman lived in the city’s poor district, caring for her two children in the absence of their father. Through means unknown, her house caught fire, killing her children in their sleep. Despite her efforts to save them, she too suffocated. At the time, Regalia had a Swamp Fever outbreak resulting in the dead woman mistakenly being dumped with the diseased who were brought to a mass-grave due to the lack of time for proper cremation. Even at this time, cremation had been a major cornerstone of Ailor burial rites, as Ailor had always despised the Mortis Daël who often enforced their slavemaster’s will on the Ailor slaves in the Elven Empire times. The Daël, while good to Elves, were cruel to their properties, and were seen as a perversion of life among the Old Gods and Oldt Fayth followers, a practice that was inherited by the Unionists.
Days later after her burial, the graveyard attendees and passers-by reported seeing an extremely emaciated woman walking around the graveyard, wailing loudly about wanting to find her children. Most of the citizens avoided her as they thought she suffered from Swamp Fever. Finally, a few guards went to confront her after a full two weeks of the woman wandering around the graveyard. Around this time there were already several reports of her lashing out at grave tenders when they approached, a rumor the guards intended to investigate. In similar response as reported, the woman attempted to stab one of the guards with a butter knife. The guard responded by slashing at her with a sword, severing her arm. Yet no blood sprang from the wound and she continued as if she hadn’t even noticed it was gone. The woman was beyond reason and continued to attack, and when desperate times called for desperate measures they removed her head and burned the remains. Over the next few weeks, sightings of similar occurrences appeared all over Aloria, and two decades later, had spread to isolated communities on the fringes of the Regalian Empire.
Etosil, in particular has been strongly plagued by Undead attacks. Whole parts of the countryside were under the control of Undead, and groups of them frequently attacked the living in an organized and prepared fashion. Regalia had largely taken the forefront of the fight against the Undead, but Old Gods and Shambala worshippers had also stepped up to fight the curse. Perhaps the most notable outbreak of undeath in the Regalian Empire itself is also one of the most shocking events in recent times -- an event that changed the course of Alorian history. Emperor Justinian the Second, the last Ivrae Emperor of Regalia, had three sons: Therin the youngest, Juvin the middle, and the elder, Augustus. In 279 AC, Therin attacked Juvin and slew him in his bedchamber, after which he proceeded to confront Augustus with the intention of doing the same, and claim the throne for himself. While Augustus overpowered his brother and had him formally hanged, Therin rose from the family catacombs in the night and sought his revenge. He crept back into Augustus' bedroom, and murdered him in his sleep. The guards arrived too late and were horrified to see the corpse of Therin gnawing on Augustus’s throat. This single undead attack distinguished the future of the Ivrae family. Justinian the Second had no male heirs left and his brother had only sired daughters. The throne passed to House Kade 23 years later.
In modern times, opinions on the Undead have become very conflicted. The Daël practice of the Elves has been picked up by a number of other races in their more isolated and less narrow minded communities, and even the Regalian Empire has started experimenting with undeath as a means to preserve Ailor life in the ever continuing wars with its neighbors. The most notable changes were from Etosil, where the Patriarch created an uneasy truce with the Undead and united against the Bone Horrors that invaded, a type of non-sentient Undead that attacked both the Etosian Undead and the living. After this, the Patriarch of Etosil developed a special technique of battle-life preservation through an amulet, an amulet that was later also worn by a Regalian army that invaded Regalia during the Lo Crisis. The Deathlings of Freya Lo defeated the Human army on the beaches, which then rose the next day when they had been left for dead, and continued their campaign against Freya Lo now that she no longer had the element of surprise. Still, many religious organizations or indeed regular citizens feel uneasy with the Undead, and even though there is no actual Unionist scripture on their existence, they are generally seen as an abomination because of the perversion of the Spirit’s judgement. The Undead are seen as hubris deniers of the Spirit’s judgement, trying to hold onto life as long as possible and prolong the weighing of their soul for worthiness to the Unionst cause. Other religions have similar views, only the Faith of Estel seems acceptant of the dead.
Condemnation of Daël & Käl
The Condemnation of Daël is a spiritual ritual involving the Dagger of Daël, a Lazurite blade inlaid with Mage-stone (not particularly rare or expensive), and an extensive Faith of Estel ritual that binds the Mortis Daël to a family or person or promise. This promise can be anything from protecting a family to a specific individual and their subsequent children, as well as exterminating the enemies of one’s family or upholding the laws of one’s society. Whatever the promise is, the promise has to be perpetual, which means it must be continued unless extraordinary circumstances make this impossible. The ritual is then performed, after which the person has their throat cut with the Dagger of Daël. They bleed out, and when they have bled out and died, become Mortis Daël, though only if the Dagger is laid on their chest. If the Dagger is removed, the person will simply die without becoming Undead. Mortis Käl go through the same process, but become Mortis Käl merely because they have hatred or ill-feelings towards being made Undead in their heart. They fully become Mortis Käl after a number of seizures and waking dreams, which can last up to a week.
Circumstances of Mortis Sul
Mortis Sul, or the Saddening Undead, are created from circumstances of extreme anguish and fear, or of mental instability. There is a very high degree of Mortis Sul being created in mental institutions, since the Alorian solution to mental problems is to lock the persons in a dark prison underground and throw away the key. With no care, these prisoners almost always become Mortis Sul, because their split personality problem or bipolar condition was never properly treated. Alternatively, anyone who dies in extreme fear or heartbreak might become a Mortis Sul, because their Soul Essence cannot leave their body properly in confusion. Mortis Sul arise instantly after death, but cannot remember any of it, or the fact that they are undead.
Circumstances of Mortis Kul
Mortis Kul are people who have died in extreme hatred or anger, either dying with those emotions, or as a product of them. A person who becomes a Mortis Kul could for example be the victim of an extremely violent and torturous racial hate crime performed in public, or be murdered by a vengeful brother who wanted nothing but to take the family business for themselves. Mortis Kul are often also referred to as Vengeance Undead, because they are formed as a by-product of unfinished business. Their Soul Essence is unable to properly escape their body because of Essence attachments to still-living things, and the sense that they still need to kill or destroy something before they can rest at peace. Mortis Kul as such are always created with a hatred and anger in their heart that cannot be cured or removed.
Circumstances of Mortis Javalis
Mortis Javalis are produced in a variety of ways. The primary method is the Bone King Coffin, which is a special coffin made by the Undead on Etosil which the captains of the Bone King use to conscript new Undead into their army. The living are forced into this coffin, which is then closed, and finally impaled with regular swords from the openings in the lid. The person inside dies, but does not properly pass on, so they become Undead. The success rate of this is about fifty percent failure to fifty percent success, with the failure rates becoming Mortis Kul, and the success rates becoming Mortis Javalis. Whether or not the process was successful can immediately be told by simply looking at the eyes, since Mortis Kul have no pigment in their iris, while Javalis do. Not all Undead who are recruited by the Bone King stay with the Bone King. Many of them accept their fate and join the Bone King’s army, but many of them also flee or try to escape and build up a life elsewhere, as the Bone King’s campaigns of conquest are not always something that those who were forced into it would accept doing for all eternity.
Anther means to becoming a Mortis Javalis is to undergo the above process voluntarily. Sometimes warriors who are extremely desperate or afraid of aging and death accept Undeadism with all that it entails by seeking out the Bone King and becoming Undead for a bargain. Another method that is more steeped in secrecy, is through the Patriarch’s Amulet. The Patriarch’s Amulet is a rare (only to be acquired IC on the server) item that guarantees that the person will rise as a Mortis Javalis when they die. There are rumors that some within the Imperial Household are familiar with the objects and possess a few, but there has never been enough evidence to prove this, and any of the soldiers who were turned into Mortis Javalis to fight Freya Lo have since disappeared and been declared deceased.
OOC Regulations to Undeadism
- You may create a new Undead character where Undeadism has occurred in the Backstory.
- You may convert an existing character into an Undead as long as the character is not currently wanted by the Violet Guard.
- You may not convert a dead existing character who has recently, or further in the past, died at the hands of the Violet Guard.
- You may only convert a dead existing character which was killed by a player character recently, or further in the past, if the killer agrees with the story line, and receives permanent kill-perms on the undead.
Traits of Undeadism
Aside from the obvious physical differences between some of the forms of Undead described above, all Undead do share some common traits that can easily be defined and often also tested. Primarily, Undead do not need any form of sustenance. They do not eat, sleep, breathe, drink or relieve themselves in any bodily manner. The Undead as such do not starve, die of thirst, suffocate, drown or die through any bodily failure. Their blood stops pumping and they do not bleed out. They have no functional organs, so no organ damage can kill them. While they can still feel pain, this pain is often just local and sharp and short, instead of prolonged. The removal of for example a limb will be felt shortly, but then numb quickly, while the wound also does not bleed or cause any further damage. Undead can lose any body part and remain alive, all the way up to remaining just a head. Contrary to popular belief however, body parts cannot be sewn back on for repairs; once something has been removed, it cannot be taken back. The same thing works for a Soul. Soul Essence that inhibits the body of an Undead cannot be removed and mended back to a living person or Soul. Undead do not age or die of old age in any way. An undead that becomes undead at the age of 35, will simply remain 35 forever, though they can still be killed. Crushing or burning the head, is a guaranteed way of killing an Undead, and incidentally also a guaranteed way of preventing someone to rise as an Undead.
OOC Note: Undead retain their old Proficiency points and continue to gain points even though they do not physically age. Mention the physical age as well as Undead age on your app when calculating Proficiency Points. Keep in mind that all racial abilities are lost upon becoming Undead, though Undead can still cast Magic.
- Undeadism isn’t strictly speaking the most hated among Ailor and Unionists. In fact, many Unionists are conflicted about the concept of Undeadism, because no actual scripture was ever released by an Emperor to say it was heretical, or blessed. There is always a personal interpretation, whether it is a perversion of the Spirit’s judgement, or whether it is a holy cause to continue the struggle of the Great Way.
- The Songaskian faith of Shambala is widely recognized to be the most-hating of Undead, whom they consider to be the vilest of things in existence, and something worth utterly destroying. The Songaskians have numerous so-called Rising Dawn organizations that specialize in the detection and destruction of the Undead.
- There are rumors of a Death Mage who stores a collection of Undead heads in jars in his lair, people he has forcibly turned Undead and imprisoned without a body to rot for eternity.