House of the Rising Phoenix - The Arkati Volumes

Treaties on the Undead

As a devout follower of Lord Luukos, I and others have been subject to the propaganda of Voln: that we are soul-stealers, that we will become nothing but Undead slaves to the Arkati we serve. This essay is meant to clear up some of the propaganda Voln disseminates about Lord Luukos' activities in the realm of Undead and also takes a look at some of their origins.

It is a commonly held belief that Lord Luukos creates all Undead beings; this is completely false. Throughout history there have been other creators of Undead -- Despana, Bandur Etrevion, the Sorcerer of Bonespear Tower. In fact, Sorcerer's everywhere will soon be animating corpses as soon as the Guild finishes its research. Listed below are several examples of Undead beings expressing qualities only thought to be attainable by those of the living.

Undead beings are capable of many things, giving credence to the fact that one can have a second chance at life through such a form. An example would be the case of Jerem and Reldia, two Undead individuals who broke free of the Ebon Gate and expressed a dislike for the society of Voln and their methods of "releasing" their kind. When I confronted the High Priest who performed the wedding, Neball, he said he did not worship Lord Luukos, nor was he created by him. The couple was clearly able to express emotion, and wished to spend their unlife peacefully without intervention of Voln zealots, a Lorminstra-sanctioned society based upon the "release" of Undead.

Another exceptional case is that of Dharthiir, the lich which was Despana's General. This Undead being was not only able to express emotion, he was also able to become Despana's lover -- in every sense of the word. Dharthiir was also a brilliant strategist and was able to amount a formidible force of living beings to fight for Despana. It is assumed that Despana either created him using the book of Tormtor, or he existed before the discovery of it.

Bandur Etrevion, a Sorcerer of incredible power and intelligence, is responsible for most of the Undead in the graveyard -- directly and perhaps indirectly. He created Undead in hordes, using them as laborers, warriors and little else. An incident of peculiar note was once told to me by Lord Silvean Rashere. There were reports of powerful Undead beings roaming about in the bog one day. Lord Rashere decided to investigate, and he did find some strong Undead in the area. What was peculiar though is that the very bog itself talked to him. It said that it was saddened by the torture inflicted upon its children. There were several others in the area, dispatching the unusual Undead, and the bog said that it would stop their actions with selfless zeal. It engulfed a certain hunter there. It seems the very essence of the area was able to create these Undead beings, and the area itself had a sentience to it, perhaps Undead in nature ( and perhaps the result of Bandur Etrevion's working with the power of undead so extensively in that particular region ); it was capable of loving and caring for the Undead beings it created. The very essence of the area breathes life into the ghouls and things which dwell there -- not Lord Luukos.

Undeath is a force similar to Life and is able to take on characteristics of Life, blending them with the forces of Undeath. Some mortals actively seek to transform themselves into Undead beings, knowing that such a form, used correctly, is able to harness great power as well as granting a form of immortality. Perhaps Dharthiir was once a mortal, his abilities multiplied by his Undead form; we can only guess.

As for Lord Luukos' influence over the realm of Undead. . .it is admittedly great. I would go so far as to say he has mastered manipulating the force which is Undeath. He is able to take control of the existing lesser undead in an area, and use them for his purposes. Though there are certain Undead beings which are only seen when the Luukosian Order raises its armies, one would assume that such a superior form of Undead was created by Lord Luukos for the Order. During a communion which I participated in, a spirit referred to Luukos' followers as "family." This remark would imply a reference to the Undead in his Order, that they are seen as family, and that they are there by their own will. It would seem that Lord Luukos blesses his followers by creating such powerful undead forms for them.

Also, it seems that Lord Luukos is able to create a form which would be crude to call "Undead." Those who resemble serpents in physical appearance are often called Luukosians; not much is known about them, except that they are high ranking members of the Luukosian Order, and are most likely immortal. I believe them to be a blend of Undead and Luukos' very essence, which he uses to transform said person's soul. Of course, this is only a theory of mine, as I've not been able to speak with a Luukosian of the Order.

Where did the force of Undead come from? That will forever be a mystery; perhaps it simply has been here for as long as the force of Life has, ever opposing Life, ever thriving, ever blending with the inhabitants of this realm. And just as the power of Life, the power of Undead can be used to create or destroy. Some think it never existed before Despana's hordes. Perhaps it did, and simply was not used in such a massive way.

The point is that it is here now, and it shall forever remain with us. Just as mortals have manipulated the forces of Life, it would seem that we are destined to manipulate the forces of Undead, as well. The Order of Voln, Voln himself, and Lorminstra's quest would seem to be ill-fated, and downright genocidal in some cases. Maybe the Arkati of Liabo fear this power; perhaps it reminds them of their own mortality, and that is why they wish to rid the world of it. But whatever the reason, they continue with their propaganda, causing their followers and other mortals to fear the Undead and the power contained within them. It is a force just like any other, to be used to the advantage of those whom work with it. Hopefully one day, the citizens of Elanthia will realize the potential of Undead, and begin to unwravel its secrets; one can only hope...