Tales Of Arkhosia
“Zombies you say? Not much different to what they were before then.” An off-hand comment from a now-fired official on the fate of a number of peasants.
Zombies are a strange (and often misunderstood) form of creature. Coming in all shapes, sizes, and varying amount of limbs, the walking undead are often told of in horror tales as shambling atrocities against life, mindless murderers who seek only to destroy anything in their path. Yet, the truth behind them is far more tragic than that.
Whenever a person dies, it is inevitable that their souls leave behind their mortal form, and enter the Shadowfell, then (if they lived life well) the Astral Sea. Yet, some souls cannot leave for the Shadowfell, through some unfortunate reason or another, and become trapped on the mortal planes. Perhaps an attempt to revive them only half-worked, returning the soul, but too much time had passed for the body to be intact inside. Those who die unexpectedly often are pulled to the mortal realm, where they often seek answers to their deaths.
These “ghosts” however, are not what we are discussing; rather, it is the unfortunate fate of those who do not succeed at finally escaping from being a ghost and passing on to the next realm. These rogue spirits can be, through some method or another, forced back into their mortal bodies, or someone else’s body, or a specially designed construct of some form. In the first two cases, these bodies are often decayed and rotten, their nerves severed and their minds ruined. Driven mad by their newfound existence, masterless zombies are left to miserably roam around, hating those who have still got their “perfect” forms. Unable to speak their rage, they are forced to action, where they kill those they meet in a blind fury. They band with others of their kind, forming a kinship amongst their fellow undying, communicating through a complex system of groans, shouts, and gestures. It is entirely possible that someone may well stumble upon a zombie community, although these intruders are often killed on sight; Nothing that can remind the lost souls of what it is that they left behind is left intact, and as such, zombie communities are desolate, empty husks, bitter parodies of civilisation.
If the fate of these lost souls seems unfortunate, then there is one step beyond this free-willed eternal life. The zombies who do find themselves ruled over by some form of dark magick using figure are bound to their will, and become little more than a literal extension of their new master. These bound souls, horrified by their fate, are locked into an eternal hellish existence, seeing the world around them, but unable to ever choose how to interact with it, never able to take their own path again. It is these undying few who are bound to the world who are to be truly pitied, as only through the destruction of whatever has bound them can they be released from their torturous existence forever, and until then, they can only pray for the temporary relieve of having their mortal form destroyed by something who fought back and won.
These bound souls are not only put into humanoid forms, for the so-called “Necromancers” who create zombies are not content with a simple option. They often experiment with what they can create, leading to hideous monsters far beyond that creatable with a simple humanoid corpse. Multi-armed beasts, masses of severed limbs, creatures who can produce a necrotic filth from their bodies – For the demented few who create zombies, the possibilities are literally endless.