Undead
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Table of Contents

History

From a long-dead kingdom arose the Undead - living skeletons bound together by dark magic.

The Undead as most think of them today – a coherent faction instead of the occasional zombie crawling out of a grave – rose out of an old human kingdom. In this kingdom, the Fifth Patriarch who was the ruler of all the land, had become obsessed with the matter of life and death. His interest in the matter only increased as he – first of an unbroken line of over twenty rulers – had not sired any sons or daughters to take his place when he would pass on.

The Fifth Patriarch then gathered all the nobles and monks and generals and learned civilians to his castle, where he set them to various tasks to test their characters. Quickly, he was able to eliminate from the candidates those who were only seeking power or personal gain. However his kingdom was vast and there were many philosophies represented amongst the remaining contenders, and the Fifth Patriarch's days were growing fewer and fewer.

The Fifth Patriarch then asked that those who remained would attempt to express their wisdom in a poem. The focus would be on life and death and the original nature of mankind. This was meant to ultimately reveal the true heart of those who remained.

For one day and one night, the contenders wrote their poems. And at daybreak, they all read them for the Fifth Patriarch and his advisers. While the advisers all favored one poem from a boy that claimed that the soul was profoundly nothingness and so could never be filled with darkness, the Fifth Patriarch was of a different opinion. He focused instead on another poem, that likened the soul to a mirror that reflected all things, which one must keep clean or have it become dusty and unreadable.

Because the Fifth Patriarch had his obsession of life and death (and even feared death in private) the ability to wipe away all the stains on one's soul greatly appealed to him. The Fifth Patriarch then called all his greatest magicians and wizards to his side, and ordered them to attempt to “clean his mirror”, no matter the cost. And for seven days and seven nights they unleashed great magic tailored for the task and when one week had passed, the Fifth Patriarch had died from exhaustion.

Those responsible for the spells feared retribution from the contenders for having killed the Fifth Patriarch, who was loved throughout the kingdom. They therefore summoned the only remaining order of magicians that had not been called to the task of scrubbing the Fifth Patriarch's soul – the Necromancers. The Necromancers were at best tolerated within the kingdom, for they dabbled in dark magic that was said to be able to return the dead to life. Their practice was effectively banned because it required human sacrifice. Now called to the dead Patriarch's side, five of the magicians offered their lives to the Necromancers if the Fifth Patriarch could be returned to life. After all, the Fifth Patriarch had yet to rule who of the contenders would succeed him, so the five magicians considered this a small price to pay to save the kingdom.

What exactly happened next is a matter of debate. Some say the Necromancers betrayed their task and created the Skeleton King out of the remains of the Fifth Patriarch. Others say that the magicians had effectively destroyed the soul of the Fifth Patriarch, and so when the Necromancers attempted to recall his soul to his body, they got something else instead. Regardless, it is known that when the night had passed, the Skeleton King had been created. His flesh burned away by the spells, dark magic now kept his bones together and moving.

Following this ordeal, the born Skeleton King coerced the Necromancers into teaching him their knowledge. And within months the entire ruling caste had been turned into the Undead skeletons, now ruled by the evil Skeleton King.

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