Old Dominion

A request for Arms

A report from Head Mortician Xalourios – 42nd Auxiliary Crypts, Still Lake, Capitas – Part 1.

Your Eminence,

As Head Mortician of the 42nd auxiliary crypt, I must humbly request your immediate attention, for matters have taken a grave turn in the most unusual fashion. Those so far inanimate have begun to rise in alarming numbers. Forgive my brashness, your Eminence, but I was under the impression that the cadavers under my care were to remain exactly that – cadavers. While I do not mean to imply – even in the slightest – that I resent this glorious gift of His, I must note that me and my assistants do not possess the capacity to support the sheer volume of our risen brethren.

Your Eminence, allow me to refresh your memory – for I know it to be burdened by matters of elevated importance. The 42nd auxiliary crypts, like many other such related branches, were used to house the common folk. Such individuals – unlike the priests and legionaries that made up a good portion of our city’s populace so far – could not afford the latest and greatest in the embalming and entombment arts. When not preserved in the most precise way possible, remains succumb to deficiencies after several hundred years of excessive moisture, carcass beetle breeding cycles, and creative segmentation due to space constraints.

Even as it would serve as an eternity of aggravation for their caretakers, all this would remain in the realm of ignorant inconvenience for the awakened themselves; after all, most of them are neither aware nor have any needs, demands or role to play and their existences plague none but your humble servants of the 42nd auxiliary crypt. However, under the direct order of Anointed Keeper, we are to help the Awakened to, and I quote, ‘return to active duty, serving in any capacity they can.’

Please understand, Your Holiness, that this is not an aesthetic conundrum. While some of the newly risen have emerged mostly intact – a missing finger or two, nothing of concern – most found themselves missing entire limbs or sections of their bodies. Blacksmiths without their hammer-striking arms, tailors without opposable thumbs, farmers without legs, criers without jaws, and the list goes on. As you can understand, such occurrences are not optimal. To add to the complexity of this situation, these poor souls are not fully aware, either of their current states or their surroundings. Seeing an oarsman trying to maneuver a coffin, as if it were a sea-fairing vessel, not only does it become quite tedious after the eighth day in a row, it also rather spectacularly fails to fulfill the mandate of the aforementioned Anointed decree. I must confess that my colleagues and myself are at a loss about the practicalities of executing the order given by the Anointed Keeper.

Rest assured, me and my assistants are hard at work to find a solution to this conundrum – as I certainly do not wish to burden you with the tedium that is practical problem-solving – and will inform you of our progress in a subsequent report. However, in the meantime, I must humbly request that your Eminence intervenes and explains to the Anointed Keeper of the impracticalities of his decree and that assistance and guidance be provided to His humble servants, as to the means, methods and materials to be employed for its execution.

Your humble and grateful servant,

Xalourios, Head Mortician

A report from Head Mortician Xalourios – 42nd Auxiliary Crypts, Still Lake, Capitas – Part 2.

Exalted Archimandrite,

While I did not receive any response from Your Eminence during my first correspondence – I am undoubtedly sure that Your Eminence is pre-occupied with matters of higher standing and will respond when the time is proper – I must sadly inform you that the situation has taken a dive into greater depths of desperation and impracticality. I must also regrettably inform you that, while thy humble servant continues to serve in accordance with the tenants of his profession and the Lord’s maxims, others seem to have abandoned both reason and decency. Allow me to explain.

To contain the situation presented in my previous report, I’ve resorted to using discarded limbs from the crypt occupants that have – for the time being at least – decided to remain truly inanimate. This allowed for some repairs to be made, thus enabling crafters and other common people to at least present the capability to serve their purpose, despite their limited mental capacities. This is far from a perfect solution; suitable limbs are in short supply indeed. Other replacements have also been tested but any non-organic solution is futile to consider. Thus, I’ve come up with the following ingenious resolution. During my time studying in the Postern district, massive charnel houses were used to dispose of any material that was deemed unsuitable for proper burial; such remains, though haphazardly stacked, were still treated with copious amounts of preservative chemicals and other such compounds, guaranteeing a relative level of enduring pristineness. Exhilarated at this prospect, I ordered said charnel houses to be excavated and their repositories unsealed. To my dismay, I found that they had partially been looted. To my horror, that very same afternoon, a newly appointed Anointed officer (serving Anointed Seer), sporting a suspiciously mismatching arm beneath their robes, presented themselves to me, demanding I deliver one blacksmith, two scribes and three tailors, in the best possible condition but not demanding them to be fully functional.

Your Eminence, I must implore you to take action. There is an entire – for lack of a better word – economy in the making. Arms, legs, organs, tendons and other vital for animation materials are being smuggled about, right under your humble servants’ nasal orifices. And this… smuggling ring is benefiting from the so-far disregarded and ignored jurisdiction of the Morticians. This is a direct assault least of all to your servants’ function, but also to your own influence and person, not to mention the decency of our Lord’s ethics.

Yet again, I must implore you to take action and humbly request your immediate assistance in this matter. These materials are yours by right. There is talk among the Morticians that a guild should be formed, safeguarding the resources under their jurisdiction and control. We cannot allow all decency to be brushed aside.

While I await for your instructions, I have taken the liberty to repair and hastily equip some former members of the militia, mandating them with the protection of the charnel houses. I hope that said decision will be ratified by your response and actions.

I most eagerly await for your response and approval of this urgent matter,

Xalourios, Head Mortician.

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