The Scourge
The Scourge

The Scourge

The Scourge

A Coterie of the Heralds of Dust

“You too can achieve True Death,” say the members of the Scourge, in their droning, monotone voices. “See, look at Zhiki. He did it.”

The Scourge want to be undead, and they’ve got ways to get there, too. Taking pretty much all the leaves out of Zhiki D’Vorkk’s book, they practice torture upon themselves and each other. They flagellate, brand, pierce and mutilate their flesh. Mortification’s the word, and the Scourge are the best there are. Half of them look like they should be in the Dead Book, and some whisper the other half already are. It’s hard to tell with these cutters, see. They dress in shrouds or rags, never wash, and if they speak at all, it’s in whispers.

It’s a fine balance, theirs. Many an overzealous member’s dropped dead by stopping eating or letting out just that drop too much blood. But the Scourge ain’t about suicide, berk! That’s one thing you’ve got to get clear in your brain-box. There’s three states you can be in, they say:

A cutter can be alive (sort of), where he feels pain, emotion, desire, and all those other terrible mortal things. Or he can be dead, where he’s just a cold stiff corpse, pain and simple. His spirit leaves, gets reborn somewhere else, and has to go through the whole process again; what a waste of time! Or, if he gets the balance just right, he enters into a state of Undeath. Here, a body doesn’t feel any of the things mortals worry about, but nor does his soul escape and get reincarnated. That’s the state the Scourge seek.

So the Scourge while away their time, becoming more and more distant from the mortal world. They eat only when they’re wracked with the pain of hunger, and sleep (in coffins) only when they collapse from exhaustion. All the time they try not to hope they’ll become like Zhiki, for emotions show they’re clinging to mortality. As their minds become more detached, they begin to look at things in a way mortals can’t comprehend.

They see the life-lines of other creatures, and understand how they interact. They learn secrets which have been dead for hundreds of years, as if the secrets themselves were once alive and recognise the Scourge as friends. Above all, they seem content that they’ve mastered one of the great darks of the multiverse. If only they could be persuaded to share it with the rest of the Dustmen…

It’s a grim existence in all, but maybe that’s what it takes to ascend. It certainly seems to have paid off for some.

Source: Jon Winter-Holt,

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