Asto Geists Ethnicity in Barenae | World Anvil

Asto Geists

Prompt 7 of WA SummerCamp 2020: Describe a counter-culture in your world, something outside the mainstream culture of the place.
To any visitor who sets foot on Heryz ground, ghosts may sound like tales made to scare the children. However, Heryzue has a very extended relationship with undeath. Under the careful eye of the Archgeist, many kinds of spirits grow, are reborn, and take on new purposes. Maybe none of these is more intriguing than the Asto Geist.

If said visitor was to enter one of the many cities around the Inner Section of Erio, it wouldn't be unusual to interact with many of these beings, easily recognizable by their complex metal helmets and blue, quasi ethereal form. These reanimated people are integrated within a lot of occupations in normal society, similar to the ones they performed when alive: bakers, librarians, blacksmiths... It's also normal to see them along with their families, enjoying the time that would have been lost if they hadn't chosen to become an Asto. However, the visitor is assaulted by a question:
"What about those that did not fit within society, who don't have any more family, who still became walking blue spectres but didn't foresee that time would take a toll on them?"

And it's then that the visitor's steps take them to the outskirts of the city, where the colorful and vibrant colors of the stones and houses of the urban core give in to a complex of lifeless white blocks, exposed to the elements and separated from all other activity. The visitor carefully approaches only to find a similar landscape to that of what he has left behind: people going anywhere, breaking into laughter, having conversations and working, all behind the inexpressive image of who they once where. The visitor feels out of place, as if they were the one who wasn't meant to be there, for they understand that when you're freed from the shackles of the living, it's only natural that many things would be understood from a different perspective. Time is meaningless when eternity is a possibility. They observe the ghosts as they go on with their lives, paying little attention to the lonely visitor, a single snowflake in the blizzard life signifies.

Naming Traditions

Family names

All Asto keep their birth name, so their naming conventions would be associated with the land where they were born.


Culture and cultural heritage

The main aspect of Asto culture that would stick out to any stranger is the fact that they don't give much thought to the concept of death anymore. Even when they do still have living relatives, death is no longer macabre or feared or a normal part of the cycle. To an Asto, death just isn't important.

Shared customary codes and values

All the laws and codes that apply to sentient undeath are collected in the Necro Axiona tome, which is kept between law officials all across Heryzue. However, many Asto communities prefer to punish their offenders with their own laws. Since death sentences are worthless, major punishments usually come in the shape of long term (hundreds of years) tasks that have to be fulfilled by the culprits.

Common Dress code

While Astos don't have any needs for clothes, they usually understand that others would prefer to not see their exposed soul constantly. Therefore, they usually dress in very lively and light clothes that contrast with their heavier metal helmets and the cold climates of Heryzue. These might range from the compulsory coat given to everyone in Barenae to some detailed shirts that might have been owned by the Asto in life.

Art & Architecture

Astos usually live in the most simple environment possible, since they do not desire or need much, causing their architecture to be praised for being extremely functional. An Asto room usually consists of four white walls with a wood panel and a door in case any living comes to visit, alongside any furniture or decorative element owned by the deceased.

In terms of art, while some Astos do develop their artistic qualities after death, perhaps the more interesting and noticeable craft is that of their masks and hearts. As the age of an Asto progresses, it's common to see older styles of carving and metalworking within veteran members of the community. In addition to this, many Astos that were very well-off have bodies that can be qualified as pieces of art, with some of the gone Asto components or discarded versions being shown in museums all across Heryzue.

Common Customs, traditions and rituals

It's usual for an Asto community to showcase a very different lifestyle to that of the living communities. They do things much more steadily, prioritizing long spans of time and scarcely meeting in the local community after months or even years. The pace of the living world is one of the main things that an Asto reinserted into society has to learn again to function properly.

When a new member joins a community, it's normal for all other Astos there to throw a party in front of the newcomer's house, where many games and dances are performed. This festivity lasts for a whole day and it ends with the traditional slam of the door, representing the rejection of Death and the opportunity to start again the next day. This leads Astos to normally close doors in a very brute manner, making a lot of noise, to the horror of the more quiet people.

On a more general note, the sheer amount of knowledge and free time possessed by the Astos to develop their identity across all the time they've been functioning causes an Asto community to normally be full of thinkers, artists, scientists, writers and any other activity that might take a lot of time to fully develop. It's common for the Astos to celebrate small fairs where people can come to visit and enjoy the products of all their crafts.

Birth & Baptismal Rites

An Asto is created from the soul of a dead person. If this person agrees to be turned into an Asto, a ritual will be performed to it by a professional priest of the Church (normally one of the Enolcra cult). This ritual is complex and is composed of different elements and processes, that can be summed up in the following manner:
  • Once the person dies, there's a maximum of two days to perform the ritual.
  • An Enolcra takes the head off the corpse and traps it into a metal helmet, submerged in purified liquid.
  • The heart is also taken and kept in a cylindric recipient, submerged in purified liquid.
  • The rest of the body is then properly buried or incinerated.
  • The helmet with the head is situated on top of a podium, where an Eswort vine has been previously grown.
  • Upon contact with the highly conductive Eswort bulbs, the information and memories of the deceased are transferred into the bulbs.
  • The head and heart are then extracted from their recipients and replaced with the liquid from a mixture of the bulbs liquid and the purified liquid.
  • The new heart is linked to the new head and jump-started by an Enolcra rune scribe, which leads the Asto to acquire physical form and sentience.

Funerary and Memorial customs

In the weird instance where an Astos helmet or heart is broken and their soul truly dies, these elements are cleaned by an Enolcra and stored within the nearest Nuleor archive of the Church if the deceased's family doesn't reclaim the parts. Often times, these pieces are gifted to museums or other public organisms to showcase their manufacture.

Common Myths and Legends

The first Asto to rise left the operation table running and has never been seen since. That person is often referred to as The Blue and its mention is enough to make kids behave. In fact, there's a whole festivity in the more urban parts of Yekiach designed around finding a pinata replica of The Blue that is filled to the brim with sweets for the children.


Beauty Ideals

As with many other things that the living situate upfront and center, corporal beauty is not seen by the Asto as something to be achieved or to be treasured, since they do not possess any kind of body. That being said, the Asto's perception of time and how things evolve turn them into great admirers of many other types of beauty, from works of art to the way nature displays itself.

Relationship Ideals

When it comes to relationships, since reproduction is no longer possible for an Asto Geist, these take a completely affective role. There have been many instances where an Asto has fallen in love with another member of its community or even with living people. It's usual for a couple to reunite once one of them has become an Asto and fall in love again.

Relationships established in life are sometimes kept and sometimes dissolved in the terms for the ritual of becoming an Asto. Any kind of relationship is seen with good eyes as long as it doesn't violate any social conventions or intercede in any marriage established before or after death.

Major organizations

While each community of lonely Asto is usually integrated within its respective city, many Asto believe it's important that no ghost is left behind or abandoned. This has lead to the creation of associations like The Spectral Sleeve, that provide many services like housing, therapy, and social reinsertion for any lost Asto. The functions of Astos inside the society have also been greatly discussed in many political environments, where the limits of duties and rights for the ghostkind are unclear and their citizenship is altered greatly from one settlement to another.
That's it, it's simple, a word.
A collection of characters, a chord.
A song that suddenly stops, a halt.
A barrier to be avoided, a vault.
A treasure kept secret, a hoard.
A way to quench the soul, a gourd.
Why then should I fear the sword,
Bringing the essence of cobalt?
Blue is the color of my fate.
-Asto poem of unkown author
"On the eventuality that any would lose their lifes to a sentient undead, capable of having morals and subjugating to the laws described in this tome, the according punishment shall equate that of the crime comitted. It's on the hands of the law official to cause suffering comparable to death to the culprit, for as many time as it takes to the sentenced to comprehend the consequences of their actions"
-Extract of the Necro Axiona


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