Summerlands

Summerlands are purgatories where the souls of the dead reside, usually temporarily while they await judgement, reincarnation, or simply for their "sentence" to be up. Summerlands are notable for their monotony and lack of context. Their inhabitants often repeat the same actions over and over, often with no idea why they do them. Most have no memory of their former life--their memory seems to stretch back only a few days--and don't know how they got to their current location or how long they've been there. One particular hazard of summerlands is that most are bound by magical rules that visitors must follow to avoid being trapped there (not eating a particular food, or food in general, is common). If a visitor breaks one of these rules, their earthly body dies instantly. Time generally passes very slowly in summerlands compared to the earthly plane: a few days in a summerland could be a year on the material plane.   Most Khezvarans still hold onto the old Tarsan beliefs regarding the afterlife, which posits four Summerlands where a soul can find itself after death:  
  • The Twilight City: Those who manage to escape The Lord of Bones but are not carried away to express judgement by the Griffons of Light find themselves in the Twilight City, a dull realm of identical streets filled with identical buildings surrounding a large official-looking structure. Each day, residents go to the central structure and wait in line for hours for and audience with...someone (nobody really knows who), but the day ends before most people get their turn. They leave, wander the streets for a while, and then find an unoccupied house in which to sleep (the buildings and their contents are so uniform that the idea of "my house" is meaningless), and then wake up and repeat the ritual the following day. When a soul eventually gets an audience, they are presumably sent on to meet Argalak, the Weigher of Souls.
  • The Carrion Moors: This is the realm of decay where victims captured by The Lord of Bones must reside for 99 years before being sent on to Argalak. Unlike most other shadowlands, the souls who are trapped here experience suffering. Since ensouled flesh is the only substance that doesn't succumb to the rot for which the realm is named, the Corpse Prince and his minions use human remains with the souls still trapped inside as building materials. This is a horrific and painful experience for the souls involved.
  • The Beastlands: Those whose bodies are burned find themselves on the plane of beasts, a vast wilderness where they are continuously hunted by monstrous creatures of every description. After defeating 1,000 beasts, the soul receives and audience with Argalak.
  • The Forgetful Place: Those whose bodies are disposed of in rivers (typically the Elfelite River in Khezvaros) or buried at sea are sent to this realm, described as a vast and featureless plane where the souls just perpetually mill about, until all traces of their previous life fade away and they can be reincarnated. As a soul's memory and personhood fades, so do their facial features and other identifying details of their body, eventually turning them into featureless and genderless human forms.


Cover image: Main Header Banner City of Ten Thousand Daggers by Steve Johnson

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