Ferryman | E. Christopher Clark


Ferrymen are responsible for escorting the newly deceased to the deepest depths of The River Without End—that strangest of strange places, the one we call the Undercurrent. Originally a single being who was pressed into service by one deity or another, the number of ferrymen operating in the Clarkwoods Literary Universe is now beyond counting.


Because the ferryman’s robes will change hands again and again until The Calamity comes, and because the strange flow of time along the River makes it possible for the ferryman of one period to cross paths with any and every ferryman who ever lived—including earlier or later versions of themselves—there is no telling how many of them there are, how many there have been, or how many there will be.



Any sapient being capable of punting a skiff can serve as a ferryman.

Career Progression

Each ferryman begins their career by being tricked into service by an existing member of the profession. Each ferryman ends their career by doing the reverse: by coercing or convincing someone else to wear the robes in their stead.


In between? A potential eternity of ferrying sapient beings from one world to the next.


Though the most likely targets for recruitment are coroners, undertakers, or members of other funerary professions, any person wandering a riverbank at sunrise may find themselves confronted by a ferryman seeking to hoodwink, bamboozle, or otherwise outmanuever their way out of an eternity of servitude.

Payment & Reimbursement

The payment promised to the first ferryman was immortality, a form of compensation the death-fearing person found too good to pass up.


These days, that promise of forever avoiding the depths is still the only official form of reimbursement. That said, ferrymen like the antagonist of the short story “The Price” do earn a few coins here or there by demanding a price for their services—something they are not, strictly speaking, allowed to do, but which the gods don’t seem to regulate in any way.


Dangers & Hazards

Throughout their years of service, ferrymen are prohibited from carrying anything that was not already in their possession at the time they first took the robes into their arms.


Some get around this by having people place things directly into the skiff, which can carry anything it wants, but most don’t even bother with that.

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