"Even gods seek companionship, so he let them wander. Souls deprived of rest. Returned to life with a renewed duty only to him."
The salty breeze of the morning winds gently rapped against the outer walls of the small oceanside tavern, slowly adding to the thick crust of salt that clung to the ageing wood. It was a morning much like any other, the few fishermen that still cast their iron here had already been out on the oceans since before dawn. Inside the tavern, Lawrence worked, whistling softly to himself while he prepared for the return of the fishermen later that morning. The creaking of wood followed by the soft chime of his front doorbell broke his concentration. Curiously, he looked towards the front door, it was quite early for the fishermen to have returned. "Good morning, please come in" Lawrence called out down the hall, "It is still early but I am sure I can prepare something for you. Lawrence turned his back to grab a mug from a series of hanging hooks. He heard footsteps approaching the bar, and then the scratching of a stool being pulled along the wooden floor behind him. Lawrence turned back around with a filled mug of warmed ale, a common order for cold fishermen returning from the cold waters of the ocean. Sitting at his bar was a man he did not recognize, odd he thought. We don't get many visitors here. He seemed tired, he stared at the palms of his hands as if they were friends he had not seen in years. His shaggy grey hair sat limp against his scalp, bits of dirt clung in between patches of thinning and missing bits of hair. A thick, wiry, and unkempt beard sat on his face. This man had seen better days for certain, he thought. "Ummm can I get you anything to eat traveller?" Lawrence asked, a tinge of concern beginning to rise in his voice. The stranger paid no attention to him, continuing his examination, now working his eyes up and down his arms. "Ok, well if you need anything, please let me know, first drink is on the house," he smiled and turned back towards his morning preparations. "Vortaech...," the traveller said in a low murmur, "My name is Vorteach," he looked up with start, bright almost otherworldly green eyes flashing through his greasy hair with a sudden realization of a man who had just recalled a lost and treasured memory. Lawrence turned back to the man, Vortaech, nervously still clutching his rag. "Hello Vortaech, it is good to meet you, what brings you here," Lawrence asked slowly. With a quick start, Vorteach stood, looming above Lawrence with a size he had not noticed before. This man was a hulking beast, his head nearly brushed the low ceiling of his tavern. "My Lord brought me here, to this land, he needs me!" Vorteach said almost shouting at Lawrence. Lawrence raised his hands slowly and retreated slightly. "Our people need me..." Vortaech continued with a startled look on his face, his eyes darting briefly to the floor and back as if this sudden statement came as a new realization to him. The two men now stood facing each other, Lawrence felt as if this interaction had lasted an eternity but in fact, only a few minutes had passed since this man had entered his tavern. Then with another groan, the door to Lawrence's tavern slammed open, the bell chiming frantically as it bounced back and forth from the blow of the door violently swinging open. Hurried footsteps and the shouts of several men followed, "We found him! Hurry!" screamed one. Then moments later a confused Lawrence saw four men in tattered leather armour, bruised and angered, filter into his tavern and surrounded the immense frame of Vortaech. Swords and daggers brandished towards him. "You foul beast! Thought you could escape!? You will pay for what you did to us!" yelled one of the men, the tip of his sword, pointed harrowingly close to Vortaech's chest. He seemed unfazed, curiously looking down at the sword's sharpened tip. "Woah now, fellows, I am unsure as to what this individual did to upset you so greatly but please take it up elsewhere, I beg of you!" said Lawrence to no one in particular, his hands shakily actioning the group to calm down. He was suddenly desperate to be rid of this situation. One of the men shot his gaze towards Lawrence, "We will do no such thing, this monster killed half our troop last night, we won't go! Not until he..." the man's sentence was cut short when the back of a large fist slammed into his face, sending him sprawling to the ground, short sword skittering to a halt by a nearby barstool. "Silence brigand, I have no time to deal with those of your lot," said Vortaech, flexing his fingers as if to work them loose of rot. "Kill him!" yelled one of the brigands, dashing forward dagger in hand. Vortaech turned towards his assailant as he leaped towards him, the dagger's blade shot upwards towards his right shoulder. He turned, narrowly dodging the blade, as the brigand passed, he drove a fist into the back the attacker's skull sending him toppling over a nearby cluster of tables with a shrill wail. Vortaech felt an unusual sensation radiating from his lower abdomen, glancing down he found that one of the bandits had driven a dagger into his side. With a pull, he pried the dagger out from his side and turned towards the man as he pulled a short sword from his hilt. The brigand took two steps forward and attempted to chop at his chest with his sword. Vortaech's unarmed hand shot out towards the blade and caught it mid-blade, the steel cutting deep into his hand. Stunned the man attempted to pull his sword back away from his grasp. In response, Vortaech took a step closer to the man and drove the dagger in his other hand through the bottom of the brigand's chin with a sudden crunch of bone and flesh. The burbling sound of blood exiting the bandits neck momentarily filled the room before the slain man slumped to the floor, dagger still firmly embedded in place. Vortaech released the brigand's old sword from his left hand's grasp, the blade coming out of the wound clean. Grasping the sword's hilt in his right hand now, he turned towards the remaining brigands, he showed no fear, the bright green of his eyes burning as they gazed towards the three remaining brigands. With a desperate cry, the brigand whom he initially struck to the floor grabbed his short sword from where it fell and charged him, driving the blade towards his stomach with both hands. Vortaech didn't move as the sharp steel sunk into his flesh, the blade buried straight to the hilt. The brigand smiled devilishly and looked up at Vortaechs face, expecting a grimacing mask of pain, what he found chilled his bones. Vortaech's face showed no signs of distress, nor pain, his expression cowled by his coarse hair. Then, his hand, practically the size of a bears paw grasped onto his shoulder, gripping like an iron vice. The bandit howled from the sudden pain, as his bones cracked under the immense strength of the man. Vortaech silenced the man's anguish, driving his sword through his stomach. Another brigand fell to the ground in a heap, blood seeping in a crimson pool through the taverns dusty wooden panels. The remaining brigand attempted to rouse his companion from the wreckage of tables he had been thrown into at the beginning of the skirmish. Vortaech began to approach, pulling the short sword from his own gut, the sound of steel sliding against muscle and viscera breaking the brief silence. No blood fell from his wound. Realizing his attempts were in vain the remaining conscious bandit abandoned his companion and side bolted for the door. Vortaech allowed him to pass, a chase was not worth his time. Lawrence slumped against the bar in shock, looking at the destruction strewn about his tavern. It had only taken a few minutes but the damage was significant. He looked up at Vortaech, his wounds from the battle should've killed him but here he stood unfazed. "What are you?" Lawrence asked. "I am Vortaech, First of the Unfallen, and Chosen Herald of Keldrin."
Anatomy and Biological Traits
The base anatomy of the Unfallen is diverse because the spirits that inhabit the bodies of the corpses that make up the numbers of the Unfallen are also diverse. Unfallen can inhabit the corpses of elves, humans, dwarves, avanii, gnerians, gnomes, and any other sort of humanoid race.
The corpses themselves are in various states, some don't even look deceased as the spirits entered them shortly after the death occurred, while others are closer to skeletons than actual flesh bodies. One peculiar thing about the Unfallen anatomy is that once their new spirit enters the body it stops decaying altogether. It seems a sort of magical energy carries through within the spirit and into its new vessel that protects it from any sort of ageing. Though of course outside forces can affect the bodies of the Unfallen, i.e. weather damage, injury from combat, etc. they are not immune to harm but are highly resistant to pain.
The biological traits of the Unfallen are strange, they carry on any special abilities of the corpses they inhabit, as long as the body is in physical shape to do so. From the moment the spirit enters its new vessel the body itself ceases ageing essentially making the species, hypothetically at least, immortal. As well most Unfallen also have the ability to see in the dark, sense magical energies, and speak with the dead. No one is exactly sure why this is but some theorize it is because their spirits have entered the afterlife and taken on certain magical properties.
Unfallen awaken anywhere in the world, and at any given time some can be found wandering the lands. Though they are always drawn to their homeland of Keldavor. Beckoned there by an irresistible force. No matter how hard they struggle, they will always come home.
Geographic Distribution and Location
The Unfallen live in the lands surrounding their capital of Keldavor in the south of Fyria. This is the only location Unfallen are legally allowed to live and be left unperturbed. This is due to an agreement made at the end of the Bone War twelve years between the Unfallen and the leaders of Heldrin and Cassarei.