Vorhein, Of the Endless Hunger (Vor-hein)
SummaryAs the Traitors' War began, the land of Fornaldom rebelled against the Aerthen Imperial Federation. Of Fornaldom, there were three sister cities: Argen, Froda, and Sella. While Argen and Sella committed fully to rebellion, Froda split in half between loyalists and rebels. When the loyalists secured the city from rebel forces, the rebels decided to besiege and isolate it in return. By breaking the honorable rules of war and forbidding civilian supplies, they hoped to starve the city into submission. Froda, a place of hardship and hardy people, wouldn't bow down to such an act. Months dragged by and supplies dwindled, and their resolve became tested. Starvation set in, and little by little, Froda began miserably dying off. Such conditions were ripe for Forsaken Undead to begin emerging, becoming an even worse complication. The rebels didn't relent in their siege, content to let starvation and the undead both break Froda's stubborn resistance. The leaders of Froda feared what would happen if they truly did surrender after seeing such a response. It would be then, unknown to them all, the horrific being known as Vorhein would emerge. A newly formed Grave Queen, her first memories were that of a sewer, eating the remains of a small family. Whether it was hers or not, she neither knew nor cared; they were food all the same. Devouring them and then dragging herself along the cold, slimy stone, she sought out one body after another. Some even still lived, moaning pathetically as they met their end at her slavering maw. With flesh came strength, her own body growing grotesquely. Her broken legs fused together into one slithering, serpentine mass, and her dessicated husk bulged with meat and muscle. Those doomed souls who ended up in the sewers, too, returned as undead, fit to serve her. The mere presence of a Grave Queen disturbs the dead, and even the most righteous of souls may return vengefully. Born from starvation, those who died like she did also hungered insatiably to fill themselves. But, Vorhein was smart. Knowing how weak she was to take on an entire city, she bid her time in the sewers. Corpses would invariably flow to her, disappearing into the mouths of her growing swarm. When she had too many to feed and not enough bodies, she sent raiding groups to the surface. By striking at the poor and infirm, her scattered attacks looked like small, incidental flashes of undead activity. She even sacrificed some groups to appease the city guard, and massage them into complacency. They had no choice but to take such victories, for the ongoing siege battered Froda still. Many weeks later, Vorhein grew strong and ravenous enough caution fled from her mind. With Froda's very dead at her command, she knew every road, every secret route, and every weakness the city possessed. Her swarm erupted from the sewers in the dead of night, striking at the guard posts and military barracks. Unprepared for the coordinated assault and incredible amount of undead, they fell within hours. Those who wouldn't return to serve Vorhein simply became food for the rest, not even bones being left behind. Over the next 48 hours, Froda collapsed from within. Ramshackle barricades, desperate efforts, and final stands were the last chapters in its peoples' lives. Despair and rage alike flowed over them, fueling even more to return with ravenous hatred. Vorhein spared nothing and no one, be they the tiniest of vermin or some haughty noble lady who ruled. Yet even as she succeeded in devouring Froda, her evil gaze drifted abroad, taking aim at the ignorant rebels around Froda. The very next night, she swarmed and devoured them enmasse. Freed of the city, she struck out, spreading her swarm throughout the wilds. In a growing tide of teeth and hunger they swallowed everything edible in their path: fruits, vegetables, animals, vermin, insects, people, and more. Some even tried eating the bark of treets and dirt itself. The ravenous dead were compelled by the single desire of filling the emptiness inside them, however they could. Everything would be consumed. Gorging on rich foods, Vorhein and her swarm grew mightier. The likes of ghouls and nekrokin began emerging alongside nascent raveners. She took aim at the nearest and biggest meal source next: Sella. So the swarm went, leaving a desolate and empty landscape in their wake, deprived of anything living except for the trees. Among the rebel dead that rose to serve her, there were native peoples of Sella and Argen. They told to their new queen in hateful voices all the secrets of those cities they knew, and how unguarded they were. Compared to Froda, Sella had no resistance save its walls and some paltry defenders. Striking with a speed and ferocity they couldn't have prepared for, Sella fell even faster than Froda did. Vorhein continued on, letting her fledgling lieutenants gorge on Sella as she took down Argen next. In the span of less than a month since her first attack, she devoured three entire city-states and most of Fornaldom's wildernesses. Splitting her swarm, Vorhein ventured west, to the foreign city-states on the edge of Aerthen. She sent her favored lieutenant, a nekrokin named Heartkill Fleshtearer, to the east. Heartkill would devour the unsuspecting rebel and Federation armies fighting each other, while Vorhein gorged on more valuable targets. For, as ever, the dead who served her spoke freely, and she discovered the plot that accidentally led to her own creation. The irony of devouring such people proved far too entertaining to her to not do. Imenia, Roulau, Bendu, and Coral Port were her targets, and she struck them as swiftly and furiously as Sella and Argen. Even split in half, her swarm measured in unfathomable thousands. Advance ghoul scouts killed the sentries that would've warned the cities, paving a clean path to a surprise invasion. The likes of necromages and raveners provided the battering rams she needed to get through the gates. Or, in the case of the necromages, catapulting her undead over the walls with wind magic. Either way, once she got inside, slaughter followed. By the fourth city she'd knocked down, a dilemma posed itself before Vorhein. The nearby cities had caught wind of her presence, and rapidly coordinated their armies together to repel her. Worse, Heartkill apparently died in her eastward advance. Recognizing the anvil-and-hammer situation awaiting her, Vorhein redirected her swarm toward the east. A single army's resistance would be far more surmountable than multiple cities that'd banded together. On her great, ravenous tide did Vorhein go east, sweeping toward the Federation trade-city of Jalken. There, Corentine Durand, Alexandre, and Duchess Amelia Louva awaited her. Garrisoned by an Imperial Army, the Storm Lances, Jalken posed the most formidable challenge yet in Vorhein's less-than-year-old unlife. She sieged endlessly for days, throwing mountains of bodies at Jalken's defenses again and again. Amidst that frustrating stall, she noticed something else. Intrepid adventurers led by Alexandre that were seemingly flanking her tide. When even her nekrokin lieutenants failed to stop them, Vorhein finally spared her attention. She collided with the adventurers in a bloody battle of carnage, undead might and numbers pitched against their unbelievable skill. It astonished her so much that just a handful of people could even do so much damage. Realizing all too late how outmatched she was, Vorhein took a fatal blow from Alexandre himself. With her gone, the ravenous tide fell apart as no singular binding will could control their all-consuming hunger. They tore into each other in a mindless frenzy, eating and gorging freely. While Jalken cleaned up the tide and took their hard won victory, they never paid real attention to what had happened. Vorhein slipped away. Her immense, grotesque body was just a shell to her 'real' self, the maggot-like serpent that first grew in Froda's sewers. Understanding she had no means of winning against Alexandre, or overcoming Jalken, she chose to sacrifice her tide to disguise her retreat. Vorhein hurried northward, past Froda, and to the western side of the great mountains of northwestern Aerthen. Lands yet ignorant of her presence, and full of life to consume, would be ripe for her to grow from again. At least, that'd been her plan. A vampire mistress by the name of Herala Nightblood captured her. Possessed of such incredible magic power Vorhein couldn't win, the dethroned Grave Queen would become Herala's prisoner. Stowed in the depths of the Nightblood Palace, Vorhein had no other choice than to obey Herala's demands, or be destroyed. Hateful beyond measure, and hungrier than even that, Vorhein nonetheless bit her lip and bid her time. One day, Herala would slip up, and like any other, Vorhein would devour her whole. Until then, her undead serve at Herala's bidding, and Vorhein has ever been the vampire mistress' favorite tool of destruction.
A horrific being, Vorhein is more an amalgmation of thousands of victims than any singular entity. She's composed of two distinct 'bodies' that operate in a singular unison. Her 'true' form is that of a long, maggot-like snake, comprised of black, rotted flesh and body parts grown together. Repurposed organs and limbs twist together into her 'arms' and 'legs', accentuating an almost centipede-like aesthetic to her locomotion. Moving is a function of propelling/grabbing at the ground, as much as lurching her body forward in a serpentine coil. A disgusting pop, grind, and crunch of bone and cartillage accentuates her every movement, not unlike a creaky, groaning tree in some ways. Many different mouths, and sometimes faces for those mouths, line her body, each of them fully capable of eating anything that goes inside. Her humanoid upper-half is, similar to nuhara or other snake monsters, remarkably person-like. Her two arms are disturbingly long compared to the rest of her, fulfilling a role of pinching mandibles and manipulator hands. Vorhein's torso is vaguely androgynous, with a vertical, slitted maw concealed from her sternum to hips. The torso skin is smoother than the rest of her, looking more stretched over muscular than stitched together from bodies. The 'second body' she dwells within is quite similar to a ravener in form and function. Vorhein anchors herself within its enormous mouth, acting as the replacement for its 'tongue'. Given how its five-petalled lips split open, it's evocative of a flesh-grown flower. Its teeth, if they could be called that, are more like fused shards of bones and limbs. Like her lower, maggot-like half, its black flesh is a product of devoured peoples regrown into one horrifying amalgmation. This second body has four large arms/legs it uses to move, attack, and manipulate objects as Vorhein wills. She's able to eject herself from the second body as she needs. As to why Vorhein has it, the body's purpose is more akin to that of a carriage or throne. A testament to everything Vorhein is, and the fate of everyone that meets her.
Black, oily and messy hair adorns Vorhein's head, being unkept or washed in any capacity. It grows like wild roots and has a meaty thickness to it that conveys a certain disgusting sensation. In some capacities it spills down her face and shoulders alluringly; in others, a wild, bestial mane that flows down her backside. Vorhein's eyes are expressively wide and round; child-like in a way that doesn't fit her maturely adult, round face. A smooth, slightly flared nose compliments her unusually large, wide lips. She could be called disarmingly charming, in a sort of cute but messy way. A line of separated flesh goes underneath her eyes, and down the sides behind her jaw. This is because Vorhein can open her mouth abominably wide, revealing the enormous teeth and unhinging jaw she possesses. Similar to many species of fish, Vorhein can launch her jaw forward, crushing/skewering her prey in a surprise attack. In such a state the entirety of her humanoid-face peels back, as if it were nothing but a sleeve to disguise her tubular maw.
Voracious Consumption – Vorhein becomes more powerful by devouring people, animals, or otherwise. The stronger or more mana-rich they are, the more she in turn will grow. Vile Regeneration – Vorhein can regrow, reattach, or subsume flesh into her own body, to repair any damage done. She can also expend reserves of vital strength to recover in a flash, giving her incredible staying power in combat. Arise, Legions! – More than many other Grave Queens, Vorhein can command vast swathes of undead. The ravenous kind are, in particular, notoriously difficult to control, but it is something she does easily. She can raise entire armies in days if left unchecked. Blood Rot – Both Vorhein and her undead have a weak disease within them, a type of wasting rot that can infect their victims. While it's an easily treated disease, it can burden and overwhelm doctors, healers, and medicine women with the sheer number of victims it engenders.
Apparel & Accessories
She has no notable clothing, accessories, or otherwise. Vorhein literally makes her meals become apart of her, and grows whatever she needs.
While her cunning and sinister mind suggests she was once a noblewoman in life, no one really knows for certain. Vorhein is eager to make use of the dead who serve her, learning from their half-remembered experiences to further her own ends. In this regard she consumes a lot of practical, if malformed, knowledge and willfully puts it to practice immediately. The greater context of things like history, cultural considerations, and the like are completely irrelevant to her. Rather, if she is studying those things, its to torment her victims or to find some weakness to exploit. Since her imprisonment and forced servitude, she's been more mindful about reading literature and understanding the world around her. Vorhein, knowing her previous tactics and methods failed spectacularly, is trying to devise new ones. For as much as her awareness expands, her compulsive and obsessive need to consume ever controls her. The wonders of stories, strong moral characters, and social parables are completely meaningless. Her ravenous eyes only look for new ways of killing people.
Born from a death of starvation, Vorhein is tormented by endlessly needing to feed her bottomless appetite. The only reprieve she feels is when flesh is torn between her teeth, blood trickles down her tongue, and she's too busy eating to think about anything else. Life itself is just an interlude from one meal to another, and the sheer agony of the moments in between.
Despite her compulsive consumption habits, Vorhein possesses a keen mind and frightening intellect. Closer to an exceptionally cunning huntress, she can devise tactics, means of hunting and trapping, and other ways of capturing prey to devour. Entirely sapient, her mannerisms are more the result of disregarding everything else in favor of simply eating when she can. However, circumstances can make her stop and think up new ways to overcome the problems she faces. The closest thing to 'personable' she becomes is in the presence of her trusted lieutenants amidst a feast. Eating is truly the only time she becomes content, and sparing moments of genuine personality emerge during then. Her gore feasts, as a result, are the closest thing to social engagement Vorhein ever comes to.
Morality & Philosophy
Generally speaking, undead polarize around the issue most relevant to their death. Let us take, for example, the issue of Vorhein some years ago. Based on her and her undead's behavior, we can surmise they're either victims of starvation, or ones who succumbed to gluttony. They fixate unflinchingly upon eating anything and everything they can find. Sometimes even things that are inedible. Whoever they might've been in life is gradually lost to that all-devouring obsession. No matter how much of a person they may be, or what conversation they can hold, that is their only purpose. Everything else is just a facade worn or left on as an afterthought. Amongst the many kinds of Forsaken, the ravenous can be called the most 'simplistic' because of this. Their motives are easy to understand, their means animalistic, and their purpose never more than what they can eat in front of them. Nonetheless, they are still supremely dangerous; the most, perhaps, amongst all undead. That simple, singular purpose guides them with horrifying effectiveness. You cannot debate, convince, nor appease them in any way that isn't feeding them. And, no matter how much you feed, they still want more. You are destined to lose. Compare this to, say, a forlorn undead. There's no telling what they want or what guides them, but compared to the ravenous, they're much easier to have a conversation with.
Year of Birth
2426 TD 9 Years old
Nightblood Palace basement prison
Black sclera, gold irises with a W-shape reminiscient of jaws
Putrid black, browns, and sickly yellows