The Dead Man's Tale Myth in Totania | World Anvil
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The Dead Man's Tale

CW: Gore and Mention of Suicide

The Dead Man's Tale is the story of the first Vampire, a Dark Elven nobleman known as Dresmorlin Cobath, and how he became the most feared being in Totania. Despite its villainous protagonist, it is a story about perserverance and never giving up.


Dresmorlin Cobath was a Dark Elf Noblemen who had been one of the first Dark Elves to change from High Elf to Dark Elf. He had traveled with Chadzar Dalarune, with the help of the first Stemine, to the Grey Cavity.   Here, Dresmorlin reinstated the idea of nobility. He insisted that they continue the idea, not wanting to be involved with the common rabble. He instead wanted to stand above them, which he did as he began to make them kill each other for his entertainment.   Eventually, this made Chadzar challenge him, saying that Dresmorlin should not treat people that way. Chadzar defeated Dresmorlin in combat, but Dresmorlin struck back. He killed much of Chadzar's family, and then attempted to kill Chadzar. He was, however, defeated again and this time arrested.  

The Dead Man's Tale

Dresmorlin Cobath was sentenced to execution. In Dark Elf society, execution does not consist of them killing the prisoner. They do not deem that sentence punishment enough.   Instead, they lock the prisoners away. Then, the prisoner is forced to spend the remainder of their lives in a dark, damp cell deep in the caves. For younger Dark Elves, that leaves them with a long time, perhaps 700 more years, in jail.  
Dresmorlin Cobath by Jarhed
They hope that this will cause the prisoners to kill themselves so they do not need to waste resources keeping them alive, but the Dark Elf government don't push them. They don't want to be responsible, plus they find it better to allow them at least the choice of killing themselves sooner rather than killing themselves hundreds of years later.  

The Noble Will

Dresmorlin was not that weak willed. He found the idea itself absurd, to kill oneself was to give up. Dresmorlin didn't want to flee into the absurdity of illusions, religion, or especially death. Absurdities that held no ground, that took up no space. No, Cobath instead embraced the absurdity of living.   He wanted to live, without relinquishing any of his certainty, without a future, without hope, without illusions, and without resignation either. Hundreds of years faced him, and he laughed in their face. He stared at death with passionate attention, and that fascination liberated him. What power did death hold, if Dresmorlin was the only one who could administer it? Yet Dresmorlin was stripped of all possessions. If he had nothing to lose, then he could enjoy everything around him all the more.   Overtime, Dresmorlin found light in everything around him. He laughed at anything he saw, a bright and boisterous laugh that echoed throughout the cells. He laughed so much at death that it became a foreign concept to him. He had no thoughts of what consequences it could bring, of what weight a life had. All of it was now just another piece of entertainment, another event for Dresmorlin to laugh at. Because the more he laughed, the more control he had. The more he was showing the world that he was in charge. As one guard hauntingly heard him say one night, at the stroke of midnight:  
"No one controls my life but me."
— Dresmorlin Cobath

A Demonic Offer

One hundred and four years later, after Dresmorlin had thoroughly laughed at everything that had and would ever pass by his cell, he began to grow bored again. He was entertained by death, he was curious towards the struggle of life, but there were only so many people that he could see form his cell. Only so many deaths, only so much life. Where was the fun?   Yet one day, there was a knock on his cell. What appeared to be a Human was outside of it, yet this was nearly a thousand years before Humans existed. Who was this strange man?  
Chernobog by Jarhed
The answer, it turned out, was simple. This was Chernobog, God of Demons. Chernobog had been watching Dresmorlin, and had a deal to offer him. He would give Dresmorlin Demon Magic, allow him to live out his greatest fantasies, as long as Dresmorlin escaped this cage and caused havoc.   But Dresmorlin did not answer Chernobog with a yes or no. He was beyond such gestures now. In Dresmorlin's eyes, there was little difference between himself and a God. Neither could die, nor were either truly alive. They were merely getting by on watching those that were truly alive. So Dresmorlin simply laughed in the face of the God. For what else was a man to do?   Chernobog took this is a yes. It did not matter what the real answer was, anyway. This would prove good enough for the God of Demons. And so he placed his eye in Dresmorlin's hand, granting him unlimited power through Demon Magic. It is said that Dresmorlin had only one thing to say to this Holy and Demonic power that was granted to him:
"This was the worst choice you could make. I'll be sure you never regret it."
— Dresmorlin Cobath

The Absurdity of Life

Dresmorlin Cobath is said to have broken out of his cell eight nights later. It is said that those previous eight nights, Dresmorlin had learned a new thing about his newfound power. Due to this, the number eight often gets associated with Demons, with it being thought there is some correlation there. It is believed that the first night after Chernobog gave him the magic, he turned himself into a Vampire.   It is said that night that the streets were filled "with the laughter of one man." Dresmorlin Cobath's laugh rang throughout the entire cave now, no longer just the underground prison system. Now, every Dark Elf could hear him. For he had risen.   Dresmorlin immediately made his way to the Dalarune household to see Chadzar. When he reached Chadzar, he found him sleeping. He knew he could snap Chadzar's neck. He could stick his now clawed fingers through Chadzar's face, ripping it apart slowly and painfully. He could bite Chadzar and watch as he ate his entire family. But there was only one thing that Dresmorlin thought of that he wanted to do. Only one thing that he found entertaining.   Chadzar Dalarune lived hundreds of years past that day. He was never sure why, but every few days, he would get an immense pain in his head. One so bad that he was unable to stand. This pain persisted, and no mage or scholar could discern what it was. Then, after living over seven hundred years, Chadzar Dalarune died of an unknown and incurable cancer.   Dresmorlin Cobath had laughed about it. Something that could never be detected, which would hinder Chadzar and ultimately kill him. Something that would make him suffer, but never be able to connect with anyone over it. That was the greatest entertainment Chadzar could give Dresmorlin. Not his death, the death would only be meaningful if there was something behind it. The most entertaining part of it for Dresmorlin was not the death, but the absurdity of life behind it.  

The Future

They say Dresmorlin is still out there today, searching for entertainment in life. He is said to torment anyone he comes across, hoping to squeeze out every bit of fun they have before ultimately killing them. For anyone he deems boring, he kills. Then they will not have to suffer a boring life, and he won't have to waste his time.   For over a thousand years, Dresmorlin has laughed. To the point where it is said his vocal chords are worn out, that his laugh creaks like an old floor board, that his voice does not wish to work, but that the pure bliss he feels from this entertainment is more than he can bear. In the end, all Dresmorlin Cobath cares about... is entertainment.

Cover image: Skull by joaoluis98


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