Sharkûl-Ishi Character in Zheng-Kitar | World Anvil


The ancient, ineffable being from whom the rot of reanimation spreads, and from whom the first undead were born

Sharkûl-Ishi (a.k.a. Old Deadwood)

Sharkûl-Ishi is classified as a Lesser Idol, and is capable of granting powers as a patron to witches and warlocks, and very rarely clerics if they are interested in resurrecting the dead, reincarnation, or creating undead. They are also the original font of most all Necromantic knowledge on Zheng-Kitar, and many necromancers seek them out to learn the profane secrets contained within its undying mind. Consult your GM if you are interested in following or recieving power from Sharkûl-Ishi as described here.
  Obedience: Spend an hour digging a small grave, then once finished throw in a handful of bones, blood, and the heart of an animal or living creature and say a prayer to Sharkûl-Ishi as you fill the grave back in.   Effect: The fell energies of the reanimation rot fill your body, and protect you from death. When you are below 0HP(Or at 1HP for constructs and those types who cannot go into negative HP), you can ignore an amount of damage from each attack equal to 1pt per HD. 1/day, you may invert your Positive and Negative Energy affinity for the rest of the day as an immediate action.

Physical Description

General Physical Condition

Sharkûl-Ishi, though it may have once had a body of flesh and blood, is now naught but bone and marrow - its appearance remains consistent across all of its appearances, and have seen it appear in the midst of an eerie grove of dead and rotting trees, nailed to the largest tree in the center of the grove by an enormous blade sword so utterly titanic that only a titan the likes of The Wanderer could possible wield it, or perhaps some divine being or avatar.   This blade blade has nailed it through the ribcage to this tree, and drips constantly with a greenish-blue liquid that stains the ground and has long been reported as having incredibly miraculous anti-undead properties. The fungal renanimation rot has long since sprung up from the undead ribcage of Sharkûl-Ishi to grow across the blade, as well as up the enormous trunk of the tree which Sharkûl-Ishi sits against.

Body Features

Skeletal as it appears to be, Sharkûl-Ishi's skeletal body does not seem to resemble any known species of creature currently in existence on Zheng-Kitar, nor does it resemble any one breed of outsider such as Demon, Devil, or Daemon - though it has been reported as resembling each in minor ways. It's skeletal body is coated in a greenish-blue fluid that drips from the blade that impales it through the ribcage with intense anti-undead properties, which constantly drips against the strange rot that coats much of its bony body that has long been referred to as "Reanimation Rot" - clusters of mold, fungus, worms, and insectoids that when allowed into the body of a living creature, will make them all but immortal.   This rot is constantly eaten away by the blue liquid that drips from the blade, keeping Sharkûl-Ishi in a perpetual state of death-stasis.

Facial Features

Its skull is strange and demonic, with three enomormous eye sockets and sharp fiendish teeth - its skull is covered in strange bone growths as well that give it a most evil appearance. Scraps of rotten flesh mixed with the Reanimation Rot dangle from its face, that really impresses the notion of a creature that, should it be freed from the blade that impales it, would regrow to its former glory in short order.

Identifying Characteristics

It is quite unmistakable - whether it be the maggot-infested reanimation rot that spreads from its chest, the blue-green liquid that melts away that rot that drips from the enormous black blade impaling it to the legendary tree in the midst of its rotten grove, or even its terrifying skeletal features and fleshy growths that constantly try to regrow its body only to be melted away by the greatsword in its chest.

Physical quirks

Its skeletal body is constantly coated in maggot-infested fungal rot that has legendary reanimation properties - when ingested or applied to the wounded, it can cure all ailments up to and including death, and prolong the lives of those it takes root in ad infinitum...though with unseemly consequences. Additionally, its fiendish skeletal body is quite unnerving, especially it when speaks its strange, choked speech from somewhere in its hollow chest.

Special abilities

Sharkûl-Ishi has been recorded has have an enormous variety of special abilities - chiefmost of which is the nature of its appearances. It always appears at the center of a small dead forest of bleak, dying trees coated in fungal rot that has long been known as "Blackwood Mire" - a real forest that once sat anchored to Zheng-Kitar in a place that has been lost to time, but is recorded as now migrating with its last living lord, Sharkûl-Ishi - and it now is heralded as a sign one is getting close to Sharkûl-Ishi themselves...and a sign one is likely either close to death, or at the end of one's rope or fate. The Blackwood Mire has appeared in all environments, appearing before those dying in the world's jungles and forests, grasslands, or even occasionally its deserts or tundras - though most common is definitely its appearances in similar wooded areas.   Its nature as the source of the first undead on Zheng-Kitar is definitely one of its most special abilities - the legendary Reanimation Rot has long been heralded as what caused the first undead, and its presumed necromantic prowess is assumed to be first among all living or dead spellcasters on the continent, though it has not been documented as using them - though it has given out this knowledge on multiple occasions to up and coming necromancers who have been kicked out of civilization for their choice of magic focus.   Owing to the grove that it appears in and moves with, it is assumed as having some degree of control over the entire forest of Bleakwood Mire - and is assumed to be capable of moving it at will.

Apparel & Accessories

Any clothes that Sharkûl-Ishi wore have long since rotted away - all that remains are two golden bracelets around its wrists and the enormous blade impaling it through its chest.

Mental characteristics

Personal history

The history of Sharkûl-Ishi is a thing shrouded in mystery - this legendary master of the Reanimation Rot is not mentioned in even the oldest tales of the Advent of the Spirit Kings, though scholars of especially ancient lore point to an unnamed mention of "A being which bestowed unto Mokmonid, The Everdark Emperor life eternal, at a terrible cost" that would in time cement his status as as Elemental Lord in service to Xu-Jie, Spirit King of Void. Many believe that this figure which made Mokmonid immortal to be none other than Sharkûl-Ishi, and that such an event is the first recorded instance of them appearing before another being and giving them the power to change their own destinies.   Ever since, as dozens upon dozens sought out Sharkûl-Ishi for all sorts of reasons from immortality to necromantic knowledge, the prevalence of the Rotwalkers who accepted the gift of the Reanimation Rot from Bleakwood Mire into their bodies and souls began to spread a misunderstanding of undeath, causing fledgling magicians interested in the ways of mimicking these undead beings to begin devising spells capable of achieving a similar state - leading to the creation of Necromantic Magic and the eventual widespread use of it in the creation of mundane Undead, as they are known now.   As for the history of Sharkûl-Ishi though, none can say - even its name has been lost to time, and its current name, 'Sharkûl-Ishi', was given to it in the history books by none other than The Witch Kings of Bhorsis-Razghûl. Those six legendary kings of evil are said to have sought out Sharkûl-Ishi and had an audience with it, emerging from the audience referring to the being as "Sharkûl-Ishi" in the Blackspeech which literally means "Old Deadwood" - a name that has become synonymous with Sharkûl-Ishi himself as well as the legendary tree of undeath and eternal life which it is nailed to. Who nailed Sharkûl-Ishi to the tree or slew it is not known, and is not believed to be the Spirit Kings - though they are believed to have encountered this strange being and decided to ensure it was left alone.   What is known about Sharkûl-Ishi is that it was once one of a handful of lords that ruled over a forest once known as Bleakwood Mire that once stood anchored to a single point on Zheng-Kitar that many theorize to have been none other than the swamps of Bhorsis-Razghûl - this ancient place was said to be thick with unholy power, and was a natural planar nexus where all manner of portals and such opened up at irregular intervals. The lords of this place were said to holds absolute power over the mire, such that animals and trees were their very senses, the ground their weapon, and the air their breath - these Lords of Bleakwood Mire are believed to have been the first recorded casters on all of Zheng-Kitar, but most are believed to have been slain in the centuries leading up to the Fall of the Sapphire Elves - all but one. As the last living lord of Bleakwood Mire, Sharkûl-Ishi was believed to have been the most powerful among his kin and survived the foe that had slain his brethren, enduring impalement and decoupling the mire from the Material Plane - allowing him to escape but trapping him in a state of undeath as the blade of his attacker bound him to the central tree of the mire and ensure he would exist in eternal limbo, the blade eating away at his regenerating flesh for all time.   In time, with the advent of the Spirit Kings, Sharkûl-Ishi began to appear before the dead and dying as well as those desperate to change their fate, and began offering them deals - and such was his legend born. His history with Vhiilan Reiko is unknown, and believed to have come only after Sharkûl-Ishi's ascendance into undeath and the decoupling of the Bleakwood Mire.

Gender Identity

None. It is believed to have been male in life, but that has not been confirmed.


None. It is believed to have been male in life, but that has not been confirmed.

Accomplishments & Achievements

Unknown. He has offered deals to an untold number of creatures over the eons, and most all undead are technically his accomplishments in one way or another.

Failures & Embarrassments


Intellectual Characteristics

Sharkûl-Ishi, contrary to his appearance, is an egomaniacal philosophist who enjoys speaking at great length others, whether to prove his omnipotence to them or to discuss deals with the desperate. He is an intellectual who is the sum total of all knowledge collected for over five thousand years, and is a being of such unbelieved intellectual supremacy that few can truly fathom the intellect that dwells within its mind.

Morality & Philosophy

Sharkûl-Ishi's morality seems to be almost nonexistent - it seems to delight exclusively in twisting the destinies and fates and natures of other creatures and enticing them into its service in exchange. It has proved willing to do anything on multiple occasions to achieve these goals, though what those goals are is mostly unknown.

Personality Characteristics


Unknown. It seems to concern itself with appearing before the desperate or those in dire need of its knowledge, and enjoys dispensing its gifts to those who seek it out in exchange for either faith, servitude or some other grisly task carried out at its behest.   It seems particularly interested in those who wish to overcome the inevitable fate of death, and those who seek to escape the shackles of fate and live free of destiny's burden.

Savvies & Ineptitudes

It is an extremely savvy reader of people and manipulator - having accumulated untold millennia of knowledge, it is the closest thing to an omnipotent being as can exist on the material and its savvies reflect this - there is little it cannot quickly infer or uncover, and almost no creature is capable of lying or hiding things from it. It is presumed to be an overwhelming master of necromancy and magic in general, but as it is has never been observed casting itself this is merely conjecture.   Its ineptitudes are wholly unknown, as none are in a right state of mind when they encounter it to uncover what it might be bad at.

Likes & Dislikes

Likes: The Desperate, the Dying, the Obsessed or Driven, Those who fear death, Those who want to change their fate, Aspiring Necromancers, Undead, Oldsouls, ???   Dislikes: The Spirit Kings, The Elemental Lords and Saints(and those who worship them), Vhiilan Reiko, The Deluded, ???

Virtues & Personality perks

Unlike his counterpart Vhiilan Reiko, he is actually closer to a true neutral force rather than a malicious dealmaker who takes things from others they do not want to lose. The deals he makes do not come with the same consequences as those made by his counterpart Vhiilan Reiko do - he does not seem to enjoy taking things, and instead is much more straightforward in his demands. Often, the things he demands(Typically faith, service, carrying out some deed or task, etc) are more burdensome and lengthy but less demanding, though often lethal if one shirks those duties after recieving his boons.   He is also a talker, and avid being of culture - though the nature of the deals he makes means those he appears before do not really care to engage him in wanton conversation, he enjoys those who do or those who elect to stay awhile or return to talk - with his supposed omnipotence there are a great many things he enjoys speaking on, especially when he can educate and talk down to others to explain things to them.   Because of this strange nature of his, he is a brand of evil that is subtle in its nature - the things and boons he gives are seemingly at no cost until one later realizes the implications that it naturally comes with, or the deeds they are asked to perform in his service - although the nature of his appearances means those he deals with are often unable to consider other options.

Vices & Personality flaws

Despite his odd, poetic, philosophical speaking nature and his seeming calm and arrogant demeanor, Sharkûl-Ishi is a being of unfathomable evil and ancient malice - the reanimation rot that spreads from him is the source of the original form of immortality but came with the ultimate price that, in time, lead to the first undead - which should be enough on its own to understand his true nature. Beneath the calm, arrogant demeanor has occasionally surfaced an endlessly furious persona that despises when things do not go according to his timeless predictions, and who cannot stand the notion of something existing that he does not know.   And, after countless eons imprisoned by the blade that presumedly took its life and nailed it to the legendary tree from which it took its name, Sharkûl-Ishi undoubtedly yearns for freedom - the deals that it makes have been becoming subtly more and more overt in the recent centuries, as its demands have been increasing in scale and intensity - as if it is running out of time or anticipating something.   All in all, it is mysterious, but cannot abandon its nature - nor its bottomless hunger for both knowledge and its obsession with tinkering with the fates of others. It seems ESPECIALLY obsessed with those who wish to escape a fate they have been cornered by, and though it has only been known to do so once, it delights in dealing with or in Oldsouls, or those with multi-elemental affinities - creating or finding an Oldsoul is something it seems to delight in especially, and watching the target, now free of the burden of fate, go on to wreak havoc in the world unable to be constrained by the forces of reality.

Personality Quirks

Sharkûl-Ishi, though it is a being of ancient power and unfathomable mystery, is a being that enjoys "talk" - it delights in it and seems to incredibly enjoy discussion and indulging its ego by proving the omniscience is claims to have.


As an undead being(perhaps the first), Sharkûl-Ishi requires no cleaning nor hygienic upkeep - though the strange, pale-skinned woman often seen around the wooded clearing it manifests in seems to perform some similar gardening, maintenance, or gravekeeper-esque role.


Contacts & Relations

Sharkûl-Ishi, as the father of all necromancy and reincarnation as well as undeath, has been contacted and sought out by countless people over the eons - such that they have become a household name to those even passingly familiar with magic and especially those familiar with necromancy or reanimation. It is no exaggeration, then, to say that almost all who dream of bringing the dead back to life have or will come into contact with Sharkûl-Ishi at one point in their lives.   However, especially notable is Sharkûl-Ishi's relationship with what most believe to be a rival - Vhiilan Reiko, the Great White Witch. While details of the relationship between these two is sparse, they are believed to be deeply familiar with each other and may have once even been allies in life, though now they seem to be nothing but bitter enemies. As such, they have been typecast as rivals even in their nicknames - Vhiilan Reiko as the 'White' caster who represents all of life's temptations made manifest, and Sharkûl-Ishi, the 'Black' caster who represents all of death's sickly temptations and the power to ignore its pull on one's life - to be born anew and ignore the trappings of time.   The extent of this rivalry is unknown, but the two are known to mirror each other in many ways - whereas Vhiilan Reiko will conspire to bring others to her to meet, Sharkûl-Ishi will instead manifest before others when they are their most vulnerable or desperate; whereas Sharkûl-Ishi will demand servitude, worship, or recompense in the form of favors or deeds carried out in its name, Vhiilan Reiko will instead take belongings or other esoteric things others have that they often cannot afford to lose - signifying the difference between Sharkûl-Ishi, classified as a lessor idol, and Vhiilan Reiko, who is not - though she might be capable of being one, she has never once been recorded as tolerating being treated as one.   Finally, while only mentioned by one especially desperate and manic survivor who encountered Sharkûl-Ishi, it was said to have spoken of The Witch Kings of Bhorsis-Razghûl once they were brought up neutrally and somewhat wistfully. See quotes on the side of the article for what it was quoted as saying of them.

Family Ties

If Sharkûl-Ishi had any family during their life, they have long since passed away and died - or been forgotten by the passing of time. However, though her relationship with Sharkûl-Ishi is unknown, many who have sought out Sharkûl-Ishi's glade for one reason or another have often reported a young woman or girl tending to the glade, her skin as white as alabaster and her eyes red as crimson, though she has never been recorded as talking. Her exact role is unknown but believed to be something similar to a gravekeeper or tender - and might serve as a daughter to Sharkûl-Ishi, though that is merely conjecture. Even her name is unknown, as those who encounter Sharkûl-Ishi's glade are never in a calm or rational state of mind enough to try and converse with her.

Religious Views

Sharkûl-Ishi seems to have an incredibly inflated view of itself, to the point of extreme egomania - those who have talked to it speak of it as a thing that speaks in elaborate rhyme schemes and in cryptic phrases, seemingly completely convinced of its own omnipotence. To this end, it seems to pay homage to no Old God, Spirit King, or any other traditional deity - and many in fact claim it speaks of them disdainfully with no respect, like one might speak of misguided children. It seems to only believe in itself as a religious figure, and has on more than one occasion been quoted by those who encounter it as saying it was 'the natural destination for all things'.

Social Aptitude

As they only reveal themselves to others in their darkest or most desperate hours, information on Sharkûl-Ishi's social charms and aptitude is mostly undocumented - they are believed to be mysterious and persuasive in their own way, but moreso in the sense of speaking as one who knows every last facet of the other's mind and personality. They are by their own claim omnipotent, and are seemingly capable of predicting most everything that can, has, and will happen - and all of its conversations are spoken from this position of seeming total knowledge - their words hit too close to home, and are perhaps disturbing in their own way though one cannot deny the truth contained within them.


Its' mannerisms are mostly unknown and undocumented - its usual form does not allow it to possess any mannerisms, as it usually appears as an enormous skeleton pinned to a tree by an unfathomably ancient blade.


Its speech is incredible fascinating to all who hear it - it speaks in an archaic form of rhyme that none have completely pieced together yet, and its voice comes aloud rather than telepathic, somehow resonating up from within its skeleton like the voice of a drowning, choked creature - or one whose lungs are filled with fluid, and whose voice is typically referenced as "deep and resonant".   It is also incredible arrogant in its speech - it makes offers and speaks from a position as one who claims to know or be able to predict most all things in reality, and its speech as a reflection of this. It is described as waxing poetic on many topics, and enjoys speaking more than most assume it should - though those who speak to have often have no choice but to listen. Its words cut true and hit unnervingly close to home, leaving many shaken after encounters with it.


Osmantha the Indomitable

Bride(?) (Vital)

Towards Sharkûl-Ishi




Spouse(?) (Vital)

Towards Osmantha the Indomitable




In an extremely strange twist of fate, the woman once known as "The Heat-Reaping Demon" has, on extremely rare occasions, alluded to the ancient and ineffable father of Necromancy, Sharkûl-Ishi - but rather than fear or awe, she seems to speak of the ancient being with respect and admiration, combined with a strange, weird affection.   Whether this means that Sharkûl-Ishi was responsible for her transformation into a Jiang-Shi long ago or they are somehow otherwise acquainted, is unknown - as is the source of one of Osmantha's most unique nicknames: "The Deadwood's Bride". Regardless, she has been known to visit Sharkûl-Ishi's Deathly Glade on occasion, though the being itself has not been recorded as speaking of her to others...leaving their relationship a mystery.

Wealth & Financial state

Sharkûl-Ishi is not known to possess any personal wealth - it is immoble and no longer moves of its own accord, so any assets it once had were lost or abandoned long ago.
A visitor? Here, in this deathly glade?   Ye who seek to halt the turning of fate's wheel,   And come into this most shallow grave -   Come, and sit; Let us make a dead man's deal.
— A phrase universally reported as sounding in the minds of those who stumble upon Sharkûl-Ishi and his corrupted glade
Honorary & Occupational Titles
Old Deadwood, Lord of the Reanimation Rot, The Necromantic Master, The Deadman's Dealer, The Grand Black Warlock, Guardian of the Tenfold Gates, The Everdark Husk, The Last Lord of Blackwood Mire, The Sixfold Scabbard
Unfathomably Ancient. Believed to predated the advent of the Spirit Kings over 5000 years ago.
Date of Birth
Circumstances of Birth
Unknown - all records of its life have been lost to the trappings of time.
Current Residence
Has no set location. Appears all across Zheng-Kitar at extremely random points or locations.
Unknown. Its skeletal body prevents property identification.
Hollow skeletal sockets
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
Pale white bones, no skin
Unknown. Possibly over 60ft tall when standing.
Unknown, generally immovable.
Quotes & Catchphrases
I am sin made real. A familiar fear. A timeless chorus most surreal - welcome the rot, and let all be made clear.
The six shades of Razghûl? Ah, indeed -   Those fools who sought salvation and found despair.   Such is the natural end for all of their creed;   Denied entrance to the grave, and refused all prayer.
— A reply given when asked about The Witch Kings of Bhorsis-Razghûl
Known Languages
From all who have encountered it, it has not been known to not speak or know a language.

Master of the Reanimation Rot

Though it is not something that any but the most dedicated of scholars of undeath know of, the Reanimation Rot and the gift of undeath is brings that Sharkûl-Ishi claims mastery over is wholly different than undeath achieved through necromantic magic. When a living, mortal creature takes the Reanimation Rot into their bodies and accepts it gifts, they are given complete and true immortality in every sense - nothing is capable of killing them permanently, as the insects and maggots and rot that grows within their bodies makes them wholly unkillable - even when torn into scraps, they will reform not long after, unlike normal undead, who are very killable.   Only myths and rumors speak of a legendary blade capable of delivering a final death to these "Rotwalkers" gifted eternal life by the Reanimation Rot who often retain their mental faculties(Unlike normal undead) - making the "Rotwalkers"(A term used to refer to those made immortal by the Reanimation Rot) something feared even more than traditional necromancy, which is but a pale imitation of the Reanimation rot which Sharkûl-Ishi commands and covets; Whereas the Reanimation Rot can be considered a true path to actual immortality that comes with an unfortunate cost of one's skin and living form after the passing of enough time, traditional necromancy attempts to achieve the same thing but often does so at the cost of the immortal soul of the one casting and undergoing such a thing, and sometimes does so much messier and with sloppy methods.


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