Tarthan Lifewalker Species in Zheng-Kitar | World Anvil

Tarthan Lifewalker

The ancient colossi created by ancient necromantic masters to sustain the dead sands of Tarthus even in the darkest of times

Gone are the gods of old,   To a place far away where none can follow,   Replaced by a shining king in gold,   Ruler of sands that now stand hollow
— A poem penned by the anonymous political Tarthan poet "Ibn-ah"

Those that remain

  Though they once played a crucial role in the halting of the apocalypse known as The Met-su-khon Manifold Collapse nearly 2,400 years ago, the Tarthan Lifewalkers have mostly faded into history as of the modern day - with the unknown fate and presumed death of the Tarthan High Lords save for one and the ravages of over two thousand years of history taking their toll, the Lifewalkers are mostly a defunct relic of a bygone era that has passed them by. In the modern era, almost none remain active - though a handful that stand imprisoned, dead, or otherwise indisposed are known of, and are listed below alongside their known monikers and their status.  
  • Adum-ra: One of the oldest Lifewalkers that is still known of, known as The Radiant Child for the sun-like radiance that glowed from within their veins. Most commonly took the form of a dark-skinned humanoid male with avian features. So far, they stand as the only known Lifewalker to display the ability to take on the form of inanimate objects - such as burning suns, mountains, and so on. Vanished some centuries ago towards the end of the Tarthan Dark Age before the rise of Amenmeses Ra-sen Shakanasa I, wandering south across the land of Khyarmani to destinations unknown. Was regarded a folk deity by large swathes of western Tarthus, and carries even still the greatest reputation among the Tarthan people, as they frequently interacted with population centers.
  • Sa-hor-set: The largest of the Lifewalkers at the time of their demise, Sa-hor-set was better known by the epithet The Obelisk for their enormous and stony appearance. Shifted forms frequently, but was slain while taking on a humanoid female appearance by Amenmeses Ra-sen Shakanasa I - though unlike their sibling Semet-bira, seemed to carry no ill-will towards Amenmeses Ra-sen Shakanasa I and instead was somewhat well-known in northern Tarthus as a guardian of the Valley of the Lifewalkers, a vast valley where many Lifewalkers were said to be buried beneath the sands after their deaths. Little information remains on them, but folk tales endure that tell tale of Sa-hor-set as one of the eldest Lifewalkers, potential wife to Adum-ra, and folk deity who once taught the people of Tarthus how to rotate and raise crops following The Met-su-khon Manifold Collapse nearly 2,400 years ago. Now slain by Amenmeses and his armies, their body was left to rot within The Valley of the Lifewalkers and has given birth to a large oasis within the desert dunes.
  • Minkah: Referred to as The Serpent, and is often seen in a wide variety of forms - most commonly, an enormous snake and a vaguely humanoid, onyx-skinned female with extremely prominent serpentine features. Once inhabited the lands of the Kingdom of Tarthus-Tetsu, but was engaged in battle and driven into exile by Amenmeses Ra-sen Shakanasa I. Location unknown, but rumored to slither amongst the peaks of the mountain range along the kingdom's southern border. A combative and mystical Lifewalker who was said to have held intense loyalty to the High Lords who created their kind - naturally bringing it into conflict with Amenmeses Ra-sen Shakanasa I after the latter took ownership of Tarthus and drove out or killed the High Lord during their rise to power. They stand mostly forgotten by the Tarthan people in the modern day.
  • The Leviathan of Gessythis: A mostly unknown Lifewalker whose existance cannot be conclusively determined - nothing remains of them, not even a name or appearance. The only evidence that points to their existence are folk tales that tell of an enormous oceanic beast that once guarded the eastern shores of Tarthus that was hunted and captured by Amenmeses Ra-sen Shakanasa I, and eventually was supposedly imprisoned within or used in the creation of the Amenmesseum Sentrys for reasons unknown. Lifewalker scholars have pointed this "Oceanic Beast" as one of the ancient Lifewalkers, hunted by Amenmeses Ra-sen Shakanasa I and expunged from history some decades ago.
  • Semet-bira:The only Lifewalker still active in the modern-day, which seems to exclusively prefer humanoid forms(And most recently female forms), though in the past supposedly took the form of an Elephant quite prominently. Known as The High Warden, Semet-bira is the most combative of the Lifewalkers, and seems to actively seek the downfall of Amenmeses Ra-sen Shakanasa I - many all across the Kingdom of Tarthus-Tetsu still venerate them as a folk deity of sorts, though unlike many of the other Lifewalkers they have avoided destruction at the hands of Amenmeses Ra-sen Shakanasa I due to their supposed "Homeland" in central Khyarmani, far to the south of the Kingdom of Tarthus-Tetsu as it stands in the modern day, in lands once occupied in the Tarthan golden age. Unlike their sibling Adum-ra, their faith is not tolerated in modern-day Tarthus and is expunged where possible. Supposedly resides to the south of the Kingdom of Tarthus-Tetsu in the lands of central Khyarmani.

Basic Information


The anatomy of the Lifewalkers has never been conclusively studied, but is believed to exist somewhere between life and undeath - similar to golemcrafting of the modern day, the Tarthan Lifewalkers are said to be beings that are incredibly charged with Atlen such that it suffuses their entire beings and leaks into the surrounding area constantly. From what little has been uncovered about them, they are not believed to have anatomy at all - what little they may possess is likely decorative, or used in the generation, anchoring, and dispersal of the enormous levels of Atlen that flow through their bodies.   In truth, their bodies seem designed exclusively to serve as "Attractors" of Atlen - to store it, generate it, and then to take that very energy of life and magic itself and release it into the surrounding area in a subtle dispersion process that was utilized by their ancient creators to help repair the apocalypse known as The Met-su-khon Manifold Collapse, a unique anomalous phenomenon that existed nearly 2,400 years ago that threatened to unmake all rules of reality across the world and beyond, destroying Atlen and universal constants to revert the world into lifeless, barren landscapes and twisted fractals beyond mortal understanding from its origin point somewhere on the Khyarmani landmass.   In this way, they served - and continue to serve - as "anchors" of reality in similar ways that the Old God Rakmou-Dahmu does on a cosmic scale. Their presence helps "Smooth Out" imperfections in reality as they pass through them, filling in gaps in an area's Atlen, null-magic zones, and repairing damage constants like life and gravity - the means by which this is accomplished is unknown, but this strange biological makeup also allows them wondrous transformative qualities the likes of which even Sentient Slimes cannot hope to match. Though the forms they take may vary across the ages according to unknown reasonings, their true forms are that of morphic beings who can become nearly any organic being they wish to be - though they cannot seem to reduce or enlarge their size overmuch like Giants can.

Biological Traits

Though they in many ways resemble golems, the Lifewalkers show all the biological signs of life that one would expect - they seem to breathe, they appear to bleed(And as such, can die), they can sweat, and so on, oftentimes in greater quantities or with greater force than more mundane mortal beings due to the immense storm of Atlen roaring within their bodies. They do not seem to age, and can otherwise shapeshift to an extraordinary degree with uncanny quickness and speed to become nearly any organic entity they so desire - they tend to stand quite tall(Though not as tall as The Wanderer, but again this can change somewhat depending on what form they take) and as such are easily mistake for demigods or divine beings, though in truth they are simply highly advanced artificial lifeforms created through ancient necromantic and magical rituals.   Because they carry such a vast and oceanic reserve of Atlen within their bodies, they have quite a few strange biological traits - most notably, they do not "bleed" in the traditional sense(Instead leaking Atlen into the surrounding area), cause plant growth, water formation, and other such miraculous phenomena to appear in their wake as the Atlen within their bodies constantly disperses and suffuses the surrounding area near their bodies. However, this comes with an equally dangerous side-effect: spending too much time in the presence of(Or even worse, in contact with) a Lifewalker runs the risk of a most deadly Atlen poisoning - washing away one's very personality and life force in the deluge of life-energy that suffuses the Lifewalkers. Thankfully, as they exist far from civilization and are mostly dead or imprisoned in the modern day, this is a rare and mostly moot point.

Genetics and Reproduction

The Tarthan Lifewalkers, as existences similar to Golems, cannot reproduce at all - they were created, not born - so with the rise of Amenmeses Ra-sen Shakanasa I and the mysterious fate that he subjected the High Lords to...whether it be death or otherwise, more Lifewalkers will likely never come to fruition, making them a dying breed.

Growth Rate & Stages

Tarthan Lifewalkers do not age or grow - they were forged through ancient, unholy necromantic rituals in the old and now-defunct citadels of the High Lords of the Kingdom of Tarthus-Tetsu, and as such emerged fully-formed. Barring violence or outside interference, they do not decay, grow old, or naturally expire.

Ecology and Habitats

The Tarthan Lifewalkers, as their name might imply, exist solely in the lands of Tarthus-Tetsu and the larger Khyarmani landmass on which the land of Tarthus resides - however, in specific point of order, the Lifewalkers could likely exist in any ecology, climate, or habitat. As walking Atlen generators, they could likely easily adapt to any climate or ecology in extremely short order - of course, as none have ever left the landmass of Khyarmani, such a theory is unlikely to be tested.

Dietary Needs and Habits

From all that has been gathered on the Lifewalkers, they are not believed to eat - and even if they have the ability to do so, all such dietary needs are likely covered entirely by their natural Atlen stores within their own body; Because Atlen is the energy of life and magic, constantly intaking it in such an abnormal way as the Lifewalkers do likely provides for any "life-sustaining" requirements they might need.

Biological Cycle

Though they are not affected by the passing of time and thus do not have a Biological Cycle, the Tarthan Lifewalkers to have a cycle in a different sense - as pseudo-golems that have extremely morphic and transformative qualities, they adapt extremely quickly to external influence and thus do "change" according to their environment or external influences in such a manner.

Additional Information

Facial characteristics

When they have a face at all, they tend to be expressionless - it seems to be altogether rare for a Tarthan Lifewalker to show emotion or expression outside of simple emotions or the like. On average, they tend to have androgynous features, though depending on whether they take on masculine or feminine forms this can change accordingly.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

As they were created by the ancient High Lords of the Kingdom of Tarthus-Tetsu nearly 2,400 years ago, the Lifewalkers have existed exclusively on the ancient Khyarmani sub-continent for millennia, and are only found within that area.

Average Intelligence

Despite their long and storied history, the intelligence of the Lifewalkers is shockingly unknown - many have been revered as folk deities over the centuries, though because they interact with civilization so infrequently historically it's hard to tell whether they are driven by actual sentient thought or are merely well-programmed constructs or golems.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

The Tarthan Lifewalkers are not believed to "See" as mortals understand the term - instead, as beings comprised mostly of Atlen designed to take it in, maintain it, use it, then release it, the Lifewalkers are believed to "see" through Atlen itself. This "Sight", from what scholars have surmised, allows the Lifewalkers a degree of unprecedented sight that would allow them to see through the infinite, all-encompassing energy of Atlen that permeates nearly all things across reality such that little, if anything, could escape their sight.   This very same sight is also likely what allowed them to notice and travel to spots affected by The Met-su-khon Manifold Collapse - places where reality was slowing being unmade and rendered lifeless and barren.
Conservation Status
The Tarthan Lifewalkers are almost extinct in the modern day - only single-digit numbers of their kind exist in the forgotten reaches of Tarthus and the larger Khyarmani landmass, the rest hunted and slain by the new lord of Tarthus-Tetsu, Amenmeses.
Average Height
Even with variance due to shapeshifting taken into account, no Lifewalker has ever been reported as less than 100ft(30.48m) and are most commonly seen over 200ft feet(60.96m) tall. The largest known Lifewalker, Sa-hor-set, was reportedly nearly 600ft(182.88m) tall.
Average Weight
Average Length
Varies wildly.
Average Physique
The physique of the Tarthan Lifewalkers has historically varied quite wildly - they can take on nearly any form they seem to desire, so their physique is mostly a non-issue. However, on average when they DO take humanoid forms, they tend to appear as heavier-set humanoids(though exceptions exist) rather than the "stereotypical" god-bodied creatures one might expect.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Typically the Tarthan Lifewalkers possess incredibly dark skin - ranging from simple tanned skin indiginous to the Tarthan people to true jet-black onyx skin-tones. Their skin remains mostly unmarked, aside from occasional necromantic seal-lines along their limbs and backs.
Geographic Distribution
Related Ethnicities

Saviours of a dying land

Though most of their kind now they lie dormant, missing, or slaughtered, the Tarthan Lifewalkers were originally not born, but created - supposedly crafted by the ancient and now-defunct Tarthan High Lords(Of whom High Lord Rakthumos is the sole remaining member) as masterpieces the likes of which were never and likely shall never be equalled again. Created during a time when the lands of Tarthus-Tetsu(and according to some ancient accounts nearly the entire sub-continent of Khyarmani on which Tarthus lies) were nearly bereft of Atlen and stood as lifeless wastes almost entirely devoid of both life energy and magical energy both, the Lifewalkers were gifts to from the High Lords to their people who were starving and ekeing out existences in the shadows of the few remaining bastions of life and magic left on the dying sub-continent that would, in time, rejuvenate the dying land and stop the total collapse of its life and magic.   Though the exact details of this total breakdown of Atlen(Which is itself the energy of life and magic) are unknown, this calamitous event which has become known to scholars of ancient Tarthan history as The Met-su-khon Manifold Collapse was a disturbing event which, at the time it occured some 2,400 years ago, was believed to be a herald of a coming apocalypse for not only Zheng-Kitar, but for all of reality - an all-consuming void that would destroy all life, magic, and matter itself until nothing remained. None could stop it, from the greatest Archmages to the most cunning clerics or priests - all that the world managed to do was attempt to contain it within the lands of Tarthus and the larger land of Khyarmani(An effort which was likely in vain)...until the ancient and ineffable High Lords of Tarthus-Tetsu created the first of the Lifewalkers to help stem the tide of the collapse which slowly tore apart universal constants and rendered entire regions into barren, lifeless wastelands.   Though records of the first Lifewalkers are sparse, the earliest available accounts of them speak of them as "morphic titans that changed appearances often", describing the enormous beings as "veritable wellsprings of Atlen". In a particularly noteworthy testimony found scrawled on an ancient tablet, one of the Titans that had taken on the appearance of a male humanoid is described as such:  
It is as if primordial life returned from the cosmic soup to stride upon the land once more. Their presence anchored reality - solidified its constants and restored harmony where once was tangled chaos. In the wake of each of its steps sprung an oasis - from its presence, water burst forth from the ground - from its breath, magic returned to fill the null-zones. A walking miracle.
  With their arrival, life was slowly breathed back into the lands of Khyarmani and what would in time much later become the Kingdom of Tarthus-Tetsu - the presence of the "Lifewalkers"(known as the Ib-hagar in the Tarthan tongue) helped to stop the seemingly unstoppable collapse of reality around Khyarmani and the sands of Tarthus as their bodies, crafted with such potent wellsprings of Atlen that it constantly leaked into the surrounding area, helped to passively stop and even repair the damage of the collapse in a genius use of Necromantic magic the likes of which still cannot be properly understood or replicated in the modern day.


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