Death In A World Of Resurrection

 More than a mechanic

Death in Alatha is no great mystery.  In fact, one can find several people who will gladly tell you what it was like when they died.  Because the soul of an individual physically manifests in a soulstone (called a tarsi in the local tongue), that soulstone may be used to resurrect the individual.  Death is not treated lightly; it is still feared, avoided, and entirely unpleasant.  It is, however, treated somewhat lighter than if resurrection were not plausible.  This has far reaching implications for society.


If an individual dies from an injury, toxin, illness, etc., then upon resurrection, the cause of death will be absent.  If an individual suffers an injury or effect  or loses a body part, such as a hand, that is not essential, then when they are resurrected, they still suffer from the same ailment.  Thus for practical purposes, life threatening illnesses are not as serious as chronic conditions.  Death is certainly often both psychologically and physically painful, but one can be back about one's business the following day.  Because of this, medical treatment in extreme cases sometimes attempts to exacerbate a problem to the point of death.  Additionally, medicine is more highly developed in Alatha than one would expect for an early iron age culture due to the ability to experiment more freely with treatments.  Resurrection itself produces an effect whose symptoms can only be lessened slightly.  It causes extreme discomfort and confusion of senses, loss of appetite, dehydration, and a craving for pleasant smelling things.  Incense from the wando pea flower is known to have a positive effect on lessening symptoms but fetches rather high prices on the market due to its delicacy and demand.  The dead physical body of an individual remains following resurrection, so it is quite possible for someone to have contact with their old corpse. 


Individuals can be dead for incredible amounts of time before being brought back and no amount of time so far has been shown to be too long.The longer they are dead, though, the foggier their life before their death will be.  If an Alathay dies of naturals causes at an old age and are resurrected, however, they will live for only a short time before dying again.  The individual will go through the process of dying all over again, so this is seen as extremely cruel.  Aging is not preventable in any known way, and is thus feared by many as much as death itself.  It is common for one to live into their late sixties or early seventies.  Despite the length of death, a resurrected person returns to life at the age at which they perished.


Because death is somewhat cheapened in a world with resurrections possible on a daily basis, assassination has long been seen as a way to make a strong statement.  The Academy of Assassination in Ir Alatha operates openly, although it certainly has many detractors.  One life taken to save multiple lives seems a fair action to many when the individual may be brought back to life.  The reality is often more complicated and less ideal than this, but assassination remains a somewhat morally ambiguous action to large amounts of people.  A somewhat divisive issue in the Council of Daphsohmet, it is, morality aside, readily practiced in much of the world.  Because of this, assassins are understandable feared and distrusted by reputation.


Necromancers have a reputation for morbidity, most of which is deserved.  Those trained at the Academy of Necromancy will use this to their advantage.  Knowing full well that possessing soulorbs, death is not the end for them, they embrace pain and suffering and do not look upon wounds or death with any trepidation.  They use their power to project that suffering onto others, often nearly completely debilitating them.   A dead body obviously lacks a soul, and thus is no longer seen as a person.  Necromancers often animate and control these corpses, further adding to their feared reputation, as body and personal identity are not as clearly distinct in the minds of most.

Other Moral/Justice Issues

Because a criminal sentenced to death could simply be resurrected at a later date and go on with a full normal life, long sentences are deemed more severe in nearly all cases.  Murder is obviously still seen as a heinous crime, although retributive death as a means of justice is seen as acceptable by many.  Vengeance is discouraged by most moral authorities who state that it harms and scars the psyche.  For this reason, killing in any form is often discouraged.

The Afterlife

Those who have died describe their continued awareness and personality following the death of their body.  They seem to go into one of a number of elemental realms, usually corresponding to the Aygeema they have associated themselves with.  Perception and memory of physical life and afterlife (or elemental life, metalife, or isolife depending on one's philosophy) seem incompatible.  Due to this, resurrected individuals only faintly remember the afterlife and the longer one is dead, the fuzzier life before death becomes.  People brought back to life after being dead for many years appear physically the same but remember very little of their previous life.  The dead most often have their bodies cremated or destroyed in some other manner, while the soulstone is imbedded in a stone or plaster slab.  Offerings, remembrances, candles, and the like are set in front of the tarsi, especally on the Dying Day (see Holidays, under Culture).


The soulstone or tarsi is composed of the material larantha, which is associated with the influx of elemental energy into this plane.  Larantha is effectively indestructible and tarsiya (the plural) are even more so in that, unlike other forms of larantha, they cannot be melted down into a liquid form.  They are variously colored (usually a pearlescent swirl of colors) and an individual who dies several times may have a different colored tarsiya each time.  Tarsiya vary in size as well, but average about the size of a grapefruit.  If one stares into a tarsi, one can sometimes see an image or scene from the life or death of the individual contained therein.  Individual tarsi can be brought to ohrnekya (altars) and there the person can be resurrected in a ceremony taking around an hour.  Some philosophies view tarsi as the most basic or most developed form of larantha due to their inability to be melted and their presence being required to empower an altar.  Additionally, any bewaya belonging to a person fade when a person dies and do not return upon resurrection.



A Note Yitali And Sprites

A sprite (leefa in the native tongue) also is tied to an elemental orb called a yitali.  The yitali is seen as analogous to the tarsi of an individual, although there are some obvious differences.  The most obvious is that the sprite is composed entirely of energy and the yitali is a physical object that is not attatched in any visible way to the sprite.  Sprites have been noted to venture up to a couple hundred yards from their yitali.  Whereas the tarsi of an individual manifests only after their death, a yitali is always present except when the energy of the sprite is completely exhausted.  At this time, the yitali fades from existence.  Sprites do not die, but when their energy is dissipated, fade back to the elemental plane of their origin.  If the sprite is not overexerted, the yitali remains behind when the sprite fades and may be used to re-summon the sprite.  The yitali is thought to manifest first or with the sprite.  The yitali of a sprite is necessary in the creation of golems.