All You Want to Know about Wraiths/Risen

What is a Risen?
Maybe the wraith had unfinished business, or it wishes to safeguard a relative or someone it cared about greatly in life, or perhaps it merely wants to exact an unholy vengeance upon someone, or it just doesn’t want to let go of the mortal world completely for whatever reason. A wraith, for whatever reason, did not make it to the final destination, the Eternity, whatever that may be, and so that being is trapped with an all new mystery of where they actually are now and they still don’t know what comes next, anymore than mortals on the other side do.

The Quick
Those who are part of the living world are “The Quick” to the beings in the Shadowlands and beyond. The lands where the “Quick” reside on the other side of the Shroud are often called “The Skinlands”, for self-explanatory reasons.

Of Passions and Fetters
A ‘passion’ is that which prevents a wraith from progressing/moving on to the next stage of existence, tying it by feelings to the dead lands and the world of the living in some way. Some examples include the desire for revenge for the Wraith’s murder or wanting to care for their child they feel they are abandoning otherwise to a world of cruelty. There can be any number of passions that can hold a spirit back from wanting to head onward to ‘Eternity’ and so instead they find themselves trapped in the Deadlands. Fetters are objects that tie a Wraith to the Shadowlands and their holds over Wraiths can vary greatly, depending on the type of spirit one is dealing with. That ring from a 10 year marriage could be a Fetter, even though the woman’s husband had moved on after she departed the world of the living. A favorite comic book could be a fetter. It’s something that in some way the Wraith values, even if they would happen to not like it much, but most often it has some symbolism.

The Shadow
Every Risen has a Shadow, which is that darker side of the spirit that wants to drag a soul down to Oblivion. Base wants, simple desires, a voice that beckons a Wraith to take the ‘easy’ way out…the Shadow is like its own entity, but at the same time, it’s a very real part of a Wraith. It’s sinister and tempting and it is the voice that only that particular Wraith can hear. If Wraiths listen to it too much and comply with its wishes, they may be taken over by their Shadows and lose themselves forever. Every Wraith has this personal struggle, which is so much greater than the issues they would have faced when they were alive. When a person is living and breathing, this side exists, but when the body is gone, this Shadow emerges and it is an entirely different, free animal that wants to consume the spirit.

Of the Shadowlands and Shroud
The Shadowlands are what mirrors and connects most closely with the world of the Quick, though the Shadowlands tend to resemble the world of the Quick in some ways. What makes them remarkable is that the places closest to the shroud resemble decayed, crumbling parts of the other side in which the Quick move about. Voices will also be distorted and muffled that make it over past the Shroud to the Wraith’s ears. They might even see living beings on the other side for periods of time but not be able to interact with them. The Shroud is what separates the two, either opaquely or transparent. The Shroud may be very strong in some regions, making it so Wraiths cannot really affect or be noticed by the Quick, but in some other areas, it may be incredibly weak and spirits may freely act with the Quick and the living world and vice-versa. The Shadowlands and world of the Quick do occupy the same ‘physical’ space in a sense, separated, however strongly, by the Shroud. Within the Shadowlands are Haunts (which are basically areas where spirits occupy and the Shroud may be thinner such as some cemeteries, spooky houses, underground mines), Necropolises (which are cities of the dead) and the strongholds in Necropolises, known as Citadels. Citadels are often held by the Hierarchy.

The Shroud itself is something that very few people of the living side are going to come in contact with. To cross that barrier is quite regularly to end a character’s life. A few Mages, even fewer Vampires, some Mummies and Orpheus might do so much more often than either probably should, but most beings, even Supernaturals, only see the opposite world of the Quick through the fine act of dying and becoming Wraiths themselves.

Nihils and the Tempest/Maelstroms
Nihils are similar to wormholes that connect to the Tempest and they can manifest in the Shadowlands, causing great harm. Nihils can even affect the Skinlands if they are potent enough, making such areas full of Entropy and decay. Sudden disappearances and tragedies transpiring are both signs of Nihils being present and affecting both the Shadowlands and the Skinlands. The Shroud offers some protection against these nasty holes and specters, but there are whole devastated regions that are caused by the raging Tempest. Maelstroms tend to arise in tandem with great (and awful) occurrences in the world of the Quick, such as the sack of Rome, the bombings in Syria, regions in World War I and II, etc. They have the power to rip through whole Necropolises and Citadels when they are severe enough. If that wasn’t enough, the Maelstroms may visit regions of the dead simply because something stirred within Oblivion.

The Hierarchy, Renegades, Heretics and the System
The Hierarchy was ruled by Charon but this great being’s presence has been absent a while for unknown reasons and thus what was meant to be beneficiary and to help keep Wraiths safe has turned more into a tyrannical machine. It once offered up protections against the weak, specters and the Tempest but it has become a dogmatic frustration to wraiths in modern days. It is chiefly now governed by Death Lords and Guilds. Heretics are wraith communities that combine based off of their beliefs. There are religious followings that believe in the afterlife they will go onto Heaven, Hell, Hel, Valhalla, Hades, the Happy Hunting Grounds etc. Heretics believe they have the answer on how to get out of the predicaments they are in and meanwhile call each other that are not associated with their particular groups out as Heretics too. Renegades don’t buy into following Heretics or the Death Lords’ systems, choosing to figure out their own way to do and believe in things and find their own ways through the odd afterlives they lead.

Oblivion and the Tempest
Oblivion is definitely Entropic and the plasm around that is solid, likely becomes Entropy again when it is converted back into energy. The Tempest surrounds and conjoins about everything in the Underworld and causes great harm. It’s the raging worst storm at sea one can imagine and even worse than that. It drives Wraiths mad and likely makes them into the specters that roam within the Tempest, trying to destroy whatever they can. Only the Ferrymen seem to be able to traverse it without ill-effects. There are many maddening things to be found in the Tempest but there are some spots of peace too, such as on a Ferryman’s boat. The Ferrymen, said to descend from Charon, are some of the only beings that can move about within the Tempest that are not Specters or worse, and sometimes they do save Wraiths that inadvertently got sucked within the Maelstroms. Within the Tempest are said to be lands as well of transcendence, which many heretics try to bravely find their ways there. Within the Tempest is an island known as Stygia as well, which was where Charon had built a civilization and held, before he disappeared in the Oblivion some years ago.

The Hope of Transcendence
Wraiths really aren’t sure if such a thing exists but some swear it does because they have seen wraiths vanish. Some say by doing good deeds to make up for whatever might have made one not worthy before in life to get there, one can get around it. Some say by letting go of Passions and Fetters, that spirits can move on, but there’s also a real danger that in doing so, one may be pulled from the Shadowlands into the Tempest.