The Undead or sometimes referred to as the Restless or the restless Masses can be described as a Species, Culture and in some Cases Religion. They are beings that are deceased but behave as if they were alive.
Especially after the Last Day of the Great Order, it is understood that becoming Undead doesn't negatively impact a person's behavior.
There are two distinct lines of belief about continuation of self.
As Continuists, Undead belief that they still are the same Person they were in Life and often return to their homes and families. In some cases this can lead to backlash from the community the previously deceased had been a part of.
Sadly, it has become the bitter truth that while love might be blind, it certainly hasn't lost its sense of smell and seeing a loved one return from the grave isn't on most people's shortlist.
Just think of me as having a prosthetic life. You wouldn't kick someone out because of a peg leg, wouldn't you?
As Conclusionists, Undead treat death as a new birth and as such a new Individual has been created. They seldom return to their former lives and usually travel towards the Undead enclaves in the dry hills found in south-west Inquest.
In addition to these two main approaches, there are many deviations that lay in between them. Just as with Religion, it is a personal choice and conviction that forms in a newly created Undead, usually within the first two to three months of existence.
Some may decide to never follow one or the other. Others might have trouble finding an answer for the rest of their continued life.
Interaction with other Species
Undead are not treated any different from living Species in most Regions of Inquest. Local governments may bar Undead from entering for their own reasons.
Undead are greatly susceptible to magical Influences. As such, they are the target of choice for Villains to be subjugated as Minions.
Pressure groups such as Harm less Dead and Graves for Braves have opened the public Eye to the unfair treatment of the Undead in History and Today. While mistrust and subliminal fear is still common in more rural regions, at least in major cities, an undead Person can enjoy a walk along the streets without even causing a raised eye.
The Smell of Death
Undead do not perceive smell and taste the same as other Species. Without gag reflex or the innate fear of becoming sick built into the living, any Undead will draw from her past life experiences.
The wish to counteract the malodorous smell that comes with death and decay, has created the basis of a booming industry of perfumeries.
Throughout an undead Persons existence, one might possess a wide variety of perfumes and eau de toilettes to express herself with.
You don't dress in rags, you don't stink of Death!
5! Pleasant smells from aerated red Wine to Wintergreen!
Selecting an appropriate and fitting odor is up to each individual's taste and ability.
The Great Equalizer
While the Undead can be created from many Species, they all feel belonging to the Culture of the Undead. After a Battle had concluded, it wasn't uncommon to find enemies rise together and walk away, each other's severed limbs in hand, chatting like old friends.
This Quirk in the creation of Undead was called the Great Equalizer, as after dying, everyone is basically the same.
Only Conclusionists attach new last names to themselves. As these names are selected by each individual, there is an astonishing variety available.
Some prefer names after occupations such as Smith, Dancer, Lawyer while others search for names that were similar to their old ones to portray in another way their "moving on".
In addition, groups of (by vicinity of death, center of vital interest, etc. ) related undead often choose matching or very similar names.
Keeping the same first name is a prevalent choice among the Undead for mostly practical reasons. You were trained to listen for your name all your life, to doff it would require a significant amount of mental reconditioning with not much to show for it.
However, some prefer to select their lifetime nicknames as official first-names.
Art & Architecture
Why Undead build
An Undead Body does neither sweat in the summers heat nor does it shiver in winters breeze, as such, they don't require a roof over their heads.
Yet, as they are thinking and (not in a physical sense) feeling beings, they prefer a collection of walls and floors around them, to call home.
What Undead build
It isn't fully clear if the great Equalizer enhances an undeads Sense for Irony and Sarcasm or if it is just a function of being without bodily functions.
Most Buildings erected by Undead mirror structures designed for burial, from their former native species, creating a somewhat consistent architectural style.
In older Undead Settlements, this tendency is a bit more subdued because necessity and practicality want to have their say in the matter, and buildings usually have more windows and doors made without handles just on one side.
Continuists often snarkily remark that living in a Pyramid or mausoleum is just another way of shouting: "Witness me, I'm a new person!".
The latter prefer to live among the Living in the usual buildings.
Undead coming from a Culture without dedicated burial structures or rituals incompatible with the continued existence of an Undead (e.g. burning corpses, burying them in hillsides, chaining the body to a broken wagon wheel and letting it bleach in the sun) choose to get inspiration from those cultures that do.
Especially during the Age of Wishes many cemeteries, graveyards and other burying grounds where in fact, Settlements of the Undead, when due to the constant stream of Heroes (or Villains) it wouldn't make sense to create a proper settlement, and many groups decided just to mark their sleeping spot with a little stone or other marker.
Forced to a sensible choice about what to build or inhabt, any Undead will use the same decision-making as they would've while alive.
The Style of Iverbent, with its high rooms, sensible room floorplans that are grounded in usability, finished in mostly white decor but with elaborate main entryways and wide stairs with floral patterns, is currently experiencing a revival amongst the Undead at large.
Undead that manage to keep their Bodies untouched by decay, especially combined with great age, are seen as generally appealing for each other.
Especially a Face without blemishes and all accompanying organs (a nose, ears, eyes) intact is treated as a favorable state of being.
Another classic style is for an Undead to become skeletonized, either through natural, magical or mechanical means.
What worth has bone if it is not seen?
For most Undead any sexual preferences and induced desires stop with the last beat of one's heart. As such, the often perceived divide between genders is reduced to a faint chalk line on the ground.
Beside single individuals who openly portray and display their gender identity, most Undead just stop caring about it.
Love isn't unknown among the Undead but without any hormonal support it is much more subtle and relaxed part of existence.
Depending on the Individual, Courtship might be anything from grand displays of love by climbing mountains and retrieving a protected species of flower to just asking the beloved other to spend the rest of afterlife together while watching the moon rise over the local crypt.
An undead Relationship can be hard to read for the Living and in some cases even subtle enough to border on being unperceivable.
Relationships between Undead can, in lack of a better word, swell and bubble over time. It isn't uncommon to find groups of up to twenty Undead to be engaged to each other in multiple levels of partnerships.
In other instances, two (or more) Undead, seemingly living in a harmonic connection with each other, to a point of even sharing a bed, might just do so out of practicality without any attached feelings.
To call the ideal undead Relationship Platonic, is both sarcastic and fitting.
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Cool article, I especially liked the cultural aspects of your undead.
Thank you. Happy that you liked it!
This article is amazing. I enjoyed reading it a lot, and the sprinkle of humour in it is fantastic. Great work. I love especially the branches of beliefs among them,. ----- I think I found a small typo: Judging by the context, the sentence "they do require a roof over their heads" sounds like it was actually intended to be "don't"
Thank you very much for the kind words and for pointing out that mistake. I have fixed it, your assumption was very much correct. They prefer a roof over their head, even if they don't need one. :)