The Age of Conquest
What is your name, Elemental?" Greywolf asked. The deathless lurched toward them, emerging from every shadow of the abandoned town.
“I am Hzaan!” the dwarf said. Greywolf watched as it scratched a circle into the thin frost that lay on the ground. “My people have a saying! ‘The greatest friends are those met in death!’”
Greywolf nodded. “My people say the same.”
The circle grew more elaborate, dwarven runes took shape and power. “What happens to you Northmen when you die?” Hazaan asked without looking up.
Greywolf shrugged. “My people join Vorkost and Heltya, eating and drinking with the High Fathers at the Table of Great Deeds. But I am a Hellseeker, we know no rest even in the afterlife. We guard the Hall against incursion from devils and the ghosts of other men who envy our afterlife and wish to join us.”
“Well Greywolf Hellseeker,” Hazaan said, standing. The circle was complete. It throbbed with power. Greywolf was impressed. He felt his skin tighten as the circle warded him. “You Terrans enjoy a privilege denied to the Elementals and Celestials. My consciousness and individuality will dissolve and I will become a memory in the mind of Ord.”
“Still,” Greywolf said, grinning like a feral animal. “An immortality of a sort.”
The short, stout creature, half flesh, half stone grinned back. “I have lived five hundred years. Becoming a memory in the mind of a God has great appeal at the moment.” He paused and said “Keep me alive, Hellseeker, and I will grant you a glorious death.”
“Work your ritual,” Greywolf said, hefting his axe and preparing to strike against a skeleton that lurched toward him. “And I will make yours a story worthy of a God’s memory.”
Men are the only Speaking Race who enjoy the privilege of an afterlife. Though what afterlife they enjoy varies from culture to culture and some Men’s concept of an immortal spirit has degraded over the millennia.
In no human culture can you find the formal concept of an immortal soul, or indeed of sin, all human cultures express belief in a spirit, which may be immortal or nearly so, and of wickedness, usually defined as
The Men of Vasloria believe in an immortal spirit, but have no well-defined notion of what happens after you die. Like the Tevas who founded the Caelian Empire, they believe their gods preside over realms, and your spirit will live in the realm of the gods after you die. Like the Gol, they believe that immortality must be earned and only those who please the gods, good or evil, will earn the right to live forever.
The only firm belief the Tevas-gol hold in regards to the afterlife is the firm conviction, supported by the priests of all their gods, that living a life the gods would approve of will grant rewards after you die. What those rewards are vary from Church to Church and Saint to Saint.
The Men of Qartoum believe that when you die, your spirit remains to watch over and influence those you cared about in life. They believe that, as the power of a spirit fades, so does the memory of them in their children’s minds. You remember you parents and grandparents because their spirits are still vital. When you think of them, that is their influence.
A cooling wind, the shade of a cloud that passes overhead, these are the influence of long-dead ancestors who still watch out for their children, but whose influence is now minimal. Discovering an oasis, a lucky throw of dice, unbidden memories of a happy childhood or a moral lesson are the influence of your most recently-deceases ancestors, your parents and grandparents, whose spirits are still vital.
The Djinn are considered a kind of primordial ancestor, from the beginning of the world when people were more vital. They are ancient and powerful and in may ways capricious, but some can be beneficent.
The Men of the Commonwealth are the direct descendants of the Tevas and retain their gods and their beliefs. They believe in the realm Elysios, a paradise where the dead walk in green fields with their Heroes and their Gods. And they believe in the Underworld, as distinct from the World Below, where those who led a wicked life are consigned to punishment.
The Gods sometimes permit a dweller in the Realms of the Dead to travel back to the Mundane World and aid their descendants. The reverse is also true, as mortals sometime enter the Realms of the Dead to speak with their loved ones, or the gods.