being exiled from the
Thanatos knew that time was running out for his mortal shell, so he immersed himself in his studies of undeath, keeping to the wilds and experimenting on any creature unfortunate enough to cross his path. When he had perfected the trapping of souls between worlds enough for them to retain their living memories and personality, it was time to focus on the Overworld.
was acutely aware of the fact that they kept freeing his soultraps,
so he traveled to the Overworld in his astral form and formally
challenged them for the right to freeze souls. They fought back,
but could not stand up to the raw power of the Dark Sidhe archmage,
and were finally forced to acquiesce to his request.
powers now certified by the caretakers of the Overworld, the first
thing Thanatos did was trap his own soul between the Land of the
Living and the
real god needed followers, and Thanatos had none, so he wandered
the land in search of suitable subjects. He went to the Forestside
Kingdom of the West, but it was already claimed by Osenya; he went
to the Tundra of the North, but it was already claimed by Taiga;
he went to the Riverside Kingdom of the East, but it was already
claimed by Visna; he went to the Tashar of the South, but it was
already claimed by Siyanna. Finally, he journeyed to nameless
jungles deep and dark, and there he found the godless Annukai,
pushed out ever-farther by the thriving Tashari Empire.
were fierce felines that stood on two legs and worshipped the
ancestors that had gone before them. Their name came from the
first ancestor and mother of their bloodline, Anna-Nukai. Her
bones were entombed in the highest burial pyramid, with the skulls
of successive generations embedded in the bricks below her.
Thanatos carefully observed their rituals and customs, and decided
upon the means to make the greatest impact on these creatures.
the Annukai gathered to honor Anna-Nukai, they watched in shock
and awe as her weathered bones came alive and began to dance. Then
there emerged a hunched over figure cloaked in darkness, with eyes
that burned like hot coals from under its hood. Seeing what power
this being had over their ancestral goddess, the Annukai bowed low
and praised their new overlord. They were unable to discern the
gender of this being due to its voluminous clothing, they called
it the most ambiguous name they could come up with: Suknuru –
Suknuru claimed dominion over this jungle realm, and acquired several devout priests who pledged to serve him in life and in death. This was important because though Suknuru could raise all the mindless undead he wanted, he could only make thinking undead by consent. The priests became the mediums between the common folk and their god, and were given authority to dictate laws. Criminals and unbelievers were sacrificed during monthly festivals in honor of Suknuru, to become part of the growing undead army at the priests’ command.
The jungles occupied by the Annukai still had no name. They were simply a broken circle of forests left behind after the Tashari Empire’s expansion. But outsiders came to call them the Ring of Death, after the undead legions that lurked in their depths and the god that they served.
Copyright © 2003 by Yumeni