Patron Lore – Mordtsom, Patron of Iblees’ Heir
Read the Skeleton lore here
Credit to FromSoftware
A manifestation taken on by Mordtsom, seen by skeletons during their reanimations and rarely by the Descendants who would try to observe.
Following Iblees’ retreat from the mortal realm, vast swaths of undead were left upon the Atheran continent without recollection of their past services to the Archdaemon. In their abandoned state they were stripped of the powers which came from being direct patrons to Iblees, so that they no longer bore mastery over his black magics. Like all mortals, the frail and powerless undead were eventually made to succumb to one force or another.
In the centuries after Iblees’ forsaking of the undead, his patron Mordtsom grew weary. All throughout Drauchreim he wandered, wondering ceaselessly what the purpose was to linger in that realm. There was little else to be done there which would influence the Descendants, yet the Archdaemon remained quiet. No more waiting could be taken. With mind saturated in fervor, Mordtsom abandoned the dying course to begin testing his might. From the highest points of the Drauchreich he sent out whispers of his power; ones which passed unto the realm of the living, and there sought out the strongest vessels for his will. All throughout the continents were found the skeletons. Certainly they were even more numerous than the heads of all living Descendants, yet they were in bondage. The peoples of the realm had sealed away the majority of their dead for one superstition’s sake or another, and thus unknowingly put wrinkles into the patron’s plot.
Nevertheless, Mordtsom peered into the places which the Descendants hadn't robbed. The years-old battlefields; the unwatched roads; the treacherous heights and depths of nature; these he scoured for the bodies which would house his vision, and from these places came just what was sought. It was within his power to create an army with minds shackled, yet he pondered. Descendants had carved a powerful existence for themselves in spite of the curses from his master. They repelled Iblees' armies; in the face of death they spat time and again, and had always emerged victorious. It was their will, Mordtsom reasoned. Their freedom of thought and the desire to preserve such had spurred the creation of functioning societies. Thus, it would take a free-thinking army to overthrow them.
Within the skulls of Mordtsom's forgotten skeletons were then forged thinking consciousnesses. They were not perfect; many emotions were not grasped by the patron, and thus neither were they grasped by his anointed ones. They could feel neither pain nor pleasure; neither warmth nor cold; neither taste nor smell. Perhaps Mordtsom realized it was better off if they couldn't know such things, lest they feel remorse for what would be lost in their future conquests. For their purpose, not feeling such things would be a powerful boon. The sun dipped beneath the horizon as these things were pondered. Slowly the chosen dead rose once more, animated by the essence of the patron.
Mordtsom is loyal to the age-old notion of Iblees that the Descendants must be conquered. As a former patron to the Archdaemon himself, he embodies much of the hellish kingdom’s thirst for domination. Of course, it can be said that greed and envy are also as critical to his character as war. It’s his thought that Iblees’ retreat from the mortal realm was weak, and that far more so was the general sense of inaction while he faded away within his citadel. Mordtsom takes it upon himself to accomplish what his powers render him able to do, with particular efforts made to ensure that he’s the one to receive recognition. His skeletons are risen in his name; they marshal themselves for his cause; they are killed for his vision. As long as the will of the Archdaemon is ultimately accomplished, he reasons, it’s no large matter for himself to be the one exalted from it.
Though he would seem a sort of entity to act before thinking, Mordtsom spends great swaths of time in reflection. His periods of thought beneath Iblees were what birthed his fascination with the durability and ingenuity of Descendants. It was his further thinking on the matter which led to him raising his first skeletal minions, and still it is a subject which he deliberates over as each new skull is revived. Perhaps it makes up part of the reason for his seemingly slow, inconsistent, and detached raising of the creatures. He can hardly decide for himself what the best circumstances to raise the creatures from may be, and fashions new hypotheses with each commitment.
Mordtsom's actions all revolve around the amassing of an army. As with the forces which Iblees himself summoned in ages past, the undead are seen to be the unequivocal source of loyalty and might for any such venture. Yet unlike Iblees, Mordtsom bestows greater freedom of will unto his warriors. Over millennia he has witnessed the endurance and might of the Descendants. It is his thought that with their free will comes the potential for greater feats and unknowable brilliance--and so he crafts similar for each of his skeletons. In his unknowable time he anoints his future soldiers by hand; never does he relinquish the secrets of his power to others, lest they attempt to undermine the wills of his creations and subjugate them.
The most notable power of Mordtsom is that of not simply raising the dead, but rekindling them. He cannot bestow the grand sorceries of Iblees, yet his skeletal subjects are given life, unique thoughts, and purpose. They are unhindered in the paths they might take to further his cause. With limited interference in the minds of his people, his consciousness is free to gather power and scry the realm for additional unburied vessels. Of course, his power over minds extends beyond his risen skeletons. Those who wander close to the sites of his reanimations are often filled with a strange sense: their thinking and vision becomes slightly blurred, their breath seems to taste foreign, and their ears are filled with a quiet tune of an origin which they cannot quite place. To the rising skeletons and those who attempt to meditate at the sites, the image is evoked in their heads of a massive skeleton shrouded in darkness. None of it inhibits their ability to react to danger however, and in such cases any rush of adrenaline will far overpower the confusion which the patron is able to sew.
In Mordtsom’s conversions of the dead, there’s first the selecting of corpses. Rotten-away carcasses from old battlefields are the typical subjects here, though the less fortunate victims of storms and highwaymen are also commonly marked. His process begins with an eerie mist. It seems to pour out from the earth during the twilight hour, and gradually transitions from a darkened achromatic cloud to one bearing a deep hue of one color or another. Over time the mist condenses around the body to begin pouring into the crevices of its skull. After continuing for several hours without disruption, a sort of consciousness is formed within the body. The skeleton begins to scratch and squirm mindlessly to free itself from the vestiges of entrapment, even the clinging remnants of flesh and blood. Adventurers strong in heart might end the unholy mutilation with ease, either by damaging the skull or by parting it from the rest of the body.
Mordtsom’s presence in the realm is manifested chiefly at the sites of his reanimations. As mentioned, Descendants who approach such scenes are filled with a sense of general discomfort. The skeleton being raised may be within sight or obscured, yet the effect persists so long as it remains within a ten meter radius. With how rare it is to witness such occurrences, a handful of opportunities are made available to those observing. As might be done to a ghost, lutuamen are able to purge the false soul as it gathers within the skeleton, thus preventing it from being risen. Mystics may attempt to drain the essence from skeletons being risen as well as those already reanimated, thereby weakening and potentially killing them. Those without magics of any sort (and even those who still wield magics) may attempt to clear their mind to focus on the aura emanating from the scene, that they might ponder what’s meant by it and catch a glimpse of Mordtsom’s manifested form. Or they may quickly break and scatter the bones to bring an end to the unpleasantness. In any event, Mordtsom makes no other direct contact with Descendants or his risen skeletons.
The purpose and origin of the skeleton CA piece is directly connected to why this lore would exist, so I recommend reading that first. In fitting with the points mentioned throughout the pieces, this lore would serve to create a variety of skeletons which are risen directly by the NPC patron rather than by players. Of course, the lore doesn’t mean to replace what’s been pitched for necromancy. Its intention is primarily to make a form of undead roleplay and aesthetic accessible to the general community, without the undead being remarkably powerful.
Mordtsom's influence on the realm is written so that it could also be expanded in the future. His powers involve the creation of consciousnesses and manipulation of empty vessels, which could extend to new creatures and constructs. At this point there’s also some vagueness in the lore; fleshing out needs to be done regarding the connection between Mordtsom and the unwritten replacement for Iblees, but obviously that can’t be done until the lore there is no longer unwritten. Details there and throughout the lore may be subject to changes accordingly, which is part of the reason for keeping this piece so concise.