The Voidwalkers (Styrásh: Phár’cár’tuulén’melór of Phár’cár’tuulén’melór – "Those who walk in the Shadow of Death") are special servants of Queprur, the Santharian Goddess of Death, that have given up virtually their entire being to serve her. As a result, they end up as something not quite dead, but not quite alive (often referred to as ‘The Lifeless’). In the process of giving their life to Queprur, they end up not wholly dwelling in the physical world, and instead as a dweller of the Ethereal Void. The existence of Voidwalkers in present-day is fiercely denied by the Queprur faithful, and the process itself is vehemently condemned.
The Voidwalkers are incredibly pale skinned, almost blue in tint, with a ghostly
pallour about them. Their eyes have been drained of almost all colour, and their
irises resemble a pale yellow, blending in with the white of their eyes almost
unnoticeably. Their pupils remain a harsh, mat obsidian black, with no notice of
light in any way. Their eyelids have stretched wide, revealing red rims around
their orbs, in stark contrast to the chalkiness of their visage and eyes. Their
lips are blood red, thin and stretched as if the walker suffers from
consumption. This stretching is an eerie effect that transfers to the rest of
the face, as the cheekbones and forehead poke sharply through the thin, pale
The Voidwalkers figure is generally tall, though always sinewy, as though victim to lack of nutrition. They often wear tight, form-fitting clothing to accentuate this attribute. Voidwalkers are also uncannily quick, both in step and motion, and move with an unnatural jerkiness. It is customary to cover their skin almost from head to toe, leaving only their faces bare. They are commonly seen with high-collared, waist-length jackets, gloves, and tall boots, always in either black, or white, the colours of their mistress. Full-fledged Voidwalkers will have an armband of the polar colour of their jacket, white if wearing a black jacket, and vice-versa. Novices simply wear a plain white gown with a black sigil of the Scythe of Queprur. Initiates and Novices have hair as dark as a moonless midnight, dyed in reverence to their mistress. The hair of an Acolyte, as well as the full-fledged Voidwalker is as white as a Cyhallrhim tower.
Because Queprur is a deity worshipped mainly by elves and humans, most Voidwalkers fall in either of these two races. However, there have been some dwarves, and in one rare case an orc to be drafted as Voidwalkers.
Voidwalkers can be both male and female. While the majority of Voidwalkers are male, if a woman is chosen to undergo the training, she almost always succeeds in rapid fashion, and therefore women share an equal number of positions of authority in the Voidwalker ranks.
Coat of Arms/Sign. The Voidwalkers generally go unheralded, as they belong to an unofficial secret sect of the priests of Queprur. However, if necessary, they have been known (as during SW II), to raise the banner representing their mistress, the Goddess of Death, Queprur. On an obsidian black background, a ghostly white Scythe is displayed.
Territory. Since Voidwalkers are merely an arm of the much larger Faithful of Queprur, they only exist where a hierarchy of the Goddess is already in place. Because the initiation procedure of Voidwalkers has been deemed inhumane and archaic, there are thought to be no known pockets of Voidwalker corps in the modern world.
In the past, Thevelin (now Nyermersys) was known to have a great contingent of Voidwalkers after the Great Plague (in 602 b.S.), and during SW II. Although true numbers of this fearful host are impossible to pinpoint, there have been descriptions, by both elven scholars and human historians of somewhere between 500-1000 Voidwalkers at one time. Of course, it is unknown how many of these had completed their training and initiation, as only the Voidwalkers themselves knew for sure, and much of the knowledge was lost during the ‘Purging of the Void’ in 368 b.S.
Lifestyle. The lifestyle of a Voidwalker, and those in training, is a harsh, unforgiving existence. They have no lives but one of training and ritual. The severity of their training removes any ability to taste, smell, or enjoy food, and indeed, most decadent pleasures are entirely unappealing. They are completely indentured to Queprur, and thus never marry, or have any desire to carry on any sort of romantic liaison. In truth, their consistent dwelling in the Ethereal Void diminishes their sexual organs, making men impotent and women barren.
The hierarchy of the Voidwalkers is strict and defined. Novices are obliged to Initiates, who are likewise servants to Acolytes. Once Acolytes successfully ‘enter the Void’. They are instantly held in very high esteem among the priests of Queprur. Voidwalkers proper have been granted positions of Holy Assassins, and are given indubitable control over the Voidwalker trainees.
Since the ‘Purging of the Void,’ Voidwalkers have been rare, and are incarnated in very small groups. Too, since the practice is forbidden, the Voidwalkers have had to remain secret, and thus, do not figure prominently among the Faithful. However, because of their literally undying devotion to Queprur, they are trusted with the most sacred and important tasks.
It is unknown exactly how long Voidwalkers live in their natural life, but human Voidwalkers in particular enjoy a much longer lifespan. Their contact with the Ethereal Void reduces the toll of natural aging, and thus earns them extremely extended years. It is also unknown what, precisely, happens when a Voidwalker finally succumbs to natural causes. It is presumed that their body somehow dissolves completely into the Ethereal Void, but what sort of material residue that is left behind remains a mystery.
Voidwalkers are, in effect, in constant contact with their Goddess; closer than any but the most devout high priests. As a result, they have no need for the rituals and motions that most Queprur priests practice. Their life is a living testament to their goddess, and they exist only to serve Her, and they never deviate from this chore.
Initiation Process. It is rare these days to see Voidwalkers incarnated. However, the art has not been lost, though the process has been condemned by most of Queprur’s faithful as barbaric and inhuman.
Potential Voidwalkers are chosen at the age of thirteen (or 55 for most elven tribes) and removed from their parents. When recruiting, priests of Queprur frequent the schools of their temples, as well as examining the children of worshippers of Queprur. If the priest can sense a significant connection with the Rat Goddess in the child, the parents are told that their child has a special relationship with the Goddess and must be trained as a priest. Parents loyal to Queprur are usually honoured that their child has been chosen to become a divine servant to the Goddess of Death, and give their child away to a lifetime of service. Indeed, the harrowing ordeal of actually becoming a Voidwalker is a secret known only to the high priests of Queprur. It is unlikely that any parent would accept such a fate for their child if they knew the hideous details of training a Voidwalker. If the parent refuses their child admittance, generally the priests acquiesce to the parents’ position. However, in times of heavy Voidwalker recruiting, priests have been known to forcibly enter the child into training.
Hierarchy. The training of the Voidwalkers can be described in the following steps:
New recruits are labeled ‘Novices’ and begin training very similar to initiates of the Queprur priesthood, though it is accelerated to a matter of months. Novices are given a single white gown, with a black scythe emblazoned on it, and have their hair dyed jet. Once they learn the basic rituals, prayers and lore of the Goddess, the real training of the Voidwalkers begins.
The students are then called ‘Initiates’ and are forced on a severe fast without food or water. This practice is of course extremely demanding, and tortuous, but Initiates are not given the option of withdrawing once they have accepted the training. After about three days, Initiates become extremely ill, to the point of death, where they are permitted to drink water, and are tended to by the priests, their skin rubbed with sacred preservative oil generally reserved for corpses, and incantations are uttered, attempting to invoke the spirit of Queprur within the Initiate. Many initiates die after the first few days, unable to recover, or come to balance with the force of Queprur that begins to exert itself over the initiates. The surviving Initiates are then given a sacramental feast, with all the water they can drink, before they are forced into another fast.
This process is repeated, and the duration of the fast lengthened, until the Initiates can survive a month with only a tiny bit of food and water each week. During the fasting process, the Initiates’ skin becomes extremely pale, lacking the necessary vitamins and nutrients to keep a ‘healthy’ skin shade. Also, the oils and ointments used on the skin of the Initiates tend to thin the membrane significantly, lending itself to the stretched, ghastly expression common to all Voidwalkers. After the ability to fast becomes ingrained, the students are kept on the diet, but without sleep. This second stage is much more difficult on the Initiates’ body, but the survival rate is significantly higher than the fasting stage, as Queprur already has a strong grasp on the Initiate’s spirit. During this process the Initiates’ eyelids begin to widen, leaving stretched red-rimmed sockets. Also, the irises drain of colour, eventually leaving the pale-yellow eyes common to all Voidwalkers. Initiates' hair, still dyed black, slowly begins to also lose any colour and tint under the cosmetic. When the Initiate graduates to Acolyte, they are allowed to stop dying their hair, revealing snow white locks framing a deathly pale visage. The entire fasting and sleep-deprivation portion of the initiation lasts about one year.
Once Initiates are able to go long periods without nourishment or respite, they are named ‘Acolytes’ and a rigorous weapons training program begins. Acolytes are given a blessed sabre of blackened steel, and go through training for eighteen hours a day, learning attack forms, defence, muscle training and endurance. The sword given to all Voidwalkers is naturally cold, and has life-draining properties that only Queprur herself truly understands. It is surmised that the sword acts as a channel between the real world and the Netherworlds, a circuit through the Ethereal Void, pulling some of the victim’s essence through the Void. It is unknown how the sword accomplishes this, and what, precisely, is the result. Victims of the sword's edge have been known to describe a deathly chill flowing through them, followed by a despondent emptiness, a lack of will to continue challenging both the aggressing Voidwalker, and their attachment to life.
For the remaining seven hours in the day of an Acolyte, the most horrendous and agonizing portion of the initiation takes place. The Acolytes are subjected to horrible, inhuman torture. Queprur priests, having a close connection with the Goddess of Death, are able to bring the victims to the brink of death, before ceasing the treatment and bringing the initiate back to health. The death moment happens several times in the seven hours, and after about a month’s worth of the treatment, Acolytes begin to feel ‘light,’ almost like a fog of their former selves. This phenomenon is explained by the fact that because the Acolytes have spent so much time on the brink of death, they begin to recognize the ‘Ethereal Void’ in which a soul travels through on its way to the Netherworlds.
In time, usually about ten years after the Acolyte first began the treatment, they are able to dwell entirely within the Ethereal Void. Still with a body in the material world, but in truth, that body becomes mainly a shadow projected from the Ethereal Void. When this happens, it is called ‘Entering the Void,’ the training is complete, and the Acolyte becomes a true Voidwalker. They are given a white armband to wear to signify their rank. Full Voidwalkers are also permitted to wear full white dress, to differentiate themselves even further from trainees.
Essentially, Voidwalkers exist with one foot in the material world and one foot
in the realm of
Netherworlds. They dwell, in effect,
almost entirely in the
This allows them to cheat death, and life, as it were. They require very little
sleep, a couple of hours a week, minimal food, and have seemingly unrelenting
endurance. Because the
is a mist over the entire world of Caelereth,
Voidwalkers can ignore the space surrounding them in the material world that
translates into an uncanny quickness, bending the mist of the
Void to move incredibly fast. This is
not displacement, but a kind of fourth-dimensional movement, a tesseract within
Full-fledged Voidwalkers are also immune to steel, as steel takes on different, softer properties within the Ethereal Void. Steel passes through accomplished Voidwalkers, as if they were mist, though, empirically, they are solid. For Acolytes, depending on their level of initiation, steel could affect them as it would anyone, to very slight injuries, scratches compared to the slashes a mortal would receive. However, they are severely vulnerable to glass and bone, as their skin is very thin, and because such materials transcend the Ethereal Void, all of the Voidwalkers’ resilience becomes moot, and their thin skin and unhealthy flesh are revealed for what they truly are. It is also surmised that weapons blessed by a water deity may have deadly power against the Voidwalkers’ immunities.
Because of the incredibly difficult and arduous initiation treatment, there are very few Voidwalkers proper. These few are the leaders of the Voidwalkers’ corps, and are very dangerous, with unwavering devotion to the Goddess of Death, and possessors of terrifying supernatural abilities. The remaining Voidwalker trainees are of variable power, some with simply the fasting abilities, and some with more of themselves within the Ethereal Void.
Myth/Lore. It is unknown precisely when the incarnation of a Voidwalker was discovered, but it is thought that Feyronn the Drewynn, the famous assassin that Queprur herself resurrected after he was brought to the brink of death and suspended there with torture, until he finally succumbed to his injuries, could have been the first Voidwalker. Certainly, Feyronn’s ability to go long periods without food or sleep was legendary, and Queprur would surely have needed to put some of her own spirit into the assassin in order to revive him. Queprur's priests are thought to have researched the story of Feyronn, and adapted it to create their own holy warriors.
There was known to be a large number of Voidwalkers during zhe Great Plague of Thevelin (now Nyermersys) used as servants by the priests of Queprur when they cast the disease out of the town. Because of the Voidwalkers’ unique physique, they were immune to the plague, and able to mingle with the great unwashed freely, spreading the blessing of Queprur. Kept mostly out of sight, after the plague was vanquished and the temple of Queprur and the pest-pillar were erected, the Voidwalkers kept a solid contingent within Thevelin’s walls.
The Voidwalkers also figured greatly in SW: II, fighting boldly against the invading elven armies. Their ability to fight tirelessly, and the fact that they were distributed widely among the armies of Thevelin, is perceived to be critical to crushing the elven troops morale. The elves thought they were fighting a tired, surprised foe, and instead came upon a veritable, unrelenting ‘shadow of death’.
However, shortly after the great peace forging, the practice and initiation rituals of the Voidwalkers were exposed, and there was a great backlash within the priesthood of Queprur. The practice was deemed inhuman and against the true spirit of the Goddess. Because of the great pain and suffering all Voidwalkers endured, it was thought that they lost sense of the ‘balance’ necessary to truly understand, and truly serve Queprur. The extreme torment was thought to tarnish the soul, and germinate hatred and despising for all life, considered a critical flaw in the voiced purpose of the Voidwalkers.
Within the Queprur hierarchy, the priests in charge of the Voidwalker venture were cast out and banished, and the Voidwalkers themselves were cast into prison, or, in the case of those who held positions of authority, were executed in unsympathetic fashion. In an attempt to rid the Faithful of Queprur of this growing blemish on her history, many records and scripture concerning the Voidwalkers were destroyed. These events took place in the year 368 b.s. and became known as the ‘Purging of the Void.’
The ritual itself for incarnating a Voidwalker was not lost, because it was considered sacred to Queprur, in respect for her resurrection of Feyronn the Drewynn. However, it is still considered a terrible practice, and is not continued.
Information provided by Catchfire