A note from Avitue


"The ability to direct the perception of your people is arguably the most important skill in a ruler's repertoire, for with it you could have your people's unflinching support no matter what you did, while without it, they are prone to be dissatisfied no matter how good you have been to them." - Emir ibn Khalif Elam El-Ehr, beloved ruler of the Assadun Emirate, circa 72 VA.

"Do me a favor then, Aideen, child, and describe to me how you felt since… your revival," said the Bone Lord with a kind, grandfatherly tone. "Spare no details, no matter how inconsequential."


"Well… I still feel pain, found that out when I bumped my head on my coffin's lid back when I woke up," said Aideen as she recounted what else she could tell the ancient necromancer who was also one of her grandfathers, in a sense. "My senses… seemed to be unchanged as far as I can tell. I no longer needed to breathe unless I consciously did so, nor did my heart beat at all. I could will it to beat if I wanted to, but it has not been necessary so far."


"I assume that also means that your blood lay stagnant in your veins, yet it caused no problem, am I correct, child?" Asked the Bone Lord, to which Aideen nodded. "Do you still require sustenance?"


"I ate yesterday, yes. Still tasted the same, but… I haven't needed to go to the bathroom so far," she replied with a blush on her face. "It felt as if what I consumed were turned into mana or something, and apparently that was what my body needed for sustenance."


"Intriguing…" the Bone Lord hmmed and hawed for a moment while he fell deep in thought. "Have you felt any unusual urges, or any other changes since? Anything at all?"


"My mana felt different. It still responded to my call as easily as before, but it didn't… have the same feel to it," explained Aideen as she struggled to describe what she felt. "Similarly, mother and grandfather's mana also felt different to me than before. Mother's felt less cold and distant, and grandpa's more warm and comfortable."


"How odd…" pondered Nec Aarin as he thought of the implications of what Aideen mentioned. "Aoife, surely you have an affinity crystal somewhere? Bring one over, please."


"Yes, master. One moment please," Aoife immediately stood up and went to fetch the item her master asked for. An affinity crystal was traditionally used when a child was still young, to inspect their affinity, and was quite commonplace. Aoife did not know why her master asked for one, but she had not questioned it, and soon returned with the diamond shaped crystal in her hand.


"Try it, child. If my guess is correct this should answer some of our questions," said Nec Aarin as he placed the crystal in Aideen's hand.


Aideen nodded and did as instructed, as she channeled her mana into the crystal. The crystal soon brightened until everyone - other than the bone lord - had to squint, a sign of her tremendous mana reserves, which was not unexpected, as Aideen had been a child prodigy when it came to magic.


What was unexpected was the color it glowed in. Instead of the bright white of the life affinity that she knew she possessed before, the crystal shined a light gray color that intermittently changed to a darker shade of gray. After a few moments, the grey color separated into two parts, a larger bright white section, and a smaller jet black that looked as if it wished to consume all light.


Neither were results anyone in the room - not even the Bone Lord himself - had ever seen or even heard of.


"My, my… how curious… and this also answered a question that had haunted my mind all week, too," said the Bone Lord as he scratched his chin with one bony finger.


"What might that question be?" Asked the pope out of curiosity. He had stayed the night in the house since he knew the Bone Lord would be arriving today, and had entered soon after Aideen did.


"A week ago, I received a prophecy from Tohrmut himself," said the Bone Lord in a more serious tone. "He said, that I should prepare myself to welcome the Harbinger of a New Beginning in a week's time. And now… I see what he meant by that."


"Bone Lord, sir… do you mean…?" Asked Ciarran with some trepidation in his voice.


"Yes, boy, our dear little Aideen here is likely said Harbinger. What she now possessed is an affinity never seen before. Life and Death in harmony with each other, together, and yet separate from one another," elaborated the Bone Lord. "I must say that even at my age I am quite excited by this. It is not everyday you witness the birth of a new affinity. And this is probably the last too… every other derivative has been found already."


"Do you think that might be what triggered her… revival?" Asked the pope in turn.


"Could be, or it could also be the other way around. Her revival might have been the trigger for this new affinity's birth. We will probably never find out which," said the Bone Lord. Aideen had fallen silent as she digested the words just now, somewhat unbelieving that what happened to her, might have been foreseen.


"She also found my strongest exorcism magic a comfortable sensation yesterday," admitted the pope ashamedly. "It was a flaw in my judgement that made me do it, and I have apologized. Regardless, that is another point to consider."


"Her body felt no different to an undead being," chimed in Aoife from the side as she too pondered all the possible implications. That her master received a prophecy from the Deity of Death was no surprise, since after all, the Bone Lord was also the high priest of the Death Deity's clergy to begin with. "Whatever Aideen has become now, I do not think the label Undead suited her. She is clearly… much more."


"A good point, my dear," said the Bone Lord as his skeletal hand caressed a nonexistent beard out of habit. "We should indeed call her something else, to differentiate those who had kept their faculties despite their undeath, and the mindless creatures we find so often. What do you think, Aideen, child?"


"That… would be welcome, grandpa Aarin," Aideen said haltingly, still struggling with the implications of the revelations she just heard. "And thank you."


"To have passed on, yet still living. An undead, yet not an undead, to be living, yet not… I have it," recited the Bone Lord. "What do you think, child, of the term Unliving?"


Support "Unliving"

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