It was a bloody sack, and flies buzzed around it. The smell that seeped from it was enough to sicken an ox. The voice that came from it was worse.
The Ssacha a'Karliik
Also known as Karl'van, Ssacha'rothe, or the vulgar head in a bag. It is quite simply a severed head that has been placed in a bag, typically burlap or another cheap coarse material. This sack is tied to a belt, or even to a staff. The bearer of the bag is able to communicate with the head inside the bag. The magics that go into the item go not into the head, but rather the bag. Any head, provided it is fresh enough, will be reanimated by the magics of the bag. Preserved and otherwise treated heads last much longer than untreated left to decay heads.
Rival Magi: a common trend centuries ago involved severing the heads of rival magi and forcing them to become assistants in casting magic spells. While this was primarily done by evil necromancers, some more bloody religions found a way to make Ssacha a'Karliiks into saints relics.
Translators: common among non-human foes, the necromancers would have several of these to function as guides, advisers, and translators for dealing with indigenous peoples. It is rather demoralizing to have a stranger show up with a known hero or even the King's head and the head now serving the newcomer.
Wise Councilor: It was a trend for elders and other wise people to willingly allow their heads to be taken, so that their wisdom would not die with their bodies. This trend eventually ended after some heads were lost, and others were abused or misused. The requirements of having a resident necromancer also fell out of popularity and the neutral karliiks were lost or destroyed.
Entertainment: some more perverse necromancers would decapitate jesters, bards, troubadors, or people they just fancied and would take their heads and put them into Ssacha a'Karliiks.
The first creators of Ssacha a'Karliik was a band of dark elves who used the magic to capture rival magi and shaman from rival races, first the orcs and goblins and later the humans and rival bands of elves. While these dark elves were later driven into hiding, their arts of necromancy and the process of creating the heads in the bags were not. The original Ssacha a'Karliik's were made of coarse material as it was seen as a waste to make a bag for orc heads out of nice materials. While the karliiks made for magi and other high ranking, or elfin heads were made out of higher grade and fancier materials, the coarse bags were the more common and it simply became a tradition to make the karliik out of such materials.
The head must first be removed from the body, and then placed in a sack made of a burial shroud. This sack has been desecreated and must be wetted with the blood of the corpse that the head was taken it from. Various necromantic charms and chants are done, and the spirit of the head is temporarily denied moving on and is forced to reside in the head for a period of time. If the head is later treated or otherwise preserved, this duration can be quite long. Untreated heads only last three to five weeks before the magic can no longer animate the ruined flesh. A magically tattooed, salt cured and death priest blessed head can last for years or even decades. Creating a karliik is an intermediate level spell, though the preservation of the flesh tattoos and spells are functionally introductory spells.
The Spirit Halloween store had upside down styrofoam heads stuffed in 'bloody' burlap sacks to dangle as ghoulish decorations. This is the end result of that and several beers.