Part of this sub is tough content to read due to detailed descriptions. Reader discretion is advised.
These sleeveless, enveloping drapes are monstrous to behold when one knows what they truly are and where they came from. From a distance they appear to be nothing more than a sleeveless jacket of sorts of tanned hide from various animals, some with fur adorning the shoulders for an odd form of fashion trend while others are dotted with spots and dots that are far from uniform to show the tailors individual mind. However, none of these are the truth of their origin.
Sewn from the skin of newborn children, the patched cloak is varies shades if skin color. As no ethnicity is forgotten when creating these nightmare coverings. Patches of hair blot its covering, some with mottled skin of the freckles of youth. Each mantle is pieced together from various children's skin, some having as many as seven or eight different hides sewn together to complete the grisly garment.
When placed on the undead it grants them a lingering form of almost life. The magick of the patched skin melds to the undeads' flesh giving them the appearance of life. Color returns to their body, flesh is made to cover and heal over, and a slight form of intelligence returns to their eyes. This is not a simple superficial appearance. To the touch they seem flesh and blood, perhaps a bit to rigid and clammy, but alive still. The smell of death also does not linger around them. They can not speak but their deathly wails, moans, and screams are sated. They appear to answer questions with a nod of the head or a incidental wave of their hand but it is more from the magick infused into the mantle not any super intelligence granted to the undead. They pass as the living but close scrutiny would reveal something is amiss. Failing to answer a guards questions would result in further scrutiny, and while they still appear to the naked eye alive, something would inherently seem wrong. However, until the creature was killed or those knowing how to remove the garment take them off they will remain looking as if alive.
Where animals fear or shy from the undead, they normally stare at them unaware of what they are. A walking void they can not track. Unaware of their truth they are usually ignored as being not there. Their eyes are the closest thing to betray their falsehood. While it grants the appearance of intelligence and cognitive behavior, their eyes still hold the vacancy of the dead. Just more of an appearance of near exhaustion and no recognition of any kind to close inspection.
The mantles seem to only work on non-intelligent animations of the dead, those with even a glimmer of intelligence and free thought simply appear as if they are wearing a coat or jacket of hairy skin granting them no benefits from donning the item. It is simply a garment that can be worn by the dead, taken off and given to another animation when the current corpse that is wearing it becomes to decayed to be of any use.
Kormack sought out a hermit in her dung covered thatched hut, far from normal civilized lands. Rumor found its way to him that a crazy witch had brought back her dead husband and children from beyond deaths door and had them functioning as if their daily lives were uninterrupted by deaths kiss. Always wishing to learn more of the dead arts, he sought her out. When he found witch D'Geen, he was shocked and pleased at his discovery. Not only had she minor ability in the necromantic arts, she had a skill Kormack did not. She was able to make the dead appear alive. It was not perfect by any means but it was a beginning.
The hermit witch D'Geen had, in her apparent insanity, dug up her deceased family who had died of a random sickness that swept through during a wet season. She brought them home where he used her minor magick ability to breath a form of life into them. More of a simple motor function than life. She had them return to their daily chores as if nothing had passed unusually. A close encounter with a farmer far removed from an average sized village ran them back to her hovel. She had not accounted for their dead appearance or smell.
By infusing the skin or hide covering with the spirit of the recently deceased, the dead who wore the mantle took on a life like appearance. D'Geen's skills were prevalent but her method was flawed. Where she had used the spirits of traveling brothers, older in their years so their spirits were tough and unwilling to cooperate at times. This was seen when Kormack spied the witch and her undead family. Occasionally they tried to flee from her or refused to do a task by walking away, yet using her limited gifts she was able to overwhelm their thoughts of defiance. Kormack saw this and then knew the path he would choose, children. Their innocent spirits malleable beyond measure, the perfect solution to this flaw. Their tiny souls were unable to fight back against his will as they knew nothing of defiance yet.
Kormack began whispering in her crusted ears on how he could bring her and her beloved ones back together truly, if only she taught him her magicks. He learned all he could from her, all the while bringing her back to his labyrinth of necromantic power. When he had mastered her talent, and improved upon it he gave her what he promised.
"Now I shall give you what I promised my lady. You shall reunite with your fallen loved ones, forever together." He brought her to the Chamber of Shivenhusk where He awaited her. "I am Shivenhusk the Unliving Refuse! Your soul shall never inherit the after world and will forever feed Me." Her scream was near silent as He bent down and took hold of her, pulling her head from her decrepit shoulders and inhaled her spirit as if breathing a scent of blooming flowers. The image of her face tried to pulled from his shoulder but He laughed and it sank back into his not dead flesh but still pressing the edge, lingering in silent pain.
The invention of the mantle is a huge step in Kormacks' plans in beginning his assault against the Church of his Gods' Aunt, the Goddess Earina, the Goddess of the frenzied carnage of battle, the prophecy of death, and the slaughter of innocents and take Her place in the Celestial Order. With the ability to hide his armies of undead in the guise of the living, Kormack can implant them into cities he intends to assault with ease and subterfuge.
- The party is rushing to a city they have never been to to warn them of an undead army that is hiding in their city walls that look like the normal populace. Whether the city guard arrests them for trying to incite a riot or they are sent away with laughs and insults. How do they get the warning to the people in time.
- The party, knowing how to distinguish the undead who are wearing the mantles, begin to attack and slaughter what appear to be innocent people walking into a city or in a crowded marketplace. The horror at what the civilians are watching alert the city guards who see the party killing innocent people. The guards begin attacking the party with little or no quarter. How do they show the guards the falsehood of the undead before the guards overwhelm them?
- The party is inside the walls of a city under siege and were able to convince the ruling leaders of the impending doom. They are manning one of the walls when Kormack arrives at the front of his undead army demanding for the gates to be opened and to be let into the city where it will willingly fall under his control or he will unleash his army on the poor population. The undead who are wearing the mantles are a new kind of undead of Kormacks design, an undead filled with a form of Greek Fire. If they are set off in a group near a city wall, the explosion that follows will breach one of the walls of the city allowing for the horde of undead to swarm into the breached wall with little opposition.