Agent of the Queen
Rags is a Karkashite skeleton bound together and animated by powerful oath magic. He is 277 years old. He wears the drab funerary garments of the undead Nightsworn and wields two curved daggers that temporarily turn black when plunged through a living creature’s heart.
Karkashan, the City of Tombs
Karkashan is a monarchical city-state in the Southern Dunes and the only major city there. It is sometimes known as Khoru Habat, or The City of Tombs, because of the extensive catacombs and crypts that run far beneath it’s streets. With a population of roughly 200,000 people (many of whom are humans), it is one of the largest cities in the world, although far from the safest. Demons, ghouls, furious elementals and militant nomads all threaten the city’s existence and often come close to overwhelming it. However, Karkashan is not without its defenses; the city’s necromancers are capable of raising vast armies of the undead to combat the various threats of the desert and the city itself is surrounded by an enormous limestone wall.
The Karkashites are a tan-skinned people with dark hair and golden-amber eyes. They are hardy, resourceful and (mostly) unafraid of dying. Necromancy is highly respected by them and it holds an important place within their culture. To them, there is no afterlife; serving as a soldier in undeath is seen as the greatest honor one can achieve. Conversely, liches are viewed as hideous and dishonorable creatures and becoming one is strictly forbidden, presumably because the Karkashites fear any undead they cannot fully control.
Most Karkashites worship a genderless deity called the Serpent of Midnight, who is said to only communicate with the faithful through fever dreams induced by sipping snake venom. S/he is the patron of night, new beginnings, craftiness, death, necromancy and the lost. It is believed that one gains the Serpent’s favor and protection by wearing a viper’s head around their neck.
The ruling family of Karkashan is the House of Sarthul, as it has been for hundreds of years, and the current queen is Aiyruna IV, whose youthful vanity has made her obsessed with seeking immortality.
Duty of the Nightsworn
Rags was born Azrim Talzarik and grew up in the household of impoverished nobles. When he was 13 years old, he was selected to join the Nightsworn – royal protectors of the queen who are bound to serve her and her descendants even in death. He was classically educated, and trained to master the blade and swift footwork. At 20, he was deemed ready to serve Queen Heshala and was her protector with nine other Nightsworn for 35 years.
After Heshala died of an unexpected illness, all ten of her protectors were ritually killed, as per custom, and interred with her in the Royal Crypt. Azrim lay undisturbed for 222 years, his twin daggers untouched and hanging above his sarcophagus, until Queen Aiyruna IV called upon him to serve her. She charged him and seventeen other Nightsworn with a covert and unusual task: find the elixir of immortality. He was perplexed by this, unsure if it even existed, but was forced to fulfill her command anyway. For the past three years, he has been traveling the world in search of the elixir.
In Karkashite culture, it is unseemly and disrespectful to burden the risen dead with the names, identities and possessions they had in life; the undead are technically seen as “new” people deserving of new names and new purposes. Conforming to this tradition, Azrim was forced to renounce his birth name upon being resurrected and has since been called Rags by himself and many others.