Written by NecrosisBob
The Ma'ab exalt their ancient necromantic ancestors as god-like entities. As such their descendants enjoy the status of their 'divine' birthright. Unlike most Human-based races, the Ma'ab don't look forward to the afterlife. They believe that the Greylords are usurpers that stole the Greylands from the Ma'ab and turned it into the planar wasteland it is today, and when they die, they will be drawn to their homeland and into the waiting blades of their ancestral enemies.
The latter is true, their essence will return to the Greylands, but this is because the Ma'ab had been created by the Greylords, to be used as a working and fighting force. The Ma'ab ancestors now worshipped were originally the ones to lead the Ma'ab out of the Greylands as escaped slaves.
To avoid the fate of their race, the exalted ancestors developed techniques to imbue the faithful into a sacred shard or even into an effigy by which they can interact with their people still. The nobles practice necromancy under the air of religion (the strong control the weak, so why not the body and soul?) and they go through great lengths to preserve themselves, including becoming liches/mummies. If they should need to devour the souls of the lessers to preserve themselves, then its their right, and they 'saved' that person from a more gruesome fate.
The slum necromancers of the lower caste, on the other hand, are those that often had to bargain and steal for their knowledge. Many of them practice forms of self-mutilation as a means to focus their talents. They often enter into bargains with Greylords, demons, and the forces of Chaos. Regularly, they're purged by the noble class, who in turn study and dissect their techniques. Thus the nobles never sully their hands with the difficulty of experimentation.
Last updated: April 1, 2018
This page contains introductory Miurag-specific development of the Ma'ab for use in the main story and bonus stories written for Patreon.
NecrosisBob's work on the Greylands and grey-touched Miurag has been compiled into a 211-page sourcebook on Patreon, and will be relevant both for the events of "Surfacing" and the God Wars epic to follow.
Not only a tinkerer with ideas and sketches, but 'Bob also writes descriptive scenes and character showcases when the urge strikes. The Divine Physician--the one most likely to come into direct conflict with Gavin as the Herald Deathwalker of Miurag--was given one such scene.
When the Ma'ab revolted in the Greylands, their leaders brought the race to Miurag. Once here, only those weakest in death magic were able to breed the next generation using the native Humans, while those most powerful needed first to learn to extend their lives. As such, the majority of Ma'ab function as another breed of Human, though the females are always much smaller than the males, and all are dark-haired and dark-eyed, most with very pale skin. Even with less variation in their appearances, those of the fertile, lower Tiers of the Ma'ab castes easily pass as Human.
Not so with the Ascended, the original leaders and most powerful magic users who crossed over directly from the Greylands. At the will of their Greylords, their forms were bred in a humanoid shape but anyone to look at them now would see only a disturbing, strange lich, oddly alien to this world no matter the many similarities to Human form.
There are 7 Ascended who rule in strict ranking. Like their caste system, each Ascended served a necessary function, providing a powerful anchor when their race was most vulnerable to extinction during their first century on Miurag. This structure has allowed their people to survive and flourish, without them the Ma'ab would have vanished shortly after crossing over.
Times change, however, and now the liches' purpose is less defined. They cling to Divine Right to maintain personal power but the Ma'ab as a race is stabilized and in no danger of extinction. Their only option is expansion as the 7 gods of the Ma'ab learn to squabble with each other for additional rank and power.
Below are the Divine Name and Formal Titles for each of the Ascended, and their place within their own pantheon, developed for and taken from "Ada's Bonus Story" on Patreon.
The Divine Prime: Vermillion Lady of Ebon Flame. The One Most Powerful who first gave birth upon this new world.
The Divine Warrior: General of the Undefeated Void. He made an unbreakable bargain with the Deathless which then broke the Ma’ab chains.
The Divine Physician: The Chirurgeon of Souls. The first of the Ascended to understand how to manipulate souls outside of the Greylands, to keep them for much, much longer.
The Divine Enslaver: Enslaver of the Nine Circles. She who found the resources to strengthen the Ma’ab at their most vulnerable.
The Divine Matron: The Mother of Entrails. The first midwife to the Vemillion Lady and the Ascended’s initial salvation to prevent miscarriages and keep their bloodline going. The discoverer of this world’s strangest “life magic.”
The Divine Artisan: The Artisan of Blood. The keeper of their genealogy and second midwife to the Vermillion Lady.
The Divine Assassin: The Opener of Gates from Within, The Ascended who knows all the ways to kill or destroy every creation they know about.