Annavara, the Deathless

Mairon T’rvati

Annavara is a humanoid creature, resembling the charred corpse of a Jin woman, at least while asleep. Once awake, the embers which make up her body give her prey ample warning, as the smoky stench of burnt flesh announces her approach. But for the oily flames dancing in her eye sockets, she might pass for a survivor of terrible burns.

Long ago, before our voyage to Starmourn, we would tell the story of the heretic Annavara as a warning. Once known for her vast knowledge of Jin anatomy and star kith, Annavara travelled Ijzala to ease the suffering of the sick and dying, treating all she could, and sending the rest to meet T’rath. After years of dedication, Annavara was renowned for her wisdom, revered as an instrument of T’rath’s will, and at least at first, beyond suspicion when the dead began leaving local morgues to return to their former lives.

Naturally, the sudden spate of reanimations led to widespread terror throughout the system, among the living and the dead alike. Had T’rath rejected us? Had an enemy found a way to keep us from passing on? None could say, but all agreed that the situation could not continue, and the reanimated were mercifully granted death once more. Despite the growing panic, Annavara continued her journey, seemingly unfazed by the calamity, and as she travelled, so too did the plague of deathlessness.

While corpses continued to rise where ever she visited, eventually even the most trusting could not shake their suspicions, and Annavara was brought in for questioning. To the surprise of all involved, she admitted to her crimes without being prompted, openly confessing that she had denied her victims a proper death, even “excusing” her actions as being better than passing on to meet T’rath. With a confession on record, a prolonged trial was deemed unnecessary, and the heretic was sentenced to death.

As dusk approached, the heretic was brought forth, and with nobody willing to speak a word in her defense, was sentenced to be death by fire. Annavara’s remains were buried anonymously outside the city, with the intent to be forgotten as soon as possible. As we now know, the heretic had other ideas. Before a week had passed, her grave had been disturbed, and only a set of blackened footprints leading out into the wilderness hinted at where the body might have gone. Still hoping to limit talk of the heretic, the Kwajah forbid any reports of the incident. Rumors continued to spread all the same.

Ever since that night, a figure shrouded in smoke has been seen wandering hospitals at dusk. Some terrified patients insist that Annavara has returned. Others claim to hear a raspy, smoke-ruined voice calling them into the morgue. Whatever the truth may be, the terminally ill have begun disappearing from hospitals with only a smoke filled room left behind them. Every night, another set of ash-covered footprints join hers, and another soul is lost to T’rath forever.