Ghost Story - We Are Not Alone



You've come at a bad time, kid. I've got a case that needs my attention, and it's a real problem.

No, I doubt you can help. See, you don't know about the foreigners... Ah, what the hell, I guess it's time I told you about them. Why not, nobody else is.

Yeah, foreigners. I know you've probably spoken with some of the envoys, from the other Necropoli. The ones that come here to deliver important news to our Anacreons, and then stay for a couple of weeks, or longer, because they like the scenery. They ain't the people I'm talking about. See, where they come from, Stygia's still boss. From Kazakhstan to London to Chicago to Alaska. They're all under the Stygian banner, right? I saw you talking to that guy from the Berlin Necropolis a couple'a weeks ago, and I don't see why not. Does you good to know what else is happening in the civilised world. But there are parts of the world where Charon and the Deathlords ain't top dog.

That sounds strange, I know. After all, Stygia's got all of the civilised world in it, right? But I take it you've heard about the weird beliefs some of those nips have, about what happens when you die. Stuff about Hell and such without there being a God to oppose it, and about the living paying respect for the dead. Well, that sort of thing carries over.

See, because these nips have a weird idea about what happens when you die, that's shaped their afterlife. Belief's the central thing, there. You might think that's horseshit, because who believes in this big empire of the dead, right? But that's not what I'm talking about. We believe in ghosts. Who's never read a ghost story, right? And people want to know that there is an afterlife. And in general, the beliefs of the Frenchies and Dagos and English and all that created the way things work down here. They didn't create all of it, mind. Show me a ghost story where someone writes about the Shadow, and I'll show you a story that was ghost-written in more ways than one.

The European ideas about death carried over to this side. About what we were like, about what we could do. Those beliefs became the first Arcanoi, but because we had a slightly different idea about what we could do, those Arcanoi developed in different ways. Some of the thinkers in Stygia say that the beliefs of us restless shape the way we work just as much as the beliefs of the quick. I've never had the time or the will to try thinking about it. And it doesn't explain the Shadow, but then they go on to say that Oblivion has its seeds in all of us and it goes right over my head. Give me a missing Thrall over that deep thinking anyday.

You see where this is going to? Because those nips have a different idea of the afterlife, they have their own system. It started about the same time as Stygia, maybe a bit later, but they have their own Empire, where things work a bit differently. They call it the Yellow Springs, and they forge souls into Jade somehow. To outsiders like us, it's the Dark Kingdom of Jade. They have strange laws, and a strange way of working, but we have a kind of truce going with them so if you see an Asian style ghost you never know what he's going to pull. But if you reap a chink or a nip, expect one of theirs to turn up and expect you to hand your new find over. It's the way things are, and right now it's safer not to argue.

It's not just the nips. The wops have their own, a city they have to work to get into or somesuch. There aren't that many you'll find in our Necropoli, so you don't have to worry so much about them. I figured you might as well know. The other big place we have a deal going with is the Africans. I don't know too much about them, because envoys spirit all the niggers away double quick and are real secretive about where they're going. I've heard talk of a Dark Kingdom of Ivory in darkest Africa, but I don't know what goes on there. All I know is that's where they go, or where they used to go at least. More and more of them want to stay here, and I don't see why they shouldn't.

Sometimes, if you're out wandering the world between the Necropoli, especially if you're around the area of the old Sioux territory, you might see a group of Indian restless. Some of the ones that talk make mention of a Dark Kingdom of Flint which existed here before the coming of the white man. I dunno if that still exists or if it's just a load of them ganging up as Renegades under a new name, but don't take any chances. They can be vicious when provoked. There's also talk of another African Kingdom out there, around Egypt, that was subsumed by Stygia. Dark Kingdom of Sand, they called it, and if rumour is to be believed they're out there, rebuilding. It'd only mean anything if you're headed that way with a message and need to stop off around Cairo or somewhere to rest.

Why aren't there more? How'd you mean? Ahh, I get you. Russians and that don't exactly have the same ideas of death as we do, right? From what I heard, back in the days of the Roman empire and right through, when all those little European countries were fighting each other? Well, Stygia went on a spree of conquering, because we had the organisation and the Legions behind us, we got just about all of the territory we do now. There's no point feeling bad about 'subjugating all those old cultures', as it's mostly crap anyway. They've been under Stygian control for so long nobody can remember what it was like before, and it's better that way. Better to have some support than to be Spectre meat, anyhow.

But look, I really got to run. If you got any more questions, my assistant's going to be back soon, you can ask her.