An Empty Throne
According to legendry and collected lore when sentient, mortal beings die on Arkos, they pass into the grey waste where those who enter must await Judgment. This eternally gray realm exists without sun or night under the watch of Erebos. Since the cataclysm, many denizens of this realm have managed to escape to the sunlit realm of the living. These being are called Kamptic or Echomen because they are only the reflection in both sight and sound of specific living beings.
In leave the grey waste these beings give up their identity, both mental and physical representations; their faces become an unsettling surface with eyeholes and a mouth. Before cremation, a customary dark clay funerary mask is placed on the dead to “frame” the identity of the deceased, this mask is worn by the dead until cremation. This mask often grows more detailed as those individuals who sit deathwatch will add to its uniqueness- representing the personality of the deceased. It is the only thing which can be kept after the corpse is render to the crematorium. When a Kamptic destroys their identity to cross into the living, they do so by fashioning a mask and pour the knowledge of themselves into it. According to fable, gold is always used because it is the most common ‘free’ substance in the grey wastes. Reported sightings of Echomen wearing their golden funerary masks (can isolate their identities) .
This doesn’t mean that the Returned have no personality and no memory of anything, however. Events and relationships of the mortal’s life are lost, but the results of those events are intact. It has been theorized that the rage expressed by Echomen results from their inability to remember their past, but constantly reminded by the loss. Essentially sentient, sapient non-corrupted zombies, echomen are undead in the most actual sense. When they return to the living realm, they don’t return to life. Echomen have been witnessed to form brief ‘communities’, they will experience fleeting emotions, and follow daily routines, but their existence is a shadow play, because without an identity or an ability to nurture long-term relationships, the elements of their “lives” have no lasting substance. Although their lack of identity prevents long-term memory formation, echomen do ‘feel’ emotions based on their immediate experiences. That in turn means that their emotions tend toward two different social patterns of behavior – Despondence or Anger.
Echomen who have a deep nostalgia for things even though they can no longer remember why – are called by scholars, the asphodelus. These creatures collect wealth into caches of often of pointless variety. The are however well guarded and actively defended. These Echomen typically seek to be left alone, venturing out only when seized by fugues of emotion, or when resources are needed or desired.
Echomen who have come to envy, harbor resentment against the living and are driven by a desire to deprive them of the joys of life are called, the ilex. Such raids are small but they tend to be effective, and are almost always nocturnal. These creatures seek to destroy the wealth of the living (both literal, such as gold, and figurative, such as food, children, and comfort).