Zombies in History
Character Background for Khordeh Ratush (Little Judgement) Chris
Born on the outskirts of Babylon, Khordeh spent most of his childhood attending the various services in the ancient temples and ziggurats throughout the city. Always a bright and pious child, it seemed natural that the magi would nominate him to attend the great universities in the city to study wizardry. He spent the majority of his childhood and adolescent years studying the art. His free time was spent studying scripture and debating its meaning with other students, priests, and even the magi when he could get a moment of their time. Of particular interest to him was the concept of Judgment Day. Witnessing first hand as each year the heathens from the west drew away more of the faithful and took more land which ancestrally had belonged to the followers of Zoroaster, he began to feel that the world could not sustain itself much longer. Strange rumors from the east of some great threat which would soon overrun the world made him think that perhaps Judgment Day was at hand. When he debated priests and magi on this topic they scoffed at him. Surely the world would not end with such a horrid state of affairs. The faith of Ahura Mazda was destined to rise again before the world ended. It would be as a wave of molten metal purifying the world of sin. The world would not end when the faith was suffering worse than it ever had since before the days of Alexander.
Unable to get a satisfactory answer from the priests and magi, he immersed himself in his studies. However the thought that Judgment Day might be approaching remained in his mind and it was not long before he found himself sifting through scripture again. His focus became the concept of the Saoshyant, the final savior of the world. The scripture spoke of the Saoshyant as a figure whose life had been prophesized and would follow a set path that ended in the final renovation of the world. He thought this odd. Did the scripture not also profess that all individuals must make their own paths while striving to do good deeds? How could it also prophesize a savior whose life was foretold in detail? After much study he came to a conclusion. The scriptures did not mean literally that this man would exist and follow this path. It was up to the individual to choose to follow this path and try to bring the world to its ultimate goal. He presented his interpretation to the priests and the magi and was met with a lukewarm response. True it was up to the individual to choose his path, to suppose that anyone could be the Saoshyant was preposterous. Khordeh was disillusioned by this dismissal. They had missed the point entirely. It wasn’t that one person could choose to be the Saoshyant, it was that everyone should choose to act like the Saoshyant. Since he could not convince others of his belief, Khordeh decided that he would have to lead by example. If he were to lead by example he would need to be somewhat more literal in order to make his point. To this end he began to study necromancy. The Saoshyant was supposed to resurrect the dead and lead them in a battle against evil, and that is exactly what Khordeh would do.
Necromancy in itself was not viewed as evil by the priests of Ahura Mazda. Indeed it was considered an important part of many burial rituals. Laying the souls of the deceased to rest and preventing an unclean decay of the flesh to the forces of druj. However the use of necromancy to animate the dead was somewhat of a taboo. To this end Khordeh kept his studies away from prying eyes. After a time he decided it was time to begin to show the world what he meant. A small group of bandits had been raiding caravans on the way to Sippar, and though there was a bounty on their heads they had not been captured or killed. Using the necromantic skills he had learned Khordeh was able to single handedly track down and kill the bandits. His odd method received a fair number of stairs, and even a few threats, but no one could deny what he had done. The reward money he donated to the temple, which helped him calm a few heads, but there were still more that were angry. The priests and the magi were split about just how much of a sin Khordeh had committed. The more liberal members felt unconformable about the path he had chosen, but did not truly revile him. However the most conservative members were calling for his blood; saying that he was corrupting the natural world and spreading druj across the land. In the end no charges were pressed against him, but those parties most opposed were far from placated. Khordeh had expected something like this. He was not going to win people over instantly.
The first attempt on his life came that very night. While preparing to go to sleep an arrow came in through a window in his room at the university. The second attempt came a few days later when a man attempted to run him down in the street with a cart. He complained to the magi and priests about this, but they were reluctant to take any action. The third attempt came when he was having a meal at a restaurant near the university. Were it not for his experience with it while studying necromancy, he would likely not have noticed the poison in his cup. It became clear that no one was going to stop these attempts on his life, and that soon enough they would succeed. He had expected there to be some acts of violence for his violation of the old taboos, but he did not expect that his life would be threatened after just one demonstration and that the priests and the magi would take no action to stop them. Khordeh could not inspire people if he was dead. To that end he chose to leave Babylon, hoping to achieve great things elsewhere. Over time his travels have taken him far from home, but he hopes someday to return and set an example for his people.