The Necromongers are a religious empire and one of four elder races, that zealously and violently follows and propagates its religion Necroism. An absolutely fanatic group that believes life is antagonistic to the natural state of the universe. They intend to convert or kill all who oppose them.
The Necromongers believe that each 'verse has its own god, that life is antagonistic to the natural order of the universe and must be purged from it to be reborn in the Underverse. The Underverse is their promised land, believing that unless a person dies "in due time" that they will not go to the Underverse.
They also believe heavily in a philosophy that says "you keep what you kill", believing that ending another's life entitles you to their property and position.
The Necromongers do not reproduce, as to not propagate life further, thus the reason they refer to all non-necros as breeders. All living Necromongers are converts, when they undergo conversion they receive the "mark of the Necromonger": two painful spikes stabbed into the sides of their necks, they learn how one pain can lessen another. After this "purification" the nerves are numbed, and color drains from the converts eyes and skin. The new converts wear: burned, tattered, and decayed robes.
The troops of the empire are particularly effective, they view death as honorable, and are unable to feel pain. The warriors do not believe in clean armor, believing that the more damage you show, the greater the warrior you are.
Armament & Equipment
While the soldiers of the Necromonger Empire do wield guns, it is considered more honorable to use melee weapons.
- "It is said the comet always proceeds them."
- —Abu al-Walid
The Necromonger fleet moves from planet to planet, system to system, appearing as a comet before arrival. The Armada first began to take shape under the orders of Covu after his discovery of the Underverse. The Armada arose from Oltovm who Covu left behind as he and his Necromongers entered the Threshold. Oltovm the Builder then began to construct a bigger armada, but he never saw First Ascension when the New Armada arose from Asylum and chose Naphemil the Navigator to replace him. Naphemil had Necropolis unearthed and entombed in the Basilica, which travels with the armada on it's conquest through space.
- Basilica - Command Ship
- Conquest Icons
- Necromonger Fighter
- Sarcophagus-Class - Troop Transport/Dropship
- Warrior Ship
The Necromongers can track their history back to the Brotherhood of Austeres. The group sought to distance themselves from the other worlds of man that they found so corrupting. The Austeres settled on the world Asylum.
Quickly dissension arose, Covu an important scientist-philosopher began teaching the then radical belief that there might be more than one God indeed, that there might be as many Gods as there were "universes"!
First Regime: Covu the Transcended
Covu had seen, firsthand, the beauty that was the Underverse. So compelling was the sight that he taught that all life elsewhere was "a spontaneous outbreak," an "unguided mistake" that needed correction. The Natural State was death and what came afterward. Covu and all Necromongers were also part of this "grand error," but having seen the truth, they were duty bound to remain alive until the known 'verse was swept clean of all human life. Some years later, Covu chose a successor. It was Oltovm the Builder, the officer who had laid the first and last stone of Necropolis. Oltovm set out with Covu to return to the Threshold. It was an arduous journey, months long. Some in their company wondered aloud if Covu had ever seen the Threshold at all, and they started to doubt his word. But then it was found. Oltovm describes the Threshold as, "Surrounded by great tidal forces of space, treacherous to navigate near, but exotically beautiful, hinting at the dark wonders that lurk beyond."
Days were spent waiting for the tidal forces to ease, and then finally the Threshold opened. Covu ordered all Necromongers except Oltovm to turn their backs as approach was made, and that forever established how a Necromonger vessel nears the open Threshold: aftward first. Indeed, no living Necromonger except a Lord Marshal may cast his eyes upon the Underverse. On the Threshold the two men stood, the once and future Lord Marshals, both now gazing into the beautiful strangeness of Underverse. What words passed between them was never recorded. But while Oltovm held his place, Covu strode on into the Underverse and was never seen again.
Second Regime: Oltovm the Builder
Intent on never losing his way to this remarkable place, Oltovm erected hidden navigational markers that would lead him back. Never again would anyone doubt its existence. Once the way was charted, Oltovm initiated the construction of a portal around the Threshold, forces that could resist the vortices of space and force open the Threshold on demand. A trusted officer was tasked with guarding the Threshold against marauding races. His name was never recorded, so he is simply referred to herein as the Guardian of the Underverse. Said to be nearly three meters tall, the Guardian and his legion of faithful will repel any non-Necromonger who may make unauthorized approach to this most holy of places. During those times when the Threshold is opened to admit a Lord Marshal on pilgrimage, the Guardian and his warriors must turn their backs so as not to gaze upon the Underverse.
Early in the Second Regime there arose a controversy. How could procreation be tolerated in a faith devoted to non-life? The solution was to ban all breeding (though of course not the sex act itself). This prohibition led to the inevitable conclusion that the Faith would die out in one generation's time unless new converts could be found. The Faith was still great, but distances of space were greater. More ships with improved drives were needed. Now, Oltovm was no longer a young man, and the construction of the Threshold portal had occupied many of his years. Still, he became devoted to the idea of gifting Necromongers with the greatest armada ever seen.
The manpower needs were tremendous. The task of meeting that need fell to a fiery young commander full of the Faith, named Baylock. An ardent student of the teachings of Covu, Baylock was admired even if some of his actions drew criticism. Among other things, he used unconventional means to subjugate all the races of Boroneau V. Strong backs and new resources were needed to build the armada, and Baylock delivered them at whip's end.
Oltovm never saw First Ascension, the day the new Necromonger armada rose from Asylum. Instead, he chose his successor and then chose ritualistic suicide at the edge of the Threshold. Oltovm had told others it was "due time" for his death, and it is he who is now credited with this important distinction of Necroism. Even while Necromongers covet death, there is a right and proper moment for any death. Unless a Necromonger dies in "due time," he will be prohibited from entering the Underverse.
Naphemil had risen fast in the military ranks, a young cartographer who helped lay the foundations for what we now call, simply, the Campaign: the plan to rid the known 'verse of all human life. Oltovm the Builder chose wisely when he named Naphemil as the leader of this epoch of Necroism. Rather than leave Necropolis behind on Asylum, Naphemil ordered the structure unearthed and entombed in a far larger ship, the Basilica. The first Necromonger church would travel with the armada through space, into which it ventured on Ascension Day. In the short years of the Third Regime, Necromonger society did well at spreading the word of Covu the Transcended, gathering converts by the thousands. The swell of new blood brought refinements in the conversion process. It was no longer enough to bow before the Lord Marshal and take an oath of fidelity. True purification was necessary.
The pain-deadening act known in the modern era is a faint echo of Covu's experience at the hands of the Austeres. Just as he was tortured to the point of non-feeling, new converts are put through a process that demonstrates how one kind of pain can deaden others; how pain can actually bring spiritual bliss. The office of "Purifier Principal" was created to oversee new conversions.
Despite these gains, the Necromonger faith began bleeding off numbers, as infighting among officers and natural attrition outpaced conversions. After the enormous expenditure of resource that marked the Second Regime, it seemed the faith was floundering. Some Necromongers began to see Naphemil as more planner than leader, more strategist than warrior. He was, as Oltovm concluded, a good choice for the ascension period of Necromonger history, but that period was now challenged by new realities.
Naphemil was killed in a dispute with then-commander Baylock, and this unapologetic murder marked the first time that a Lord Marshal had been dethroned by violence. Debate raged as to whether Baylock was entitled to the post of Lord Marshal. Ultimately, the teachings of Covu prevailed, as Baylock defended his act with Covu's own words: "You keep what you kill." Baylock ascended to the throne of Necropolis, and all Necromongers knelt before him. The society now knew two kinds of succession: appointment and murder.
Fourth Regime: Baylock the Brutal
Baylock was the last Lord Marshal born to Necroism, and the first of the modern lord marshals. During his regime, planetary subjugation became the norm. The plan that had served him well on Boroneau V was applied to new worlds on a grand scale. Baylock also taught that it was not enough to gain converts. Those who refused conversion should be ground to dust. Once again he relied for justification of his actions on the words of Covu, who said to the last of the Austeres, "Convert, or fall forever." By all accounts, Baylock's regime would have met with unparalleled success had he not encountered the dread Carthodox. This was another militarized faith, monotheistic and procreative but potent nonetheless. The Carthodox, too, were seeking converts in the planetary system Neibaum, and when paths crossed, the worlds of Neibaum became the holy battlefield. An interesting though probably irrelevant footnote to the history of this particular conflict: there are suggestions (oral history only) that the Elemental race was advising the Carthodox in the course of this war. But many doubt this, citing the traditional neutrality of all Elementals.
The Carthodox had strange new weaponry, some of it superior to the corresponding Necromonger armament. Losses among the supporters of the Faith grew catastrophic. Officers complained that communications were not sufficiently secure, allowing the Carthodox to know their moves in advance. Baylock's commanders advised retreat from the Neibaum system. If they could only swell the ranks by converting worlds beyond, they could return to fight the Carthodox anew, refreshed and strengthened. But Baylock the Brutal would have none of it, "They may count God on their side, but we count many Gods," Baylock is said to have bellowed. "It begins and ends in this system."
Kryll was a technical officer in charge of an emerging order within the Necromonger movement. He called it the Order of the Quasi-Dead. The "Quasies" (as they are now known) began as monk-like ascetics who voluntarily deprived themselves of virtually all nourishment. Their goal was to slow down bodily function to the point where their existence walked the cusp between life and death. They are fragile yet powerful beings, as all bodily resources are devoted to mental pursuits. After years of overseeing the growth of this order, Kryll came forward to offer Baylock and the military the use of Quasi-Deads as telepathic conduits. Once the advantages promised by such a system were recognized, the offer was quickly accepted. A network of Quasi-Deads was hastened into service, with at least one installed on every command ship, a practice followed to this day. The Quasis enjoyed quick success. At last, here was the incorruptible line of communication the military had been seeking. The impact of the Quasis began to be felt on the battlefield, as their point-to-point communications could not be intercepted by the Carthodox, who had no equivalent resource. They were helping to turn the tide of war when something extraordinary occurred.
Baylock died in a landing accident on Neibaum Prime. Questions outnumbered answers. Who was now in charge? Would the commanders appoint a lord marshal from among their own ranks? Or would they fall to fighting one another even as they did battle with the Carthodox? The corpse of Baylock was dispatched to the Threshold. There, the Guardian floated the corpse in an open ark and sailed it into the Underverse. As the corpse vanished, the Guardian, as he later swore before a congress of commanders, heard Baylock stir and speak. And with his final words, Baylock named a successor - Kryll.
Fifth Regime: Kryll
The Carthodox were overcome. Their false icons were burned or otherwise laid aside, their numbers purified and absorbed. Though it had been predicted that the Carthodox, being pious themselves, would never convert to Necroism, most Carthodox did so with surprising readiness. Some would later become respected Necromonger warriors, and many other documents chronicle their stories. Perhaps as an act of gratitude, Kryll overruled the Necromonger prohibition on the raising of personal icons to erect a mountainous statue of Baylock the Brutal. It was left behind on the cratered remains of Neibaum Prime, a reminder of the battles that Baylock prosecuted there. This was the first of the great planetary Conquest Icons which would, in the next regime, take on greater import. Moreover, Kryll ordered statuary to grace the ancient interior of Necropolis, including images of all the Lord Marshals, past and present.
Ever mindful of challenges from within the Faith, Kryll refined his Quasi-Deads, creating the Order of the Quasi-Dead. This group was comprised of five highly evolved—toward death—individuals who could probe the minds of any individual. So powerful were they that, when grouped together, they could hemorrhage the brain of a resistant subject. Today, the "Greater Quasies" serve at the pleasure of the reigning lord marshal, while the "Lesser Quasies" fill both military and private deep-space communication needs. The Carthodox weaponry, so formidable, was fitted on Necromonger warships, making the armada stronger than ever. Necroism, a movement that had already absorbed two other faiths, was poised to spread to new worlds with new speed.
Kryll's time ended unexpectedly. With no verbal announcement, he committed ritualistic suicide. Thankfully, a pyro-doc was found near his corpse by a trusted officer, Zhylaw, and this succession document averted the rancorous in-fighting that marked the transition between the Fourth and Fifth Regimes.
Sixth Regime: Zhylaw the Last
The succession document named Zhylaw as the next Lord Marshal, but some questioned its validity. Rumor led to tribunal, and soon, a public debate ensued: some suggesting that Zhylaw was somehow complicit in the passing of Kryll. Zhylaw was promptly exonerated, and the perpetrators of these spiteful stories were hunted out and killed before due time. In an attempt to protect his reputation for the ages, Zhylaw had the succession document naming him Lord Marshal stored in the Necromongers' most secure vaults, under the tightest of guard. There it will remain, protected for all posterity. He created many Conquest Icons that served not only to be a memorial of the battle that took place where it landed but also to start that battle. The campaigns he led across the planets of the Coalsack System and Aquilan systems often only had Conquest Icons remaining to remember the battles that took place.
During his rule, he began a devastating campaign against the Aquilans, and ordered the destruction of Aquila Major with a massive bombardment known as the "Final Protocol". He also considered targeting Quintessa for invasion, and blackmailed Aereon into telling his future by saying that he would leave Quintessa as his last target.
After converting Kyra, Zhylaw used her to taunt Riddick and agreed to a one-on-one fight with him. Although Riddick did make him bleed (something he said had not happened in a very long time) and was able to hold his own a little, Zhylaw's powers were too much for Riddick to handle and he went to kill him. While he was distracted, Kyra stabbed him in the back with a spear, wounding and weakening Zhylaw before he backhanded her into a column. Vaako, urged by his ambitious wife, then tried to kill him while he was weakened in order to take his place, but Zhylaw used his speed to narrowly escape, ending up in front of Riddick who had positioned himself in his path. Before Zhylaw could react, Riddick stabbed him in the head with the knife he had pulled from the back of a Necromonger warrior, finally killing him and making Riddick the new Lord Marshal by default.
Seventh Regime: Riddick
Riddick lead the Necromongers for five years, but refused to go to the Underverse, and didn't conquer any new worlds. Eventually Riddick agreed to pass the Lord Marshal title to Vaako, in return of a way to his homeplanet Furya. Riddick however was betrayed by Krone and left dead on Not-Furya.
Eighth Regime: Siberius Vaako
After being appointed to Lord Marshal, Vaako turned the armada toward the Threshold, and entered the Underverse.