whip_poor_will: (street spirit)
[personal profile] whip_poor_will
Extended History

Before Death ▸
Ravine hadn’t been born a Psychopomp.

Her story, instead, begins during the time of Neo Babylon, in 607 B.C., where she was born in the Kingdom of Judah under the name of Yehudit.

As Yehudit, she had been born with a unique gift of prophecy. Weak in her childhood as it was not yet fully developed, she would over time pick up on things here and there that she shouldn’t have known. Things people did that they told no one. Secrets that were kept from her ears. Later, she started hearing voices, only to realize that she was afflicted with the thoughts of others around her. This had caught the interest of a young man named Mordokhay, who Yehudit shared some of her visions with.

When she was nine-years-old, Yehudit’s parents, Lemuel and Shira, had a son named Elimelech. Yehudit was immediately taken with her baby brother, but her time with him and the rest of her family would be cut short just one year later.

For three months, King Nebuchadnezzar II sieged Jerusalem. This was due to the Judean king, Jehoiakim, allying with Egypt, and refusing to pay tribute to the Kingdom of Babylon. After dealing with the many rebellions across the Levant, Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah as the new king and took the late Jehoiakim’s son, Jeconiah, captive.

Also taken as prisoners were thousands of Jews, and were deported to Babylon on March of 597. Her father, Lemuel, did not survive the journey, and it wasn’t long after their arrival to Babylon that Yehudit was separated from her mother and brother. Due to Mordokhay, who had let slip to some Babylonian nobles of Yehudit’s gift of prophecy, the young girl was spared a slave’s life. In order to live as a free citizen, she helped in advising Nebuchadnezzar and his counsel, and was treated quite fairly by the people of Babylon. There, for the rest of her life, she was to serve at the court, and became acquainted with a former Jewish nobleman named Belteshazzar. News of Mordokhay faded away and the boy left forgotten, as she grew more accustomed to her role.
Her services, however, came at a price, as Yehudit’s abilities only grew as she got older. Not only could she see events of the past, future, and possible outcomes, but she could look into the minds of those around her, going so far as to reach into their heads and drive them into madness.
Still, Yehudit was an invaluable advisor for her talents by many within the Babylonian dynasty. Having seen into the minds of so many deranged and sickly people, that experience had driven her into near madness. At some point, she would secretly project her madness onto others of lower class, unintentionally inciting murder within the city.
As time went on, Yehudit’s state of mind already began to deteriorate by the age of twenty-seven. She started having intense delusions, and difficulty telling what was real and what were visions. Somehow, she managed to find it in her to keep up the illusion of sanity over the next five years, but she started making questionable choices. Like sometimes she would flub up a prophecy, seeing only a possible outcome as opposed to the actual future. Furthermore, the barrage of thoughts invading her head became impossible to ignore.
For the first time in two decades, she was approached by Mordokhay, who had been working for some of the Babylonian noblemen of the court. Because of his position, he overheard many things unnoticed, and word had gone around of a gifted boy named “Shadrach”, who was to be sent to the court to take her place. Yehudit’s unstable condition had labeled her as a liability, and she was wearing out her welcome in Babylon. There were even rumors of a plan to assassinate her, and Yehudit’s gifts had only supported her fears and paranoia.
As it was still difficult to discern which would be the actual future and which was only a possibility, she confirmed with Belteshazzar and his connections at the court: The boy’s original name was said to be Elimelech. And he was of the age that Yehudit’s brother would be, had she not left the remains of her family behind. As it turned out that Shira, who was married to a merchant man, had sold her son to the Babylonians to serve the court, as Elimelech had begun to develop gifts of his own at an early age. Gifts that could supposedly benefit the king.
In order to avoid her inevitable assassination and the reunion of her brother, Yehudit fled under the cloak of a lunar eclipse, which she had foreseen. The locals, on the other hand, did not. While the people of Babylon were in hysterics, Yehudit made it to the city outskirts before having a vision of Mordokhay’s arrest and immediate execution, as well as her own death. Yehudit was caught by the king’s soldiers at the recently constructed Ishtar Gate, where her abilities became unstable and she suffered the psychic equivalent of a meltdown. The soldiers, seemingly intending to make advances on the prophet, were now deranged. Yehudit had seized the minds of one, now weakened, and prompted him to turn his blade, forcing him to behead her.
Nebuchadnezzar, disheartened by the loss of a valuable advisor, had given Yehudit a proper burial. Though, not long after, Yehudit’s body disappeared from the crypts, and was never seen again.

After Death ▸
During this transition, the woman had been split into two, because they were twins who were, naturally, connected: A male and a female entity. The female became Ravine, and the male, who was once Shadrach, became Vincent. However, when she was first reborn and found herself in Edom, a place between life and death, she saw that Shadrach was nowhere to be found, despite the deal she had with the Memitim and having a glimpse of him before her death. She demanded that she see him, but They refused, telling her then what she had to do and who she had to be — in a way it was her bridge to atonement.

While Ravine took on the role as a Psychopomp, Vincent fell into a coma and didn’t wake up until almost a millennia later, sometime during or after the Salem Witch Trials. At some point after his awakening, Ravine approached Vincent. One of the many gifts that she had developed as a Psychopomp also included the ability to be seen and unseen, so in a way, she removed herself from Vincent’s perception if she so willed it; however, due to Vincent’s gift when he was Shadrach, his ability to be attuned with his surroundings allowed him to “sense” Ravine when she was present, like a lingering ghost. Later, she returned on the day Vincent was hanged by the people of Ashtown. As he had been dangling from a tree, Ravine for the first time interfered with her brother’s affairs, and she cut him down from the tree he hanged from. In spite of her efforts, the tragic thing about this encounter was that Vincent, having no memory of his life as Shadrach, also had no memory of his sister in any sort of previous life. Although emotionally hardened as a Psychopomp, this hurt Ravine deeply, and forced her to sink deeper into solitude, accepting the fact that she was doomed to be alone and unloved.

Vincent had become the thing that Ravine could not: He expresses himself with emotions that Ravine was forced to bury as a mean of survival. His ability to feel for the people around him allowed him far more emotion than Ravine could ever accomplish (however, while she does have feelings for others, she expresses them through actions rather than emotions and words. This wasn’t that much different than how she lived her life as Yehudit when she became known as Ereshkigal). Ravine, in contrast, is more composed and in control, which is something Vincent lacks. She has neither a need nor a drive to eat nor live as a human, whereas Vincent does. She looks after him because she sees him as frail. It is possible that, like Ravine’s memories of being Yehudit is all but a blur, Vincent could never recover his memories of ever being Shadrach whereas Ravine’s are just fragments.

Ravine also became known as “the foreigner” — a title she had adopted from the sentinels because of her ability to wander between worlds. Not only could she travel between the boundaries of life and death, but she was also one with every other realm of possibility that ever existed, including several multiverses that exist beyond her own world. While many of the sentinels (the Memitim included) live with certain restrictions, Psychopomps alone have the power to be everywhere and anywhere. This is both a blessing and a curse, as Ravine is as connected with all of these worlds in a way that it would drive even a sentinel mad. She is bonded with the very nature of death in that she has become the very embodiment of the concept, leaving the prospect of what she had once been completely behind. That said, “foreigner” is the best way to describe her, as someone who doesn’t fit in, and never will — an immortal outcast.

It is almost safe to say that, unlike the sentinels, Ravine is more of a spirit — if even that. She isn’t really alive, but she isn’t really dead, either. Because of this, not even the sentinels can exactly grasp why she is the way she is. Ravine can shift between being physical, and being unseen. Because of her spirit-like nature as Death, she is also able to make herself seen by whoever she wants, and invisible to everyone else. This is exceptional when she claims the dead and the dying.

Throughout the eons, Ravine spent collecting and gathering dead souls. As Death, she also manages the Styx. Sometimes souls are allowed to pass through it, others don’t, and become wraiths: If Ravine, for whatever reason, kills a person, that soul becomes a wraith, and continues to haunt her.

For a long while, she went about her way of existing, gathering the souls of the dead and sending them to where they needed to be. In a way, this was her release — it brought her some solace, even to the people who didn’t want to die. But it wasn’t always like that. Few were consoled by her being there, waiting with them as they died. Ravine made a habit out of always being there for everyone, even if they never knew her name. However, her empathy for these people were often clouded by her evident apathy and her lack of caring. If anything, she appears goaded most when people rely on her too much, yet it’s just that that brings her most security.

Existing was all at the costing of the Sacraments — an act she hated committing most and yet had no choice but to partake in, lest the Sentinel divide and she, herself, were to die..

Ravine first met a man named Vincent the day a colony of people (who had once taken him in and sheltered him since he had first woken up in a field: Lost, alone, and with no sense of identity) betrayed him. They spat accusations and convicted him of using craft during the Witch Hunts that carried out from the late 1600s. So they hanged him. Ravine came to him, at first in the form of a snake, and then revealed herself as she was, and cut him down from the tree he hanged from. Vincent learned from Ravine that they were both one and the same person — twins, so to speak. But Ravine chose not to interfere with his life very much, especially after the trauma of “dying”, and just watched him as though from a distance. She knew that he would despise her for the things she had done anyway.

Ravine ▸
Shortly after her death, the prophet’s soul had promptly been appropriated by an Entity known as the Memitim, from whom she learned of her brother’s fate. As a result of his inherit abilities as an empath, he had died the same time she had been decapitated, leaving the Memitim to steal away both souls of the sister and her younger brother.

But while Elimelech’s soul would remain in limbo, tortured and unable to move on, the Memitim allowed him only peace unless Yehudit agreed to become a Psychopomp. If she didn’t, they would erase Elimelech from existence, as if he never existed at all.

For the brother she never got to know, she became the Psychopomp, Ravine.

Fast forward to a few thousands of years. Over the course of history, “Ravine” has been only one of many Psychos to reap the souls of the dead. She had come to appreciate what she does, accepting her fate and even getting to meet many people. Many times, she gets to see the worst of humanity, but sometimes she is able to see the best in a person during their final moments.

As a Psychopomp, she even had better control over the abilities that had attracted the Memitim to her in the first place, in addition to newer ones that came with being a ghostly immortal being. She learned a lot about people over the millennia, becoming quite personable with those that she sends over after their lives end. But not once has she ever been able to answer the simple, most obvious question:

What comes next?

The sad truth is that she doesn’t really know, because she has never been to where souls go after they’ve been reaped. Whether or not if they end up anywhere at all is a question she would rather not know the answer to. Instead, she just prefers to assist in the troublesome transition, wanting to spare the more distraught and despondent ones from the experience she had received when she died.

And every so often, the only option she has to ease one’s transition after their death is to cajole them with a sweet lie. Ravine is not above telling one what they want to hear in order to get her job done, no matter how hurtful the actual reality may be. No one is ever perfect.

In the autumn of 1684, the unexpected happened.
Whether it had been malice, intent, or incompetence, the Memitim lost the soul of Yehudit’s brother it had been keeping. Elimelech’s corpse manifested in a field outside a small Connecticut town called Windbridg. But before Ravine could get to him, two children of Dutch immigrants found him. The young brother and sister had grown curious of the dead man who was coming back to life, and helped him to their small settlement.
Rather than asserting herself back into her own brother’s life, Ravine refrained and kept her distance, only watching him. She found that he had no memory of what had transpired over two thousand years ago, and she decided that that was for the best. He would have no memory of the trauma of his death, or of the time he had lost all those years of being in Limbo. Surprisingly, he managed to integrate fairly well into his new life with his gifts.
On the other hand, his gifts also led to his ruin. One decade later, Ravine returned to that sleepy settlement to find her brother hanged at a tree, left to rot and unable to revive in his current state. Despite her resolve not to meddle with the affairs of the living, her brother wasn’t necessarily alive. So she cut him down and sat with him until he was able to resurrect himself, learning over time that he has turned out to be a true immortal and thus, unable to die.
Once again, she had to make a choice. She let her brother go, allowing him to live his life by wandering the earth, finding himself under the new identity of a man named “Vincent Spiker”. All the while she did her work, existing in many places at the same time. Throughout the millennia, the role had become her. She even dutifully tracked down candidates for the Sacraments for the Memitim, a process that results in the Entity feeding off a particular, unfortunate soul on the brink of life and death.
It wasn’t until she met a young girl in the 1850s, bearing the birthmark of a sacrifice, that Ravine had begun to question her role in this many-layered world. Though she had sent many of their lineage to the Memitim, Elizabeth Moss was the first to have ever made her feel human. Because Elizabeth turned out to be pretty gifted herself, capable of seeing reapers whether they wanted to be seen or not. Because of this, Ravine looked after Elizabeth, rather than sending her to the Memitim.
As fate would have it, though, the girl was afflicted with tuberculosis at the young age of eighteen, where Ravine had stayed by her side until her dying breath. However, Elizabeth had been ripped from her by a fellow Psychopomp, where both her body and soul were sacrificed, defiled, and fed to the Memitim.
After Elizabeth, Ravine decided that she didn’t want to help the Memitim any longer by sating them with such sacrifices, seeing the Entity as unnecessary and greedy. Her trust in the Entities in general had faded, and Ravine promised herself that she would help the souls of the dead, bring them peace in any way she could, but she would never allow another sacrifice to suffer.

Even Death May Die ▸
More than a century and a half after Elizabeth’s demise, the Memitim had found a new sacrifice. This one was a woman named Naomi Spijker, a distant cousin of the sacrificial lineage and a descendant of the family who had once adopted her brother, now still going by “Vincent”. What more, Vincent had befriended Naomi after being drawn to her by her ancestry, which further complicated matters.

Ultimately, the Sacraments came to an end when Grayson, serving another Entity, had claimed Naomi’s soul. As a result, this fed the power of his Entity while nulling its effects for the Memitim, weakening them. Grayson, Ravine learned, was a Wight, a unique creation exclusive to an Entity called the Aegror.

While the Memitim was an Entity for the dead, the Aegror served a different purpose: To spread sickness and disease. As it grew from the strength of Naomi’s soul, and the souls of others that its Wight sent them, they were able to overpower the Memitim. The other remaining two Entities, as a result, did not interfere with the Aegror for the next three hundred years.

New World Timeline

2320 A.C. ▸
A cure for a highly contagious disease at the time was discovered. Except that, as it turned out, said cure bred into a major airborne virus that spread throughout the world, killing the living cells in the human body. 5% of the world’s population died within the year.

2321 A.C. ▸
Within six months, the world population was slowly being annihilated. Mass suicides and murder and looting was rampant. The governments all around the world had banded together to repurpose an ocean reservation project into a humanity conservation program. Thanks to the organization known as OASIS (the Oceanic Agency for Subaquatic Inhabitation and Stasis), they offered a solution to the imminent extinction of humanity. The lottery for secretly selecting families to be taken to the five ocean reserves began.

There are eight Ocean Reservations divided to ensure a racial and intellectual balance when the world ends. These are the proximate numbers of the populations preserved by the OASIS technology:
  • Arctic (ArcOR): 10,000
  • Austral (AusOR): 10,000
  • Indian (IOR-1): 9,750
  • Indian (IOR-2): 9,300
  • Atlantic (AltOR-1): 10,500
  • Atlantic (AltOR-2): 10,000
  • Pacific (POR-1): 15,000
  • Pacific (POR-2): 15,000
ArcOR: Canada, Greenland, Russia, Norway, Arctica
AusOR: Australia and Oceanica
IOR: Asia
AltOR: Africa (+ Middle East), Europe
POR: North and South America, Asia

OASIS had been developing the Ocean Reservations for about 50 years, hence the large numbers they were able to save. Originally intended for a different purpose (creating underwater cities and deep sea exploration), they have since been repurposed for humanity’s survival. They had not yet been dropped into the ocean ridges, where they will be stable among the underwater mountain system. It was unknown whether or not the reserves would survive the ocean submersion or not, but people were willing to make that gamble.

20% of the world’s population were eradicated by the Plagues. Quarantine Zones had been placed for those selected for the lottery, but they were not yet told that they are part of a conservation project. They were, instead, told that they are simply riding out the global infection. However, it was estimated that it would take at least 200 years for the virus to die and humanity to inherit the earth once again.

2326 A.C. ▸
Over the course of the last few years, 80% of the world’s population perished. The 1% remains in quarantine cities, on standby to enter the OASIS reservations.

2327 A.C. ▸
The conservation program was a success, but may have had some unanticipated side effects. People in the quarantine zones were informed that they would be in stasis for a short period, not telling any of them that they were scheduled to wake over two centuries later when the world as they know it is long since gone. Due to the sheer numbers, it takes years for people to properly be sent into the reserves.

90% of the world’s population is dead. The remaining 9% work on either making peace with their final days, or part of programs to try and preserve humanity in the Ocean Stasis Reserves. There have been incidents of some of the researchers killing one of the lotteries in order to make their place or a family member’s into the stasis program, but due to the urgency of the situation, many turn a blind eye and continue their progress.

Of the 7.3 billion people in the world, only 1% of that population survived approximately 589 years ago. That makes 73,000,000 people saved from dying of the disease.

2328 ▸
The year the world has officially “ended”.

Collapse ▸
People were in stasis for 153 years.

Of the 1% who have survived, .0009% (657) people actually remember the Forgotten World.

The year of the Collapse is 2481, when the 1% woke from their stasis, setting everything back to 0.

An Incident ▸
In the year 2500, due to the Collapse, there was an error in one of the private preserves created by a group of wealthy businessmen, hiring independent contractors to work on preserving more than just the 1% of the population. Since the lottery was based on aptitude rather than wealth and social status, these people tried to create an ocean reserve for their own. Rather than creating a stasis system, they simply made an underwater city. However, time passed and they would run out of supplies, as would any others attempting to survive via underground bunkers and such. Most would either die of starvation, resort to cannibalism, or attempt to leave and be killed by the virus. Some independent contractors were able to create stasis systems, which preserved the individuals inside. However, many of them experienced blips which caused the reserves to open too soon, messing up the dates. People exited the independent reserves and were killed by the disease.

After Collapse ▸
298 years have passed since then, making the current year of Culling the Crows 2779. However, due to the Collapse and no one knowing how long it’s been since they were in stasis, the official year is unknown. Even the robots had issues calculating the dates since the Collapse. Think of it as an actual y2k that happened sometime after the fall of humanity.

This makes the known year 298AC (After Collapse).

Current world population: 56,000,000 (due to predators, civil wars, disease, and exposure)

Those that do remember the Forgotten World have no idea what started the Plagues, but the Dead Cell Theory insists that it was the result of research for a terminal disease. Questions about what disease the cure was supposed to be intended for is unknown.

Vehicles run on alt fuel, a type of fossil energy that was synthesized at some point during stasis. It comes from a type of clay that can be condensed and recreated for energy purposes.

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יְהוּדִית ● "Ravine"

March 2017

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