Treatise On Zombies
By Professor J.A. Dunmark.
Within our wonderful world of Delanith there are many varied races, but certain races have a wide variety within themselves. One such example are zombies. The term Zombie has been traced back to before the merge in the world of magic over a thousand years ago when the Mad Necromancer Flaya Grimdark heard a couple of void displaced travelers scream "Oh God no! Not more zombies! Please fucking Christ not more zombies." before his Risen guards killed them. He enjoyed the novelty of the term and it caught on in Necromatic circles even after the merge as a catch all name for all types of undead creatures such as the Risen, as well as the basis of the terms for the ZILF virus, and most commonly refers to poor neurotransmitter deficient Souless. I will, of course, go into more detail on those core zombies below but I would be remiss if I didn't speak further on the potential of other creatures that have been called zombies. Zombie isn't a cut and dry term applicable to any singular race; unfortunately, it is more of a descriptor of a broad spectrum of unfortunate souls who have had a dire turn of fate and been robbed of much of their own will. I will go into more details of the offshoots of Zombism in my discussion of the Risen but know that my discussion of these poor creatures is not an absolute and is, of course, colored by my own biases as a man of science and research like much of my writing.
Let me start by discussing the broadest and most simplest form of undead 'Zombie': the Risen. The Risen refers to any undead brought back by a wizard or magician to do their bidding. Many are not exactly sure how to define the Risen in their entirety and there is much debate over whether those revived by clerics with their own free will, or by nature rituals with druids, or even Demons themselves (if you believe the legends that the mindless demons that serve the Lord are tortured souls brought back and given flesh as some less scientific minds want to do) are all forms of the Risen. However, by my definition, the Risen are any creature revived by the dead by a spellcaster without their own free will and forced to serve under their caster. This includes most undead that lack free will, such as: skeletons, flesh covered abominations, or rotting corpses. Technically, by my definition even some Golems would qualify as Risen. But unfortunately, some of my far less intelligent colleagues such as Professor Ichabod Snipes have already wrongly classified them. But, that is a discussion for a later treatise. As I was saying, the Risen tend to have no willpower of their own and instead, are loyal to whoever raised them or, in the case of their masters death, wander aimlessly without a goal. It is said that a masterless Risen, given enough time, may begin to think and form feelings of their own. However, very few cases of this have ever been confirmed.
Many rumors of Zombies, such as they eat the flesh of the living, do not apply to the Risen; to think a reanimated corpse would be interested in eating you is ridiculous. How would they even begin to digest you; their body is dead. Eating your flesh would just cause them to bloat until their organs ruptured and they lose mobility. If the creature you are facing is attempting to feast upon your flesh you are almost certainly dealing with a Souless or some other abomination brought up from hell itself to haunt your nightmares. Or, is under the order of some very, very, very stupid mage. Either way, destroy the brain and you should be fine. Or if it's humanoid, break its arms and jaw, and you have very little to worry about. It should be stated in most cases the bite of a Risen is not infectious; they are magical creatures so how would they function as a disease? Again, this is dumb folklore or people getting other creatures mistaken for Risen.
The Souless are creatures that I truly pity. They are under the throws of a disease that cuts off their brain's neurotransmitters. Due to the lack of neurotransmitters, the victims are left in a state of aimlessness. However, they can feel if they feast upon a brain soaking in active neurotransmitters. This had lead many Souless to start craving brains and feasting upon others. The Souless, however, feel the emotions of whatever their victim was feeling at the time of death, whatever chemicals were floating around in their brains, so many of them feel fear, anger and adrenaline causing them to go into a fit of rage, and go more and more mad, constantly feeding and attacking like little more than an animal that needs to be put down. Recently, some doctors in Tent City have been creating synthetic neurotransmitters and using them to give some Souless a semblance of normal life.
The thing about Souless is they are human. On some level they are still human or whatever race they were before the change. They are still themselves and each taste of brain gives them a bit of their old selves back. The issue is whatever emotions the people were feeling when they died are the emotions that most hit the Souless. Some people are kind and donate their brains to the Souless upon death giving some of the creatures warmth and peace, however fleeting the effects of how long the emotions last may be. It varies from creature to creature, but it’s often not longer than a week. Some poor souls can barely last a day. It depends how many neurotransmitters are active in the brain and what creature the brain comes from. Most of these poor creatures just want their old lives back, to live normally again and not feel the cold void of nothingness ever again. To a Souless, their greatest fear once they've tasted feelings again is to lose them.
But many have grown to fear these creatures. They are still living so they need to feed on flesh but, due to the lack of neurotransmitters and the fact that without eating the brains of something they are little more than moving cattle, the Souless tend to live off garbage, offal or any roadkill around them that they can feast on. They can obtain basic neurotransmitters from the brains of animals but, again, those creatures are usually dead from traumatic means causing the Souless to become agitated. Their disease is also infectious by bodily fluid contact so if you are bitten or share fluids with one your are likely to become infected unless you have taken precautions. There is currently no known antidote but several cities, such as Tent, Noctum and Discord, are researching them. Other cities, such as Diem and many of the more primitive villages, kill Souless on sight to prevent the infection from spreading.
The third entry on my list of the abhorrent creatures we call Zombies is the most terrifying to those who live in the larger cities. It is the ZILF virus. So called because they are Zombies you'd like to fuck right up until it bites you in the ass. There are two classifications of ZILFs. The Zomblords/Zombladies and the Rotters they produce. I am not a medical professional so I refer to the medical paper written by one of my colleagues, the esteemed public health specalist of Tent City, one Doctor Emerett Franklin.
"A recent outbreak that began spreading near the end of the war of magic and science, a new disease, has come to my attention. It appears to be a sexually transmitted disease of a potentially magical nature, but it affects people in a biological way. This ZILF virus, as it is called, is transferred by sexual contact, or blood to blood contact with one of the infected. It often leaves its victims rotting husks similar to those suffering from leprosy in its final stages but presents in a truly horrifying way. After sleeping with one of the infected the subject becomes contagious and as the disease begins to progress their libido increases rapidly. This slowly grows into an all consuming desire for sex and most tragically of all the physical warning symptoms do not begin to appear for a week or two long after they have already began infecting multiple partners. In most victims this results in their minds becoming more and more consumed with lust and pleasure as their bodies eventually begin to rot and eventually results in the subjects death. However certain infected survive and further do not rot. These subjects refer to themselves as Zomblords or Zombladies although other terms exist. Not much is known about these creatures as I have not had the opportunity to experiment on one personally. However, what is known is they become a creature of sexual desire but maintain their mental functions. Furthermore, their sexual organs become enlarged, penises in the men, breasts in the women, and their libidos are increased massively. Many are said to begin emitting a pheromone that makes them hard to resist to those around them. It is believed they feed off of the bodily fluids of those they infect and have some manner of control or sway over the rotters they create. It is unknown what separates a Zomblord or Lady from a Rotter but, it’s believed to be related to their willpower and sense of self. These creatures seem to have more in common with the demon subclass succubi than the zombies of lore. It is worth noting that the ratio of Zomblords to Ladies appears to be skewed with the ladies out numbering the men 2 to 1. However, whether this is accidental or related to the men being found and killed more often is unknown. This is a subject that needs much more study and live subjects are hard to find before they begin getting to the rotting stages which unfortunately means getting a live version of the bacteria in a healthy host is hard to find. It is believed that some people who have gotten the virus have managed to suppress it completely or even that certain races, such as the Heterozygous, are immune to it. However, not much is known for certain and I am not a fan of rampant speculation. I have put in a request to the King for further research."
So, as you can see there is a lot of speculation on the true nature of the ZILFs; I have personally even heard of victims who have contracted the disease but have not rotted, yet have not reached the level of power of true ZombLords and Ladies. Several of my colleges believe that this might be related to the disease that accidentally escaped Doctor Greene's laboratory back in the days before the merge in the world of science. Who can truly say for certain but if you manage to capture someone contaminated or you yourself contract the disease and realize it before it becomes too late I'd highly request you visit Dr. Franklin in Tent City before you infect your family.
In conclusion, this is by no means a complete list of the creatures that are considered zombies within our world. However, it does describe the core ones that are more than just monsters that can think and possibly even feel. I wish I had more time to dedicate to other creatures that have historically been called Zombies such as the victims of Doctor Greene's rabies experiments in Year 3 S B.M. However, as that infection was contained and the victims killed, and the nature of the records of that experiment being widely unavailable, I am unable to dedicate the proper time to them. I also did not feel it necessary to label those creatures that I consider monsters, or those poor people suffering from drug use that leaves them in a zombie like state as these core Zombie races. Nor any odd void creatures, or any rare creatures such as the old myth of the 211 victims from the world of magics legends dating back thousands of years.
I wish you the best of luck that you never suffer from any of these horrific conditions and, if you encounter the infected regardless of what type, I'd like to remind you it is generally a decent rule of thumb that, if you encounter any being that means you harm, headshots tend to be incredibly effective, unless you are dealing with a golem or a simpleton.