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<span class="SubtitleHeader">EXUVIAN ARCHIVE</span>
<c><b>I tell you / someone will remember us / in the future.</b>
[[Cosmology and Theology|Menu]] (todo)
[[Persons of Interest|Charactersoverboard]]
[[Places of Interest|Menu]] (todo)
[[Events of Interest|Eventsoverboard]]
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<span class="Textreadable">Simply put, a cancer is something that should be dead yet isn't.
Cancers can range wildly in form, but all remain united by their unwillingness to die when their time has come. Most commonly, cancers are ghost-like presences left behind when an outsider soul refuses to leave the Corpus for the embrace of eternity. The initial purpose of the elegians was to exorcise cancers, but it has long since changed.
In modern times, a cancer is rarely hunted due to the futility of the task. Although spectral cancers tend to be seen as vermin when unwanted and are thus hunted by elegians as a way of accumulating a discretionary wallet, some families keep the spectral cancers of their patriarchs and matriarchs as patrons and living libraries.
While the elegians maintain a code of extermination on discovery, this still hasn't stopped cancers from seeping into even their halls. Notably, there have been incidents of heretic parishes within the order that are headed by (if not entirely composed of) vampiric cancers.
Of course, while the common view of cancers is that of ghosts, witches, ghouls, and all manner of decaying undead, there are many more noteworthy types.
There are methods by which one with a mortally wounded body can receive a prosthetic replacement, but such cases are rare due to the correlation of knowledge necessary to perform such a transplant with likelihood of facing enemies that could harm one's soul, rather than the body itself.
While a prosthetic body can be made of anything, the most popular choice is ceramic made with clay from the birthplace of the prosthetic's recepient.
Other rarer types of cancers include bibliocancers, which are formed when a soul is stored in a concept or piece of information, rather than any single physical object. Such cancers are easily exorcised if discovered. However, due to the way that a concept becomes empowered by each soul that is fed into its bibliocancer, magic-using families of sufficient lineage tend to keep several secret bibliocancers each.</span>
<span class="Textreadable">In the early days of existence, before the oldest books were written, there were only seventy-seven souls. Ten were the great abyssals, twoscore the beasts, ten were the sunken lords, and seventeen yet remain unaccounted for.
While souls from outside the Corpus have since infested it, these original seventy-seven souls still linger.
Should an outsider die, their soul returns to the fold. It is tossed to the wind and shredded into pieces against the great sea of static that surrounds the Corpus. This is not the case with reincarnates, however. A reincarnate, as the name suggests, simply returns.
A good number of reincarnates live normal lives. There is no inherent aspect of one's character that would give away their status as a reincarnating soul, excepting in the case of the abyssals and beasts, whose minds and bodies degrade into their original form as soon as their host personality falters. Faltering generally only occurs in cases where the host lacks the will to maintain their existence.
In cases where a reincarnate should discover their ancestry, they may begin to reintegrate with their original personality and access all of their soul's accumulated knowledge. Such occurrences tend to result in great heroes, or exceptionally rare cases where an abyssal or beast reincarnates into a particularly strong soul, an entity known as a [[bashmu|ArchetypeBashmu]].</span>
<span class="Textreadable">When a particularly strong individual is host to the reincarnated soul of an abyssal or beast, they tend to become quickly overwhelmed. If found young, the reincarnate is swiftly culled by the elegians. This is not a cruelty, but a mercy, because there are only two possible outcomes to a reincarnation of that sort.
Most commonly, at around the age of ten, a fell reincarnate will succumb to their soul and suffer the shattering of their mind and body. Due to their strength, fell souls cannot retain the form of their host if left to their own devices. Fortunately, they also cannot recreate their own form in full using only a child.
There is a second possibility.</span>
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<span class="Textbox">She is splayed against the horizon, heel pressed to the throat of the world beneath her and mouth thick with the taste of stale blood.
There's something beautiful about it all. In a sick way, it's really funny. She can't help but laugh at it. For some reason, with each wheezing laugh, tears drip from her cheeks.
Gavril. The name comes rushing back with a gagging cough as the blood pools in her lungs.
Gavril, or XII. Synonymous. Gavril was the twelfth beast.</span>
<span class="Textreadable">Should a sufficiently powerful host stave off the initial transformation, or in some cases, should the soul prove to be especially compatible with the host, the reincarnate will not transform into a mere monster.</span>
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<span class="Textbox">With every passing second, she counts her fingers to stay awake. All nine that remain. Like reciting prayers, she promises herself it's a dream over and over until the words slur against her raw palate.
She drags her tongue across her teeth half expecting to find fangs in their place. Each crack is exactly where it should be, and as her tongue shreds against the gap of her uneven bottom row, she exhales long and slow.
Survived. That's what she's done. That's all she's ever done. Twenty years with this rotten meat inside of her and she's held it down for all of them.
<span class="Textreadable">When a fell soul is tamed by its host, the resulting symbiosis is known as a bashmu.
While some use the term "demon" interchangably with bashmu, such terminology couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, nearly all common terminology belies their true nature: angelic.
A greater monster, a name often used to refer to the failed reincarnate of a fell soul, tends to be a hideous and beautiful thing. White-feathered wings can be spotted on their body with a discerning eye, even if those wings are often fused and malformed into the most repulsive of shapes.
The bloodlust of greater monsters is poetically assumed to be the sorrow of a beautiful soul being forced into such a pathetic vessel. A much more likely theory is that the agonizing pain of a full transformation simply shatters the sanity of the one experiencing it. In this sense, one could view their behavior as a perpetual traumatic breakdown.
In the case of the bashmu, such transformations rarely occur. A single mortal body could never sustain an incompatible soul of such great volume. Because of this, most bashmu instead choose to refine their bodies while drip-feeding themselves their own soul. Anything else would likely result in a sudden and violent transformation.</span>
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<span class="Textbox">It's a dream.
Her mind grasps against a surface with no purchase.
Bile burns her throat. The silence is punctuated by her deafening heartbeat. Somewhere else, a bird takes wing with a rustling of feathers.
Smashed glassy-eyed against a tree and bleeding salt from her veins lies her sister.</span>
</c><h2>ROTTING ART: SOULSHELL</h2>
<span class="Textreadable">Although never used in the corpus, a necessity due to their nature as an object rejected by existence itself, soulshells are a common method of combat in the outer statics.
While traditional warmachines are useful for their durability and affordability, a soulshell is an incredibly versatile weapon in its own right. One can imagine a soulshell as a suit of armor, covered in metallic plating and rumbling as if powered by an engine. What makes a soulshell unique is that it is actually a living body.
In the outer statics, bodies from the corpus stop working. While lacking a body might be a momentary inconvenience for the mortal archetypes of the corpus, the statics are far different. A soul left alone in the statics is torn into pieces and mixed with the ambient energy. Much like colored sand dropped on a beach, while one might be able to recover some of the original materia, there is no way to fully separate it.
And so, a vessel is used.</span>
<span class="Textbox">Cultivation log LX
The meat takes cleanly to the commands inscribed in it. It should, after all. I'd be far more surprised if the Schwarzer family bibliocancers didn't work as advertised.
While their nature and the concept to which they are bound is to never be disclosed, the Schwarzers are said to have deposited a hundred some-odd souls within their cancers. Anyone could call bullshit over a claim like that, sure. The thing is, I've seen no evidence to the contrary.
Even now, what was once a mass of fetal tissue is beginning to take shape into something terrible and beautiful.</span>
<span class="Textreadable">Soulshells vary in composition and form. The smallest stand roughly four meters, but the largest can easily surpass nine meters in height. Plating is organically grown and can be light or heavy, depending on the preferences of the soul for whom it was cultivated. Weaponry is usually organic as well, but in special cases, a bibliocancer can be embedded within a soulshell to allow its use in the statics.
Sometimes, the occupant of a soulshell is referred to as a pilot, a captain, or a driver. While such terms are somewhat accurate, it's worth noting that soulshells are truly bodies and as such they are occupied just as naturally by their souls as any mortal body of the corpus would be.</span>
<c>[[Back|RottingArtsoverboard]]</c><<set $showlogs to false>><c><<if $showlogs is false>><h1>CLEARANCE INSUFFICIENT.</h1><<else>>
<h2>EOI</h2><c><h2>PERSONS OF INTEREST</h2>
</c><c><h2>PERSON OF INTEREST: GAVRIL</h2>
<b>Rejection of the Firmament:</b>
A freak accident causes a fire that burns down a library. A stray wind blows away a set of footprints. A writer skewers his hand and spills ink on the page. The firmament rejects all sign of this soul's passing-through.
Souls bearing this art are incredibly difficult to counter, due to the difficulty in maintaining any sort of archive of their other abilities. While simply passing memory through oral history is useful, such use cases only apply when one is being explicitly trained to counter this particular soul.
An ability unique to XII, False Skin allows the user to to rise from their own "corpse" a few moments after death. The user retains any pain they may have felt from the injuries they received by the time of their death and remains weakened until given time to gorge on soul energy.
Of course, if the body is destroyed entirely, XII will have to wait for its next incarnation.
Souls marked with Memoria are capable of retrieving specific memories from past lives, if they have any to speak of. Memories can only be fetched from past incarnations with compatible personalities, so this soulcode has limited practical use.
<b>Feast of Salt:</b>
Possessed by all Beasts, Feast of Salt allows the transfiguration of blood into soulsalt. While a soul normally dissolves into the air on its vessel's death, soulsalt allows it to be consumed and integrated into the one devouring it. This is not generally done with other Reincarnate archetypes because their souls could cause violent rejection and then death.</span>