It is said, that long ago, one of the shagans discovered a way to live forever. But rather than share this secret with his brothers and sisters, he kept the truth of immortality to himself. And yet, rumors abound that others uncovered his secret and passed it on to those capable of learning it. These select few shagans have come to be known as “Body Thieves”.
The rumors of their immortality, led to a mass genocide of the shagan people by the Vendrian High Church and their soldiers of deathmonks. Vendria claimed their war was justified, because the shagans were using dark magic to transfer their souls from a dying body to a fresh one, in a process similar to the deadriser’s “soul transfer”. Centuries of interrogation, imprisonment, and torture of high ranking shagans, led the Vendrian government to this conclusion. Vendria’s proclamation was that the shagans had made a deal with the Dark Lord, the Gmorgon. But this was not the truth. The shagans did not use magic, but rather an advanced science that had been outlawed many thousands of years ago.
Unbeknownst to most, the world of Zenita was once technologically advanced. Science had given man the ability to fly, to communicate great distances through space, and even the power to destroy entire worlds. This is when Zeniton, creator of the world, came to mankind and declared that science was a source of malevolence, an invention by the Gmorgon. Or so it is said in the Zenitonion Tomes, the religious text of Vendria and the civilized western world. According to Book Three of the Tomes, Zeniton gave man the Great Law and forbid him from developing technology and practicing science. Centuries, then millenniums passed, and this knowledge was lost to the world. Only the classified labs within the city of Vendria kept the history of what truly happened. Now the world has only an ancient religious text to tell it of its past.
And yet, Vendria continues to develop and practice science. Only it does so behind closed doors. Zenita has become a world of privilege, in which the great majority of people know very little of how the world works. Society as a whole has regressed back to the Dark Ages. Technology is no more advanced than that of medieval Europe. But wealth and power provide the means to greater knowledge and understanding. Within the vast city of Vendria, a sprawling megalopolis far too large and advanced to survive in such a society, is a secretive hierarchy that explains many of the West’s oddities.
Beneath the city of Vendria runs water and sewage facilities that would rival twenty-first century Earth. Secret labs grow advanced medicine and food that keeps the city running smoothly. A library ten times the size of the Library of Congress allows affluent members of Vendrian society to uncover the knowledge of what is being kept from the poor and impoverished. This a system based on class, tightly regimented by fear, in which less than one percent of the population has access to the higher Access Level Libraries. And only the King or Queen of Vendria is allowed to read the most sensitive texts. Seekers, a group of legendary treasure hunters, storytellers, keepers of history, and purveyors of myth and legend, are one of the select groups who have been granted such access.
During the days of Ordawniel, the King of Vendria who was said to have put the Great Law into effect, one of these shagans learned the secrets of Logeron, Ordawniel’s son. The history of Logeron was meticulously destroyed by Vendrian officials, and what remains of it can only be found in a single book in the very highest Access Level Library, available only to the Vendrian royal line. Yet the story was passed on through shagan folklore. As the story goes, Logeron defied the Great Law and delved deep into the hard sciences. In a moment of cosmic clarity, he developed a new science through a single unifying theory. The result was a new understanding of the universe. Such understanding transformed both his mind and body, and he eventually developed an art he called “astralcraft”. Logeron recorded all of his findings in a secret text and then hid it. According to shagan mythology, one of them found this book.
But this shagan could not master astralcraft as Logeron did, who was said to have become an entity that could not be killed, a man who transcended mortality into godhood or perhaps devilhood. Despite this, the shagan discovered a way to live forever. He uncovered the secrets of the mind, the intricacies of the electrochemical processes of the brain, and the physical manifestation of the spirit and the “I”. When his body and mind became aged, he transferred his identity from his dying body to a young one. But this process is not simply like pouring a pitcher of water into an empty basin, but rather like pouring liquid into an already full one. It is like a wall of soldiers meeting another one at full speed. The shagan’s mind must be strong, very strong. Only then can it overwhelm the body and spirit of the invaded.
Should the shagan triumph, the transfer will be clean. He will have a new body, and his spirit and memories will remain in tact. The invaded mind and spirit will be purged, and the soul will become lost between realms. However, if the mind the shagan tries to overwhelm is more powerful, the two minds will merge, their memories will become one, and the shagan’s spirit will become lost instead.
But this process is so violent on the mind, that even in victory, the individual will suffer severe amnesia. They will have no memory of anything before the event. No idea who they are or where they came from. Such an individual may be capable of speaking multiple languages, yet having no recollection of what these languages are. They are often troubled by vivid dreams, nightmares, and flashbacks, which often increase through time. It is thought they they will never remember who they are, because they are actually a conglomerate of many minds. At best, they will have access to all the information the shagan had before them. How the memories of separate identities merge and are later recollected, no one knows.
If the first “body thief” is still alive and taking over bodies, imagine all that he’s come to know and understand. All the history he has lived through and seen. And if one should be lucky enough to defeat him, then they would perhaps come to live an extraordinary life. Perhaps people would come to think him a prophet, or even God. It is no wonder that according to shagan belief, God is nothing more than a trickster. Not omnipotent, but simply a being who’s been around so long he’s come to know everything.
Check back later for updates and more about the Body Thieves.