The Undead

In the time of emperors and cabbages, the first rising of the undead was recorded. What was initially just a provincial contagion quickly spread throughout the empire, eclipsing fire serpents and celestial bodies in its power to infect. The undead were reported to eat the living at sacred meals, but as it turns out, this information resulted from a handful of anomalies and flat-out lies supported by manufactured evidence. In the case of the anomalies, which recurred every generation, the cannibalism was and is an aberration of the disease, or perhaps a separate disease that the undead are prone to catch in their weakened state. They lived in mausoleums, generally, and even learned how to build their own until such tombs were scattered far and wide. Efforts to stamp out the plague did very little other than contaminate the catacombs, cloacae, and abandoned villas. For a time, the army was able to keep the phenomenon hidden, but it is impossible to kill what is already dead. The pests were reborn at alarming rates and even, it would seem, breeding. One quarter to one third of the realm is said to be either prone to infection, infected, or already fully undead. It is not true that the undead look rotten or decomposed, although some sources swear that they do. They are not deficient in intelligence, although their intelligence is generally denied, their thought processes ascribed to genetic aberrations or the effects of their disease.They are for certain, however, somnambulatory and perhaps easily hypnotized. One can see them in times of warfare or famine, acting as if they are walking in the seventh heaven, oblivious to their own pain. Most are masochistic martyrs, which makes them easy pawns of the evil machinations of bankers, philosophers, and revolutionaries, who would love nothing more than to raise an endless undead army to exercise their hegemony. Fortunately, this is almost impossible to fully achieve, since the minds of the undead cannot be mapped, nor their disease analyzed or cured. There is an excess of unpredictability, too many unknowns in their blood and brains, which thwarts all methods of control. Quarantine has been attempted, but this is costly and futile, since the undead often quarantine themselves. Whether social or antisocial, the contagion spreads. Some have theorized that resistance is pointless, since the undead represent a stage of either evolution or devolution–something subject to deep laws of nature we cannot yet grasp and something we are powerless to control or arrest. Others dismiss this as an insane eschatology, and continue to trace their migrations, settlements, and the possibilities of extermination. In some areas, extermination has been possible by introducing limbic cultures that render the categories of death and life invalid or undefined. This concept quickly translated into actions and institutions. To date, it seems to be nothing more than an effective way to ensure the extinction of both the living and the undead.

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