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Low-ranking workers of the afterlife struggle under the employ of an uncaring Management.

Nobody knows why it exists, or since when. If there is a God watching over this place, no one has ever met him. All they know is the work – the labor, the orders, the management that every day places the souls of the dead where they need to be. Don’t asking for meaning or fulfillment. Your job is simple. Do it without questions. Toil without reward. What happens if you stop? Nobody knows, and they’re not very eager to find out.


THE WORKERS:

The true main characters of this story, relegated to the sidelines by their nature. Many are constructed beings, robots, automatons, golems, awakened plants. Others are spirits, brought into being by the human unconscious, more behest to culture and ideas. United by constant work, their duties are many, and despite how many there are, there's never enough workers to run the afterlife smoothly. If the workers are seen by Souls, they often only appear as figures familiar with their beliefs.

THE SOULS:

Once human, now something less. It's too early to say whether all the Afterlife is good or bad, or parts are good and bad, but what can be said is the constant gridlock. It could take decades, centuries to be fully processed. Some of that is standing in lines, some is waiting for the next correspondence. Souls likely encounter the workers in two ways, either because they're causing problems, be it escaping, finding loopholes, etc. or, least commonly, because they've been integrated into the workforce. This is incredibly uncommon, but can happen.

THE SOVEREIGNS:

Ancient beyond words and powerful beyond measure, these are the lynchpins of the world. It is said that should they die, the Underworld as it's known would begin to collapse, but fortunately there doesn’t seem to be any risk of that happening any time soon. Like this world itself, they are never stable – there is no such thing as a fixed identity in this place. Like the wind that blows through the Forgotten Mines, their form and function changes with the whims of fate. Some examples:

  • ALTHKYR: The bodiless shadow wanders the land and never speaks. It may always be watching, but what it sees it never speaks. When it desires so, it is able to gain form and reshape the world. These times are always the sign of something terrible soon to come. Is it causing them, or granting us protection?
  • ORTIZ: The speaker of nightmares. The shaper of wills. Do not listen to its uttered words, even if they seem wise. It does not leave its home beneath the Waterfall of the Damned, but many fools always come seeking its knowledge. It is a privilege, or curse, that they may grant it a single question before moving on to their final fate.
  • FLAIN: The destroyer of souls too corrupt for judgement. If you encounter it, you will know for the first time in your life fear. How does it make its choices? What terrible deeds must you commit to stand before it? Perhaps the swing of its starry blade carries with it something more beautiful than we know, because it is not uncommon for its victims to smile as it cuts them. Few have survived. Those who did have become something too great to understand.
  • DREZ: The friendliest of the overseers, the only one who seems to have a human face, but don’t be fooled. His eyes contain the souls of those he deems unworthy, those workers he feels detrimental, and they always see the truth. It is possible there are many of them, for he always seems to be where needed, but what he needs may not be what you want.
  • OHJ: Keeper of the endless Maze of Records. Made of paper and dust and lost knowledge.

MANAGEMENT:

The Sovereigns claim that when the first of them were formed, Management was already there to give them direction. Millenia has passed since that time, and if the Sovereigns are ever contacted by Management, they don't say. For the workers, it's even worse. A response, an approval, a sign-off, anything is extraordinarily rare. Where they're located, who they are, even what they look like, is all an enigma. It's extremely difficult to get around their rules.


Okay, but what actually is this?

This page is the second hub from our collaboratively-constructed canon event, the Serpentine Sorting System. The full description of how this process works is available on that hub page, but the general gist is as follows:

  1. You submit writing prompts.
  2. We curate the prompts into a poll. You perform Democracy and whittle them down to a single survivor.
  3. This single prompt becomes the seed of a new canon. We nurture it. You discuss it on the Discord server.
  4. We curate your ideas into a hub, which with any luck you're currently reading. You write for this hub, and shape the new canon to your will. We update this page as more ideas are spawned and refined.
  5. The canon solidifies. Staff and users alike sit back and bask in the new writing. Everybody wins.

Initial posting is now open! Feel free to get in on this hot and fresh canon!


This prompt was provided by MaliceAforethought, and won out of 48 submissions. The Curators of the canon are currently rumetzenrumetzen and Snapdragon133Snapdragon133. Contact them if you have any questions or concerns.

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