Death Of A Death
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What is death?

Various mortal civilizations have their own views on death. For some, it's a happy time, an occasion to bring together friends and family for one last remembrance of the joyous memories of the recently departed. For others, death is a utilitarian matter. A way to wipe the slate clean, ensuring the continued ongoings of the world around them.

Then there are the occasional few who seek death with glee. Viewing it as nothing more than the end result of their lust for violence.

But for the tireless workers of Vitalis, death is simply business. Souls need to flow to the afterlife and Deaths are simply the ones to go out and collect.

When you think of the personification of death, what do you see? A mysterious hooded figure wielding a scythe? Perhaps an amorphous, unknowable void beyond comprehension? You could make any number of guesses and you'd likely be correct. Back in the early days, Vitalis sent out numerous Deaths across the universe.

But Vitalis is all about efficiency, at least when it comes to the collection of souls. The older model Deaths were prone to corruption and fits of free will. Lording yourself as a god over the mortal souls you’re meant to be collecting isn't what the Vitalis management considered ideal employees. So after some internal debate, management decided to phase out the older Deaths, releasing them into the universe.

In their place, management opted for a newer model. New production methods lowered the manufacturing cost enough that all mortals could have their own personal Death. Small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand, these new Deaths proved themselves to be unthinking and unfeeling: a perfect tool. When the Death is sent to its mortal, it attaches itself to their soul, expending all its power to sever the soul from the body and send it to the appropriate section of the afterlife.

Management was pleased: having an efficient new line of Deaths who did their jobs without question and turned to ash immediately after was a large improvement over what they had before. With the problem solved, they quickly turned their focus to anything and everything else. But death is never so simple. And if the management had bothered to pay attention, they may have noticed a flaw in their new Deaths.

A Death needs to make contact with a soul before severing its connection to its mortal body. And in that briefest of moments between existence and oblivion, a Death gains a glimpse of all it lacked. Emotions, hopes, and ambitions. Self-awareness. So many precious gifts received only to be stolen away seconds after. The backlash from the loss tends to leave souls confused, causing chaos upon their arrival to the afterlife.

So what is death? It is what it always has been: A tragic affair.

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