UNFORGIVEN

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Macabre

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There are many tales of human origins that will never be known. One such tale begins with a people called the Yalatú, a race of humans who had heavily interbred with the Umū and learned from them of the Altjeringa. By 40,000 years ago, the Yalatú had migrated across tropical regions from northern Africa to Australia and beyond even this over the thousands of years that followed. It was a time when the world was gripped by global climate change and as the last glacial period began to recede, monsoon rains that once made large parts of the Sahara green grew less and less frequent until stopping altogether.

By 11,000 years ago, the Yalatú had reached as far as the coasts of South America and the Old Ones were emerging. The Sahara was now returning to its natural state as a desert and, to survive, some were turning to darker forces seeking divine intervention. One of these was the nightmare called Darawigal, a living nightmare that preyed on fear seeking worship through human sacrifice. It would be in daring to invoke Darawigal that our story truly begins with the wife of a Kadji (shaman) who bore a child sired by the nightmare creature. Upon seeing the markings on the child's face, she would be sacrificed and the child bathed in its mothers' blood.

Believing her to be an òrìṣà, a deity born of flesh but possessing the soul of a goddess, her tribe gave her the name N'kisigumali (vessel of mischief) thinking her a gift from their gods. But, as N'kisi grew, it became clear she knew what they had done to her mother as she grew resentful and angry of what had been taken from her. As if she were an instrument of her mothers' vengeance, N'kisi used spider venom to induce paralysis in those responsible and then butchered them. With that done, she fled her peoples' wrath to begin a journey across time following the flesh.


N'kisi eventually found herself at a location of weathered stone beneath which she discovered an imprisoned god. Her presence awakened the god who revealed himself as Ikú, a god of death who had become aware of his existence when the universe itself was yet forming. She would agree to be his avatar upon the world and an instrument for his release in exchange for the power that was his to give her. Taking the name Kifú, she would become a woman in this natural fortification and discovered the first piece of a mystic object needed to release Ikú.

Forming a cult of Ikú worshipers to aid her, N'kisi began her search for the remaining pieces of the object she needed. Those who followed her would be rewarded with health, beauty and vitality as such were hers to give in return for loyalty and obedience. N'kisi possessed the ability to stay deaths hand and to renew others like serpents shedding their skin. She could even resurrect the dead as creatures of blood, sand and bone to serve her as Ajogún. Viewing that only the strong were worthy to survive, N'kisi also wielded the power to become a large constrictor to consume others as prey just as she might strip them of life energies in other ways.

Following the waterways of these once heavily watered lands, N'kisi eventually founded a more permanent kingdom around a once massive lake. From this base of operations, N'kisi could better command the search for the glowing gemstones she sought after and consolidate her own power. Journeying through the Nile River Valley, she crossed the land of Havilah following the mighty Pîšōn until reaching the Fertile Crescent locating several more of the gemstones. Moving across the Indus Valley, would found an even greater kingdom along the coastlines of India called Mahānāgapuram (Great Serpent City, aka Nāgalaya).

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This was still a time of the Old Ones, but civilizations in Egypt and Sumeria were on the rise. In battle with an ancient sorceress named Galuru (aka Gailox), a servant to the moon god Urim, N'kisi would barely survive and her face was transfixed into a grotesque mockery of the beauty she once possessed when Galuru set her head ablaze. Within the Cult of Ikú, N'kisi would become known as Shikú (the Chatterer), a name she accepted and gained even greater power from. Taking the head of a mandrill, N'kisi created a mask from its skin and jaws which gradually healed her face by becoming part of it visible only when she got angry.

Over the lifetimes which followed, she evolved herself into an avatar for the goddess Kadrú, mother of the Nāgas and often assumed her identity. She also became known as Ninaduru (Mistress of Fear) to those she called the Uŋsaŋgiga (Sumerians). Then came yet another war of gods and her entire kingdom became lost beneath the waves of the Indian Ocean. It was during this war that the goddess Eingana reached into her chest where she grasped her heart turning it into a prison for all the darkness within her. N'kisi would be overwhelmed by memories of other lives once lived and fall to her knees as if paralyzed by the experience.

Her High Priest took advantage of the moment to take possession of the object N'kisi had assembled and added a final piece he had kept from her. It would be he who sought to release Ikú by placing the object on his head where it melted into his skull. Recovering from the shock and agony of what he had done, he then used its power to unlock the prison which held Ikú. Feeling the presence of Ikú as he entered the world, N'kisi now rose to her feet and struck the priest dead by ramming her fist through his head. Holding his body aloft, N'kisi used his life energies to seal Ikú back within his prison injuring him in the process.

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Not understanding that Eingana had released N'kisi from the darkness which had always controlled her, a Nāga hunter named Chitrakund struck her down using the power of a sword called Surajghata (Sunslayer). When her eyes next opened, she saw the face of Eingana smiling upon her only to see her visage fade and be replaced by that of a loving mother. Even as she nursed from her new mothers bosom, she would be haunted by memories of past lives which came to her in fleeting glimpses. She would be a silent child fighting to understand all which had become of her as she was an old soul having lived many lives.

Given the name Lowanna, she would be raised by a family who offered her nothing but their love. To them, she was the most precious of all things as they had been unable to conceive a child until Eingana had blessed them with her. Their love would nurture her as she grew in the Outback of Australia always sensing a darkness concealed within her. From the beginning, this darkness sought release from Lowanna and led her to pursue a life as a shaman serving the Creator. Lowanna became a keeper of serpents and called upon the god Dirawong to aid her in protecting her people.

N'kisigumali would not fade completely into memory because, when angered, the sorceress emerged to gain control until Lowanna reasserted herself. Lowanna was also trained to be a warrior and wielded a magical bullroarer to cut through her enemies. With it, she could summon a large mungoon gali (goanna, eater of men) to ride into battle and that was far more deadly than any serpents which she commanded. She would also come to believe that she possessed two souls with thefirst being the Warangun animating her body while the Djir, the dark soul, was eternally reborn like a serpent until struck by lightning and destroyed.

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When Lowanna died of old age, she would survive in the memories of another across the ocean in the Amazon jungle of South America. Her name was now Kujara, a dark-eyed child whose people descended from the ancient Yalatú bloodline from which N'kisigumali herself was born. Creatures called the Hapinunu were slipping into our world through a demongate that opened on brief occasions. Also known as the Pred, these demonic creatures found that our Sun proved lethal to their kind. They survived only by merging with the flesh of animals from this world warping and twisting them as they desired.

The Pred saw in Kujara something akin to themselves and became drawn to her. Calling her "Princess", they would serve her in return that she helped them open the demongate more frequently. This allowed them to bring all manner of exotic meats back to their unseen masters and a more powerful breed of Pred began coming through the dimensional breach. They would build a massive city of mudbrick and stone surrounding the demongate using secret knowledge of geophysics. Yet, something about these creatures left her with unease and she could sense betrayal in the hearts of these creatures.

Although it was too late to undo what had been done, something within her began entering the minds of the Pred. Within the nightmarish realities of their minds, this presence would learn of the Pred Queen and that none in these lands were strong enough to possess her power. Kujara had been made weak of will by the dark heart reincarnated with her but her body could be made powerful enough for the Pred Queen to use her. But, as she had become weak, N'kisi began emerging to replace Kujara. She was the presence that the Pred had come to call Ukyana Manchakuy (Fear Drinker).

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As Kujara faded into the memories of past lives once lived by N'kisi, she would also become self-aware that she was Unholy, a true immortal who could never truly die! In truth, N'kisi was the strongest of her personalities in this life cycle and the burden of representing such an ancient soul had become hers to bear. She would prepare for the war to come by creating an army of thralls eager to serve her. A steady stream of captives came from the west to which N'kisi gave no mercy. Summoning serpents from the Altjeringa, N'kisi used their venom to preserve her victims as she piled their still beating hearts and severed heads in heaps.

From the yet living flesh of their bodies, she created Achunga (aka skullmonkeys), savage killers possessing tremendous speed and leaping ability with razor tipped metal claws that burned with hells fire. The serpents then consumed the heads and hearts to be recreated as Mboiaçu, serpent people with the upper bodies of humans and the lower form of an enormous black snake. They would build a new city of upraised earth above a cave system where N'kisi made her home. The events of the war would not be remembered because the civilization which might have remembered was destroyed by disease carried by Spanish and Portuguese explorers.

The 1920's brought about a great age of exploration to the nation of Brazil. Men like Colonel Percy Fawcett came there searching for lost civilizations like the Lost City of Z and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company came there looking for oil. A Brazilian archaeologist named José Paola had come into the Amazon jungle searching for proof of lost civilizations. José was astonished to find the remains of a peoples he had first researched in Australia deep within the rainforest. Forced to abandon the site due to a lack of provisions, he would return time and again searching for it until one expedition from which he did not return.

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His family would continue his work until his great-granddaughter Rayna used modern technology to retrace the footsteps of her ancestor. When she finally reached the site, she found proof José had rediscovered it and that they had apparently been killed by natives. Finding an opening into a subterranean cave system, Rayna decided to explore it as it had appeared to her that José had made discoveries within it. As she wandered deeper, she became intrigued to find evidence of the early Portuguese, but that was then followed by the Welsh, Norse, Chinese, Romans, Phoenicians, Australian Aborigines and others.

Unknown to Rayna, a group of mercenaries had been operating in the area who had found their encampment. Knowing they had thousands of dollars worth of equipment and were an easy mark. The merc's were surprised to see they had discovered objects worth a fortune on the black market and after killing the surface team, made their way below searching for the source. Unaware of these events, Rayna and her team were hopelessly lost after a series of mysterious events drove them deeper into the cave system. When the two groups met, it would be a bloodbath with unforseen consequences.

Rayna had been hit several times and where her body fell, blood began to flow into channels leading what almost appeared to be an artificial wall. The merc's would begin to load up additional items they found laying about when they began to hear a creature moving about. At the ready to kill whatever the threat might be, the wall behind them began to crack and to collapse around them. Regaining their senses, the merc's would now face unimaginable horrors which they opened fire upon only to have the gunfire drowned out by the sound of screams followed by the silence of death!

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N'kisi was now released from where she and some of her following had been imprisoned thousands of years before. She herself had escaped into a pocket dimension within the Altjeringa having little desire to exist within the world of man. Within her own realm, N'kisi had found peace and integrated the past lives known to her into a single personality. Finding Rayna's body, N'kisi merged with it and took into herself all of Rayna's memories of the world she now prepared to re-enter. The creatures which emerged with her now withered and became as dust which N'kisi breathed into herself along with their life-giving energies.

When N'kisi emerged from the rainforest, she would ask that she be called Karana, a name she had used throughout her existence for places and activities she found pleasing. She would pretend to be part of Rayna's team of explorers and informed authorities what had happened. While she would also claim not to remember where the location of the site was, she had brought some of the items with her having learned from Rayna's memories the need for currency. Seeking to explore more of this new world around her, Karana became a traveler until finding herself in Russia.

It would be in Russia that she first encountered the Unforgiven during a battle against a member of the Unholy named Grigori Rasputin. Sensing in them a common cause to atone for the evils of her past, she would enjoin with the Unforgiven against his army of the dead and defeat them. When approached by one of the Unforgiven calling herself Goddess, Karana immediately felt a common bond with her as she too was connected to the astral plains of the spirit world. When asked what she called herself, Karana drew upon the memories acquired from Rayna of beings such as these. In response, she spoke that she could be called Macabre and when asked to join the Unforgiven, she knew a new life of adventure lay ahead of her.

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Macabre possesses the power to manipulate the senses to create illusions based on a persons greatest fears and, essentially, making those fears indistinguishable from reality. This power is most effective when a person is asleep as she possesses the ability to enter another persons dreams to either remove, or create, terror and fear. She is also a practitioner of what she calls hodu magick which is a precurser to voodoo in all it's various forms. Hers is the dead root from which all vodun derives and onto which, sorcery from other dead faiths have survived.

Where she once used human blood sacrifice, she now ritually slaughters animals she later cooks so that the meat doesn't go to waste. However, she can summon more powerful magicks using human blood and will if she has no other choice. One of her more gruesome abilities is based on the use of human body parts either by marking them with runes, or consuming them. Hers is an ancient magic which she refers to as the dead root of all magick and originates half a million years ago. These powers are based on ectoplasm and necroplasm which binds the soul and life energies to the body and physical existence.

Macabre's heart is best described by her as being a clay pot within which is stored the darkness which seeks to consume her. This darkness originates with the Anti-Life, a dark force driven by the simple want to kill and consume rather than the need for survival. Her ability to create illusions born from the fear of others allows her to manifest things like bats, rats, snakes and spiders in physical form or to control such creatures. The ability to create illusions is so strong that whatever her adversary fears most can cause physical damage and even kill them. As powerful as this seems, adversaries with no fear or a strong will can see through this ability.

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When she bleeds, her blood is as black as soot and has certain magical properties of its own. On its own, it can be like burning tar and act like a poison. However, it also has the power to give life when it flows into a rune cut into someones forehead. Anyone who is restored to life or preserved from death in such a manner must devote their life to contemplation and meditation towards benevolence and good will or else be overwhelmed by darkness. Using the blood of a victim, Macabre can physically transform illusions into reality or even transform a victim into creatures which she can control.

Although she does possess the ability to restore life and to raise the dead, Macabre uses this ability sparingly because the anti-life feeds on and possesses such beings. The Ajogún are possibly the most powerful manifestations of her power. Formed from blood, sand and bone; these are creatures formed from elements of earth wind and fire who obey her every command. She herself is a changeling capable of becoming a mythical creature whose lower body is that of an enormous constrictor or to completely transform into a serpent whose body is strong enough to crush stone and steel. A favorite manifestation of her power is to burst into a cloud of bats to teleport herself and others.

While her powers often manifest through her ability to control and transform into a serpent, Macabre can also transform into a winged baboon-like beast with colorful markings similar to a mandrill. Those who serve her often possess similar abilities to transform into skullmonkeys or serpent people. When she wishes, she can leave this reality and return to her secret lair within the Altjeringa where she has a temple of bone created from past victims when she acquiesced to her darker nature. She preserves this temple as a reminder of her need to atone for her past which extends across the passage of time.

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One of her past lives was that of a beast called Kamala the Butcher, an Orc sorceress who possessed a love for lotus flowers and shrunken heads. This was during the prehistory of the human species before the formation of the Worlds of Shadow to which Macabre is connected. It is from this creature that she may have developed a taste for human flesh as Macabre will cannibalize her victims or even consume them whole when transformed into her form as a giant serpent. While Macabre uses her powers now for the cause of good and defending the world, hers is the power of fear and nothing inspires fear more than facing the reality of death.

Like all the Unforgiven, Macabre has spirit beasts associated with her. Her most powerful is her King Boa Constrictor which is a beast of gigantic proportions. The second is her Mungoon Gali, an extinct breed of monitor lizard (Megalania) which grew to great size and she sometimes summons to ride and to protect her. While she has a fondness for bats, the third spirit beast is a Deaths Head Hawkmoth relating to her powers reanimating corpses or killing people. While these are summoned from the markings on her body, she can also summon them using her bullroarer which aids her in manifesting her powers.