Sometimes, the kids get to choose.
This is the first in a series of comic pages I’m developing for a project that I hope to have out later this year. I’ll post these as they are completed.
This is a Ghoul.
Created from corpses abandoned in the wild or on battlefields, it lacks the rituals of burial to move on.
It seeks human flesh to fill the emptiness of undeath; particularly from those it knew in life. Woe be to any who wronged the Ghoul before its lonely death, for they are sure to be its first snack.
However, this misguided desire for final rest makes the ghoul particularly susceptible to items associated with burial rite, such as church bells and consecrated earth.
The Strix is an owl-faced vampire in Italy who loves to steal unattended children.
The Rusalka is a dangerous relative to the Mermaid set on leading men to a watery grave.
The rat-faced Fir Darrig lurks in bogs and sewers but will invite himself to your hearth.
There are many books on the legends of bloodthirsty warriors filled with such rage that they fight like wild animals and can slough off blows from weapons that would kill any normal human, but there are far fewer tales of the type of warrior–or killer to be more precise–who through sheer cold detached brutality become so adept at taking life, they exude an aura of invincibility. When such a person is mortally wounded, if their hubris and will be strong enough, they become a Gangr known as a Fekst, or Fext.
The Fekst is an impervious revenant, immune to all martial weapons. They tend to continue on in death as in life, becoming unstoppable soldiers, warriors, or generals. The Fekst is devoid of all empathy and emotion, but for pride. They see themselves as better than all others and stronger than death itself. They have one purpose, to conquer and defeat enemies without mercy. All who are in their way are put to the sword: soldiers, prisoners, civilians, and even allies.
There is but one way to kill a Fekst. One must shoot it with an unusual projectile, such as a button, a stone, or a piece of glass. The throwaway quality of the projectile and its uselessness is what makes it a suitable weapon against the Fekst, for these cold-hearted and disdainful monsters are superior to all and only the most symbolically insignificant weapons may do them harm.
Though the Fekst’s complete lack of humanity and seeming invulnerability would be sure tells of its monstrous nature to the observant weirder, there are a number of tales where men followed a Fekst into battle believing him to be protected by the gods. However, the longer a Fekst exists in its un-dead state, the more grayed and stretched it’s demeanor becomes, until there is no possible way to hide its true being.
Salt is incorruptible and as such has remarkable power to ward off unclean spirits. Legends tell it was such an important substance that giantesses would mill salt before gold.
It is used to protect infants from abduction by changelings, humans from possession, corpses from demons, and just about anything from fell magic.
Just as it absorbs moisture, salt also draws evil from many monsters, causing great pain and weakness. It can also draw bad luck from a thing or place. Inversely, it can be used in malevolent magic to blight fields and livestock.
The most effective salt is blessed by clergy, collected from sacred springs, or scraped from witches’ salt-kettles. The would-be hunter is advised to carry and use salt liberally.
Salt is particularly useful against ghosts, witchcraft, djinn, and corrupting wyrms.
Spirit traps bind and distract monsters through the methods of fascination and confusion. They use brightly colored thread or cord to attract the attention of wights who are then compelled to follow the course of the string to its termination. Intricate patterns may be woven into the trap, causing the wight to become lost within, functioning as a labyrinth.
Many spirit traps merely delay a monster rather than fully contain it. Some are entwined with a hollowed-out bone, which is stuffed with moss or wax once the monster has entered, permanently trapping it. Once the trap is sealed, it should be buried in a location likely never to be unearthed. Relatives of dead hunters have stumbled across a sealed trap or vessel and unwittingly unleashed the fell beast within.
Spirit traps work best on monster types prone to distraction.
When a person dies within a household, the living may construct a special portal or doorway to carry the body out of the home. The portal is then permanently locked or the wall is sealed to prevent revenants from returning to the house to bother those within.
Many walkers and ghosts are limited in their movement, unable to deviate from the path which they took
to their grave. The corpse door uses the tactics of misdirection and confusion to stop the revenant. If the family member returns, they are left searching in vain for the passage inside.
Corpse doors are effective against ghosts and walkers from the recently departed. Houses long-haunted can seal the primary entrance and build a new door for the living, which may prevent further visitations, though care must be taken to not lock the spectre within.
Garlic, often referred to as “stink weed”, or other derogatory names, has long suffered the numerous taboos leveled against it. Despite general disfavor, it is a vital tool in the hunter’s arsenal. Garlic represents strength symbolically—and aromatically.
Garlic means “spear-leek”, which is appropriate given it’s importance on the battle eld. Eating it lends physical strength and courage. In addition, it protects against the malaise, fear, or terror emanating from certain wights.
The potent smell of garlic cloves wards off snakes, wyrms, and hungry dead, such as vampires. The aroma can also conceal the wearer from many types of wargs, like werewolves and bugbears.
If the old legends are true, garlic even provided protection for travelers against certain chthonic deities.