A small prayer, for those who have passed into Beyond.
The Dead occupy a strange place in the world of the Loa. They are those who would not, or could not, move on, but who’s ties were not so strong as to keep them clinging to the flesh of the world. Instead, they find themselves in the Other World. There, they scramble for scraps of something to fill their hungers, their thirsts, and their lusts, all the while being unfulfilled and abandoned by hope.
What they seek, however, is Life. They do not know they are Dead, and instead create small memories or excuses for their gaps in remembrance, all the while eking out a harried and unpleasant existence amongst the ash and dust of what appears to be a broken world.
This is where the Loa come in. They can carry Life into the Other World, and the Dead can feel it, even if they can’t put it into those words. It is drugs and spirits, or sweets and sex. Succulent meats, or the savoring of a fine cigar.
Like much about the Other World, pulling the caul is a more metaphor than reality. It refers to revealing to the Dead the truth of their state, and the world they inhabit. It is a shattering, damning moment and many Loa consider it to be the harshest crime to do so thoughtlessly. It breaks the will and heart of the Dead, and drives them quickly into the depths of madness.
It is not a coincidence so much of the Other World is populated by the maddened dead, driven wild and ravenous for Life by their insight into their condition. They hunt each other to fulfill their desires, but will hunt the Loa with a fervor bordering on religion.
As one might imagine, killing one of the Dead is extremely difficult. In the Other World, they tend to suffer greivous wounds that heal over long time, and bleed a thick ichor
that resembles blood, but carries no Life in it. Even head wounds do little more than make them inert and unable to move, though otherwise they are aware of their surroundings.
However, there are times when the Dead can truly die. There are flames in the Other World that can scour the spirit from the skin of the world as sure as anything. Loa can imbue weapons with Ichor and other substances that make them true avatars of death. And then there are the things from the Deep
Below the skin of the Other World, there are things older driven wild and twisted by time, so that what they were before their death is wholly unknown. Some are vast monstrosities, composites of a thousand Dead. Others writhing worrisomes no bigger than a house cat that tear the flesh and meat from Dead bones.
There are times when the Dead have not passed fully, or they have seeped back into the world from the Beyond, and they become a true danger to life and the balance between the two. Maddened at the realization, and driven by the constant taste of Life in the very breath of our world, they become poltergeists and demons, seeking possession and torment and feeding on polite society however they can.