The dream of eternal life has been a constant since time immemorial. Immense efforts have been made over the centuries, by mages and non-mages alike, aimed at finding a method that would allow people to live in perpetuity. One might think that the existence of an afterlife where one could enjoy a life after death would dissuade most people from pursuing this path… but one would be wrong. No one had ever returned from the afterlife to tell people what it’s like there, and many are attached to their current life and place in society. With so many doubts surrounding life after death, many would prefer to linger on the material plane as long as possible.
Sometimes, these efforts produced results. Literal eternity was out of reach, of course. No method allows one to be completely invulnerable or be free of weaknesses, so getting killed is always a danger. However, agelessness – a state where a person no longer gets weaker and less able with the passage of time – proved to be entirely within grasp.
For the lucky and determined few, in any case.
The people who have halted their aging in some way are popularly called ‘immortals’. They can still get killed; they can still die in accidents or contract a lethal disease; but potentially, these people could live forever. Most will die after only a couple of centuries – the average lifespan of an immortal seem to be between 500 and 700 years of age – but even this makes the immortals the object of admiration and envy.
The methods of becoming an immortal are as numerous as the immortals themselves. The details of any particular procedure are guarded jealously by the immortals who discovered them, meaning that most people who become an immortal have to invent their own method from scratch. Additionally, the method must be personalized to a certain extent – for reasons that are unclear as of yet, the process of achieving immortality cannot be fully generalized, and must instead be tailored for a specific individual. Even if one managed to obtain a method from an immortal, it would likely be of no use to them – they would need skills similar to the immortal in question in order to modify the method for their own use.
Most of the methods for achieving immortality center involve extremely advanced alchemy skills. An ‘orthodox’ immortality method is a ‘potion of youth’, which will halt the imbiber’s aging process when drunk. Ideally it will also restore a person into their ideal age, since few immortals are good enough to make such a potion when they’re in their 20s or 30s, though this is of secondary importance. After all, once one has managed to halt their aging, they have all the time in the world to get this second part right.
Other than alchemical methods, there are also methods involving complex magical rituals – often ones involving soul and blood magic – which are proven to be effective. There are also hybrid methods that utilize both alchemy and rituals. Both of these are widely considered to be inferior options of immortality, especially by alchemists.
Some plants and animals, when eaten, are thought to permanently halt aging in people. The most famous of these is the celestial lotus, which is thought to be completely extinct in modern times, but which is still sometimes searched for by the ambitious and the desperate. It is speculated that most of these were actually artificial creations of the gods. They never seemed to grow in number, and were thus inevitably hunted to extinction after the Silence of the Gods. These days, some people openly doubt that they had ever even existed, and believe they were just fanciful fabrications by ancient peoples.
The eggs of the rainbow sea turtle were a crucial ingredient of the only potion of youth recipe made public in its entirety. The immortal who invented it decided to share his creation with his friends, but the potion recipe leaked out of the group and became widely circulated. Many of the ingredients were rare or very hard to acquire, but the eggs of rainbow sea turtles were relatively simple to acquire, as they returned to the same sites every year and did not protect their eggs after burying them in the sand. The species was promptly driven to the brink of extinction by would-be immortals and people looking to make a profit by selling the eggs. Rainbow sea turtles are vanishingly rare in modern times. It is unknown where their remaining nesting sites are, and this is probably for the best. The last time one of them was located, it was destroyed within five years, despite attempts to protect it from egg raiders.
The Immortal Eleven
During the time of the Old Alliance, when Alliance of Eldemar ruled unchallenged over the entirety of Altazia, a group of powerful mages from all over the continent got together and embarked on an ambitious project: they gathered 200 gifted teenagers from all over the continent and decided to see how great they could become if they were provided with best equipment, support facilities, and teachers that currently existed on the continent. The idea was that by gathering all these talents together and having them challenge each other while being provided for in every way conceivable, they would be able to reliably produce loyal archmages for the Alliance.
The project was very controversial. It was very expensive, it pushed the gathered students to excel so hard that more than more than 50 of them had dropped out within the first year, and the free sharing of magical secrets that was encouraged within the group made certain people very unhappy. Despite this, the project continued for nearly 10 years, after which it was shut down due to quarreling among the project founders.
‘The 200 Project’, as it is popularly known, has a mixed reputation among modern mages. On one hand, it is considered a giant vanity project that cost too much and provided too little in return. On the other hand, there is no denying that many of the students that came out of the program really did end up making significant contributions like the founders of the program had hoped they would.
And of these, the most spectacular was a group of twenty people, sometimes called the Twenty Inheritors. When the project disbanded, these twenty refused to separate and go home. Instead, they swore a pact of brotherhood and started a journey that took them across the entire known world – Altazia, Miasina, and Hsan. They had adventures, searched for forgotten magics, and sometimes even acted as thieves and raiders to acquire knowledge that people wouldn’t share.
By the time they had returned to Altazia, there were only eleven of them left. However, it didn’t take long for people to notice that they looked almost as young as they were when they first set off on their grand journey. As the years passed by and their youth never faded, the truth became increasingly obvious.
The Immortal Eleven were born.
The Immortal Eleven are very unusual by immortal standards. Most immortals acquired agelessness alone, and have only loose associations with other immortals. The Eleven, on the other hand, clearly helped each other to become immortal. Although by this point the group has fallen apart and each of the Eleven has gone their own way, they still retain close links to each other. Most immortals also try to keep their immortality a secret as much as possible, to reduce the number of envious people going after them, but the Immortal Eleven didn’t care to be so restrained. As such, the Immortal Eleven are probably the most famous and well-known immortals in modern era.
The following is the list of Immortal Eleven, with brief descriptions of each:
- Meren Lynti Ermazi
Meren is a generalist archmage, infamous for her extensive use of demon summoning and her brutal combat tactics. She is the most politically active of the surviving Immortal Eleven, working closely with her home country of Sulamnon to train their battlemages and prepare for future wars with Eldemar and Falkrinea. She spends most of her time in her large, well-warded tower that the Kingdom of Sulamnon built for her at their own expense.
- Tehanna Arta
Tehanna is most famous for specializing in a skill that most people consider insanely dangerous and impractical – casting her soul into the spiritual realms so she can explore the place. Since doing this places a mage into regular contact with demons while their soul is exposed to attack, this is generally considered a quick way to get your soul devoured, but Tehanna has seemingly found a way to reliably survive the experience. She spends most of her time in a heavily warded cave in the middle of the wilderness, exploring the spiritual planes while her body lays motionless on the special pedestal she made.
- Denen Shutta
Denen is a large, bearded individual who often wanders Altazia in search of novel drink and food, or simply amusement. He gets angry quickly, but forgives just as fast. He is a bear shifter, though not a born one, and he doesn’t have good relationship with the rest of the bear shifters. He is a master of transformation magic and has considerable soul and blood magic expertise.
- Lepi-Amurru Tusa
Lepi is always seen with a pair of giant scorpions. Their significance is unknown, as he gets extremely angry whenever they are hurt or killed, yet seems to replace them with new ones without any issues afterwards. Though they look normal, the scorpions are magically enhanced with some kind of ritual that makes them deadly opponents, though they usually focus on simply defending their master. Lepi has an intense interest in ancient history, especially pre-Ikosian civilizations. His specialties are warding and divination. He is currently somewhere in the interior of Miasina, far away from any known human settlement. He tolerates solitude extremely well, and often interacts with obscure sapient creatures he finds in the wild corners of the world.
- Nesir Kode
One of the more mysterious members of the Immortal Eleven. His abilities are unknown, though it is speculated they have something to do with information gathering, as other members often consulted him for advice and help. He has not been seen for several years, and his whereabouts are unknown, though other members of the Immortal Eleven believe he is still alive.
- Peleset Harata
An alchemist and a soul mage. Believed to be one of the more crucial members responsible for the whole group becoming immortal. It is known she is bitter at the rest of the group for some unknown slight made against her. She likes to teach, and is known to be rather vain and fond of flattery. Currently in employ as an alchemy teacher at one of the Falkrinean academies, though she has no real loyalty to the state of Falkrinea itself, and does not intend to get involved in their wars.
- Aidak Cren
Aidak spent a relatively short time in Altazia after the group returned there, and instead opted to return to Hsan, where he presumably remains to this very day. He is known to be fond of martial arts, sword fighting, and other archaic, mundane forms of combat. In an actual life-or-death battle, however, he fights with powerful combat magic like any other Ikosian mage. He is known to be an excellent alchemist, and it is thought that he worked with Peleset to make the group immortal. His current whereabouts and activities are unknown, though some speculate he is studying Hsan’s unique magical traditions.
- Manani Weshekari
Likely deceased. Manani was a combat-oriented mage, gifted with large mana reserves and skilled with a diverse arsenal of combat spells. At some point he decided to start organizing expeditions into the deep dungeon, as this has apparently been his dream since childhood. The first two expeditions went very well, but after he went down into the deep dungeon for the third time he was never heard from again. He and the rest of his expedition likely perished somewhere in the depths.
- Sherden-Anixua Zenich
Deceased. Sherden was obsessed with dragons, and it is known that his form of immortality involved heavy use of dragon parts in the creation process. After he returned to Altazia with the rest, he started joining every military campaign against dragons he could, and even organized a few himself. He was particularly interested in dragon mages, as he seems to have been studying draconic magic. As a consequence, he earned an intense hatred from dragon-kind, who considered him a butcher and a thief. Sherden’s efforts eventually led him to join the ill-fated campaign against a famous dragon mage who ended up killing him.
- Sakelus Arexino
Deceased. Another combat magic oriented mage, Sakelus participated in the first round of Splinter Wars where he suffered an ignoble death via gunfire. Most witnesses agree that his death had been entirely avoidable, but Sakelus considered rifles and other gunpowder weapons to be mere toys and deliberately walked into a trap that ended up claiming his life.
- Isek Kalko
Deceased. Isek was a specialist in warding and magical artifice. He was assassinated by an unknown group while working on the warding scheme for a royal palace in one of the minor Altazian kingdoms. The group triggered a massive explosion that ended up collapsing half of the building, completely vaporizing Isek in the process. It is unknown what the motive for this attack was, or who was behind it.
A Note on Undead & Spirits:
Although undead can also potentially continue existing in perpetuity, they are not considered real immortals. The same goes for spirits and other creatures that naturally don’t age.