The Great Shade, the Eternal Shadow, Lord of the Ashen Court... Etejeril has as many names as he does minions. He is the silence between heartbeats, the stillness of the crypt, the shadow cast by every tombstone, and the name upon the lips of all who seek to pervert the natural course of death. When he appears, he is a pale figure clad in a black robe, often holding a weighty tome or a pipe in the shape of a demon.
Legend tells of a human lich named Jeddit O'Jorramn who rose to power in the early 500's of the Ascendant Age. Through a combination of cunning strategy and potent magic, he raised a legion of the undead that ravaged the continent of Lower Metsar. So terrible was the power at his command that it left a deep scar upon the land, turning the former Whisperwood into the cursed Wraithwood.
Scholars debate why Jeddit halted his army's seemingly inexorable advance, particularly since the stated purpose of his war had been to exterminate all life from Orn. Many believe he was consumed by his search for artifacts of immense power. In the years that followed, he either created or uncovered and corrupted several, including the Emotidilium, his dread tome of spells and one of the few books fabled to be able to contain Words of Undoing, as well as Gravegasp, a pipe whose smoke can asphyxiate and animate a body before it has hit the ground.
This theory holds weight because Jeddit is known to have ascended after gaining possession of an unknown artifact of immeasurable power. Proclaiming himself Etejeril, his first act was to create the seven Deaths. Age, Famine, Plague, Disaster, Violence, and Despair would go on to found the Ashen Court in the Last City and rule over the Nether as his proxies. Dhuroscht, meanwhile, would gain a following of his own and go on to do battle with Shimosh Rosequartz, a conflict which resulted in the Great Marsh of Tarkalsys, Dhuroscht's defeat, the creation of the Stone of Twilight, and Shimosh's ascension as the immortal Lemesin. Indeed, it may be this climactic fight that ultimately ended the second stage of the war Jeddit had started years earlier.
Etejeril would go on to plague the world with darkness for ages afterward, often through his many minions and followers but sometimes in person, such as when his avatar waged war on Varalon before being defeated by Istensia's priestess Cassandra du Soleil. Some believe he had a hand in the eclipse over Tarkalsys and the subsequent creation of the uordeq race, a few of the latest examples of the Great Shade scheming from the shadows.
Death is the goal of all life. Still your heart and cast your shadow over the world. Exterminate the living and bind the fallen to your service. Seek power without hesitation, without compromise, and without remorse. Extinguish the light wherever you find it, that the world might return to the darkness from which it was made.
Followers and Temples
While necromancy is not the sole province of Etejeril, most of his followers are avid practitioners; it is peculiar to find them outside the company of the undead, if not undead themselves. Most favor dark robes, though more formalized schools of necromancy may have a more elaborate color system to indicate station. They wear the symbol of the inverse crescent as a tribute to their master and as a way to recognize others of their ilk.
Though widespread, reverence of Etejeril is typically met with ostracism or death among the civilized races of Orn. Because of this, most of his followers raise his name in secret or choose to live in seclusion, often in areas like crypts, graveyards, and old battlefields with a stronger connection to the Nether. Exceptions do exist, however, such as the Umbral Spire beneath Doomsend or the various guilds of necromancy in the Shadelands.