The Barren Kingdoms
The Restless Dead
When the humans died, it is believed that their souls were literally ripped from their bodies. They left behind corpses, and while the spark of life was snuffed in some, in others the spark of life remained. Devoid of a soul but refusing to die, these corpses reanimated into undead creatures.
While hard numbers are impossible to come by, it is believed that fully half of the humans who died reanimated as undead of some kind. The majority of humans who died rose as mindless undead — zombies, mostly, though humans of skill, experience, and power sometimes rose as more formidable creatures that still retained some vestige of their former selves (the mind, to the surprise of scholars across the Wealdan, can apparently still survive without the soul).
This meant that in the years immediately following the Great Dying, the surviving citizens of the Kingdom of Barien had to deal with threats on their very doorsteps as well as external threats in the form of the orken and karn. It was this immediate threat of the shambling, hungry undead that drove many people to Barien City; in fact, in many ways the undead threat helped forge Freehold.
Now, ten years later, the Reclaimed Lands between Uduerinstand and Freehold have been cleared of much of the undead (in reclaimed towns and along major travel routes, at least). To the north, the orken appear to have at least partly dealt with the problem, though many undead remain. In the east, where karn holds sway, the situation is far more complicated …