First Necromancer; Grim; Pale One; Smiling Death

Symbol: A black rose with a white stem and black thorns
Home Plane: Hades the Grey Waste
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Cleric Alignments: Any nongood
Portfolio: The passage of life's stages, aging, death, undeath, fear
Worshipers: Those who want more time, necromancers, those who comfort the bereaved, those who tend the dead
Domains: Darkness (Loss), Death (Undead), Luck (Curse, Fate), Plant (Decay)
Favored Weapon: Longbow, Scythe, or Spear (cleric chooses one)

Physical Description:
To most observers, Grimrose appears as a skeleton of that observer's race and of the sex with which that observer feels most comfortable. In truth, Grimrose is detached from the notion of gender, and shifts seamlessly between gender roles. Usually Grimrose wears some sort of clothing, frequently something that conceals the skeletal nature of Grimrose's body until the deity is quite close, so as not to immediately alert a casual observer of Grimrose's presence. Many people have met Smiling Death while still alive and never known it, at least while they remained in that state. This is the form that Grimrose takes for most interactions with mortals and extramortals and gods, for sake of being casual and conversational and helping those around Grimrose to get as comfortable as possible. In this form, Grimrose regularly rides a skeletal beast of burden of some sort, often a horse. However, Grimrose is also able to take on a much more horrific form, that of a massive draconic figure composed entirely of the bones of countless species. In this form, Grimrose exudes an overwhelming aura of raw, primal terror, and has a breath weapon that takes the form of a cone of pure, killing fear, both effects so powerful that they can affect even things that normally lack emotions.

Description of Nature, Personality, and Dogma:
Smiling Death is the title that Grimrose likes best, and it suits the nature of Grimrose, who has a most interesting (some would say "sick and twisted") sense of humor. Besides this, Grimrose is known by all as charming, witty, knowledgeable, endearing, and personable. It is only a shame that one usually has to die in order to meet such an easy to like and thoroughly pleasant person. As for Grimrose, the Pale One enjoys the work of collecting the souls of the dead at the moment of death itself, because this provides Grimrose with the opportunity to meet a wide variety of interesting individuals. For Grimrose, however impersonal the manner of death itself might have been, everyone who comes into the Pale One's care always receives the best of care on their way to points beyond the pale.

As for dogma, Grimrose is quite laid back. Those who worship Grimrose are expected to treat the dead with respect, including the undead. While Grimrose understands the need at times to do battle with the undead (though Grimrose would personally prefer it if mortals allowed themselves to die a little more easily than they do), proper care and respect is still expected in the treatment of the resulting corpse, however mutilated it might be. Necromancers who animate the undead are expected to treat their servants with similar respect, and those who do not have an unfortunate tendency to have their mindless servitors suddenly turn against them at the most inopportune times.

Clergy, Places of Worship, Important Rituals, and Servitor Races:
All clerics of Grimrose are involved in the rituals of death in some fashion. The native witch doctor who comforts the bereaved and allows the spirits of the dead to speak to the living through his body for short periods can be just as much a cleric of Grimrose as an undertaker who buries the dead and makes sure the undead don't rise from their graves, or a foul necromancer who creates more of the undead whenever possible. Grimrose can choose clerics at any stage of their lives; all that is required is a deep interest in the process of aging and its eventual results. Those who are chosen by Grimrose take on an ashen pallor to their skin to mark them as chosen by death, and sometimes other features of the dead as well, though this can be more or less extreme depending on the individual.

Though Grimrose is not a terribly well-liked deity among mortals, mortals nevertheless frequently pay homage to the Pale One, mostly so as to keep Grimrose away for as long as possible and to prevent the undead from tormenting the living. The single most important rituals for followers of Grimrose are funerals and all the related preparations of the dead, and Grimrose demands strict attention to detail in preparing the dead. Grimrose recognizes the four elemental forms of burial. Air's burial is the burial of exposure, leaving the dead out in a high place to be eaten by the birds (an act which also endears those who follow it to the Morrigan). The burial of earth is just that: a burial, or some other form of internment in a tomb, mausoleum, or some other structure. Burial by water is a wake, letting the dead be buried beneath the waves, either on a boat or by being sunk with weights attached in the depths of the sea. To be buried by fire is to be cremated, with the corpse and all mortal effects reduced to ashes. In all of these burials, sweet honey cakes and obulus, or coins of the dead, are included with everything else, as Grimrose is known to have a sweet tooth, and appreciates mortal recognition with that most essential of mortal concerns: money.

All undead recognize Grimrose's sovereignity, and none dare challenge the one who allows them continued existence. Extraplanar undead are especially powerful servitors, especially Nightshades and Greater Shadows. Marraenoloths, the ferrymen of the River Styx, are also known to serve Grimrose.

History and Relations:
When there was the first mortal, Grimrose was born shortly thereafter of Bahamut and Tiamat, to patiently wait out the lifespans of those first mortal creatures. By and large, Grimrose remains disconnected from the foibles of the rest of the gods. Few of them like Grimrose very much, in no small part thanks to the Pale One's tendency to allow and even promote the spread of undeath, but at the same time Grimrose is a very charming individual, and few gods find it in them to really hate the First Necromancer.

The title "First Necromancer" is actually a misnomer. The Dark One was the first real necromancer, the first one to violate the laws of life and death and bring the corporeal undead into the world of Therafim. However, Grimrose is the first necromancer to do so with divine sanction, and is certainly far better at it than even the Dark One, so the title is appropriate. Still, Grimrose feels a certain degree of resentfulness towards the Dark One for thinking of undead first, and Grimrose's worshipers actively seek out enclaves of the Dark One, then direct followers of other gods towards them, if they do not clean them out themselves. Additionally, Grimrose has an especial dislike of the Nightmare King, because both gods make use of the River Styx, and occasionally compete for space and transported souls.

Grimrose fills an essential part of the pentad of deities that involve themselves with the collection, judgement, and disposition of the souls of mortals. Grimrose fills the role of collecting mortal souls upon death, while Talus, Nimbus, and Hawl judge those souls, and Sin Eater tends to them after judgement, whether for good or ill or something in between. These five gods all have a reasonable working relationship, and have been known to have a more than professional relationship at times. Of course, Grimrose is known as Smiling Death for a reason, and can be rather lax when it comes to collecting the souls of the dead, provided that the souls in question do not really want to be collected. Mortals with sufficient ties to the mortal realm can convince Grimrose to let them stay as incorporeal undead, though few of them remember this conversation which takes place at the moment of death. For this reason, Talus tends to be constantly annoyed at Grimrose for holding up the process of justice, though neither Nimbus nor Hawl really mind, and Sin Eater, of course, is well beyond caring about such matters.

Of all the gods, Grimrose is known to have a deep relationship with Baba Yaga. The full extent and nature of this relationship is not known, and it is generally considered highly unwise to try to find out. Grimrose is also in an on-again, off-again relationship with the Morrigan, mostly because of the Morrigan's fickle nature, though Grimrose is known to be in almost constant pursuit of the Bitch of Battles. Sometimes she even lets Grimrose catch her.

Favored Offerings and Justifications for Direct Intervention:
It is a longstanding tradition to offer Grimrose sweet honey cakes and a pair of coins (called obolus, or, singularly, obul). Obulus can be of much greater worth than normal coins, some of the more elaborate ones being works of art in themselves. According to tradition, the cake is placed in the mouth of a corpse, and the coins are placed on the eyes. It is considered very bad luck to disturb the obulus or the cake, and it is very common for those who do so to become ghouls on their deaths.

Grimrose is a very busy god, and so it is almost unheard of the Pale One to take time out to meddle directly in the affairs of those who will eventually be a part of Grimrose's work schedule anyway. Still, Grimrose is known to have a sense of humor (most would call it somewhere between morbid and outright sick), and can occasionally be persuaded to prolong someone's life if doing so should prove especially amusing to Smiling Death. Grimrose is also known to be fairly casual about sharing the secrets of undeath, and those seeking that state can almost always get sufficient casual assistance from Grimrose to achieve their desires. Few appreciate what they obtain; this is just another of Smiling Death's little jokes.