The Lost

The Lost are broken. A symptom of a world growing increasingly unfit for civilized life, each Lost is a person who has succumbed to the Long Winter's rotting of the land in a different way: some have endured atrocities, others have encountered unfathomable horrors, and others simply come undone one day for no readily apparent reason. No matter their origins, Lost can no longer properly function in society. Becoming Lost is an irreversible process.

Whether or not a Lost is allowed to remain in their city, village, or similar social group varies from culture to culture and is strongly influenced by whether or not they pose a threat to others. Those Lost not fortunate enough to be cared for by friends or loved ones wander the wilderness, usually choosing territory close to their former homes. Sites of metaphysical significance easily attract Lost, as well. Those who live on the mainland tend to drift towards the remains of the various relur nations, while those living in Moorva prefer ancient shrines or the ruins of livathi artifacts. "Wild" Lost only live for long in places with access to ample food, water, and shelter and may become increasingly dangerous the longer they go without. It is not unusual for travelers to be attacked by groups of hungry Lost.

It varies from Lost to Lost as to how they behave in any given situation, with some being violent and others catatonic, and a rare few oscillating between these extremes. This may not be an obvious change, either, with some caretakers having a once-gentle family member suddenly turning on them in the space of an hour. Even the most peaceful Lost is viewed as a potential animal that must be put down; this puts obvious stress on those who task themselves with tending to one or more Lost. Also straining is the fact that Lost have little remaining self-preservation instincts and can engage in destructive behaviors like staying outdoors in bad weather or walking directly into the sea.

A Lost loses most, if not all, of their language skills, and generally cannot learn other ways to communicate; while they can still perform simple tasks on their own, such as eating food or opening doors, Lost have extreme difficulty with concepts like tools, weapons, and clothing. Simply because they have lost most of their means—and, arguably, will—to communicate does not mean they are incapable of action, however. Lost may create odd works of art from existing media (such as shaping clay, smearing paint on stone, or arranging objects in deliberate patterns), mutilate themselves, or vocalize wordlessly to make music. Lost cannot craft items in a traditional sense and risk hurting themselves if required to handle sharp, hot, or heavy objects. While they may engage in a single activity, such as staring at the sky or circling a lake, for hours on end, Lost are generally unable to learn new concepts beyond animal levels of comprehension such as recognizing sources of food or people who have hurt or frightened them.

Lost dress only in whatever remains of what they had on when they changed, though any being actively cared for by others are likely to be kept in cleaner clothing. Some Lost have roamed the wilds so long that they're effectively naked. If they carry any tools or coin it's usually a remnant from their old lives. It can be difficult to tell Lost from cultists, bandits, or similar antagonists from a distance and each year sees multiple Lost casualties due to cases of mistaken identity.

Some groups, especially those with mystical affiliations, view Lost as prophets or links to the invisible world, and will take in those Lost they find in hopes of learning from them. They are not above kidnapping Lost from caretakers in pursuit of greater wisdom.

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