This is the story of a bird.
Once, a long time ago, this bird sat on the left shoulder of death and, other than for the reaper’s steed, was Death’s only companion. Together, the rider the bird and the horse went out into the world and hunted for souls to take to the afterlife. The reaper and his steed knew only this duty, but the bird was prideful and greedy. It begged Death to give it souls of its own to hold dominion over.
Death refused, but the bird persisted, cawing in the reaper’s ear incessantly. Eventually, even Death’s patience was exhausted and, in a rage, Death cast the bird down into the shadowy space between the world of mortal men and the afterlife. It gave the bird dominion only over those incomplete souls could not move on to the next world and who were trapped in limbo as ghosts, spectres, and phantoms.
The bird, for its part, was also enraged. It grew capricious, cruel, and spiteful and hatched a plan to swell the ranks of its own kingdom at the expense of Death itself.
It became a spectral thing itself and, haunting the minds of wronged men, the bird taught mankind how to seek vengeance. It remade itself from an avatar of death into an avatar of bloody murder and revenge and vowed to one day become master of all of the dead.
That bird became the Magpye, and this is its story.