“Ghosts of the Night” and “Death Stealers”. These and many more titles are given to the Phantom Rider. This race of air elementals is considered the “cleanup crew” of the elemental world. They are constantly moving about and collecting dead bodies.
No-one knows the reason why since they haven’t found any communities where the Phantom Riders exist or anyone who knows of one. All that is known is that, sometime after the death of an elemental, the rider comes in, absorbs the body into the mount and then leaves. It is claimed that there is a rustling sound like leaves on the wind and a blast of chill air. At that moment, most people see a mist in the shape of a rider and a lion swoop in and envelope the body. Suddenly the body is gone and so is the cold.
From what can be pieced together from accounts, the riders seem to come in, collect the dead and then transport them to paying customers but, as much as all information that surrounds this race, nothing is known for sure. The rumors, though, speak quite a bit of the race.
Apparently, they are a fairly happy and competitive race. When someone dies, they get some sort of signal of it. It is surmised that Death may be silently communicating with them. Once that happens, the race is on. Since there are so many deaths in the world, it’s not a matter of getting to the body fast enough. It’s a matter of collecting as many bodies as they can. The more bodies that they collect, the faster and stronger they become. It is a matter of pride in their community.
Once the bodies are collected, those that are not sold to various wizards and collectors are dissolved. The Phantom Riders seem to consume something internal to the bodies and the rest of the flesh is dissolved and returned to the earth. The items collected are then stored in several locations or sold to the collectors and wizards who hired them.
For those who have claimed that they have met and talked with a Phantom rider, it is known that they are a fairly quite race to strangers. Once they, supposedly, get to know you, they are pretty open and happy. They seem to understand better the concept of Death more so than the rest of the races on Ozul.
It should be noted that people who have claimed to have met them and befriended them are generally thought to be unreliable.
Although there is no reliable account of anyone who has actually fought or captured a Phantom Rider, several things can be determined about combat with them.
Being an air elemental and extremely swift, they would probably use that to their advantage. They have never been seen with any form of weapon, so the most probable attack would be to come in, absorb the enemy and then leave with them in tow.
This seems very credible since a cold blast of air always follows them before they show up. It’s possible that the cold air renders an opponent somewhat neutralized. Even if the opponent wasn’t disabled, there is a good chance that any strikes against the Phantom Rider would be useless since they can immediately shift parts of their body to air or mist.
Image Size: 11” wide x 14” tall
Original Pencil Drawing on Bristol Paper
Signed by Doug Hoppes (artist)
Provided with separate Bainbridge Clay Coated Archival Foam Board (1/8” thickness)