“Oh,” Çrom said, feeling a little more certain of his footing. “You mean, can I be transformed into a Vampire or a Werewolf or a Ghast or a Bojunkle? Stuff like that?” the Black Lotus looked interested, so Çrom shrugged and nodded. “Sure, I’ve done my share of all that.”
“It’s not as fascinating as you’re making it sound,” he said regretfully. “Most flavours of undead are natural state-changes, like you were saying – they’re basically next-level diseases for next-level civilisations. Or for civilisations that have just gone and gotten themselves in a big nasty mess,” he added judiciously. “Let’s see. Zombieism basically just kills me and I wake up normal. Lucky me. Vampirism is a bit nicer, I don’t degenerate into the shambling drone-type so I get to flash my teeth and look cool but after a couple of weeks unable to digest food and apparently unable to live on blood, I die in unspeakable gastric distress and wake up normal. Same for the Ghast and Ghoul and Gh’miscellaneous varieties, their dietary requirements are…” he glanced automatically at his bowl of soup. “Werewolves live about as long as it takes for them to exuberantly rip out the plump pulsing throat of somebody remotely important. I could go on, but the short version is pretty much all the different ways humans can be turned undead are shitty. It is a malady, after all.”
“What about the higher forms?” the Black Lotus asked intently.
Çrom chuckled. “Never found a God willing to turn me into an Angel,” he said. “Maybe I should take you with me and threaten a few of Them, eh?”
The Black Lotus pursed her lips. “You were cursed by the dread Ghåålus,” she said, suddenly all business as though she had gathered all the information she needed and was now ready to deliver her findings, “and there are but three things that can undo the work of an Infinite.”
Çrom raised one finger wearily. “Another Infinite,” he said. “Tried Them all, except the fucker who actually did this to me because why would I waste my time crying and grovelling to Him? Next.”
“Two,” the Black Lotus raised two fingers. “A Fweig,” she continued.
“Only certain Fweig,” Çrom replied. “I’ve spoken to Them, and only a few have any capacity to rival the Infinites. And they are all very specific abilities, not general power or authority. Of that tiny fraction, only a tiny fraction again have Infinite-rivalling abilities even remotely relevant to my needs. I didn’t, for example, find a Ghåålus-curse-removing Fweig during my delightful stay on Zentar.”
“And They are not willing to go against the Master of all Adversity and Atrocity,” the Black Lotus guessed.
“Wouldn’t you know it, they’re not,” Çrom said. “On account of Him being Their Master and all,” he twirled his hand. “And three?”
“The Maze,” the Black Lotus replied in a low, portent-addled whisper.
Çrom sighed. “Right. Of course.”