Abyssal Exalted, also called deathknights, are the champions of the Deathlords and their Neverborn masters. The Abyssal Exalted have only recently appeared, and appear to be dark reflections of the returned Solar Exalted, with twisted mockeries of the Solars' caste marks, animas and even Charms. They are a form of Exalted created from the corrupted Sparks of Exaltation of Solar Exalted. Abyssals are arguably as powerful as the Solars, but are constrained by operating largely in a hostile environment (Creation) and by their enslavement to the Deathlords.
The Abyssals have five castes, which correspond to the castes of the Solar Exalted. While the Solar castes represent the path of the sun through the sky, Abyssal castes represent an inversion of this process.
- Dusk: The Dusk caste are the generals and warriors of the Abyssal Exalted. They can channel Essence into their anima to appear more terrifying.
- Midnight: The Midnight caste are the priests and leaders of the Abyssal Exalted. Midnight castes can channel their Essence to force the dead to rise as undead.
- Daybreak: The Daybreak caste are sorcerers, scholars and savants. They can channel their essence for damage resistance.
- Day: The Day caste are the assassins and spies of the Abyssals. They can channel their Essence for anima concealment.
- Moonshadow: The Moonshadow caste are the diplomats of the Abyssals. They can channel essence to sanctify oaths, invoking a curse on oathbreakers. In addition, Moonshadow castes can learn any Charm, regardless of source.
Abyssal Exalted are chosen by their Deathlords; when an individual of an auspicious fate is close to death, a Deathlord can contact that individual and offer them Exaltation. If they choose Exaltation, that person is then converted into an Abyssal in service to that Deathlord. Abyssal Exaltation is consequently the most personal of all Exaltations, and Abyssals have far more personal contact with their patrons than most other Exalted—Whether they like it or not.
Abyssal Exaltation is an oath of service, and the fundamental price that an Abyssal pays is their own name. Upon Exaltation, an Abyssal Exalted loses their name and replaces it with a title in imitation of their deathlord masters.
Because Abyssal Exalted are corrupted Solars, Solars can be converted into Abyssals through a special Necromancy spell. It is also theoretically possible for an Abyssal to be redeemed and turned into a Solar Exalted, but this has not happened in the canonical setting.
Abyssal Exaltation depends on a specific artifact, the Monstrance of Celestial Portion, which holds the corrupted Spark of Exaltation. The Monstrance serves as a special hold the Deathlord has on the Abyssal, since as long as the Deathlord has the Monstrance, he can easily locate the Abyssal through it.
Abyssal Exalted are mirrors or reflections of the Solar Exalted. Their abilities consequently reflect Solar abilities, although they are generally more terrifying or violent. Most notably, Abyssals have access to the most powerful circles of Necromancy in the same way that Solars have access to the most powerful circles of Sorcery.
In addition, Abyssals are able to gain Essence through consuming flesh and blood; this is necessary in Creation, as they do not gain Essence naturally there.
Abyssal Appearance is Essence driven; as an Abyssal's Essence rises, they become steadily more beautiful or more ugly, reflecting a particular image of death.
In contrast to the Great Curse, Abyssals suffer from Resonance. To the extent the Neverborn can be said to be aware in their current condition, dead and broken as they are, they hold an abhorrance for all life, and consequently demand their followers do the same. Whenever an Abyssal commits a sin against the bidding of their Neverborn patron, they gain a measure of Resonance. This Resonance can vent in spectacular outbursts that can turn entire areas into swaths of shadowland, manifest as ghostly appearances, or even crippling effects that target the Abyssal themself.
Abyssal Exalted have only been in existence for 5 years, dating back to the opening of the Jade Prison by the Deathlords. Since that time, they have served as aides and warlords for their masters, replacing the Nemissaries who formerly had this responsibility.
- Prince of Shadows, prominent Abyssal NPC.
- Maiden of the Mirthless Smile, Dusk caste Abyssal, zombie covergirl.