Risen is a term used to describe a wraith that has managed to return to its body to walk among the living in the Skinlands. For want of a better term, Risen are almost zombies, however without the slow gait, decaying flesh, or need to eat brains. To become a Risen is one of the closest guarded secrets in the Shadowlands; however, with help, it can be done.
Risen are essentially the walking dead, but not in the typical horror vein. Most Risen actually look human. Those who died in a spectacular fashion that resulted in heavy wounding will have heavy scarring where those wounds were, as if they had survived and managed to heal the damage. Risen can talk normally, unless their larynx was damaged before or during their death, and can move normally, unless they are missing limbs. There are a rare few Risen who were decapitated and have since regained their bodies; these generally have the hardest time fitting in.
The oldest Risen is considered to be Persephone; it is with her that the secrets of inhabiting a body were discovered, though how she actually did it is up for much debate.
For the cultures of the Shadowlands, the Risen are considered a number of different things. In the eyes of the Hierarchy, they are of course criminals as their actions violate the Dictum Mortuum. The Renegades, on the other hand, tend to support and use the Risen. Many prominent gangs have a contact or ally with at least one Risen. The Heretics are split across a wide range of beliefs, from believing the practice of Rising to be blasphemy against God to it being a religious experience in and of itself.
Of any group, however, the Puppeteers Guild are associated most closely with the Risen. They will willingly train wraiths in Puppetry and tell them the secrets of Rising in special “boot camps.” Officially, this is the Guild’s strange attempt at preventing the takeover of Oblivion. They reason that a Risen is more likely to resolve Fetters, and while in the flesh they can improve the world of the living so that less die with the weight and despair that makes them into a wraith in the first place. Unfortunately, this rarely happens; instead many Risen become possessed by their Shadows and very unpleasant things result. Many suspect the true agenda of the Puppeteers is to provide them with agents in the Skinlands who can destroy Fetters or do other favors for the Guild.
One of the most frequent ways a Risen will attempt to fit in is to pass themselves off as a vampire. As they are pale, pulseless, and can even acquire knowledge of the basic Disciplines, this generally works. Occasionally, a Risen will give their true identities away; they will refuse to drink blood or react poorly to it or reveal they can go out in sunlight. Some Risen actually acquire vampiric allies in this fashion who, in turn, will help them protect their Fetters and other things of importance.