The Liminal Exalted, also called Children of the Soil, or Chernozem, were first briefly mentioned in the sourcebook Masters of Jade, where they were noted as being associated with reanimation and corpses, and said to be ghost hunters and sorcerer-exorcists, who were caught between the realms of death and life. They received a short write-up in the Exalted Third Edition Rulebook, outlining their nature, their Aspects, and how they are created. They will be described in full further into Exalted Third Edition.
These Exalted come into existence when someone attempts one of the few truly impossible feats in Creation: bringing back the dead. On rare occasion, the fervor of these attempts attracts the attention of the 'dark mother', an ancient entity that dwells in the Underworld. Something rises, but 'not the one who died'...
The Chernozem exist in an eerie state between life and death, but unlike the Abyssal Exalted, they actually are creatures of Creation, not of the Underworld. Normally, they look completely human, but if they spend too much Essence the full horror of their nature is made visible to observers, shaped by the Liminal's Aspect - Soil Aspects look to be ancient corpses freshly risen from the earth, Blood Aspects are pale as the grave, with eyes red as blood and brackish water dripping from lips and fingertips, and so on. When their animas manifest, they are similarly disturbing and unsettling.
Like the Lunar Exalted, Liminals can cannibalize human beings to gain new options. However, whereas a Lunar ritually consumes heartsblood to gain a new form, the Liminal cuts the corpse up and swaps organs or appendages with it. If a Chernozem wants better sight (and possible sight-related Charms), they take someone's eyeballs.
The Liminal Exalted are thematically inspired by Frankenstein's Monster, and might borrow some elements from Promethean: The Created. They are different from Alchemical Exalted in that an Alchemical is an artificial being with a human soul that must struggle not to lose that humanity to Clarity, whereas a Chernozem is truly a whole new creature that was technically never human. Liminal Exalted start as social freaks, new to human interaction; if the Chernozem wishes to live among humans as a human, they need to learn how.
The natures of the Liminal Exalted are governed by one of five aspects of life and death, as dictated by the passions of their creation:
- Flesh: Born of Rage, Madness and Vengeance.
- Blood: Born of Passion, Greed and Ambition.
- Marrow: Born of Curiosity and Obsession.
- Breath: Born of Regret and Repentance.
- Soil: Born of Sorrow, Despair and Yearning.
Born from madness and death, the Liminal Exalted exist uneasily in the world of the living. Every Liminal must either struggle to find acceptance among mortals who fear and abhor their uncanny powers, or choose to abandon such notions and embrace a vagabond existence, but if they surrender to despair they may end up as another monster for their kin to hunt.
However, every Liminal Exalted has an indelible link to their creator, forever linked by dreams, nightmares, and insights, no matter how distant they travel. This bond may serve as a source of comfort or torment to both, but is an essential anchor. Should the creator expire, the Liminal Exalted must forge a new bond with another living soul or slide into necrosis and monstrosity.
- to be created rather than born.
- to have a strange, powerful, patchwork body.
- to explore what it means to be human, and alive.
- to hunt the dead who walk among the living.
For those who choose to view a connection between the Age of Sorrows and the World of Darkness, where the Abyssals are analogous to vampires and wraiths, who exist on the other side of the barrier between life and death, the Liminal Exalted resemble more the Frankenstein-like Prometheans or the Risen, who have turned the touch of death into a semblance of new life.