In our upcoming comic, Chronicles of the Immortal Swordsmen, we are going to be diving right into the mystical world of the immortals. But what are immortals? Are they zombies, vampires, faeries, elves, dragons, gods?
None of these are what we mean when we talk about immortals in wuxia. In the context of wuxia stories, immortals are human beings who have trained (or cultivated) their bodies and minds to a point of transcendence, where they reach the border between heaven and earth. Even before they ascend, those who are training to become immortals will have surpassed the need for food, the need for sleep, and will no longer be subject to the effects of the elements, or will no longer age.
One way to think of them would be like the demigods in Greek mythology, who sometimes ascend to be minor gods after their trials in life. But rather than ascending to heaven by virtue of who your parents slept with, immortals ascend through many, many long years of grueling training, effort, meditation, and self-reflection.
Like many pantheons in Western myths, these immortals can often cross back and forth between heaven and earth once they have ascended. In some stories, immortals will willingly enter the cycle of reincarnation, becoming mortal again to help others overcome trials, or help others in the path of ascension. In Chronicles of the Immortal Swordsmen, a small group of immortals has been tasked with protecting the earth…but from what is something you’ll have to read and find out!