Congratulations, recently departed soul! The Fates have deemed you worthy of being a Reaper. If you believe this judgement to be in error, place one (1) coin under each of your eyelids, and speak aloud the words “Memento Mori” three (3) times. You will be escorted to Styx and proceed to the afterlife with no memory of having read these words. If, instead, you wish to become a Reaper, you need only read on. By continuing to read after this sentence, you hereby consent to serve as a Reaper for any interval of time demanded by The Fates, finite or otherwise, during which you will obey all rules and regulations implied by service as a Reaper, under penalty of ironic torment.
Excellent! We are sure you have many questions, and The Reaper’s Handbook was written for the very purpose of answering them. Invariably, the first question asked by new Reapers is the most obvious one: “Just what is a Reaper?” An entire handbook could be devoted to the nuance and subtleties of this question alone; there are as many answers to this question as there are entities who understand it. That is, admittedly, not a terribly large amount in the grand scheme of things, but for the purposes of this introduction, one simple answer will suffice. And the simple answer is that Reapers are those who kill mortals. The mortals think death is something that they have control over, with their knives, and their poisons, and their guns, and their bombs, but they are wrong. These things only determine when the mortal is Due. Death, the actual separation of the immortal spirit from the mortal flesh, can only be carried out by a Reaper*. By a being like yourself.
*Though the term “Reaper” is commonly used only to describe those employed specifically to kill mortals, there is some debate over whether the term also includes any with the power to do so, Including, but not limited to, The Fates, some higher ranking Bureau officials, and the so-called “Rogue Reapers”. Throughout this handbook, the word “Reaper” is assumed to mean an employee of The Bureau of Death whose primary job is to directly facilitate the death of mortals, unless otherwise specified.