For many thousands of years the dead have been. Before the elves learned common tongue, and before barbarians sported proud tattoos of many battles won - even before Norrath began, death was.
Bodies rotting and covered in maggots lay everywhere. A foul stench filled the valleys and rose to the hilltops, and even with my leather helm and a cloth scarf I was unable to smell ill else but death.
Adventuring was only for the strong of stomache. Only disease and death awaited any brave enough to leave their towns. Ere, even I hesitated when leaving the safety and sweet smells of my once-beloved birthplace Castleview.
For many hundreds of years before naught a Mortician the unfortunate dead and unburied became entranced in evil magicks that trapped their souls forever in Norrath.
Rotted corpses rose from the ground as skeletons who tried to kill all, and zombies were cursed to walk and attack passers-by forever. Ghosts were plentiful, and none were friendly.
I went for help to the powerful priests who had trained in the ways of the fury when I was young. They told me a story of a fabled cure, and foretold the coming of a magical shovel that could bury the dead forever.
They taught me how to make a holy water that could bless the earth and a how to chisel a headstone that kept the dead in their coffins. They explained an afterlife in Valhalla, heaven for all the warriors of Norrath, and peace for all souls, forever.
When the next great storm approached, I was directed to have the town smith craft a shovel made of an odd rare metal - a feysteel I had found by sheer accident in the enchanted lands.
Thirteen powerful priests gathered outside in the rain and harnessed the power of lightening and cast it into the shovel. This was how the new year began, this was when my life changed forever. It was this day in history Morticians were born - it was this day Norrath was forever changed.
There were few Morticians in the early days, but the news of our power over death grew and so did we. Norrath became more friendly. We walked the earth together. Swords in our scabbards, a shovel over our rights shoulder.
We were a happy group then, and it was then the whistling began. In the early days the whistle was a signal to others the coast was clear. Later Morticians whistled because it cheered them to stack up the many bodies of hostile mobs, and make Norrath safer for many. Alas this happiness did not last...
Some Morticians became full of their successes, and started getting fat and complacent, death was no challenge for our shovels or swords, and a cruel season fell upon us. Some forgot how we had changed Norrath, and were lured away by the flower sellers to work in the markets for plat. Others became knights and told tales of the profitable mayhem their raiding of crypts and dungeons brought to them.
The whistling stopped, we became few, and I could feel my hatred of the lights of Qeynos growing like a vile seed within me. I went one last time to Castleview, and cheered as I spit in a fountain.
I took comfort in the city of hate, and laughed as the foul dead went unburied and plagues spread through Norrath.
I was at my loom weaving clothes for plats when a messenger told me of a new shovel, made of then unknown metal called incarnadine. It was then I heard the voices of the unburied and cursed call to me.
It was then once more that the Mortician became a popular hero. It was then more brothers and sisters picked up the shovel and joined me. It was then the whistling started again...and has not stopped since.