Tale Of Ansel Smith, Necromancer
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Where do I begin? Do I begin at the night of the event? Is that where you'd like it? For me to be quick and concise, cutting out extraneous details? Or do I begin at my birth? The first time I drew breath? Would that allow me to give a more complete account of what occurred? No. It's deeper than that. To fully describe what happened, I'd need to talk about Julia. I'd need to talk about her life history too. But it'd be still more complicated. Sorry for rambling, but when you've seen what I have, you're allowed to ramble on a bit.

I'm a necromancer. That's the best place to start. I know it's not the most obvious or respected occupation, but it's mine. Honestly, the illusionists and giftschreibers enslave people's minds and no one blinks an eye at them, but you touch one corpse and everyone believes that you're meddling in things Man Was Not Meant To Know. Well, necromancy isn't like that at all. Completely different. Actually, if I'm going to tell this story, I'll need to clear up a few misconceptions.

Making a corpse walk around? Zombies? That's not necromancy. It's animation, not reanimation. Anyone with a spark of Power can force a body to move in a way that it's not supposed to, but they can do the same to a desk, a horse, or any other mundane object. Bah. Moreover, speaking to ghosts or similar rubbish also isn't necromancy, it's spectromancy, a completely different field of magic. No. Necromancy is not in the detritus that a human leaves behind when they are dead, nor is it in the imprint that some determined few leave upon the world. Instead, necromancy is an … in between state. It's about the brief interludes between life and death and forcing them to meet.

The power involved is tremendous, even for a short period, but if you do it properly, you can nail a mind back into the body which is once inhabited. Temporarily the dead can live again, or more than live. That sense when they open their eyes for the first time and see that they're back, truly back is something that's always stuck with me throughout my work. It's more than a job well done. Granted, if you botch it, results can be anywhere from a simple failure to something so horrifying you'd need to call some Obliviators to burn the site of the incident to the ground and salt the remains with Blessed Bone, but there's always risks when trying to part the veil between two worlds. But mostly, necromancy is a quiet magic that can do a lot of good in the world. 99% of what you've heard about us is wrong and you're an uneducated idiot who knows little to nothing about my field of work. Got that? Good.

Glad that we got that out of the way. Now, I operate out of a small shop in Givelton. The neighborhood leaves something to be desired, but the rent's cheap enough and the reputation scares away most potential hooligans or criminals. I live in a flat above the shop, alone. Jacob, my son, he's moved out long ago and doesn't want to see me ever again. My fault for that. I've tried to keep tabs on him. He's got a nice job as a librarian at the Miskatonic University. Pretty wife. Two daughters. He's happy and far away from all this. Meanwhile, my wife died 2 years back and it's never been the same. Of course, I could speak to her whenever I wanted but… I wouldn't do that. Reanimation is something for strangers, not someone you loved for 40 years. I shouldn't think in such a provincial way, but I do.

Well, back to the night of the event. It all started three days earlier, when Julia Williams came into my shop. She was dressed all in black, which wasn't exactly uncommon among my clientele, but there was something off about her. She didn't have the look of a widow. Too young, perhaps? Maybe it the barely healed scratched on her arms that she tried to hide under her dress. Or maybe it was that sickly sweet floral scent that surrounded her. I work with corpses all day and it turned my nose. But you don't really ask much about the business of your patrons, not if you want them to pay you. So, when she entered my shop, I brewed some tea and sat her down into my sitting room. I shouldn't have done that.

She said she wanted me to bring back her husband, Lyle. Said he'd died a few months prior, so it should be easy. Of course, the date of death has no real impact on the ritual, so this was another sign she had no idea what she was doing. I nodded my head and said I could certainly arrange that. I asked her how her husband had died and she looked at me strangely. Somewhere half between a stare and a grimace. I hurried on from there, explaining the costs, materials necessary, and what have you. We haggled for a bit. In the end, she offered me a staggeringly high sum for what should be only a few days of work and we had an appointment set up.

Now, if you want to bring someone back, you'll need a few objects with a high resonance for the summoned. Some of their substance, maybe a few bones or some blood. Teeth. The complete corpse is ideal, but it's hardly necessary. A few knick-knacks the deceased owned, some of their prized possessions and that takes care of the spiritual aspect of it. Then you'll need an energy source to ground the target to the world. A red crystal is what I've always used. Like I've said, the power involved is rather high, so you should take a few days off to meditate and gather your energy within yourself. With a job as easy as I thought it would be, I took two days before contacting her with the information she gave.

When she came back into my shop, she seemed apprehensive, but also… happy in a way? I took that to mean that she was pleased she'd be able to see her spouse again. She hadn't wanted to give me his body until it was time, probably scared I'd bugger it or something, I don't know. But she came in with a large suitcase and then poured the contents of it onto the floor. Inside were bones. Old, white, sharp bones. They were roughly in the shape of a man, but I couldn't tell you. For all my expertise with cadavers, I tend to work with the flesh still intact. Makes it easier. But, this seemed to be good enough and I began the spell, chanting in the language of the Elder Rhy's.

If you've never witnessed a necromantic ritual before, let me explain some of the odd sensations you may feel. The room will definitely begin to get colder as the heat and energy of the room, totems of life, are fed into the ritual circle, a totem of death. Other, more esoteric signals, such as the sounds of singing, fog, and feelings of uncontrollable sorrow have also been reported, but do not appear in every ritual. I believe that all of these are side effects of the logistics of actually opening a portal to the netherworld. I was used to such phenomena, so I did not falter. However, Julia definitely did. I saw her shivering, weeping, and frantically scratching up her arms again, opening up old wounds. The first seemed odd, as I had explicitly advised her to wear a heavy coat, which she was.

But then, I concluded. This would be about the time that the bones would begin to heal themselves for a period and a pleased, albeit surprised Lyle Williams would have been called here. It wasn't human. It was like we had taken a human and removed every aspect of warmth or familiarity with a person and turned it into a creature that was designed to main and kill and break. Have you ever seen lycanthropes? Of course you have. Suffice to say that this thing was as removed from lycanthropes as they are from us, normal people. There were bones jutting out of its limbs and torso, now thick and heavy and dripping with some red fluid. As Julia beheld the thing, I cannot adequately describe the horror and surprise upon her face. I shall not dwell upon such things. She called her husband's name and the thing made a creaking rattling sound that I believe was meant to be hers. Then it tore her to shreds with a ferocity I have never seen equaled in all my life. The thing broke her apart in every way it could, slashing her to pieces, breaking her bones and stomping upon her face and torso. It was so engaged in its decimation of her person that it barely noticed as I ran out of the room and slammed the door behind me. It was solid iron, as is mandated by Law, inscribed with runes to ward against evil. It barely slowed Lyle down.

It wanted to kill me. I've looked into death a thousand times, but never like this. I'd never really contemplated what would happen after I died. After my soul had left the beyond and the beast had pierced my heart and lungs. I've never really believed that necromancers go to Hell, but I could find it in my heart to believe it now. With a few more banging and clawing sounds, Lyle had almost broken the door down and I could see its slavering face through the hole it had made. Given the amount of terror I was in, I believe I behaved admirably and with an effective solution. Of course, if I were really admirable, I wouldn't have done the ritual in the first place.

Like I said, anyone with even a spark of Power can animate a body and I certainly have enough for what I did. I dispersed my Will in all directions, calling the dead to aid me. Every single cadaver in my shop, cooled and preserved for use stood up and rushed the thing, trying to cut it off from me. Bellows and cries echoed and hurt my ears as the two sides battled. It came from the thing which had been Lyle. The dead don't talk. Even with the weight of numbers, even with the power of undeath on their side, I think Lyle was winning. It was tearing its way through the old tough meat and wanted something softer and juicier, with the blood still running inside it. Me.

I knew that I had no time. I knew I was going to die. I knew that what I had done was one of the greatest failures in my career and I knew that I had no alternative. I burned my shop down to the ground and I waited and waited and waited for the sounds of pain and screaming to end. It took a long time before that happened. After that, I called up Jacob and told him I needed a place to stay. He was apprehensive at first, but when your father is in a state of panic and desperately begging for help, you don't deny him what aid you can render. I'm living in America now, with him. It's much louder and more violent than back home, but at least I got the chance to reconnect with him again. Jacob hasn't asked me what happened and I haven't answered.

The thing that haunts me about the whole scenario isn't the deaths. It isn't even the look on Julia's face as she beheld the thing her husband had become. It's not even her husband. It's the ritual itself. Of course, such a tragedy is to be expected from a failed reanimation spell, but I know that what I had done was perfect. I've done the same spell a thousand times and I triple checked my work that day. There was no error in what I did. I successfully brought back the thing I was meant to bring back. I know I did. I know that thing had to have been Lyle Williams. And yet.

I've only been back to Givelton once, to check on the bones. They were perfectly preserved, although not moving anymore. I drowned them in the Abyssal Sea. I hope they never come back up again. I hope no bones ever come up again. I'm not a necromancer anymore. I don't even want to be. I know that the dead are nothing to be afraid of, but I've seen proof that's not the case. If there's more things like Lyle Williams out there, I don't want to hear about them, much less call them back into the mortal plane. I think that's everything. May my story profit you in some way. It definitely has not profited me.

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