Necromancy. For many, it is too dread a word to even utter in the most whispered of conversations. It entails dark dealings with the devil, twisted and sadistic rituals and sacrifices, and a complete disregard for all semblance of human life. It is scowled upon by the authority and the church, and for the most part a necromancer will spend his entire life alone… silently performing experiments and recording the results. However, no one person ever really desires to become a necromancer. There is one string though, that ties all necromancers to the dark art; and that string is love.
Love is a mysterious and wicked thing. Love can lead you to passion, adoration, contentment and ultimately to creation. Without love there would be no life, and no meaning in it. However, love is at the pinnacle of duality; and whereas it brings you all the warm feelings of life, it also brings you all the darkest emotions. Fear, confusion, hopelessness… these are all a part of love as well. I’m sure you can understand what I mean—I am of course referring to the loss of a loved one. The cyclone of emotion is enough to bring most people to near-madness, and enough to bring more still to the very edge of desperation. It is at that time, that black time when a person is at their most vulnerable and suggestive, that the means to access necromancy is thrust upon them. Most people, no matter how righteous their lives, or no matter how moral they deem themselves to be, cannot resist the only answer to that frightfully simple question.
“Do you miss them?”
A common misconception about Necromancy is that it is a reckless magic that drives people to madness. However, that is not entirely true. What really drives necromancers—and most people—to madness is the pursuit of unabridged perfection. When given perspective and context, necromancers are not much more then artists; though instead of a brush and canvas they use flesh, bone, and the soul. Whereas an artist will take days and days to paint a masterpiece… a necromancer will take years and years amassing resources to complete a single masterpiece. Without exception that masterpiece will be a wife, or a brother, or a deeply loved friend. It seems that without death, we necromancers have no frame for our art, and thusly life and death are deeply respected; though probably on a level that is far more morbid and deranged then what most people are accustomed to.
Oftentimes, I think about my teenage life, which can be defined as simple yet hard work on a family farm. The farm itself was ancient, passed down from son to son for nearly 300 years. The other families in the area were also all farmers, so the little township remained self-sufficient and did not need much help from the outside world. The years went by like clockwork… working hard to ensure a good harvest every year before the brutal winter would come in and stake its bleak claim.
By the time I was 15, I had already learned several harsh lessons on life; both parents had passed away from a genetic illness and I was left to take care of my 11 year old sister—a feat that was neither east nor pleasurable. She would run about like a vengeful spirit on a rampage and there was little I could do about it; there was never a shortage of things to do for the farm on any given day. Our grandmother also lived with us, but she had already lost her mind to old age and spent most of her days baking pies and wondering when her dead husband would come back from the war.
And so, for nearly 2 years after the fact, my sister wandered aimless through her childhood, often embarking on childish adventures, or talking to flowers and trees. The neighboring families took note of this, and it wasn’t too long before we were branded a family of witches, a mindless rumor to entertain the seemingly countless spinsters that inhabited the area. They were hard times—the endless war carried on and the tax collector continued to collect more and more from the slim coffers my parents left behind, until we were left with little but moldy cobblestones and a single cow.
I was engaged at the time… to a beautifully typical young woman whose name I can’t quite remember. I was a few years her senior, and she was about 17 or 18 at the time. Her name was Alannah, and she was a fierce flame of a youth, who smelled much like a field full of wild flowers. The marriage was one of convenience, a merging of families and of lands to protect a few imaginary borders from outside buyers. Ultimately, much to the near-violent protests of the elders from both parties, the marriage was really to bring and end to a blood feud that had started over a century ago. Of course, the younger members of both families were at a total loss as to why there was so much animosity between the two families; but once, and only once, I asked my grandmother what had started the senseless conflict.
Her piercing eyes gazed at me through the fold of wrinkles that sat on her ancient face, and she spoke only in rasps. It was clearly a taboo topic, but insatiable curiosity is often referred to as my defining characteristic; and I pressed her one night when most of the family had already gone to bed. She remained silent for a few moments; long enough that I though of abandoning the topic altogether and going to bed myself.
It was a simple time—and I reveled in that simplicity. Working hard on the pasturelands and tending the herds was payment in itself. The winters of the region were desperately hard, and although each family always seemed to have enough to manage their own, mortality always stole from us many of the very young and the very old. So much was death a part of life, that spring was made into a bizarre near-ritual, in which funerals were often grouped together and effigies were erected alongside the blooming flowers and budding trees.
Of course, my family held no immunity to the thick lingering presence of death. It was at the funeral of my 11 year old sister, weeping freely as a child would, that the realization that I wanted something more came to me. I hate to align myself with clichés, but the sensation was so familiar, yet so eye-opening to me; it was much like the rising sun on the thin line that separated the pale blue, almost-distant mountain ranges from the sundered night sky. Doubly I was overcome with emotion, and such notations were instinctively shifted to the back of my mind as I continued to bid my farewells to the lifeless little doll that used to be my kid sister.
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