|Confessions of an Undead Necromancer
Author: Galanzairos PM
Beginning with a short treatise on the benefits of necromancy for society, this story chronicles the tale of an ancient necromancer who relays his life story with a rapacious wit, religious cynicism, and dark humor. Depending on reviews, will be the first in a seriesRated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Supernatural - Words: 3,533 - Published: 02-17-13 - id: 3101930
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Confessions of an Undead Necromancer
Bringing back the dead; it's what we're known for, our "calling card", our "joie de vivre", if you will, but in our case a "joie de morte." Some view it as macabre, that we are sick individuals fascinated with the three "D's" of mortality: Death, Destruction, and Decay. To some great extent, those detractors of our raison d'etre have a very valid argument. And, from a purely analytical point of view I can appreciate their opinions, as follows. When one's sole focus in life is "death", it is hard to appreciate all that "life" has to offer. Still others tout, along with the first postulation, that only destruction can come from endeavoring in the necromantic arts, as death is in itself considered the ultimate form of destruction…by most. And lastly, there is that effervescent debate on both the hygienic and olfactory front concerning the "decay" issue in my line of work. Again, from an analytical and conservative perspective these would be very viable and valid lines of reasoning.
However, given that these disputes are all logical in the ethical and "religious" sense, those who maintain these contentions fail to look at the practical applications of my craft, whether by their own declaration and/or personal value system is moot. The point is, they refuse to acknowledge the useful purposes that necromancy can bring to the everyday, average citizen, which along these lines have been proven (albeit in a closed environment) to enhance the functionality of society. On a very basic level (but which I will delineate in expanded detail later) these are free and tireless labor, of which there would be a never-ending supply as death (like taxes) is a constant in life, a somewhat consistent means of fortune-telling, and a potentially untapped source of spiritual energy, which if harnessed properly could revolutionize industry and modernization. Of course, these are but some of the constructive aspects my dark art can provide for the living. But to expect these same individuals that condemn something without even bothering to understand it in the first place to recognize the benefits of undeath in a social environment, would be the same as expecting a difficult child that constantly throws tantrums to suddenly become the obedient and idyllic angel of every parent's dream. It just simply isn't going to happen overnight. Getting an indoctrinated populace to see the justification of altering a way of life that has served their purpose amicably albeit inefficiently, for something that is cost-effective, timesaving, ecologically aware, and effective but by the same token much more outwardly distasteful and admittedly controversial is no easy task.
Now, you may be wondering, why would anyone choose something wasteful over something efficient? There are several methods one could use to answer that question, but two come to mind that are both accurate, one being more so than the other. First there is the obvious response that people would rather do what is easier than harder, and by modern social standards and historical perspective, they have unfailingly chosen the easier path. At least one can say this concept unswervingly applies to the Human race; there are those sentient beings in this world that do not prescribe to the ideology of take and never give. That trait in general seems to be one before which humanity has the market cornered. However, do not misjudge my statement. I am in no way saying other races are absolved of the "easy path" sentiment, simply that for the most part mankind has carved that niche quite well for themselves. It is a mindset that allows them to accept wasteful consumption over frugal conservation of goods, services, and resources as commonplace and with no remorse, because the former is easier than the latter. Personally, in this humble necromancer's opinion, I can see no larger example of that waste than letting perfectly viable bodies rot in the ground or mausoleums when they could be put to better use.
More on that subject momentarily. I'd like to address the second answer to the original postulation and in my estimation the more important and relevant to the overall subject at hand of the two. In a dark and rotten nutshell, this answer is unquestionably religion. As before, I must clarify that I in no way am slamming religion as a whole; in fact without it, I wouldn't have a line of work! Without religion, there would be no concept of the mortal soul as an ideological standard, and thus I would have no model upon which to base my career. I mean, a carpenter can't very well make a chair out of wood, if he has no idea what wood is, right? By the same token, I would have no idea how to imprison the spirit of the once living, twisting its energies to my will, forcing a portion of itself back into the dead flesh to which it once belonged yet now seeks blissful release, to command as a slave to my bidding, if religion had not instilled the belief of the spirit in our minds. Indeed, without the gods and their perpetually bleating sheeple, I'd be no more than a side-show magician pulling handkerchiefs from my robes, and coins from the ears of children to earn a living. And so, for that I am thankful to religion, the deities, and people both good and bad who worship them for my job security.
But I digress. Back on the subject of religion, now that I have given it my kudos and thanks for continued employment as a necromancer, I am thus behooved to explain why I personally perceive it as a negative influence upon society, as it pertains to my line of work. And this is not to say all religions, but mainly those that venerate the deceased as something to be honored, respected, and most of all deserving of their place in eternity as a final reward. It may be just me, but it appears they have this perpetual stick up their collective posteriors about tampering with a lifeless body for use in what they consider depraved and unnatural rituals against the will of their deities. And, from a purely reasoned viewpoint, they do have a strong case. However, it is my assertion that these clerical clarions of consecrated clarity have taken upon themselves the protector role of all the deceased, regardless of the personality and character those people displayed in life, good or bad. Perhaps it is their belief that despite what a person may have done wrong while alive, even if they were the most loathsome excuse of a sentient being, they do not deserve an afterlife of undead servitude to the whim of a despotic, megalomaniacal sorcerer with dreams of global domination.
My question is this: who are they to make that call? What right do they have over the final disposition of evildoers in this world, or the next for that matter?! Again, I ramble on away from the original discourse, but I suppose that's just part and parcel to having an ego and intellect the size of an Elder Dragon, or so I've been told on many occasions. Concurrently, I find that assertion to be analogous to my previous statement of how I and my colleagues are perceived as pernicious evil-doers bent on ascending to supreme mastery of the world, because we have both over inflated personalities and intelligence, and a penchant for what society on the whole deems unsavory acts of character. I would like to tell you, dear reader, that this is an extreme misconception of who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Thus, it is to these "unsavory acts" I wish to address this discussion, relevant to the notions of "evil vs. good" and "right vs. wrong" as merely proselytized ideologies imposed upon society by religious institutions of the "sanctimonious" persuasion. And, because of these ideologies we (necromancers) are persecuted as evil, bad, wrong, malicious, etc., when in fact we only have society's best interests in our darkest thoughts and at the center of our blackest hearts when employing our craft as masters of mortality, the macabre, and as dealers of death, decay and destruction.
To start, in order for you to begin appreciating the positive implications of controlling re-animated corpses, speaking with the dead, and manipulating spiritual energy, I feel there must be a foundation by which the practitioner can be identified with in a different aspect than what social convention has shed upon his character. To that end, ones needs to know more about the man behind the magic; to know something about his history, where he comes from on an historical and personal level, and recognizing these core facts about the individual helps one to decipher the reasoning behind their endeavors. More often than not, there is a depth of moral fiber discovered about this person beyond the convention of what appears on the surface, and we are able to see through the looking glass to a startling yet undeniable cosmic truth. Good and Evil, Right and Wrong… these are merely concepts created by sentient mortals, and as such are not necessarily universal in the sense that they are not the same for everyone. I think I can illustrate this for you more clearly with a brief insight into my own backstory, but be warned; it is not for the faint of heart or weak of soul, for it is a tale of woe and betrayal of deific proportions…literally. If you haven't figured out by now that I have this minor thing against certain religions, then this little diatribe to follow might refine my position for you.
Since this elucidation is about "confessions", it is only fair to deal with the largest of these directly, to provide you with the origin for me as a person, not just a magic-wielding mage with a penchant for all things morbid and morose. I am over 10,000 years old, yet to look at my supple and pale skin, firm and toned physique, full head of white hair on a 6 foot tall frame, youthful and angular facial features with the "classic" good looks, and stately, well-kept and flowing robes of black velvet trimmed with pure silver, you'd never know I belong to an elite class of the very beings I take such pride and joy in calling my "self-made" family. Yes, dear reader; by pouring out what is left of my shattered soul upon these pages, I in effect will no longer hide in the proverbial closet of anonymity, and thus am coming forth to one all, declaring loud and proud; I… am… UNDEAD! That's right, half alive and half dead, a quasi-existence caught between the mortal realm where I physically reside and the spiritual plane from whence I draw my power and abilities. And what a terrible, awesome, and fear-provoking power it is! If you had ten millennia to hone your skills, whatever they may be, you'd be a force to be reckoned with as well. But, I wasn't always this way, in fact beginning my life much like any normal person. I laughed, I lived, and I loved…and it was love that brought me to my current state. Love for a woman, love for a child, and misplaced faith in the love of a capricious deity, who put his own concerns above the welfare of extremely devout earthly children.
I had a wife, a beautiful wife unlike any other in the world. She was sweet, kind, caring, honest and true. And I was to her as she was to me. Together we shared a relationship that knew no equal, and all either of us ever desired to make our union complete was a child. Even without one, we were happy spending our time with one another, singing, dancing, and holding lavish events with our friends… back when I had friends. There was not a mean sliver in her body or spirit, and none in mine, for we had each other, a lovely home, status among our people, and I a prestigious career as sorcerer to the royal court. The only thing we did have to be unhappy about was our inability to have children. For decades we tried, to no avail, but finally our prayers were answered. My lovely Alira was at last with child, but warned it would be a dangerous task for her body. No matter, we thought, for the devotion and piety we had for our deity was sure to see them both through safely. But as the months wore on, and her health deteriorated, it became clear that our solicitations for divine assistance would go unanswered. The clergy declared it "meant to be", or "it's not his will." This was the thanks we received for a lifetime of fidelity to not only this god, but our love for one another, love for our people, and the love we could have given to an innocent child that was now doomed to die along with my wife, simply because it was not…his…will. So be it said I, for as that now old adage has proven true time and again, where there is a will, there is a way. And if this unreliable divinity hadn't the will to help his faithful in their darkest hour, then I would find the way!
I began delving into magicks that were typically forbidden among our people, dark sorceries that dealt with manipulation of the soul and spirit, for my Alira's spirit and that of our unborn child were fading fast. My aim was to fashion for her a new soul, one that was strong, full of energy, and would sustain her and the babe through birth and the rest of her life. Every step I tread down that dark path, I made with love, and there is no greater expression of "goodness" and "righteousness" than an act performed out of a pure and selfless love. I cared not what would become of me, was willing in fact to sacrifice my own life so that they may live. When the moment arrived to perform the ritual, however, I had miscalculated the proper conditions necessary, causing the spell to go awry. I did succeed in creating a soul, but not for her and our soon to be child. The entity I forged was so strong that it subsumed my own spirit into its energy matrix, fusing itself with my being instead of Alira's. Now, one would think this would be no big deal, right? I tried, I failed, and back to the drawing board. I mean, in my appraisal of the situation, our god hadn't bothered to be concerned before when we needed him most, why would he take notice now when I decided to take matters in to my own hands. Aren't they (the gods) teaching us mortals to be responsible for ourselves, and they'll help us in turn as a reward? As my luck (or lack thereof at that moment) turned out, he did take notice, and for the exact reason that I decided to take matters into my own hands. I was playing in the domain of the gods, as a mortal, creating souls. For future reference to all you budding dabblers in the dark arts, turns out that's a major no-no by their standards.
So what did I get for my ingenuity, you may be wondering? What sort of reward was I granted for taking the initiative to help two innocent souls in need, with no heed for my own well-being? I was told the soul I had created did not belong to me, in fact belonged to no one, and would be taken from me hence, but in a rather unique manner. As punishment for my insolence in the face of his divine rights, I would have my soul shattered into a hundred fragments, all scattered through time and space to reside in the spirits of other beings, except for two. One would remain with me to keep me alive but only half so, an undead for all eternity until I could collect the remaining 99 fragments by draining the life force from those mortals burdened with a piece of my spirit – a soulseeker. And still this god's sadistic judgment was not finished, for one of the shattered fragments was given to my wife, my beloved Alira, to sustain her own spirit long enough to give birth to our child. At that point, the shard would pass to the babe, who by his decree would grow to adulthood in the spitting image of her mother. This "carbon copy" would invariably have a child eventually, by his cosmic design, dying in childbirth with a daughter, who would inherit the spiritual fragment, and so on through the ages. Always this child grows to look like my wife, for they are now one and the same, they with no knowledge of why or how. In 10,000 years, it has become lore among our people that they are blessed, or chosen for some greater purpose to always be reborn in this manner. The truth may have faded from their minds, but I know it still. It is not a blessing, but a curse; a curse upon her and a curse upon me, for in 10,000 years I have collected all fragments of my soul but one. And it is my continued, eternal, undying love for the wife I had and the daughter I could have had that I do not retrieve that last solitary piece. Yes, I could end her suffering, yes I could end my own, but I cannot bring myself to kill the two persons who have meant the most to me through this existence, knowing that to do so would obliterate their spirits from existence entirely. This is my torment, imposed upon me by the source of a - how did I put it - sanctimonious religion.
I bring these confessions to light only as supporting evidence, in the hopes that one can see what one man considers right, another views as wrong. What one individual calls evil, another may perceive as good for a greater purpose, or just good in general. Using this small glimpse into my past as an example, is the question not raised on the motive of my actions, or the deity's as well, as whether they were good or evil, right or wrong? Was it wrong that I should seek to forge a soul for an innocent being, given that it was only with the purest intentions I did so? Was it right that the god not only ignored our pleas when he was so ready to grant the inconsequential requests of his priests, but also punish someone for their resourcefulness in his absence, as well to torture the unknowing bystander in the whole ordeal (Alira) by forcing her to be reborn again and again? Was it good of this god to persecute me so by knowing my salvation and release from undeath lies with the destruction of the one thing I loved most in this world? Was it evil of me to refuse doing so, knowing that by such a refusal she would continue to live?
With this altered perception of basic ideologies we take for granted as finite in their meaning, I would like to think I could anticipate a more open-minded response to the proposal of necromancy and the practice of utilizing the undead for social benefit as not necessarily with evil, bad, wrong, and/or malicious intentions. Indeed, at first glance it may appear that shambling corpses with a fondness for flesh are an affront to our very nature as living beings, but this does not inherently make them or their "creator" evil, especially if said undead creations are serving a purpose that advances the production capability of the living as both a financial relief and a residual workforce. Think of them as a perpetual proletariat, with the added bonus of never worrying about an uprising; the dead don't care about money or working conditions, after all. Additionally, there are other forms of undead that directly bridge the gap between the mortal and spiritual worlds, thus allowing us to foresee certain events in the future as, generally speaking, spirits are more privy to such ethereal information. If such information is used for the betterment of society as a whole, how can this be perceived as bad? Lastly (but in no way final, as there are other advantageous aspects) for our purposes here I will close with a speculation on the myriad applications of soul and spiritual energy, particularly as a fuel source for the improvement of homes and businesses alike, and the hypothetical bearing on magical transportation for the masses if converted to power supply units for various vehicular constructions. Intrinsically, with these positives necromancy can bring to our everyday lives, one would be pressed from a liberal assessment to categorize its practice as wholly malevolent in nature.
You just have to get past the smell of rot, the deathly chill, and that insatiable appetite to consume the living commonly associated with the undead, that's all…