Necromantic symbols

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A large number of necromantic symbols exist which are used as a form of communication between necromancers. Usually drawn in blood, the symbols that are observed to date are both highly figurative in meaning and carry an unintended glimpse into the past. These visions are likely contained within the blood medium itself and bards are able to perceive the history.

The Zoluren Letter

On 4 Nissa (day 364) 394 a vision was received that led to a search of the Crossing.[1] Two necromantic symbols were quickly found and many people congregated about them to speculate on their meaning. It was at this time when the Bardess Ysselt discovered their blood vision property and spread the tale contained within. Four days later three more symbols were found throughout the city. This time both the necromancer expert Zamidren Book and Inquisitor Khurek visited the sites individually to study them. Both expressed a desire to discover their meaning, and despite their obvious origins Khurek agreed that they should not be scrubbed from the walls until the research was complete.

Two weeks later on 28 Nissa (day 388) 394 Zamidren completed his research and told a gathered crowd outside of his monastery his findings.[2] He stated that the symbols likely have existed for some time, but we only recently noticed them because of the vision. The symbols themselves were meant to be read as a letter, one which took a little bit of imaginative thinking and knowing the mind of necromancers to grasp. Ultimately he decided that the assembled should find Khurek and go to Dirge "which houses its own flame within the city", the Crucible, as he had seen the introduction symbol there after the recent Battle of Darkstone.

The gathered found the Inquisitor and traveled to the Dirge crematorium where the symbol was located.[3] A movement in the shadows was noticed, a chase was given, and a man named Kalavuul was found. Aglow with reddish-black lines and a green eye, there was no doubt that he was the necromancer behind the symbols. Khurek quickly fell him with his axe and took his body back to the High Temple for interrogation. Later the Inquisitor had the symbols cleaned from the walls, having missed Zamidren's idea of creating a trap to catch necromancers that followed the trail.

Symbols

The first two symbols, Crucible and Failure, appeared on 4 Nissa (day 364) 394 and the remaining three on 8 Nissa (day 368) 394.

Crucible

Location

[The Crossing, Dafora Row]
The town wall marking the Eastern Tier continues north-south along here. A back door with a thick iron padlock is opposite the wall. You notice that there are marks and scratches around the padlock, as though it had been a target for thieves. You also see an intricate symbol painted on the wall in bold strokes. Obvious paths: north, south.

Look

A stylized flame bound in a square has been drawn in blood on the building's outer wall. Now dried, the symbol sticks to the wall in black streaks.

Study

You recognize that it is an arcane symbol used to describe a rare permutation of the Fire Manipulation book. It describes standing flame, like a torch. Alchemists use this symbol to represent a crucible: both the physical device and the metaphoric qualities of a crucible's flame, depending on the context.

Bardic Recall

The bloody symbol pulses with history, drawing your vision far afield.

Distant screams echo in your ears and not even the moonless downpour you find yourself in can wash away the smell of blood and burning wood. You are crouched furtively in the underbrush, watching men in clerical robes shout out maledictions while men in armor so polished that it reflects the flame's glimmer set your village on fire... and anyone who tries to run away.

Bile and impotent rage rise in your throat. You grope at the underbrush, searching for a branch, a stone -- anything. Your hand wraps around something cold and you withdraw a discarded hunting knife.

Failure

Location

[The Crossing, Lorethew Street]
This narrow road runs east-west between the Academy and many of the town's shops. To the east you can see the low shops and hedges that surround the Town Green, while west looms the tributary river, flowing on its winding course south into the mighty Segoltha River. You also see an intricate symbol painted on the wall in bold strokes.

Study

You recognize that it is a short-hand symbol used by Throne City researchers. It denotes "divergent result," used when an experiment produces a result the Moon Mage did not anticipate. While rare, portions of astrologer short-hand has gained use in other academic settings. In particular, many members of the Asemath Academy faculty use it as a blunt "failure" grade.

Bardic Recall

The bloody symbol pulses with history, drawing your vision far afield.

"Come on out, Necromancer," a man in shiny plate mail calls out, while holding a knife to your child's throat. "Someone must face judgment today, choose which!"

You look down from your vantage point at the pair. The man with the arrogant voice is indistinguishable as an individual due to his armor, while the ten year old boy in his arms is paralyzed with fear.

"I don't want to do this," the man lies. "This is entirely in your hands. Give up and the boy will be spared. Play your games and it's all your fault!"

You bite your tongue. The man does not wait very long to carry out his threat and push the little corpse away in disgust. Your child's head lolls around the ground and then comes to a rest, staring up at you with sightless wonder. Guilt threatens to seize you, but you expertly deny it: the other man did it. The Great Work demands your survival. History will applaud your pragmatism once all men have quit the night.

You realize with abstract horror that cowardice isn't hard at all.

Coagulation

Location

[The Crossing, Via Mandroga]
This narrow alley leads between the northern angle of the town wall and the Arena. The backdoor to the Healing Hospital and to the Empaths' Guild is here, and burlap bags filled with soiled gauze, empty vials and the remains of herbs and potions litter the gutter. A few bold mice nibble at the heaps of debris. You also see an intricate symbol painted on the wall in delicate strokes.

Look

Two diagonal lines converging at the bottom of a circle has been drawn in blood on the building's outer wall. Now dried, the symbol sticks to the wall in black streaks.

Study

You recognize that it is a symbol used by Empaths and herbalists to denote magic and herbs that have blood staunching properties. Alchemists also use this symbol, meaning "coagulation" in a much broader sense.

Bardic Recall

The bloody symbol pulses with history, drawing your vision far afield.

You see a narrow alley lit only by a sputtering torch held by one of the Crossing's town guards. He and his companion stand above a manacled Elf, kicking the fetal figure with their boots.

The guard without a torch draws his sword and spits on the Elf. He says, "Necromantic trash. We don't need to waste the judge's time with this one, am I right?"

A voice from the shadows, mocking in its confidence, replies, "Now that's hardly fair."

A stone hurls through the air and slams into the side of the torch-bearer's head. He collapses like a rag doll, the torch left to tumble and roll into a puddle of filthy water. A cloaked figure steps out from its hiding place, drumming its fingers against a small cambrinth orb.

Formula

Location

[The Crossing, Asemath Walk]
Normally filled with bustling Clerics, academics and carousers of all types and ages, this area is peaceful as most people have retired for the night, excepting the occasional joyous song that escapes an open window from the back of the two-storied Half Pint Inn to the south. The side of the Cleric's shop is to the east, bordering the smooth paving stones that have been laid to coordinate with the approaches of the High Temple. You also see an intricate symbol painted on the wall in delicate strokes.

Look

A complex palimpsest has been drawn in blood on the building's outer wall. Now dried, the symbol sticks to the wall in black streaks.

Study

After some contemplation, you realize that this symbol is built as a palimpsest image, layering multiple symbols on top of each other to produce a gestalt. With expert ease you pick out the component symbols: the body and the soul, divinity and necromancy, free will and immortality. The arrangement of the symbols suggests an alchemical operation, wherein the body is transmuted into something represented by a sub-palimpsest of free will and immortality. Necromancy is used as the operation's catalyst, while divinity is expelled as a waste product. The symbol of the soul sits at the "bottom" of the image, framing the entire operation.

Bardic Recall

The bloody symbol pulses with history, drawing your vision far afield.

You see the sanctum of an abandoned church. A thick layer of dirt and grime layers everything in sight, though the interior is remarkably preserved for all that: the church has not been ruined, but locked away like a forgotten bauble.

A middle-aged Human slowly walks down the central aisle, leaving distinct boot prints in the dust. He reaches the lifeless stone altar and places his right hand upon it, staring up at the feeble light coming from a stained glass image of Truffenyi.

Over a minute passes, but nothing breaks the silence.

The man grunts to himself and raps on the altar with his knuckles. "Fine, I'll do it myself."

Introduction

Location

[The Crossing, Inkhorne Street]
A three-story brick building, with slits for windows, covered by iron bars, abruptly blocks your way. The path is strewn with garbage, and an open ditch brimming with filth runs around the structure and out under the town wall which stands directly behind it. Before the grim building, some workmen are mending a raised wooden platform on which stands a gallows. You also see an intricate symbol painted on the wall in delicate strokes and a wrought-iron sign mounted on a welded iron chain in front of the building.

Look

A line repeatedly crossing over itself at sharp angles has been drawn in blood on the building's outer wall. Now dried, the symbol sticks to the wall in black streaks.

Study

After considerable thought, you come to the conclusion that the symbol has no commonly accepted meaning. If it means anything, it is something very specific, such as a signature or code word.

Bardic Recall

You are disoriented by a rapid change in lighting that leaves the street visible only by the wane light of Xibar. The wave of dizziness recedes but does not entirely pass, joined by a warm sensation in your stomach and general giddiness. You belt out something jaunty in Gerenshuge, your voice slurred and unrefined.

Something comes up behind you and your drunken haze evaporates in a wave of pain and terror. You stare down in dumb incomprehension at a blood-soaked knife, and the blood that gushes from your ruptured throat. Shock takes your body and you try to gurgle out something plaintive to the gods, but the only response is a whisper at your ear, "Ssshhh, ssshhh. Do not regret, your life has gone to the most worthy cause."

References

  1. Lyras Cycle Visions#Crossing, Interrupted
  2. Necromancer Symbols - Log 7/15/2009#Monastery Meeting
  3. Necromancer Symbols - Log 7/15/2009#Dirge Cleansing