On Necromancy (book)
Society is a ponderous thing. Created of individuals, it scorns the loner, burns the lovers, and ridicules its saviors, attacking the very fabric of its own existance. It protects itself through lies and conveniences, willfully ignoring those things that go bump in the night. That which is misunderstood is neglected or consumed, and upon these perilous truths, society flourishes.
Armed with this knowledge, it should come as no surprise that those who seek to aid society in its survival are oft times the ones who are the most hindered. I count myself among this number, but I do not suffer for my solitude.
For years uncounted, all of the living races have been drawn and tempted by the darkness. Both fearful and lusting of the powers of that which is taboo, brave and foolish mortals have strayed from the path society has laid before them and delved into the shadows. The reasons for such have been as numerous and varied as the stars that lay in the caress of the sky.
My own reason for this vested interest in the forbidden is simple. Since society is unwilling to face that which endangers its survival, I shall go forth with the sole intent to gain understanding. With this insight, Elanthia shall not be caught unaware when the vile decadence of a descending nightfall threatens to consume all that exists.
Prepared I am for that price I must pay to save society, but still the hurtful words and accusations spat at my feet do sting. I shall endure, and as proof of my intent to the curious, I scribe what small information I possess. Hence, and without further adieu, I humbly provide said knowledge.
Chapter 1: A Reference In Ilithi
I have spent many a long hour pouring over the dust covered tomes within the various Guildhalls and Libraries of the accessible provinces. During this search, I have found a few not so insignificant references to the arts of Necromancy. No doubt the best known of such references are those found within the work "Shard Histories." Specifically of this work, the Bone Elf Sidhlot, and a few infamous rumours of the Mage Catraith.
However, I have come across what I believe may be another reference to Necromancy, and a possible threat to the well being of the Ilithi government -- one with roots over three hundred years old. Allow me to summarize the tale of the Adan'f such that I may further discuss the relevance.
In the days when the Dragon Priests ruled Shard, and those Elothean peoples that remained free were driven into hiding, the Priests began experimenting with creating living weapons. These creations were little better than slaves, and were to serve the Priests in conquering the entirety of Elanthia. Despite a span of three hundred years since this time, many of their failed experiments yet exist.
The first experiment was an utter disaster, creating the Whistling Wood. Through the use of so called 'dark' magics, the Priests transformed a particular breed of insects into ravenous creatures that could eat through steel and stone. When these beasts did indeed 'hatch,' they swarmed through the wood, eating trees and whatever else had the misfortune of being in their immediate path. Though the Dragon Priests were able to contain them, no one is quite certain if all the nests were incinerated.
As a second experiment, the Dragon Priests summoned a race of creatures from another Plane, forcing them into servitude. Unfortunately for the Priests' plans, the creatures they summoned were a form of Fae too childlike to follow orders. These Fae, which we now know as Frostweavers, considered Life and Death to be a game, and though they were certainly very deadly creatures, the Dragon Priests had no choice but to seal them away in caves of ice.
After two abysmal failures, the Dragon Priests attempted something relatively less daring. Based upon the tales of Hav'roth and Peri'el converting lizards into S'Kra Mur, the Priests felt they could accomplish the same task. Using a race of lizards that originally inhabited the lands about Shard, the Priests once again used 'dark' magics to warp these creatures into their current form. The Adan'f were born.
However, destiny intervened. Around the point in time that the Dragon Priests began to include Adan'f amoung the ranks of troops, Dzree died, and the Empire shortly thereafter collapsed. Shard was recaptured by Ferdahl Alec and the Elotheans, and the Adan'f were imprisoned in the Dark Hand.
The Adan'f had worshipped the Dragon Priests as Gods, and, in their feeble minds, they had been driven away from their masters and forced into exile. For this reason, the Adan'f in recent years have reclaimed the Whistling Wood, and the lands where the Dragon Priests were buried. It is assumed that the Adan'f Spirit Dancers have every intent of using their powers to find some way to bring their Dragon Priest masters from their graves.
This last reference piqued my curiousity. In what manner do the mentioned Adan'f Spirit Dancers intend to raise the long dead Priests? Certainly, the term Necromancy comes to mind. Indeed, the whole of the Adan'f are prone to digging up the graves of the Priests, using olde weapons and armours, and gathering items of curiousity. One prevalent rumour this day is that the Adan'f are collecting the materials required for a ritual of some type. While I am generally of the notion to dismiss wild gossips, I do realize that oft times a kernel of fact forms the core of any rumour.
Chapter 2 -- A Tale Journeyed Across the Sea
Recently, during some minor renovations and furniture repositioning of the Lorethew library in the Crossing, a scribe came across a few ancient and weathered tomes tucked neatly behind a set of dusty shelves. Aspiring to become a clerk of better note, the young lad promptly surrendered his find to his superior, and he in turn set immediately to work to verify the tomes' authenticity.
Seeing as how the tomes were marked with sigils known to the Moon Mage guild, the superior clerk set off to gain audience with Kssarh. It was by a rather fortuitous circumstance that I happened by the Guild at that time and that I was able to overhear and report here in print what the young scribe had found.
There are many a vast and long dead community about Elanthia. One such place is the infamous Skeleton's Crook, not far from where Sicle Grove once stood. It came as no surprise to anyone that these tomes did indeed direct the readers to an area on the north shore of M'Riss and to a similar ill-fated place.
It seems that once long ago, there existed a splinter group of Rissan xenophobes. Such was their fear of outsiders, the Elves of this community spent no small means on maintaining their state of self-exile. Tales of traps and fatal encounters filled the first sections of the tomes, and I personally wonder if some thief or rogue wouldn't pay handsomely simply for those unique and knowledgeable descriptions. These tales, coupled with the already prevalent superstitions surrounding M'Riss, became more than enough to keep the vast majority of outsiders and adventurers far from the Elven island.
Despite years of relative solitude -- or because of it -- the paranoia of the Elves grew. They were not content with the level of protection and refuge their community held, and as a whole, decided to finalize the safety of their home by using one of the most potent talents they possessed: Lifesculpting.
It is clear from the texts that these Elves had evolved more efficient magics and sciences, and the skill of Lifesculpting was no doubt unsurpassed as well. So tightly united was the Elven group, that the powers and skills of one member was easily transmitted and harnessed by others, making it possible for the community to create massive works of artistry and architecture. Via these means, the Elven community joined to manipulate the arts of Lifesculpting in order to create a mighty and powerful set of guardians that rivaled the Heralds in power.
As is oft the case with arrogant aspiration, the Elves fell short. They did succeed in creating their subservient beings, but they were nothing close to the power of the Heralds. Additionally, the process of the guardian's creation so drained the land that the inherent life magics of that area consumed themselves, and the once perfect forests and woods quickly disintegrated into sand and dust. With no supporting fauna nor flora, the Elven community followed suit in a scant few months. Some claim that it is these lost souls who now haunt any S'Kra Mur visitor to Mer'Kresh.
The tomes gave no indications as to the fate of the guards, but did suppose that it is entirely possible that they still exist, tragically guarding a long dead and forgotten waste.
It was at this point that Kssarh and company had decided to break from deciphering the work of the tomes, and left to more private quarters. Well before, I had decided that the story told by the tome was worthy of my urgent attention, and immediately took the necessary steps to attain passage and the various sundries needed to complete my research.
In time, I shall return, and continue another chapter in my ever continuing studies. Some claim I shall be utterly destroyed for my interests. Others say that I already have been and am now but a mere shell of the man that once existed. If this be true, then it shall be through the sacrifice of one man that the salvation of Elanthia shall be found, and a small price indeed in the eyes of society. May the grace of Urrem'Tier come softly,