Souls, Undeath and Advanced Necromancy [19 AC]

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Seth Hillier

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On the Nature of Souls

Theory of Tripartition and its consequences, as well as the birth of a new Necromantic discipline.


I will start this essay by saying that, at the moment of writing, the practice of Necromancy is highly illegal, and it is frowned upon by almost all civilized creatures of Enarion. For this very reason, I will sign this document using a pseudonym, and I am forced to ask for its content not to be censored from public eye. The following knowledge will be useful to the few scholars who know how to apply it correctly and, most importantly of all, to those who wish to be part of the noble advancement of our kind.

Raising the dead may destroy cities and armies, but understanding the mechanisms behind said resurrection will lead to a betterment of life. This, which I am speaking, is a truth.



Life and Death are One


[!] There would be two runes engraved into the page, coated with an isolating layer of iron sand.

Depicted above are the ancient, stylized representations of concepts we now define by the tiny, blinding labels of Life and Death. However, those symbols tell a story. And, like all symbols, they are meant to communicate something. I will now proceed to dissect both of these images, aiding you in the understanding of what I believe to be their meaning.

Both are composed of four elements. Life possesses four “arms” of equal length, in a perfect state of balance, while Death is represented as a broken circle, with two tear-like markings inside of the opened vessel and one outside. Continuing to analyze the latter, in particular, led me to think that it is a pictographic representation of the process of death itself. The thin membrane of animated existence is pierced and leaks out one of its core components, losing form in the process.

Based on this information, we can depict a theoretical model of the sentient, functional soul on paper:

soul.png

And then, by using the knowledge acquired by modern studies and breaking down creatures in their most basic components, we can fill out what those four symbols mean.

structure.png

I call this the Theory of Tripartition. When presented like this, one can clearly see how those two concepts are but two sides of the same coin. Balance and unbalance of the same thing.

But why “Tripartition”? While the number four seems to be quite prevalent in the structure of our very being, this is something that can be largely ignored when speaking of Necromancy. The fourth element of our model, the membrane, is entirely dependent on the relative position of the other three, which I will call organelles (as they function like organs in a living body, but on a much simpler level).

Similarly, the way organelles are divided into four components is largely irrelevant to this document as their balance is of interest only to those who practice their corresponding disciplines: medicine for the body, therapy for the spirit, and education for the mind. All I will say on this matter, is that keeping one’s organelles in a neutral and carefully tuned state is vital to achieve a long and happy life.



The Key to Revival: Permutation of Organelles


Now that we have understood the “anatomical” components of the thing that causes our animation, it is time to delve into specifics.

Creatures can exist in various states, depending on the arrangement of their organelles. Those states can be of three types: alive, dead, or undead.

alive.png

When a creature is alive, its organelles are close together. They work in harmony as if they were a single being, and the creature does not lack any property needed to thrive.

dead&rejuvenation.png

A dead being is completely devoid of a membrane. The three components have drifted apart, weakening their bond. In this state, one of the least understood phenomena of this world may take place: the spirit and mind of a sentient creature may come together, forming a new body to supplement their lack of a third component. This is the process of Rejuvenation, a mind-bending behavior of the organelles which causes a serene resurrection.

It is, however, not without drawbacks: souls that have returned from beyond have usually lost part of their memory, and with them a majority of those they had interacted with. This is known by scholars as “voiding”, and it is the reason why Rejuvenation is a process that necromancers do not consider viable.

undeath.png

Finally, undeath. When a dead creature’s organelles are grouped together by means of magical energy, the being undergoes a process of controlled revival. A major drawback of Raising, compared to Rejuvenation, is that the energies involved can only group together two organelles, with the third never being regenerated or reacquired in any way. As a consequence of this, there are three main types of undeath, depending on which pair is involved:

  • Agnostic undeath (without nous, reason):
    This type of undeath is achieved by bringing a deceased one’s spirit back into their body. The lack of a mind causes these undead to be instinctual in nature, uncapable of any type of reasoning or complex behaviour. They are still capable of following orders, but not any more intelligently than a trained dog or hawk.
    Examples of this type of undeath are Corpsemen, which many of us are quite familiar with.


  • Apathetic undeath (without emotion):
    Another well-known type of undeath, achieved by reuniting a body to its mind, forgoing the spirit. Apathetic undead are extraordinarily powerful in combat, as they retain the knowledge and techniques they learned when they were alive. They understand the orders they are given but do not have any kind of emotional involvement with those around them, leading to pragmatic brutality in their endeavors.
    Examples of this type of undead are Death Knights, seen during the sieges in Ordheim.


  • Asomatic undeath (without body):
    A relatively unobserved type of undeath, which could be the result of forcibly merging one’s mind and spirit before the Rejuvenation process starts. A creature of this kind would be ethereal in nature, phasing through objects, and extremely intelligent.

    I am sure many readers will have heard stories about ghosts or spirits, and this may be the cause of such manifestations. The most glaring possibility of creatures which could be born of this process is presented by Wraiths. Tales of many adventurers say that they are incorporeal, as if made of mist, making them likely to be creatures without the body organelle. However, the creation of a Wraith may be more similar to something else, which I am now going to write about.


Necromancy for the Living


I think saying that our bodies are imperfect is an understatement. The gods have made us well, indeed, but the amount of flaws mortals must struggle with in their lives is daunting. To this, I think we may find a solution in the art of altering flesh and form.

It should be of little surprise, to those who have seen a reanimated corpse, that they possess supernatural abilities and physical attributes. In the best, most finely crafted undead, one can witness speed, strength, constitution and bulk far more prominent than those of any living human, dwarf, or elf. In a glaring example I have found in a book, the energies emanating from the Death Runestone are said to have transformed a small pack of horses into a single, powerful organism. A superpredator, which hastily ran off its birthplace to hunt and to conquer its surroundings. A similar mechanism may have been used in the past to create Wraiths, minus the merging part, of course. The dark arts have the ability to awake one’s true potential.

Just like the energies harnessed by the pale, black-eyed ancients before us, we could use an advanced form of Necromancy as a way of bettering ourselves, our medicine, and our place within the order of things.

Of course, the process of gathering said knowledge would require a great deal of casualties. But what great deeds have ever been accomplished without the sacrifice of something else? Is it right for us not to do this, if it will ensure a better future for our children?



Ponder upon those questions. The next paper will answer them.





-The Ibis​

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