My Lord sent me over all others because of my “infallible nature”, I presume he meant it when he said it, and to his credit I do not suffer the fallacy of over confidence. I am a man with a large mind for knowledge but a fallible man. The task which he lay before me, was track down and bring to light the Cult of the Harvest. He knew I would track down and discover their nature and motivations. What he didn't know is how far I would be willing to go to gain this information. We knew that they were a particularly wicked and vile group of individuals that have claimed to have give their souls over to some Evil force in exchange for knowledge and power. Something I found ridiculous and not at all improbable at the same time.
It all started over a year ago, a particularly unexpected eclipse during a time of harvest. Afterwards, the dead lined the harbor side having been cast aside as rubbish to be washed ashore. They were found floating in the turgid waters of Whitefoam Bay like simple debris washing ashore like simple rubbish. The rough currents tearing the bodies to shreds while all manner of animals, both fish and bird alike, tore into the flesh to feast heartily. The result, a grotesque figure that I can only claim association with being demonic ravaged the streets murdering all in its path until the Church sent its priests to dispatch it in a form of combative exorcism. I later discovered that it was not demonic but a form of living dead, or undead as the church called it. Still horrific, especially knowing its common enough to have a distinctive title. The King bade me find the cultist involved.
Necromancy is a special evocation of the dead, an old form translation meaning "black art or black magics". Originally, it seems, that it was used as a communication of the dead before the soul had passed on, which detailed various conceptions which were concerning the nature of the departed soul, its abode and its relations with the earth and body in which it previously resided. The church reluctantly spoke to me of this. I was allowed to view such a Divination as they called it. My mind hasn't been clear since then, and the hair on my neck is at constant attention since. To see the dead turn and look at me with vacant eyes and recount its tale, I wish to not discuss it further.
Is it "black magic" when a Church of Light preforms it? A question that was discarded with darkened looks and a quick escort from the Sanctuary. Apparently Oracles of the Gods are not to far distant than Oracles of the Dead, just a different perspective I gather and one which is better unspoken to the wrong people.
Thus far I have found four different forms of Necromancy. I am told there are more. I almost quiver to know them all.
Oracles: An Oracle is thought to be a prophetic link to the Divine, a speaker of the future or possible past of prophetic predictions or precognition. And this person, known as a medium, would call forth a spirit into their body to speak through their lips. Many a King has sought out Oracles on the eves of ventures, or war, and desired to know what will the outcome be, or how shall they proceed to victory. Some would be wracked into a frenzy of spasms and undulations as the spirit took control over their body. Others grated on with deep inhuman voices that defied the ears. Often times, however, they are cryptic and filled with undertones of riddles and hidden meanings. I heard of an Oracle far to the east tell of a mighty King that came to her and spoke of invading his neighboring country, which she rumored to tell him, "If you cross the river, a great empire will be destroyed." Believing the response favorable, the now dead king attacked, but it was his own empire that ultimately was destroyed in his haste and foolishness.
From old hags hidden in swampy bogs, to drugged virgins locked away unaware of the world as it passes them by; oracles are many and few at the same time. Not a specific species or type of person can control their ability, it just happens upon them. An oracle is nothing more than a mortal who allows a spirit possession of their body to preform a favor, task, or query. Usually in the form of gaining knowledge that this other worldly presence can only attain. What the possessing spirit gains from it is known only to It and the host, but the deep set darkened eyes and hollowed skin I can wager it wouldn't be worth it to the sane.
They speak around cold burning fires, or incense filled rooms that choke your lungs with odors both grand and ill to your stomach. I found my self near to retching on many occasions sitting in the cramped room in which I witnessed these events.
From speaking with a spirit haunting a building, or conversing with the skull of the dead, it all rings the same. Although I have noticed it easier for those attempting the breach of the spirit world to have the entire body present when speaking with the dead. Although watching the stiff flesh crack and break away as it turns to look at who is speaking is unnerving.
This is similar to what the priests did in their Sanctuary, except seemingly dark and not as pure. Foreboding I would call it.
Divination: The act of gaining access to random facts that provide insight into questions or problems at hand. While this at first may seem to be a fortune telling of the gypsies and similar to what an Oracle does, it is not I assure you. Through the casting of virgin or a child's' bones through the catalyst of blood and other unknown foreign substances. Unwillingly I promise. I was told that the more pure the soul of the dead that was used, the better the result was found. A lengthy discussion on parts of unborn children and what parts were prime in using, to walking down the street and watching the teller of this nearly go weak in the knees when passing a young woman whom according to her was as pure as fresh dew on a sunflower and the marvels should could do with such innocence. I shutter to think that I asked the question, "Like what?"
Having witnessed more than my share of divination's now I have come to the realization that, unlike the use of Oracles contacting a spirit that randomly is present or using a specific body, or portion of one, divination seems more personal. I had one such, cheery fellow as I shall call him, tell me it was like contacting a close personal friend of his and chatting about events. He told me it wasn't about fighting for information as often as can be done when you attempt to use an Oracle, it is about feeding the relationship you have with a spirit and furthering it along. That way the more you contact it the easier it is to gain information as it is to gain the correct information.
The Divination's I have witnessed, always begin in earnest with many a vibrant act of loud hymns and multiple tones of both fear and power. I believe a portion of my soul was taken in one I sat through and watched. I could almost swear that I heard the cries of the child when I witnessed the bones thrown for the first time. The smile on the face of the cultist showing me was remarkable, as if she knew the drop of my heart into my belly. It sickened me, yet I found it thrilling to know at the same time.
Summoning: There seems to be more than one form of summoning used by the dreaded necromancers. One for information and the other to summon a being for a task. Summoning a physical being for information is tricky at best. Gaining information faster by the sheer presence of them being there is assured, yet if you are not stronger in mind than the being summoned than likely as not it will be bogus or wrong information. It is better to use other forms of information gathering, unless you can make the being submit to your will. Then your answers may be true, but resentment follows a heavy hand and I'd rather not make something angry that looks to me as I would a lamb for food.
The other is summoning a being for a task. Similar to gathering information you have to be strong willed to keep them in check, but the benefit of them able to leave the confines of their circle to create havoc, or whatever it is they desire, is sometimes bonus enough to have them stay in line. If they don't, they are assured to never be summoned again.
The one I witnessed drove my screaming soul into the back of my mind where it stayed until I could disbellieve it no longer. Simple acceptance outweighing reason I wager. I was in a sewer beneath the city in what appeared to be an exact replica of the Sanctuary from the Church of Light except it was wrong. The torches burned without so much fervor, they were bright yet cheer was far from them as they burned cold and dark. The smell of decay was sweet and sickening, clotting in my throat. The bodies of the dead littered the cobbled floor, the naked breasts prickling in their death it was almost sexual. I caught myself many times looking and was revolted to find myself not revolted.
They had me sitting on a basalt slab of stone that seemed to drink the little light in the room. It was warm and slick to the touch, slimy yet not at the same time. I was inside a circle of words and symbols that tickled the back of my mind for their wrongness. Like seeing a book in a cloudy mirror, the words are there but they were wrong and unable to read. The circle and symbols were drawn in blood from the dead that lay still in the room with me, their death stench adding to the decay smell sickening me and at the same time making me excited. The sorrow I had for them was minimal compared to the knowledge that their sacrifice was making me safe. I thanked them silently for it.
The ritual that the summoner chanted was blistful in the sense that the screams of burning children sets a mind at ease. He also stood in a circle similar to mine yet larger and more complex, protection he called it. A circle within a circle, within a circle. "You can never be to careful." Was all he said, which made me wonder why I only sat in a single circle. Only when the creature exploded forth in a cloud of sulfur and gas did I understand why it was needed. Not a demonic being as I at first assumed, but a hulking mass of dead flesh that stunk of eons of rotting meat, the swarm of insects around it was almost ear numbing and hypnotic. A low buzzing you could feel in your bones and heart as heard in the back of your mind. I could hear it speaking to me as my mind tried to deny it.
The summoner had called it Shivenhusk, but I knew it didn't like that. I knew it thought little of this being before it, discusted by him in fact and wished to maim him in ways that made my mind tickle and blush, my blood rose and I flushed at the thought of what it wanted to do. It spoke deep and vile, as slim falling over ones throat, "I am Shivenhusk the Unliving Refuse foolish mortal, but you are not worthy and shall call me the Entity."
It then spoke to me and told me the summoner was a weak mortal and ill suited to teach me what I wished to know. If I were to simply marr his circle, He would teach me all I desired. I hesitated at first, but the smell of the female bodies that laid naked around me stirred strange feelings within me and I became excited. An unfamiliar feeling that I found exilirating. I left my protective circle and I noticed that Shivenhusk twitched slightly, almost as in anticipation to lash at me but held himself in check. The summoner noticed this and looked to me wide eyed with fear, knowing what I was to do. I marred the circle with my boot and spoke aloud. "Shivenhusk, I accept your agreement. Teach me." And with that I walked from the room to the horrid sounds of bone crunching and teeth nashing. The summoners screams were short, but he whimpered long after I departed, a sound that brought a smile to my lips.
Creation: Shivenhusk the Unliving Refuse has shown me a great many things, more so than the puny fools that I sought out before. It has been a good agreement between us. He has openned my eyes to the truth of power and has asked for nothing of me personally in return. The flesh of virgins and children are but a small price to pay for all I have gained. They would eventually suffer anyway. The virgin would lose her flower unwillingly if I had not taken her. And the children would be beaten if not thrown out to starve or worse but uncaring parents. I witnessed many virgins taken by Shivenhusk and the pain it brought the girls was remarkable, the enjoyment he received went beyond sexual pleasure. He relished in the pain it caused them. Shivenhusk even watched me take a virgins flower from her in one of the rituals he showed me. It was marvelous and so powerful, I quake at the mear thought of it still today.
He has allowed me to learn how to create and bring the dead back to the living. How to sew the parts of the pure into the flesh of the dead and make them rise to do my bidding. It was hard at first, sewing flesh and tying bone together. The pungent odor of the salves made from blood and urine and fluids of the bodies sexual organs was easy to administer. Not the smell, I was used to that ages ago. The look in the dead sockets burned my mind at first, keeping something from me. But when the first body rose up from the slab of basalt covered in the blood of the young woman I took from the church and saw its eyes burning with obedience I knew what I was doing was right. It steadied my hands and strenghtened my resolve. From the lowly ghoules and walking dead, to the powerful Animashtal, he has taught me them all to create and command. When asked about the creation of a skeletal army he laughed and even though it chilled my soul I think it was genuine. Creating skeletons was a myth he claimed, besides who would want an army of brittle, non-thinking creatures that mindless walk into an enemies front line and crumble to powered when first struck. To simple a creature he promised.
From killing a victim and trapping their soul before it could travel on, to forcing a spirit into a repaired corpse, he taught me them with confidence I would use them to our ultimate end.
The lowly King Vyrkril summoned me to ferret out his information like a peasant in rags. He will soon know that I have found his answers he was wanting and those answers led me to real power. For I am no longer Kormak Cabeaza the scribe and scholar to the King. I am Kormak the Harvester, Subject of Shivenhusk the Unliving Refuse and I shall rise with my minions of dead flesh and cold hearts and bring what I and what Shivenhusk desires to the folds of our power.