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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: July 25, 2017

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Submitted: July 25, 2017



It is the darkest hour of night, and the waxing crescent moon has begun to pierce through the thin veil of clouds. The ground is sodden, and the torrential rain has washed away the soil of the inclined and hilly landscape, replacing the green grass with dark brown mud. A thin mist has begun to billow between the tombstones; some small and unmarked, some large and carefully inscribed. Hovering over a small such stone, two hooded figures are concealed; one tall, one short, digging up the grave.

The taller looks down on his counterpart and speaks: “The conditions are finally ideal, young one. Today I will deliver my first demonstration. We will see if you truly have the will to join our Order. Have you gathered the necessary reagents?”

“Yes, master. A raven’s feather, the head of a vulture, and the shell of a carrion beetle. Am I to witness a resurrection, at last?” My reply was full both of anxiety and excitement. Months of menial tasks with little instruction have finally culminated in this moment.

“Not resurrection, but reanimation.”

“What exactly is the difference, master?”

“To resurrect would imply the restoration of life to this body. We are not creating a living being, but a wight. An empty shell animated with the darkest form of energy, known as necromagicka. This necromagicka fills the cavities where the person’s soul would have resided in life.”

“Why must have we waited so long to do this, master? I’ve been ready and willing to learn for months.”

“To call forth necromagicka from the æther is not easy, and requires a great deal of patience, child. First and foremost, one must wait until a fresh corpse is available, no older than a few days. The extra volume of an undecomposed body is required to provide enough necromagicka for animation. Second, interacting with necromagicka weakens our bodies and makes them frail and old; it is therefore preferable to wait until a heavy rainfall to make the soil overtop a grave easy to remove.”

“I… I think I understand, master. But what is the purpose of the reagents?”

“The beings that reside in the æther have placed many avatars of death upon this world to remind us of our frailty.  These totems are an offering of acknowledgement and respect for allowing us to tap into their energy.”

I nodded, silently, reflecting on what I have just been told. It is my solemn belief that life and death are two sides of the same coin; simply a piece of some larger grand design. The amount of ways to die are vast, almost innumerable; my mother died delivering me into the world, and my father hung himself from a willow tree shortly afterwards, unable to contain his grief. These are two small specks in an infinite multitude. Why are we granted an immortal soul, only to have it placed inside such weak and fragile bodies? Why must we suffer so much from the death of another, one of the only certainties in this world? We grasp blindly at the nature of it, and only a small number of us have even taken a step towards discovering the truth… this is why I joined the Order of the Necropolis. In this plane of existence, only death can grant us insight into life; only death can reveal the truth.

“Master…” I began, slowly. My master notices the hesitation in my words and briefly stops shovelling to look at me. “Master… is it possible to retrieve a soul, once it has left the body?”

He furls his eyes, thinking deeply about how to respond. “I know of no such power, nor does anyone in our Order.” His response is rushed and dodgy. I am unsure if he is hiding something, or is simply uncomfortable with the concept.

“Has anyone researched the idea?” I reply. “What if, say, we could capture someone’s soul at the moment of death, before it leaves this plane and enters the æther?”

My master stares me directly in the eyes, with a fiery purpose I have had yet to see from him. “You ask too many questions. The body is nearly ready, so place the totems within the grave and I will teach you the incantation.”

Silently I obey him, placing the totems in a triangle surrounding the rectangular burial site. However, my obedience is only in deed. A thought has occurred to me; a thought that is sinister, but was conjured by a mind steeped in burning curiosity.

“Now, I will teach you the incantation, and then we will speak it together, asking the beings of the æther to lend us their necromagicka to create this wight.” My master clears his throat, shuts his eyes, and speaks with the silence and monotony of the grave: “Xaranthuun Xanthos Xalakaal Xakaan Xoth…”

While he utters, this, I silently unsheathe my blade from its leather case, and step behind my master. I allow him to finish his incantation and open his eyes, before my blade opens his neck and ends his tenure in this plane of existence. “Thank you for your teachings, master.” I whisper.

There is no time for me to waste. The idea I have conjured is simple in principle, but difficult in execution; capture my master’s soul inside the body of this corpse before it is able to escape into the æther. Conjuring all the strength I can muster, I roll over the corpse inside the grave and place my master in its place, before lifting the corpse back on top of him. Then, I utter the incantation I have just been taught.

As the corpse on top of my master begins to writhe and churn, my mind fills with a melody of emotion. I imagine the suffering of a soul that enters a body to which it does not belong; a suffering further amplified by the beings of the æther trying to tear that soul away from our plane. Imagining a suffering of this magnitude delights me, but more importantly, it piques my curiosity; as the beings of the æther try to tear my master’s soul away from this foreign body, I will have the perfect opportunity to commune with them and learn their secrets.

The stranger’s corpse and the corpse of my master rise in unison, welded together by the twisted union of soul and necromagicka into a hideous, eight-limbed abomination. Its skin cracks and blisters as the features of the two bodies fuse together with horrible asymmetry; bones protrude from places where they should not, and the basic human anatomy is distorted beyond all recognition. Upon completion, the beast unleashes a scream filled with the sound of agony beyond the abilities of my mind to comprehend; the very idea of such anguish makes my skin crawl and sends me into a fit of laughter.

Then, I hear a voice; not from the mouth of the beast, but piercing my mind, my very soul. “You…” it bellows within me, reverberating the very core of my being. I find myself completely unable to move or speak. “What is this… creature… you have created? You have stolen this one’s soul from us… with this horrid misuse of our beautiful necromagicka. This divine gift that we of the æther have given you, so that you may taste of the fate that awaits you. But no… yours must be different than the rest. We sense that it was curiosity that has led to the birth of this beast. We will not give you the satisfaction of learning from it. Since you have taken this soul from us, yours will be forfeit instead… but instead of living out your day in the glorious æther, you will be suspended forever in the purgatory that exists between life and death, knowing only suffering without release or end.”

The flesh golem approaches me, and its body opens up to reveal a hollow cavity inside. Still completely unable to move or speak, walls made of bone and sinew surround me from all sides, swallowing any faint light remnant from the night sky. Helpless to resist, I can only prepare mentally for my soul to be set aflame.


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