Life Unliving




I want to add a few words before I post this.

I'm posting a story I made recently as is in its entirety. It's long, so it'll probably make the next post a mile wide, if it fits at all. It's 21 word pages, so I apologise for the length.

This is the story of a character made on a whim, but one which turned out to be interesting enough to remake in-game. I used the game's fiction a lot, but I also made a lot of things up. Many things may be inaccurate, others may be outright wrong. I stuck to what I remembered and made up the rest, so please do not feel offended if I got a lot of the things wrong or took too many liberties.

Finally, this is a finished work which, save for some minor tweaks at some point in the future, will not be touched. It's also an experimental work, so please do let me know what you think about it in as many words as you can.

Thank you for your time. And I mean that

*slight edit*
"If it even fits" is right. Apparently the story was too big for the forum software and it was cut off mid-sentence about 3/4 of the way. It probably spent an hour like this before a kind poster alerted me to this problem. It is now fixed.

Please, forgive botched up presentation.

Originally Posted by Arcanaville View Post
Samuel_Tow is the only poster that makes me want to punch him in the head more often when I'm agreeing with him than when I'm disagreeing with him.



My name is Vox and I am a Necromancer. I am, in fact, one of the greatest Necromancers history has ever known. This is my story.

I was born during the golden age of Magic, after the Divine Wars that saw the deities retreat to the Ethereal realm, but before the advent of Religion, which saw the use and nature of magic regulated by aristocratic rulers and political heads of state. It was a time when wizards and sorcerers ruled the land, when magic was a way of life. A time when the magic academies which dotted the land were centres of culture and education. A time when people did not fear magic, but sought to understand and control it. A time when the strong were free to explore their strengths to their fullest potential, instilling admiration, rather than fear.

I was born in this wonderful age, but born in tragedy and death. For while humanity in general prospered behind the might of eldritch magic, people still waged war with each other. My very birth was an end, as well as a beginning. My mother, Nedra - the last surviving member of the ancient clan of Necrotius - died giving birth to me. The midwives that helped her hurried me away into the night and carried me into a poor family from the Nitris clan - a balance clan specialising in nature magic. And so they put an end to Necrotius, one of the most ancient of the clans, as well as the originators and the masters of the art of Necromancy. And while they put an end to the lineage of my clan, they could not put an end to the Mortix bloodline.

In truth, my story begins long before my birth, in a time before time, when the world was still populated by by ancient gods, before humanity ever knew of magic. In those prehistoric times, the gods themselves were still developing their own society and still lived off the land and off the then primitive people, feeding off their worship and servitude. Humanity was then at a very primitive stage of evolution, barely developing language and first starting to live in tribes and small settlements. But as is the nature of humanity, some evolved faster than others. So busy were the gods fighting their wars and vying for power, that they never noticed the rise of a very advanced ancient civilization. This was a civilized state older than Atlantis. Older even than the people of Oranbega.

These people were known as the Atrians to the tribes around them. They built large, magnificent cities, developed writing, literature, music and laws. They created a system of bureaucracy and a working government, which allowed their race to prosper. But because of circumstances, they escaped the eyes of the gods, for they were focused elsewhere. But that would not last for long, for they made a momentous discovery - the art of magic. In a time when that was the realm of the gods and the gods alone, this discovery would set the world on fire.

It wasn't anything significant at first. Natural-born psychics were able get glimpses of the minds of the great gods, and were so able to reproduce some of their arts for themselves. They began concocting simple spells at first, little more than proof that they could practice magic at all. But as the years went on, these psychics began building a significant amount of knowledge, eventually enhancing their own clairvoyance through magical means. As their knowledge and power grew, the state became involved and spread magic among the people. And so the Atrians became the first human users of magic.

But as they began applying magic to better their own society and expand their empire, the gods finally took notice. The realization that their arcane energies had somehow ended up in the hands of what they viewed as wild animals chilled them to the bone, so they sought to destroy the civilization of the Atrians. But they gravely underestimated the human wizards, who were by then drawing on several generations of practice and experience. The gods suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of humans, and that sent shockwaves throughout their ranks. Quarrels and indecision delayed the gods in taking action against the Atrians, but the humans were not wasting their time. Following the divine attack that nearly wiped them of the face of the Earth, they mobilized the entire power of their nation and worked feverishly into gaining more and more power and strengthening their defence against the next attack.

And eventually, another attack did come, and in its fury the following war nearly split the world in half. The gods had settled their differences and united against what they perceived as a very real threat - magic in the hands of humans. The humans themselves had done the impossible and mounted an unbelievable defence. The wake of the first Divine War left the world in shambles, the landscape largely uninhabitable and most of the life on Earth lost in the battle. The gods themselves had suffered horrendous losses and lost almost all of their ability to wage war. But it was the humans who folded first, for they needed their world to survive, where the gods were immortal. So they made peace with the gods and agreed to never practice magic again in return for immunity from wanton divine intervention.

But once knowledge is learned, it cannot be unlearned. And so while the new fledgling human states banned the use of magic and hunted down all its practitioners, magic never disappeared completely. Instead, the few survivors of the Divine War scattered around the world and eventually formed their own schools where magic was taught in secret only to a select few. These survivors were the strongest, wisest of the old Wizards, and their power and knowledge remains unmatched even today. But their disciples were few and hidden, so for the most part, magic disappeared from the world of the humans and they returned to worshipping their gods.

But as the society of the gods evolved, so did their regard for the humans. Once thought of as cattle, some gods now viewed them as persons with the right to exist and thrive. A large campaign was begun by the goddess Tielekku, where she taught the people the art of magic, gave them the knowledge they needed to develop advanced technologies, and passed down divine teachings, that they may develop their own culture. This began a staggering revolution in human development, but it also fractured the society of the gods as those who believe humans to be food rather than friends became increasingly hostile towards their peers. Eventually, a fraction led by the god Lughebu would go to war against the rest and against their peers and against the humans, but that was an event that would not happen for millennia.

But once magic became legal again, the disciples of the old wizards wasted no time in re-emerging back into the world and spreading their teachings to the masses. Little by little, the disciples of each of the old grandmasters formed their own school, which eventually developed into clans. Each of those clans specialised in a different field of magic. One in particular, the clan of Grandmaster Edward Necrotus, specialised life and death magic. In a time before religions imposed the notions of good and evil, the Necrotius clan became indispensable allies to several great nations. Like most of the other clans, they were heroes of their people and one of the most desired schools of magic for young students. And though their arts involved wards and binds that tapped the very essence of the human soul, that was never something considered evil.

But powerful people breed jealousy and contempt. As the Necrotius clan became more and more powerful and gained more and more control over large parts of the world, other clans banded together and joined forces against them. By this time there were many splinter clans and new clans and rogue clans and whatnot, so there was no shortage of magic and manpower to oppose my clan. And after Hequat exiled the Oranbegans across the sea and after Tielekku banished Lughebu and his followers and left this world herself, there was nothing to keep such wars in check. So eventually, an alliance of wizards decimated my clan and killed my people to the last man. I was the last, but I was denied all knowledge of my lineage or my destiny. I was dumped into a minor clan that practised magic very different from my own.

So I grew up learning spells and skills that never felt right. Skills that I consistently did poorly with and could never hope to master. I was the laughing stock of my peers for most of my childhood. Even though I did not know it then, I could feel that I did not belong with the people who claimed to be my parents. I was set in a world where I was doomed to be a failure. I tried my very best, struggled as much as I could, and yet it was never enough. Never enough to impress my peers, never enough to please my parents. Never enough to make me feel like my existence had any meaning. But every time I got depressed, every time I felt sorry for myself, the blood in my veins boiled and I attacked life with renewed determination. And every time I was met with embarrassing failure. My parents, try as they did to hide it, were growing more and more disappointed and disillusioned.

However, all of that changed when I was accepted into the Zel Academy Wizardry. Grandmaster Ronan would later admit that my skills were terrible, but that he had seen potential inside me. It was there, while studying the history of magic, that I came across information about the art of Necromancy and first learned about the Mortix bloodline. The legend of Mortix spoke of the three sons of Jonathan Mortix, the very first of the old Grandmasters to study dark magic, and the one who developed what would later become the art of Necromancy. He had three sons who initially followed in his footsteps, but all of whom had died at a young age from an outbreak of disease. But the legend spoke of his youngest son – Edward - used his father’s magic to preserve his own unlife and continue his studies as a Lich. The insinuation is that Edward Morix was Edward Necrotius, the founder of the Necrotius clan and that the Mortix bloodline had been passed down through its members over the generations.

Even though I did not know of my own history with the Necrotius clan back then, I became fascinated by the legend and fascinated with Necromancy itself. My parents would never allow me to study anything other than their own Nitris magic, but I was defiant. I studied Necromancy in secret and I progressed so quickly that I was able to impress Grandmaster Ronan into allowing me to study the art. And as soon as I started, it was as if my eyes had opened to a whole new world. No longer was I forced to study spells that felt unnatural and uninteresting. I was now studying magic that seemed so natural, so right to me. I excelled at it to such an extent that I was able to graduate from the academy within only a few years, finishing a course that was supposed to take a decade. But my joy at graduating was short-lived, spoiled by the cold reception I received back home.

Even in those early days, religion was starting to make its presence felt, and the Nitris were among the first to adopt the new beliefs. So I came home as the practitioner of what was proclaimed "unnatural" and "forbidden" magic. That was the first time I had heard of these terms used to describe disciplines of magic. Having studied its history, I know that nothing like this had existed before. Magic had always been considered a tool towards the progress of mankind, and yet here I was, the top student of the Zel Academy and a Master Necromancer, hated and reviled for the power I held. I had hoped that at least my parents would understand, that at least they would be proud of my achievement, but it was they who despised me the most. They had in their house a Necromancer, a black sorcerer practicing unholy magic. They forbade me from using any of my new-found magic and punished me severely when I they discovered me practicing it in secret. My friends stopped coming over and avoided me in the street, and the people in town looked at me with cold, hateful eyes. I could not understand why everyone hated me, but I certainly knew they did.

One night I had enough. A man attacked me in the street, I defended myself and was arrested for the use of black magic. When I was released home, my parents burned all of my books and locked me in my room. I had had enough of the wanton animosity I was having to live through, cursed my friends, my parents and my very life and simply slipped out into the night. I left town and began wondering the wilderness that still existed outside the larger inhabited areas. But all of my fear and uncertainty about living alone proved to be for naught.

My Necromantic powers had increased so much that I had no trouble surviving on my own in the wilderness. And with religion still mostly confined to the moral codes of a handful of clans, I was able to sell my services to the many villages that I came across. I did things for them that none of their people were strong enough to accomplish, and for that I received substantial rewards in money, clothes, food, as well as old books and magic artefacts. As time moved on, I realised that I had little use for material rewards, so I concentrated my efforts towards the collection of ancient magical knowledge and power. Eventually I located an old abandoned keep from the age of gods. It was hidden deep within a cursed forest where most people would never venture, but the discovery was well worth the location. Within it there was an old magical laboratory, as well as a magnificent library of ancient books of magic. The knowledge I gained from them and the practice and training I was able to commit to in a location so far outside the gaze of superstitious people transformed me completely.

My powers increased greatly during that time. Where I had started out barely able to manipulate the carcasses of dead animals, I could now animate human corpses, give them shape and form, imbue them with powers and even give them magic. The more I practiced, the more I could control for less effort, until I learned how to make my undead minions almost completely autonomous. Little by little, I populated the entire forest with the bodies of lost travellers and adventurers that had succumbed to the curse. They acted as sentries, spotting interlopers before they became a problem, as well as guards, preventing people from gaining access to what had become my domain.

As my power and knowledge grew, I began performing tasks for people less and less. It somehow felt beneath me. Instead I turned my eye towards the search for magical books and artefacts, as well as the works of other Necromancers. No longer looking for basic survival and now in the possession of my own keep, I devoted my life to perfecting my craft, to mastering it and becoming a true Grandmaster of Necromancy. That quest eventually took me to the ruins of an old city and towards a turning point in my life. I found the ancient city of Muir, capital of the Clan Necrotius, and there I found the truth behind my past. I was a descendent of Necrotius and bearer of the Mortix bloodline. This was both a staggering revelation and not much of a surprise, for I had always felt drawn to the legacy of Necrotius and felt at home following their culture and tradition.

And it was then I found my purpose. I would rebuild and re-establish my clan with my own two hands. I would take the teachings of the old Grandmasters, I would learn, I would practice, and I would be the greatest Necromancer who ever lived. I would put Necrotius back on the map with such power and fury that all the world would feel its presence. I would right an injustice that saw an entire people slaughtered and their culture destroyed just because they had power their rivals did not. I was the son of that proud and noble legacy, and by my soul I would continue that legacy and remake the clan that created it.

However, one major problem stood in my way - my own mortality. For years I had tried to ignore the signs of old age, but they were always there, constantly reminding me of my ever-approaching death. I was able to increase the length of my life significantly by preventing my body from decaying, but everything I did only delayed the inevitable. Even through all of my magic, my tissues were still deteriorating at a rapid rate. My body was beginning to fall apart and I was fast running out of means to keep it together. I tried every spell, every bind I could think of but every time the effects eventually faded, and every time I retried the effect was weaker and weaker. In the end it dawned on me that trying to preserve my body alive was a losing battle and one which was beginning to consume almost all of my time.

I shifted all of my focus towards preserving my life in other ways, such as transferring my mind into a younger body, replacing decaying body parts with new ones or even keeping my body functioning after death. None of those, or any of the others I came up with would prove to be practical, carrying unjustifiable risk, unsatisfactory results or far too extensive maintenance. The only method that provided any hope at all was simply dying and reanimating my own body as a Lich. It was a favoured technique among the more powerful Necromancers and it would give me eternal life and almost complete control over my body. But it had one major flaw - it exposed my soul. I would become an undead being, myself. That would leave me open to the control of another, living Necromancer. Necromancy, as a school of magic, is based around the binding of the soul of a dead person to your own, as a dead man's soul is free from the binds that have kept it in the body during life. I could bind my own soul to my own undead body quite easily, but that bind could never be made very strong. An able Necromancer could potentially undo it and steal my soul for his own use. And even if I could protect myself against that, a Necromancer's power is determined by the strength of the bind between his soul and that of the undead he controls. With the binds between my own soul and my body weakened by death and reliant on unstable magic, this would compromise that power unacceptably.

Every technique I tried was unsatisfactory. Every research effort I committed to ended in failure. All of my attempts proved to be little more than a waste of time. But all of my effort proved to have some merit after all. After trying almost every trick the old magical teachings could offer me, I developed a very deep understanding of the principles behind life and death. I began to understand what made a creature “alive,” what bound the soul and body of a living being and how these forces could be manipulated. I had learned all I could from the old books. It was time for me to take matters into my own hands and develop my own techniques, forged from the arcane knowledge I had accumulated. I experimented on animals at first, and my attempts met with utter failure, but for the first time in my efforts I actually knew what I was doing wrong. I tried a wide range of experiments, performed many tests and tried a myriad of options. And with each subsequent attempt, the quality of the results improved. I was, in fact, able to give complete and utter immortality to a small rodent, which gave it not only an infinite lifespan, but also complete immunity from bodily harm. I had expended a lot of effort and gone through just about every school of magic, but in the end, I had developed a technique which could give me the immortality I required to achieve my goal. Now all that was left was to make that work on humans.

I was no fool, so I was determined to get it working on a test subject before I attempted anything on myself. So I sent my minions forth to gather some. I did not give them any specific instructions about where to find these subjects, but they were resourceful enough to raid several villages just outside my cursed forest and kidnap some of the villagers from there. It was the first time I had faced the prospect of taking the lives of people who were, for all intents and purposes, innocent. I had exercised some notion of compassion up until then, but when it came to taking their lives through excruciatingly painful experiments, I found I had none left in me. People are hateful, vengeful creatures who only seek personal gain and destruction. They fear power, for they have none of their own, so they seek to remove those who have more. These were the people who had obliterated my old clan and who had treated me so badly because of who and what I was. These were the people who had asked me to perform tasks for them, but never to stay and live with them. It had long since become my fervent belief that any self-respecting master of magic should strive to elevate himself above the level of an ordinary human, above that sort of primal thinking. Since the dawn of time, power had ruled the world. Power, gained by the strength of those who studied and practiced it. In the quest for power, humans were merely tools, means to an end, sheep to be shepherded and fed on. I was reminded of the history of the old gods, and I was growing more and more convinced that Lughebu’s teachings were right.

I spent some time going over the history of the old gods, and I recognised many of the situations they were facing. I found myself agreeing with Lughebu and the pantheon he led. I had tried and tried to live with these people, these humans, and they could simply never accept me. They feared me, they hated me, they exiled me. I, Vox of the Bloodline Mortix was just too different from them. All of the Grandmasters of magic were, in fact, which is why Grandmaster Ronan had been the only one who had ever seen me for what I was – a powerful practitioner of magic. All other people ever saw in me was a power to be feared. These simpleminded, short-sighted people were not my equals. They were animals of the land, to be ruled over and exploited, and only cared for so that they may exist to serve. The world was moved by the users of magic, and humans were merely the fuel. So if some of them had to be sacrificed for the progress of the movers of the world, then that was the natural course of all things.

I stopped considering myself human then. In body, I had not been human for a very long time, but rather what resembled a festering corpse, a cursed monster that dwelled within a cursed keep inside a cursed forest. In mind, I had not been human ever since I left my home and my past life behind. And in soul... Well, there is no such thing as a human soul. They’re all the same thing, divine, human or animal.

So I sent my minions forth to gather even more subjects for my research. And they did. They brought me entire villages, even the dead that had fallen in battle. And while I had ample materials to work with, progress was slow and I was wasting a lot of lives in the process. To a Necromancer, no life is truly wasted, of course, as the failures simply served to swell the ranks of my undead legions. But the more I took from the land, them more attention I brought to myself. Neighbouring countries began to take notices of the devastation my minions were sewing in their lands, and started taking action. They sent first mercenaries, then entire armies against me. But the fools underestimated me so badly that their soldiers couldn’t even traverse the cursed forest that surrounded my Necropolis. All they did was feed me more test subjects for my experiments and more corpses for my army.

Eventually I found myself pressed for space within my forest. My keep was stretching dangerously close to the edges of the wooded areas, and I needed still more and bigger power conduits, still larger storage, still bigger machines and still more structures. Fortunately, a century of dwelling within my cursed forest had allowed me to study the curse that held it quite thoroughly. It proved to be an ancient bind of almost unimaginable power, but manipulating it was incredibly easy for those with the right knowledge, as it was rather simple in nature. So, through only a little extra work, I gained almost complete control over the spirit of the forest, and I was able to force it to grow and expand. Very quickly it engulfed several nearby villages, and though most of them were already barren from my own raids, they provided much-needed space for expansion. Of course, that only served to alarm the countries I was expanding into even more. Not that it mattered, as they were powerless to do anything against me. But it also managed to draw the attention of a few magical clans, and that would prove problematic.

I was making history in my own right, as never before had a single Sorcerer controlled a domain this large and held a power so great without any form of support from anywhere. I, a single man, now controlled enough territory to rival some of the largest countries on the continent and had so much power and so many minions at my disposal that quite literally no one single establishment could challenge me. Without giving it a name, I had already managed to rebuild my old clan, the Necrotius, and far surpassed its power all by myself. And then history repeated itself. The local governments, fearing my power, unified many clans of magic against me. Many of my clan’s old enemies were once again rallying against me, but I had studied my history and was determined to not allow it to repeat itself.

I lay additional curses on my protective forest and expanded and extended it into a veritable death trap. I summoned countless more undead minions and perfected my enchantments on my existing ones, forming an army that struck fear into the hearts even the strongest of the clans. I built ramparts and turrets, spread poison and acid throughout the land fortified my Necropolis to be absolutely impregnable. And when the allied clans’ attack finally came, it was devastated. They employed powerful magic and innumerable forces, and their drive into my domain almost reached my forest. But the further in they came, the deeper they fell into my trap, for they were walking straight into the most powerful curse I had. And when they finally thought they had won, I played my final trump card and wrenched their souls straight out of their bodies, binding them into the soul nexus at the very heart of my keep. In mere moments the enemies who had come to destroy me turned into minions who answered to me and me alone. They were transformed into intact undead minions who retained all of their powers. And with the clans’ own Grandmasters leading my army of the undead, my forces turned around and simply overran the territory of several neighbouring countries. Without the wards that kept my power from crossing their borders, these territories were soon consumed by my cursed forest and populated with my undead minions.

However, my great victory proved to be rather short-lived. Religion had been present on the continent for over a century before, propagandised by the Clan of the Divine Light. It had long since been accepted by some of the more formal clans, the ones who still worshipped the old gods, such as my old Nitris Clan, but to most people it was just a lot of high-brow propaganda. Ever since the end of the Second Divine War and the beginning of the Golden Age of Magic, people had slowly been forgetting about the old religions enforced by the gods before they left, and they had gotten used putting their faith in magic, rather than deities. But my actions against the allied clans gave the Clan of the Divine Light the “evil” they needed. I had killed a great many people, stolen countless souls and defiled almost a third of the continent. That gave them a cause to rally against – something all simpleminded humans feared and hated. The destruction of the clans that had fallen against me had left a large void of power on the international scene. The Clan of the Divine Light capitalised on this, rallying all the people and all the clans to their cause and taking on the self-proclaimed title of “Order.”

But the Order of the Divine Light were not any more righteous than I was. They exploited their followers, taking labour and resources from them and giving nothing in return. But where I extracted those through magical binds and Necromantic control, they extracted it by proclaiming it was people’s duty to help the fight against evil. Against me. However, they had the upper hand, in that they had a charismatic leader - Sir Valcor Eliot III. He was hailed as a hero of the people and saviour of nations. But in truth he was a mercenary for his clan, doing “good” for the people and earning prestige so that the Divine Light may more easily manipulate people into following their own version of religion. But even the Order’s propaganda was not enough to mobilize the people into another frontal assault against me, for they all know full well what the consequences of that would be. Instead, the Order took a rather more cowardly approach. Valcor scoured the land, looking for the greatest fighters and sorcerers he could find. He recruited all of them and formed a special strike-force, with the only objective of destroying me once and for all.

I will admit, it was a clever strategy, as it managed to escape my gaze almost until the end, and because it targeted my undead army’s one weakness – individual power. While I had enough undead minions to fend off all the world’s armies, a concentrated attack by just a few powerful people negated my army’s numerical advantage. And Valcor had another trump card, as well – the magic the Order of the Divine Light specialised in and that he wielded was that of spell-breaking. He literally had the power to undo the binds that held my undead minions to together and break the curses that protected my forest.

And so he did. He attacked with surprise, carving a deep wedge into my territory before I even knew he was there. Backed up by a small party of some of the most powerful people on the continent, he made short work of my defences. Expert timing on his part also caught me in the middle of the most important experiment I had ever conducted, and one I firmly believed could give me the immortality I so badly desired. I had hoped I could finish my experiment before he reached my inner sanctum so I kept working, rather than join the defence, but that was exactly what Valcor had counted on. Without my full support, my guards proved no match for his preparation. Stupidly, I fell for his trap and handed Valcor an easy victory. As a result, he interrupted my experiment and confronted me without my undead to assist me.

But this was where Valcor’s luck ran out. He studied everything ever known about me and prepared counters for it. However, what he didn’t know was that I had never actually displayed my full power at all, and that is where his failure lay. But his insolence had earned him the right to see its full extent as a final, parting gift. A Necromancer has more power than just the undead he controls, but obviously the Order of the Divine Light had not studied their magical history, as Valcor was completely unprepared for the dark powers I unleashed against him. I stole the souls of his entire party and sent his brethren against him. I couldn’t quite steal his soul, as he was well-warded against my magic, but I did curse him with weakness and disease.

That should have given me an easy victory, but it didn’t. Against all odds, Valcor kept on fighting through his pain, through my curses and despite the grave injuries I was inflicting upon him. He fought like a man possessed. And in truth, perhaps he was. I have spent centuries in study and contemplation since, trying to find out what allowed him to defy death and overstep his human limits like that, and it always comes down to the same thing – divine intervention. I have exhausted all other explanations and nothing else is even remotely plausible. And though I have never been able to find consistent evidence to support this, I am quite convinced that some ancient god reached over the ether and assisted him, giving him strength, will and power. Perhaps it was because of his religion, or perhaps it was because he had become involved in events much bigger than he suspected, but Valcor received divine help, and that allowed him to fight through all my wards and spells and slay me.

Yes, I died. And my death released all of my curses and all of my minions. But even in death, I had one final parting gift - a curse I had been developing for decades and one that I was rather proud of. If I was to be defeated, then not only would I take Valcor with me, but I would make sure he spent an eternity paying for his insolence. So with my final breath, I cursed him to haunt my fortress forever, never aging, never dying and never resting until he found me and killed me. Ironic, considering this was what he originally came to do, and even more so because he would look forever. I was already dead by the time the curse took effect, and dead by his very hand. I found some small measure of closure in knowing I had exacted fitting punishment against Valcor for what he had done. He came to my domain to hunt evil, and now he would hunt evil for all time.

The curse was so powerful that it cast eternal darkness over my Necropolis. Eternal night set over my domain, making the dead restless and waking them from their graves even without my help. And though my cursed forest eventually retreated from the territories it had defiled, it never shrunk below its original size and never exposed my cursed Necropolis. Just as before, it became a forest of death and horrors, but now it hid a dark secret – mad, undead knight, forever roaming the halls of my dilapidated fortress, forever shouting my name, forever screaming and running through the ruins, looking for that which could never be found. The Black Knight of the Necropolis, as he became known, would attack anyone who dared venture into the forest, such had become his madness. And at night, people who travelled near the forest could sometimes hear his voice, calling for me, angry, hateful and desperate.

But my story did not end with my death. I knew full well what was to happen to my soul after I died, for I had dealt with this for countless years. I was to leave my body and behind and head for one of the many worlds of the afterlife. But I didn’t. Much to my surprise, I found my soul trapped in the remains of my body, still awake and still very much aware. I could still see Valcor haunting my Necropolis, hear his shouts and curses and the banging of his sword against the dead stones as he erupted into rage. I could even feel the presence of the other restless souls that had been trapped in my domain by the size of my curse. It was a surreal experience, for I was very much dead, and still not completely. It took me many years before I came to terms with my fate and worked out what had happened to confine me to a fate such as this.

As soon as I died, my body fell apart. And not just to pieces, it fell into dust. Centuries of holding it together artificially, through spells and binds that had to be constantly maintained, had caused it to lose any sort of cohesion it once had. So as soon as I died and my binds broke, my body fell apart with nothing there to keep it together. All that was left of me was a skull without a jaw that had somehow managed to hold together, and it was to that skull that my soul was now bound. Initially, I couldn’t understand why I had not passed on, but eventually a realization struck me – I had toyed with the binds between my soul and my body so long and had done so many things to them, that somewhere along the line I had completely perverted the natural connection that binds the soul and body of a living being. In truth, that connection had been failing me for decades until I began weaving spells to reinforce it. It is only logical that eventually it broke completely, leaving only my own binds to keep me alive. And, apparently, those binds had not been undone when I died, perhaps feeding on the power of the monstrous curse that still gripped my domain.

So I spent countless years as a rotting corpse, confined to a single spot in a fortress falling apart, restricted to only my own thoughts. While that may sound mortifyingly scary, it was more boring than anything else. I had finally managed to defy death, and yet I was now unable to carry on my work with my eternal life. Unable, that is, until I found a curious anomaly. People would occasionally wander into my forest and quickly get killed by undead, the cursed nature or even Valcor himself. And when they passed away and their bodies rose to walk the Earth in undeath, I felt an undeniable power flow through my trapped soul. At first I wrote it off to my imagination, but as it kept happening more and more, this power began to build up to a point where I could actually use it to produce some rudimentary magic. This presented me with an interesting prospect – if I could gather enough energy, perhaps I could return to life. But first I would need to prepare.

The first spell I cast was basic clairvoyance, followed shortly by basic telekinesis. My soul may have been trapped in one spot, but there was no reason why my senses should be trapped in the same spot with it. Now able to roam my fortress freely, I discovered my library and laboratory had largely remained intact and resisted the ravages of time. Immediately I began researching my condition, looking for side effects I could use to return myself to life. I quickly discovered that in my present state, I could consume and store ethereal energy in any form. The life essence of souls was a good source of such, so one of the first resources I tapped was my old soul nexus. Though most of the spirits had been able to escape from it, what few remained were enough to give me the power I needed to restart my old power conduits. Once operational, they provided me with a steady stream of ethereal energy, no longer requiring me to subsist on the occasional hapless traveller. Moreover, they allowed me uninterrupted access to my fortress, as my out-of-body ability was no longer hampered by my running out of energy to sustain it.

Just as it looked like things are finally going my way, a new problem developed. Valcor noticed all of the activity taking place in my fortress. As his zeal to “kill” me erupted in full swing, he began sabotaging my renovations on my fortress, destroying a large part of one of my laboratories and continually taking my power conduits offline. I had gathered a lot of power, so I attempted to fight him remotely, but irony was on his side this time around. I could never hurt or dissuade him, as he had the full power of my old curse behind him, and that curse was a veritable powerhouse, supercharging his body and soul with so much dark energy I could never hope to even affect him. However, I found that I was able to misdirect him with shadows and visions. Very soon it occurred to me that if I put some more thought into my misdirection, I could actually control him. And so I tamed Valcor, the Black Knight of the Necropolis, and turned him into my servant. Of course, in his fractured mind, he was still looking to kill me, but I simply led him to believe that each command I gave him would help him reach that goal. Eventually, I developed a technique that allowed me to control his mind almost completely.

Valcor proved to be a godsend. Not only could I use him as a medium to regain some control over the undead in my forest and as a host through whom I could finally cast more powerful spells, but he was also a gateway to the massive powerhouse that was my old curse. It had been cast on Valcor directly, so all of its power flowed through him. My control over him allowed me almost complete access to that power. It took me a while to comprehend the magnitude of my old curse and to accept that I had once held so much power. By then I had begun to forget just how strong a sorcerer I had once been, but taking a glimpse into the past spurred me on to exceed my previous achievements. Now that I had an avatar and an army of the undead once again under my command, I set forth to rebuild my old Necropolis and resume my work into immortality.

However, I had learned my lesson. Gathering too much attention only spelled trouble. Even with power as extreme as mine, it was unwise to upset the nations on a whim. I did not need any more wars and I had everything I needed contained within my forest, so I simply barricaded myself in. I moved most of my undead to the outer areas of the forest to prevent wanderers from venturing too far in and to generally scare the locals away. I modified my curse of darkness, making my forest much more deadly and unforgiving and making my eternal night even darker. I was looking to obscure my presence from the outside world and keep everyone out. And it worked. The locals were too scared to go anywhere near the forest, but they quickly realised that as long as they stayed away, they would be fine. Occasionally, adventurers sought honour and glory in my cursed forest, but between the undead monsters that inhabited it and the traps with covered the land, they found only death, instead. A few were strong and resourceful enough to make it to my Necropolis, only to face Valcor and meet a swift demise. He had, by then, become my angel of death, having gone through many transformations under the power of the curse and under my supervision. His original mind was completely gone, and he had become my own personal undead avatar.

Eventually, I discovered a way to return to life. My body was useless for this purpose, consisting only of a rotting skull only good for an anchor to this world. I would require a new body, one without its own soul, but which was also functioning correctly. I considered wrenching Valcor’s soul out of his body and using it. After all, it was somewhat well-preserved and held some impressive power. But the body’s internal structure was so completely messed-up by the curse I had cast on him that it was unworkable, and any tampering with his soul would require me to deal with the monstrous power of the curse which had kept it in his body this entire time. But it was that same curse that gave me an idea.

I had seen my curse keep Valcor’s soul in his body for a thousand years without him having to do a thing to thing to maintain it. Of course, it also broke his mind and drove him insane, but this was intentional and easily avoided for a spell I would be casting on myself. Furthermore, I had seen my curse alter his body down to the bone. Valcor was no longer human by any stretch of the imagination – he was a monster through and through. He had changed physically so completely that he was unrecognisable. I was confident that I could control this change, maintaining my body into the shape and appearance I wanted, perhaps even sculpting it from the ground up. Not only that, but Valcor occupied a body that had not been alive for a millennium, yet even with the great power I had amassed since my death, I was still unable to break the bind between his soul and his body. Given that a weak bind between body and soul was my only reason for not wanting to transform myself into a Lich, this certainly presented me with a unique opportunity.

I had found and answer, but somehow it had ended up being the same answer I had rejected centuries ago, except now it was perfect. I wracked my mind trying to find out why I had failed before and if I was not overlooking the same shortcomings now. What I found was a curious effect. Transforming myself into a Lich and binding Necromantic control over my body to my soul is a fairly simple spell, and one that required very little power. Pumping more power into it only serves to make it more unstable and doesn’t help the strength of the bind whatsoever. Locking a soul into a body and denying it any means of escaping it is a very, very difficult curse, and one which requires not just enormous amounts of power, but extensive magical skill and knowledge. In addition, the more power you can imbue into the curse, the stronger it will hold. And this curse in particular could be strengthened, meaning that I could simply pump more power into it at a later time and make it even stronger. The answer had been right there in front of my eyes for centuries, and yet I had wasted my time trying to shoehorn conventional Necromancy into doing things that it was never intended to do. In fact, when I compared my new-found method of immortality with the one I had counted on when Valcor had interrupted me, I found that not only was my original one not very effective, but it would probably not even have worked.

Fate sometimes plays cruel jokes on us all. The punchline of mine was that I was lucky to get killed before I cast a spell on me that may not have worked and would, at the very least, have hurt my ability to practice magic and weakened my life force significantly. The punchline of Valcor’s joke was that all off his efforts, all of his determination, all of his pain and all of his suffering under the power of my curse, had only served to help me find the perfect way to preserve my life forever. Killing me and then suffering the effects of my curse that I may later examine that had been the best thing anyone could have done for me. I found it ironic and very amusing, but I’m pretty certain that Valcor wasn’t laughing at all. Then again, his fate was his own fault, so I saw no reason to feel sorry for him.

My discovery of a means to achieve immortality was monumental, but the preparations required for it were nothing short of staggering. I had gotten the technical and ritual side of my technique down to a T, but the amount of energy I had had to employ to make this work at all was incomprehensible. I studied my old curse in detail and found that it was more than just an example of my old power. It surpassed any single burst of power I had ever produced by a factor of no less than ten. Though I attributed this magnitude to my dogged determination to have my triumph even in death, I still suspect that I, like Valcor, may have had some divine assistance. Power of this scale just did not seem human.

But despite my awe of the curse I had cast, I simply set to work accumulating power. I needed a lot of it and I didn’t have much of any use left for it – my domain mostly took care of itself – so I simply sat back and waited. Centuries passed as my power slowly built up, feeding on the souls of careless travellers and heroes who dared venture into my forest, as well as on the constant hum of the many power conduits I had built. I bided my time by pouring over my old books, looking for more and better spells that I could practice once I were alive, learning to control my powers better and generally keeping my shape as I waited.

But as my power was nearing the levels I required, disaster struck. One Baron Zoria had caught wind of my existence and had become intrigued. He sought to take my power for his own. In a world that had all but forgotten magic, Zoria proved to be a master at it. He approached my forest with an entire cabal of very powerful wizards. I could sense them talking, plotting and preparing to attack me. But I could also sense that the spirits that occupied the bodies of these wizards were somehow unnatural, somehow foreign. It soon became clear to me that these were no mere humans, but the spirits of the ancient Orabegans whom Hequat had exiled across the ocean. I had had run-ins with them quite frequently since my death as they buzzed between places of great power, of which my Necropolis was one. But for all our encounters, they remained a complete mystery to me – disembodied spirits living in eternal unlife, and yet at the same time completely immune to Necromantic control. For a time I had thought their souls were simply warded against Necromantic binds, but I had been able to trap a few Oranbegans and experiment on them. They had shown no sign of wards of any sort, or in fact any protective magic whatsoever. The only thing I was able to recognise was a curse which I was completely unable to identify or understand. Whatever was making these spirits immune to my power had to originate from that curse in some way.

Apparently the ancient Oranbegans had mobilised since I was last in contact with them, however, and had developed a variant Necromancy techniques of their own. They were using soul removal to displace the soul out of a body and into a soul crystal. Then they applied simple binds to place one of their own spirits into the body. It was a method many Necromancers used to bind spirits under their control into physical bodies for a variety of effects, and it was a rather simplified version of the ritual which transformed a person into a Lich. However, the Oranbegans were somehow able to exist as disembodied spirits not anchored to anything in the physical world and still resist Necromantic control or passing on to the afterlife. As a result, getting them out of their bodies was fairly easy, but keeping them out proved impossible.

When Zoria and his cabal finally attacked my Necropolis, their command of magic caught me completely unprepared. I had been watching the land through clairvoyance and had seen the use of magic crushed by the advent of religion. I had seen all practitioners of magic killed or exiled and seen the art of magic disappear from altogether. And yet here were wizards popping virtually out of nowhere, who wielded magic that could almost rival that of the old grandmasters. Apparently, just like me, the ancient Oranbegans had not been wasting their time in unlife all these centuries. They were well prepared, well trained and very, very-well practiced. Given that they were genuine ancient sorcerers from the dawn of time, it came as no surprise that they were well-versed in magic, but the magnitude of their power was something I could not have expected.

I faced a conundrum. It had taken me a thousand years to accumulate as much power as I had and I was so very close to finally having enough to achieve eternal life. And yet I found myself having to battle arcane sorcerers who wielded incredible magic, a battle which would probably have cost me most of the power I had stored. A millennium of effort and waiting, wasted. And though the patience required to wait a millennium more was never a problem, I just found this to be a huge waste. And even if I did decide to defend myself and then wait another thousand years, I had no guarantee that something like this would not happen again in the meantime. Facing the prospect of an infinite cycle of building up power and then being forced to waste it, I chose the only other option I had – to do nothing. There was precious little they could do to me, personally, at least that I couldn’t prevent. My power and knowledge had increased to such a level that I was able to draw energy off the ether itself, so I didn’t need my fortress to help me. Literally, I stood to lose nothing by surrendering to the Oranbegans.

Amusingly, they never quite realised my decision to not defend myself. My old curse of darkness was still in full swing, perverting my forest into a monstrous death trap and waking the dead from their graves and turning them viciously hostile toward anyone who ventured it. And Valcor, still an anchor and a conduit to the dark energies that infected my domain, kept haunting the halls of my Necropolis and attacking anyone who set foot inside. So, even without my resistance, Zoria found his push into my territory difficult and dangerous. My old minions claimed the lives of many of his companions and Valcor nearly took his. And though the Oranbegans simply left their corpses in search for more bodies, the death toll threatened to stop Zoria’s incursion.

At the sight of this pathetic offensive, I began to second-guess my decision to do nothing, but eventually the ancient Oranbegans resorted to a power they were obviously reluctant to use. They summoned infernal demons from the very fiery pits of the Earth. I must admit I was surprised at this sight, not least of all because there was only one source of power that could produce these monsters – the Demon Prince, himself. I had dealt with him before, though only briefly, and left convinced that no sane person should ever strike deals with him, lest they doom themselves to a most gruesome fate. What could have possessed the Oranbegans to bargain with the fiend I could not even begin to imagine, but at least I finally understood where the enigmatic curse that held them suspended in eternal unlife had come from. And their fate only reinforced my conviction that one simply does not bargain with demons. Their deals are simply never favourable.

Still, with a hoard of demons from the very hellfire, Zoria was able to punch straight through my defences and enter my inner sanctum without much resistance. Then he came upon Valcor, my eternal house guest. Were I not already dead, I would probably have died laughing at Zoria’s expression when he was beset by that monster. The last thing he expected to find guarding my remains was a twisted, grotesque monster that bore the armour and insignia of the Order of the Divine Light. The Baron’s panic was amusing for a time, but eventually his demonic forces swarmed Valcor and distracted him long enough for Zoria to grab my skull and flee. Valcor, of course, made short work of the demons and chased the escaping sorcerers, but since he was bound to my Necropolis by a very powerful curse, he could not chase far. A few of the Oranbegans made it out of my cursed forest with their lives, but more importantly, they had stolen my skill, along with my soul bound to it, and would not proceed to take me back to their ancient city.

Ironically, even with me gone, little changed in my cursed forest. Valcor still haunted the halls of my Necropolis, cursing my name and looking to kill me, occasionally taking the lives of those who dared venture into my domain. My curse of darkness still gripped the land and the dead still roamed restless, praying on anyone they came across and haunting the forest in the eternal night. The forest itself was still deadly, still hostile and still malicious to anyone who thought it a good idea to enter. It became clear that my millennial stay and my corrosive power had defiled my domain so completely that it remained deeply cursed even in my absence, and may well still be, even today.

Originally Posted by Arcanaville View Post
Samuel_Tow is the only poster that makes me want to punch him in the head more often when I'm agreeing with him than when I'm disagreeing with him.



As for me, Baron Zoria carried my skull over to the new world – the home of the ancient Oranbegans. My soul, being as it was bound to it, followed. As I travelled and was able to see the world up close, it amazed me how much things had changed. I had known humans had forgotten all about magic, but their obsession with technology was still very much astounding. The Oranbegans, users of magic though they were, had adapted to this environment pretty well, blending with the unsuspecting humans so completely. It was impressive, and yet so utterly pathetic to see one of the most ancient and powerful cultures of the world skulking amid these weak humans like thieves. And though I was dead, decomposed and bound to a carcass, I had retained my dignity, where they had fallen so very low.

Eventually, I was taken into the ruins of their old city of Oranbega. I had heard and read so much about the glorious ancient city, yet from all I had seen of the Oranbegans, I was not surprised to see it in ruins. I was locked away in a warded chamber and put under heavy protective spells. Their techniques were pretty impressive and their magic was very strong, but they obviously had no idea who and what it was that they had brought home. They thought themselves safe from my reach, certain that their prison would contain my gaze and my touch, unaware just how simple their outdated warding spells were to someone of my knowledge and power. But their ignorance served my purposes well. I was quickly able to extend my clairvoyance and telekinesis past the prison perimeter and so began listening in on their conversations, researching the books in their libraries and even making use of their equipment when no-one was looking. I was generally biding my time.

As I waited for my power to build up to where I could achieve immortality, I bore witness to a series of intriguing debates among the Oranbegans. Debates about what to do with me. They had first found out about me from one of the spirits that I had experimented on and then set about researching the nature of my existence. The Oranbegans had discovered my history and been intrigued by my being an heir of the Mortix bloodline. Apparently they were collecting people of magical descent for their spirits to inhabit. Possessing the body of a person with magical blood increased the sorcerers’ powers tremendously. But most of the people alive then were not practitioners of magic. Even the descendants of actual sorcerers had blood much diluted by time and generations perpetuated by non-magical humans. The Oranbegans were, in a sense, scraping the bottom of the barrel for suitable hosts.

I, on the other hand, was a true heir to one of the most powerful and most ancient bloodlines of history, and one that went back to the first practitioners of magic, the ones who had stolen it from the gods in the time before the First Divine War. My bloodline had been entirely restricted to my own clan – the Necrotius – and had been passed down through a lineage of wise and powerful wizards. I was a pure-blood descendent of true magical power, and as such presented a host body of unprecedented potential. But I also presented a rather significant danger, namely colossal personal power that, if unchained, the Oranbegans simply could not control. Those who had felt the very small sample of my power that was the curse which held my forest were well aware of the danger, but Zoria’s seemingly easy victory had convinced him that my power could be contained with the proper preparations. For a member of the Circle of Thorns, the governing institution of the ancient city of Oranbega, Baron Zoria’s lack of insight into the grave danger he was facing just bringing me into his city was very amusing. It was so entertaining watching him argue about how he could bind me and restrict my power and how he could utilize my bloodline, listening to him list plans that I knew would fail then and there and imagining what I would do were the Oranbegans foolish enough to give me the opportunity to. And all of this while everyone was convinced I was bound within my prison and unable to see or hear anything. Unfortunately, Zoria was unable to convince the Circle to go ahead with the ceremony, so my skull was stored away for the future where the Oranbegans may have a better means to steal the power of my blood.

Now, it may seem unbelievable to talk about my blood when I was a soul bound to a dried-up old skull. After all, I had no blood. But then, neither did Edward Mortix, the very originator of the Mortix bloodline. He was a Lich, so his body was a bloodless corpse, but that did not prevent him from fathering an entire lineage of sorcerers. Now, most magical bloodlines are passed on through the body, most often through the blood, and so the children of magic practitioners inherit their affinity for magic. However, in schools of magic that deal with life, death and the soul, the “bloodline” is passed down to the children through the spirit. Necromancers in particular spend their lives using magic that affects the binds between the body and the soul, in the process changing them rather dramatically. When a child is born in a Necromancy bloodline, it inherits those altered binds, mutating its spirit in the process. Compared to a normal human soul, a Necromancer’s enjoys far greater control over its body’s aura and even physiology, as well as much less rigid, but not necessarily weaker binds to it. That is why it is such a simple matter for a Necromancer to transform himself into a Lich and why it is so easy for them to sustain their bodies for decades after they should have died. Moreover, a Necromancer’s soul imprints its own magical affinity, its “bloodline,” to any body it occupies. However, those physical changes have to be constantly maintained by the Necromancer’s soul. While that worked even inside a dead body, once the Necromancer died and his soul passed on to the afterlife, the changes to his body would quickly disappear.

What that means is that in order for the Oranbegans to make use of my bloodline, they would have to return me to life inside a living body and let me stay there for at least a short period of time. That way, my soul would transform the body into that of a descendant of the Mortix bloodline. The body thus suitable, they would need to once more extract my soul from this body and place one of their own spirits into it, ending up with a sorcerer with the powers of the Mortix bloodline, but loyal to the ancient city of Oranbega. They couldn’t use my ancient skull for the purpose, as it had long since lost its magical properties. Though my soul was still bound to it, this was only as an anchor to this world, preventing it from passing in. It did not actually inhabit the skull so much as haunt it, and so the skull was useless. Returning me into a body would also be rather difficult, as they could not simply bind my soul into the body of some poor man they dragged off the street. While it would work for their own cursed spirits, returning me to life would require a ritual of greater resurrection. Such a ritual not only returns the soul of a dead man to life, but would also repair his body of any damage it had sustained. Such a spell was powerful enough to return my long-lost body to me as it was before I died, returning me to life at full strength.

And that was where the danger arose. Resurrecting a sorcerer as powerful as me to full strength could easily turn disastrous, as there was no guarantee I’d be willing to allow the Oranbegans to steal my soul and take over my new body. This was the main concern of the Circle of Thorns, and the biggest reason why they refused to heed Baron Zoria’s requests to attempt the ceremony. They had further rejected his suggestion at using an elaborate system of binds for fear they may not be enough to hold me. And they were right to be afraid. I had almost enough power to gain immortality once I was alive, but returning to life would be a problem. Had they chosen to return me to life, they would have simply done me a favour and they knew it. They had spoken to me about it and I had let them know of my intentions in no uncertain terms. It had spooked them enough to seal me away for years to come.

So I spent almost 50 years in a warded chamber, biding my time and gathering power. I let the Oranbegans think their binds were secure and safely keeping me locked away while I wandered their ancient city remotely. It began to remind me of the first years of my life when I was still exploring the ruins of my own Necropolis with my new-found clairvoyance, brushing up on old spells and trying to find something to fill my time with. I took to researching their history and spent a long time reading about their war with the Mu. I read about the deal they had made with the Demon Prince and the desperation that had driven them to even consider it. I read about the many thousands of years they had spent as undead spectres, haunting the ruins of their own city. But where they felt sorry for themselves and mourned their great tragedy, I criticised their sentimentality, for I considered the curse of undead life to be a normal part of life. I had, after all, spent a millennium as a lost soul, bound to an unmoving object. But rather than cry about my fate, I had looked for and found a way to continue working towards my goal, and I was fixed to a single location unable to affect the physical world. These people were given full mobility, the unlimited ability of interaction and an entire society of them to work with, and what had they done with their time? They had spent all eternity crying over spilt milk. Pathetic didn’t even begin to describe them.

But for all of their childish defeatism, the Oranbegans had done a good job of keeping a record of their magical practices, spells and rituals. During my wandering, I came upon a magnificent library, stocked with books long considered lost and the writings of wizards who had been dead for aeons. Their stockpile of knowledge was unlike anything that I had ever seen in my life or my unlife. It contained magic that I didn’t even know existed, and I had thought I knew everything. It was an indescribable repository of knowledge, and I spent many years just pouring over ancient books, scrolls and manuscripts. For all of their shortcomings, the Oranbegans appeared to have specialised in every single field of magic that ever existed. And while they did not have records of some of the later magical practices that were developed during the Golden Age of Magic, as they had been exiled from the continent centuries before, they did have a large selection of old magic that had long since been forgotten by the time I began studying. They even had writings by Jonathan Mortix, himself, as well as a wide selection of books on Necromancy. Those would eventually prove to be invaluable.

Initially I had taken to waiting for my power to build up to where I could cast my curse onto myself and forever lock my soul into my body. However, my power had peaked and just kept on growing, but I had no means to use it unless I were alive, and locked in a warded chamber as I was, that would prove to be difficult. I spoke to some of the Circle of Thorns and tried to convince them to follow through with Baron Zoria’s old plans for stealing my body, but they all felt the risk was not worth it. And it wasn’t – I had no intention of sharing my body – but it was disheartening to see I could not mislead them into trying it anyway. A change of plans was needed, and I decided to use a resource unique to this new, modern age – heroes. I was locked deep underground, in catacombs of carved stone below an ancient sunken city. But above me on the surface, a vast, modern human city thrived. But unlike any other human city I had seen, this one was densely populated by incredibly powerful beings. Some of them I could recognise as human while others were completely alien to me. They used a mind-boggling array of tools and weapons, ranging from traditional magic to exotic magic to a plethora of devices and abilities I couldn’t identify.

But one thing identified all of these individuals – they were considered heroes by the humans. They were, as well, enemies of the ancient Oranbegans. It had become clear to me that the Circle of Thorns were facing some rather serious difficulties for some time, but it hadn’t dawned on me that they were fighting a constant war with these heroes all over the city. Once I realised that, my recourse was clear – if the Circle would not resurrect me by choice, I would make it so they had to do it. And with their enemies knocking on their front door and me listening in on their most secret of plans, making them have to resort to some drastic measures would not be so difficult. All I had to do was pay attention to the Circle’s plans and then give them to the heroes of the city, be it in visions or by leaving cryptic clues for them to find out. The Oranbegans quickly felt the pressure, but they simply could not find out how the heroes were getting their inside information. Because the fools thought me contained in my cell, they never thought to check if it wasn’t me who was betraying them. By that time, in fact, they had all but forgotten about my existence. All the same. I would make them remember soon enough.

The heroes of the inflicted significant damage on the Oranbegans, defeated many of their mystics and took over large parts of their sunken city. The Circle of Thorns felt every blow and got more and more concerned with every defeat. What finally tipped the scales was when one of their own – the archmage Akharist – betrayed them and deserted his people. He had been one of the most respected members of the Circle and instrumental in making some of their most important decisions. I had spoken with him a few times and knew him to be tired, depressed and disillusioned. He was one of the most sentimental of all the Oranbegans and one of those who really suffered from their unlife of violence and hatred. He was also a colossal fool, as he had made the least of his unlife and would always go on and on about the horrors the Circle was forced to commit. No doubt a follower of the teachings of Tielleku, Akharist was always concerned about keeping his humanity, like that had any merit to it. But in keeping his humanity, he had transformed himself into a sorry weakling who eventually deserted his own people, and that served my purposes just fine.

Akharist’s desertion threw the Circle of Thorns into panic, and in an almost unbelievable example of repeating the mistakes of history, they chose to bargain with the Demon Prince yet again. It was as if the destruction of their entire people, though largely their own fault, was not enough to teach the Oranbegans that you simply do not bargain with demons. And yet here they were, bargaining with the very prince of demons for still more power to defeat their foes. That was a colossally bad idea and one that would put my own plans into turmoil, so I had to intervene. I contacted Akharist telepathically and briefed him on the situation. Like me, he was appalled that his brethren could be so foolish as to bargain with the Demon Prince after the disaster their previous bargain had caused, so he agreed to help the heroes stop the deal. With my inside information and his knowledge in demonology at their disposal, the heroes of the city were able to defeat the Demon Prince’s envoy into this world and send him back to the demon realm, breaking the Circle’s deal into the process. They wasted no time in mounting a counterattack and keeping the pressure on the Oranbegans.

The Circle of Thorns was at a crisis point. They were losing positions with frightening speed, their power was waning and their last lifeline to victory – the Demon Prince – was no longer of any use. Akharist pleaded with them to stop the violence and work with the humans, but the Circle refused. They were scared and desperate. Now was the time for them to learn from history, realise their mistakes and think their actions through carefully. Yet in an almost embarrassing example of repeating the mistakes of the past, they clung to one final straw – me. After all these years being too afraid to try to resurrect me, they finally believed themselves to have no other choice but to try. I had intended to go to them and suggest it yet again, but I had underestimated their desperation. In the end, they came to me on their own. It had worked out even better than I had expected, as now they had no reason to suspect that I may have planned something, nor did they put much thought into weather their ritual would succeed. They simply felt that they had no choice and would sooner see me free than lose to the heroes.

Learning the history of the ancient sunken city of Oranbega had paid off. I knew the Oranbegans, as a people, were prone to panicking and making rash decisions. I knew that under extreme circumstances, they would consider even the most unthinkable options. I knew that they could not think things through and make sound decisions under pressure. And I also knew what they had learned from their history – that when things start going bad, they will always end up getting really, really bad. This made them paranoid as a people and likely to blow problems out of proportion. This mentality had been what I based my entire plan on – that if I can help put the Oranbegans under pressure, they would eventually cave in and try to resurrect me. And they did.

When Akharist found out about their plan to bring me back to life, he once again tried to plead with them to have some sense and think about what they were doing. But the Circle of Thorns were beyond thinking back then. They were paranoid that their world was coming to an end and firmly believed they had no other choice. Akharist tried to appeal to me, but quickly realised exactly what I intended to do. His final recourse was to appeal to the heroes of the city and hope they, at least, could stop the ceremony.

But the Oranbegans hid the location of the resurrection well and the heroes acted slow, so they were free to begin uninterrupted. They started out by laying wards upon wars upon wards, forming a very, very strong barrier that they hope could contain my power. It appeared someone in the Circle had taken Baron Zoria’s original idea and tripled the precautions. So I stood there and watched as the wizards cast their spells and prepared to face off against my full power. It was quite clear from the very beginning that they had sorely underestimated me, but it was almost comedic by the time I figured out to just what lengths the Circle had gone and still managed to be so horribly unprepared. But perhaps I shouldn’t blame them. The last time I showed my full power was during my battle with Valcor, and the aftereffects of that display left a forest that is deeply cursed even today, a millennium later. Now I had power far in excess of what I had had back then, simply because I had been accumulating it. The power the Oranbegans believed I had was the same power Zoria had faced during his assault on my Necropolis, and I wasn’t even supporting that. I had cast it long before and it just persisted on its own. So the Oranbegans really had no idea what kind of power they were dealing with.

With the wards set, my skull was placed on top of a circle altar and the resurrection ritual began. I hadn’t witnessed resurrection before, as I had never had any use for returning the dead to life, so the process proved to be rather interesting for me to observe. In fact, it reminded me a lot of a soul drain technique I had used several times before, but it was different in several ways. As the life energies accumulated and swirled, resurrection began. I felt the magical binds that thrust my soul back into my still-forming body very clearly and recognised them from my own experiments. This was almost identical to a spirit binding technique. As my body slowly formed out of thin air, I released my clairvoyance and allowed my soul to settle into its new home. Slowly but surely I felt the warmth of human blood and the beating of a heart. I took a deep breath and listened as my lungs expanded. Finally, I felt solid ground under my feet as my muscles tightened to take the weight of my body while it landed gently from the spell. I was alive. It was time to act.

I opened my eyes and smiled. What met me was the panicked expressions on the faces of the mages around me. Only then had they realised what they had done. With a mere gesture of my hand, I undid all of the wards that were meant to contain me. They were powered by significant magical force, but at their bases, they were rather simply to undo. Not only did I know exactly how they worked, but I had spent a lot of time with Valcor, reverse-engineering his spell-breaking magic. Getting free was exceptionally easy. The Oranbegan mages, horrified at what they had allowed to happen, attacked me with a whole textbook of different magic. However, I had read the same books so I knew how to use the power of darkness to protect myself. As I deflected their opening attack, I effortlessly wrenched their souls out of their bodies. The binds that hold the ancient Oranbegan’s spirits inside their bodies were always so easy to break. Shoved out of their hosts, the spirits scattered and ran away, leaving me with their soul-less bodies to act as perfectly fine undead minions. My undead, backed up by my own magic, made short work of all the Oranbegans who were present at the ritual and I set about setting up my own – the one that would give me eternal life.

And just as it looked like things were going my way, I sensed the city’s heroes barging into the Oranbegan crypt, intent on destroying me. All the same. I had more than enough power and plenty of undead minions to keep them at bay long enough for me to become immortal. I can only imagine the heroes’ surprise when, instead of the robed mystics they were expecting, they were beset by a legion of the undead. It may have been entertaining to watch, but I had work to do. Luckily, the Oranbegans had either broth with them or had on hand all the elements I needed to complete my ritual spell. I had made significant efforts to make this curse work without much preparation, just as I had cast it onto Valcor, so I didn’t really need much to begin with.

As soon as all was ready, I began my ritual in earnest. A curse of darkness, a curse of eternity, a curse of monstrosity – I placed so many curses onto myself that would make any other Necromancer shudder in terror. But it was all a calculated risk. I used one curse’s binding strengths and effects to keep my soul into my body by overwhelming force. Usually used to curse someone to haunt a place forever, it ensured that my soul could not be removed from my body by any means, insuring me eternal life. I used another curse’s effect of disfigurement to give me wilful control over my body, that I may manipulate it into whatever I chose. Finally, I cursed myself with darkness and undeath, a curse that caused me to consume life and radiate necrotic energy, magnifying my Necromancy skills incalculably. By doing what no Necromancer had thought to do before – curse myself in creative ways – I had given myself incredible power.

Almost, that is. Just before the final incantation was cast, a rat revealed himself. A surviving Oranbegan mage had remained hidden out of sight as his comrades were being killed around him. He had stayed hidden while I was making my preparations, I assume hoping that either Oranbegan mystics or heroes would interfere. But when he saw that I would complete my binds before anyone could have a chance to intervene, he chose to undertake a risky manoeuvre. He struck out of cover and caught me by surprise, my mind focused on the overcomplicated spell I was casting. He managed get close enough to me to plunge a Spirit Thorn straight into my heart. I had embarrassingly fallen for the most basic of Oranbegan soul-stealing techniques. Normally, that would have been the end of me, but the circumstances were in my favour.

A spirit thorn carries the bearer’s soul when wielded by an Oranbegan mystic. When plunged into the heart of a victim, it sucks out their soul and replaces it with that of the wielder, essentially taking over the victim’s body. That, however, only works on simple humans who are not strong enough to resist and do not have protective wards keeping their soul in their body. Against more powerful enemies, soul extraction by means of a special ritual is first required, so that the mystic can more easily invade the now empty body. Against someone as powerful as me, even soul extraction would not work because I’m warded far too well and my binds are far too strong. Necromancers in general are among the most difficult people to perform soul extraction on because of the unnatural bonds their souls have with their bodies and the ease with which they control them. With me being an incredibly powerful Necromancer, the only way the circle could hope to invade my body was to kill me and then invade my body before its magical affinity dissipated.

What that meant for the mage who injected his soul into mine, however, was very certain doom. Not only was his puny willpower not enough to even budge me out of my body, but I was in the middle of casting a curse that would plain disallow my soul to be e taken out. However, the Oranbegan had been cursed, himself, and by none other than the Demon Prince, so I found it impossible to consume or control his soul. Simply put, he wasn’t undead, he was immortal. Such was the Oranbegans’ curse to haunt the broken hallways of their sunken city for all eternity as living wraiths, never resting and never finding peace. I had long since found the Oranbegans to be beyond any sort of Necromantic control, and because of that and the way he had entered my body, there was nothing I could do to destroy or cast him out. And as we struggled, my curse finally took effect and locked not just me, but me and the Oranbegan inside my body.

That was a rather unfortunate turn of events and one that, in all of my planning and preparation, I had never even expected. But as we vied for control of my body, both of us unshakably entrenched, I found something interesting – the Oranbegan’s willpower was rather very lacking. And while he was viciously struggling for control of my body, I found that I could dominate him quite easily. Indomitable will is key to a Necromancer, as the souls he controls are constantly trying to resist his power and break free. Crushing their will and their independence is just a natural part of Necromancy. So here I found myself trying to dominate a soul bound sternly to a body. Ignoring the fact that it was my own body, this was little different from controlling a recently-turned undead minion. Here was a soul I wanted to control, trapped in a body and bound to mine. With that in mind, I applied the same technique I used to control my undead, and the Oranbegan soul responded.

Once that realisation had been made, it proved to be very easy to subjugate the foreign soul inside my body and suppress it to a point where it did not interfere. However, I couldn’t very well have an alien soul in my body. That was dangerous, uncomfortable and would cause me a lot of work and strain just to exist in peace, as I had to constantly work to maintain the soul suppressed. At first I started looking for ways to remove it from my body, but several very strong forces made that impossible. I tried to consume it, but Oranbegan souls are immortal, so that didn’t work. Finally, it occurred to me that I could try a soul merge. This is a rather very difficult technique that melds two souls into one, where both retain their memories, personality and sometimes often their own will. It is not even a Necromantic technique, so on top of its own difficulty, I’d be trying to use magic from a very different school. However, the soul merge had one curious feature – it was easier the more willing the souls were to merge. And since I had almost complete control over the foreign soul in my body, that would make the spell very much easier.

The soul merge was one of the many techniques I had studied off the Oranbegan books of magic while I was still waiting for my power to build up. It was one of the techniques which had intrigued me, so I had spent a lot of time looking into it. With that knowledge, I was confident I could pull it off. To prevent myself from polluting my mind with unworthy thoughts and memories, I wiped the mind of the other presence in my body clean, and it was quite receptive. Now it was just a blank soul that I could merge with so I could get rid of it. And in my mind, I cast the soul merge spell with but a thought. It was strange that magic should work that way, but that didn’t occur to me at the time. All the same, that was the last thing I remember.

The next thing I remember is waking up in what looked and felt like a dungeon. I found myself in a rather large, dark room, surrounded by enchanted runes. I immediately recognised this as a magical barrier. Unlike the Oranbegans’ wards, I could tell that this would contain all of my power. But all of my power was, much to my surprise, almost all gone. It seemed like the curses I cast and my mental battle with that Oranbegan soul had really taken its toll on me. Before I could even wonder what was to happen to me, a man came into the room and addressed me. Although his face was different, I immediately recognised Akharist’s aura. He explained that the hero squad he had sent to stop me had not been able to stop my ritual, but that when they had finally made it to the main chamber, they had found me down and unconscious with a spirit thorn sticking out of my chest.

It was then that everything came back to me. My mental battle with the Oranbegan soul had occupied my entire attention, preventing me from noticing how I had lost consciousness and how heroes had taken me away and placed me in a very well-guarded prison built just for people of great power. Akharist told me that I had been out for well over a week after the incident. He went on to reprimand me for using the Oranbegan people like that, for corrupting their minds and playing on their fears. He spoke with great self-righteous indignation for a traitor who abandoned his own people and bit with surprising ferocity for the weakling who spent an eternity feeling sorry for himself. I just let him carry on speaking until he said all he wanted to say and left. The fool had come to show me the error of my ways, but as always, he had badly underestimated my power.

Akharist and the fools who listened to him believed that a prison could hold me. And in my weakened stat, perhaps they were right. But as always, I would not stay weak forever. And this time, there was nothing that could go wrong. I had finally achieved my immortality, and in a way that was impossible to undo. From here on out, all I had to do was wait for my power to build back up again. And I had the time and patience to wait for as long as it took.

Originally Posted by Arcanaville View Post
Samuel_Tow is the only poster that makes me want to punch him in the head more often when I'm agreeing with him than when I'm disagreeing with him.