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necromancy

Mannimarco, King of Worms

Author: 
Horicles

O sacred isle Artaeum, where rosy light infuses air,
O'er towers and through flowers, gentle breezes flow,
Softly sloping green-kissed cliffs to crashing foam below,
Always springtide afternoon housed within its border,
This mystic, mist-protected home of the Psijic Order:
Those counselors of kings, cautious, wise, and fair.

Ten score years and thirty since the mighty Remans fell,
Two brilliant students studied within the Psijics' fold.
One's heart was light and warm, the other dark and cold.
The madder latter, Mannimarco, whirled in a deathly dance,
His soul in bones and worms, the way of the necromance.
Entrapping and enslaving souls, he cast a wicked spell.

The former, Galerion had magic bold and bright as day.
He confronted Mannimarco beneath gray Ceporah Tower,
Saying, 'Your wicked mysticism is no way to wield your power,
Bringing horror to the spirit world, your studies must cease.'
Mannimarco scoffed, hating well the ways of life and peace,
And returned to his dark artistry; his paints, death and decay.

O sacred isle Artaeum, how slow to perceive the threat,
When the ghastly truth revealed, how weak the punishment.
The ghoulish Mannimarco from the isle of the wise was sent
To the mainland Dawn's Beauty, more death and souls to reap.
'You have found a wolf, and sent the beast to flocks of sheep,'
Galerion told his Masters, 'A terror on Tamriel has set.'

'Speak no more of him,' the sage Cloaks of Gray did say.
'Twas not the first time Galerion thought his Masters callous,
Unconcerned for men and mer, aloof in their island palace.
'Twas not the first time Galerion thought 'twas time to build
A new Order to bring true magic to all, a mighty Mages Guild.
But 'twas the time he left, at last, fair Artaeum's azure bay.

O, but sung we have of Vanus Galerion many times before,
How cast he off the Psijics' chains, bringing magic to the land.
Throughout the years, he saw the touch of Mannimarco's hand,
Through Tamriel's deserts, forests, towns, mountains, and seas.
The dark grip stretching out, growing like some dread disease
By his dark Necromancers, collecting cursed artifacts of yore.

They brought to him these tools, mad wizards and witches,
And brought blood-tainted herbs and oils to his cave of sin,
Sweet Akaviri poison, dust from saints, sheafs of human skin,
Toadstools, roots, and much more cluttered his alchemical shelf,
Like a spider in his web, he sucked all their power into himself,
Mannimarco, Worm King, world's first of the undying liches.

Corruption on corruption, 'til the rot sunk to his very core,
Though he kept the name Mannimarco, his body and his mind
Were but a living, moving corpse as he left humanity behind.
The blood in his veins became instead a poison acid stew.
His power and his life increased as his fell collection grew.
Mightiest were these artifacts, long cursed since days of yore.

They say Galerion left the Guild, calling it 'a morass,'
But untruth is a powerful stream, polluting the river of time.
Galerion beheld Mannimarco's rise through powers sublime,
To his mages and Lamp Knights, 'Before my last breath,
Face I must the tyranny of worms, and kill at last, undeath.'
He led them north to cursed lands, to a mountain pass.

O those who survived the battle say its like was never seen.
Armored with magicka, armed with ensorcelled sword and axe,
Galerion cried, echoing, 'Worm King, surrender your artifacts,
And their power to me, and you shall live as befits the dead.'
A hollow laugh answered, 'You die first,' Mannimarco said.
The mage army then clashed with the unholy force obscene.

Imagine waves of fire and frost, and the mountain shivers,
Picture lightning arching forth, crackling in a dragon's sigh.
Like leaves, the battlemages fly to rain down from the sky,
At the Necromancers' call, corpses burst from earth to fight,
To be shattered into nothingness with a flood of holy light.
A maelstrom of energy unleashed, blood cascades in rivers.

Like a thunderburst in blue skies or a lion's sudden roar,
Like sharp razors tearing over delicate embroidered lace,
So at a touch did Galerion shake the mountain to its base.
The deathly horde fell fatally, but heeding their dying cries
From the depths, the thing they called Worm King did rise.
Nirn itself did scream in the Mages' and Necromancers' war

His eyes burning dark fire, he opened his toothless maw,
Vomiting darkness with each exhalation of his breath,
All sucking in the fetid air felt the icy touch of death.
In the skies above the mountain, darkness overcame pale,
Then Mannimarco Worm King felt his dismal powers fail:
The artifacts of death pulled from his putrid skeletal claw.

A thousand good and evil perished then, history confirms.
Among, alas, Vanus Galerion, he who showed the way,
It seemed once that Mannimarco had truly died that day.
Scattered seemed the Necromancers, wicked, ghastly fools,
Back to the Mages Guild, victors kept the accursed tools,
Of him, living still in undeath, Mannimarco, King of Worms.

Children, listen as the shadows cross your sleeping hutch,
And the village sleeps away, streets emptied of the crowds,
And the moons do balefully glare through the nightly clouds,
And the graveyard's people rest, we hope, in eternal sleep,
Listen and you'll hear the whispered tap of the footsteps creep,
Then pray you'll never feel the Worm King's awful touch.

 

The Black Arts on Trial

Author: 
Hanibal Traven

The Black Arts On Trial

By Hannibal Traven
Archmagister of the Arcane University, Imperial City

HISTORY

Necromancy, commonly called the Black Arts, has a history that dates back before recorded time. Virtually all the earliest laws of the land make mention of it as expressly forbidden on pain of death. Independent practitioners of the arts of sorcery, however, continued its study.

The Psijic Order of the Isle of Artaeum, precursor to our own Mages Guild, also forbade its use, not only because it was dangerous, but their belief in the holy and unholy ancestor spirits made it heretical. Again, despite this, we hear many stories of students and masters who ignored this stricture. When Vanus Galerion left Artaeum, he may have disagreed with the Psijics on much, but he also refused to allow Necromancy to be taught in the Guild.

Almost 1100 years have passed since the time of Vanus Galerion, and there have been many archmagisters to lead his guild. The question of Necromancy has continued to be asked. The strictures against it in the Guild have never been lifted, but attitudes about it have shifted back and forth over the years. Some archmagisters have been inclined to ignore it entirely, some have fought very actively against it, and still other archmagisters have been rumored to be Necromancers themselves.

In my new role as Archmagister of the Mages Guild, it is my duty to set policy on this matter. Though I have my own opinions on the Black Arts, I took counsel with two of the most learned mages in the Empire, Magister Voth Karlyss of Corinth and Magister Ulliceta gra-Kogg of Orsinium, and we debated for two days.

What follows are summaries of the salient points of the debate, arguments and counter-arguments, which led to the resolution of the Mages Guild on the subject of Necromancy.

ARGUMENT

Argument by Master gra-Kogg: Necromancy is poorly understood. We will not make it disappear by ignoring it. As an intellectual institution dedicated to the study of the magickal arts and sciences, we have obligations to the truth. Censoring ourselves in our scholarship is antithetical to our mission of neutrality and objectivity.

Counter-Argument by Master Karlyss: The Mages Guild must balance its quest for knowledge with responsible caution and ethical standards. It is not 'censoring' a student's course of study to have him proceed cautiously and with purity of purpose. It is not limiting a student's freedom to set rules and boundaries - indeed, it is essential.

Argument by Master Karlyss: Necromancy is an anathema throughout the civilized world. To embrace it publicly, the Mages Guild would inspire fear and hostility in the populace at large. Vanus Galerion wanted this institution to be unlike the Psijic Order, which was elitist and separatist. We ignore public opinion at our own risk. We will certainly lose our charters in many places including, very likely, the whole of Morrowind, where sentiment against Necromancy is very strong.

Counter-Argument by Master gra-Kogg: Yes, we should be sensitive to the concerns of the community, but they should not and must not dictate our scholarship. 'Necromancer' to many uneducated persons simply means an evil mage. It is madness to limit our work because of prejudices and half-formed understanding. It is an affront to the purpose of objective study to turn our back on a subject merely because of public opinion.

Argument by Master gra-Kogg: Necromancers are the scourge of Tamriel. Whether operating independently or in concert with the sloads or King of Worms, Mannimarco, they are responsible for many horrors, animated zombies and skeletons and other forms of the undead. To best combat this menace, we must understand the powers of the Necromancer, and we cannot do that by restricting our study of the Black Arts.

Counter-Argument by Master Karlyss: No one is disputing the threat of the Black Arts - in fact, that is the very essence of my argument against the Mages Guild making it a School to be taught to our initiates. We can and should know what our enemy is capable of, but we must be careful not to step into a trap of looking too deep into his ways, and making those ways our own. We do no one any good if by studying the evil ways, we become evil ourselves.

Argument by Master Karlyss: Necromancy is inherently dangerous. One cannot 'dabble' in it. The simplest spell requires the spilling of blood, and immediately begins to corrupt the caster's soul. This is not conjecture, but simple fact. It is irresponsible of the Guild to teach and thereby encourage a sort of magickal study which has proven itself, time and time again, to bring nothing but terror and misery on the practitioner and world.

Counter-Argument by Master gra-Kogg: All Schools of magicka are dangerous to the uninitiated. A simple fireball spell from the School of Destruction can cause great harm when cast by a novice, not only to others but to the mage himself. The School of Mysticism by its very nature forces the practitioner to divorce his mind from logic, to embrace a temporary sort of insanity, which one might argue is very like corrupting one's soul.

Argument by Master gra-Kogg: The Guild already permits some forms of Necromancy. The 'Schools' of magicka are, as we know, artificial constructs, originally formulated by Vanus Galerion to divide and thereby simplify study. They have changed many times throughout the years, but at their heart, every Master knows, they are all linked together. When a student of Conjuration summons a guardian ghost, he is touching on the School of Necromancy. When a student of Enchantment uses a trapped soul, he too may be considered guilty of a Black Art. The School of Mysticism, as I have stated before, has some kinship with Necromancy as well. To state that students may not learn the ways of Necromancy is to stifle common skills in the other, more historically legitimate Schools of the Guild.

Counter-Argument by Master Karlyss: Yes, the Schools are intertwined, but the standard spells of each School have passed the proof of time. We know that a student of Mysticism, properly instructed, will not be permanently harmed by his experience. In many ways, it is a question of extremes - how far we would permit our studies to take us. Necromancy by its nature relies on the practitioner going further into the darkness than is wise, virtually guaranteeing his destruction. It has no place in the Mages Guild.

CONCLUSION

The risks of studying Necromancy outweigh its usefulness. The Guild does not wish to censor the study of any of its members, but it will not tolerate studies in the Black Arts, except in limited form for the purpose of combating its evil adherents. This may only been done by rare individuals who have proven themselves both highly skilled and highly cautious, and then only with my express permission and supervision.

AFTERWORD

I regret to acknowledge the truth behind the rumor that Master Ulliceta gra-Kogg was more than an apologist for Necromancy, she was a Necromancer herself. Upon this revelation, the Knights of the Lamp attempted to arrest her at the Guildhouse in Orsinium, but she made good her escape. We have every confidence in the replacement Magister in Orsinium.

Though I disagreed, I respected her logical reasoning enough to include her arguments in this book, and I see no reason to remove them. It is disappointing, however, to see that her interest in 'the truth' was nothing more than a euphemism for her slavery to the Black Arts.

This unfortunate situation merely illustrates how essential it is for Guildmembers to be wary of the lure of Necromancy, and be vigilant to its practitioners' infiltration in our Mages Guild.  

The Exodus

Author: 
Waughin Jarth

Vralla was a little girl, beautiful and sweet-natured, beautiful and smart, beautiful and energetic. Everything that her parents had dreamed she would be. As perfect as she was, they could not help but have dreams for her. Her father, a bit of a social climber named Munthen, thought she would marry well, perhaps become a Princess of the Empire. Her mother, an insecure woman named Cinneta, thought she would reach greatness on her own, as a knight or a sorceress. As much as they wanted the very best for their daughter, they argued about what her fate would be, but both were wrong. Instead of growing up, she grew very ill.

The Temples told them to give up hope, and The Mages Guild told them that what afflicted Vralla was so rare, so deadly, that there was no cure. She was doomed to die, and soon.

When the great institutions of the Empire failed them, Munthen and Cinneta sought out the witches, the sorcerer hermits, and the other hidden, secret powers that lurk in the shadows of civilization.

'I can think of only one place you can go,' said an old herbalist they found in the most remote peaks of the Wrothgarian Mountains. 'The Mages Guild at Olenveld.'

'But we have already been to the Mages Guild,' protested Munthen. 'They couldn't help us.'

'Go to Olenveld," the herbalist insisted. "And tell no one that you're going there.'

It was not easy to find Olenveld, as it did not appear on any modern map. In a bookseller's in Skyrim, however, they found it in a historic book of cartography from the 2nd Era. In the yellowed pages, there was Olenveld, a city on an island in the northern coast, a day's sail in summertide from Winterhold.

Bundling their pale daughter against the chill of the ocean wind, the couple set sail, using the old map as their only guide. For nearly two days, they were at sea, circling the same position, wondering if they were the victim of a cruel trick. And then they saw it.

In the mist of crashing waves were twin crumbled statues framing the harbor, long forgotten Gods or heroes. The ships within were half-sunk, rotten shells along the docks. Munthen brought his ship in, and the three walked into the deserted island city.

Taverns with broken windows, a plaza with a dried-up well, shattered palaces and fire-blackened tenements, barren shops and abandoned stables, all desolate, all still, but for the high keening ocean wind that whistled through the empty places. And gravestones. Every road and alley was lined, and crossed, and crossed again with memorials to the dead.

Munthen and Cinneta looked at one another. The chill they felt had little to do with the wind. Then they looked at Vralla, and continued on to their goal - the Mages Guild of Olenveld.

Candlelight glistened through the windows of the great dark building, but it brought them little relief to know that someone was alive in the island of death. They knocked on the door, and steeled themselves against whatever horror they might face within.

The door was opened by a rather plump middle-aged Nord woman with frizzy blond hair. Standing behind her, a meek-looking bald Nord about her age, a shy teenage Breton couple, still very pimply and awkward, and a very old, apple-cheeked Breton man who grinned with delight at the visitors.

'Oh, my goodness,' said the Nord woman, all afluster. 'I thought my ears must be fooling me when I heard that door a-knockin'. Come in, come in, it's so cold!'

The three were ushered in the door, and they were relieved to find that the Guild did not look abandoned in the least. It was well swept, well lit, and cheerfully decorated. The group fell into introductions. The inhabitants of the Guildhouse in Olenveld were two families, the Nords Jalmar and Nette, and the Bretons Lywel, Rosalyn, and old Wynster. They were friendly and accommodating, immediately bringing some mulled wine and bread while Munthen and Cinneta explained to them what they were doing there, and what the healers and herbalists had said about Vralla.

'So, you see,' said Cinneta, tearfully. 'We didn't think we'd find the Mages Guild in Olenveld, but now that we have, please, you're our last hope.'

The five strangers also had tears in their eyes. Nette wept particularly noisily.

'Oh, you've been through too, too much,' the Nord woman bawled. 'Of course, we'll help. Your little girl will be right as rain.'

'It is fair to tell you,' said Jalmar, more stoically, though he clearly was also touched by the tale. 'This is a Guildhouse, but we are not Mages. We took this building because it was abandoned and it serves our purposes since the Exodus. We are Necromancers.'

'Necromancers?' Cinneta quivered. How could these nice people be anything so horrible?

'Yes, dear,' Nette smiled, patting her hand. 'I know. We have a bad reputation, I'm afraid. Never was very good, and now that well-meaning but foolish Archmagister Hannibal Traven -'

'May the Worm King eat his soul!' cried the old man quite suddenly and very viciously.

'Now, now, Wynster,' said the teenage girl Rosalyn, blushing and smiling at Cinneta apologetically. 'I'm sorry about him. He's usually very sweet-natured.'

'Well, of course, he's right, Mannimarco will have the last say in the matter,' Jalmar said. 'But right now, it's all very, well, awkward. When Traven officially banned the art, we had to go into hiding. The only other option was to abandon it altogether, and that's just foolish, though there are many who have done it.'

'Not many people know about Olenveld anymore since Tiber Septim used it as his own personal graveyard,' said Lywel. 'Took us a week to find it again. But it's perfect for us. Lots of dead bodies, you know... '

'Lywel!' Rosalyn admonished him. 'You're going to scare them!'

'Sorry,' Lywel grinned sheepishly.

'I don't care what you do here,' said Munthen sternly. 'I just want to know what you can do for my daughter.'

'Well,' said Jalmar with a shrug. 'I guess we can make it so she doesn't die and is never sick again.'

Cinneta gasped, 'Please! We'll give you everything we have!'

'Nonsense,' said Nette, picking up Vralla in her big, beefy arms. 'Oh, what a beautiful girl. Would you like to feel better, little sweetheart?'

Vralla nodded, wearily.

'You stay here,' Jalmar said. 'Rosalyn, I'm sure we have something better than bread to offer these nice folks.'

Nette started to carry Vralla away, but Cinneta ran after her. 'Wait, I'm coming too.'

'Oh, I'm sure you would, but it'd ruin the spell, dear,' Nette said. 'Don't worry about a thing. We've done this dozens of times.'

Munthen puts his arms around his wife, and she relented. Rosalyn hurried off to the kitchen and brought some roast fowl and more mulled wine for them. They sat in silence and ate.

Wynster shuddered suddenly. 'The little girl has died.'

'Oh!' Cinneta gasped.

'What in Oblivion do you mean?!' Munthen cried.

'Wynster, was that really necessary?' Lywel scowled at the old man, before turning to Munthen and Cinneta. 'She had to die. Necromancy is not about curing a disease, it's about resurrection, total regeneration, transforming the whole body, not just the parts that aren't working now.'

Munthen stood up, angrily. 'If those maniacs killed her -'

'They didn't,' Rosalyn snapped, her shy eyes now showing fire. 'Your daughter was on her last breath when she came in here, anyone could see that. I know that this is hard, horrible even, but I won't have you call that sweet couple who are only trying to help you, 'maniacs.''

Cinneta burst into tears, 'But she's going to live now? Isn't she?'

'Oh yes,' Lywel said, smiling broadly.

'Oh, thank you, thank you,' Cinneta burst into tears. 'I don't know what we would have done -'

'I know how you feel,' said Rosalyn, patting Wynster's hand fondly. 'When I thought we were going to lose him, I was willing to do anything, just like you.'

Cinneta smiled. 'How old is your father?'

'My son,' Rosalyn corrected her. 'He's six.'

From the other room came the sound of tiny footsteps.

'Vralla, go give your parents a big hug,' said Jalmar.

Munthen and Cinneta turned, and the screaming began.

Amongst the Draugr

Author: 
Bernadette Bantien

Amongst the Draugr

by
Bernadette Bantien
College of Winterhold
 

It wasn't until my seventh month with the creatures that they seemed to accept me. Well, "accept" isn't really the proper word, but they seemed to have decided that I posed no threat to them and gradually ceased their attacks. Though more than capable of fending them off (a combination of fire and turning spells are generally sufficient), I admit that I tired of having to be ever vigilant in their presence.

I'll never know whether there was some sort of agreement communicated among them, for the only utterances they make seem to be in that heathen tongue that I can't even pronounce, much less transcribe. In time, I learned more of their intentions towards me from their general movements and tones rather than specific words. Hostility in any creature is easily read, but in these most peculiar of the living dead, with such variations in gait and speed, what amounts to a hostile charge in one may simply be casual movement in another. The eyes seem to be key to their intent, and I will confess to more than one dream haunted by the glowing pinpoints in the darkness.

I had always wondered why the ancient priests of the dragon cult insisted that their followers be buried with them. It seems the height of pagan vanity to drag your conscripts to their death along with you, but as I integrated into their presence, I began to observe the reasons. Every day, a different set of draugr would awaken, shamble their way to the sarcophagus of their priest, and prostrate themselves before it. Several hours of this, followed by a meticulous cleaning of the area. It would appear that the adherents of the dragon priest continue their worship of him in death, which would also explain the ferocity with which they defend his chambers.

It took several weeks before I felt comfortable approaching the dragon priest's resting place, myself. Inch by inch, until the snarling draugrs around me seemed to tire of fending off my timid presence. I was able to set some simple scrying spells around the tomb, that I might get a sense of what magical energies resided there. When the next group of draugr came to pay homage to the priest, I noted a sort of transferal happening. A distinct flow of life force between the adherents and the master.

It was here that I finally understood the dragon cult's notion of resurrection. The second eternal life was only promised to those who ascended to the priesthood, but the lesser functionaries contributed their life force to sustaining them for eternity. I don't know what sort of eternal wellspring they draw from, but it's clear that each draugr carries only the barest whisper of life in it, and rekindles it nightly while resting in its niche. I now believe that the grotesque forms that we see in the barrows were, in fact, buried fully as men and women, and only over the thousands of years that have passed withered into the wretched things we know. If we had visited a barrow directly after its construction, we might not have even known any of its inhabitants were dead!

These discoveries and extrapolations excite me, and my mind aches to return to the barrows. I have only paused here at the College to transcribe these notes and gather further supplies for a more extended stay. My new hope is to learn some rudimentary way of speaking to them, for imagining what they could tell us of the early mists of time is staggering.

Relmina's Logs

Author: 
Relmina

Relmina's logs, recording all her immoral experiments.

Project Limb Removal
Day 12 Observations and Summary Conclusions

Day 12
Removing an arm from the young wood elf female made her fight all the harder for her life, despite being clearly outmatched. In previous battles, she fought much less bravely and to lesser effect. She lasted a full minute against my most angry of hounds before her throat was ripped out and I had to revive her.

However, removing just the feet of the middle-aged Nord male made him despondent and without any will to defend himself, even against a lesser foe. So pitiful was the look on the face of his corpse, that I decide to leave him be, rather than resurrect him. After so many years of scientific study, I still cannot abide apathy. I'm sure that my aversion to pity has colored my findings, as I only make use of strong-willed test subjects. Though I suppose, flawed as my research may be, it is still more revealing and faithful than any other has done before me.

Summary Conclusions
After studying the various combats between the test subjects in this project, I have concluded that, much as the pain threshold is inconsistent within a given species, so too is the effect of dismemberment. Whether beast or man, the removal of a limb, be it functional as a hand, or peripheral as a tail, has varying effects on the subject, having to do more with individual temperament than any biological or cultural endowment. Whatever the particular effect, it is substantial. Whether it enhances a subject's tendency toward aggressiveness or passivity, or swings them to the other extreme, removing a limb has a profound effect on behavior.

After reviewing my notes, I will attempt to catalogue all the similarities and differences between the subjects and their responses. I may be able to offer Lord Sheogorath a guidebook detailing how to craft a better kingdom by removing various appendages from the bodies of its people.

Experiment Setup and Hypothesis
Hunger vs. Shambles, with elven catalyst

While generally an even match, these two Shambles versus a single Hunger, previous experiments have indicated that the presence of a warm body causes the Hunger to increase its ferocity. This territorial hunting imperative is completely lacking in the shambles. They seek to destroy life, not to devour it.

In this case I have confined a Hunger to his cage, while leaving an unspoiled high elf female in viewing distance. Hungers seem to have a particular thirst for elf maiden blood. And this one, on the verge of flowering, should be a particularly irresistible morsel.

I hypothesize that the hunger will fight with greater force and precision in the up coming battle, after I let the creature and elf maiden stew awhile in each other's proximity.

I shall return in a few days to run the experiment. 

Project Hound's Blood
Day 7 observations

My theory stated before trial is thus:
"Blending the most recent concoction of hound blood with that from a headless zombie will result in a beast with greater fury and resistance to pain."

Test 1

Subject 1 has the current concoction, and Subject 2 has the new mixture.

Battle 1:
Subject 1 lasted approximately one minute before expiring, having done average amount of injury to Subject 2. Subject 2 seemed not to notice most of the injuries it received.

Battle 2:
After a drawn out combat, Subject 1 killed Subject 2, but suffered near fatal wounds. Subject 2 fought to the bitter end with the same energy it started with.

Battle 3:
Subject 1 went out very quickly.

Battle 4:
Subject 1 lasted less that a minute. Subject 2 took little injury.

Test 2

Subject A and B both have the standard blood. Subject C and D both have the new blood.

Battle 1 (A vs. B):
Lasted just over a minute, both hounds suffering grievous injury, and somewhat bothered by their wounds.

Battle 2 (A vs. B):
Nearly identical results.

Battle 3 (C vs. D):
Lasted over two minutes, both hounds suffering grievous injury. Neither seemed very winded or bothered by their wounds.

Battle 4 (C vs. D):
Lasted under 1 minute, both suffering grievous injury. Neither seemed very bothered by their wounds.

It seems my original theory was correct. In future trials I will try watering down the headless zombie blood before adding it to the mixture, to gain some insight into the actual potency of the blood itself and determine how much of the additional effect is coming from its combination with the existing ingredients. 

Experiment Setup and Hypothesis
Reptilian Appetite Conditioning

I have raised these Baliwogs and Scalon together, from hatchling to adult. I inflicted great pain on them when they were aggressive towards each other, and rewarded them when they showed aggression towards others. They have since acquired an almost familial bond, normally expressed in warm-blooded creatures. See previous experiment logs for details.

For the last month, I have been starving them in separate cages, allowing them occasionally to eat, but only tiny amounts of reptilian flesh.

I have procured a fatty Breton of previously luxurious lifestyle. There is not an ounce of muscle on him. He should be a most tempting snack, indeed. But we shall see!

I shall return soon to run the experiment. There is still some time left to starve the reptiles until they are most desperate. 

Today I intended to continue my research into the effect of pain on the host of the unborn (in this case the middle-aged pregnant Breton female), and yet, no matter how many times she was ripped apart and resurrected, I simply could not bring myself to the requisite attentiveness serious study demands.

Rather than the usual precision of observation, my faculties seemed possessed of a peculiar poetic sensibility. So that, rather than dutifully logging each scream and twitch of agony, I seem transported by her cries to some other place.

I became sheltered within a tapestry of tranquility, woven from the screams of the Breton's anguish warped against the grunts and clacking of the beasts and shambles that toyed with her.

It was there, in that spot, my soul naked and clean, that I came to a sense of clarity. And like all - dare I say - religious experiences, returning to my mundane senses, I am left with little more than a faded memory of supernal knowledge, like a burned parchment on which once were written words of wisdom and understanding, of which now only torn and blurred fragments remain.

The harder I try to remember that innate knowledge, the more it seems to recede from me. The essence that remains is this:

Pain is a force that purifies, ennobles, and uplifts. It is the Fire that burns away impurities, that melts away imperfections.

Death is not the sign of weakness, nor bodily constitution the sign of strength. It is what happens to soul when brought into the Fire that determines the mettle of men.

Those with inner strength are forged into weapons of devastating keenness by Pain's Fire. Those who are undeserving and weak turn to dark and lifeless ash in Its heat.

And there it stands in all its inscrutability - so much for an unproductive day. Perhaps tomorrow will lead to more fruitful experiments. 

Experiment Setup and Hypothesis
Week-old blood

I have paired up a hound and shambles of equal fighting capacity. However, I have recently drained the hound of its zombie blood, and replaced it with blood extracted from a Breton corpse, which had lain for a week, rotting in the hot sun. When I return, having let it acclimate to its new supply of vital fluid, I expect the hound will perform with much less efficiency than normal. 

Necromancer's Moon

Author: 
Anonymous

Brothers and Sisters of the Worm!

Despair not at the trials we now face, for our time comes swiftly.

The God of Worms watches over our Order, and will deliver us from these troubled times on the Day of Reckoning. Until then, perform His works in secret, serve His needs, and look to the skies for His signs.

The Revenant, the Necromancer's Moon, watches over us all. His Form, ascended to Godhood, has taken its rightful place in the sky, and hides the enemy Arkay from us so that we may serve Him. Watch for the signs: when the heavenly light descends from above, hasten to His altars and make your offering, so that He may bless you with but a taste of His true power. Grand Soul Gems offered to Him will be darkened, and can be used to trap the souls of the unwitting; a feat even the great N'Gasta would marvel at.

Stay faithful to the Order of the Black Worm, and in time your loyalty will be rewarded. Soon, He will return to set the world right in due time, and those who would stand in his way will suffer enternally at his hands, just as those who stood opposed before.

Until that day, you must believe and be patient. Hide in your caves, in your ruined forts, in your secret lairs. Raise your minions, summon your servants, cast your spells. Answer the call of the Order when you are needed. Watch and listen.

The Path of Transcendence

Author: 
Celedaen

Entry 1: My initial findings may have been inconclusive, but they set me on the path I will pursue until I achieve my goal or lie rotting in this cave. Either outcome will be a welcome respite from the days and nights I've spent toiling without food, water, or any kind of companionship. A lesser mage would have fallen prey to madness by now, I'm sure of it. But I am not a lesser mage! Though they try in earnest, though their hearts and minds are true to the teachings of our great Sovereign, my fellow Necromancers lack the complete dedication required to achieve that ultimate of goals -- the state of lichdom. Not even Falcar himself can match my sheer tenacity, my unwillingness to accept failure on any level. That is why I, Celedaen, will soon join the ranks of the Worm Eremites, those servants favored by our sovereign above all others. I will sit with honor and obedience at his right hand while those fools in the Mages Guild grovel at my maggot-ridden feet!


Entry 2: Even the most pedestrian peasant fairy tale has long held that a lich must somehow remain bound to his soul, and that connection most commonly manifests itself as a transference of the spirit into an actual physical object. An urn, a sarcophagus, a crystal phial.... One Khajiit fairy tale even tells of a lich who preserved his spirit in the severed head of a Wood Elf infant! And these same peasants long comforted themselves with the belief that if they ever had the grave misfortune of facing a lich, they would need only find the vessel containing his spirit form and then destroy it, thus destroying the lich himself. Fools and their folklore! True liches possess no such weakness! Can one of the Sovereign's Worm Eremites be bested by shattering a glass vase? The very notion is so absurd as to be comical. Yes, a Necromancer must transfer his soul into a physical vessel, but once that transference is complete, once the Necromancer has fully metamorphosed into his lich form, the vessel is inconsequential. But it's the process of this transference itself that has eluded me for so long. My soul remains bound to my earthly body, and nothing I have attempted has allowed me to free myself of this mortal coil and transcend to the state of lichdom I so dearly desire.


Entry 3: Every tome I've acquired, the volumes upon volumes of Necromantic discourse, all useless! I have grown disgusted by the years of wasted life that have been poured into these so-called "essential" writings. Who in their right mind would ever wish to animate a month-dead Cyrodilic butterfly, or bring life to the rotting husk of a rare albino mud crab? How many months have I wasted away in this cave? And for what reason? Ah, yes, I know! I will resurrect an army of deformed goblin younglings and march on the White-Gold Tower itself! That at least is in my reach! My mind has become a cesspool of Necromantic waste, where reject spells and rituals compete for the honor of finally driving me completely insane. And still I am no closer to achieving my goal than I was when I first began this process. Am I losing faith in myself, in my discipline? Perhaps I have been studying too hard. Many a night I have sacrificed my prayers to our Sovereign for one more experiment, one more incantation. What I need now is rest. Rest, and a state of tranquility, so that I may commune with our Sovereign and re-pledge my loyalty and devotion. For what answer will I find in some crumbling codex that could not be supplied by our great Sovereign himself?


Entry 4: The secret is mine! So long I searched, so hard I toiled, but I was a fool! I was right to forgo my studies for a more ardent devotion to prayer. Last night, as I sit in the throes of meditation, our great Sovereign did come to me! He passed to me the knowledge I have sought for so long! The secrets of transcendence were even more complex and arcane than even I could have imagined, and I will never transcribe them into any written work. Indeed, they have never been recorded! All my months of solitude were for naught, as the secret I so desperately sought could only be obtained through direct communication with out great Sovereign himself. Soon I will walk the earth as a Worm Eremite, serving the Sovereign in a state of endless undeath!


Entry 5: Through the sacrifice of many innocents, the resurrection of many servants to aid me in my tasks, and the tireless performance of a nearly week-long ritual, I have completed construction of the Sands Of Resolve. The transcendence to full lichdom will not be immediate, however. The vessel has been crafted, but my energy force, my soul, must be fully transferred into it. Not even our Sovereign was quite certain how long this process would take, at it varies from one Necromancer to the next, based on many factors both physical and spiritual. One thing, however, is certain. This hourglass must never leave my possession until the transference is complete! I grow more powerful every day, but in truth am more vulnerable than I've ever been. If something were to happen to the Sands of Resolve, if the hourglass should somehow leave my person, the connection between soul and vessel would be severed. To think that my work, my life, could be eradicated so easily after I've come so close to success is almost more than I can bear.

Tome of Unlife

Author: 
Anonymous

Tome of Unlife, page 1

Tome of Unlife, page 2

 

On the Preparation of the Corpse

Author: 
Anonymous

While the Arts of Necromancy are only illegal in the province of Morrowind, few citizens of the Empire have an enlightened view of our Art. Thus, the acquisition of corpses on which to experiment is often difficult.

In Cyrodiil, a few Necromancers who have served the Empire are given the corpses of criminals and traitors to use legally. This provides those who have acquired such a post with a fresh supply of corpses, most of them young, strong, and intact.

In Morrowind, the outlawing of Necromancy would make its practice impossible were it not for the fortunate institution of slavery. While the Temple will investigate obvious signs of Necromancy such as hastily emptied graves or ash stolen from one of their ashpits, a careful and discrete Necromancer can thrive in Morrowind by taking slaves at a modest rate. Most will assume the slave escaped or died in the Ashlands.

Finding suitable corpses in Black Marsh is nearly impossible due to their rapid decay. There are also diseases, Argonian tribesmen, and other difficulties that must be dealt with. I know of only a few Sload Necromancers who operate successfully in Black Marsh, and even they stay near coast.

While the forests of Elsweyr pose some of the same problems as those of Black Marsh, the deserts preserve corpses for hundreds of years in a way that requires very little preparation. Khajiit of the desert tribes are often buried with only a small cairn of stones which are easy to find and uncover. The Khajiit show remarkably enlightened indifference to graves being uncovered. It is said that in the port of Senchal, one may purchase anything one desires. This is true if you desire fresh corpses.

While few Bosmer perform Arkay's rituals when burying the dead, the more primitive Bosmer still practice cannibalism upon their enemies, which reduces the number of available corpses. As would be expected from such a backwards people, they have an intolerance of Necromancy that goes beyond all reason. Many Necromancers who practice our Arts in Valenwood become "one with the trees" themselves.

Summerset Isle is even worse in some ways. Some Altmer born into the most respected noble and scholarly families are actually allowed to study the dead in the open. Their research, however, seems to be centered on finding ways to extend their lives even further rather than the more practical uses of our Art. A Necromancer of any other race caught in Summerset Isle can expect the worst possible punishments.

In Hammerfell, where worship of Arkay is strongest, the dead are almost always subject to Arkay's Law. There are exceptions after large battles or in remote areas where death occurs far from meddlesome priests. Fortunately, the dangerous terrain and creatures in the deserts and mountains of Hammerfell makes the acquisition of corpses possible, though they are often in poor condition and require special care in preparation.

The newly formed Orsinium presents a unique opportunity. As you know, Orc corpses are among the most sought after for the durability of their skin and the strength of their bones. If King Gortwog will listen to reason, we could offer the services of our Art in defense of his young nation in exchange for disposing of the Orcish dead. A mutually beneficial arrangement as I'm sure the Orcs will agree. To this end, a delegation has been sent to Orsinium, though we have not yet heard any word on the state of these negotiations.

In my native High Rock, traditions dating back to the witch kings and nomadic horsemen mandate cremation of the dead. This is practiced almost without exception in the north, through an Imperial burial in a tomb or city cemetery is more common in the south. There are still many corpses easily taken from the battlefields of the War of Betony and the lawless times that followed. There are even rumors that King Gothryd of Daggerfall may institute the Imperial practice of donating the corpses of criminals for Necromantic study as a deterrent to the bandits and pirates that still threaten the Iliac Bay.

In Skyrim, the cold weather and isolated terrain allow a few Necromancers to operate freely. Alas, the availability of corpses is limited to Nords who die from exposure or in battle. While the cold is preservative, the snow makes these corpses difficult to find. More research dedicated to the magical detection of corpses would be invaluable to the Necromancers of Skyrim.

The Sload are the most famous Necromancers, but little is known of their native Thras. In Tamriel, Sload only practice Necromancy on other races. It is uncertain whether this is true in Thras as well. If so, it would explain the number of slaves that are purchased in Tear by Sload merchants and the rumors of Sload airships carrying corpses from Senchal.

These difficulties lead many Necromancers to create their own corpses. While I prefer to work with those who have died a natural death, a more expedient approach is sometimes necessary to further the study of the Art.

While the Arts of Necromancy can be practiced on animals, such experiments rarely produce interesting results. The servant's ability to follow directions seems to be related to the subject's intelligence in life. While raising the corpse of a man, elf, or beastman can produce a useful servant, the corpses of animals produce mere guard dogs at best. Often a raised animal is unable to distinguish its master from the rest of the living and many amateur practitioners have been torn apart by the animal servants they created. Let such stories be a lesson to you.

When raising a skeleton servant, it is most important that the body of the skeleton be complete. If the skeleton is missing crucial bones, the results can be frustrating. One should only attempt to raise skeletons when you are sure that all or nearly all the bones are present.

While the magic involved in raising a skeleton will assemble the bones in the proper order, skeletons may be strengthened considerably by the addition of support on their joints. The most common are leather straps that bind the bones together more tightly. Some practitioners also drive metal spikes are between the joints, which is more expensive and time consuming, but they protect the servant where it is weakest. The details of this are unimportant as even an amateur can strengthen a skeleton significantly. Only practice will reveal the best methods of binding and reinforcing the skeletal servant. Amateurs often make the mistake of binding the bones too tightly, limiting the skeleton's movements and making it useless. Again, only practice can give the necessary experience in these matters, though it is best to err towards tight bindings. One may always loosen them at a later date.

One more note to the student: While most undead can be raised again and again, skeletons are often damaged in ways that make raising them again impossible. This is another reason that care should be given to the skeleton's preparation. Too many young Necromancers raise every skeleton they see with little or no preparation at all. Given the difficulty of obtaining corpses, this kind of inefficiency cannot be tolerated.

Fresh and decayed corpses are those that still have flesh upon them. If their decay is advanced, or if you wish a skeletal servant instead, place the corpse along a coast or in a swamp or marsh. Animals are the Necromancer's greatest allies when it comes to stripping the flesh from a corpse. The ravenous mudcrabs of Morrowind can strip a corpse down to its bones in a matter of days. Lesser crabs in other provinces can do the same in a matter of weeks.

If you wish to create a zombie servant, one need only bring the corpse to a suitable site and enact the proper rituals. However, there are a few tips that a young Necromancer might want to know. For instance, a decayed servant may be raised many times, even if they have been dismembered by those who do not appreciate our Art. If one of your servants comes to an unfortunate end, you may raise the servant again by carefully gathering as many parts as you can find, binding the bones with leather straps, and sewing the flesh (if it not too decayed) with catgut. Your servant may be weaker each time this is done, but with care and maintenance, one may raise zombies dozens of times.

However, creating a mere zombie is a method best left to lazy or desperate practitioners. With only a bit more time and effort, one may create a far more useful mummified servant.

The first step to creating a mummified servant is to soak the decaying corpse in a bath of salt or natron for at least one month. This will halt the decay of the corpse, and if the corpse is fresh enough to have an unpleasant odor, the salts will remove that as well. In a moist climate, such as Argonian or Thras, you may have to apply more salts if they become saturated. Some Necromancers remove the vital organs before or after this process, but I have never found any practical reason for doing this.

The next step is to wrap the servant in cloth or linen. This will further preserve the body against decay and, if done properly, will offer some protection as well. Do not worry if the corpse seems too stiff or desiccated to be a useful servant, the proper rituals will imbue the mummified corpse with the strength to move itself. Most importantly, you will have a much stronger servant who will follow your commands with more independence and understanding.

Arkay The Enemy

Author: 
King of Worms (apparently)

Hear me, children. Once I was a lowly man such as yourselves. By my will I entered the ranks of the gods. By your unquestioning devotion, you can share my glory.

Most Necromancers are fools and weaklings. Fodder for the witchhunters. But you, my servants, you are among the chosen. In the days to come, few will dare to stand against your might. But one obstacle remains. His name is Arkay.

He was also a man who entered the ranks of the gods. The similarities between his mortal life and my own astonish even me. It is only proper that we should be enemies.

Arkay's Blessing prevents the souls of men, beastmen, and elves from being used without consent. Arkay's Law prevents those buried with the proper rituals from being raised to serve my children's will. As you know, my children, Arkay's Blessing is flexible to those with daring, but Arkay's Law is unwavering.

To the Scholars: Humiliate the priests of Arkay. Reveal the primitive burial customs to be mere superstition. Befriend kings with honeyed words and bind them to your will. Look to my children in Cyrodiil for guidance.

To the Priests: Use your servants sparingly, let none be seen by the living. Let the memories of the undead waste away from the people. Send missionaries to the unbound dead, to the Vampires and the Liches. Let all the nations of dead carry my banner and my banner alone.

To the Hidden: Wait, as always, in the darkness.

For soon we shall strike. The Temples of Arkay will be torn stone from stone. The blood of his priests will sate our thirst; their bones will rise as our servants. The name Arkay will be stuck from the records. Only I shall hold sway over life and death. Only one name shall be whispered in fear. The name of your lord and master.

KW