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Morren De Grave, Necromancer

It’s not customary to bury the dead in Styx. The old necromancer Morren de Grave looked after the funeral procession with disapproval. Vampires are the aristocracy of the cursed baronies. They were allowed much that is inaccessible to mortals. Although they performed their burial rituals magnificently and solemnly, this happened pretty rarely. The reason for this was not only their physical immortality but also the power they possess. Only a few could boast that they killed a real vampire… Except for other vampires, of course.

However, let them bury. A pile of ashes is useless anyway. Mortals are another matter. When they die, they usually remain intact and quite recyclable. The necromancer turned away from the vampires and looked at a more pleasing picture to him. In the courtyard of a small shack, two dead men were weeding the patch. A living young man, apparently their relative, was waving his hands to explain something to them. He was not a necromancer. Anyone can afford an undead labour force in Styx. You just need to find a body, pay for the services of a necromancer, or sign a contract to do work for him. And so, your recently deceased grandmother is baking pies for you again. The smell of carrion frightens visitors at first, but you can quickly get used to it.

“Sorry for being late, teacher!” One of Morren’s students turned to the necromancer.
“No problem, Sparo. No rush. There is no need to hurry. Take a rest and we’ll get started.
“Thank you, teacher.” The plump apprentice hardly sat down on the sand, still hot from the recently set sun. He rested for about half an hour, then got up and informed Morren that he was ready.

“Are you confident in your abilities, Sparo?”

“Yes, teacher!”

Morren de Grave nodded. He knew that his student was in too much of a hurry, but decided not to discourage him. The necromancer took a heavy bronze amulet on a scarlet ribbon from the sleeve of his robe and handed it to his apprentice.
“It will be your beacon. Are you ready to go?”

“Yes, teacher!”

Morren nodded. A greenish ball of magical energy escaped from his fingers and hit the ground beneath the student’s feet. Sparo flinched but remained standing. Thin green threads rose from where the spell had hit and formed a magic circle. Sparo stood exactly in its centre.

“I’ll ask you one last time. Are you ready to step beyond the edges of being?”

“Yes, teacher.”

Faster than these words flew from Sparo’s tongue, the old necromancer thrust a dagger into his chest. The apprentice tried to gasp for air one last time and settled on the sand. Morren de Grave turned away from the body and returned to contemplating the picture of everyday life in the Styx. The dead were slowly weeding the patch, and their owner was drinking tea in his shack.

After a while, the vampire funeral procession commenced again. They walked at a walking pace, quietly talking about their affairs, after scattering the ashes of their murdered relative in the steppe outside the city. Several servants accompanying the procession led their horses by the bridle. When the sun finally rose, on the road to the city, a dead horse was slowly rolling a cart with hay. In the middle of the day, the old necromancer returned to the student’s body.

Flies were already swarming over him. A heavy copper amulet on his chest shone with an invisible gaze of radiance. The magic circle gleamed faintly with a green glow. Morren turned away and continued his expectation. The suns, one after the other, slowly set over the horizon. The cold, indifferent face of the moon shone from the opposite side of the sky.

The student’s body lay unchanged. In whatever lower world his soul fell, he could find his way back several times already. It means that the student did not have enough strength.

“Another one failed.” The old necromancer sighed. “Get up, Sparo.”

The heavy copper amulet crumbled to dust. The body of the unfortunate necromancer apprentice slowly stood up, and the greenish light of the magic circle went out. Anyone who is not able to return from the other world on his own, even with a beacon of souls on his chest, cannot become a real necromancer. But his body is quite capable of serving his teacher for some time. After all, it’s not customary to bury the dead here in Styx.

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Morren De Grave, Necromancer

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