• Mature • The Candle-Stick Maker

Undead, violence, murder?

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Neronin
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The Candle-Stick Maker

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716th Arc, 19th Trial of Zi'da
Streets of Etzos


It was utterly exhausting, living in a world without acceptance or tolerance. The constant risk of death was something the amateur necromancer always dealt with, especially in a place like Etzos. The unrelenting threat loomed overhead, like a vindictive storm. Neronin had felt it since he was eleven. He felt the pressure of that darkest secret since his parents had cast him out and Gavrel began to train him. Power was the reward, hopefully, for taking the risk. Necromancy would lead him out of Etzos, out of the grasp of the rest of mankind altogether. He would transcend the need to conform, eventually.

At the moment though, he crouched under his cloak in a patch of mud, gazing through a tiny stained glass window. The family inside were certainly well off if they could afford not one, but two windows. He had shifted his position from the north window. The young necromancer saught a prize within the likes he rarely was treated to. It was the fresh cadaver of one Eladir Mosk, the candle-maker who lived two arches down from Neronin.

The father of four had caught a chill and never recovered. He was a burly man quite large and heavily built for a candle-maker. But the real draw was his freshness. Neronin would not have to waste an ounce of energy returning the body to peak condition. Such a prized cadaver was worth the clandestine operation he was now forced to go through.

Rain fell hard as he watched the mournful family arrayed in a silent vigil around the corpse turn away to bed as one. They left the cramped main room without saying anything to each other, the presence of family enough comfort. Neronin had never understood that, but he had lived most of his life without family, and those had been the good years. He watched the display of affection with a sneer of loathing that was all but hidden under the hood of his cloak. Whenever he witnessed such displays of tender hearts the mage felt bile in his throat. He knew the cause was his extreme distaste for such sentiments, but a shadow of a word always crept into his mind in these instances. Jealousy? But no, he needed not the sniveling of children, nor the pestering of a woman seeking love. Love was a weakness, a connection of the heart to another with no assurances of protection. Love was pain. Neronin had enough pain in his life without returning to the old familial kind.

No he could do without the experience of family. The necromancer slid from the alley he squatted in to step as lightly as possible across the muddy way to where the window still showed the man's corpse lain across a black cloth upon their family's dining room table. Neronin wiped away the speckled drops from the window, its surface bitingly cold on his bare hand. Neronin rubbed it dry on the inside of his cloak. He felt the incessant beat of the rain across his woolen cloak, like a tiny assault upon his shoulders.

The necromancer moved as silently as he could past the window. The instinct for a careful entry being slightly overwhelmed by the need to get out of the deeply chilling rain. He moved to the door of the house. There was no real lock, upon close inspection, only a wooden plank to bar entry from the outside. Neronin could make out it out through the crack in the door. This was why the poor were a much easier target than the rich. Their means were hardly enough to keep out the most determined of burglars, and they died more frequently. But once dead, they were all of equal use to those who knew the art of reanimation.
Last edited by Neronin on Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:21 am, edited 2 times in total. word count: 652
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Neronin
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Neronin brought out his thin knife, taken from his home. He hardly ever used the thing for it's original purpose. The blade caught slightly on the wooden frame as Neronin slid the blade between the door and the frame. The necromancer cursed under his breath, his patience growing thin as the rain bit at his comfort. The little warmth his cloak provided was all but gone with whatever shielding affect it had. The wool was almost soaked through now, and his back was icy. The mage knew he needed to calm down and focus. Haste was not the thing of it today, precision was. He breathed in slowly, ignoring whatever cold he felt, stilling his hand against the nerves.

Neronin tried again, feeling a pressure as the blade caught the wooden bar. He lifted gently, allowing the bar to slide to the floor with a muffled thump. Neronin withdrew the knife and listened intently for footsteps. The only sound was that of the rain, a thousand tiny assaults against the city and her occupants. Neronin flattened his hand against the door and pressed. There was something darkly satisfying about this invasion of the most intimate familial space. The dark, rain soaked stranger, slipping past their defenses to steal that last connection to their beloved lost. Neronin smiled at the swirl of exhilaration that particular dark power gave him. He was in woeful breach of social protocols, and it electrified him. There was no regret, no shame in him. He possessed none of the weaknesses that riddled the family life. He was without ties to anyone. He was free.

Neronin drew mud in with him as he stepped lightly onto the floorboards. The room was utterly silent, as if the walls held their breath waiting for the necromancer's wretched misdeed. The grey wool dripped a steady beat of murky rainwater from the edge of Neronin's cloak, for a moment the only thing that moved. Then he gently shut the door. The mage was careful to leave his hood up, though it was wet. It provided an inky black shadow to hide his identity from prying eyes.

The late Eladir Mosk lay motionless in death, an air of dignity around him that had never been there in life. The Candle-stick maker had not been a particularly well liked man, save by his own brood. That would not, Neronin thought with a wry smile, keep the neighbors from fearfully wondering where his body disappeared to. The necromancer raised a pale hand to feel the contours of the man's slightly bloated face. He was cold to the touch, the icy caress of death chilled the fingertips in an all too familiar way.

This silent vigil would have to end though. Power waited for no man, least of all the dead. Neronin began to gather within himself the dark energies that represented his vile power. The necromancer sent his awareness through his fingers and into the dead man. He drifted about, searching for rot and decay. He found very little, and that which he did was quickly rectified with a simple Restore. Neronin sighed as the energy left him to repair the corpse. It was like a cold wash. He felt slightly off balance after, his hand pressing into the man's face for balance. Eladir Mosk's face turned away from him with the force, as if he was ashamed to be a part of such a dark ritual.

Neronin did not bother to right this, the corpse would be his no matter it's perceived objections. He felt the storm of energy filling him again in anticipation of that most despicable act of magic. Neronin let the dark Ether pour out of him and into the body of Mosk. He felt the familiar tie of awareness between his mind and the new minion begin to form. There was that thrill of cold, immobile death, and then the warmth of his sentience soaking into the thing. Neronin's will melted the chains of death around the corpse and it began to stir. He watched as the thing sat up uneasily and pushed itself to it's feet. The darkness hid Mosk's face as he slouched forward in a characteristically undead way.

Neronin was just about to exit with his new, perfect minion when he heard a beat of feet. He turned towards the stairway expectantly, the corpse of Eladir Mosk glancing in the same direction hungrily

Last edited by Neronin on Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 755
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The face of a boy appeared on the stairs. It was much the same as Mosk's, though vibrant with color and with brown eyes to the corpse's grey blue ones. Upon seeing Mosk standing, Neronin saw the faintest glint of joy flash through the boy's face, as though some wildly desperate prayer had been heard. In that instant the boy seemed to radiate the purest happiness Neronin had ever seen. Then Mosk lurched forward and his pallid, macabre existence became completely evident to the boy.

"Magic!" The boy gasped, turning a look of hatred upon Neronin. They boy would see little more than a dark silhouette of a cloaked figure, Neronin knew, but he still stepped further back into the shadows. "Who are you, necromancer?!" The boy hissed, his bravery was admirable. He did not flinch away from the scene, instead it ignited some wrath within him. If thing's had been different Neronin was sure the boy would have made a great soldier one day, perhaps even an officer. But Eladir Mosk was fast approaching his son.

The husk-thrall reached out with viciously contorted hands, ready to maim the former son. Neronin raised a hand in front of him and knew that the proper Sap could save the situation. He would be in trouble if more of the household awakened. Eladir hit the boy with a force, knocking him back against the stairs. The thrall groaned with hunger as it tried to pry the boy's hands from where they kept his maw at bay.

Neronin felt a moment of fear as the boy reached both legs under him and shoved the thrall from him, The thing stumbled backwards and fell. The boy was not concerned with the thing. In a bout of inspiration Neronin found quite disconcerting he charged the necromancer himself. This boy was quite intelligent. He knew the real threat from the moment he saw him. But Neronin still had a few tricks. As the boy came across the room, Neronin let the Ether erupt from his hand, a dark shadowy cloud against a slightly less dark room. The blackness of it swirled hatefully and sprang at the boy. He watched as the stuff struck him right in the chest. The boy fell, his legs immediately failing him. The look of shock at the underhanded and unexpected strike flashed across his face as it went pale in fear.

Now he looked like a boy should, pained and fearful. Neronin pounced with the knife, sliding it into the boy's chest just as his thrall righted itself. Eladir Mosk showed not the slightest sadness at the sight of his dying son. But of course not, he was no longer Eladir Mosk, and his son would no longer be whatever he had been in life. The thrall approached the boy as he lay dying. Neronin stood and stepped back, breathing heavily.

The boy stared up at him with unconcealed pain now. His eyes were wide and fearful, catching the moonlight briefly before Eladir Mosk's shadow obscured it. He was struggling to find the knife embedded in his chest with shaking fingers. The husk-thrall behind him grasped a foot as it crawled hungrily towards him. The boy reached for Neronin while kicking weakly at the thrall that once had been a father to him. A shock of fear coursed through Neronin's spine as the boy grasped his ankle with surprising strength. It was almost an instinct in which he lashed out, sending another dark cloud of vile magic at the boy wildly. The black stuff slashed across both boy and corpse. The boy was once again sent sprawling, all energy taken from him; His will to fight snuffed out like a candle dropped into a dark well. The thrall collapsed as well, it's face becoming a horrid version of itself. Neronin was surprised. Even as he looked the faint signs of decay became clear as the thrall righted itself and continued to pull the boy closer. What had that been? His Sap had caused harm to the flesh of the thrall.

There was no time to think on it now. Neronin bent and twisted the knife in the boy's chest, watching as the thrall clambered over the victim. It began to gnaw at him without hesitation, it's hunger flaring in those dead eyes. The boy had finally been bested. His strength of will and bravery in the face of horror left Neronin with a slight tinge of regret as he watched the life fade from his eyes. This had been a person he could respect. One who had let nothing soften his resolve, at least in that last moment. Neronin would make of him a quality minion. The necromancer stood over the boy's immobile corpse and made a cutting gesture with his hand. "Leave him be." He whispered, willing the thrall to cease it's gory assault.
Last edited by Neronin on Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:29 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 836
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Eladir Mosk obeyed, stumbling to its feet and standing a silent sentinel over the corpse of the son it had helped murder. Neronin approached the thrall and examined the facial features in detail. The sap had left a splash of rot on them, the flesh greening and the eyes blurring into a grey cloudy mess. The necromancer frowned at the decay of his prized corpse. He had not known the Sap could do this to a body.

The boy lay motionless between them. Neronin bent to examine him. Though his eyes were unseeing, the boy let out a last gurgling rattle as Neronin moved his head with one firm hand. A bit of mucous trickled out of the mouth, tinged pink with blood. This new development would have to be investigated, but from the safety and peace of his own home. Neronin ignited within himself the familiar thrill of magic. He let the currents of his energy pool and swirl, acclimatizing himself to the sensation of that other-worldly control which characterized all of his magic. It was a process that took moments. The necromancer had become darkly accustomed to the vile sensations of casting his undeath. He wondered vaguely if there would be some sort of retribution against such wanton disregard for the proper balance of nature. It was a fleeting thought, and replaced almost instantly with the thrill of reanimation. His energies poured into the second thrall, once a brave boy.

By the time the thing stood Neronin felt an uneasy and had to stabilize himself against the wall. His stomach screamed with hunger as he bent over. The smaller of the thralls worked to stand under his will. Both were motionless, with no living flesh in sight besides their master. Neronin took a long moment to settle himself. The magic he had cast tonight had been expensive and he would need to rest once home.

He found the hooks on which the family hung their cloaks and stole the two largest. The necromancer clasped one around the cold necks of each thrall and pulled the goods up to hide their breathless visages. He would not have people recognizing the trio for what they were, though he doubted with the rain and the darkness that any would. Neronin pulled his own hood more tightly over his face and turned to leave.

They entered the incessant downpour without so much as a backward glance, leaving the door slightly ajar.

The trio slid from shadow to shadow as they made their way through the mostly deserted streets back towards Neronin's home. The Mosk household was only a few streets away from Neronin's home. Only once did they have to hide away from a passing sentry, and we're unnoticed. Neronin felt empowered with both of his minions flanking him. He almost wanted to be discovered to watch them carry out his wrath upon a sentry, but that was prideful and foolish. Prudence and care were what kept him alive.

When they reached the rickety door of Neronin's small apartment he quickly opened it. He did not want any of his neighbors seeing his new friends enter. they would become curious, and he survived by being a profoundly unremarkable entity amongst the nearby houses.

The necromancer shut the door behind the two thralls, who milled about aimlessly after entering. The boy Mosk wandered to the corner and stared, unseeing, at the nondescript wall. Eladir simply stood just inside the doorway. Neronin had Mosk join his son in the corner and closed the door. The moment he did so he also released his command of the thralls. Both slumped unceremoniously to the ground in a heap, limbs jutting out at odd angles. Neronin ignored them, his mind consumed with his ravenous hunger.

The necromancer almost forgot the atrocities he had committed that night as he lay into his rations greedily. For an undefinable time Neronin sat in silence, the only sounds that of bread and dried meats being consumed. The bodies behind him were almost forgotten as the mage let his energies replenish. They would have to be examined and dealt with...tomorrow.
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The Candle-Stick Maker

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Name: Neronin.
  • Knowledge:
    • Equality in death
    • The grace of the dead
    • Detection: The sound of footsteps
    • Discipline: Patience over comfort
    • Disguise: Cloak the undead
    • Disguise: Hiding one’s features
    • Investigation: Peeping bodies through windows
    • Investigation: Signs of poverty in property
    • Lockpicking: Opening (poorly) barred doors
    • Logic: Aim for the puppeteer
    • Logic: Large bodies make large thralls
    • Necromancy: Linking mind with thrall
    • Necromancy: The benefits of a fresh body
    • Necromancy: The benefits of a fresh body
    • Necromancy: Sap: useful as a defense mechanism
    • Necromancy: Sap’s effects on the undead
    • Neronin: Happiness through power
    • Neronin: Disassociated with humanity
    • Psychology: Rejection of emotional bindings
    • Stealth: Moving in the silence
    • Weapon (Knife): Stab and twist



Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 0 (Make some friends)
Structure: 5/5
Magic: These points can be spent on magic.

Loot: x2 Cloaks, 1x Hulking fresh body, 1x boy body. Regret!

Injuries: Minor overstepping: Neronim will find little comfort in sleep for the three following nights, waking up often with intense cravings for water.

Fame: Acts of Magic -2, Stealing a corpse -2, Killing a child -10. Total: -14
Devotion: None for you.


Critique


Going to go over your thread and point out a few things. Consider this a player review, but aimed towards this one thread. Before we begin, I'll express that what I write here is my own personal opinion. If you dislike these sorts of reviews, please let me know so that I don't include them whenever I review your threads.

Let's begin!
He was a burly man quite large and heavily built for a candle-maker. But the real draw was his freshness
Lacking a comma between man and quite. Makes the sentence weird to read. Also, starting sentences with 'But' is usually quite weird as well. Consider either linking it to the previous sentence or using an easy 'However' to avoid this.
No he could do without the experience of family.
You missed this. :P
The necromancer slid from the alley he squatted in to step as lightly as possible across the muddy way to where the window still showed the man's corpse lain across a black cloth upon their family's dining room table.
Woah, woah, woah! Not one comma? This sentence is way too big. Remember that reading is often meant to be pronounced too. The lack of pauses makes it hard to read, voice, and thus follow.
He felt the incessant beat of the rain across his woolen cloak, like a tiny assault upon his shoulders.
I loved this sentence.
The necromancer moved as silently as he could past the window. The instinct for a careful entry being slightly overwhelmed by the need to get out of the deeply chilling rain.
I feel like you wanted to put a comma instead of a period there. The "being slightly overwhelmed" does not fit with a period, but it does with a comma.
He moved to the door of the house.
Too short. I'd say it'd be better to link it to another sentence or expand it. Short sentences is what children write, not adults.
The little warmth his cloak provided was all but gone with whatever shielding affect it had.
You meant effect, right?
The only sound was that of the rain, a thousand tiny assaults against the city and her occupants.
I loved it the first time, but the second time was far more obvious and less likable.
The mage was careful to leave his hood up, though it was wet.
'Despite it being wet' would suit better, I believe.
That would not, Neronin thought with a wry smile, keep the neighbors from fearfully wondering where his body disappeared to.
'That would not, thought Neronin with a wry smile...' feels better, I believe.
Eladir Mosk's face turned away from him with the force, as if he was ashamed to be a part of such a dark ritual.
WOAH! I loved this!
Neronin did not bother to right this, the corpse would be his no matter it's perceived objections.
Considering using a semicolon instead of a comma here. Make the pause longer and more intense.
The darkness hid Mosk's face as he slouched forward in a characteristically undead way.
Hahahah!
He turned towards the stairway expectantly, the corpse of Eladir Mosk glancing in the same direction hungrily
Did you seriously forgot to put a period at the end of the FINAL sentence of the FINAL paragraph of the second post? OUCH!
"Who are you, necromancer?!" The boy hissed, his bravery was admirable.
Again, semicolon would fit better between 'hissed' and 'his', or a straight-up period. You cannot jump from describing the scene to narrating a thought or an opinion that easily. It feels wrong, at least for me.
He did not flinch away from the scene, instead it ignited some wrath within him.
He did not flinch away from the scene. Instead, it ignited some wrath within him.

Better, right?
Neronin felt a moment of fear as the boy reached both legs under him and shoved the thrall from him, The thing stumbled backwards and fell.
Not a comma now! A small and obvious mistype by your part, seeing that you capitalized 'The'.
He watched as the stuff struck him right in the chest.
Stuff? Stuff and things are two words every writer should try to keep out of their writing. Try 'energy', 'power', or 'mist'. How is a reader supposed to immerse itself into the story otherwise? Don't hurry through something as powerful and dangerous as magic, especially if you're trying to give the feeling of how horrible Necromancy is.
But of course not, he was no longer Eladir Mosk, and his son would no longer be whatever he had been in life.
"Of course not, for he was no longer Eladir Mosk, and his son would no longer be whatever he had been in life." Better, right?
The boy was once again sent sprawling, all energy taken from him; His will to fight snuffed out like a candle dropped into a dark well.
Love it!
He wondered vaguely if there would be some sort of retribution against such wanton disregard for the proper balance of nature.
I like this as well!
The necromancer shut the door behind the two thralls, who milled about aimlessly after entering. The boy Mosk wandered to the corner and stared, unseeing, at the nondescript wall. Eladir simply stood just inside the doorway. Neronin had Mosk join his son in the corner and closed the door. The moment he did so he also released his command of the thralls. Both slumped unceremoniously to the ground in a heap, limbs jutting out at odd angles.
Oh my god, this is amazing. Absolutely beautiful, and very haunting.

Conclusion


I liked this thread. This is the first one I've read of yours here in Standing Trials, and I think it's left quite a good impression on me. You've built a realistic medieval scenario (the lack of windows, the poor lock, the improvised vigil) and you've managed to draw in the reader with the narrative. I really enjoyed the premise of the story, and the first post of the thread was very, very strong. The plot, although small, is admirable in its quality.

I didn't quite enjoy reading the fight scene. Personally, I tend to seek more organization when dealing with action reaction, action reaction, and more action and reaction. It was confusing at times, and it required me to stop my reading to re-read back instead, which is not good for the story's flow and the reader's experience - mine, at least.

That aside, it is still a very good thread, and you should be proud. Is this one of the many you spammed last week? I can imagine the rest of those threads are as good as this one, which would clearly speak of how talented you are. Don't stop writing!

I hope you enjoy the rewards. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you find something odd in your review, if you've got any concerns, or anything related to this review. Cheers!
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