• Mature • Unmaking the Maker

Neronin conducts the grisly process of creating a Marrow.

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Neronin
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Unmaking the Maker

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716th Arc, 20th Trial of Zi'da
Neronin's Home, Etzos


Neronin barely slept. The necromancer would toss and turn, and kept waking to glance fervently over at the two thralls he had attained the night before. The cough he had developed did not bother him either, a worthy price for the chance at two quality thralls. He rose, in the end, with the sun. Forgoing food for the chance at knowledge and power took only a heartbeat's debate. Before another minute had passed the necromancer had retrieved his coveted journal as well as ink and pen. He pulled the largest thrall, the older candle-stick maker, out into the middle of the room and kicked him over so he was face up. The blood had pooled in the man's face overnight, making it a sickening grey in color.

In instances like this most would be disgusted. Indeed, Neronin had once been disgusted by the sight of a grisly dead body, but had since suppressed such feelings. The necromancer frowned at the macabre scene, swallowing hard any feeling of disgust. Such was atmosphere of his art, and the reason they who practiced it possessed the deepest loathing of the masses. To walk that line of hatred was to motivate oneself with the prospect of power and knowledge. Often these two were the same, but not always. Power could be, for instance, the unrelenting loyalty of a subject.

Neronin bent to examine the corpse that had been formerly known as Eladir Mosk. Thin fingers hovered inches over the dead skin, as if setting a focal point for examination. The body had entered algor mortis, wherein the corpse quickly cooled. Neronin could feel the iciness of the skin when he brushed his pale finger across the forehead. The muscles had seized up and the corpse's hair was slightly on end. These were the signs of a body beginning the decomposition. Neronin had come to learn the subtle shifting of the corpse from life to decay in his time under Gavrel.

A minor Preserve would be required to bring the body back to ideal form for the creation of a Husk. Neronin began to gather the energy required, feeling the thing within him ignite with power. It swirled, upsetting his heart and stomach as it did so. The danger of the action thrilled him like nothing else had ever done. Magic was power and addiction. As he gathered his dark energies Neronin's mind shifted to the previous night, when he had acquired both bodies at such risk to himself. The dark swirling of the Sap came back to him, the way it degraded the face of Eladir Mosk.

The necromancer then remembered the first instance of necromancy he had ever witnessed, the Marrow Gavrel had summoned to kill him. It had been only bones. Bone and dust forged together into a truly terrifying minion. With no little effort, Neronin altered the energy within him, changing with the power of will the purpose. He released the stuff in a stream across the corpse. The affect was unsettling. the flesh bloated and oozed. As he held the stream in place it grew paler and shriveled in spots. The necromancer watched as the sap slowly decayed the flesh. It was very slow, the affect not enough to render the thing useless, even after minutes of focused magic.

He finally cut the flow off, flexing his fingers and steadying his reeling head. Neronin was in desperate need of water, the concentration flooding from him as he released the magic. He attempted to stand and felt a rush of dizziness, stumbling backwards onto his bed. The mage leant back and waited for his head to stop torturing him with it's constant revolutions. He found his waterskin and sipped slowly.
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Neronin
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Unmaking the Maker

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For a long time he lay shackled by lethargy. He had been ambitious in his newest discovery and found that once again imagination surpassed ability, or else the physical means. It was another common symptom of delving into magics not meant to be sought. He had been through worse bouts of overstepping though, much worse. The room swayed slowly, an improvement on the way it had twisted before. This swaying was mostly an illusion born of the small wax candle that stood a singular vigil against darkness, its light giving the stark interior an almost warmth. The grave-touched Eladir Mosk shattered that image though. He and his son, now a pile of flesh and bones in the corner, were a constant reminder that a determined study of the magics was paramount. How else could Neronin justify such atrocities committed?

What damnation did he spell out for himself if this most hated of powers failed him? The thoughts of that particular outcome haunted his every dream. It was another reason the necromancer rarely slept another facet of his dark story that a weaker man would divert to a past trauma. This man, Neronin, accepted it with open eyes. He made it the fire that forged his ambition. Success or damnation, victory or self-loathing. In most instances in his life Neronin appreciated the subtle shades of grey between opposites. He knew to understand these complexities was to understand, at some extent, human nature. But with magic, especially the darkest of arts, there was no grey. Either the power was mastered or death came.

The mage pushed himself up, casting a long shadow behind himself as he did so. The weakness in his body was still protesting, but his mind was clear. The journal sat upon his table, the pages slightly opened from excessive use as if the ghost of a hand, half tempted in curiosity was indeed about to discover his dark rituals. He touched the smooth leather of the binding. No words, no title, no name was etched upon that surface though it housed a thousand memories. In a life spent internalizing his emotions, ambitions, and thoughts this journal was a brave and bold statement. It was the physical manifestation of Neronin's mind. It was the single most precious possession he owned. He opened it to a fresh page.

Notes on the Affect of Sap on the Dead
716 Arc, 20 Trial, Zi'da

Sap, when applied to the dead or undead, will decay the flesh at amazingly fast rates. That being said, the maintenance of the spell is very costly. Ideally this method could be used as a quickening of the crafting of Marrows, though it is impractical. The process is too slow to be more efficient than... conventional means, and far more taxing. This could, however, be improved with practice in theory.


Neronin finished the small paragraph. His notes were not as holistic as he would have liked, but he had been long without a teacher. The aspect of mastering necromancy on his own was a daunting one, to say the least. Gavrel's suppressive hold over his life had been worse, and well worth the murder that took him out of the picture.

Neronin swallowed, his eyes lighting on the corpse. Conventional means indeed. He knew what he must do to create a Marrow. He needed to strip the flesh from the corpse. It was easier said than done, he knew. The necromancer stood and approached the body on the floor. His insides felt queasy as he paid particular notice to the raw weight of the flesh. He coughed and looked away, steeling himself for the task at hand. He tried to mentally articulate the benefits of a Marrow. The most prominent of those were that it would be easily concealable. He could have a ready made warrior at his beck and call if he could just stomach the task.

Neronin grasped the neck of his shirt with hands slick with sweat. He pulled it over his head and the chill bit him, softly teasing bumps up across his skin. The mage rubbed fingers over his arms, hugging himself against the sensation. He seemed all the paler when set bare skin against the backdrop of the home. He picked up the dagger he kept under his pillow, opting for the heftier edge rather than the finer, weaker blade of a kitchen knife. After all, he did not exactly need to be particular when slicing the remains limb from limb. He sighed and fussed with the string that tied his trousers up. After a moment of inept fumbling with his left hand they fell. The mage kicked them away and stood over the corpse of Eladir Mosk in nothing but his undergarments and a gleaming dagger.

On a while the necromancer swirled the energies within, pouring them upon the corpse in another attempt at the Sap. Even his resolve for success in light of the alternative was not enough to make the decay move fast enough. Eladir Mosk looked less and less like he had in life by the moment though. The blotchy, gaunt face did serve to cut any ties to the memory of the man that Neronin had built from a dozen or so small glimpses on the streets of Etzos. It was amazing how close that memory tie was. Neronin halted his magic after only a moment.

He knelt and grimaced as he raised his blade. The mage stopped. Where was he to put the flesh once he ripped it from the body of the man?
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Neronin
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There was a glaringly obvious answer to that conundrum. The fireplace could serve as a more than adequate disposal, if he was careful. He hoped the smell of burning flesh was not so different than those mundane kitchen smells, although he did not know. Neronin sighed and began dragging the corpse of Mosk closer to the fire. It was a heavy thing, and it's rigor mortis made it more difficult. But he eventually had Mosk on the other side of the table.

Neronin began to gather his power, releasing the dark will upon the corpse of Mosk's son. The bloated thing lurched to life under his careful, focused command. It stood and grasped the wheelbarrow with both clumsy hands. Neronin watched the thing approach with uneven, lurching steps. The Husk was, he thought, not a long term solution. The Etzosi mage thrust the dagger into Eladir Mosk's dead arm was a gentle pressure, wanting to get the task over as soon as possible.

The dagger, it seemed, was not an ideal tool. The meat was thick and tough, and the blade did not cut dead flesh nearly as well as he assumed it cut the living. He struggled as blood, dark as night, smeared over both his hands. He was shocked at the raw amount of the stuff that came from his first cut. The blade carried no serration, making it almost impossible to cut the dense meat. As blood poured slowly from the gash Neronin groaned in frustration. He threw aside the bloodied blade and retrieved from his trunk the simple one-handed saw that the previous tenet of the house had forgotten.

Neronin set the blade against Eladir Mosk's flesh with a gritting of his teeth. He began to saw. The flesh parted more easily, though rasp it made when Neronin worked the tool made him gag. Once the thing finally bit into bone the mage vomited. He rolled away from the corpse gasping for air. Blood was all over him, it was streaked across the floor where he had retreated from the disgusting corpse, and it was pooled underneath Eladir Mosk. Neronin closed his eyes and saw the torn flesh of Eladir's arm. He was half tempted to repair the damage with magic and simply deal with not having a Marrow at all.

But success was too sweet a taste, even when he was covered in a dead man's blood and the bile from his own body. Neronin began to saw the flesh away from the bone with a newfound savage neutrality. He peeled it away and used the saw to cut bits from the corpse, chucking them disgustedly into the wheelbarrow before he could examine them too closely. This process continued with only the sounds of the saw going through flesh and the plopping of raw meat landing in the wheelbarrow.

When he had cut the flesh completely from one arm he willed Mosk's son to move forward and began dropping the stuff into the fire. Neronin repeated the same process on the opposite arm. He wretched three more times, but there was nothing left to expel. His rasping gasps made it slow work between fits of disgust. The saw by now was coated completely in blood, as were both his arms. Bits of tendon and fat clung to the serrated edge as Neronin continued his work.

It was slow going and the necromancer was often overcome with disgust. The thrall made no comment about the deed, simply moving the pounds of meat from the wheelbarrow into the fire. The smell of cooking meat permeated the room. Neronin breathed it in and it added a second layer of disgusting sensation to his already accosted mind. After three hours of the work he had barely pulled the flesh from both arms.

He was done, he could not continue. No matter what success he forced into his mind, the task was simply too horrific to complete all at once, even for him. Neronin closed his eyes and he saw the flesh being ripped from the ivory white of the bone. The mage dunked his top half in the washbasin in the far corner of his home, desperately rubbing the blood off himself. He worked a rag across his skin for nearly half an hour before stopping. His hands were red with agitation at the vigorous attention.

The necromancer stumbled over to his bed and toppled into it, choosing to ignore the sticky sensation of blood and gore stuck to his feet. It was easier to just ignore it than to bring himself back to the reality of his work. Besides, sleep weighed heavily on the mind and it would be dealt with in the morning. Or in a few hours when he awoke from the terrors of his dreams.

The thrall slumped to the floor as Neronin fell into a deep sleep.
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Neronin
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Neronin woke from a not so pleasant, but deep sleep, a product of his physical exhaustion. The horrific sight on the floor, the maimed corpse of a familiar face, the slumped body of a boy, the gore and blood all brought back a flood of memories as Neronin stared. His heart raced as dreams of both man and boy chasing his, half maimed but shouting "Who are you?!" Neronin felt a runlet of sweat blur his vision and hastily wiped his eye clean of it.

The dream haunted the fleeting moment between sleep and waking. The twilit shifting of his mind was, for a wretched moment, a labyrinth of the dead. They sought his flesh, his essence. Neronin jumped up and found himself standing in a slightly coagulated pool of blood. He groaned in disgust as he stepped gingerly over to the bodies. The mage glanced at the boy, who hadn't moved in the hours that had passed. Then his gaze fell upon the corpse he had been stripping flesh from the night before.

It took a long time to work up the resolve to begin his work again. Neronin could not eat anything, though his stomach ached. He did not want to waste any food by puking it up again. The entire center of his home was covered in blood, something he would have to rectify later on. Neronin prepared himself for the animation of the boy-thrall. Every step seemed sluggish and more challenging with his lack of nutrients, but he made due. He pulled a slosh of vile energy from within and tied the limbs and body of the thrall to his will. With a single command the thrall stood and grasped the wheelbarrow. It silently observed Neronin retrieve the blackened saw and dagger, it's eye empty but for the vague hunger that was always present. The sight of them sent Neronin's mind reeling into his nightmares from before.

Neronin's grip squeezed tightly around the saw. And so the day began, as mortifying as any he had ever experienced. Neronin hacked away the hours by pulling flesh and cartilage off bone. It helped when he eventually reached the skull and Eladir Mosk finally became faceless. He puked then too, retching up some liquid from deep within that he did not know he still possessed. His grimaced against the strong acidic taste in his mouth. The necromancer worked on. There was no turning back or quitting now. The only end could be success.

They worked for hours, eventually Neronin simply did not see the disgusting work he was doing. His eyes saw which bits he needed to press harder for and how to scrape the meat from bone, but he did not comprehend it anymore. The thrall watched him work in silence, the flesh hardly appealing to it now that it was far from alive. The thing would move the wheelbarrow to the fire and dispense of the flesh, then silently shuffle back.

Neronin felt his legs go numb under him as he worked. Slowly the flesh of Eladir Mosk disappeared and the skeleton was revealed. It was almost a pure sort of white in places, and in some places a vivid red. The Marrow was being torn from the corpse like a work of art almost. Or perhaps Neronin was simply falling into insanity. The end was nearing, either way. He was almost excited about the prospect. He began to work faster.

Five hours after he began the day riddled with terrors from the night before, Neronin finished his task. He pulled a bit of brain from where it clung to his finger and flicked it unceremoniously into the fire. He tossed the saw aside and rubbed his red and black hands together. Dried blood smearing together and falling to the floor in tiny masses.

Neronin raised his hands, refocusing all his attention on the bloody skeleton. As he relinquished command of the husk, the thing fell, toppling into the wheelbarrow. Neronin felt the vile energy more strongly than ever. Perhaps it was the macabre scene of his home of the especially intimate connection he felt to death in that moment. Perhaps it was the pool of blood he stood in. Whatever the reason, the energies within his roared as they almost eagerly awaited his will.

The necromancer poured it into the skeleton with a force. He fastened himself, his soul and willpower to the thing's bloodied bones. He immersed his being with the physical form of the skeleton of Eladir Mosk.

There was a moment of anticipation as Neronin let the final tendrils of his dark magic grapple with their charge. He sent a subtle force of will down through the connection and watched for movement. The skeleton seemed to reform itself. Bones slid into place in sockets and ribs straightened. The fingers moved, as if experimenting with the motion. Neronin felt a thrill course through his heart. He willed the creature to stand. The skeletal Marrow pushed itself up and turned the unseeing skeletal face to gaze with an unnatural perception at Neronin. It waited expectantly. The bloodied thing did not move after then, making no noise.

They stared at each other. Neronin had made a Marrow. He had created the thing with which his former master has amazed him previously, all those years ago. Neronin glanced from the Marrow to the corpse of the boy on the floor, then back.

The Marrow bent and grasped the saw with its bony hand.
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Whisper
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Unmaking the Maker

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Neronin


Awarded Points

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 0/5
Structure: 5/5
These points can/cannot be spent in magic


Awarded Knowledge

Death: Algor Mortis
Death: Signs of Decomposition
Knives: Sharp vs Serrated Edge
Necromancy: Husks
Necromancy: Sap
Sap: Causes Fast Decay of Flesh


Awarded Extras

Loot & Losses Injuries
None Overstepping: as described
Fame Devotion
Magic Use: -2 None
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Comments

That was... unpleasant... graphic! Very good, I can see your style is consistent in your threads, and you write Nero very well - giving him enough humanity that I don't hate him for doing something so vile!


If you have any questions, comments or criticism about your review, feel free to send me a PM and we can discuss it.
Thank ye.
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