I… I hadn’t wanted it to come to something like this. I hadn’t thought Dwyn would care if I wanted to see my parents again – I thought he’d appreciate it, that he’d help me do it. But the way I was going to see them, he said, was wrong. He said black, shadow, dark, whatever-you-call-it magic was the worst way to influence the world, especially after he discovered that I had only learned about it through a journal I’d found on the ground. Dwyn was speaking like fate itself wouldn’t allow me to ever see them alive again.
But he was wrong. I knew it. I was going to see them again, I was going to tell them sorry, I was going to say I loved them, everything I’d missed before they were… gone.
So I left in the middle of the night. I snuck out of the tent, bringing my bag of sand for focus, a little bit of essence powder from Dwyn’s stash, and my own body. It was all I needed for the ritual, or at least the journal said. It was amazing that the journal, among all the other curses, elemental weaponry, and whatnot, had a single necromantic spell. All I needed to see them again was in my robe and my hands…
It took around a mile of walking, which I should consider myself lucky for. The ruins Dwyn was assigned to study were remarkably close to Aoutma; surprising that Dwyn hadn’t set any wards for thieves coming by, or for the less likely event of me leaving – yet another reason to count my blessings. I stumbled and tripped along the hillside in the dark for a while, but eventually I could see the depressing, burnt buildings of my old hometown.
If I hadn’t been here before with Dwyn, I never would have found where I used to live. Everything was still char, but granted that there was a little less of it everywhere. Still, flickers of ash danced across blades of grass, and pieces of relics and items barely peered from the ground. I searched around the ground for the makeshift graves Dwyn and I had made for my parents, but I tripped over stupid piece of an urn I barely remembered. I fell muzzle first onto the ground, grumbling and rubbing at my teeth.
There was a cough from behind me.
Whirling around I brought up a weak light in my paw, something I punched myself for forgetting earlier. But there was no one there.
This was a bad time to be hallucinating things… a very bad time.
I shook my head to try and clear it from something, anything to make sure that never happened again. I took one more careful look all around me, holding the light up above my head. Just more ashes and burnt memories, and the occasional insect.
I sighed quickly and kneeled down, setting out the old journal, along with my bag of sand and essence. Pouring out everything, I fumbled through the pages to the necromantic ritual, those paw-fingers helping absolutely none at all. With some focus, the sand piled together and the essence slid across the ground to my other, free paw. Once I had the right page ready, I carefully set the blue motes of dust onto the same spots Dwyn had always taught me about in the hand, or more specifically for me, the paw; one for each finger, one in the palm, one in the wrist…
Then, going against what he had taught me to do, I pulled the knife from my pocket and stabbed each piece of essence in to my right paw.
The pain was almost unbearable, but I had to hold my screams lest someone hear me. All those motes burned, froze, stung, clotted, whatever they could to hurt me – they were all just potential power ready for use, after all. But they evidently did not enjoy a physical being taking that power and using it how they chose. No wonder Dwyn had forbidden me from imbuing anyone, even myself, with essence before.
I kept my screams in my mouth, but had to let out the tension somehow. I dug the knife with me into the ground, carving out whatever was in my head. A bird, a bug, a house, people, a canine of some kind, wind…
Eventually the pain died down. I set down the knife carefully, wiping off the tip with my robe. Whatever I used it for again, I wouldn’t want the essence there later. On my paw were seven different glowing bits. They all radiated slightly different colors; one for each different type of magic I’d learned up to that point. Red for fire and passion, blue for calm control, white for hope and care, black for the deep earth, and a slight tan for the winds and sands I focused on were on my fingers. In the wrist was a plain gray light, representing the dedication and will to use all those powers. In the palm lied a mixture of all the previous colors, a swirling masterpiece which gave each color its own share of space and own time to manifest. The last piece of the magical puzzle, so to speak – unity.
But there was still one more beyond that.
I grabbed the knife once again and pulled back the sleeve a little further on my right arm. With a careful prick of the blade, blood poured out from my forearm. I laid my arm down, letting the blood trickle down into the rainbow in my palm.
Once it met, there was a tension in the air apart from my own presence and thoughts. The crimson touched into the pool, and then the color took its own spot in the rotation in my palm.
The real final piece was in place. The magic of the body, mind, and soul – the ultimate dedication.
I rubbed the spot I had pricked and then pulled the sleeve back over it. Everything was finally ready. With the sand all piled up over my parents’ collective grave, and the magic ready to go…
I chanted the words from the journal, and pressed my infused palm down into the sand, flattening it out and spreading the spell. The words made no sense to me, but who cared? I never got half the stuff Dwyn said about the “greater forces” behind magic, and now was not the time to consider all the reasons spell chants sounded like every single language mixed together, in reverse.
Still reciting the words however I could, I looked around once more, keeping my sense of touch focused on the sand so as not to ruin the ritual. No one was here besides me. But the tension rose. A lot more than what I remember from just one person casting. Something was wrong, but I knew not only Dwyn’s scent, but his presence too. The “aura reading” I’d picked up from him was incredibly helpful for hiding things. Yet it only made me more and more nervous at this point.
Shutting up my paranoid side, I turned back all my focus to the ritual, reading… reading… and both seeing and feeling lines of force rise around me. The chanting was almost done. Then I could finally see my parents again, tell them I was sorry…
Ouch. Something was burning in my palm, though. I guessed it had to be part of the body magic. One has to give up part of one’s self to use such magic, or something like that. If I had to lose some fat for that, who was I going to argue with?
The lines swirled and howled, growing and melding together at an apex above the entire scene. The chanting could stop, and I could let everything loose to do its job. Not only that, but the entire thing had only taken a few minutes. Lives being returned to their bodies after days, months, years? How was dark magic supposed to be a bad thing?
I let go of the magic, forcing it out into the sand and soil beneath my paw. The lines followed quickly after, descending to save my parents. Everything was about to be fixed, and this journal was all to thank for it.
Panting a little bit from exertion, I heard some cries in the soil and frantic scrambling. My parents… they were there, trying to get out!
With a stupid grin and eager eyes, I started digging out more and more soil to find Mom and Dad.
The figure watched from a distance, cloaked in shadow both magical and physical. The child had done it – a ritual years in the making, and one that he had found for the figure’s master. Better than that, though, was the fact that the child had done it alone. So much ability, ripe for taking, or, if lucky enough, convincing to take the better side. Now, the child was pulling his own creations out from the ground, whether or not he knew what happened.
Slowly, the Risen dug out from their graves with the help of their creator – all at the command of him. But something did not seem right. The child didn’t seem overjoyed, or even proud. He was… sad. Depressed over a use of power to further himself? How would that…
The figure watched, morbidly fascinated by the sobbing jackal. The Risen just watched over him, leaning slightly to a guarding stance, even if they were burnt to a crisp, missing limbs or organs, and completely blind. Then, he could hear something just in his earshot.
“I wish I was dead! Damn it, I want to die! DIE!”
Both Risen turned to their creator, the slightly female one reaching forward with bony hands and arms. While the child still cried, it picked up its creator, both hands solidly placed around his neck.
And then it wrung it.