Durith Flanelath’s Unliving Research

Unliving ResearchThe denizens of the Underworld are vast in number, and corrupt in countenance. Our eternal war against them must provide us with some hope that we can succeed. For this, knowledge of the enemy is of paramount importance.

My experiences of the Unliving have allowed me to begin to categorise traits amongst them. The following parameters can be defined in this:

1. All Unliving or Necromantically raised patterns are corrupt.
2. This corruption increases as the existence of the unliving lengthens. The longer the period of corruption, the greater it becomes.
3. The longer the Unliving lives, the more stooped in evil and corrupt it becomes.

It is possible with the abilities granted to both myself and Pape to restore the corrupted patterns of the Unliving who have been Raised, yet to do this we must have some understanding of the corruption we correct. What does cause the corruption of patterns?

When a person dies, the pattern is cut off from the physical form that once sustained it. After judging on the actions of the mortal in life, the Ancestors will decide whether the pattern is worthy of joining there the ranks of the Ancestral host in their war against the Darkness. If the pattern is not worthy, or not acceptable for this vocation, then it is consigned elsewhere. Some may enter halls of peace, granting rest, others may return to life in another form to live out a new existence. Still others who are judged ill by the Ancestors are condemned to atone for the crimes they committed in life.

However there remain some that are not judged in this way, and who are left unclaimed by there past, and with no patron, they remain in the dark. This condemnation to eternal wanderings in the darkness, where there is no existence is not a common occurrence. Yet it typically does happen when the pattern has not made peace with its past. Unable to find rest in life, this is echoed in death.

One such as this was Thomas Finn. A man of courage for his struggle to survive the hardships of his upbringing. Yet these hardships twisted Thomas in life, forcing him to rely upon only the things he could see and here. In death, he had no faith or belief to drive him, and no love for those who had raised him. But he was not by definition a bad man, only one who remained unclaimed, and thus condemned to the dark.
It was this situation that I surmise Maar the Faceless was able to take advantage of. The pity I feel for Thomas within the choice remains profound. Who can say what we would choose in his place? An existence condemned to the darkness alone, or a chance to return to those who he loved. The only people he valued, amongst those who he had lived with? To my mind, Ancestors forgive me, this was no choice at all for Thomas, who accepted Maar’s offer to return, corrupted though he would be to the plane of life. Though he would be constrained by service to Maar he would also be able to see those he had known liked and loved.
When reclaiming a pattern by Necromancy, and reuniting its bond with its physical form, the necromancer cannot restore his subject to life. Instead his crude methods create the corruption that is unlife. The pain of such an occurrence for the spiritual pattern must be I think, unequalled by any mortal pain we can experience in life. When existence is forcibly remade in this way, subverting the natural order it can never be restored to what it was before death occurred. The crude hand, which performs this action “mars” that which it reclaims. This is the first form of Necromantic corruption.

The second form of Necromantic corruption exists through the link created between the Necromancer and his new servant. Much as we owe revere those who have created us, our parents, and before them our Ancestors, so in a corrupted way, must the servant owe allegiance to his master. This link means that the servant must obey the commands of the necromancer who raised him, and follow them precisely. However it has been suggested to me that there are ways in which this link can be subverted. Mordinaar is an example of this, which I will mention later. Nevertheless it has been apparent to me that the strength of this link can depend upon a great deal of factors. I can only offer insight upon two.

1. How Much Free will the Necromancer wishes his servant to have.
2. How strong willed the servant was in life.

A theory that has been suggested to me in Caerdannon is that the forms of Unliving may be directly related to this factor, I am not so sure. I believe instead that the forms of Unliving depend upon the needs of the Necromancer. However this is not a factor to be discounted.

The third form of Necromantic corruption is that of the pattern’s own volition. Blighted by its very existence it may elect to learn further the arts that have reclaimed it. In my readings of the Templars of Onyx, and by the examples I have encountered, I surmise that only a corrupted pattern may learn the powers of necromancy, for the power by its very nature corrupts. The corrupted Thomas Finn has suggested to me, that Mordinaar is an example of this. An unliving whom has become powerful enough to resist or deny the link between himself and his master Maar. Whether this is the case or not remains a mystery.

The first form of Necromantic corruption can be healed in several ways. Firstly it can be healed simply by the act of returning the pattern to its rest. Incantor dismissal or the destruction of the pattern’s physical form can accomplish this. Often the Necromancy used to raise the pattern is not sufficiently strong enough to prevent it from returning to its original form when the contact between physical and spiritual essence is severed. However if the pattern is particularly powerful and corrupted, it will survive this to return to the plane of the Unliving.

If the corruption is particularly severe, then the pattern can be corrected by the use of the Lay to Rest High Incantation. However this is usually only the case in the forms of Greater Unliving, or patterns which have been unliving for a long period of time. This Incantation restores the pattern to uncorrupted form, and returns it to the plane of the Dead.

The second form of Necromantic corruption can be broken when the Unliving servant is dismissed or physically destroyed. The destruction of such a servant causes strain upon the pattern of the Necromancer, as the link that binds them pulls. Often therefore Necromancers will severe this link themselves, as their servant becomes more effort than use. However there are occasions when the Necromancer will wish to maintain his servant. Again this link can be severed by the use of the Lay to Rest High Incantation. However their must be other methods to do this. Much of our Guild research is being invested in finding these out.

The third form of Necromantic corruption is a matter of judgement by the Ancestors. The actions of a corrupted pattern are either of their own volition or caused by the corruption they have suffered. Upon this matter, the theorists of Caerdannon are still in debate. However it is my belief that this matter is not one in which we have the right to judge, nor one which we have any influence. Rather it remains in the province of our revered Ancestors.

Therefore summarising using the two examples I have mentioned above, Laying Thomas Finn to Rest would not be of primary importance. Gaining his acceptance of his Ancestors, and their acceptance of him from him to pass on would. However in Laying Him to Rest we would be able to go some way to preventing Maar from raising him again from the Plane of Unlife straight away. Instead he would have to reach out form him once more in the Plane of the Dead. Hopefully with Thomas’ peace of mind restored he would not be able to reach him in time.
In Mordinaar’s case, Lay to Rest would be necessary, as he should be judged on his corrupted actions as well as his corrupt pattern. The Incantation may also go some way to prevent him from restoring himself. The sooner this will occur the better.

Durith Flanelath