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Varieties of Undead (II)

Started by Idriar
Post #136734

Likes Given: 206
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Faction & Race:
Aldmeri Dominion (Altmer)
On the Undead

Civilised Necromancy

The Undead Masters


A Lich is one of the few undead creatures with free will. Once they were mighty and sage necromancers who tried to emulate Mannimarco by doing what he did, by becoming a living corpse, an undying Lich. Beside Mannimarco’s form there are two other forms of Liches. The first is the skeletal Lich. The other is the conserved Lich. The only difference is that the conserved Lich has still flesh on it, being either conserved by time sealed away or by his followers. As their bodies are not bound by little amounts of magicka like summoned minions but by the entire magical power and will of the former necromancer, Liches are amongst the most powerful undead creatures. Also, all Liches can wield magic, what usual servants can’t.

However, the King of Worms became an undead but still kept his appearance and much more important his personalitiy, identity and memory. Modern Liches all fail to preserve their body and – in most cases – their minds. From several eyewitness accounts I am able to draw the process of becoming a Lich from the very beginning, over the flaws in the process to the usual unfortunate outcome.

Before Lichdom

It is not easy for a necromancer to reach a high age. Of course, they are not only well versed in the fields of summoning but also experienced in the studies of anatomy and restoration magic. While being able to extend their lives like any other specialised mage, wizard or priest – or noble man and upper class citizen with access to these services – necromancers are usually killed before they need to use life prolonging magics on themselves. They die either by the hands of witchhunters or because of the other dangers they are facing in the wilds or in the underground of the cities. Still some, especially in the Empire and the position of a king's or a prince's advisor in the West, can grow old like anyone else.

But no matter how old a necromancer becomes, at some point he feels the call Aetherius like anyone else. But more like anyone else they struggle with their inevitable fate. They just don´t want to die. Maybe it is the mindset acquired by long lasting studies of souls and corpses, maybe it is the fantasy of immortality spent on Nirn all humans share. Or they simply know that their students and followers will not hesitate to use their corpses and souls once they are gone themselves. Having commanded numberless undead minions, necromancers are upset with the prospect of becoming servants themselves.

But in the end of his life a necromancer might learn about another way: Only the oldest and therefor wisest and mightiest necromancers dare to delve into the matters Mannimarco once delved in. And only the most daring or desperate consider trying what Mannimarco once accomplished. It is only a small number who turns themselves into Liches, avatars of undeath.

To Become a Lich

While the original ritual or the magical procedure of sorts Mannimarco performed to become a deathless, undying Lich is lost in time, countless new rituals have been developed or reconstructed from old texts of the Worm cult. Not many are available though and if they are most likely defective. Like other mighty and old magic users, necromancers become peculiar and distrustful about their studies and findings. They keep their research results secret, destroy them or veil them in mysteries, riddles and lies. That’s why most people have somewhat wild ideas how to become a lich, featuring ingredients like the heart of another lich, dragon tongue (an actual tongue, not the plant) or the flame of a burning horse. It seems every modern Lich has developed the ritual of his own creation himself.

All rituals, though, have atleast two things in common: Firstly, the necromancer, who wishes to become a Lich, has to cast his soul into a prepared and enchanted vessel, called phylactery in professional circles. It is comparable to trapping a soul in a soul gem, but the phylactery needs not to be one of those crystals. It is even said to be impossible to use them. Urns filled with special materials are common but also personal items like jewellery or weapons. A necromancer can also choose to use multiple vessels, splitting up his soul. Mannimarco on the other hand is not reported to have had a single phylactery.

The other thing all rituals have in common: They are all flawed.

Who controls the Septim crown?
Who keeps the Allesian Heresy down?
We do, we do

Who knocked Yokuda off the maps?
Who keeps the Dwemer under wraps?
We do, we do

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