"...Can it think?"

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"...Can it think?"

Post by TheCacklackian »

Queensday, 10th of Januarum, 1223, the campsite outside of the Library of Qamar, 3rd bell and 3rd chime post-zenith.

The carmine-clad gentleman brings his hands together to rest upon the head of his cane, finger brushing against the symbol embossed upon its head, an eye, hidden within a pentagram. He clears his throat of the parched sensation that so often plagues him, before stepping around the crackling campfire, to address the audience. His audience. He brings his gloved right hand up, though its garnet shroud does little to mask the missing digit that causes a jarring lack of symmetry to his left, but the words roll out, as he had practiced so many times before, tone laced in that eerie pantomime of cheer, "Ladies and gentlemen, scholars...and folks of all other walks of life. Tonight, we of the Seekers Errant bring you a demonstration of our research in minor animacy. A technique which has great application in the fields of menial labor and medicine!" The man pauses, bringing his right hand up to hide an expression that not only his mask covers, but his face is incapable of making, before continuing with raucous laughter, "So often do these lands take life, and so often more is it a waste. Picture a world in which people no longer have to slave away in mines, for meager coin. A world in which every physicker can practice countless risky surgeries, without wasting a single life. A world in which injuries long though permanent, could be restored!" Golden eyes stare out from behind his alabaster mask, settling upon Kordelia, as if to say something, without a single word being spoken, though the man would never admit it, he the mere words he says brought pain to his lame leg.

Malithese brings his cane forth to gesture at the still body which lies at his feet. It could almost be mistaken for alive, were it not for the deathly stillness it displays. "Without further adieu, Andaris if you please?" he produces a jar from his bag, passing it towards his associate who explains to the audience, "This is a jar of coagulant, provided by our friend Frida. It is a compound to encourage blood to solidify." Malithese brings out a hand towards his familiar, one of the many that flick and flitter around the campsite, an omen of the demonstration to come, as Andaris sets out to work injecting the body with the substance. The gentleman goes on to elaborate on his collogues explanation, "You see, nether has a habit of eating away at that which it touches. And nether so often is stored in the blood. It is therefore important to prepare against inevitable degradation."

Many in the crowd whisper, either to themselves or others. The term 'necromancy' comes from the lips of one man, before a Viali steps forward to ask, "The goal is to...Animate? Lift this corpse back into the realms of...Ah. Locomotion, as it were. Via the means of your sorcery? Using nether stored in the solidified blood." the man pauses, before finishing the question, "How will it act, if successful?" The carmine clad gentleman, pauses, as though to consider his answer, before bringing his right hand up, to beckon forth his familiar. "Ahh, excellent question. For that I'll need my 'assistant'." he says, as the dark mass of nethrim flickers over his shoulder, pantomiming his gestures. "Shadow familiars are tied to the soul of their masters, and as such are entirely loyal, so long as large quantities of nether are not added to their mass too swiftly. Animation does no such thing, and as such, the animate, if successful will act in will to the familiar that animates it. That is to say, they are loyal. But the implications of animacy, go beyond simply 'animation'. For once the body is alive again, it is equally possible in theory to extract the familiar, without killing the body. This familiar could then be replaced, by say, an undying soul." In this one answer, Malithese had divulged more about his true intents regarding the animatic arts than even he would have guessed, yet the Viali seemed to have caught onto a different part of such words, voicing his displeased satisfaction. "Such would be foolishness. Though that is digression if nothing else. I'm satisfied."

The carmine clad gentleman turns back to address one man out of the crowd. "You my friend, mentioned necromancy. What do you think is the meaning of that word?" he asks as he rests both hands upon his cane, head tilting in it's unusual fashion. The man exchanges glances with another, but even if he wanted to answer, before he could, Andaris signaled himself finished with the preparation. Malithese turns his back on the crowd asking, "Would you like to do the honors, or shall I?" to his colleague, who responds "You can take it from here, I'll assist as much as I can." Inky black tendrils of nether lick at the garnet fabric of the sorcerer's gloves like the fire laps at the wood, whilst Vahid flickers towards the corpse.

Malithese raises his hand in a welcoming gesture, as if to say, 'after you', as the familiar disperses into a dozen tendrils of misty black, which freely flow through the nostrils, and the various injection points Andaris had prepared, in the same way water flows into a dry sponge. As the nethrim suffused the soul-shred rich blood of the corpse, the body begins to jerk, as though stimulated by some unseen current of electricity. Spasms rushed through its once dead musculature, and after a moment or two, if gasps, the body riding into rapid breaths, Malithese cocks his head, as he says in answer to his own earlier question. "Necromancy is the art of raising undead. We're creating life."

Two bands of fleeting yet invigorating nether lash out from the sorcerer into the body. Where it was once rapidly ragged inhaling, like an animal caught in a snare, it now settled into slow, calm, and steady breaths. Malithese turns his attention back towards the crowd, continuing, voice as effervescent as ever. "Life that breaths, and eats, and sleeps." He steps aside to reveal the animation to the crowd, breast rising and falling with each breath. He kneels down for but a moment to whisper something upon it's ear, "Vahid, rise for me if you would." before standing back up to his feet. Much like a child, learning for the first time to stand, the animation begins to push itself up from the ground onto its legs, while it's master continues. " Life that can learn. Life that can work, where other should not." there are murmurs both of amazement, and of disgust amongst the crowd, and in that moment, the sorcerer felt more alive than ever. He continues his words knowing that they wouldn't sway a single soul, yet uncaring. Those words weren't for them anyways. "Life that can teach, skills that can only be learned in sacrifice."

The sorcerer raised his right hand, curling his three fingers and thumb in a demonstration of dexterity, which the animation follows suit, though almost as though it were forgotten, the creature's pinky remained fully extended, as though it doesn't know how to contract, in stark similarity to it's masters own missing appendage. The Viali that earlier voiced his displeasure steps forward moving around the animation. The abomination. He asks, "...Can it think?" as though appraising it. Malithese answers, "In a manner of speaking, perhaps. That is a question on the nature of all nethrim. At what point do they stop being a facsimile of life, and begin instead being life themselves?" he pauses for but a moment, and a sense of indignation. Anger, swells within his stomach, like a portion of his soul roiling to be set freed, but that feeling is quickly quelled as he says, "Vahid often speaks to me in his own way." Contrary to his normal tone of voice, these words are laced with something different. Perhaps affection.

The Viali says, expressionless towards the sorcerer, whilst starring at the animation, who stares blankly back. "One suggests an eye upon one's hubris. Suggestion of creation of life is quite a distinctly great claim to be making lightly." To which the sorcerer responds, "Humans create life far more often than people realize, both in literally and figuratively. Life on paper, and in story, and in flesh, and blood." he shrugs his shoulders lackadaisically before saying as cheerful as ever, "But just like all life, it can be taken away." In that moment he reaches out and makes a grasping motion with his maimed hand towards the animation which appears to stiffen in place, like a puppet being pulled taut on it's strings. All at once from every orifice of the head, black smoke begins oozing out like pus from an infected wound, before coalescing once more as the shadowy familiar, which flits back to its masters side. The body falls to the ground, rasping and gasping as though desperately trying to breath, only to twist and writhe like a snake who's already lost it's head, before finally falling still.
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