"Death is a door,
Time is a window,
I will come back" - Vigor (Ghostbusters II)
One human has this as his motto for life. -- Anon Guest
They say that the lands of Death are the undiscovered country. They say that mortality is the absolute final frontier, because nobody comes back. Imagine thinking that that is your limit. Imagine being that ignorant. In brief, imagine life before necromancy.
Yes, yes, yes. Subverting the natural flow of the cycle of life and death, blah blah blah... Just. Listen. Medics and Clerics pull lives back from the brink of death every day. People call it 'saving lives'. They even call it 'saving souls'. When a Cleric resurrects an individual, it's a miracle. Yet, somehow, when I do it, it's an abomination. Tell me where the line is! That's all I ask. A True Resurrection can be worked up to two hundred years after an individual has died. I can re-animate long-dead bone with less than half the effort and none of the free will.
I've even done it to myself. Human bodies are far too mortal for my liking. Too frail. Elves can live for up to eight hundred years, more if they look after their health from birth. They say that Dragons can live for a million years or more. Considering what they do with that time, it really isn't fair. Just because I'm a lich and something more, suddenly I'm the bad guy.
Oh, do put that holy relic away. I'm not going to drain your soul or whatever. Look, you didn't even pay to get in. I've got the perfect gig going here, why would I mess it up with soul-stealing and blood sacrifices? I may be a shambling shell of my former self, but I'm not a fool. Yes, of course I need a bit of blood and some flesh, but I acquire it legally and, if you think about the entire process, ethically, too.
Of course the goats are a reserve source. They're among the few naturally malevolent species out there. They're only there just in case. I've yet to run out of wealthy despots desperate to cling on to power and life so they can continue being in power and alive.
It's the perfect scam. The first level is the spa that comes with some legitimate life extending therapies, there's a few potions for those with the right amount of gemstones, too. Those work for a time. On the next level... well, it is dark magic. That's where they sacrifice some of their blood, some of their flesh. Some is used to power the spell and the rest... well... Even a lich has to feed.
The third level? When even dark magic can't help them maintain the illusion of youth, health, and vitality... that's when I extract justice. I ask them to sacrifice more. More money, of course. Enough to make a significant impact on their holdings. Preferably all the gold and jewels I can wring from them. Most, if not all of their fine clothes. Some of their land and holdings... then their lives.
They go to the sacrificial altar thinking they will live forever. They don't live. At all. All the wealth they've given me goes... well... I'm sure you've heard of the Sunshine Benevolent Fund. That nice organisation that houses the homeless and feeds the hungry... helps the helpless?
They... are me. I fund them with the wealth I extract from the rich, violent, and stupid. All I ever need is their flesh and blood to keep my undeath as it is. The extra nasty ones? I keep them around as thralls for a couple of hundred years. Let them toil for the luxury of others with their soul trapped inside and unable to do a damned thing.
The way I figure it, it's balancing out.
Now... do be wary, adventurer. You are perfectly capable of destroying this vessel and whatever you think is my phylactery. It's just... I'm not merely a lich. I've been doing this for longer than one memory can hold. I have backups. I have backups that even I have forgotten about.
I won't end.
All you'll do is impede me for a hundred years or so. Two hundred at a stretch.
There's a reason they name me Koschei... the Undying.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / prometeus]
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