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There are many kinds of self-imprisonment, and many a dark arts preying upon them.
- Know Thyself, Dreamer's Handbook

Lucy slammed a book onto the table. "Look!" Her triumphant expression didn't quite match her bloodshot eyes.

Eric sipped more tea. Ahh, still warm.

"What is it? If you stop hovering and take your hands off it, we might see actually something," Rose said.

Lucy's intense expression remained unchanged, but she did raise the book so they could look at the cover.

Eric saw faded words on black leather, and a skull adorning the cover. 'Spells and Command of Unlife', a grimoire of necromantic arts. Marked on the bottom with small letters: property of Sinar the Raiser.

Rose extended her palm, motioning for Lucy to hand it over. She did, and Rose briefly examined the book. "I don't see what the big deal is."

"Don't you get it? It's a book on necromancy!"

Eric smirked. "Don't tell me you've spent all this time in the library."

"I did, mostly. How did you know?"

"Your eyes are red. You really should blink once in a while."

"So what's in it that's so exciting?" Rose asked.

Lucy bit down on her lip before answering. "...I don't know. I didn't read it."

Eric laughed, and took the book from Rose. The cover was indeed made from leather, and Eric wondered what animal - or human? - it came from. It had a small clasp.

"But... why?" Rose asked with a confused half-smile.

I know why - you didn't dare do it alone!

Lucy shrugged. "It could be trapped... or cursed."

"Where did you find it?" Rose asked. "You didn't steal it, did you?"

"No! Of course not! It was on an upper shelf with other books."

"You've been acting weird lately. Ever since we fought the zombies, I think. Is that what you've been doing? Searching for information on them?"

Eric slowly moved the book under the table and undid the clasp. Nothing. Of course not. Maeve wouldn't keep anything dangerous in plain sight.

"Yes- well, no... I mean... I hoped to find something to help me understand necromancy, but there are many other interesting books as well."

Eric listed through the pages. "...decay means disarray! It invites my refined influence and..." The first part of the book was written with almost indecipherable handwriting - uglier than mine.

"So..." Rose leaned forward and licked her lips. "Do you think we should open it?"

"No!" Lucy was horrified. "What if Maeve finds out?"

The latter pages were written with impeccable penmanship, though. "...acolytes are expendable. My art makes them greater in death than they ever were (or could have been) in life! Ignore the..." The letters seemed suspiciously the same, almost like a printout. Maybe he couldn't read his own handwriting, and used a magic pen?

"Well, no one actually forbade us to learn about such things," Rose reasoned. "When Mr. Smith talked about dark magic, he didn't say we shouldn't learn about it, did he?"

"I think that was implied."

"Hey, listen to this." Eric read aloud from the book: "'A fresh corpse is good, but a ritual kill is better. Start at the moment of great change and instability, as the lifeforce begins to flow away. Don't let it completely dissipate! Kinetic animation requires much more effort than necromantic animation. Weave the force back on itself so it retains power but gives up control. The lower soul stays, the useless higher goes. When-'"

"Gimme that!" Lucy snatched the book from Eric's hands, almost overturning his mug. She closed it and fastened the clasp with haste. "I can't believe you opened it!"

"Are you cursed? Do you feel sick?" Rose inquired.

"Come on, it's not cursed! It's just a stupid book by some self-important idiot," Eric said.

"But..." Lucy pondered, clutching the book. "Languages change how we think, right? So does new knowledge. Maybe the knowledge in this book is intrinsically evil or something."

"You think I would be corrupted by words? Like, a forbidden fruit type of situation? No thanks, I like to think I have more backbone than that - and you do too. I'd rather see and decide for myself, than have it decided for me."

"...ideologies... designed use... religions?" Rose muttered, following her own train of thought.

"No, not corrupted, but reading changes you... Maybe changes you in a bad way; maybe even without you noticing."

Eric shrugged. "So what? I guess I have to trust myself to stay strong and make good decisions. What's the alternative? Succumbing to ignorance or superstition? You really can't think that's better."

"No, that's not what I meant. I just... you really think we're ready for this?"

"We are," Rose said. "After you went berserk on those zombies, I think you got scared by how you acted, and that's why you spent all this time hiding in the library. I'm with Eric. If this," Rose pointed to the book of necromancy, "will help you find out more about yourself, you should go for it. It's worth to risk the curse or corruption or whatever," she waved dismissively.

"We all change," Eric said, and took another sip of tea. "More honey, anyone?"

Lucy breathed in deeply, nodded to herself, and exhaled. She unclasped the book and started flipping through the pages.
Book of Necromancy
by Dawn Harshaw

Lucy, Rose and Eric are sipping tea and debating
whether to read a book on necromancy.

This story expands upon the world and
characters introduced in:

Dream Magic: Awakenings
(a free fantasy novel!)

If you liked it, please subscribe to my Storyletter!
Whenever I finish a short story, I send it out for free.
(Go to my website and enter your email address!)

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Add a Comment:
Oliver--Fey Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2012
very nice. I enjoy your use of the silly student who is the first to find the book but too afraid to open it.
DawnArdent Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2012
Thank you! ^_^
KittyNocturna Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This seems really interesting. Like Adrolyn mentioned, it has a nice flow. It's not clipped or forced. It's fluid. While it can be a bit confusing on who is talking, you introduce the different natures of the characters nicely.
DawnArdent Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012
Thank you! For me, conversations require quite an effort to write. I was afraid that the lack of action would be off-putting (compared to my other flash story), but I'm glad to receive such response.

These characters are the main characters of my novel, and I hoped to sneak in a bit of character growth with this story. :)
KittyNocturna Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I know what you mean. I can't stand to write four lines that begin with quotation marks from someone speaking. I have to put some action between or it seems flat to me. Can hardly stand to begin just three that way.
DawnArdent Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012
Yup. I usually figure out the main sentences of a conversation beforehand, clean them up, and only then write and edit the whole conversation. Oh so time consuming... >_< Monologues I don't mind, they're easier to write, but then I pretty much have to sacrifice any plot advancement to deliver the monologue. :(
KittyNocturna Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Sounds a lot like what I do. I love writing the scenes where excitement happens better than writing conversations.
BusinessMonkey Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I love necromancy in stories. Everyone finds a different way to work and portray it. Will there be more of these?
DawnArdent Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012
Thanks! That's the plan. :) If there's enough interest, I'll write many of these flash stories.
Adrolyn Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I like the general flow of this, as well as the theme. It gets confusing, though, as to who is talking with each line of dialog. Since we don't know these characters very well (yet), there's no way to pick out who is who based on style of speech.
DawnArdent Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012
Ah, thanks for bringing it to my attention! I do try to skimp with the "he said, she said", good to know if I went overboard! :)
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