Hanging (Clandestina) [Rough]

The professor was not in the classroom as the students walked in to Anatomy. There were instructions written on the board in large letters (each student was to pair up with two others, choose one of the corpses laid out, and disassemble as much as possible, labeling each organ and its function. For extra credit they could find out the cause of death) but that was all. They had done this, or similar, exercises several times before under the watchful eye of their teacher, but today it seemed to be a test of how well they could work on their own.

Pierre Salvador stood by himself while most of the group paired with friends. Piers had finished his studies already, leaving for home a few weeks before, not needing the extra time in surgical schooling. The princeling therefor found himself alone more often than not now that his only true friend here was gone. It did not bother him much, he preferred working alone, but it was not pleasant. Possibly his status was scaring others away, or perhaps something about him radiated with Mora’s cræft? He had never looked into the problem.

At the end there weren’t enough students for an even number of triads and Pierre stayed alone. He noted that one group had four students, and he should have at least been paired with one of them, but it let it go. There were also not enough bodies either so another group would be useless. He could make a fuss, or join one of the groups to observe, but he had better things to do. This was something he knew well already, and Mora has asked he kill a man for her.

He made to leave, minding to tell the professor later that he was feeling ill and to either get the assignment dropped or allowed time to remake it, but the door opened as he was walking towards it.

Two men in guard uniforms entered,  a covered tray between them. They saw Pierre, apart from the others and the eldest, and addressed him.

“Monsieur! We are here to bring a body for the students. He was just hanged and sent here immediately for their observation.”

“Merci,” Pierre said, taking the wheeled slab and flipping over the white sheet. Beside the angry blue bruises around his throat he seemed asleep. His skin was still warm.
The prison guards said something and left a moment later after receiving no reply, the princeling having stopped paying attention to them. The corpse took his whole attention. The man was still in tattered rags.

He did not feel like a corpse, not in the same way the others had, but he had not spent extensive time with very many bodies. Perhaps they felt different based on their type of death?

Most of the others had abandoned their chosen body to come observe him now. A fresh corpse was rare, and never this fresh. Those unlucky enough to get the last body often had to deal with the stench of decay.

Pierre held out a hand and someone obliged him by handing a scalpel over. He cut into the torso only for blood to spurt onto his hands and clothes.

“Merde!”

“He’s still alive!”

If the bright lively blood had not confirmed it, a moan from the man and his eyes opening did. One of the youngest boys fainted. A few turned to help him, even more turned away entirely, but Pierre continued to watch in silence. He had seen men die before but every experience was new. Had he been dead and come back through a miracle, or had the doctor on staff at the prison merely not done his job?

Someone finally yelled out that they would run and get a professor and the door slammed on his way out. Pierre bent over the body and touched his pulse. The neck was bruised and swollen, presumably by the hanging that hadn’t managed to snap the spine, but it throbbed a slow heartbeat. He wrapped a the rest of his hand around the windpipe. No one was looking at him, no one dared looked up to see the eyes of a man who had been pronounced dead. He squeezed, and there was a gargling noise before the heartbeat stopped.

The door burst open and their professor had returned.

“Away, away,” the surgeon called, shooing his way near the body opposite Pierre.

“Your Graceful Highness,” he addressed Pierre respectfully. “What seems to have happened?”

“Monsieur, he still seemed alive when I started to cut. His blood flowed and his eyes snapped open. He made a noise as well.”

The professor was nodding, placing a stereoscope to the man’s chest, then neck. After a minute though he shook his head.

“Well he is not alive now. Do not worry, it is nothing you did, merely a dead man hanging on to life as tightly as he could until no more. See, he is malnourished, dehydrated, and was through a trauma. Let us merely call it a delayed hanging and leave it at that.”

Done with the analysis he nodded to himself again, wrapped the stethoscope around his neck and looked to the student.

“Well?” the professor prompted. “Back to your stations, there is still an hour and a half left in the course.”

Students shuffled back to their chosen bodies, one group’s left alone as the two boys who were paired with the one who fainted helped him to the side.

“I will go check on Raoul,” the professor said to Pierre. “You may continue with this body but I understand if you wish to skip this class.”

“Non, merci professor, I will be fine.”

He lined the slab up in the back of the room with the others, on the leftmost side with his back to everyone else. He finished taking off the man’s clothes.

“He would have lived.”

The voice in his ear was female, and Mora suddenly stood by him wearing what only could be called a women’s uniform in the style of his own, though the students were all male at this University. Her hair was tied back in a deep crimson ribbon, and his wings were furled close to her back, but still there.

“With medical attention,” Pierre agreed. Attention a class full of students could have begun to provide until someone with more knowledge arrived. But the man was a prisoner sent to death. He would have only been executed once more. This was in a way kinder.

Mora looked to him and made to say something, but stopped instead. She smiled and then disappeared, off to greet the dead man’s soul in her plane.

Pierre had the feeling she had been about to inform him of the man’s innocence, a mistake in the roi’s judgement (for the roi was the duc in this land as well). But even if that were true it would no change the sentence. The roi had spoken. Pierre merely complied.

——-

This scene is very rough. I wrote it in two days, the bulk one evening with the ending tagged on the next morning. I *had* to finish writing it because it just wouldn’t go away. But now that it’s out I can’t find it in myself to edit it much. It isn’t ready for any official publication, and I don’t think I will put it up over on wattpad until I get around to fixing it, but it may offer a good overview as to what a rougher draft of my stuff looks like. So I’ll post it with the Rough tag and when I get around to fixing it up I’ll relabel it. Might be useful to compare and contrast later for me too.

 

Magic in Noctuina (plus some Mythology)

The magic system I’m most entrenched in at the moment is that followed by Mora’s Suitors (and Confidantes) of Death. If I need specific examples here I’ll be using that.

But before we get to specifics let’s see how magic works in general in Noctuina. The first thing you need to know is that there is a lot of variations of magic. It is a world where magic is as core to the land as the types of animals  and plants in the different parts of the world, to the people and their cultures.

There are 256 distinct Realms in Noctuina. On a flat map they’ll come up as rectangles, 16 across by 16 down. Each realm is approximately 2080 miles across and 1040 miles from north to south. So, give or take, 2.1 million miles squared. This is somewhere between India and Australia in size.

(Ok, I may need to rethink this “Playing With” series as I’m wondering if I need another one for Geography now).

The magic is not the exact same throughout the entire realm. Similarly to how one would imagine the culture of Northern India being different than Southern India, and so on. But it has a certain consistency to it. A mage from the north will be able to perform his magic in the south, though it may need some adjusting, or have a different temperament.

In Clandestina, the realm where Pierre lives, there are a few different magics. Among humans there’s blancræft, white healing magic; noircræft, a darker more volatile magic that can be used to heal or harm; and necrocræft, magic that involves the dead, dying, murder and resurrection of human life. The fée, faeries, of Clandestina have their own versions of magic that are less categorized. It’s more inherit, they’re born with it and while they can shape it, they can not get rid of it. Eglė, for instance, is fay (related to the fée though not from Faery) and she can take the form of any serpent (from cobra to boa ). A human though could learn this magic if they found a way to study it, and it would probably later be labeled as under a different type of -cræft. He could in theory also lose his magic. Probably changing to different types of serpents would be possible, but more difficult than it is for Eglė.

This is where things get a little inconsistent between the ‘reality’ and what passes for vernacular in a realm. Pierre often mentions his cræft as being necrocræft alone, as if he didn’t know noir or blanc, and while that is how it’s seen currently among the population, it isn’t entirely true. This is something I got to thinking about while working on Delphinium. If we’re being technical, necrocræft alone shouldn’t allow for things like healing, though it does. So he does have more than just necrocræft.

Here’s where more terminology comes in and the previous name I used, Suitor of Death, comes into play. There’s also some mythology here.

There are beings in Noctuina that I call Kyrioi. Kyrioi as a word is the Greek for Lords. Kyrios being the male singular, and kyria the female singular. They are akin to gods, with their title meaning they can bestow certain powers and magics to people. Usually this is a careful mix of several cræfts that work together to form, essentially, a whole new magic. Those that are devoted to certain kyrioi are given titles to express their variation of magic. In other realms this might be Wizard, or Ringian, or Sorcerer, but in Clandestina for those that follow Mora is it Suitor of Death.

So Mora, as the last of the keres, has been given the title of Lady of Death; Kyria. Those that follow her are Suitors, if male, and Confidantes if female, and those that pass all of her tests are lords and ladies in their own right, though not kyrioi. This is not yet something explained deeply in the books, and what it means for the realm as a whole is still up in the air, but it sits in the background as a detail I plan to unwrap more.

This also relates to the post I made a few weeks ago about consistency and how people make up things that aren’t quite true, but get passed off as true. I continue to call Pierre’s magic just necrocræft for the moment, even if a scholar of magic in the realm would disagree, because that is just what it is called among the people.

 

I lied (plus a scene from Delphinium)

So I lied. While writing a scene in Delphinium Pierre thinks about something that happened at University and the moment stuck with me. I didn’t have a good reason to elaborate on it in the book, but I’ve written most of it as a Scene already😛 I know, I know, I said Noctua- that’s next. Hopefully.

Don’t know if I can finish this new Scene tonight, it’s very rough at the moment and I’m tired, but I will show you the part of Delphinium it was mentioned in (which is also a bit rough, eep):

***

“So what did you do this last year?” she asked as they began to walk around the clearing. They heard water and made towards the stream.

“More specific surgery work,” he replied. “We had corpses to practice on, to be able to know what went where, and why, and how.”

“How did you receive corpses?”

“Several people and families generously allowed us to use their loved one’s bodies after death.”

“I can not imagine that is popular. Did you share each.. Body?”

Pierre grimaced. He had not wished to inform Lizzy of this specifically. “Truthfully most were criminals whose deaths were not deemed important enough to give full funerals. At least this way they would be… of use.”

She took this in stride, nodding her head slowly though shuddering.

“A grim year, then.”

“Quite. Though it was not all gloom and horror.”

“Do tell?” While they had walked their hands had linked and she leaned against him as they found the river.

“We were students after all. Pranks were pulled, curfew ignored, alcohol drunk in excess. I was among the oldest so I mainly watched over the younger men.”

“And when you were younger?” Lizzy probed, reading into what Pierre had not said. He did not meet her eyes, staring up at the trees quite pointedly.

“Your brother and I had our fun at times.”

She laughed. They had gotten into enough trouble as children to guess the level of possible mischief Pierre and Piers could do when alone and bored.

“Anything illegal?”

I killed a man, he thought immediately. Several in fact. One of the prisoners was taken straight from his hanging to their slab so they could see what was as close to a living body as possible. He had been not quite as dead as they had thought. After seeing the blood flowing and hearing the man jerk and let out a moan, many of the students turned away and one ran to alert a professor. Pierre had made it seem that he checked for a pulse, but he squeezed the very damaged windpipe. By the time someone with more authority was in the room the man was well and truly dead. It was deemed a delayed hanging. Most of the class left, but Pierre and a few others remained to finish the lesson.

“No,” he told her.

Clandestina/Delphinium update

I have not forgotten about Larkspur’s sequel, Delphinium. I’ve been working on it lately, rearranging a few scenes, figuring out where to write more and whose POV I want to use. Mostly I’ve kept it in Pierre’s head, but I want a good amount of it to be through Lizzy’s eyes as well. To a lesser extent we get to see more of Wolfram and a few characters that were mentioned in Larkspur- Eglė, Morgaine, Piers, and Aimé comes back along to help his foster-brother. Not to mention all the people who were left to counsel Pierre. Seems inheriting a duchy comes with a lot of things to do.

I think I mentioned this before but I’ve changed the sub-title from A Necromancer’s Love to A Necromancer’s Home, the main ‘theme’ evolving enough that I didn’t want to box it in so tight. The romance, and Pierre’s love of necrocræft, is still among the main pillars (which is what the Love referred to), but this story is more than just that. It’s about Piques as a whole, the duchy that has not had much luck with its ducs, which is so close to Faery and so mistrusting of the fée. For both myself and Pierre it seems there’s so much more to the world than we’ve noted before.

In terms of Scenes I am working on one set in Noctua, a land I’ve not mentioned before, but it isn’t overtaking my thoughts like Delphinium is right now. I know I started the Scenes with the intent to be able to show off other lands, then proceeded to stay in Clandestina for half of them, but they are truly helping worldbuild in a way I didn’t think about before.

53

Not quite sure what happened, but I’ve had 53 views of my blog today. Usually I get 2 or 3, like 8 tops if I cross-post the information somewhere. So- Hi new people! I’m a writer, a reader, a general geek, and most of all a worldbuilder. Hope you enjoy my rambling.

And as long as I’m here- thank you to the people who check up on this blog on a regular basis:) It’s always a pleasure to see the visitor marker tick up.

Blog updates

So I’ve started to try and organize this blog slightly better than before. I realized the vast majority of my posts are just under ‘Uncategorized’  and my use of tags is flimsy.

For now I’m working with Categories. They are now off to the right for you to see clearly, with the number of posts in each category also shown. You can either click on the more specific subcategories, or the main one, and get all the posts about that subject. One main category for Scenes, and another for my new ever-expanding ‘worldbuilding’ project, which is now up to Playing with Languages, Mythology, and Magic.

I did post another quick thing in Playing with Languages, and I know I planned on the next Scene being put up too, but honestly.. I was out catching pokemon. Sorry, not sorry (Team Mystic! Snow Will Fall!).

I’ll get back to more writing this week. I’ve caught enough pokemon that I don’t need to get every pidgey, and walking around the local parks has helped clear my head in a good way.

-cræft and -mancy

This is something I’ve mentioned before on this blog and in various reddit posts, but it does deserve its own Playing with Language section. (Now if I’m feeling picky I can point here instead of repeating myself😛 )

Pierre’s magic is not necromancy. He brings back the dead, yes, so why did I go through the trouble of calling it necrocræft?

First of all cræft is just the Old English version of the word ‘craft.’ I chose the Old English version because it A) looks cool B) differentiates it from ‘craft.’ (There’s a certain mystique to using letters we aren’t used to seeing [in English] in Fantasy, and while I know it can get over-the-top, I think it adds to the immersion here).

Necro means ‘corpse.’ A dead body. It also has connotations with dying, death, ghosts, and other such things. But the Greek is just ‘dead body.’

The suffix -mancy, though, comes from ‘manteía’ meaning divination. Seeing the future. Necromancy would therefor be the use of corpses, ghosts, etc to tell the future. Somehow over the years though it began to, in fantasy circles, be used as a catch-all for magic. Allomancy from the Mistborn series, for instance. It’s even a trope (which I may just have found out this second) http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Whatevermancy

Hence why I went with cræft. But I did it for the same reason a lot of people use -mancy: like tvtropes points out “This structure makes it quite easy to create names for branches of magic using just about anything you can think of. You use fire? You’re a pyromancer. Water? Hydromancer. Ice and cold? Cryomancer. It’s that simple.”

I do plan to have a lot of other magics in my world, often with the terms used similarly as the above. But with, say, pyrocræft I think it would be more than just fire. I want to use all the connotations of a word. So it’s less “this is fire magic, let’s call it fire” and more “this magic is about heat, change, destruction, the word that sums it all up best is fire.” Of course that discussion I think I’ll keep for Playing with Magic. (Yes, I seemed to have turned this into a whole series).

That said, the subtitles to all of the Larkspur Series books do involve the word Necromancer. There are two reasons for this- one, like I said before, we all know and understand the term necromancer. The term has changed over time despite the suffix. To be extremely pedantic here and use another phrase would just confuse instead of explain, which is the main reason for these subtitles.

Secondly I do have a scene in Delphinium where necromancy is mentioned. So it is part of necrocræft and being a Suitor of Death.