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Necromancy on Athera is the enslavement and "theft" of another being's life essence for the purpose of prolonging another being's physical existence.[1] Necromancy is more than an imprisonment -- it is vampirism of the life essence rightfully another's, by birth, and abrogates the most basic terms of the Compact. The lost spirits of the victims become fused with the practitioner, trapped between life and death to feed the practitioner's immortality.

The composition of a cult of necromancers includes initiate masters with autonomy, a hierarchical cabal of consecrate initiates, and coerced servants in thrall. Those with talent can observe a lead-colored ripple of bound shades around the aura of a fully consecrated practitioner. When masters feed upon the talent of new victims, it rejuvenates and empowers the entire cult from the top down.


Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from Stormed Fortress.

Necromancy's roots stem from a sacred Biedar ritual used to commune with their ancestors. Long ago, the Koriathain observed these rituals and catalogued them. Over time, the rituals were perverted with dark sources and bloody ceremony. The Biedar tribe live on Athera now to recoup the mistake that brought their sacred legacy into ill usage.

Known Cults

There are three known cults of necromancers on Athera.[2]

Role in the Story

Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from multiple books in the series.

Black Bargain

Third Age 5011: The Reiyaj seeress informs Davien that the Gray Kralovir have crafted a talisman that shields their actions from the earth link.

Third Age 5013: When Davien enlists the help of Toler sen Beckit, he states that necromancers have used the Mistwraith's invasion and lack of crown oversight to spread across the five High Kingdoms.

Third Age 5016: In the fall, Toler accompanies Morriel and six high-ranked enchantresses to a meeting in Hanshire's hall of state. The necromancers, protected from oversight by four Drake Skulls, propose a conspiracy to overthrow Charter Law and dethrone the crown bloodlines.

Third Age 5018: By the time of the rebellion, the necromancers have given the Drake Skulls to Morriel Prime in exchange for Koriani support. Toler believes that he has stolen them from Morriel during the chaos of the rebellion, but Davien immediately realizes that the box just contains river stones.

Warhost of Vastmark

Third Age 5646: Luhaine settles the ghosts of a necromancer's victims in Scarpdale.

Grand Conspiracy

Third Age 5654: Before a necromancer's stick can be used by an herb witch upon the fallen at Caithwood, Sethvir intervenes and grants the herb witch safe passage to leave.

Third Age 5669: Morriel Prime possesses the body of the initiate, Selidie, to benefit from the younger physical body and to avoid punishment for an attack on Athera. An unresolved detail of this possession is whether or not the captive spirit was torn or left intact. If the former, this is a case of necromancy. If the latter, it's merely a case of enslaving imprisonment.[1]

Peril's Gate

Third Age 5670: When Kharadmon shares Dakar's physical body, he states that concealing his memories would go against the Law of the Major Balance and make the sharing an act of outright possession. When Sethvir records his last testament with Ath's Adepts, his vision shows two necromancers meeting in warded conspiracy outside of Erdane.

Traitor's Knot

Third Age 5670: Sulfin Evend discovers that Lysaer has been ensnared by a blood-born compulsion of necromancy, likely granted an avenue of attack through the blood ritual used to track Arithon's movements across the continent. He performs a ritual of excision learned from Enithen Tuer to break the ties and restore Lysaer's autonomy. Sulfin Evend theorizes that necromancers support the cause of the Light in order to break the Compact, reducing the amount of natural resistance to necromancy in the world. He also suggests that necromancers leave the Koriathain alone since they tie up the enmity of the Fellowship.

While Arithon is staying in Kewar Tunnel, Davien recommends that he read the black grimoires on necromancy in his library -- books that were once stolen by Sethvir from a necromancer. Later, Asandir cleanses the bone blade used to enslave Lysaer and instructs Sulfin Evend to bury it.

Third Age 5671: When Lysaer and Sulfin Evend return to Avenor, Avenor's council is under the influence of necromancers and must be arrested with silver handcuffs. Through the Paravian focus ring under the grand plaza, Sulfin Evend receives Sethvir's help to free trapped souls as the council is arrested. Because Lysaer demands a trial for the council, the bodies are still susceptible to possession after nightfall. Necromancers are able to repossess members of the council in Avenor's dungeon, jumping from body to body as the bodies are killed. The bodies are incinerated by Lysaer's gift of light, preventing further possession.

In the aftermath, it is revealed that the warded walls of Etarra will protect the necromancers from the discorporate members of the Fellowship. With Sethvir and Asandir busy stabilizing grimwards, Sethvir worries that the Kralovir will fortify themselves inside of Etarra by the winter.

Returning home to Tysan, Ianfar s'Gannley brings warning from Kharadmon of a necromancy-suborned sunwheel priest traveling from Erdane. With Asandir still in a grimward, Sethvir sends Traithe to seek Arithon's help in eliminating the Gray Kralovir from Etarra. Arithon gains an audience with Raiett Raven in Etarra to begin his plan to purge the city of necromancy. A guard slices him on the arm to drain him of resistance. Arithon is subjugated by the Kralovir in a blood ritual. Instead of seeking Fellowship intercession, he falls back on his experience touching Paravian presence in Kewar Tunnel. The result destroys every single initiate master in the cult across the continent and frees the cult's coerced servants.

Initiate's Trial

Third Age 5923: When the Biedar Eldest gives the flint knife to Elaira, she warns that two offshoots of necromancy still exist in the world, even after the destruction of the Gray Kralovir.

When Selidie Prime sacrifices lower ranked initiates to reclaim mastery over the Great Waystone, Sethvir equates the practice with necromancy.


  • A mistaken townborn belief suggests that the Fellowship steal babies from their mothers for sacrifice, however this practice is actually the practice of necromancers.
  • People who have fallen prey to necromancy in the past are doubly vulnerable to future attacks.
  • A body that has been suborned by necromancy can be killed in a ritual death with an iron blade.
  • Necromancers slice open a body to weaken it and drain the person's blood and willpower, making talent less resistant to their rituals.
  • When Arithon is trapped in a necromancer's ritual, he cannot access his gift of Shadow.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Forum Post, November 1, 2005
  2. Forum Post, March 12, 2008