Necromancy is the art of utilizing the Undead to perform esoteric feats. Those who utilize this form of magic are known as Necromancers.
Someone who specifically binds ghosts and other spectral beings into items is called a Valkyrie, with a male Valkyrie sometimes being known as a Valkalla, and is a sub-type of Necromancer, with some overlap into Shamanism. An archaic term for a particularly dark necromancer is Dark Necromagus.
Necromancy is the art of manipulating the undead to do your bidding, amongst other things. Necromancers especially focus on ghosts, but many also work with souls, corpses, vestiges etc.
This art consists of playing with the delicate balance of life and death energy, so attempting to do it poorly can result in the practitioner become a Ghoul.
Items created by Necromancers are usually ghosts infused into thematically-associated items so that their powers can be called on by the wielder, but also include things like empowering a blade using sacrificed infants so that they will block any attack or infusing a doll with a spirit and then transferring your wounds to it. Minions made by Necromancers (aside from simply binding ghosts) include crafting Banes from dying humans, reanimating corpses, mutating ghosts into Wraiths, strengthening ghosts by pouring lesser ghosts into them, or using an Implement to let your ghosts resist salt and generally skirt the normal rules. Other magics displayed by Necromancers include turning yourself into a swarm of ghost-lights, granting yourself ghostly intangibility, sensing the loss of people to the Abstract Demon, and inflicting near-death experiences on your foes.
↑ 1.01.1Necromancy Primarily focusing on ghosts, also called echoes, Necromancers can take the ‘echo’ of a dead individual and bring it to bear, influencing the world. They straddle a place between present and memory, life and death, and leverage this position to see and manipulate things others wouldn’t be able to. - Pact Dice: The Practices - Wbow Version
↑ 2.02.12.2Interviewer M. Saville (S): The tape recorder is on. Good evening. Thank you for agreeing to this.
Anabelle (A): Your offering was adequate. [...] A: I am Lord of this city. Conventional wisdom calls me a Valkyrie.
S: A shaman, imbuing objects with power and incorporeal Others. [...] A: I take power from Tromos. He shores up my weaknesses, as I’m focused on physical applications. Objects I can hold. His power lies in emotion, in dreams, and he is a divine being. When I need strength against something I can’t chain down or impale with a spear, I borrow power from my familiar. He herds the spirits so I might bind them into objects.
A: [Tromos, her familiar] opened up a whole world for me. Dream, fear, a bit of the divine. I’ve taken a more old-school path, Valkyrie-wise, with a little bit of worship in there. - excerpt from Gathered Pages: 2
↑ 3.03.13.23.3“Gudbrand,” Joyce said, looking down at the list.
“Valk-something?” I asked.
“Valkalla,” Joyce spoke. [...] “He was unhappy with the fact that she only bore girls. Valkyries and the various offshoots, they work with spirits and souls. Rather than have girls, he used his newborn daughters.”
“As fuel,” I said, just a little spooked at the thought. [...] That left two options.
The valkyrie man who had turned his own children into fodder for his practice, and the scourge, who dealt specifically with Bogeymen and the Abyss. [...] I caught sight of the Valkyrie-man.
↑“I read it because I thought maybe it was related to vestiges like me. And it is. But this one focuses on ghosts too, on historical elements, and some more practical applications. You’ve got practitioners who specialize a hundred percent on ghosts and vestiges. A kind of necromancy.”
“Right. In this case, you’ve got practitioners convincing warriors, usually dying soldiers, that there’s an amazing afterlife of parties and respect for their deeds waiting for them, so the warriors agree to give up their spirits after death. Use that agreement to help make a vestige or create a ghost, a representation of their skills or their knowledge, their strength, whatever else, and imbue all of that into a vessel.” [...] “But I like the concept. I like the author. The book talks about working with ghosts being an option for a practitioner without many resources, in an area where practitioners have already taken hold of everything worth holding, or where the Lord forbids certain practices. You take a ghost, you imbue an object, and you’ve got…”
↑“Ghouls are individuals who’ve interrupted the circle of life and death, usually by eating the dead, coming back from near-death one too many times, or practicing necromancy.”
“Black magic?” I asked.
“Yeah. Maybe I should amend that to say ‘practicing necromancy badly‘. Using terms we’re mostly familiar with, they’re individuals who are out of balance. They’re the spinning plates that are only just hanging on, and that means they need a fine touch to keep going. They do that with periods of convalescence, like hibernation, and bursts of… hunger is the wrong word. Life or death voraciousness. Maddened with a need for sustenance. More like a rabid dog than human.” [...] “If they have their wits about them, then they can use the necromancy they knew in life, or they just move between areas with an awful lot of death or life energy.”
“But they mostly manage by eating human flesh,” Maggie said. - excerpt from Void 7.5
↑“The alternative is giving her a vessel to reside in. You can fulfill the bargain. Keep that vessel warm, and she helps us.”
“So… she keeps suffering?” I asked.
“She is suffering,” Rose said. [...] Looking down, I saw the hatchet beside the bag. I picked it up.
“I hope he’s chopped enough wood for the fire,” June murmured behind me, barely audible.
As I turned around, she disappeared, and something hit the hatchet.
My already numb fingers froze as cold creeped up the handle. In the span of one or two seconds, they became so stiff I couldn’t open them to drop the hatchet. [...] “We need to bind the axe with something.”
“Hatchet, and we will. Inside,” I said. [...] “We’ll need a way to inscribe the handle, or she can leave any time she feels like it, and she’s liable to go out in one big intense shot of cold the moment you hit something,” Rose said, as I made my way into the hallway.
The smell momentarily tripled in intensity, and then Leonard was gone.
The bottle wobbled precariously. I reached across the circle to catch it before it fell and cracked open on the patio.
Lacking a stopper, I put the folded paper in the neck of the bottle, jamming it in with one finger. [...] The rest of our stuff was laid out on the small table below the window, the Valkyrie book open already to a relevant page.
With black painter’s tape, I began encircling the bottle, using the tape to draw out lines and patterns. I watched the fires from the window. - excerpt from Breach 3.1
↑He dropped the backpack, holding Leonard so the bag dropped away and Leonard remained.
“Might be flammable!” I called out, before the Sisters could react.
Ty whipped the bottle in their direction. It hit the wall behind the closest car.
Leonard appeared, smoky, stronger and clearer than the last time I’d seen him, but this was a one-time appearance. He had an overgrown beard, a receding hairline, a worried expression, his eyes sticking out slightly, his expression sad.
I could smell the gas, sharp enough that I thought it might affect my sense of smell for the next while.
They coughed. We backed up before the gas could reach us. [...] Leonard, too, faded in his own way.
His power had been spent in one burst. I’d been waiting for this kind of situation. Dealing with practitioners, humans. This was the first time I’d been up against them and fully armed at the same time.
I stepped forward, paused as I smelled the gas, and then held my breath, pressing on. The impression of the gas was fading with every second, faster than it might otherwise dissipate in air. - [
Excerpt] from Void 7.2
↑I drew the cleaver as I saw the Valkalla that the enchantress had shown me earlier. The bait. Gudbrand.
But still another target.
I flung it.
Almost automatically, without the man even looking, his shortsword came up, and knocked the cleaver aside.
The thrown weapon broke in two with the impact.
He’d infused his weapons and gear. Beneath a heavy leather winter coat with a fur ruff at the collar, he wore a breastplate. He had a gun strapped to one thigh, another gun in hand, and a shortsword in the other hand. His beard and hair were thick, his eyes dark beneath a furrowed brow.
↑ 12.012.1I dragged the bodies together, and as I reached the Necromancer, he fought me, weak.
He had what appeared to be a doll in one hand, fashioned of some soft material. It wore another man’s face, hyper-realistic, distorted in agony. In moving the necromancer, I’d broken a black ribbon that stretched from his neck to the doll’s.
I watched as he struggled to wind the ribbon around his own neck with hands that grew steadily weaker and clumsier. Once the connection was formed, he touched his thumb to his bloody wound, running it along the ribbon, from himself to the doll.
A hyper-realistic wound started to open on the doll’s throat. His own wound started to close.
He stopped, his hands trembling, and the transfer reversed.
The Hyena’s effect taking hold?
I watched him try and fail again. Using ghosts as some sort of repository or sympathetic replica, to take his pain.
No, a ghost wouldn’t be enough. Just like with the Bane, something like this might well require a soul.
Very gently, I pulled the doll from his grip. The ribbon came undone again. Weak hands reached for and failed to grab the doll.
“Be free, soul,” I said, before cracking the doll down the middle.
The agonized face separated, and a moment later, the doll’s face was only two depressions for eyes, a bump for the nose, and a line for the mouth.
↑I shifted the position of the sword with one hand, steered with the other, and sailed within a hair of the Shepherd, blade’s point sticking out.
A jouster’s run, in a way.
I stopped at the far end of the alley and turned around. I nearly lost the sword as it came close to slipping from my lap in the midst of my using the clutch, but I caught it and fixed the position.
The Shepherd had turned into a ghost. Or adopted ghostly defenses for himself. Untouched, untouchable in the conventional sense. [...] He turned ghostly. It didn’t help that much. I still had the box of salt over the handle, and even largely empty, there were trace amounts of salt inside. Enough to fuck with a ghost.
Enough to fuck with him.
I felt the impact this time, and came very close to both crashing the bike or having the sword’s blade lever over to cut me in the side. I managed to just barely avoid both.
He felt it too, and he folded over. A punch in the gut at thirty kilometers an hour. [...] I hurried to turn around, riding over and past the fallen Shepherd’s spectral body, hoping there was salt on the tires.
No such luck, as far as I could tell. He was dissolving much as the other banished ghosts had. He, too, would reappear somehow. If I’d had more salt, and if the Eye hadn’t been in the immediate area, I might have tried to bind or disrupt him. But I didn’t, and the Eye was close enough to get in the way. - excerpt from Subordination 6.6
He was sensitive to such things. A silenced scream. If the universe worked as it was supposed to, such a scream would be heard across the city.
He felt it every now and again. Sometimes in clusters, a few at a time.
This time it was just the one. He had a vague sense of who. Two of his ghosts were nearby, even. - excerpt from Interlude 7
↑ 19.019.1, I found myself lying between fire and fence, my heels almost touching the wing-tipped toes of the Necromancer’s boots.
He hit me with distilled echoes, every single one of them a dying memory.
What I experienced was very similar to having my vision go dark, darkness creeping in around the edges, the vision that remained getting spotty. Thing was, it happened all at once. I might as well have been hurled into a deep, dark well, with only meager light at the top.
I could hear the Drains [...] I had to claw my way back to reality. Out of the well, past the darkness that creeped in around the edges of my vision.
I was out and up for about one second before the Necromancer hit me again.
Back into the well, now with visions and sensations to go with all the fleeting images. - excerpt from Duress 12.8
↑Ms. Lewis smiled and shook her head. “I will keep the ghost contained. To do otherwise would put a client at risk. May I?”
She extended a hand.
I handed the hatchet over. She didn’t flinch as the handle touched her hand. [...] She withdrew a spool from an inside pocket of her jacket. Thin silver wire. “And this is not something I usually get to do, in the course of my duties. Nostalgic.”
Ms. Lewis unwound the wire, then began winding it loosely around the foam handle as she walked. - excerpt from Damages 2.4
↑The other man looked out of place compared to the two guys, who looked very much like bikers who had cleaned themselves up but couldn’t give up the general trappings. He had neatly parted brown hair, sharp eyes, and a cleft chin that might have been attractive if it wasn’t so pointed. He wore a scarf and a stylish, form-fitting jacket with four brass buttons arranged in a square, his pants cut to a slim fit, and he carried…
I saw his implement. A crystal ball with a skull in the center, tucked in the crook of his arm.
Looking at it, I was immediately reminded of the Bane. The undead thing with scythe-arms. A tormented soul.
Gail’s husband. Joyce had separated wife from husband. She’d done it very deliberately. [...] Images of faces flickered between the orb-encased skull and the necromancer’s fingertips, as he caressed his implement. [...] The necromancer reached out, and the images of faces danced out, much like a flash of electricity. Green Eyes took one to the collarbone, reeled, and then disentangled herself, ducking under a fence - excerpt from Duress 12.8