Being the necromancer general isn’t the sort of job to get you invited into society. Oh I’m often included in the major events, unless I can find an excuse not to go, but I daresay there are few people who find themselves clustered in their drawing room of an evening, exclaiming “How perfectly dull this conversation is, if only Eufame Delsenza were here!” Unless the social climbers in question are of a macabre or an enquiring mind, I find myself left alone with my work. In all honesty, I care little for polite society – mindless chatter and gossip is too much to be borne. At least no one at the House of the Long Dead speaks unless I choose that they should do so.
I confess I don’t know if I understand the revulsion many feel towards the dead. The Crown Prince’s grandfather is dead, now he merely was dead – the horror of people rests on the verb in question. But here in the Cities, death isn’t the binary state most people assume it to be. Life and death are such relative terms, and while few have trouble with the concept that life is not permanent, they aren’t enamoured of the idea that death is only temporary too. Why not? For a species that gets such a short span allotted to them, you’d think humans would love the idea of a second act.
True, the transition back to life is not an easy one, and it is not available to all. While anyone may cross the Veil from life to death, the journey back requires a skilled practitioner to act as a guide. That’s a very good thing too – imagine the chaos if all souls got bored and decided they fancied another go at life. Would you want to wake up in your own tomb, two hundred years after your family died out and stopped visiting your grave? Worse yet, by the time you find your way back out of the World Beyond and managed to locate yourself, your body might have disintegrated to a point where it was no longer possible to reinhabit it. That’s where the Houses of the Dead come in – we preserve your bodies so you don’t have to.
Yet these reflections are not helping me in my task to prepare the Royal Line for resurrection – I cannot believe the Crown Prince’s pomposity to demand their presence at his coronation. I am well aware that I am procrastinating, but I bear little love for such an irksome little toad, and would dearly love to see his venture fail. Still, it is a big request, and one I cannot accomplish alone merely due to the time allotted for the task to be completed. I must find an apprentice, particularly after that irritating business last year, and I already have the ideal candidate in mind.
Time is running away with me, I must set out for the Academy, although I do loathe the society of Dean Whittaker. Still, given the events of last night, I’m sure he will be more than happy for me to take one of his students off his hands – particularly that student. Oh yes, he will be perfect.
* * *
This is the final stop for my blog tour to promote The Necromancer’s Apprentice, and you’ve now met the Necromancer herself! The novella is available from Amazon, for both the Kindle and in paperback, and is also available for the Nook and the Kobo.