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Part III: The Corruption
Taril, you have him now. Keep your concentration." Mordin said quietly. He brushed a wisp of gray hair away from his eyes and turned to his students.

"What you are witnessing is a power that is never to be underestimated or disrespected. The art of necromancy gives us a very delicate ability that you will need immense concentration and discipline to master. You are dealing with the very forces that allow us to live and exist. Many equate our art with the power of death, which I have always considered a misinterpretation… Taril, are you ready?"

Taril sat behind Mordin at a large wooden table. His hand hovered over a small dead rat that was standing upright and keeping its balance as if it were alive. The slightest blue glow surrounded both Taril's hand and the rat. Taril's face was blank with concentration but he glanced at Mordin and nodded quickly. As Taril moved his hand the rat walked awkwardly with slow and deliberate steps to a small wheel. With great care it crawled inside the wheel and faced forward. Taril paused and took a small breath and held it as he focused intently on the rat within the wheel. One by one it began to move its legs forward and was walking inside the wheel.

"This is not a power that controls death, but one that channels life." Mordin continued. "Nothing is more precious than life, and nothing in the bounds of necromancy is more important than how skillfully life is channeled. Some of you may think practicing on small dead animals to be a bit dull. What you must understand is that this power, your power, can easily kill the living if you do not fully know the boundaries of your own abilities." He turned and watched the rat run in place for a moment. "Well done, Taril. Release him."

Taril brought the rat to a stop and it climbed off the wheel. Taril smirked and the rat made a small theatrical bow before the glow surrounding it faded and it dropped to the table. Mordin raised an eyebrow at his pupil and continued.

"Perhaps an even more important issue to understand in your studies is that a respect for death, no matter how small, can be even more important than a respect for life. When you believe, even for an instant, that you have the right to channel life into the lifeless for your own amusement or gain then you risk forgetting the benefits of this art. If you have no intention of using your skills to help others, you will not learn them from me."

As Mordin glared at the classroom he noticed his brother standing quietly in the back.

"That will be all for today. We shall continue at the same time tomorrow so please bring your reagents and all of your notes on disease curing. Thank you everyone, thank you." As the students filed out of the room Mordin's voice cut through the mumbling chatter. "Taril, I trust my last message was not lost on you?"

Taril stopped and spun as if he had been shot in the back with a dart. "No master, it was not."

"Please contemplate it tonight when you clean the stables."

"Master we had discussed you allowing me to scribe spells from the tome…"

Mordin cut Taril's words short. "Consider yourself fortunate that I am still considering it. The knowledge of the tome is only open to those who respect it completely, Taril, never forget that."

Taril's face tightened slightly. "Yes master." He bowed his head slightly and walked stiffly out of the room.

"He reminds me of one of my students." Greyn chuckled. His long white hair seemed to blend in with his bright white robes. "He is ready to seize the world and show it how things are done."

Mordin met his brother halfway through the teaching toom and they clasped hands. "If he didn't remind me a little of myself I think I'd have given up by now." He grinned. "This is the third time this month we've seen each other. We simply must stop meeting like this."

Greyn sighed. "Yet another fight between our students."

"It's a nice evening tonight and I've been in this room for two hours lecturing. Join me for a walk." Mordin held the door open as he grabbed his cloak and the two brothers stepped into the last light of sunset.

"I've already told my student that I will no longer instruct him." Mordin started. "People seem to be wary enough of the knowledge I've recovered from the book, I don't need students perpetuating the idea that necromancy is dangerous."

"Isn't it, Mordin?" Greyn said quickly.

Mordin paused and looked at his brother questioningly. "You didn't come here just to talk about our students fighting did you?"

"I've been doing a great deal of thinking lately. We studied the books ourselves for thirty years before we decided to share the knowledge so it could be passed on. We've been teaching for ten years now. Every year the mistrust seems to grow and grow, your students and mine increasingly at odds with each other." Greyn stopped and looked at Mordin. "All the knowledge I've found in the Paladin's Archive I have shared with my students. You hold so much back. What are you protecting?"

Mordin sighed. "The necromancer's tome has a warning." He clasped his hands nervously. "It's vague. I didn't tell anyone but I stopped studying the book about three years ago because I was afraid of what I might uncover."

"And what if the book should fall into the wrong hands? What then?" Greyn sounded grim.

"I planned on only inscribing the safe spells from the book and then hiding it. After what I read I considered casting it into the void." Mordin stared at the ground. "It speaks of some unspeakable destruction used to cover light in shadow or something to that effect. I think it may have even been used in a war."

"So you have no intention of letting anyone else see the book?" Greyn asked.

"No. No it's far, far too dangerous. Taril will no doubt become my successor but only with the spells I know are safe. The tome will have to be hidden permanently. Greyn when I think of the things that could be done with the powers inside… unnatural things, malicious things. In the wrong hands it could be chaos." Mordin resumed walking in silence for a moment.

"No one can know. You must not tell a soul."

"I promise, brother." Greyn said. "I'm proud of you for having the strength to rid yourself of the book."

"Not just myself, the world." Mordin sighed.

"You've set my fears at ease, Mordin. I trust you." Greyn turned and looked at the first stars in the sky starting to sparkle. "It is late and Fallah will be wondering where I've been."

"Give her my best." Mordin said.

Greyn waved and began the walk back to his home. Mordin stared for a few minutes into the sky and strolled back inside his laboratory. In the shadows a figure materialized into sight as he broke his invisibility spell and ducked around a corner.


Published: November 2003
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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