Verba Moriens, part 1
Each red droplet fell into the pail over the cauldron a little slower than the last. The sound of blood rippling into the pot with the rest melted in with the soft noise of midday rainfall outside the round hut.

The ground soaked the water in and fed it up to the herbs growing off to one side, lined up in well kept rows. The trees that were circled around the small clearing caught the rain only to let it drip off their branches again to feed their roots. Apart from the slight bounce each leaf and limb made as it unburdened itself with a little more water, all was still. The well was covered so no raindrops disturbed its deep surface, there was no roiling fire in the pit, the drying racks were bare, the chopping block wasn't in use, and the horse was asleep in her sheltered stable.

Moss decorated the roof over the hut and the porch, on which two chairs made of roughly shaped branches sat. The doorway, made of log like the rest of the home, had a long cloth hung from its top post, dyed a deep shade of indigo. This kept out very little, but Iorel preferred it that way.

In the left alcove of the home was a window with no pane, just a frame made of logs, same as all the rest that made up the shelter. Under this was a plain circular basin on a bit of wooden counter space. There was of course no piping, it was just a very large metal bowl meant for holding water to wash things in or to scoop out to drink.

Past this and on into the house was the continuation of the very small bit of counter space, supported atop a doorless cabinet. Another shelving unit like it was above the workspace. The top of these two shelves mainly held wooden bowls, all the same size. There were just a few spoons there as well, which were also wooden, and some metal forks and knives. No plates or mugs, though. The bottom had all the cooking supplies; scoops, ladles, tongs, whittled wooden skewers, and extra pots of varying sizes along with hooks to hang them up with.

Towards the back of the cottage was a cabinet rested under a shelf that reached the ceiling. The interior of the lower storage kept Iorel's many handwritten books safely tucked away for whenever he might need to reference, edit, or add to them.
The high reaching shelf above was full of cloudy glass jars, each with their top covered by cloth which was secured around their neck by wrapped twine. Tucked into the coils of string on each jar were bits of paper with slightly swirled writing that detailed the what was inside: all different kinds of herbs.

The log rafters along the single-peaked ceiling were littered likewise. Pegs abound, each one that stuck out of the supports had yet more twine tied to it, and from them were more herbs. With the air humid thanks to the rain, these stalks, flowers, berries, and leaves would take a little longer to dry out, but Iorel wasn't in dire need of more stock on his shelf at the moment.

His bed was directly to the right of the door, enclosed in a slightly wedge shaped room in order to fit into the cozy living space. The walls on either side of the bed were full, but only very slight corners came around the front before the wall stopped entirely to give way for the entrance to the space. A platform that went over the entire space in the tiny room was raised up to allow for storage beneath it. On top of that, furs upon furs made up the resting place of the necromancer.

In the wall to his back there was another window with no pane in it. This opened up towards the stable his horse was resting in, with the well between the little house and the standalone shelter. Above this window, a shelf went over the full bed space for more storage, most of its available space already taken up by spare furs for the colder nights.

Iorel was laid out atop his cozy bed, arms tucked close to his chest and eyes closed, but not asleep. He was waiting for the blood to drain from the rabbit that was hung up above his cauldron. This was in the very centre of his circular hut and offered an enclosed space to keep fire, but the ash in its belly was now was dead. It had been brought back to life many, many times before and would be again. Over the open mouth of the cauldron, the rabbit was suspended above a much smaller pot, both hung on the spit that was affixed to the cauldron's rim for support.

Iorel had his ears trained to the sound of the drips, listening for how long it was between each to determine when the small creature was about empty. Most of the blood was of course already in the pot from the initial lopping off of its head. Some may have simply slit the neck, but no such prolonged suffering was needed here. This wait time gave him a chance to get more rest for the coming expenditure of his energy in his work. Even though he wasn't sleeping, plain resting calmed him greatly and helped to focus his thoughts.

Finally the space between each drip told him there wouldn't be much more coming, and he rose up. Wrapped around him was a soft blue robe, the middle parted down until it was cinched by the tie at his waist. The sleeves had plenty of room to move about his arms, and the fabric was hand sewn into thin edges so it wouldn't fray. The bottom hung down to his ankles in a skirt that parted just a bit when he stepped onto the wood floor of his home to approach the cauldron. His outfit whispered against his gentle and natural olive skin, and his long, wavered brown hair did the same against his covered back.

The necromage took a piece of leather twine from a pocket in his robe, and brought his hands up to secure his hair in a bun at the back of his head so it wouldn't shift around. The rabbit was left where it was hung, he would cook it later, but for now what he needed was the pot of blood that had come from it. Carefully he set this down on his floor, and knelt beside it to face the corpse he'd brought into his house last night.

Iorel's brows came down in concentration over his eyes, coloured like freshly upturned soil, his mouth set in a line, pulled slightly to one side so that his lips appeared a little thinner than usual. Faded light from the overcast day reached in through his uncovered windows to glow over the curves of his face, faint shadows sprouted from his cheekbones, their spread a little thin though not gaunt at all, and his slightly upturned nose cast a mostly straight shadow. His jaw came in line with the rest of his face, slightly angled, and added a sharp touch overall.

His hands took the top lapels of his robe out to either side to uncover his broad shoulders and chest, all very well toned from his business of hauling bodies about. He slipped his arms from his sleeves and tied them loosely in his lap to keep them out of them way. There was no reason to risk a stain or a tear in his clothes from a routine raising of the dead.

The surface of the blood in the pot was disturbed by Iorel's bare hand as he dipped it in to coat himself up to his wrist in the thick fluid. Once he'd pulled his first hand out, in went the other so it could be covered in blood as well. He moved quickly so as not to waste any of the drops that were forming, daring to come down on his floor.

His fingertips touched the wounds of the corpse first, followed by his fingers altogether, then his palms, and he spread the blood with expertise into all the dips and gaps in the flesh of the corpse. There wasn't too much work to be done or else Iorel would have needed more than a rabbit for this job. The dead man carefully laid on his floor had only a few areas that needed to be touched up: his left shoulder, which was nearly missing; the right side of his waist, another great gauge in his form; and points all about his chest that had been pecked by birds before Iorel was able to find him. It wasn't the worst the necromancer had ever dealt with.

Iorel had moved on to painting along and inside the details of the exposed muscle and pecked organs of the man's middle. Fresh blood was necessary, at the very least blood that was still liquid, none of that coagulated business would work here. A soul would not enter a body that still openly bore the marks of death, and the blood was needed to make a workaround for that. Notably, this was for wounds. If a soul left its body naturally, with old age, it could be invited back with very little hassle from a practitioners perspective.

Lastly the blood was pressed and rubbed into the variously sized pocks in the man's unmoving chest. The necromage held his smeared hands over the pot of blood and squeezed them to encourage the remaining fluid to drip out from his fists. He wiped between his fingers, over the back of his palms, and all the way to his wrist with his fingertips to get as much back into the pot as he could. There was no point in wasting it, he may be able to use it for another task later. Once his hands were as free of blood as he could make them in that way, he leaned back to reach under his bed for a small cloth and used that to tidy his hands entirely, then folded it to put aside on the floor.

He took in a slow, steady breath and lifted his bare hands out in front of him, at shoulder level, over the corpse. One palm hovered in the air above the man's upper chest, while his other was over the cadaver's hips. Iorel kept his gaze focused down in front of him and let his mind spill over with thoughts of all the flesh, muscle, and bone this man had lost. All the holes and tears that needed to be sealed up, the rough surface of the exposed points, slathered with blood that was still warm as it clung to this foreign body. But foreign it would be no longer.

With sudden white knuckled intensity Iorel clamped his hands into fists, and the air around the corpse cracked loud enough that it echoed around the clearing and a ways into the woods. The body was still lifeless, but its wounds had sealed over. The blood that had a second ago been fluid was now seemingly solid and shone like red tinged obsidian. It had kept its form perfectly over the torn textures of the man's wounds, no smoothing had been done to make them easier to look at, but instead the blood was now a perfectly fitted covering. No soul could examine this and claim that its wounds still gaped. And thus begun the next part of the task.

The blood was already set, Iorel was free to relax his hands and spread his arms out to either side, which allowed the air above the corpse to be entirely unoccupied, clear and inviting of traffic. The necromage's eyes were still honed in on the centre of the body in front of him, patient. His focus turned to the etherial, thoughts clear so that he could lift himself up to be fully immersed in the activity of a plane offset from his own.

He felt souls pass, all in blurred motions, overlapped, disorganized and free. Over and over into this plane he let a name ripple from him: “Amos,” and he searched for any who came closer at its echo. Cloudy forms floated to all sides, above and below, all moving in their own way. His senses fanned out only to register more and more of this, soft and omnidirectional movement. He let out the name still, kept his patience, kept his discerning focus trained to find any outliers in this swirling mass of existence.

One soul was still. They were far off, uncertain. No telling if they were who Iorel was searching for, but a good place to start all the same. In the physical realm a rushed huff of focused breath came from the necromancer who was still knelt by the corpse in his home, and another aspect of himself breezed past, through, over and under the collection of milling souls to be closer in mind to the one who was stationary.

“Amos.” The name chimed from him again, out into the unending space.

The still soul registered the call, and as they did, their form became more tangible to the one searching for them.

Iorel reached a part of himself towards the now distinct entity in front of him, a spiritual likeness to opening one's arms. After a hesitation, Amos allowed himself to be guided by Iorel out of that plane.

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