Necromancy is the art of controlling Death, scorned by many and feared by most. In order to wield power over the dead, necromancers must give up part of their vitality, and go through life with one foot in Death. However, this allows them a greater control over their movement in Death, and enables them to go in and out at will. Necromancers also possess power over the undead, and can build up or tear down what is left of their life.
Some necromancers have made it their life's work to find and banish the undead from the realm of the living. Others shackle the undead to their will and keep them as personal servants, but more than one has lost the last of his life by trying to govern undead of too great a number or strength.
Because frequent transit through Death saps the color from the skin, practiced necromancers are usually identifiable as those who appear deathly pale. Those necromancers who refrain from travel through Death are less easily identified. Necromancers are shunned in most parts of the world, but few would dare to challenge one openly.
Necromancers channel their power through special crystals with runic carvings that resonate with different aspects of Death. There is one rune for each of the gates in Death, and so necromancers typically carry nine stones. The runes are intricate and difficult to carve, however, and even among necromancers not many learn the art, so such stones are rare. Certain materials make more effective resonators than others. Additionally, all necromancers learn to whistle, as this serves as an alternate means for controlling their power should they ever find themselves without stones.
Come closer. You need not fear me. Yes, my skin is pale, but is that so terrible? My powers cannot harm one as alive as yourself. You should listen to fewer of the stories that are repeated about us.
We necromancers do not possess power over the living, but over the dead. The further a creature has sunken into Death, the less power it has to resist our will. We can pull them out of Death or plunge them into it, but as long as you live, our powers shall never touch you.
I am from the Order of Divisors. My order is charged with dividing life from death, and culling the dead from the lands of the living. It is my duty to see that the dead stay in Death. Thanks to the Divisors, this land is probably the least troubled by the departed of any in the world . . . would but other countries forget their fears and lift their prohibitions on necromancy and establish such orders, perhaps the undead would cease to trouble us.
Though I suppose the art is not without dangers. Ironic how the same stones that let us banish the dead empower others to raise them up. Scholars have debated endlessly whether necromancy was developed to prolong life or give it a cleaner end.
Most people are unwilling to tolerate necromancers, and so most who practice the art must do so in solitude and are accountable to no one. Those like myself are the minority . . . there are more in this world who use necromancy to build up their own power and prolong their own life than who maintain the integrity of life. Some of these vagabonds even take money to bring back the dead. Their clients, I suppose, find the thought of parting with loved ones too difficult to bear, though I wonder how often such people fully return to life and how often their body becomes a shell for something . . . other.
Even I am still chilled by the thought. Pray that you never meet up with the undead . . .