The Hoodoo Master

The Macabre Art of Death Magic: Doomringing

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Hear the sledges with the bells -
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells -
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

The most iconic symbol of Shadowmoor,or at least one of the most iconic symbols of the city,is the Requiem Bell.It is easily described as the relic,that keeps everything in there alive.First brought to the world by St Nicosquiddus,the Bell tolls every hour,resonating it's power through the entire Cathedral.

Bells are powerful things.Shadowmoor is known for being the City of the Deathless,for few people truly die.Many are elevated after life,to live on as powerful entities known as the Deathless,and the entire veil between the mortal world and the spirit world is completely over-the-top skewed.

The bell's sound echoes through the fabric of reality and blurs the veil.The source of the Deathless,and their lives,is the Requiem Bell.Inspired by the Requiem Bell,there is a kind of necromancer,that specializes in a very unique lichdom.This necromancer,is called a doomringer.

The Doomringer will find a cadaver,the condition of which needs to be perfect for the ritual to work.The fresher,the better,with almost no decomposition,or decay,if possible.The Doomringer will also bring an offering,and a magic bell,preferrably silver.

The ritual to call create a doomringed deathless,is intentionally arcane and vague,obscured after centuries.Much like Corpse-Stitching,such knowledge isn't supposed to be in everyone's hands.What is known about the operation,though,is far from pretty.

First,the necromancer will kill something.He will either do so directly,in the ritual,or place a deadly curse that will immediately be put into action,claiming the life of another.This action alone will begin to tear his soul,and like all liches,he will embrace it,and funnel the torn soul-piece,into the bell,with the bell containing it.

The sacrifice will rip a hole in the veil between the land of the living and the land of the dead,and will act as payment for the macabre exchange of lives.As the doomringer utters his chant,he will ring his bell,and use it not only to further lift the veil,but also to call the spirit,and even the soul,of the deceased into the body it once occupied.

As he does this,the souls will bind themselves,and the dead will forever be intertwined with the doomringer,as it is sealed back into the body.Then,the lifeforce it once held,will revive it,and will appear as almost new.The doomringer has before him,a servant.

The thing that is special about this form of undeath,is that the person is not only conscious,but the lack of decay also has them almost completely brought back.The skills,and knowledge they had in life remain.And unlike the vampire,both the soul,and the spirit,are in there,the person is practically alive.And they don't need to be sustained on blood or the likes.

The doomringer becomes immortal and invulnerable.Every piece of damage he takes,every wound that opens,every seemingly impossible bit of pain,is deflected,and thrown onto the corpses.Every year he could ever age,is redirected and decays the corpses.

This would make such corpses useless,then,if they disappear after ten years or so,but the doomringer will always have an entourage of these.Damage will always be deflected evenly onto each one of his servants,as will the years of age.Once the doomringer surrounds himself with a greater entourage of these,he starts to become more like them.

He keeps death at bay,so he won't die from the Death Essence,but it will naturally corrupt him,making him look and feel like the dead.This may have it's benefits(supernatural speed,precognition,etc),but it would also weaken his body,making him more reliant on his minions.

Death Essence isn't the only thing from the dead that the doomringer is tainted with.He will also receive their special abilities,powers,and skills.The doomringer who couldn't even sing properly and bound himself to a maestro will within mere years become a maestro.Same applies for other trades and magics,which is why the doomringer will not only always seek the freshest corpse,but also always seek for the most high in quality.

The dead,they won't lose their skills,or memories.They will only feel the pain and age of the doomringer,but they will live on mostly.They will also be more or less compelled to serve his will.They will be able to go about ordinary lives,until they are summoned,that is.

The doomringer usually has a small group of these people,and to properly defeat him,ne must first take care of all his servants.When they are defeated,their soul will still be bound to the doomringer.But the soul would be kept elsewhere in the aethers,and the doomringer wouldn't have anyone to redirect his damage to.

In turn,this gives time to ring the bells,and banish the souls,freeing them from the doomringer's grasp.Then,the doomringer's bells are to be destroyed,destroying pieces of his soul.Finally,the doomringer himself is to be defeated.This elaborate way of taking down a doomringer,is also why no one has defeated a doomringer yet.Despite the fact,that there are only a few of them in existence.

Emphasis on the bodies of the dead being defeated rather than destroyed.If the body is completely destroyed,then the spirit is sent into a state of torment,and still bound by the doomringer.The Soul will begin to tear itself up,in agony,and send its essence everywhere.It is at this point that the psychopomps come in to pick up the pieces,heal the soul,and send it to an afterlife.

Ringing the bell does exactly the same as pulling a puppet's strings.It summons the dead that it is tied to,and brings them before the doomringer,to command,or to have to assist.If the body had been defeated,then ringing the bell can be done by anyone,not just the doomringer,and the soul would come,after which it may be commanded to depart from this world.THat's the only true way of rid oneself of the dead brought back through doomringing.

Destroying the body will harm the doomringer,but send the soul in suffering.

The doomringer is hated,and despised to no end by every psychopomp out there.THere are necromancers who summon psychopomps and work closely with them,to summon the dead,and send them back.The psychopomps like them.There are necromancers who pull the dead from their graves and do the work themselves,most psychopomps don't mind them.And then there are doomringers,who all psychopomps hate.

First,bringing a soul from the other side throws a monkey wrench into the works,and disrupts the process.But necromancers do that all the time,not much of a problem for most psychopomps.However,sending a soul in it's place,as an exchange and an offering mixes up the two souls,causing one to go to the wrong afterlife,with one being in the Material World.

If that isn't bad enough,the psychopomps are the ones who have to pick up the pieces if the body gets destroyed and the soul(still bound to it's doomringer!) tears itself to pieces(which it certainly will),and they have to clean up the mess,heal the soul,and determine it's afterlife.

At that point,the mistakes of the soul,and it's fullness becomes obvious,and the psychopomps start arguing over whether to send it to Asphodel,or the Duat,or Hel,or to reincarnate it!

Finally,the bigger the bell,the more powerful the entity that is summoned,the louder the noise and the faster it comes.The dead are not mindless zombies.In fact,they are supremely famous artists,incredible tactical geniuses,advanced magi and powerful clerics,all bound to serve their doomringer.

Hear the tolling of the bells--
Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy meaning of their tone!
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats
Is a groan.
And the people--ah, the people--
They that dwell up in the steeple,
All alone,
And who, tolling, tolling, tolling,
In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone--
They are neither man nor woman--
They are neither brute nor human--
They are Ghouls:--
And their king it is who tolls ;
And he rolls, rolls, rolls, rolls,
A pæan from the bells!
And his merry bosom swells
With the pæan of the bells!
And he dances, and he yells ;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the pæan of the bells--
Of the bells :
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the throbbing of the bells--
Of the bells, bells, bells--
To the sobbing of the bells ;
Keeping time, time, time,
As he knells, knells, knells,
In a happy Runic rhyme,
To the rolling of the bells--
Of the bells, bells, bells--
To the tolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells--
Bells, bells, bells--
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.

​Parts taken from Edgar Allan Poe's poem the Bells.

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