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Sep 24, 2019 4:53 AM
Tobirama and Faust are necromancers


He is silent, at the funeral. 

The tears are all dry. He wept for hours, when he learned what had happened, and now there are no more tears. 

The sorrow is there, but in the background. Now there is rage, and determination, and icy cold. His fists clench hard enough to press crescent wounds into the flesh of his palms, and his teeth creak with the force of his clenched jaw. 

When the coffin is lowered into the earth, when the dirt is piled above her, heavy and suffocating, they crowd around him to offer condolence almost as much as they do around her parents. It takes the considerable force of his will not to scream, in pain or rage or despair, nor to stride over to Mrs. Crawford and assault her. 

He excuse himself with the hiss that is all he can manage without releasing the scream from his throat, and stalks the miles back to his own house on foot. 

He opens the door with more force than strictly necessary, frightening one of the servants. He cannot, quite, find it in himself to be sorry. 

He stalks upstairs. 

"Mother. Where are the notes?" 

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"Curwen's?" she asks, knowing her son.

(She's been thinking on this, herself...)


She shows him where they're hidden in the library.

"Be careful, my son. There is a reason beyond reputation I haven't delved into this yet."



"I know. But she's dead, there isn't any other way to fix that." 


She nods. "I'll be able to help - it's perhaps safer, that way. Though I may suggest attempting the procedure with the originator first, for the latest notes that I have deciphered did not much fill me with confidence about the state of the raised."

She might have an ulterior motive for suggesting her son raise someone who had apparently cracked immortality and failed to write down how.


"--Yes. If there's more information to be had--if there's some risk of the process as reconstructed from his notes hurting her--" he swallows, clenches his fists a little tighter, and looks away. "Right now, she can't be hurt any worse than she already is." 


She nods, folding her hands. "She deserves a perfect return."


Deep breath. "Yes. Thank you." Slow exhalation. "Let's get to work."  He opens the book and starts poring over the notes, already annotated by generations previous.


She helps him locate the most recent, most relevant sections - it helps that the old necromancer's wife organized these rather wonderfully...

She hadn't paid as much attention to the necromancy, though, when she was looking for immortality as a frustrated teen.

Slowly, though, a picture of what's needed emerges - essential salts (distilled from the body), the whole body one underlined note in the margins says with a reference to older journals, certain incantations of which there's been much purely academic debate over the generations of which version was the most recent... Distillation wasn't fully documented, but some past antiquarian acquired a few other alchemists' notes at an unmentioned cost...

This won't be something they can do quickly nor carelessly.



When he thinks they have an idea of how to prepare the essential salts, he looks into where Hiram Curwen was buried. 

...It wasn't written down in the town records. For some reason. 

No, he knows why, most people don't have the tolerance Curwen's descendants do for the arts Curwen dabbled in. Now that he's looking, a lot of Curwen information seems to have been stricken from the town records. 

Knowing the reason helps less than he might have hoped. He starts obsessively tracking down every piece of material he can find that mentions Curwen, especially posthumously, in the hopes of finding hints to the location of his grave. Separately, he wanders the town's graveyards, carefully marking down the date of death on every headstone still legible, creating exhaustive maps of which areas were in use when. He cannot by this method narrow down the precise plot, and he very much hopes his researches into his ancestor bear fruit, but if he absolutely has to raise every single resident of Providence buried in the same handful of years in order to track down his ancestor, he will. 


She tells anyone who whispers negatively about him that he's started a project to restore headstones to forgotten graves. Isn't that sweet of him? It's such a needed thing; surely she'd hate if the ravages of time were to mean her family couldn't visit her grave...

Miracle of miracles, this gets them volunteers to help read through old newspapers and records, though none have Joseph's dedication. A proper little town project. Still, it's easier now to acquire said records with fewer questions, and they're able to narrow down (and make or repair headstones for) a number of non-Curwen graves from the list.

And family tradition has it that Amity Curwen was buried beside her husband. Emma pours through the old family matriach's journals, paying close attention to every mention of visiting that grave. A stone bench, a certain tree... 

A view upon leaving, which means they need to dig into old town plans, to figure out what yard would have had such a sight a hundred and fifty years hence.


He checks out records relating to the other abandoned graves, too, though he pores over them perfunctorily if at all, not that he lets the clerks and librarians who help him see that. His mother cares about reputation, and he loves his mother, and he won't make her job any harder than he has to in order to get Eliza back

They narrow it down to a single churchyard, and a single section of the churchyard, and then a single handful of graves, though the exact one depends on the location of a tree that was cut down sixty years ago. 


She runs 'attempting to find a distinguishing characteristic for which body' and 'locating the tree' in parallel.

She tracks down an eighty year old lady with a memory keen as diamonds, whose grandfather was buried in that same yard, and sits through a series of teas and long rambles about town and family history, and eventually extracts the tree's old location.

That evening, to her son: "Given this, we can say with some certainty that we know where the grave is. But now we must plan extracting the body, preferably without raising an alarm such that might trace back to us."


"Yes. --If someone finds out that there's been a grave robbed but doesn't catch the perpetrators we might be suspicious anyway, as much attention as we've paid it. But given our cover story--if we had a legitimate reason to be there, and a legitimate reason for the earth to be disturbed--we've identified enough unmarked graves in the process of ruling them out as Hiram's, we could have new stones made for them and install them all at once, cover the cemetery with workmen, scuff the ground excessively as things are moved around..."


"Clever. There are also legitimate reasons to move a grave or several, but that would take much longer to arrange."

"Additionally, Amity is supposed to be buried beside her husband - I believe we should acquire her body at the same time. Hiram Curwen might wish her returned, and two is not significantly more complicated than one, and certainly less complicated than twice."



"Yes, that would likely be wise." 


She nods.

Arranging for everything goes quickly afterwards, a shocking pace compared to what came before - the stones, the workmen, one of her nieces to distract the watchman that night (a teenager caught inciting trouble won't be that scandalous to the family. Fortunately, this particular watchman is inclined towards long lectures with extensive references to the Bible), loyal workers quietly paid off to dig up the graves and transfer the bodies and carefully rebury the coffins...

Still, these final hours seem to drag, to Emma's mind.


He prepares a laboratory in the cellar, with all the implements that might be necessary to reduce a corpse or a skeleton to that dust required to revive the body's previous occupant. He takes charge of the bodies, well disguised, at a pre-arranged drop off point that implies to the workmen that the bodies are wanted for reasons to do with a more mundane sort of science, then carefully smuggles them back to the house and into the basement. 

He triple-checks his notes on the distillation process. 


She aids him in the checking - a second eye, fresh from staring at the same pages because of how focused she's been on the other aspects, never hurts. 

She's given the newer, more nervous, and more gossipy servants - the majority of them really - a holiday tomorrow, since the distillation might involve perceptible fumes. For the rest, she prepares a soothing lie about certain medicinal formulas smelling quite noxious when experimented upon. She makes sure there's food and drink and opportunities for fresh air available during the process's many resting points.


He is careful. He is so, so careful, taking food and drink and fresh air at the relevant opportunities, but eating almost mechanically, mind racing over the steps of the process, ruminating on the notes and the procedures and making sure he made no errors. 

And at the end, the old bones are rendered into a soft powder, grey tinged the slightest bit blue. He sits down, and breathes. 

"We did it." 


"We did."

She has appropriate containers arranged for each set of salts, labeled in her short-hand. 

"The resurrection itself is next, I believe?"


He nods, takes another deep breath, and speaks. 



The dust swirls. There's a heavy feeling in the air - 

And the dust forms a distinctly human shape, building and building and building upon itself, creating bones and bloodless sinew and coarse-woven flesh. It does not build clothes.

An almost exact double of Joseph Dexter Ward, plus a small scar over his eyebrow and on one cheek, opens his eyes.

"...Who are you?" he asks.

His voice is wrong, almost, hollow and sonorous, like someone struck a great chime at the bottom of a well and it emerged warped into human tones.



"My name is Joseph Dexter Ward. I am your descendant, through my mother, Emma Ward nee Arlington." He gestures to the woman beside him. 


He exams them both for a few long moments. "I thank you. How long has it been?"

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