Sylvan Stories: Reanimator


A/N: Because of the nature of this post, the Sylvan Studies team must stress that this is a fictional work. Nothing in this article represents true events in any way. This story is a bit darker than our other Sylvan Stories, so if you’re a bit squeamish, we suggest checking out a different article.

The following is an excerpt from the official tome of Reanimation magic. It contains a case of recent domestic affairs that the Azorius Senate undertook that outlines the dangers of Reanimation magic (if not used incorrectly).

The following are a series of journal entries written by Timothy Larnsone’s, compiled just before his and his family’s mysterious disappearance. We of the Investigation Committee Concerning Domestic Affairs hope that this exhibit will serve as evidence that will determine the last known location of said missing peoples.  Following the exhibit, you will find enclosed a detailed account of the scene from a testifying witness. This witness was once in a group of council guardsmen who were sent to investigate the insurgence of magical energy that occurred just before the family’s disappearance. They found this journal at the scene and brought it to the Committee in the hope that we could use it to better understand what happened to the Larnsones.

Journal Entry – Week One

An idea struck me today – an idea that I believe I am going to pursue. These last few months have been terrible: the death of my beloved daughter has been more than my wife can bear. I, too, feel deeply emotional. If we had only known that she had gone out in that storm; if we had only arrived home a few minutes earlier – none of this would have happened. I must fix this. I will fix this. I’ll do whatever it takes…

The day was grim. A cold front blew over from the western shores, wearing away at the seaside cliffs with rolls of waves and crashes of thunder. Deep within our lighthouse’s library, I was searching for answers, and I found a book. This book was different: it seemed to glow in the gloomy light pouring through the tiny windows along the structure’s walls. Fascinated, I grabbed it. The cover was blacker than any night sky or abyss, yet had a faint red shimmer. Everything about the book was contradictory. I wanted to open it, but something was warning me to stay away. I yearned to read its contents, but shuddered when I examined the first sentence. I’ve decided to take the book; we aren’t supposed to take books from the arcane library, but something – just something – about this one is telling me that it holds the answers I seek. I tucked it away in my satchel, and will hopefully find the time to read its contents.

Journal Entry – Week Two

I’ve started deciphering the book. Part of it is written in code, the other part written in some strange dialect – similar to our language, but oddly different. I think I’m on to something, though. The volume seems to be a guide – a recipe of sorts – that explains how to bring back lost things, how to restore things from long ago. I don’t know for certain if this will work, but it may be able to right wrongs committed in the past.

After studying for quite some time, I’ve compiled a list of things I need to reach my goal. I’m planning on gathering our belongings and begin the process described in the text. Additionally, I have discovered the book to be entitled Cryptbreaker.

Here’s what needs to be done:

  • A sigil (some pattern of circles on the ground) must be created
  • A vast amount of mana must be gathered
  • A user must recite an ancient text, summoning up all of their magical might

All of this power must be directed towards a single goal – an idea to be revived – and then the truth will reveal itself, and what has been lost will come to fruition.

Journal Entry – Week Three

I’ve spent the past week gathering the supplies I need. I’ve also created a massive sigil in our cellar, composed of salt and powdered pewter. I’ve poured pig’s blood in the center of it and ground old bones, just as the book instructs. I’ve prepared a special serum to drink and I’ve acquired the petals of a rare obsidian lotus, which are necessary for the channeling of magical power.

Everything is underway. Next week, my family and I will begin the process…

Journal Entry – Week Four

We’ve delayed the process for the moment. We started hearing strange moans at night, coming from the cellar. We aren’t entirely sure what it is, but it’s probably best to stop until we figure out what’s going on. I may be in over my head with this one.

The moans suddenly stopped last night, and normality – or at least, as normal as things can be for now – has been restored. We’re going to fix this; next week, we must start…

Journal Entry –  Week Five

Today is the day. We’re going to complete the book’s instructions today.

I’ve started hearing voices in my head; they tell me to complete the task. They guide the way, explaining the process when I’m lost. I have to finish this. We have to bring her back. We have to right the wrongs we have committed.

Any time now, any second, it’ll be done, and everything will be fi

The journal ends here, stopped in a rushed smear of ink. The following is a firsthand account from one of the guards sent to investigate the Larnsone’s residence.

My platoon was sent to a fanciful house at the edge of town, hanging precariously on the cliff overlooking the water. The sky was almost consumed by dark gray storm clouds, but it wasn’t raining. The wind was so strong, we could barely stand up. The air had a subtle odor that burned our noses and was foul to our tongues.  Sadly, we were too late. By the time we reached their house, whatever dark ritual they had undergone was well underway. We heard shrieks, cries, and moans – a woman screamed and a man cried for help. Then a massive black beast flew out of the house, its gaping arms destroying all in its wake. The beast turned towards us, smiled with fiendish delight, and
vanished in a shower of red and black sparks. The house was ablaze, so we put it out as quickly as possible.

When the embers settled, all that was left were the remnants of an old, worn book and a journal. No bodies were found – in fact, there was no signs of any habitation. I have no idea what happened to that poor family, but whatever it was was something far beyond our level of comprehension.  I’d say that they delved into magics beyond their own grasp. The remains of the black book look like they originated from the Fourth Era. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself, but such a powerful evil shouldn’t be trifled with. We’ve located the source of the book, and the local library is now under strict investigation.

We of the Committee believe that the family must have experimented with magics that no amateur should ever trifle with. It seems that they attempted some form of Reanimation, but accidentally summoned a Demonic Pact, instead. There is no telling what happened to them, but the investigation to locate and bring them to safety is still in progress. Our top Reanimation/arcane arts expert is working diligently to solve this case and save the family from wherever they may be stranded.

The strategy of Reanimation, the art of dark, arcane ritual, is not a strategy to be carelessly trifled with. Only the most powerful of mages can even begin to comprehend the intricacies that they are using every time they cast such dangerous spells. Reanimation rituals take time to set up, and a mage will usually lay out many protective wards to ensure that their spell is not interrupted. Once all of the necessary studying and preparation is complete, a skilled Reanimation wizard will attempt a highly calculated but always dangerous spell to bring back whatever they need for their cause. This sometimes includes sinister beings from the deepest depths of darkness, and it can also raise hordes of zombies to do one’s bidding. Reanimation is truly a strategy not to be dealt with lightly, and anyone that decides to use such a method must remain vigilant about the dangers and responsibilities that come with its use.

Thanks for reading! Sylvan Stories is a weekly series, so be sure to check back in a week for the next addition. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave them in the section below.

And, as always, happy gaming!

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