Update, 7/27/2021: As of today, I have fully internalized that the Expurgated Editions may never happen. I know I’ve internalized it because I’m not really sad to admit that. It’s more of a wistful notion. It’d be nice if we got there, but… well, see the second original post from today.
Hello, readers mine. No need to draw this out too much since most of this first pilot chapter is, itself, a framing device to set expectations for the Expurgated Editions of The Necromancer and the Revenant and The Necromancer and the Reaping Spear. That’s what I intend to call them, by the way–those hoped-for reboots of my series.
I quite like the ring of it.
Whether that ever happens won’t just be up to me. I’m only writing out this bite-sized chapter and the first full-length chapter of the rebooted story. I want everyone to have a chance to see why I believe it’s so important to do these books over from scratch–to show how much stronger I can make my worldbuilding, characterization, and basic storytelling. I very much so want to start the rewrites anyway, but I really need paying work now.
I can’t justify writing these behemoth tomes without reader investment. Traditional publishing just isn’t an option. No one in the industry is going to take 4-500k word novels from a nameless indie author, let alone a neurodivergent trans woman, that mash up epic fantasy and paranormal erotica.
But I’ve spoken with enough people and read enough stories by now to know that traditional publishing doesn’t know everything. I know there are readers out there who will want these books. The question is, can I make myself visible enough that those readers actually know about them?
That’s where these pilot chapters come in: to show that this story exists for the people who want it. And if I’m going to do this, I need your help. I hope my excitement is contagious enough you’ll be happy to offer it! Just share these posts around and maybe recommend them to a friend or two who you think will be into them.
I’m hoping for around 2-3k followers within the next year. That’s a pretty tall order! I only have 250+ here on WordPress and 68 on Twitter, so I’m not expecting to make it.
Still, like never before, I’m hoping.
I hope you all enjoy the proposed first chapter of The Necromancer and the Revenant: Expurgated Edition.
The Seeress Confesses
But of course, there is none other to speak for me.
What cowardice would it be to pass my meanings through another’s words? The visions I speak come through my own exhuming. Of my own desire I beseeched the causal tides. Of my own will I coursed them through the sieve of myself. Of my own weaknesses I have too often lost their spirit. Expect no perfection from me, listeners dear. You shall find few more ruinous than a fearful seer who cannot admit her fear. Oh, fear itself is no sin! But concealing fear by a lancing glare births denial.
Denial within is the root of all evil.
Welcome, kindred seekers, wayward scions, unrepentant dreamers. Welcome to the liminal halls behind the veil of light, flesh, and mortal artifice. Here among the lost stars, here among the flying spires, here find salvation from endless toil and the jealous clutch of dominion. Have you brought your own light with you? Have you brought the shadows behind the mind’s eye, and the truths shrouded deeper still?
Of course you have. You cannot put aside your soul’s shards and simply take them up anew when it suits. No, no, do not think to argue. That scraping under your senses? That comes from whatever you are unwilling to accept as yourself. But you must, listeners. You must, for you cannot fight an enemy you will not acknowledge—but you can make such an enemy, and grant them victory by your stubbornness. I have long been my own worst enemy. Perhaps that hasn’t changed. An impossible struggle, I thought, which was a fine excuse for losing it. Yet I think the battle can be won.
This time, you see, I’ve chosen to believe it’s winnable.
Four times I have ventured this seeing, this tale to sift free and tell. Four times my lies within poisoned the truth without. Four times I played myself false. You who scoff, scoff rightly. Am I not infamous for this? For failing, and claiming that in failing I only steeled myself for a greater success? Yes, you’ve heard of me, haven’t you? The foolish devil with a wandering eye and a restless sword. And more likely through my defeats than my triumphs, I am sure. To augur that needs no insight. What greater denial than to confront a power infinitely beyond yourself and say, ‘I need not grow to its stature first. I shall find victory within me if I just want it enough?’
Denial without is the root of all good. But good is neither force nor substance. I might teach you my sight if you truly desired it. You could delve past all that the eldest intended you to see. Sift the meanest strands between all matter and energy. You shall never find a commandment to creation called goodness, or justice.
Only this stands: power is inevitable.
Great powers can call themselves heroes and feel a hero’s determination, my friends. Of itself this does not make them right. Yet I fear that it does put them past losing their nerve at a bold speech and a broken heart’s cry of outrage. No, no, keep your eyes and your thoughts on me. Those who leave at my words are not weak. I see they’ve lived that story too many times already. Let no one shame another for tiring of hopeless tales.
I would tell you this tale is not in truth hopeless, yet… it is a tale of great powers. For such as I it may seem hopeful at times. I do not live your reality. I had long hoped I might grow keener than our differences, and bridge us all by my words.
A noble sentiment, perhaps: to tell this tale of itself alone, and leave myself aside.
A noble folly. You could find its like elsewhere. Yet still, you came to me.
Know me, then, for a coward, thief, and fool. A pilferer of dreams unfinished, dabbler in ends best left unknown, and means unfit for the basest butcher and most grandiose villainess. Witch and demon, deceiver and usurper. Inheritrix of lore best cast to oblivion.
But of course, I fear that we might need it again.
I wish I could promise that these visions shall arm you with all the answers you desire. But again, this is a tale of great powers. The lessons they learned and all their wisdom–if it was wisdom they found, or forged–might be as good as rust and tears to you without the power they wielded. A scholar of his universe once said, “The opposite of a little truth is a lie. The opposite of a great truth is another great truth.”
Except, of course, if you know of him, you know that his words stand recorded many different ways. Sometimes those who echo him write that he said trivial rather than little, or little rather than small, and profound rather than great. You may ask, which was real? And in this tongue we speak right now, I must say: every last one of them! Each its own little truth. Each, I augur, used somewhere and somewhen to shield someone’s little lie.
How vast must a lie become before, by this principle, it becomes truth? The meanest lie a great power holds within might be magnified so far by power’s scope as to eclipse the greatest truths of all things that are, things that were, things that have not yet come to pass… but I lapse into theologian’s maunderings and occult babble.
I did warn you I am a coward, did I not? I hide in mazes undesired.
Here are my truths. Whether they are little or great I will not claim to know. Time and time again I’ve told that lie. Let the last time be enough.
A seeress finds her visions by more than idle happenstance. We might call it a force akin to luck, or fate. Her spirit sings out to the cosmos. Where her song stirs kinship, sometimes it sings back. By harmony and dissonance alike the waves return, a mutant spear of the heart. Riding long enough across the limitless omniverse, her song easily finds one world that shall sing harmony to whatever melody she wishes.
I am fascinated by forbidden powers and the clash of arms, tales of woe and family unworthy. So too by friendship, force, and love fiercer than any chill maw of death. I promise this tale shall contain all. The tongues of feeling creatures that carry our whims and will into the world as spoken words and written, signs and obscurances? Yes, these I promise as well. I shall strive to echo their meanings as once they echoed to me.
Yet to translate is in truth to transform. How would you translate the shape of a rabbit, listeners dear, if you could not do it with shapes? But of course, most among you come from worlds without rabbits. For the rest, imagine that you had only a dreamscape smear of fur, paws, and twitching nose, and only words to tell of it in a place without paints or sculpture?
I am sorry if I explain more than needed. I am plagued by the terror of a seeress and storyteller who knows her own weaknesses too well.
I shall mention other tongues often. Shieldtongue and Chieragt. Coyessari and Maelryn and more. All tongues have layers of meaning and association. I shall transform them to fit your own hearts as best I can. But there’s the trouble, isn’t it? I may have the sight and the song of creation in me. I can peer into other souls. But the chords I pluck within you must inevitably be the chords that suit my own tune the best—or those that shriek so harsh against it I must cast them out or change to suit them instead.
Every tale is in truth many, though we glean it through the senses of a few. First, those few: the spirits who lived it who we learn it from. Yet their wish to tell us exists along side other wishes. Wishes for us to love them, or fear them, or both. Wishes to prosper by the telling, or to heal. They speak truly to their own purposes. For that larger truth, the little truth of the tale must sacrifice some pieces.
And every spirit they experienced in the tale’s making knew it by other senses, at other places, at other times, and melded these with self and memory until each might as well have lived their own reality. And in time, those who learned it from those who lived it now pass it to others. All weave their own melodies within. The inner ear, and eye, and memory soon forget how it felt when their own traces were not interwoven… but once more I forsake the thread. I am sorry. I am a very selfish woman who likes collecting visions. She likes telling them to herself as stories best of all.
Or perhaps, I’m simply too frightened you won’t like my truths when I tell them to you.
So if you find the words I use too current or too outmoded or too obscure, I am sorry. Perhaps they are not truly kin with the words as they were spoken by their speakers. If I force your mind’s eye to linger on empty details, I am sorry. Perhaps they hold color only for me. But you see, I cannot tell you a form of this tale that carries no twisting from its passage through me. I can only hope that by singing by turns with or against the myriad selves I have been when I sought it, caught it, shaped and told it in times past, we might at last find a harmony true enough to hold.
These revelations, and those who lived them, are true enough to me. I avow that much.
You wish to know of that dread tongue and its truths? Ah, foolish child… you are as I once was. If you can weather the bracing ways of the early visions, I shall entrust that truth to you as I now see it. If you still desire it, I shall. It will gnaw you as it does me. Until that reckoning hour, you must never ask of it again. It knows kinship with no language, and all. It devours. To speak it, or even of it save by the most muted and fearful utterings behind a thousand seals decreed by the greatest powers our own planes can muster… that is a song into the depths of the cosmos long, long unsung.
We must never sing it again.
I must warn you, listeners dear. We convene here in this conjunct realm of shifting nebulae because no power stirs it to obscure my sight. Wondrous? Yes. Yes, of course it is. But not only wondrous. Sight runs many ways. In every universe there lurk older truths, and greater, than any divinity you care to name. Here my visions catch their traces clearly. From here the ripples of my spirit’s touch might carry back unto them, and bring them visions in turn. Would they act?
Would they hunt us here beneath the glistening arches upon the dark blue sands that unravel in misty tendrils towards the shrouding abyss? Would they scorn our flight through the black-spine gates buttressed by crystalline rose and carving silver, under the triumvirate moons and planar midnight to the promontory refuge before the spectral sea?
We cannot know unless they come. That is the reality you ask me to teach you: one where safe haven is a lie only the mightiest may transmute into truth.
I know you cannot name the truest. I have heard but its whispers, its long-wasting dirge. Not with the ears. It is a hymn heard as the rage of unnamable feeling in the belly of your trembling psyche—not when the night is long, but when the day is too bright on an empty path between soulless structures and even the wind dares not surpass a murmur in the distance.
So hold each other close, listeners dear, or if you have no other to hold, hold to memory. This telling shall last many moments: heartbeats and breaths, a thousand days of some worlds and a single night of others, lives of some souls very old and some souls who will never learn age. But perhaps that’s another small lie soon to fall before a great truth. Perhaps our reverie shall end with my next breath when I draw out the dread things from the end-threads of eternity. If so, my stand against them must be mine alone.
You each shall face it in your own time. I will not say do not fear. Many horrors hold sway. Fear is wise. Fear can warn you. And if you’ve the right spirit, fear might even strengthen you. Until they come, until the Void’s embrace, I shall tell all as truly as I may.
It begins on the world called Canno. It begins as every mortal tale must. It begins with the birth of a child.