It looked like ruins long forgotten. The cave threshold was mostly intact but that was it; the tunnel net inside looked magnificent enough to have been a capital of an empire of eons past. Much of the artificial brick walls were torn, as well as entire sections, which were brought down by an unknown force. Gory bodies adorned the visceral setting.
It was more than she could ask for.
Anita approached one of the several lifeless bodies on the corridor she was in, crouching next to it. The causa mortis of that human male was not apparent on first sight: besides the mildly bloodstained garments on the abdominal region, there was no other detectable abnormalities that could have helped that man meet his maker. Closer inspection thickened the plot further as Anita unbuttoned his shirt and verified there was no injury on that region or anywhere close, nothing that could justify that amount of blood, tiny as it was or otherwise. His skin was very dry but that was not uncommon on dead bodies.
Of course a Necromancer could just resurrect a dead person and ask him what had killed him in the first place. But knowledge was every sorcerer’s power, especially to those that dedicated themselves to the dark arts. Knowing as much as one can about the dead one is about to perform a resurrection spell on gives a huge edge to the Necromancer in question. This way the sorcerer can more easily control his new pet, instead of having to deal with a box of surprises. Reborn people are unpredictable; some may wake up mad and with a violent and/or irrational behavior; others are brought to life again amnesic, from short term memory loss to not knowing who they are or how to do the most basic chores, like breathing (the incidence of second deaths moments after a resurrection is mostly by choking and asphyxia); most, though, make their comebacks the same way they were in life, in the point their life was taken from them, by illness or arms – never by age, something that requires an entirely different ritual, more Necromancers and possibly sacrifices.
But it was another kind of Reborn (plainly, as resurrected people are called by Necromancers) Anita was interested in, the husk, in which the Reborn was nothing else than an empty shell of limited intelligence, ready to do whoever was responsible for granting him life again bidding. In that case, asking the Reborn anything would be fruitless as he would not respond, incapable of complying with an order that required a free brain. Furthermore, if she wished a husk, she’d need much power and more than average knowledge of her target. Since she did not know this man in life, all that was left to her was knowing him in death.
Resuming her scrutiny of the dead man’s body, she finished her analyzed with not much to proceed with and decided to carry on with something that should be obvious: she removed his shirt completely and turned him on his belly so she could have a clear sight of his back. She was spot on. There was a rather small hole craved on the man spine, covered with a sticky, colorless substance. It sure wasn’t big, but it went deep enough to do some damage. It looked as if someone had dug that with a giant straw and sucked the man dry of his fluids. That seemed plausible as an explanation; the few blood droplets on his clothing were leftovers from a job done in a hurry but with clockwork precision. She had enough to start the summoning spell with little chance of failure now.
She turned the man on his back again and leaned further, kissing his cold lips softly. The dead man woke up from his slumber.