Myrria is welcoming James Crofoot the author of The Journeys of a Different Necromancer to the Dragon’s Lair today.
“I was with Xavier,” Thomas replied. With head bowed, he stared at his stew, sensing he would not be allowed to eat.
“Who?” His mother’s voice. Her angry, high-pitched voice.
Thomas looked up at his father to see a pipe halfway to a gaping mouth. “Xavier, you know, he lives in the tower. He wants to teach me to read and write. He wants me to be his apprentice.”
His mother sat down and stared
“He’s got lots of books, scores of them. He showed me a book with lots of animals in it.”
His da sat back in his chair, silent. His mum folded her hands in her lap, also silent.
“Think of it,” Thomas contin
ued excitedly. “Think of the things I could do if I could read. I could go and work for the prince in Targon, I could see the whole kingdom.”
“Go to bed, Thomas,” Da said.
The boy gazed down at his untouched food. It smelled good and looked even better, but his father had spoken. Thomas got up and climbed the ladder to his loft. Deep into the night, even after his parents stopped their whispered arguing, he lay in
bed thinking of the map Xavier had shown him of the kingdom. He would find a way. He would be…what word had Xavier used? Necromancer. He would be a necromancer and he would see the whole kingdom.
* * * *
In the morning, Thomas awoke to the smell of porridge. Having had no dinner the night before, he hurried do
wn the ladder. There he found his da already eating. His mum ladled his share into a bowl and then got some for herself.
“We’ve decided you may learn to read and write. None of that dark stuff, though. You hear? No digging up of graves,” his da said. “We want more for your life, Thomas. Now then, what does this friend of yours want in return? We can’t afford to pay anything. I suppose he mentioned a price.”
Thomas looked at his mum as she sat down. She folded her hands in her lap and remained quiet.
“He said it would cost nothing. He just wants someone to teach. Xavier said he’s getting old and just wants someone to pass on some of ’is…” Thomas paused trying to remember the word. “…knowledge.”
Da wiped his mouth with his sleeve. “Then we’ll give it a try. Only til ’arvest, though. You’ll be needed in the fields then. Anything after that and we’ll see.”
A month and a half, Thomas thought excitedly. I have a month and a half!
“No good will come of this,” his mum remarked. “Mark my words, that man never did any good for anyone.”
Thomas finished his breakfast in a gulp and got up to run from the house. He stopped just outside the door to pick up his favorite stick and heard his da say, “I want better for him, Sonya. This life is no life for my son. He’s smarter than this.”
* * * *
A month passed and Thomas studied. He studied geography; the world turned out to be a lot bigger than he imagined. He learned arithmetic, how to count to a thousand. Then moved on to reading and writing, eight to nine hours a day he went through the books and scrolls. On the second and third floors of the tower stood skeletons of various animals, there he learned science, anatomy, and biology.
The fourth floor, however, Xavier said he needed to learn a good deal more before being ready for that.
“The villagers are shunning me,” he said to Xavier one day after learning the word. “They whisper about me whenever I pass. Even my friends. Yesterday I waved to them and started walking, to tell them what I was learning, and they turned their backs and ran away.”
Xavier looked up from t
he book he held. “People, for the most part, are very small-minded. They shun what they do not understand or things that are different.”
“Was that the way it was with you when you first started studying to be a necromancer?”
Thomas thought about these words for some time. He wanted to do more than just plant and harvest. He wanted to travel this world, especially the sea to the west, to see more than just this tiny village too small for a name. He decided he liked being different. He was already learning more than they ever would. Did not that make him better?“People always thought me to be a little different. Look, Thomas, you will see more, you will do more, than they can imagine in their empty heads. You will learn to create life from death.”
Thomas and James decided to have a little conversation and shared it with Myrria.
Hello, Thomas. Thankyou for making time for us to talk.
Thomas – No problem. I love discussing ideas. I haven’t a lot of time though. There a couple of things I need to do today.
Me – Well, first of all. You really don’t look like your average mage. Good or dark.
Thomas – No? I’m sure, actually. As far as weak, there’s quite a bit of physical work in my field of magic. Digging for one thing.
Me – Well, I know this necromancy of yours deals in death and re-animating the dead. So naturally you prefer the dark of night, right?
Thomas – No, not at all. I prefer daytime. I love the sun and how it brings life to everything. It’s true a lot of my work is done at night, but that’s really more for secrecy. To tell the truth, I can do most of my work in the day as well.
Me – Well, you are far from typical. How on earth did you ever become a necromancer?
Thomas – I really just wanted to learn more than I could, growing up in the small farming village I spent my early years in. I wanted to see more of the life of the world.
Me – Life? I thought all necromancers hated life.
Thomas – I guess that’s true for the most part, but in learning what I know I came to appreciate life. Look, I thought we were going to discuss dragons.
Me – Yes, you met a dragon once, didn’t you?
Thomas – I really have some studying to do. I recently found a new species of plant. Read my stories, That’s why I wrote them down.
Me – Ok, ok. I just wanted to meet the legend, the man who created that army. What can we expect from your book.
Thomas – Adventure, my friend. The stuff of life. Good and evil. I’m tired of talking about myself. It’s all there. In the stories.
Thomas wanted to learn to read and write, things only Xavier the Necromancer could teach. But Thomas learned much more. He learned to raise the dead. Then, with his knowledge, he set out for the distant sea. Along the way, he made an army, encountered a dragon, and fought thieves by the score. But, could he continue to use the knowledge Xavier gave? Could he hold to his teacher’s views that all people were self-centered, greedy, and jealous of him for being so much better? Could he return to the obsidian tower to live a life where the world was locked out, where his teacher had kept all life away to simply be left alone? Where no one ridiculed and beat him for being different? Could he return to a life where only the undead, his risen, kept him company?
Here’s a bit from Thomas’s stories, to further entice;
The tower itself stood forty feet tall with a base of about thirty. Before their parents were born, the magician used dark stone blocks to build it. In the clearing where it stood, only a few twisted and stunted trees grew.
No one saw the man inside, except on those rare occasions when he came to the village for food.
Thomas had seen him on one of these rare occasions. Normally, parents pulled their children inside when he came, but Thomas hid once, eager to study this man the whole village seemed terrified of. From the bushes, Thomas watched.
This dark magician was old and bent, his face gaunt, his long hair and beard unkempt. The man walked as if there were nothing wrong with everyone running into their houses, barring every door and window and anxiously waiting for him to leave. He went to the storehouse, grabbed a bag of grain, put his coins on the barrel beside the door, always two gold, and left.
What did the old man do that made them so afraid, Thomas remembered thinking.
About the Author:
James J Crofoot has done quite a bit of travelling, going places in search of just things to see. Born to a military father in Germany, that’s when it started. Since then he’s seen a couple continents, sailed a few oceans, and climbed a couple mountains. He’s also met a good many people and heard their stories.
In those travels, he managed to get a couple degrees. His first and lasting love has been writing, though. The Journeys of a Different Necomancer – Book 1 is his first. (MuseItUp Publishing, $2.80, ISBN 978-1-77127-411-1 in all e-book forms) Below is a link.
The Journeys of a Different Necromancer – https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/52-our-authors/authors-c/352-james-crofoot
Also available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble
Join him on
His website http://www.crofootwrites.com