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<noinclude>{{Trail|Magic}}[[File:OB-npc-Noveni Othran.jpg|thumb|right|A necromancer (Oblivion)]]{{TOCright|limit=2}}</noinclude>
'''Necromancy''', often called the '''Necromantic Arts''' or the '''Dark Practice''', is the manipulation of the souls or corpses of the dead.{{ref|name=TBAOT|{{Cite book|The Black Arts On Trial}}}}{{ref|name=UL|{{Cite book|Unhallowed Legions}}}} {{Lore Link|Dragon}}s know it as '''alok-dilon'''.{{ref|name=DBDurnehviir|[[Skyrim:Durnehviir (dragon)|Durnehviir's]] dialogue in [[SR:Skyrim|Skyrim]]}} It is the binding of souls to a physical form which has been prepared by the conjurer.{{ref|name=TLOV|{{Cite book|The Legend of Vastarie}}}} In its broadest sense, necromancy can be understood as any form of soul manipulation.{{ref|name=TTAAYQ|{{Cite book|Telenger the Artificer Answers Your Questions}}}} Some history with it can be found in every corner of {{Lore Link|Tamriel}}. It is sometimes considered a subset of the {{Lore Link|Conjuration}} school of {{Lore Link|magic}}, as both involve the summoning of spirits, though necromancy is more specifically associated with the manipulation of sapient mortal souls and the reanimation of corpses. Necromancy has generally been considered immoral and illegal in most cultures, though there have been significant exceptions, and various disreputable groups have employed it as a tool of war throughout history. Much of the knowledge of it is often attributed to {{Lore Link|Daedric}} influences, specifically {{Lore Link|Molag Bal}}.{{ref|name=UL}} Molag Bal is also the father of {{Lore Link|vampire}}s, undead creatures who often practice necromancy or work alongside necromancers.{{ref|name=BOTWQ|{{Cite book|Biography of the Wolf Queen}}}}{{ref|name=AJ|{{Cite book|Aldimion's Journal|ns=Online}}}} Vampirism is often understood asto be a form of necromancy.{{ref|name=UL}}{{ref|name=BR|{{Cite book|Blasphemous Revenants}}}}{{ref|name=VOV1|{{Cite book|Vampires of Vvardenfell, v I}}}}
Masters of necromancy can reanimate long-dead subjects, though most practitioners require a fresh corpse, typically someone who has been dead for no more than three days. Attempting to raise minions without proper knowledge and training can result in an incomplete binding of the soul, leading to a break in the master-minion relationship and allowing the reanimated corpse to turn upon the necromancer.{{ref|name=TAATM1|{{Cite book|The Art and the Madness v.1}}}} The power which necromancers can bring to bear against their enemies can be overwhelming, and the potential rewards from pursuing the study of soul manipulation are incalculable, which entices many young mages to experiment with it. Throughout history all over Tamriel, protectors have been forced to seal off and abandon crypts rather than contend with the hordes of undead which necromancers have raised within.<noinclude>
The debate over necromancy has been raging in magical circles for centuries.{{ref|name=NTGD|{{Cite book|Necromancy: The Great Debate}}}} Advocates of the Dark Practice decry its censorship, lamenting the sacrifice of knowledge at the altar of public opinion. One argument they've been known to give is that attaining a proper understanding of necromancy is vital to best combat the menaces who have given the practice such an infamous reputation. They downplay the dangers associated with it, and criticize what they see as the fictional divide between necromancy and some other schools. Conjuration, {{Lore Link|Enchantment}}, {{Lore Link|Mysticism (skill)|Mysticism}}, and possibly others have some link to necromancy. Opponents emphasize that it is not censorship, but caution and ethics which demand that necromancy be prohibited to all but the wisest and most trusted mages, and then only to combat the exercise of the Dark Practice by others. They also highlight that any institution of magic risks its own survival by disregarding the overwhelming public sentiment against necromancy, and that it is simply impossible to "dabble" in the practice without corrupting one's own soul, as even the simplest of spells require the spilling of blood. Thus, despite the intertwined nature of the schools, any study of necromancy is inherently too extreme to be wise, and delving into it virtually guarantees the destruction of the practitioner.{{ref|name=TBAOT}}
[[File:OB-quest-Necromancer's_Moon.jpg|thumb|right|A necromantic ritual (Oblivion)]]
==The Dark Practice==
The soul, or animus,{{ref|name=SOTD|{{Cite book|Spirit of the Daedra}}}} is the animating force of the universe found in all creatures. The mysteries of this force are not just unknown, they are unknowable. Every mage who has tried to unlock the secret behind souls has vanished without a trace. But dangerous though they may be, they are a source of energy, and like any energy source, they can be harvested. While modern students of conjuration are content to harvest and utilize the "white" souls of lesser creatures, necromancy is the branch of the arcane arts which is concerned with the harvesting and use of the "black" souls of mortals.{{ref|name=SBAW|{{Cite book|Souls, Black and White}}}}
Throughout history, necromancers have sought to refine their skills and find new ways to utilize their craft. How necromancy is practiced is ultimately determined by the practitioners' goals, capabilities, and morality. Many simply want power. Skilled necromancers can summon whole armies of undead, given enough resources.{{ref|name=AJ|{{Cite book|Arondil's Journal|ns=Skyrim}}}} Other tragic figures were desperate to bring back the people they loved.{{ref|name=MJ|{{Cite book|Mercano's Journal|ns=Online}}}}{{ref|name=JOMP|{{Cite book|Journal of Master Pellingare|ns=Online}}}}{{ref|name=LJ|{{Cite book|Lu-ah's Journal|ns=Online}}}} It's typical for necromancers to have specific scientific experiments and objectives they are pursuing (at the start, at least). Necromancy also attracts sadists who are simply seeking the thrill of inflicting pain, and many necromancers who do not start out this way eventually give in to the soul-corrupting effects of the Dark Practice.
One of the driving motivations behind necromancy is the pursuit of resurrection. Many necromancers take up the craft because they are desperate to bring back the people they loved.{{ref|name=MJ|{{Cite book|Mercano's Journal|ns=Online}}}}{{ref|name=JOMP|{{Cite book|Journal of Master Pellingare|ns=Online}}}}{{ref|name=LJ|{{Cite book|Lu-ah's Journal|ns=Skyrim}}}} While tales suggest some necromancers have delved into resurrection with a small measure success, achieving true resurrection is not within their ability.{{ref|name=TE|{{Cite book|The Exodus}}}}{{ref|name=ON|{{Cite book|On Necromancy}}}}
[distinguish from resurrection - On Necromancy, The Exodus]
===Necromantic Minions===
[[File:OB-quest-Necromancer's_Moon.jpg|thumb|right|A necromantic ritual (Oblivion)]]
Among the many things necromancers have learned over the eras is that the ability of a necromancer's servant to follow directions seems to be related to the servant's intelligence in life. Therefore, performing necromancy on animals produces guard dogs at best, or instruments of the summoner's destruction at worst. Skeletons must be properly prepared before they are reanimated, otherwise they could be structurally unsound. All of the crucial bones must be present and placed correctly. Necromancers also employ a variety of means to fasten together and reinforce the skeletons at strategic points so they can move properly. While most undead can be raised again and again, skeletons are relatively fragile, and can rarely be animated more than once.{{ref|name=CP}} Necromancers often show a preference for skeletons, though, because they are cleaner than zombies and similar fleshy thralls, and they are swifter in a fight.{{ref|name=OSS|{{Cite book|On Summoning Skeletons}}}}
[[File:SR-interior-Brittleshin Pass 02.jpg|thumb|right|A necromancer surveys a skeleton (Skyrim)]]
File:DF-Scourg Barrow Hall of the Necromancers.pngThepng|The Hall of the Necromancers in Scourg Barrow (Daggerfall)
File:DF-Necromancer1.png|A necromancer (Daggerfall)
File:OB-item-Necromancer's Amulet.jpg|The {{Lore Link|Necromancer's Amulet}} (Oblivion)
Blocker, patroller