Arianna screamed desperately until she lost her breath, coughing to tears… then she opened her eyes wide and realized that she was still in her bed, alone, drenched in sweat and short of breath.
For a few moments she did nothing, waiting in silence. When she got up, she was still rather dazed, so she dipped her hands into a tub filled with ice-cold water and bathed her tear-streaked face.
Then she turned and, as in every sleepless night, she walked towards her laboratory. She paid no attention to either the darkness that enveloped her or the cold that penetrated her bones, just as she paid no attention to the nauseating smell of putrefying meat that permeated every corner of the house.
The stench grew even more intense as she opened the small creaking door that led into a gloomy dark room devoid of windows, where a dozen mutilated non-human-like bodies were leaning against the walls, like a grotesque heap of puppets that had lost their strings.
The woman went over to a massive worm-eaten desk, over which various knives – smeared with dried blood – were scattered, together with other long, rusty metal objects. Among these was the fragment of an old opaque mirror. Arianna looked into it to check the abrasions on her face, noting that they weren’t very serious; a further spell to stop the necrosis would not be needed.
Then she grabbed a large knife, with a large serrated blade, and quickly cleaned it with a worn-out rag. Last of all, she chose a lumpy arm among the many body parts stacked along the wall and placed it on the desk, studying the wrist joint to find the precise place to cut.
Suddenly, a hiss coming from the shard of the mirror caught her attention.
“What do you want?” – Arianna asked in an annoyed tone, turning to herself. “Why do you keep haunting my dreams?!“
“You already know the answer to this question.”
The words had been spoken by a female voice, cold, apathetic and damned familiar. Driven by anger, Arianna tightened her grip on the knife and severed the hand from the limb with a sharp cut, spilling a reddish stain on the desk. Then she hissed a short arcane formula, bringing a long piece of rusty iron close to the bloody stump. The severed ribs began to stretch towards the metal until they completely enfolded it, as if they were thin creepers reaching towards the light.
At that point, Arianna levitated the arm towards the wall, wedging it into the shoulder of a creature made up of an agglomeration of metal pieces and various parts of strange animal beings.
“Leave me alone, damn you! I can’t do anything for you anymore. I told you countless times that I’m sorry for what I did,“ she sighed, then she turned her saddened eyes to the cobbled floor,
“and I’m also sorry for what YOU did.”
“Necromancy was in my destiny and, as you can see, now it’s also in yours.”
“You’re talking nonsense, Rebecca!” Arianna burst into a sudden rage, pointing the knife at the mirror.
“You have embraced necromancy for revenge! I had to do it just to not succumb to the oblivion that surrounds me.
The Lucania you knew no longer exists! Since the magic disappeared, this place has become hell. I had to defend myself from marauders, from soldiers… from the Church!
Even the plague tried to kill me! Necromancy was the only way to create “something” that could bring down my enemies and, at the same time, to slow down my disease,” she concluded, running her hand over the scratches on her face.
“We are twins, our destiny is indissolubly linked to the same arcane art, as it is to the Black Rose.”