Check out our episode here! Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Sam, or Samhein (pronounced SAH-win) Corvus LaCroix if we're using his birth name, is working his regular shift at Plumpy's, a fast food place in Seattle. If only he didn't drop out of college, maybe he'd have a better job. Anyway, he and his friend Ramon, the guy behind the grill, take a break to play potato hockey in the parking lot, but when Ramon has to get back to the grill, Brooke, another friend and co-worker, comes out to take his place. Brooke is a cheerleader type, and even though all the guys ogle her, they also watch out for her. There's an accidental potato-tail light smashing that happens then, putting an end to their game. Brooke drags Sam back inside the restaurant by his shirt collar, accidentally breaking the strap that holds a pouch around his neck. She apologizes and he puts the pouch in his pocket. It's no big deal. As they're closing up for the night, the owner of the potato-smashed tail light comes in. Brooke plays dumb when the guy, who Sam thinks is creepy, asks about the potato. Sam, who is currently laying on the ground having just been scraping gum off of tables, seems really terrified of this guy, who of course notices him right this very second. He comes over to Sam, lifts him off the floor by his shirt, sending a sort of cold electric jolt through Sam and asks him what he's doing here. Uh... He lives here? Has for all his life? The man says that there's no way he lives there, unregistered, but then the manager of the restaurant comes out and things seem to go back to normal. The man says it was all a misunderstanding and leaves. What the hell just happened?!
Oh don't worry, it gets worse. After they close up the restaurant, Sam, Ramon and Frank, another friend/co-worker, decide to watch Conan the Barbarian, but Brooke declines the invite. When they're about to climb into Frank's car, a huge guy comes up asking for Sam, then tosses him around like a rag doll. Ramon bashes him with a skateboard so hard it breaks in half, then Frank speeds up in his car, but the guy PULLS THE BUMPER OFF. Yikes. Sam gets in and they drive away. Meanwhile, Douglas, the first creepy guy, follows Brooke home. He's upset that Michael, the second creepy guy, violently attacked Sam in the parking lot, but what are you going to do? Douglas definitely can't have another necromancer running around Seattle. And this kid has to be lying. How could he not know that it was bad to be an unregistered necromancer? That would make Douglas look bad as Leader of the Council, even if Sam barely has any power at all. Douglas discovered he was a necromancer when he was young and played trucks with his dead cousin at his dead cousin's funeral. His aunt took him in after that and began training him. He learned everything he needed to know, then killed his aunt and stole her power. He thinks she'd be proud. But now, he's here for Brooke.
At Sam's apartment, the guys run into his sassy 70 year old neighbor, Mrs. W, who suggests that Sam not let his boyfriends rough him up so much. He assures her that he's not gay, nor a victim of domestic violence, but she just shrugs like he's missing out on having two boyfriends. When they get inside, Sam does his best to clean his wounds that look like claw marks or knife gouges, but needs help with the bandaging. Ramon uses some herbal remedies given to Sam by his mother and wraps him up, then Sam goes to his room to tie a new string on the pouch Brooke ripped off earlier. This pouch is something else from his mother, used as protection and to keep bad dreams away. He puts it back around his neck and goes to sleep. He wakes up the next morning to hear a knock at his door. Ramon and Frank are crashed in the living room and barely wake up as Sam opens the door. No one is there, but there is an indistinctly wrapped package tied up with string. Deciding it's not a bomb due to lack of theatrical ticking, Sam opens the box to find Brooke's neatly severed head. Yikes! He flings the box and Brooke's head tumbles across the floor. Then she speaks! She, in a totally normal and not at all like a severed head way, tells Sam she's got a message for him. There's a note inside the box telling Sam to go to the zoo at 2:00 or he'll get another head-in-a-box sort of message.
Michael has kidnapped a girl named Brid and thrown her in a cage built seemingly just for her, or someone like her. A hybrid or a werewolf. Douglas told him to capture a hybrid, but when he arrives later to find this particular hybrid, the daughter of the pack leader, is the one Michael captured, he's less than pleased. Brid is obviously less than pleased, too, and she takes a bite out of Michael's arm to show for it. She tells Douglas that it's a huge mistake to have kidnapped her because she's going to kill him when she escapes, or, when all the other weres and shifters find out that he's built a cage capable of holding them, they're all going to come for him. He doesn't see that happening though. When he leaves, Brid realizes she needs to escape, and soon. Later, she wakes from a drug-addled haze, but keeps drifting off, dreaming of how she used to battle her brothers and then how she became the pack's second in command, even though her brothers were able to get out of her overused and over-confident attacks. She asked her father if she really deserved it. She did. Douglas and Michael make sure she's still drugged and knocked out before they start running tests on her. Douglas cuts Brid with the athame he used to kill his aunt and measures how long it takes her wound to heal.
Later, Douglas goes to the Council meeting inside a pub run by fey. There's all sorts here for the Council meeting. Brid's dad, Brannoc, the fey-hound pack leader, a satyr who refuses to wear pants, a vampire, a fury, a witch, etc etc. There's meaningless business that needs to be tended to, like a were girl who is requesting permission for her brother to move into the city, and Douglas lets some things pass, particularly if the beings involved are weak, and refuses other requests. During a break, Douglas can't help but ask when Brannoc is going to introduce his successor. He is interested to see just what he lets on about her being kidnapped. He suggests that Douglas need not worry about his daughter, for she's just as feisty as he and her mother, a were, put together.
Let's get back to Sam for a little bit. He was supposed to meet Douglas at the zoo and that's exactly what he did, but he forgot to put his pouch back on. That's probably going to be important. But not right now. He meets up with Douglas who tells him that he's a necromancer and shows him how to see the life in everything. He looks around everyone and everything at the zoo and sees they're full of beautiful colors, except for that panda over there who died right after he was introduced to the zoo. That's not good for American-Chinese relations, so the guys at the zoo called up Douglas who reanimated the panda corpse for a while. After seeing that that panda is different, Sam then notices that he and Douglas look the same as the panda, with only blues and grays and blacks in their colors, not a rainbow tie-dye like everyone else, and Douglas explains that's because they're tied to death. Well then.
Sam goes home after that. Brooke's head is still there (of course because where's she going to go without legs?), and she's watching the news, waiting to see when the police will find her body. Ramon arrives a little bit later with a bunch of books about the occult and witchcraft and magic. If only he'd waited to collect reading materials until after the meeting with Douglas, he would have known to only get the books on necromancy, of which I'm sure there's plenty. Then Frank arrives with a bowling bag they can use to carry Brooke's head in. Ramon says that he's done some digging and has found a few people around Seattle that might be able to help, fortune-tellers and people like that. One of them is surprisingly helpful. Her name is Maya. Her daughter, Dessa, had biology with Ramon. Maya is a seer and tells them before she can offer any help that they're going to have to take Brooke out of the room and that Sam is going to have to remove his medicine bag because it's hiding his necromancer abilities from her. Yes she knows he's a necromancer and so did whoever it is that made that pouch for him. She needs to think about some ways to help him, and in the meantime, he needs to go talk to his mother about precisely why she made that bag for him.
Brid is still in her cage, but she knows that she's been taken out of it and that she was tortured and that her body healed. She doesn't know why any of this is happening though. She hears Douglas come in with a guy that is not Michael. She doesn't recognize his voice. They are talking about what the unknown person, James, did to cover up the fact that Brid was kidnapped. Douglas asked what form he took (dragon), so that should be confusing enough to throw anyone off any trail that might exist if anyone starts looking for her. It is certainly confusing to us. James wonders why Douglas didn't just let her go and find a new hybrid to study. There are plenty others around. Why keep the second in command of this pack?
Sam goes to visit his mother, Tia, at her house in the middle of a weird garden. Tia has a green thumb, and probably some other people's green thumbs too, and she owns an apothecary-type shop in a quirky little neighborhood nearby and everyone always comes for her creations. She and Sam's sister, Haley, are not surprised to see Sam and Ramon have come visiting with a head in a bag, but Tia is upset that Sam killed and brought his friend back to life. Wait. What? He didn't do this! Please explain everything. Now. Tia tells the story of her pregnancy with Sam and his birth. His father, Kevin, never mentioned any of his family to her, so one day, when she wasn't too far along, Tia used a spell to track down a relative of his and found his brother, Nick. Nick lived in a small ramshackle cabin and had been all alone for quite some time because he is a Necromancer, but of course Tia realized that right away when she met him because she is a Witch. Nick warned her that Kevin would leave if he found out his kid was a Necromancer and guess what. All of that eventually came true. At the hospital after he was born, Tia did a test on her little son and discovered that he was also a Necromancer. Fed up with her absent husband, Tia named her son Samhein. His middle name, Corvus, came from the crows that gathered outside her window. Crows can be an omen, so she wanted to show them and her goddess great respect, and it wouldn't hurt to aggravate Kevin just a little bit more.
Nick came to visit while Tia and Sam were still in the hospital. He treated Sam better than Kevin did and it broke Tia's heart. She didn't even think that Kevin realized that Sam was a Necromancer, and she wanted to keep it that way, and she wanted to keep Sam safe from Douglas, the creepy Necromancer council member (creepy then, creepy now, creepy forever). Nick had warned her of him in their first visit, but now that Sam is born, Nick realizes his power is more like a river than Nick's small trickle. Even though he didn't want to, he helped Tia bind Sam's powers to hide him from Douglas. She tried already but it didn't work, so she asked Nick to try. But that bind apparently didn't hold either. Sam's power began leaking out. When he was little, he started having nightmares and his mom made him the medicine pouch, but those weren't nightmares. They were souls. The pouch acted as a shield, protecting him from the souls that would definitely be drawn to him as such a powerful Necromancer. But what's the big deal about all this anyway? Why should everyone be afraid of ghosts? Tia explains that all souls are drawn to him. Living and dead. And if he knew how, he could control them. Make people do what he wants. But you know what? He doesn't know how because he's never been taught anything! The next day, Sam and Ramon are visited by the police. Brooke's body has finally been discovered and the police know they were the last people to see her before her death. Sam's neighbor told the police that Sam was pretty beat up and came home later than usual, which is definitely suspicious if you're connected to a dead person, but then Sam reveals his back wounds and says they got jumped by some crazy guy on their way home. The detective leaves, not knowing that Brooke's living head is chillin' in Sam's closet.
Sam decides to hop on a ferry to Bainbridge to find his father, but he's really not looking for him, he's looking for Nick to get him to lift the bind, or at least help him in some Necromancy way. At Kevin's house, Sam meets his stepmother, Elaine, who he accidentally soul nudges into talking about Kevin's first marriage and learns that Kevin let her believe they split up because Sam isn't his son, but Nick's. Sam doesn't tell her otherwise. She knows he's looking for Nick after all, so why let her know that Kevin is a scumbag? Unfortunately, she doesn't know where Nick is. She's only met him once when her first daughter was born. He came by to see the baby but then Kevin showed up and they fought and Nick left. Then Sam meets his kindergarten half-sister Lilly and she's just like him. They talk for a minute while Elaine is tending to the baby. Lilly knows she and Sam are different and he tells her that, yes, all her imaginary friends are real, just like she knew they were. He asks her to get a hairbrush belonging to Kevin and promises not to hurt him. He doesn't tell her that he's going to give the hair to his mom so she can help him find Nick because she's just a kid and why would he tell her, but this is a good place to tell you, so that's where it's going. Elaine comes down with Sarah who is a baby Necromancer, and gives his phone number to Lilly before he leaves, just in case. Elaine doesn't ask, but it's clear she has a feeling she knows they're the same.
Back at home, Sam tells his friends about his new half-sisters and what happened at Kevin's house, then he gets a phone call. It's June, a Necromancer friend of Maya's from Louisiana. She says she can't really help him much because of Douglas and what amounts to being magical-being travel-restrictions, but she'll send what help she can. Sam goes for a skate after getting that phone call and is grabbed on a street corner by Douglas and Michael. They get back to Douglas's place and James suggests that Douglas go on a little trip. If anyone from the council, or any of the other councils for that matter, find out what he's up to, they're not going to let him get away with it. Why, if they found just one of his secret notebooks or saw his cage, he'd be done for.
Sam wakes up later in the cage with Brid and she's naked and completely fine with it. She and Sam talk about what she is, a hybrid half fey hound, half were, which are normally stronger than their full-blooded counterparts, and second in command to the pack. She may be strong and powerful, but not in this cage. Sam gets a flash of a Necromancy symbol and asks what it means and Brid explains that it's what's making her unable to escape. She also explains that Douglas is terrible and she wants to kill him. Later, Douglas comes in and makes a bargain with Sam. Become his apprentice or die. Oh okay, cool. Easy choice. Douglas tells Sam about the different levels of Necromancy and how Sam is probably the weakest. He forces/teaches Sam to draw a circle of protection and then stands inside it, summons spirits, and has them attack Sam, then Douglas leaves. Brid wonders why not have them attack her, too. Because it was a lesson for both of them. Sam hopes whatever June is sending him arrives soon. She may be another Necromancer, but at least she seems helpful and not insanely murderous like Ol' Douglas.
The next tortuous day, Douglas summons a zombie by killing a dove. You apparently have to make bloody sacrifices to raise the dead. The zombie reanimates itself, which looks like a decomposing video in reverse. Douglas teaches Sam that they can make zombies do pretty much whatever they want. He instructs Sam to ask the zombie questions and when he gets no response to "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" he asks the zombie's name. David Andrew Davidson. Douglas makes David Andrew Davidson do some calisthenics and scrub the floor and violently reenact his own death before putting him back in the ground. Lesson done for the day, but we learned a few things. Names are important but unnecessary and, you know, they can summon zombies and make them do their bidding. That night, Brid impatiently tells Sam that she's going crazy in the cage because she has excess energy she can't get rid of because she can't change and there's no room to exercise. You know what there is enough room for? Some consensual hybrid were fey necromancer sex. After they're done, a small girl stumbles into the room. Her name is Ashley, she is a Harbinger, literal death who guides souls to wherever they go, and she's come at June's request to quickly teach Sam everything he needs to know about Necromancy.
They don't get very far though, other than making requests to make sure Lilly and Sarah are okay and to get word to June to contact Brid's pack and to learn that blood payment is not always necessary to do your Necromancy work, but it does make it work better. A powerful Necromancer can use barely any blood, though, so that's probably important to know. They would have been able to do more, but it seems that both Tia and Nick's binds worked. Sam is apparently a REALLY powerful Necromancer (!!). When getting word to June about Brid's pack, they also ask her to contact Tia and get her to release her bind. If they can't find Nick and release his, at least they can get some of his power back. Ashley requires payment for this messenger job though, and the only thing she wants for payment? Waffles. Lots of waffles. Sam spends some time after Ashley leaves in a whirlwind of sparrows studying the magic of the cage they're in. Maybe he'll learn how to break out in a million years. Better rest instead.
Ramon meanwhile is currently talking to the detective at Plumpy's. With his best friend now missing and his other best friend a head in a bowling bag, he had to do something. Ramon tells the detective that Sam took a phone call before going on a walk by himself and then he disappeared. The detective lets Ramon know that he's seen surveillance tapes from the night of the attack and he saw the guy stop the car with his hands and he saw that the guy had no weapons when he attacked Sam. Something's going on and it has to do with Sam and Ramon. He wants them to be safe. Ramon checks Sam's phone to see who he might have talked to and sees the name June, so he calls her. She tells him to contact Sam's mom to get her to break Sam's bind and to call another number and tell them that Brid has been captured by Douglas. Ramon asks Mrs. W for a ride to Sam's mom's house and she drives them there in her candy apple red 65 mustang without direction. Oh yeah, Mrs. W is also a Witch. She and Tia begin work to break the bind. Brid's pack calls Ramon back and tells him where Sam and Brid are being kept. He is of course going to help, even though they warned him not to. He sneaks out, taking Tia's car keys. Brooke, meanwhile, is hanging out with Sam's sister, watching the magic of the bind-breaking from her bowling bag.
Sam is not doing so well. Douglas has taken a new and exceptionally violent approach to his studies. Sure he'd smack him around a bit whenever he came down for lessons, but I mean, he's an evil bad guy who likes kidnapping people, what do you expect? Anyway, now it's worse. He's forcing Sam to summon souls but he just can't do it. Being beaten with a riding crop, surprisingly, isn't really helpful. Or is it? Ashley told him that blood wasn't necessary to do Necromancy work, but now with it dripping down his back, it can't hurt to try? (Actually, yeah, it can, and it does.) He wipes a full hand of blood off his back and slams it down in front of him. All of a sudden, he feels an extreme burst of power and a portal opens up in front of him. Where did that come from? (Hmm… could this possibly be the exact same time that Tia and Mrs. W break the bind? Sam doesn't know that though.) Ashley and a huge jackal-headed man named Ed are in the middle of a conversation when they realize where they are. Ed greets Douglas in a menacing, tongue-lolling way, and then Douglas picks up Sam by his throat, shouting "Do you have any idea what you've done?" Nope. Then Sam passes out. Oh this can't be good.
Ramon is now outside of Douglas's huge expensive house surrounded by a ridiculous amount of lawn ornaments and weird statues. He's slowly sneaking up with no idea what he's going to do once he gets there, but then he's grabbed from behind by Brid's brothers. With them are two huge wolves. Sean, one of the brothers, greets Ramon pleasantly and tells him he'd appreciate it if he stayed out of what's about to happen, but since he has pack permission to join them, to please do what they say for his own safety. If it gets his friend out in one piece, he'll swallow his ego and follow the giant mutant wolf dogs. Back in the basement, Sam wakes up strapped to a table outside of the cage. Great! Brid unnecessarily tells him this is bad. She said she could smell fear on Douglas after Sam opened the Ed portal, which will make him even more unpredictable. Then she suggests summoning Ashley, which he can do very easily. She can't undo his Douglas-Necromancy-bound restraints, but she can teach him how to disable the cage and set Brid free. It's a good thing he studied the cage earlier and found that it has a weak spot. Ashley says all he has to do is overload it, which he does, and now Brid is free. As she's undoing his restraints, Michael comes downstairs, followed shortly by Douglas. Brid and Ashley hide and Sam distracts the villains for a little while, still pretending to be tied down. Douglas is tired of trying to figure Sam out, so he's going to kill him. Then Brid attacks Michael by changing midleap into a white wolf. She instantly changes back, taunting Michael who cannot change so quickly since he's just a regular werewolf and not a hybrid. He can partially change though, which she can't, and threatens her with giant claws, but then she magically has flaming swords. Oh geez, this is going to be intense. A shadow flies into the room then and changes into a cat who is actually James and tells Douglas about the wolves and skateboard kid outside. He should probably not do the ritual now and deal with them, but no.
James is sent outside to fight the pack of wolves and Ramon, but as a cat-sized dragon instead of a cat-sized cat. As the wolves approach the mansion, all the fancy statues and things surrounding the house come to life. Ramon was curious earlier as to why Douglas had so many weird lawn ornaments, but now we know. It's chaotic, but the wolves finally make it to the doors when Ramon throws his skateboard at the fire-breathing James-dragon and knocks him out of the sky. Things shortly erupt into chaos in the basement, too. Brid and Michael are still fighting as Douglas begins to create a protective circle on the floor and starts his spellwork on Sam. He's sliced through Sam's arm to collect a lot of blood for something that's probably going to be terrible, but he gets pushed aside by the tumbling Brid and Michael. Sam's wound drips blood on the floor and with each drop, he can feel the spirits of the people Douglas has killed getting angrier and angrier. They want vengeance, so Sam lets them attack. Zombies! Zombies everywhere! They break through the floor, causing all sorts of vials and things to shatter all over the place. Then the wolves descend! Douglas is able to keep most of the fight away from himself by sending the weaker zombies to attack the wolves and continues his work on Sam. Ramon comes into the room but is quickly attacked by a zombie and falls off the stairs. Oh no!
Outside, Mrs. W, Tia and Haley pull up, hit James-cat with the car, cuddle him, and then watch as he turns into a dragon and flies off into the woods. There's also mention of a giant crow, which Tia calls Sam's Crow, but we're back inside too quickly to get much of that. Douglas is almost finished with the spell he's working on Sam, and Sam knows it. As Douglas leans over to write on Sam's forehead, Sam punches Douglas in the face. His hand has been free for a while, remember? While Douglas is stunned, Sam grabs his knife, the blade of it first unfortunately, but quickly flips it around despite the pain in his palm and plunges it into Douglas's throat. As Douglas dies, Sam can feel all his power rushing into his own body. Apparently Douglas was about to kill Sam and absorb his power like he did with his aunt all those years ago, but since Sam killed Douglas, he got his powers instead. And then he screams and screams and can't stop. He can feel death all around him. He can feel that Brid just killed Michael and is sad about it. She comes to him and tells him to put the dead back in the ground and he does so with barely any thought at all.
Sam wakes up in a werewolf hospital a little while later. Sean, one of Brid's brothers, is there with him as a guard. He offers to get Sam whatever he wants to to eat since he's a semi-hero right now and Sam requests waffles with two plates. Ashley joins them and enjoys her share of waffles and explains that Necromancers usually have guides and she's going to be his. Tia, Haley and Mrs. W visit, too, and Tia struggles with the harm she's caused Sam, but they're starting over now. When he's better, she promises to help track down his uncle Nick to break the rest of his bindings. Brid's father comes in and thanks Sam for helping his daughter and explains that he's in their care until he's fully healed. Then a lawyer, who is now Sam's lawyer, comes in and makes Sam sign a lot of paperwork. According to the Council, killing Douglas gives Sam all his assets. Great, just what he wants to own… a murder-house/his very own prison! He also temporarily gains Douglas's spot on the Council until either he can be voted in permanently or a suitable replacement can be. Finally, Brid is there. They kiss and she takes Sam down the hall to see Ramon. Ramon is chained to a bed with another of Brid's brothers watching over him. When he fell off the stairs, he landed on one of the vials that smashed in the floor. Remember all those tests they were running on Brid in the beginning? They were doing that with other creatures as well, and Ramon is now infected with were-bear blood. His body is fighting the change, so what will happen to him remains to be seen. At least he's alive though!
Sam has one last thing to contend with. Well, not really, but for the time being, he has one last thing to contend with. Brooke. As sad as it makes him, and Frank, he has to put her to rest, and Ashley has taught him how to do that. They go to the cemetery, but before Sam can raise Brooke's body, the detective shows up. They were supposed to speak tomorrow according to Sam's lawyer who was supposed to have handled all this business, but here he is. Sam has Frank show the detective Brooke's head who tells him everything she knows about her own murder. Surprisingly, the detective takes this all in stride. Sam summons Brooke's body and, head now properly in place, puts her to rest. Back at home, he goes to sleep. When he wakes up, he's shockingly greeted by… Brooke! Well, her ghost anyway. Ashley has convinced her to become another one of Sam's guides. Sam decides to move into Douglas's house with all his friends. His little apartment just isn't big enough for himself, Frank, Brooke's ghost and, hopefully soon, Ramon the Were-Bear.