I am answering random questions today about world building, over on Reddit and decided to take my answers from there and expand upon them even further over here. So that's what this page is. Me rambling on about various aspects of world building techniques I use when writing the Quaraun series. The questions I am answering are embedded here. Clicking the link in the embedded question will take you to the original Reddit page where you can see the original answer along with other people's answers. If you wish to comment, you can do so on the Reddit page where a place to do so is provided.
not a ritual that demands child sacrifice, but rather a ritual that demands the sacrifice of the thing you love the most, is the Necromancy resurrection ritual. Resurrection requires an exchange of souls from one who is alive to one who is dead in order to bring them back to life (note - resurrection is different then animating a corpse/creating a shambling dead/zombie - resurrection is the restoration of life).
The resurrection ritual, can only be done by the person who most loves the dead person being resurrected (do a parents of a dead child, the lover of a spouse, etc.)
In other words you can't go to a wizard and say : "Here, I want you to resurrect my wife", because the wizard don't love her, you do, so you have to do the spell yourself. Though you can go to a wizard to find out how to do the spell if you are uncertain how it should be done.
The problem with the spell, is that in order to bring back the dead person you love, you must also kill the living person whom you also love.
So, a man who loves both his child, and his dead wife, must kill the child, to restore life back to his wife.
If however, say he had a secret lover whom was his true love that he loved more then his wife, but he also loved his wife, then he killed his child to resurrect his wife, the spell would not work, because he loved the secret lover more then he loved the child, meaning, it was the secret lover he should have killed in exchange for his wife, not his child.
The reasoning behind it, is the belief that true love is the most powerful magic of all and that true love can work miracles, thus someone you truly love can be brought back to life, but, you have to prove your love by killing the other thing that was a rival to that love, leaving nothing else in your way.
If, for example, your wife died and you loved her, but you had not 1 child, but rather 4 children and you loved all 4 children equally, you'd have to kill all 4 children, because nothing that rivals your love for the dead wife, can be left alive.
I know, it's horrible, but that's the point... the more horrible it is, the more triggering it is for the reader and that's the reaction you are going for in a situation like this. You WANT to grab your reader's heart and throttle it. Getting a rise from your reade, means you've done some damned good story telling. So the more horrible you make the situation, the more unredeemable you make the character in the situation, the more you pull the reader into the story to find out HOW IN THE HELL are you going to redeem him from this sick fuck situation he did?
This ritual becomes the primary plot in the Quaraun series. Because he had a wife from an arranged marriage, whom he did not love, but they had 4 children, whom he did love. He also had a lover who was the person he actually wanted to marry but had not been allowed to do so.
When the lover dies, he is devastated. While he was already a wizard, he was not a Necromancer and had never practiced or studied any of the Dark Arts so knew nothing of Death Magic, Blood Magic, Demonology, etc. He just knew that his lover was dead, his heart was broken, and he was willing to look to anything to find a way to bring his lover back to life. He ends up sacrificing his 4 children and using their blood, hearts, and souls to restore life to his lover.
The ritual however, also requires the sacrifice being done with a very specific dagger made centuries ago by the same Necromancer who created the spell. The sacrifice itself requires cutting off the head and cutting out the heart and collecting all the blood. The whole thing is very specific, with very specific steps that must be done.
It also requires the person doing the spell to slice there wrists and drain their own blood. The blood of the dead to be resurrected, is mixed with the blood of the spell caster and the blood of the person being sacrificed. Because of the way the caster has to injure themselves, the spell is high risk and they will die during it if they are not careful.
The spell works, but now he's seen as a dangerous criminal and is wanted for the murder of his children. He ends up murdering his wife, his father, his uncle, (by stabbing them each with a dagger and cutting their heads off) and then killing every one in the village (by poisoning the food supply).
As it turns out, what he did not know, is that the dagger itself is a cursed magic item, and once someone uses it to resurrect someone by killing someone else, then uses it to drain their own blood... the dagger "locks on" to their blood, and they become compelled to never let the dagger out of their site. The dagger takes over their mind and starts telling them to kill people. The dagger is possessed by the soul of a serial killer and it causes any one who owns it to become possessed by the serial killer's soul and suddenly someone who would never hurt a fly, becomes a bloody killer. But after he kill they have no memory of it (because it was the soul of the serial killer that was actually killing people and not them)
So, after he kills his children to resurrect his lover... then, without realizing it, he kills his wife, father, and uncle. For years he believes some one else murdered them, until one day he realizes that every where he goes people are dying the same way, and he ends up researching the dagger and finding out what it is and then tries to destroy it, but not until after he's already killed lots of people with it.
The tables are turned later on in the series, when he has another wife (his 3rd) and has 2 sons with her and another on the way. He has finally settled down, finally has a family, and they are living peaceful quiet lives, when one day without any warning, they are in the garden and suddenly a portal opens up, and a small group of soldiers attacks them killing his pregnant wife and 2 sons.
His mind reeling with the memory of the children he killed and the deaths of the sons now, he lashes out in a fit of rage against the country (Ongadada) that sent the soldiers, killing every last one of them, except for the queen, whom he kidnaps and keeps as his 4th wife. He repeats the resurrection spell, but by this time he has learned how to do it by taking the thing you hate the most and putting their souls into the ones you love.
The spell backfires, condemning his wife soul to be fused into their house (The Twighlight Manor) bringing the house to life. The 2 sons, now resurrected by evil souls of the people of Ongadada, come back as blood thirsty Liches (King Vielder and Roderic's father Melaca). The 2 Liches in turn go one to get a hold of a star ship that they use to wipe of all life on 3 planets in the Vesonta solar system.