For a while, once a week our resident necromancer Maxillae the Mad would take time out of her schedule of raising the dead and commanding the forces of evil to offer her insights and advice to the denizens of the multiverse. She’s been quiet for a while but there’s no one quite so stubborn as one death couldn’t keep in their grave and so long as there’s a letter, Maxillae is the necromancer with the answer. Not long ago, we had someone Speak with Dead to get in touch with her again, and she’s agreed to come back out of her coffin for a heartfelt response.
The necromancer with the answer is back
Dear Maxillae, scholar, mentor and muse,
I write to you as a field physician and herbalist embracing his recent foray into the understanding, manipulation and enjoyment of the undead condition.
After unearthing your missives, advice and correspondence to your host of relatable, devious and delightful devotees I am compelled to reach out and express my gratitude for your tutelage, although received vicariously and indirectly. Through diligent study and a cursed spellbook — graverobbing gives me quite the thrill — my pursuits have yet to bear more fruit than having simple conversations with the residents of mausoleums, crypts and those who are pre-interred at my local morgue.
On the topic of deception, aesthetics and general human society, have you ever undertaken (ha-ha) the prospect of sprucing up specific skeletons to be less ominous looking to the rest of society? I’ve been toying with potpourri, stuffing and tar as a means of concealing their skeletal sounds and inhuman scent. My patrons and fellow adventurers, this is not quite sufficient.
Please find enclosed my homage to you for inspiring a mere mortal to greater necromantic heights — a lye soaked, scrimshawed and dressed skeletal spinster. All bones have been cleansed and treated with aromatic herbs, oils and incense for your aesthetic pleasure, and needs but a touch of your signature magic for usage. I trust the reinforced crate has kept all pieces in pristine condition. I took great pleasure in cleansing the subject and experimenting with different outfits. I do hope the black shawl with golden trim pleases you!
I fully intend to further my craft and hope I might stumble across more of your writings in future.
Your newly-obsessed fanatic,
Doctor Lavender Trask
Most Esteemed Doctor Lavender Trask,
I have received your letter in good health, or at least what passes for such as a member of the living dead. Unlife has treated me well, and want you to know that this missive delighted these old bones.
The art of creating a skeleton for the sake of interaction with the general populace is a very old one and a respectable endeavor. I will tell you that if we are speaking of a skeleton in particular, the humans of the world can be quite taken with them if you imbue them with enough life. When I say ‘life’ in this case, I do not mean in the sense of flowing blood and pulsing meat, of course, but a spark of manic movement.
One can have a fully naked and creaking skeleton, but if it gets up and does a little dance, humans will gasp and point and laugh as if it is all part of the same delightful show. It is less about the draperies, I have found, and more about the style. A nice pinstriped suit, for example, and a few tap dancing lessons and you will find most of your more mainstream colleagues far more at home to your skeletal companions.
I will tell you, doctor, that your work is exquisite and I hope with full sincerity you continue to tend to that which has passed with the devotion you have shown this particular corpse. She will find a place of favor amid my shambling throng. I look forward to seeing where you go from here. You have a true gift for the lovely macabre.
Maxillae the Mad
Do you have a question for Maxillae the Mad?
If you have anything you would like to inquire of our resident necromancer, leave your inquisitions in the comments below, send them via the Nerdarchy contact form or simply tag us on social media and include #SpeakWithDead so we can get these matters of grave importance to Maxillae. If you’ve got a curiosity for the macabre take a visit to the Death Pit where a dark drama draws heroes into a web of intrigue. When you sign up for Nerdarchy the Newsletter you’ll get a coupon code for $9.99 you can use to add new monsters and NPCs, magic items and the Necrogrim Otherworldly Patron to your game along with an adventure you can check out here.