Of the sects among the Keepers, the Watchers of Tarentum were one of the smaller factions, but had also produced many of the advances and insights in the powers of Necromancy. The Watchers focused almost exclusively on the study, creation and evolution of life and death, as well as existence beyond death. They utilized their own insights and the insights of their servants "from beyond" to cultivate new powers of life, death and destruction for Tarentum.
The sect of the Watchers were generally directed personally by the dark and powerful Master Zero. It had been his voice that spoke for the Watchers, and he who gave direction to them. In recent times, with Master Zero frequently spending more and more time away from the Clan to seek out Phalanthus, Master Bloodfyre had taken it upon himself to fill Master Zero's role until he returned. The Watchers did not act as a whole; rather, they had unifying goals to achieve, and recognized a duty to assist and take tasks from Master Zero or Master Bloodfyre. As a whole, the Watchers recognized the more public power and direction of the Death Dealers over Tarentum, but there were some Watchers who had stepped up to influence the Clan personally; Master Bloodfyre, twice Consul of Tarentum, was one of these such Watchers.
With the destruction of the Keepers, and the reversion of Tarentum to the status of an Independent House, the reigning leadership officially swept away the practice of Necromancy, and outlawed its study as relating to those Keepers who had sought to manipulate and subjugate Tarentum. Recently, however, the practice of Necromancy has been unearthed again. In fact, the dark arts had never been turned from completely. Several of Tarentum's eldest members continued to practice the arts they were so deeply connected to. While there is no official connection between Tarentum and Necromancy any longer, the Brotherhood's premier experts in all matters pertaining to life, death and beyond remain in Tarentum.
Into The Darkness
The majority of Tarentum tended to follow the path of the Death Dealers. The more-direct applications of death, and even the physical addiction to killing and torture that sometimes followed the Dealers was a strong drug, and was amazingly inviting to the darkest members of the Brotherhood. For the Watchers, the motivations were perhaps more... subtle. The typical Watcher joined the sect for the power of knowledge, and perhaps for the emotional stimulation of holding the powers of existence within the palms of their hands.
Those who chose to step onto the path of the Watchers did so in darkness. Tarenti who communicated their wishes to join the Watchers were snatched from their rooms, or vanished from missions, or other scenarios. They were taken blindfolded and gagged, and brought to The Sanctuary. No member of Tarentum ever revealed the location of this stronghold to anyone outside of the Clan, but it was whispered that The Sanctuary was home to two of the most powerful Necromancers known, Masters Shade and Tel'Ratha. Within the Sanctuary, the prospective Watcher was forced to undergo trials by these mentors of the sect. Failed candidates were said to have their souls stripped from their flesh, and bound to the power and will of another Watcher. Those who were accepted into the sect spent a month in constant study within The Sanctuary, and were then returned to their House leaders, who assisted the new Watcher in finding a new mentor to train with in the darkest arts.
Once a Tarenti was accepted into the Watchers sect, they were bound both to the goals of the sect, and to continued service to the Tarentum's ascension.
Goals of the Watchers
Every new member of the sect was initiated into the knowledge and practices of the Watchers, and were also instructed in the goals of the sect. The general goals of the Watchers were as follows.
1) The study of existence. The Watchers had their own “preferred” areas of existence to study, but as a whole, they sought to understand all levels of existence, from life, death, all things between, and beyond, to empower themselves and Tarentum. Most often, Watchers would “cultivate” pets across the various stages of existence; most Watchers had living pets, undead pets, spirit pets, and others. Studying these forms of existence, and utilizing the viewpoints of their pets, helped them to understand greater facets of the powers they wielded, as well as to create new methods of creating “life” or death, as well as influencing the various aspects of existence.
2) Explore the unknown. Part of the mystery of death and beyond is the fact that it is largely unknown. As a sect, the Watchers were dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of the unknown planes of existence, as well as the mysteries of those entities who dwell there. Each Watcher was encouraged to delve particularly into death, and the plane of the dead, as much as possible. Though they studied all forms of existence in general, it was believed that the greatest mysteries lay beyond the barriers of “life.”
3) Raise the armies of Phalanthus. Phalanthus was a mythical figure among all Keepers, but the Watchers especially looked towards the return of their Lord. According to Masters Shade and Tel’Ratha, Phalanthus would need an army to do his bidding when he returned and restored the Keepers to their seat of power. As such, the Watchers had been commanded to raise his army. However, Phalanthus did not rely on some of the weaker undead that Tarentum was capable of creating already. Instead, the Watchers had to prepare the army of their Lord, and learned to craft much greater, more powerful soldiers to serve Phalanthus. To this end, most Watchers believed it was their duty to experiment with the creation of the undead and the calling and manipulation of the Restless to raise the army of Phalanthus. In effect, the dark projects happening within the Asylum were aimed at just that end.
The Role of the Watchers
The Death Dealers used their powers in martial roles as often as the Watchers used their own powers in research and progression of existence. However, the Watchers had many powers and abilities at their disposal that sometimes found use during times of war. Many Watchers preferred to allow the Death Dealers to take the front lines, and enhanced their more combat-oriented brothers from afar. And yet, there were those Watchers who delighted in combat as much as life and death, and could be seen alongside the Death Dealers in battle.
Raising armies of mindless corpses or calling forth the Restless dead was often the role of the Watcher, who then acted to command the lifeless legions raised. Many Watchers would also accompany those in the front lines as they used their powers to turn the tides of health and life in their own favor, taking the life force and endurance of their enemies and transferring it to their own wounded. A Watcher would act much like a puppet master for his own Risen, but also in ensuring that the Clan's forces continued to survive and wreak havoc upon their foes.
The Watchers and House Tarentum
While the study of Necromancy was shunned publicly for some time, there were certain members of Tarentum who remained dedicated to the darkest arts, and who continued to practice and study Necromancy. Sith Bloodfyre was perhaps the most public about remaining a practitioner of the former arts of Tarentum, and with his return to the head of Tarentum's Household, there has been a shift to the public acknowledgment that some of Tarentum still practice these arts heavily. And yet, while individual members may choose to study Necromancy, as a whole, the Keepers remain in the past.
However, the former sects that many of Tarentum adhered to, that being the Watchers and Death Dealers, remains to some effect. As they are returning to the public eye, it remains to be seen what role they will play in the coming future of the House.
The Watchers of Tarentum
Powers of the Watchers
While the Necromancers of Tarentum varied in skill and ability, there were some powers that were common among each sect of the Clan of Life and Death. The following list of powers were those used most-commonly by the Watchers, but each individual would sometimes vary according to personal tastes and which Master they learned from.
- Level One
- Level Two
- Level Three
- Level Four
- Level Five
- Call the Guardian (or)
- Summon the Soul
- Level Six
- Compel the Shade (or)
- The Underlings
- Level Seven
- Rise of the Favored (or)
- The Harrowing
- Level Eight
- Call of the Hungry Dead (or)
- Wall of the Dead
- Level Nine
- Call the Hordes of Anubis
- Level Ten