[A transcript from "Residue - The basics of necromancy"]

[…] All living things have souls, however it would appear that "intelligent" beings such as Humans, Elves, Wolfen, Heliots, Carnians (etc. etc.) have "stronger" souls, at least when it comes to the art of necromancy.

When things are "alive", that is, when the soul haven't left them yet. You need bodily contact to manipulate it and even that comes to great limitations. While the body itself is relativity easy to manipulate, the soul will not simply "bend" to the will of the necromancer.
You can't control a live body with necromancy for example, but you can easily kill the person by disabling his hearth if you touch your victim. The soul is a powerful barrier against many types of magic, but is also a great source for it.

Some might say necromancers control live and death, but that's not simply true. We could not control a live person after all and neither could we control a thing that never was alive, such as a stone. We control the things that are right between life and death.

Once a soul have left a body, it leaves traces of "residue" or "soul energy" within the dead body. This residue strengthens magic and makes the body a very suitable host of magic once the soul have left it. This is why dead bodies are so easily controlled by magic. As mentioned in many other books, without physical contact, you can't infuse a living body with magic. All magic must come from the wizard herself.

Residue is as mentioned, very useful for all elemental users, especially humanoid residue as it's more potent then the ones of animals.
It makes you able to fully control all the parts of the dead body, from the skin to the brain. This means you can move body parts, much like telekinesis but much, much easier. Infusing your will into these bodies will make them rise again to their original form, but to a experienced wizard these bodies can easily be modified to preform better to whatever task you have for it.

For beginners however, it is best to break apart the body first, manually. Each part have it's own use, only the fool would willingly throw away something that carries residue, each part must be saved, never forget that.

Residue have also other uses, beside power it gives us over dead bodies, residue is for example used in the creation of magical artifacts. Body parts are melted down with the mental and with further manipulation of the infused residue, it can be made a part of the metal. All most powerful artifacts are made this way.

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