|“||There are many wonders here, many secrets... Perhaps it's best we keep the library on lockdown, hmm, Ariston? Don't want Tamoras and those we've wronged biting back so soon.||”|
Xephyr Blackthorn (Zeh-furr Blak-Thornn) is the Human Founder of the Blackthorn Family Line. Feared and respected by his peers, enemies and friends alike, Xephyr was a force to be reckoned with. The son of two upper class members of Zarosian Society, Xephyr seemed to have it easy. He is married to Chloe Blackthorn, another human with green eyes and brown hair. As a Mage and a Warrior, he had deviations of how to use magic. As a member of the Cult of Mystics, a group of Mages coherently led by Ariston Everric, Xephyr was given time to study and write, and eventually he and his good friend created the Blackthorn's trademark magic and religion.
Born in the Zarosian City of Lassar in the late Second Age, Xephyr was born to two battlemages by the name Achille and Hermea. The two found that he was born with strange, glowing markings that disappeared within a few days. They shrugged it off and raised him as a normal magi of Zaros. Soon enough, he was taken from his parents to be trained in the religion itself and began earning his reputation as a battlemage.
Xephyr's magical prowess was balanced by his prowess with a blade. Soon enough, he was placed into the private Zarosian Military group known as the Dawn's Tide. Under the Infernal Demon, Dagon, he soon rose to the rank of Arch-Mage by proving his worth multiple times in combat. By the age of twenty four, he was paired up with the Legion of Shadows' younger premiere mage, Ariston Everric, and the head of Soulless, the Vyre known as Samael's army, Nikios Cross. The three together made a formidable team, when they could agree on things.
When they were unable to work together, they simply halted each others' work by attacking one another, and one such encounter led to an all out battle between the three of them. Both Xephyr and Nikios were unconscious as Ariston stood over them and awoke them. He had proved his superiority, and Xephyr, by his own code was forced to acknowledge him as superior. After this, Xephyr began to work in conjunction with Ariston's Agema. He even led some missions, knowing that Ariston and his wife Flavia would be raising their own children soon enough.
The Cult of Mystics
The Cult of Mystics was an illustrious group; even in times of war or peace, the Order still stood. Those who served different gods were all accepted into the order. The Cult preached equality and peace, a place for those to learn. Now with the time and necessary resources to attend the far off area, Ariston, Nikios and Xephyr all travelled to the the MagnusNexus via a special undergrond portal in modern day Asgarnia. There they were greeted by Tamoras Noctis, a powerful man of unknown age. This is where they would first meet Taleborne Leotrun and Elias Silverkin as well, as well as many others. The mages here all varied greatly in their skill, as well as their tact and religion.
However, the place was a haven for knowledge, a conclave. Though, there was dispute, there were several wards preventing combative magic from being invoked and weapons from being drawn within the halls of the Magnus Nexus. Even those with the ability to cast runeless magic would know it to be nigh impossible to cast magic. The trio travelled together, and watched each other's backs during all of this, seeing as they had little trouble elsewhere. Time spent in the Magnus Nexus was slowed almost to a stop from the world around, though it was more that the Nexus just moved at an increased rate of speed. This allowed those within to obtain vast knowledge without aging, nor without a great amount of time passing.
This is where Xephyr himself met a woman named Chloe Du Fontaine, a modern day Kandarin born Seer and a Guthixian Druid. A rocky relationship started at first, though Xephyr had found himself infatuated by simply the thought of Chloe. The two's relationship left Xephyr estranged from Nikios and Ariston, the latter of which had brought along his wife, Flavia to study as well.
Naturalistic Worship and Mysticism
The practice of Nature Worship is something viewed similarly to the ideals of Serenists and Guthixians of certain denominations, namely the Ithell Clan and the Druids of Taverley. There is, however, a darker spin on it. Although, this form is used in coupling with Witchcraft and the way its practitioners operate make them viewed more as Witches than any Guthixian Druid or Serenist Elf. It is a religion primarily written by Ariston Everric and Xephyr Blackthorn themselves;this is the version rewritten in certain areas by Ingram Everric and Elana Cross. It is what to most would be considered as a Pagan and Occult faith. Those who practice it are known as the Mother's Children and their Coven, the Coven of the Chosen.
To add, the religion itself is neither black nor white, good nor evil. The morality of the religion itself depends on the alignment of the one using it and so it will come out as the manifestation of one's morality in most cases, though most who practice it would be seen as having a neutral alignment. The Worship and Magics are highly tied together and it's thought that one cannot quite be performed without the use of the other. The main book of worship that holds all of the teachings is known as the Naturarcanum: a giant tome that can be shrunk and grown at will, while multiple copies have been created, only the heads of each coven are permitted to carry it.
Currently, in general numbers, the religion and pracitice itself has shrunk to only have one active Coven and they meet where they can and when they can, usually under a full moon at night at some obscure location to maximize the effectiveness of the rituals.
The Religion is highly centered on the worship of those believed to be the Forces of Nature. Each and every one is viewed to be archaic in some way, and many hints are given to them being the Elder Gods themselves, but there are more than that. To the Children, these deities are known as the Hallowed.
- The Mother- As with every Pantheon of gods, there must be a Chief Deity who watches over all others. The Mother is that of what all should be, the sky, she watches over all of those she calls her children. She is prayed to for the hope of fertility and prosperity.
- The Visionary- The visionary is the one who oversaw the creation of everything, he who thought to create all, calling the Smith and the Artist to do his work.
- The Smith- The Smith is the creator of the planet, with a mighty hammer she forged the world together into one large, blank sphere.
- The Artist- The Artist is he who wrote the landscape, placed the trees and shaped the mountains; he is the son of the Visionary.
- The Thief- He who commands those who would take from others to maintain the balance.
- The Light- He who brings light, most commonly known as the Sun.
- The Hunter- He who presides over game beasts. He is the one to pray to when you need aid during a hunt.
- The Destroyer- He who commands all of the destructive forces of Nature, the controller of the storms, the winds and the waves that may kill one another.
- The Darkness- In constant harmony or constant conflict, it is unknown to the practitioners of this religion, there is one who rules when there is an absence of the Light's presence.
- The Demise- As with most religions, Death is viewed as a force of nature. Death is only prayed to when the members of the Coven want someone, well... dead. He is seen mostly as forbidden to pray to. He is, though, the one to pray to during rituals to prevent death or resurrect the dead.
- The Collector- Working hand in hand with the Demise itself, the Collector is the one who goes around taking the souls of the each individual taken by the Demise.
The religion itself focuses highly upon the Worship of the Forces of Nature as a whole, those who inhabit nature and those who have passed on.
- Harmony- Similarly to Guthixian Teachings, this religion stresses the need for balance and harmony with one another, though it may be viewed as more extreme, as those who practice it would see to overthrow all other governments to form one neutral New World Order. This is, of course, only in theory as those who practice it suffer from a form of laziness when it comes to interaction with Government and higher orders aside from the "Forces".
- Ancestral Worship- It is believed that when a relative passes on, rather than being brought to the Grim Underworld, those who follow the faith, as the religion is coloquially referred to, are instead fused with the Soul of the World, the Anima Mundi. With this, they become those whom those above chose to protect their respective areas of nature. The most revered are Nature Spirits.
- Living Beings- All Humans, Animals and Vegetation that live are part of the balance of nature, and it is seen that all are to work together to maintain the balance. Though, when taking the life of another, the heart must be destroyed or offered up to the old gods, whether it be human or animals; vegetation for all intents and purposes is excluded from this rule for obvious reasons.
- Pacifism- It is to be known to all practitioners of this religion to practice pacifism, which is thought to be that disputes should be solved by peaceful means. However, if someone is aiming to harm the friends or family of someone who might practice it, no quarter that wasn't granted to them should be given back.
- Mysticism- All of the abilities and things you are able to do through the use of magic are gifts from the higher powers, the Forces of Nature.
- Freedom- An Ethic as well as a belief, the religion stresses freedom in all aspects. What this means is dependent on one's moral values
- The religion itself is to be protected at all costs and it is okay to lie for the protection of the religion.
- Spilling the blood of a higher form of creation (I.E. Dragons, Bears, Unicorns) means that a sacrifice must be performed as soon as possible and a new ritual must be performed and a new site constructed in order to appease the gods.
- The Deities are the utmost and come before all.
- Those who practice it are simply known as Witches and Warlocks.
- The Covens are tightly knit groups made up of Witches and Warlocks alike, unlike many Covens, this Coven type is made up of those who can defend themselves instead of needing a designated defender.
The Religion focuses highly on worship of the Deities and the Nature Spirits and the worship is always Ritualistic
- A practitioners abilities must be renewed through prayer and sacrifice at the phases of the moon, at every full moon is when the rejuvenation is the strongest.
- The Sacrifice can be made in groups or individually, as long as it is being done. Though, the individual at the center of the ritual receives the most power. These groups are known mostly as Covens.
- Rituals can take place anywhere, though a new ritual site must be constructed each time, that being a makeshift altar of sorts.
- The Inner Circle is the performer of the main rituals, and only the most practiced and mature members of the Coven are allowed within the Inner Circle.
- Due to the heavy freedom given by the religion, those who are its practitioners are not highly open about what they do and do not openly convert due to the nature of Witch Hunters. One must be rather close to a Witch for it to be known.
- Once Converted, the new convert must be brought to the leader of the Coven and kept in waiting until the next full moon. And when the moon is at its highest point, the blooding ritual is performed
- The blooding requires the sacrifice of the life of another living being (usually a larger animal such as a wolf) at the same time, if it is messed up, then the potential coven member will perish alongside the creature that was sacrificed.
- As long as it doesn't harm another being, do what you wish to do.
- Do not use your gifts to harm another individual, there are other methods for it. In the end, someone who abuses their abilities will be taken by the Deities and returned to the dust from whence they came.
- Your guidance will come from the spirits, that is the will of the Deities.
|“||As he knelt beside her, he clenched his hand around the amulet, squeezing on the edge so that the dragon horn would form just a slight incision. Once this was achieved, his arm extended to her wound, placing his hand against it, amulet touching it as well. A gentle whisper of a quick chanting escaped his lips, his skin paling visibly as the veins began to stand out in his forehead and neck as well as other parts with skin showing. With the chanting, were one able to see through 'the veil of shadow' they would note two, robed figures standing around the him, one looking to be channeling its energy into him, the other, draining it away. Sweat loomed at his brow now, before a more profuse perspiration overtook him. Looking to him, one would be able to note the pallor and what seemed to be a look of great agony on his features as a tear of blood trickled from his eye. Still, he continued on, and she'd only be able to feel a somewhat pleasant, but out of the ordinary tingle as her wound began to close. Blood trickled from the other eye, some coming from his mouth as well as he ceased his chanting. Giving her a weak smile, the veins in his face and body returned to normal as his eyes rolled back into his head, and he collapsed on his back. For a moment, the two robed figures stared upon the man's body, only fading into nothingness as the woman looked onto them.||”|
–An on-looker's account on Blackthorn healing.
As prior stated, the Mysticism practiced by members of this Coven cannot be viewed as black or white. Though, it would be considered a form of magical practice that would be outlawed by the traditional magic users at the Wizard's Tower. The contents within the Naturarcanum, which holds both the beliefs, doctrines and the mystical abilities offered by practitioners of the religion.
The Blackthorn Amulet
The Blackthorn Amulet is a pendant/necklace that is given to all members at the family at about the age of ten. The raw amulet itself is lined with slots to place gems, and is lined with the visage of a duelling Wolf and Dragon. The amulet is lightweight, and made initially from silver. The enchantments are made with any variety that one could expect from gem enchantments, and the strength depends on what kind of gemstones are held within it. It can be lined with teleports, attunement, and whatever the wearer wishes to use within reason. Practitioners of the magic itself tend to use other items to teleport, including teleportation tablets and other amulets, rather than wasting enchantment room on the amulet itself.
The Abilities taught by this art can be viewed as very powerful, which is why it is ruled out of hurting other individuals. Most of the younger generations will be found knowing some of these skills. With the taxation of magic, if given necessary permission and rights, a mage may use the energy of another mage around them to amplify the strength of a spell.
- Pyromancy- It isn't uncommon that a Witch or Warlock will know fire magic, as it is the basic form of Self Defense in the teachings of Pyromancy, and it is one of the main studies. Every member of the Coven is going to know this. It is thought to be the Mother's gift to her creations.
- Flame Control- From already created fires, the user can manipulate flames to how they wish by way of runes, or without, though it takes a lot more focus to use runeless.
- Fire Creation- Through use of more runes, the user is able to create fire in the traditional way of fire spells.
- Ritualistic Fire- Fire is used heavily in rituals, in a very ceremonious way, but there is no specific "sacred fire" as all fire is considered sacred in a way.
- Cruomancy(Hematomancy)- Blood magic is highly used in rituals, as the sacrifices are "given to the Divine beings."
- Divining- As a practitioner of this religion is given the ability to "divine" the future or the past through the gifts and can be used if one uses the "essence" of another living creature, be that the sap of a tree or the blood of an animal or person. As most are Seers with the inability to control their inheritance, they are seen using this when they truly wish to Divine.
- Cardiomancy- A deviation of the magic of the body and the magic of blood comes the magic of the heart, which gives the user the ability to have power over it. It is highly ritualistic and is used to extract the heart during rituals, mostly used on animals, it can also be used on people, but it is highly advised against. This magic is only known by the most trusted members of the Coven.
- Necromancy- With the effort of multiple members of the Coven, a dead person or loved one is believed to be able to be resurrected with the proper rituals.
- Summoning- A distortion of the traditional form of summoning, and with enough power from members of the Coven, a demon could be summoned.
- Healing- Healing is most possibly the most taxing piece of magic, as it sacrifices the same amount of energy that it takes to heal the person. Coven members always try to find others who know how to heal or use the natural methods of healing.
- Conjuration- This is the form of either taking things from elsewhere, as many mages can do, or the form of conjuring "spiritual weapons" which is something that is rarely ever seen.
- Arcane Magic- A more practiced Witch or Warlock of the Coven will be seen using different sigils for different purposes and for whatever they wish. To do so, they need the proper time to charge and then must place their hand where they wish to plant the sigil.
- Teleportation- A spell that literally involves casting a summoning/conjuration spell on one's self. Used only in an emergency, teleportation can also be used on others at the cost of the user's energy.
- Alchemy- Concentrated, one can alchemise anything so long as they have the right ingredients to exchange it with, and the physical energy to do so.
- Taxation- The forms of magic used here that aren't super traditional (aside from Cardiomancy) are highly taxing. Annoyingly the ones that benefit others in a normal sense, especially healing, are the worst for one to use and can result in death through over-exertion.
- An eye for an eye- At the cost of healing another person, the Witch or Warlock will be placed into the same amount of pain that the person they healed was in. If the person was mortally wounded, then the mortal wound will be taken on by them; the healer will begin to bleed out of their eyes, nose and mouth and will be placed into great strain until they themselves perish.
- Ariston Everric- Ariston is a rival and a close friend to Xephyr. Together with Nikios Cross, the three made many enemies, and many friends along their journeys.
- Nikios Cross- Nikios is both a rival and a close friend to Xephyr.
- Flavia Everric- Ariston's wife, the only person closer to Ariston than Xephyr. The two had a healthy friendship, due to Xephyr and Nikios' habit of taking care of missions while Ariston and Flavia were unable to do so.
- William Blackthorn- A descendant of Xephyr's, the two have not met yet.
- Caeden Everric- A descendant of Ariston, Xephyr and Nikios, Caeden has not been met by Xephyr as of yet.
- Caviness Everric- A descendant of Ariston, Xephyr and Nikios, Caviness has not been met by Xephyr as of yet.