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The Hummingbird

Curses and Hexes

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Learning to cast a curse usually takes more effort and energy than it's worth. A curse requires direct contact with the target, and may be blocked by armor or even a thick layer of clothing. If successful, however, a curse can be highly effective, for a curse is meant to bring swift death to the chosen individual. If successfully hit, a rune relative to the curse appears on the target's body. Death follows seconds to minutes after accompanied by great pain.

Dispelling a curse is surprisingly easy and in some cases unnecessary. As soon as the curse takes effect, its strength begins to fade, the rune slowly vanishing although the pain will not diminish until the rune is completely gone. If a target manages to survive for more than an hour, it is likely the target will survive the curse and eventually be rid of it. Strangely, if a curse is survived, that particular curse no longer affects the individual in his or her lifetime. What makes the curse truly dangerous is the speed in which it acts and the many varieties.

A hex is synonymous for a curse only for the uninformed. The casting of hexes were made illegal for being a form of severe and cruel torture rather than a cause of death. A hex cannot be blocked by armor or clothing; the spell may even pass through a shield to embed itself upon the target's hand, again in the form of a rune. Once attached, the hex will cause immense and excruciating agony even as it deliberately keeps the target alive. The target may suffer for many months before the hex kills the target.

The only way to remove a hex is to manually remove the rune associated with it. This means either burning or cutting it away, but there have been instances where the rune stains even the bone, making removal impossible short of amputating a limb.

An interesting side effect of actually surviving a hex is the ability to cast the hex even without prior knowledge of it. Unlike a curse, however, the hex can still affect the target.

[U][B]Aetherbrand:[/B] [/U]this class of highly forbidden hexes cannot be removed, dispelled, or countered. They are only successful if they touch flesh but once they do, aetherbrands are permanent. Their marks are very large, often covering large portions of the body, even areas that were not initially touched by the spell. The marks may take the shape of anything from archaic runes to highly complex art.

Aetherbrands cause extreme pain throughout the victim's life, eventually slaying said victim in what may be many years. Until the victim dies, however, she or he is granted a "gift", including but not limited to exceptional strength, speed, sight, etc.

Seers of the Arcantian religion are sometimes thought to be results of an aetherbrand experiment that has continued through the blood, where the "gift" was clairvoyance.

[B]Adepts: [/B]Adepts are mages from years past, having existed countless generations ago when magic was the only law man and nature abided by. They were powerful beyond all others, capable of weaving spells unimaginable and possessing an affinity for magic no others could dream of. Opening gates to other realms to transmutating the physical, from raising up the dead to calling down the spirits, it seemed the Adepts were immune to any kind of danger that might threaten their existence.

Adepts have long since died out. Whatever their immunities they were not invulnerable to the passage of time and the waning of blood.

[B]Candle Lighter:[/B] an affectionate if somewhat teasing name for a person who has a feel for magick, yet is either so inexperienced or out of touch with it that the best he/she can do is light a candle. Sometimes all a Candle Lighter needs is more training; other times, he just has no talent for the finer arts.

Extra Notes on Various Curses
[B]Mage's Academy Guide[/B]

The Mage's Academy of Celin City is a first-class school for aspiring mages and those gifted in the magical arts. Like any college and university, payments are necessary, but payment plans and flexible loans are available. Options such as taking on jobs benefiting the school itself in return for classes are also available, and is often the best choice for students whose parents are unable to afford the base cost of tuition.

The Academy is a cluster of buildings, varying in size, but most are quite large. A building set with comfortable dorms are reserved for students and teachers who live too far away to go home in between classes and in-school seasons. The other buildings are lecture halls, demonstration rooms, and chambers set up with magical shields for offensive spellcasting and potentially dangerous practices.

The first classes a student takes is generally one lecture class a day. This class begins by explaining the laws and rules of the mages, covering the history of magic and how it works. It explains each type of magic, such as the elemental magics, in depth and how they affect each other and why. Spell circles are also introduced later; students are expected to know basic spell circle designs and able to explain what each design means. Live demonstrations by the headmaster will be made, and visitations by other mages are a frequent occurrence.

At the end of the first season, students will take an exam covering in detail all that they learned. A passing score indicates they are ready to advance; a score that is not satisfactory holds no consequence but a requirement that they retake what they did not demonstrate sufficient knowledge in.

At this time passing students will be introduced to the core elements and basic spellcasting of simple spells of the[I] base elements[/I]: Earth, Water, Wind, Fire, Lightning, Light, and Dark. Several master mages for each of these elements are chosen and the students divided among them, rotating throughout the day so that a balance of learning is achieved. Students are further introduced to the study of the elements and coincinding spell circles, as well as casting spells and creating magical objects. Home assignments involve first identifying spells contained in a object; a glowing glass ball for example may contain a light spell and fire spell. A student will be expected to identify both spells and furthermore be expected to explain how the spells work together and affect on another. Advice, private tutoring, and general help is provided by the headmaster and master mages, as well as advanced students.

As the student progresses, he or she is encouraged to pick a particular area of magic with which to focus on. This may be anything form focusing on a particular element to focusing on a particular type of casting (e.g., healing or defensive magic). This area of focus will be the primary concern for the student; while the other practices will not be neglected, the majority of the time will be spent expanding understanding of the student's chosen area.

When the student proves to be experienced and competent enough, the student will be taught to cast upper-class spells and promoted in rank (apprentice to journeyman to master). This is when the high-security buildings are used. Students are taken inside these buildings, surrounded by shields and accompanied at all times by a master mage, and taught to cast within these shields spells of high attack power and spells of a high-energy level. If not surrounded and protected by these shields, these spells have a risk of self-harm and external damage. Students are forbidden to cast such dangerous spells until graduating at a certain level.

Advanced students proceed to learn continuously advanced spells, keeping in mind their area of focus. As they learn, they are introduced to combinations of magic. Combinations are known as Tiers. Tier One means casting a spell involving only one element; Tier Two means casting a spell using two; Tier Three means, three, and so on. The highest is Tier Eight.

At a high level students are introduced to the highest level of magic, known as Alta. Alta is the magic every living being has within itself; the magic manifests in the soul and is the magic that holds the ability to control all the other elements. Usually used in conjunction with the base elements but ignored, by itself Alta can be used to cast the most dangerous of spells. Even when used by itself Alta is always considered Tier Eight.

The headmaster, Kevinar Reyse, is at the moment a Archmage of Tier Eight as well as an accomplished master of the other elements. He takes a hand-on approach and close guidance with his students, keeping an eye on students who prove to be especially skilled in certain areas or particular good at certain magics. Occasionally, a student with powers beyond the normal mage (Sensers, Va'Elar, etc.) are identified and specific teachers of these gifted people are sent for.

When deemed ready, the students are journeymen level are given the Master rank, and may either pursue their study or enter the world of the spellcasters.

Rough Timeline
First Era
Creation of Genesaris: First Gods Selenka and Rasihl form the land of Genesaris, the Elemental gods
Life begins in the North and spreads to the outer lands[I]
(another dominant belief; Vihij of Darkness, Ekle of Light, and Uyie of the Gray, form from nothingness. These old gods formed Night and Day and then the Elemental Lords, vanishing thereafter. The Elemental, Elder gods formed Valucre and Life, until only Zare was left.)[/I]
Peacetime; the Colonization; general factions are formed, royal houses, etc.
Rebels; Edgemasters, Stealthmasters

The Ancient War
False "god" rolls in and begins to gather devout followers. Corruption spreads throughout the land.
War against the god; first alliance among the Edge, Stealth, and Phantomblades.
God Salakahr vanquished and sealed, land is restored.

Second Era; First Great War
Population of the Four Lands; Great North, Cold South, Majestic East, Glorious West
North begins to expand and push its limits
North takes over the most influential council positions among all lands
North assassinates Cold South lords
Cold South lords kill and raze royal houses of the North
North declares War
Great North vs. South; National War
South is destroyed
Great North rules Genesaris
East, west and south ally; pushes North back to where it belongs. UnionCity and Council is born; now the Five Lands

Era of the Civil Wars
Various civil wars in cities and between cities and city-states rise; most notable is North/east vs. Southwest. War over land, culture, traditions, religion.
Airships created by Uhltoria, piloted by Krysta Uhltoria and Ryer Shantell
Godhanger ends the war: Magestorm sweeps away airships
Formation of the First Altus Arcantians
Prophecy of the Black Hourglass Dream
Arcantium and seer born; religion of the Arcantian born and cemented
Arcantium rises to godhood

Magestorm Years
Magestorm sweeps the east, forms the Bloodmages.
Magestorm sweeps cities and lands, forming new creatures, starting and putting out fires, elemental creatures, life forms, etc.
Another magestorm, causes just an earthquake, apparently no true effect on the surface

Third Era: Era of the Darkness
The barrier of Genesaris fails and exposes it to other lands; Terrenus, Tullus Mater, Iselyr
Seeing more chances for power, another war started by the South, Doesn't last long. (war involving Super Eclipse and Kay Elias)
First Shot Fired; Solar kidnaps Odin Haze
Haze escapes
Solar punished; Odin Haze takes Solar "home".
"The Odd Couple"
Odin detroys the Darkness at some point
Justin awakens as the Black Hourglass Dream, with Night as his Seer
Eternal Night sweeps Genesaris, causing mass damage
Light is returned; Altus Arcantians declare war on Odin Haze
Solar builds the first airship since the Era of the Civil Wars; Salt Pie 2 :)
Blade Sweeping; Arcantians win
Eleos; Gaians kinda win. Phyrric victories on both sides

Awakening of Solar as the Black Hourglass; he doesn't know it. His Seer, Zane, does.
Fusion of Solar and Vikturiel, the missing fourth High Lord

Aletheiar trots over to the new rise of Orisia and the Black Queen...

[spoiler]Early in the [B]Second Era of Genesaris[/B] airships were created by a woman known as [B]Krysta Uhltoria[/B]. She was a genius engineer of her time, a scientist of magitech and pure technology both, studying the fluxuations of energies and the powers of the [B]Exalta Crystals[/B]. Her goal was to provide transportation that did not involve mounts or gateways, and her first successful experiment was the airship.

The [B]first airship was called the Iris[/B], an ungainly bi-plane sized craft barely capable of flight, powered by several Exalta Crystals implanted all over the body and wings. Yet although barely, the fact that it was capable of flight allowed Uhltoria to continue her research, gaining the support and aid of other master engineers. Eventually, Exalta Engines and different airship designs were created of all varying sizes for transport, striving for better functionality, greater weight and space capacity, and more efficient use of the fuel available. Working together, airships quickly became a fascinating subject of magitech.

When the [B]War of the Northeast and Southwest[/B] began, it was not long before airships were suggested as [B]war vessels[/B]. Laughter met this suggestion, for although a fine transportation system, airships were not thought to be stable enough to carry, much less efficiently fire, weapons upon the fleet-footed armies and mounted cavalries of the opposing armies, mainly those of the Southlands. Krysta Uhltoria and her engineers thought otherwise, and quickly began working on a weaponized airship.

Thinking her laughable, the young engineer [B]Laius Veltare[/B], very much a “sensible” student of magitech and war strategy, built his own airship, [I]a small, flightworthy thing that was big enough only to carry one person, a toy, with a network of tiny crystals in the wings that shot small bullets of light.[/I] Quite a joke in his eyes, he made a great spectacle presenting this to Uhltoria. Instead of being embarrassed, however, Uhltoria saw nothing but potential in this tiny airship Laius called [B]Salt Pie[/B].

Though [B]Iris was the first airship, Salt Pie served as the blueprint[/B] for the modern airships today, the base design for the engines and bodies that would continue from that day forward to be reimagined, restructured, and renovated nonstop. Salt Pie was restructured into a more elegant, sleeker shape, and using an engine designed never before thought of and one that was to be forgotten for years to come, Uhltoria transformed [B]Salt Pie into the first fighting ship[/B] that could be piloted by just one person, [B]faster than any other airship[/B] that in those days looked to rule the skies.

And rule the skies they did.

Exalta crystals were mined with fervor, delivered with ever increasing prices from their rare mines. These crystals were one of the few things which stored enough power to grant flight, and it was soon discovered how to turn this power into weapons; bullets, missiles, and eventually bombs. For a while airships stabilized in weapon design, already making a great difference in the war. Naturally, Uhltoira and Laius were too ambitious to be satisfied with just one design, and so set to work making a new airship to outdo the rest. This airship they called [B]the Clockwork Grind[/B].

Jet-shaped and large enough for a large crew and requiring a smaller operating group, the [B]Clockwork Grind[/B] is a [I]unique airship in the weapons department[/I]. On its hull and exterior roof, a clock-like mechanism of gears and screws rotate, making a deep, threatening grinding sound that gave the ship its name. As the “clockwork” rotates like its namesake, it combines a mixture of Elemental Stones with Exalta Crystals, forming an endless combination of the elements and energy varying in size, strength, and specific power. Randomly formed, this made it hard to form the right shield at the right time to defend against Clockwork Grind’s weapons. Add to that, Clockwork Grind would at unexpected intervals overheat, compensating by letting out a destructive burst of energy capable of downing a larger airship should the two get close enough. The “hand” on Clockwork Grind’s hull and roof was capable also of being turned manually and harshly, pulling the ship in any direction, giving it a faster turning speed than any other ship. Its acceleration was slow in comparison to other ships, but this sharp turning speed allowed it to evade ramming ships and its weapons rarely allowed ships to get that close anyway.

By the time Clockwork Grind was complete, airships were setting fire to every city, destroying masses of the people. Krysta Uhltoria at this time left her work in disgust, hating seeing her creation turn into nothing more than a festival of death. Her positon was taken by the less ethically bound Laius Voltare, who created, designed and built the [B]last airship of that era[/B]: the [B]Final Covenant.[/B]

The Final Covenant has a [I]weapon system similar to the Clockwork Grind[/I]; however, the gears, exposed on Clockwork Grind (though quite hardy and tough), are further [I]protected by a glassy shield and smaller to provide for better speed[/I]. [I]Turning speed is lost, but acceleration improved[/I], and the bursts of energy converted into a single, powerful beam [I]capable of striking through a line of several smaller airships[/I], making it a formidable foe against the one-person pilot design that was quickly gaining favor among launching bases. [I]Large cannons sat [/I]on Covenant’s great, massive wings, [I]capable of single manual bursts and rapid fire that traces[/I] the enemy. [I]A second cannon, shaped much like a harpoon, sits on the Covenant’s sharp nose[/I], firing its own unique weapon that [I]mixes the magical combinations formed by the clockwork[/I]. It is [I]made of several layers of reinforced steel[/I], allowing the Final Covenant to [I]ram into ships without taking damage[/I]. The sharper curves of the [I]Final Covenant’s body is lined in blades[/I], so that even from behind and at the sides, ships cannot touch the Final Covenant without harming oneself. It demanded a great deal of skill to pilot any part of the Final Covenant due to its advanced and ambitious structure and mechanism, but the results were well worth it. It is said this airship sparked the fury of Zare, the Lightning God, who thereafter sent Krysta Uhltoria and her lover, Ryer Shantell, to be the heralds of the End of the War using the Godhanger, after which a great Magestorm swept the airships away so they may never be used for such a genocide-like war again.[/spoiler] Edited by The Hummingbird

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