Reaper Hawk: Story Elements

Telepathy

Telepathy allows the telepath or spellcaster to read a person’s surface thoughts with relative ease. The limits to this is that it only gives them what the target is thinking at the moment of contact and maintaining contact for long periods is very difficult. Magic takes energy, and it is almost impossible to maintain telepathic contact with an unwilling subject and carry on physical maintenance. There is also the fact that a person with sufficient training, either in magic, or in spying, can control their surface thoughts almost indefinitely so that the magical snooper won’t get anything useful unless stimulus is applied to the subject.

It is possible to ‘Deep Read’ a person, but that, in effect, scrapes out the subject’s mind, turning the person into an empty vessel, which often results in the subject’s demise. In a deep read, the subject’s memories, thoughts, feelings, and emotions are taken and encapsulated within the ‘reader’. The mage has to be careful that they can control the process carefully or they will become two people in one body, both vying for control.

To cope with this, various techniques of compartmentalising the mind have been developed. The mage creates a partitioned section within their mind into which everything scraped from the subject is inserted and compartmentalised. A truly great magician can then at a later date reinsert this mind, suitably modified, back into the subject, leaving them with no memory of what has been done to them in the meantime.

The drawbacks with deep reading are that the process of doing a deep reading leaves the mage vulnerable to retaliation. If they are not fully prepared for for the strength of the subject’s mind, they might not be able to keep it sufficiently compartmentalised. It might break loose and wander through the mage’s mind. Moreover, if sufficiently strong, and knowledgeable, it might even take over the magician’s body against the magician’s will.

Magic Power

There are, among the many that mages use, three main sources of power. The first, and that which is generally considered the most benign, are the lines and wells of power that run at every level through the entirety of the universe. These lines can be tapped by those attuned to them, giving them an almost limitless source of power. 

The second source are spirits, elementals, demons, divinities, etc, all of which can either be a source of power in and of themselves, or, in what is often called proxy-magic, controlled and commanded so as to force them to use their own power to enact the mage’s will.

The third source stems from life, or death. Every living thing has power within it, and this can be extracted. In benign cases, this is the personal energy of the mage, their own life-force, which can, suitably focused, be used for magic. There is also, in most places upon the earth, something called ambient life force. This is the life of the location, a pool of positive energy supplied by, and supplying, every living thing in that location – grass, trees, insects, flowers, people, animals, mould, bacteria. A mage can tap into this power and use it. This is, often, a finite resource. Once it has been depleted in an area, it will often take decades or centuries for it to return unless a healing is performed. Connected to this, is what is known as blood magic. Blood magic involves sacrifice, willing or not, of a living being. The sudden burst of power released by the subject’s demise needs to be directed and shaped in situ.

Deity Progression

Anyone, or anything, can become a god given the right combination of circumstances. Those circumstances are, usually, very rare, or very difficult to create. One can slay a god and adsorb its power, a very difficult prospect for any mortal. One can declare oneself a god and force others to worship you, but this must be true worship, not just lip-service, and in order to gain that sort of commitment, one has to prove one's power. This path also takes an amount of time generally measured in generations. One can accrue power in one’s self. This is difficult to achieve due to the limits on the physical bodies of most mortals. One can be raised up by the other gods, each of whom provides some part of their own power to transform the mortal into an immortal capable of holding and wielding the power of a deity. Given how jealous most deities are of their power and prerogatives, this is perhaps the path least likely to lead to successful acquisition of ascension. 

Reaper’s Swords

When Reaper gained his blades in the battle pit in D’vo they were ordinary steel, shaped somewhat like katanas. During the course of the events narrated in Avenger, these blades were reforged and gained magical attributes. The blades have reinforcing work at the base of the back of the blades. This reinforcing work looks decorative in that it is shaped to look like striking hawks. The tips of the blades are sharpened on both sides but are somewhat heavier, almost cutlass-like. One blade is black, and the hawk is red, the other blade is silvery with a blued-steel hawk. The silvery blade is called El Nechi, and the black blade is called El Tikuri.

El Tikuri is cursed, El Nechi is blessed. They are linked to each other so that, when they are together, their energies cancel each other out. The cursed blade attracts all the dark creatures and seeks always to take over the soul of its wielder, sending them into a fury of slaughter. The blessed blade repels creatures of darkness and seeks always to elevate the soul of its wielder, making them more honest, more merciful, more generous.

The blades are linked not only to each other, but to Reaper himself. The link between them allows Reaper to control the blades even when they aren’t in his hands. At first, this is fairly simple control. He can reach through one blade to pull on the other. If the other blade is being held less strongly than his pull, it will move towards him, in a straight line. If the blade is being held strongly, he can pull himself to it, again, in a straight line. If he’s jumping, this will allow him to make prodigious leaps. Later, he gets even more control over the blades, and is able to control both blades even when neither is in his hands.

The blades also allow him to navigate the Ways. They provide the link that will open a portal for him to use. This same connection is what allows him to find a stolen or lost blade again. His connection to the blades will draw him to them, and draw them to him.

Succubi

The succubi were a race of people with powers that quickly elevated them through the Deity Progression to become gods. Many of the other gods found them extreme distasteful and the fact that some of the succubi used their powers on the other gods made them a threat. The other gods tried to cast them out, they captured many and branded them, each with a separate brand, to mark them as unclean. They became the first Dark Gods. But people still worshipped them, at least for a time. The gods used their own worshippers to crush the worshippers of the succubi, and thus crush their worship, reducing their power somewhat. Many of the succubi became vilified deities, and, in the mythologies of most of the Light Gods, were included in the list of demonic entities. Their nature, however, is not demonic, and they have none of the telltales that reveal the presences of demons. They are beautiful, they do not have a noisome odour, their bodies are not misshapen, they have the choice between doing good or ill.

Messenger Beasts

These are typically small, strong, highly agile, and either very intelligent or easily trained creatures. Each culture has its own type of these because each culture lives in a different terrain with different climate and the beasts are most often taken from locally available fauna.

Wizards often make their own messengers, and these might take any form, but for non-magical folk, the most common type of messenger beasts are birds and dogs. Birds because they are swift and extremely agile, dogs because they can be trained.

Common messenger beasts that don’t fall into either of these categories are: peris, salamanders, fairies, drakes, various fish, serpents, certain types of griffin, brownies, imps, djinn, pixies, ghosts.

Orichalcum

The magic metal. Orichalcum is naturally attuned to magic and thus is able to take, magnify, and store magical energy far better than anything else. Orichalcum is used almost like a battery for many talismans, amulets, and charms, things that are supposed to hold a spell for a long time and be used by people who are not themselves mages. It is also used as a defence against magic, as any magic cast at it just gets adsorbed by it. The only way to imprint a spell on it, is while the metal is molten. This isn’t that difficult as the metal has a low melting point. In its pure/raw state it is also very brittle. When broken, it releases all its magical charge at once. This can lead to chain reactions in which entire mines are destroyed because of one carelessly misplaced pick-strike. This is why the ore is so rare. The only known source for Orichalcum is the mine beneath D’baeza. The mine in D’baeza is worked by golems using only their hands. It is mine flooded to reduce the chance of accidents, and to keep thieves out.

Demons

There are many demons in the world. They spawn in any dark place full of chaos or death or where evil deeds have been perpetrated.

Abyssals

These are beings of chaos that dwell in the Abyss. They are antithetical to everything from the mundane realm.

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