Hello, my children,
It had not been but recently where I again pondered the unique disparities between more ancient holy magics and the modern understanding of proper casting. Many folk still retain their connection to the ancient gods. Such forces play games with the souls and ambitions of mortals, and it is quite savage I should say. Contrastingly, it is the way of the modern magician to worship those forebears which paved the way for our greater, shared understanding in such a manner that institutions like these could survive. The Ascended Eight, in their dreamful march towards deification, hoped to remove us mortals from the specific interference of Old Gods and their ever-encroaching spinning of fate. As the tales tell, these few nearly succeeded. However, there was but one matter which they were unable to strip from the domain of the ancient divines: counteracting death.
Perhaps I should paint a different picture. The local gladiator, Khosula, finishes a match and returns to the pit where she is greeted by her retinue of cultists. Khosula, likely worshipping the mother of all ravens as a gladiator is one to do, sees death as inevitable and all but common in her line of work. Playing the dance of swords leads to a misstep every once in a while, and it behooves them to plead directly to the mother so that they may exist on the side of least bloodshed. However, in a society that celebrates the drama of near-death, an industry of gladiators falling left and right permits not continued feuding or public interest.
Individuals such as Khosula are sponsored by a respective church dedicated to one of the many Old Gods. Upon leaving the ring after a battle, every need is tended to and, importantly, every wound is healed. To have a represented combatant succeed in the colosseum is integral to establishing superiority over other, waning sects while too incentivizing the patronage of donors who bet well on such fighters. Again, the reality is that many of these gladiators do not believe in the organizations which feed them money and healing. It is merely a symbiotic relationship.
Such forces have the ability to both create and take awake the force of living, and upon evoking the name of one’s deity, these clerical magicians can repair skin where it had sloughed off. Superficial tears in tendons are knitted back together, in some cases, broken bones can be reconstructed with enough care and attention to anatomy. However, it is all a matter of timing and the quality of one’s resources.
Khosula now is a gilded celebrity, yet her early career often left her bruised and scarred with no relief or medical attention. One untimely day, despite dominating her opponent, she received an unlucky blow to her left eye that could not be healed, so now she stalks the battlefield having an imperfect blur of vision. Their powers are limited to the capabilities of the healer, which varies wildly amongst each worshipper based upon their true devotion and experience.
While not being perfect, this is what remains so tantalizing about the Old Gods. In a time of faith and high mortality, community leaders rise to power because they possess the immediate ability to relieve pain and to undo the shortcomings of one’s natural limitations. One can return from a wolf attack without the worry of infection, but there always remains a price to pay. The hunger which consumes you, that which owns you, transfers from wolf to the church. Your price is favor and devotion to individuals defined by their idolatry of fickle, unpredictable allegories of universal experience.
The modern magician looks upon The Eight for guidance. While a wildly successful interpretation of systems of magic, The Eight were unable to properly resolve the issue of lifeforce. Some of you may be asking me where necromancy contributes to this larger conversation, but you must too recognize that necromancy involves the forfeit of the soul to reproduce tissue and rearrange nerves.
While hope appears lost, that mustn’t stop you from the eternal march forward in the understanding of a world designed to limit the extent of mortal understanding. That is the way of the magician and The Eight before us, and that is how we will liberate ourselves from the obsessive eccentricities of the Old Gods once and for all.
Until next time,