Interest Check | Character Thread |IC Thread W I T C H ᛡ H U N T ‘You are blood and to blood you shall return.’ xxx xxx xxx xxx W E L ᛡ C O M EWelcome to the world of Donegal! Donegal is an island of rich history, complicated magic, demons, angels, and complex politics. In Donegal, your character will have the opportunity to change their fate, by gathering allies, helping others, and getting revenge. Survival will be your character's first priority, but tests of morality, quick thinking, and political savviness will no doubt come into play. You begin with absolutely nothing, being led in cold-iron chains to their final destination; the Fortress of Lacus Arce in the center of Lodain. There, you will be tried by a panel of All-Speakers - religious leaders - and no doubt found guilty of heresy. You must escape - whether you were falsely accused, or you are actually as wicked as your accusers made you out to be.. And when you do, all of Donegal is open to you. However, as a fugitive from the Faith - you will be hunted. Be careful! Donegal is a dangerous place, and you will face brigands and outlaws, cultists and mages, and crazed witch hunters alike. WITCH HUNT is a game of high stakes, dark themes, and grey morality. W I T C H ᛡ H U N TTen years ago, the Lodainic Imperatrix Regina Deorum converted to the Church of All, and issued a demand that the people of Lodain - and indeed, all of Donegal - find guidance in the one true religion. Since her conversion, many have adopted the Church of All - including her daughter. Her daughter, the newly crowned Imperatrix, Laurentia II, came into a world where her religion was growing in strength, but her empire was not. Lodain was suffering. All of Donegal was enduring famine and plague - Lodain was no exception. Worse yet, the southern half of the Empire, Dornach, Gaul, and Airmyn had rebelled and overthrown Lodainic control. Laurentia was mocked in the streets, and the Church was mocked along with her. Tempers were rising all around her It became clear that she could not turn a blind eye to the chaos erupting throughout Donegal, and the overwhelming possibility of a religious civil war. But before there is war, there is always chaos. There were vigilantes, taking the matters of the faith into their own hand. But their effort resulted in the destruction of ancient holy sights, the burning of heretics, and the torture of those who consult with spirits of the Duinnoban - primarily, mages. But there were also the Church's official advocate - the All-Swords that stalked the faithful and unfaithful regions of the world, with a dogged desire to rid the world of any that oppose the Church of All. And there were the mages, of course. The mages, who the Church's tenets demonized, claiming that they were responsible for the demons that now stalked the earth. The widespread panic caused far more violence than the demons ever could. Something had to be done. The Church needed to show that it was a beacon of strength, and that only through its law, could there be peace in Donegal. And it is already too late for you. You and a small group of others are victims. Victims of plague, famine, war and circumstance. Ally or enemy of the Church, you have been accused of heresy, and your village has been burned, to cauterize the infection you have brought. Perhaps, you have been falsely accused. Perhaps you were a good person. Then again, perhaps not. No matter who you were before, you now find yourself marching in chains across the rocky hills of Moravia, soon to cross the border into Lodain. Once you arrive there, you will be tried, found guilty, and executed by the All-Speakers. Maybe this frightens you. Maybe you have resigned yourself to this. Or maybe, just maybe you can escape... and take your revenge upon your accusers. The pyres of Lodain have blackened the sky. The witch hunt has begun... T H E ᛡ A C C U S E DIde Mag Shamhradháin / F / Gaul / Mage (Pact) Lillian Fairview / F / Lodain / Noble Halivon Zeeman / M / Tir-Caredyr / Architect Lloyl Ether Remane / M / Lodain / Mage (Spirit) Ronan Khinganme / M / Lodain / Mage (Spirit) Gaheris Wolfe Leighton / M / Igris - Lochan / Resistance Leader Talulla Ni Eoin / F / Igris / Herb Witch Jasper Ferrutius / M / Tir-Caredyr / Guardsman Cadoc Ulfgeir / M / Gaul / Hired Lout Eppenos Gae Bulg / M / Gaul / Druid Mage (Spirit - Blood) T H E ᛡ S K E L E T O N Name: (Your character's full name.) Age: (Self explanatory.) Gender: (Whatever you like. In most regions of Donegal, Men and Women are largely equal. The most notable exception is Lodain, which is a matriarchy.) Ethnicity: (Lodain, Myrr, Gaul, Igrisian, Sea Person, Lochan, Islander.) Religion: (Church of All, Druidic, Namer, Spirit-Worship -- Or none.) Home Region: (Eireen Island, Lodain, Igris, Airmyn, Gaul, Perth, Brigant, Dornach, Moravia, Tir-Caredyr, Eboyr, or Eir-Vaygyr.) Known Languages: (Lodainic, Boreus Lodainic, Igrish, Perthic, and/or Gaulian. All players know the Gods' Good Common.) Appearance: (Picture or description, please. Or both, if there are additional details in your character that are not represented by the image you have chosen. Please keep with the ethnicities and people types previously established and mentioned.) Personality: (Just a brief summary.) Class: (Mage, Seeker, Recreants Druid, All-Father, Brewer, Innkeeper, etc.) ----- Type: (If a Mage or Recreant) ----- True Names Known: (If a Mage. Please limit to 1-3 to start. You will have the opportunity to learn more!) Skills: (These can be mundane skills like brewing or cooking, as well as potent magic or special combat training.) Weaknesses: ( Fears, failures, and anything your character doesn't excel at. These can be as severe as missing limbs, or as minor as an allergy to peas.) History: (A background of your character, including their accusation, and subsequent capture.) T H E ᛡ R E L I G I O N ‘I shall behold Heaven, but Heaven is not near. ’ xxx xxx xxx xxx T H E ᛡ C O N F L I C TThe central conflict of Witch Hunt is the relationship between the New Faith - the Church of All - and the Old Faiths - Druids, and Namers. the Although the situation has been tense since the Church of All's founding, it was only after the Lodainic Imperatrix Regina Deorum converted to the Church of All that the cofnlict started in earnest. Regina Deorum issued a demand that the people of Lodain - and indeed, all of Donegal - find guidance in the one true religion: The Worship of the Gods that are Many. Since her conversion, many have adopted the Church of All - including the current Imperatrix, Laurentia II. However, there is still opposition to the Church of All within Donegal. The mages in particular have taken a stance against the Church, as much of the Church's tenets demonize all forms of magic, from the widely accepted Pact Magic to the more infamous Spirit and Blood Magic. The Church of All's conflict with the traditional religions is not simply religious, but also political, regional, and cultural, and many have been caught in its wake... A L L ᛡ F A I T H The Church of All focuses on worship of the Gods Who Are Many- primordial spirits that have fused into one being. The Gods do not have a name, and are praised for their swarm like influence over the world. The Chruch of All was founded by the Seer - a Myrrish man from Tir Caredyr who was wracked with visions of ten Gods of All, and composed his visions into a many chaptered Holy Book, divided into (so far) 6 books. The Book is called the Book of Voices, referring to the many Voices that spoke to Malachi in his dreams. The Church of All is headed by an All-Voice, the son of Malachi, who refused to take a name, saying that he was merely a conduit for the Gods will, and that he spoke the language of the Gods. Beneath the All-Voice in the hierarchy are the All-Speakers, who serve as missionaries, after learning the Book of Voices by heart. The lay brothers and sisters of the church- the All-Brothers/Sisters- are beneath them. All-Brothers/Sisters who are put in charge of a specific chapel dedicated to the Church of All are commonly referred to as All-Fathers/Mothers, and enjoy a higher station that the All-Brothers and Sisters, and are generally the eldest and most experienced members of their chapel. The Church of All is expanding rapidly, explaining that the current chaos in the world is because the Gods of All are angry with Donegal. If everyone worshipped The All - the famine and plague would end.That said, even within the Faith there are whispers that specific All-Speakers and All-Fathers / Mothers are corrupt - in the same way that people don't trust specific politicians, but still believe in democracy. Nobody questions the All-Voice, however, believing him to be above petty human sin and temptation. Distinguished from the general Church ranks are the militant branch - The All-Swords - the emotional branch - The All-Disciples - and the logical branch - The All-Seekers. T H E ᛡ N A M E R SThe Enemy is the Church of All's name for the loose coalition of worshippers who adhere to their beliefs- but instead of adhering to the belief that the Gods of All have the interests of making at heart, they believe that Bel, and the other so-called "prime evils" represent the primal powers of humanity. They believe that although these aspects of mankind are not pretty, they are something that all of mankind experiences, and this provides a universal experience that ultimately unifies mankind as a whole. They believe that it is important to act on feelings- positive or negative, in order to move past the emotions, or even use then to further a greater good. The Namers represent all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification. The Namers pride themselves on the individuality of their membership. Central is the idea that an individual must enforce their own meaning on life and rise above the perceived conformity of the masses, and the Gatherings encourage strong-self esteem- believing that pride is what allows man to do great things. Thus, the prime evils are a balancing force to The Namers, and without the so-called sins, there would be no progress. The Namers suggest that they should instead internalize their gods and, therefore, worship themselves; hence the maxim, "I am my own god". Unlike the strict structure of the Church of All, The Namers are not well organized. They tend to form small, tightly knit cults (they call them Gatherings) headed by a priest or a priestess referred to as The Named One. The leader of these Gatherings is always a Mage- magic is respected as the truest form of freedom and is seen as Bel's gift to mankind, since he was the one who brought True Names back into the world. Blood magic is praised highly because unlike the other two forms of magic, that involve being a conduit for the power of a spirit, the Namers believe that the spirit is powered from the blood of the caster, making the caster a source of magic. Education is encouraged as well, but they believe that a member must take it into their own hands. The Gatherings have some aspect of meritocracy- but the Named One is the leader above all else. The Church of All is expanding rapidly, explaining that the current chaos in the world is because the Gods of All are angry with Donegal. If everyone worshipped The All - the famine and plague would end.That said, even within the Faith there are whispers that specific All-Speakers and All-Fathers / Mothers are corrupt - in the same way that people don't trust specific politicians, but still believe in democracy. Nobody questions the All-Voice, however, believing him to be above petty human sin and temptation. T H E ᛡ D R U I D S The Druids stands on the outsides of both the Chuch of All, and the Namers. This ancient religion is primarily practiced in Gaul, Southern Igris, and Dornach. Although it shares many characteristics with the basic spirit-worship found throughout Donegal, there is one key difference; druids believe that all other spirits are inferior to the King and Queen of the Duinnoban; Ciarán of the Horns and his wife, Mara the Mother. Ciarán is always shown with either horns or antlers upon his head in the great rock carvings that litter Gaul, Igris and Dornarch, and he is associated with nature, wilderness, sexuality, hunting and the life cycle. He is in command of one of the two forces that govern all other spirits, and indeed, the entire world; time. He is a dual spirit with his wife, Mara, a fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting. She is also commonly associated with bodies of water, as opposed to her husbands forests. She is in charge of fate, according to the Druids, and determines "how the waters will hit the rocks." The prevalence of caves and underground rivers within regions where Druidism was prominent led the Gaul's to believe that they were paths that had been carved by Ciarán to serve as a way for his wife to reach him from the sea, and that all rivers, lakes, and inland bodies of water came from the caves that he had constructed for her. Gauls call this network of caves "The Dark Road" or "The Old Road", and use it a way of ensuring that their dead reach their Gods - they scatter the ashes of their dead in the underground waterway, where it will hopefully drift off to reach its maker. T H E ᛡ C H A N G E ‘Ní mar a shíltear a bhítear.’ xxx xxx xxx xxx T H E ᛡ R I T U A LLittle is known about the Change that is used largely by the Church of All. it is an alchemical ritual with no true magic behind it, and it both psychological and physical in what is done to the subject. No matter the type, all Changed People, when they enter the Duinnoban to dream, can see the region with perfect clarity, and see Spirits for what they really are. Thus, they are ignored by Spirits utterly and are not subject to their influence. For this reason, none of them can perform any kind of magic. Both rituals were performed unofficially prior to the institution of the Church of All, without the religious overtones. These men and women are referred to as "Recreants", and All-Swords hunt them above all else, although there is great desire to bring them into the fold of the Church. There are two types of Change; The Change of Preservation, and The Change of Domination. The Change of Preservation is performed on Seekers of Ecclesiastes and The Change of Domination is the ritual preformed on all All-Swords. A L L ᛡ S E E K E R S Also known as the Seekers of Ecclesiastes, the All-Seekers are the scribes and researchers of the Church of All. Many high lords and high ladies had Seekers at their sides, to act as advisors. They commonly work with All-Swords to combat threats to the Church of All. The All-Swords dealt with the demons and sinners alike, but Seekers provided the information needed to confront them. They were minds behind All-Sword muscle, and the two had sort of a sense of kinship between the two of them, the only ones in modern society who had been Changed. All-Seekers often act as advisors, and travel more than even the All-Swords. The Change of Preservation is performed on Seekers of Ecclesiastes. The major components involve an extensive reworking of the body, where the potential Changed patient is drained of all of their blood, and it is replaced with a thick, black fluid crafted from dog's blood, ginger, henbane, yarrow, and other ingredients that are known only to the Pain-Tasters - who perform the ritual within the city of Abutetur Vulnerum in Northern Lodain. The transfusion takes place over the course of a month, and usually is performed upon six to twelve individuals at the time. Roughly a third survive the Change of Preservation.The results are not uniform, but some characteristics that are always the same include the change in blood and eye colour. The eyes are always darkened, sometimes with the entire iris being black, and the blood is similarly darkened. The natural pink places on the skin become grey or ashy. Their metabolism slows down to a crawl and their life-span extends unnaturally. Although it has not been documented well, it is supposed that a Changed person could live far more than a 100 years, but as the ritual only came into common practice within the past 10 years, its unknown what the results could be. However, some Recreants who have undergone the Change of Preservation have reportedly lived into their early 200s. Possible side effects of the Change of Preservation are generally related to the build up of fluids within the Seeker's body, due to poor circulation and a bad metabolic rate. There is often a change in facial features, including the thickening of the lips, tongue, and nostrils, as well as enlarged internal organs. Many Seeker's experience hair-loss, and many of them shave their heads in response to clumps of their hair falling out. They frequently have nose-bleeds. A L L ᛡ S W O R D SAll-Swords exist in order to enforce the will of the Church, through force. They are usually orphans who were given to the church. and they have all undergone the Change, a mystery to even those within the church. The Change universally turned their eyes orange, and gave them skills necessary for hunting heretics and demons alike. There are currently five of them, one of each of the regions completely converted to the Church of All (Tir-Caredyr, Eboryr, Brigant, Eir-Vaygyr, and Lodain.) All of them are gifted at languages, and represent their nation with exceptional patriotism. They only answer to the All-Voice himself, and do not have to follow the usual rules and stipulations of the church. They are led by a Changed warrior named Salathiel, who reportedly is the only man in the world who has done battle with one of the Prime Evils. He is also called Salathiel the Wielder. Every Wielder had been named Salathiel; they gave up their name when the became the Wielder, taking the name of the first Wielder.. It was said that they had all wielded the sword of an angel; who had come down to the world of men to bestow this sword upon the first Wielder, Salathiel, in the Year 1.He deals with the day to day affairs of the All-Swords and provides guidance morally, spiritually, and often physically through their Change. The Change of Domination is the ritual preformed on all All-Swords. The major components consist of bloodletting and indoctrination, as the memories of the All-Sword's life prior to their position within the church are wiped away, as well as memories of their family. Their faces are scarred by the Pain-Tasters. They are given some strange herbs and potions to eat and drink for the space of a year while subject to indoctrination and heavy religious education from the Church of All. It is known to be a very painful ritual.. The results are not uniform, but some characteristics that are always the same include the change in eyecolour - all All-Swords have orange eyes. Their eyes are also primed for night vision, as a thin, mirror-like structure at the back of their eye helps reflect light that was not already absorbed by the eye back into the eye a second time. When lights are shown on the All-Swords in dim light, their eyes will reflect the light so brightly that it looks like they are glowing. As well, their metabolism speeds up, and their sex-drive also increases. Perhaps as a result of their hyper-metabolism, those who undergo the Change of Domination have a greatly shortened life-span, only 40-50 years long. Although they do not show their age for most of their lives, the last five years of a Changed person's life involve their age rapidly catching up with them, leaving them decrepit and frail.Other possible effects are heightened senses, particularly the sense of smell, changes in hair color (usually a lightening), and resistance to the elements and harsh weather. Provided that they can keep up with the demands of their metabolisms, many Changed people find themselves no longer tiring, while still requiring sleep. Some side effects from a bad reaction to the Change are a permanent catabolic state, or the opposite, an anaerobic imbalance, with all of the side effects that entails. All-Swords take a new Surname when they take their vows. It is dependent on their region. Tir-Caredyry All-Swords take the name Jacob, Eboryr take Isiah, Brigant take the name Sarah, Eir-Vaygyr take Rebecca, and Lodainic All-Swords take the name Ezekiel. All-Swords have some residual memories of their childhoods, but they are confused with the memories of the legendary character who they have taken their surnames from. Their personalities are intact as well, but they have been largely indoctrinated to be loyal to the Church -- no matter the cost of human life. They will do anything to protect hte church's interests, but that can manifest in very different ways. They're a bit like pointing a bomb at an archery target - they tend to inflict collateral damage. Also, every 7 years, they enact a grim policy called "The Cleansing". Nobody knows what this is for - but it leaves behind hollowed-out corpses and burning villages...There is only one All-Sword per region, and they often wear masks All All-Swords were buried - if there were remains to bury - within the crypt in Tir Caredyr's grand temple - tombs that were specially carved and designed for each of them. Construction of the tomb began when they were appointed, and ended when they died. . No All-Sword had ever died of old age, not a single one. There were always boys and girls training to be All-Swords, boys and girls who would replace them when their time was finally up. T H E ᛡ P A I NMost Pain Tasters simply sold their trade on the streets of Tir Caredyr - they had a talent for inflicting utter unbearable pain upon a person, but a pain that was not lethal, and holy above all things. It was the pain of the Gods Who Are Many that the Pain Tasters gave, and a pain that would render even the most twisted of individuals pure. Though most saw the Pain-Taster's as nothing but leeches trying to make a profit from the church - they were an integral part of the church's structure and always filled the coffers. More importantly; Pain-Tasters perform the Change on All-Swords and All-Seekers. It is unknown how most Recreants came into being, and most do not survive long enough to say; but some whisper that every single Pain-Tasters used to be heathens -- and some still are. They wear a black ironwood mask , but painted with white ; making it resemble a skull.