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The Grey

Excerpts taken from studies by the Citadel of Scholars dedicated to Our Lord Hamaskus, derived from historical studies of the First & Early Second Eras

Written by David_Ulph

All life begins with one moment. When the World Ember's light touched the Anvil of Creation, none could prevent the flourishing of the Garden from the spark of Chaos. Or so this is the beliefs of the ancient druidic traditions lost to time in our lands of the Holy See - and amongst these beliefs only one exists which we cannot disprove with our superior knowledge gifted by the Divines; The Grey.
Studies of Candlebishop Henrique of the Citadel of Scholars

Introduction

Life exists on the Mortal Realm in a different state to the rest of the Great Dance. Not only is life unique and diverse, but it is the only Realm in which the lifeforms are truly mortal, due to the existence of not only the Body and Soul, but also the Mind. Debate amongst the scholars and theologians, especially within the Holy See, persists on the cause of the Mortal Realm's unique nature in the cosmology. The leading religious outlook on this phenomenon being due to the understanding that the Mortal Realm was not originally a part of the Great Dance, but the Celestial Gods upon discovering the Realm graciously brought it into their fold so that mortality may benefit from their influence.
 
Through scholastic sanctuary, however, the Citadel of Scholars in Goldwater is officially exempt from complying with the beliefs of the Holy See to pursue their monotheistic faith in Hamaskus. With this, many scholars now led by infamously radical Candlebishop Henrique have studied the belief systems of the deemed heretical Druid culture. Through discoveries at archaeological sites as well as clandestine meetings with surviving tribal 'Circles', publications have since been brought forward into the Mortal Realm in an attempts to allow civilisation to understand the cultures that came before them, and why these Circles who refuse to worship the Gods still hold out.

The Grey

The Great Dance, as all cultures understand, is the constant revolving of the Realms in the cosmology around Light and Dark, manifest as Lumen and Umbra Realms respectively. Where Light and Dark collides, there is true Chaos born from the harsh collision of two opposites. Things created from this Chaos are formed with three eyes, including our own deities, and these eyes each represent the three parts of reality: Body; Soul; Mind. These beings are unable to live in harmony.   The druids speak of a time before the Gods, where Light and Dark could combine in harmony over a Garden that could flourish life. This life became born from the mixing of Light and Dark rather than the collision, thus becoming Grey. The Garden was lost long ago, and as it drifted out into the Aether and the equilibrium was lost with it, hence the birthing of Chaos and the Gods with it and why the druids refuse to worship it.   The Grey, however, is believed to have left within the beating heart of the Garden, what we now call the Mortal Realm. Therefore, while not fully showing it physically, every living being on the Garden is inhabited by the Grey and contains all of Body, Soul and Mind.
Studies of Candlebishop Henrique of the Citadel of Scholars
 

Body

The Body is the physical manifestation of the Grey, a material husk which possesses both the Soul and Mind. Upon death, the Body is left behind on the Garden to cultivate the soil of the Realm. It will decay and pass away into nothingness, instead of other Realms' inhabitants forming part of the Realm itself or being reborn.
 

Soul

The Soul is the magical manifestation of the Grey, which the druids believe to be lifeforce which fuels the Body's motions. It is known to be a blank slate within the Body, which reflects the actions of the Body throughout its life. If unbound from the Body, the Soul becomes unstable energy.
 
Upon death, the Soul is known to pass on to Mortis Realm which was created by the Great Hag Throff as a means to capture the Souls of the Garden and place the volatile magical energy within a Realm for the Dead. Here, as is understood by the Holy See, Throff would take advantage of a person's Soul and twist it into a new lifeform without Body or Mind known as a Fiend, where humanoids would become Devils and animals Demons. This is known to be the reason why Throff will persist to be a danger to the God-loving mortals of the Great Dance.
 
Since the failure of the Invasion on Mortis Realm, where the Gods allied with the Dragons in an attempt to destroy Throff and her Fiends at the passing of the Second Era into the Third Era, the Goddess Sindla has continued a Siege. With a foothold at the top surface of Mortis Realm, the Soul is judged when it passes after death. A Soul is assessed and evaluated for its virtue as a reflection of the Body's life, and if Sindla's judges view a Soul to be worthy enough it will be transported to the Realm of the Gods in Chaos known as Magus Realm. Here, the Souls are re-forged into new magical Bodies. Warriors loyal to the Gods known as Risen, an army ready for the destined war to come between Mortis and Magus which will destabilise the Great Dance forever.
 

Mind

With the Soul being a constant combustion of magical energy, the Mind is the outcome of this which only truly becomes apparent after death. The Mind is the personality and emotions of the Body which are influenced by the reflections of the Soul. Upon death, the Mind will usually pass on to the Aether to become a star, but it may sometimes manifest as a small coin-like object in Mortis Realm if promised to a Fiend.
 
Candlebishop Henrique makes a special note on the importance of the Mind on the religion of the druids. There are two states which the druids believe life revolves around concerning the Grey: Seelie and Unseelie. The Mind can be tortured emotionally by huge stress being placed mentally on the Body and therefore a shattered reflection of the Soul. These Minds become unbound - Unseelie - and will not be able to pass on outside the Garden and will remain as a Spirit; a physical manifestation of the pain the Mind was forced through its life. The Unseelie Spirit is malicious through its tormented nature, constant emotion trapped in the state of breaking. An infamous example of these Unseelie Spirits are the Sluagh.
 
The Way of Seelie is the lifepath of most druid circles, to understand the triad of the Grey and taking active measures to protect the Mind so that it will remain Seelie. A Seelie Mind remaining bound and controlled allows it to peacefully pass and become a star, to be seen forevermore in the Aether connecting all of reality, Light Dark and Grey.
 

Manifestations of the Grey

In the second half of Candlebishop Henrique's publications, he goes on to depict the trifecta of the Grey, Time, and Destiny, each in their own right having three distinct "manifestations". These manifestations of the Grey have been depicted by a single female individual, whose age conveys different meanings when witnessed.
 
All evidence to these manifestations existing comes only from those who are born from the Garden, leading to Candlebishop Henrique coming to the conclusion the manifestations are connected directly to the Grey and may not even be physical and potentially the Mind or Soul extending outward of the Body for that individual.
 

Maiden

Washerwoman

Crone

Intriguingly, Candlebishop Henrique doesn't attribute any other alternative cultural names for this manifestation, leading many to believe the Maiden is a Realm-wide unified phenomenon. The Maiden is witnessed at birth, and is strongly connected to the concept of magic - especially Second Sight.
 
When a person is born, the Grey likes to witness, and appears as a youthful maiden in a black robe which no one will recognise in the room but no one will remember afterwards. If the person who delivered the child remembers the Maiden, it is more likely than not that the child will be gifted with innate magical abilities such as Sorcery.
Also known in other cultures as the 'Washer of Sorrow' or 'Peace', and is always seen as a spinster at the banks of a loch or flowing river with grey robes flowing seemingly endlessly away from her. A large section of the robe is stained red in a thick coating of blood which the Washerwoman constantly scrubs.
 
The Washerwoman is witnessed by those who have a great loss coming soon in their life, and is known to bring a calming feeling of appreciating something coming to an end, or an immense fear of the death of something physical or metaphorical. This reaction depends on the actions of the individual.
 
Ignoring the Washerwoman causes no reaction except a lack of knowledge. Demanding something of the Washerwoman causes her to be blunt and the individual will see what or who will die's blood being scrubbed from her robe. Asking politely or offering a favour will instead give the individual a riddle which will reveal the truth on what will end whether it be a chapter in someone's life or a true death.
Also known in other cultures as the 'Reaper' or 'Death', and is always seen as a feminine figured black skeleton shrouded in white robes. The Crone holds a billhook and is most commonly seen after death rather than during it.
 
Communicating with a Soul that has retained its memories long enough to be contacted in Mortis Realm is extremely rare and difficult to achieve, and according to Henrique's findings all share witnessing the Crone. Despite not appearing like an old woman, each individual have claimed to have felt like it was one.
 
The Crone is believed to transport the Soul from the Body into Mortis Realm, and is witnessed taking an individual out of their burial place and holding their hand as they descend a spiral staircase into the Halls of Sindla to be judged.

While younger generations of the Hermetic Orders of Hamaskus are too inexperienced to think otherwise in relation to Candlebishop Henrique's publications on this subject, the subject of "manifestations" brings with it considerable debate, especially since Henrique's passing. The evidence provided for these sections of his work come only from obscure folklore rather than solid academic evidence, and out of those who accept the Maiden, Washerwoman and Crone phenomenon may exist there is a question of whether it is connected solely or at all to the Grey.
 
Some point to other obscure manifestations of the Grey, such as the Serpent, or the fact that each of this trifecta have direct links to both concepts of Time and Destiny, not just Mortality like the Grey is. In fact, in the University of Divination based in the town of Goldton just outside the Citadel of Scholars, there are several statues and depictions strikingly similar to what Henrique called the Washerwoman though is never mentioned in his studies. Additionally, many scholars of the Holy See draw similarities between the Maiden and their depiction of Lady Galana. Due to this controversy, the publications of Candlebishop Henrique have on occasion been brought into question as to whether a confirmation bias was present or not.
WorldEmber Article #1
In this publication henceforth, I wish to make the potentially heretical claim that these druidic beliefs may in fact be the truth of reality, and the missing piece in the true and honest interpretations of the Mortal Realm stated by the Holy See.
Studies of Candlebishop Henrique of the Citadel of Scholars
Type
Metaphysical, Arcane

Warps of the Body

Necromancy

Necromancy is the form of magic which takes advantage of the emptiness of the Body after death, mimicking the existence of the Mind and Soul as a form of puppetry. The Candlebishop Henrique suggested that the reason modern druidic circles have been so lenient on the usage of Necromantic magics are due to their cultural importance on the Mind if anything else.
 
The Body will pass on no matter what, as the actual person's Mind has already left the Garden and the usage of the Body after death can only be a benefit to those still alive. Due to this completely contradicting the ideals of the Holy See, this was used only to further fuel the religious zeal against the druidic way of life.
 

Vampirism

Vampirism is not a subject discussed specifically by Candlebishop Henrique in his publications, but the discussion of the affliction has been ever present in the Fourth Era since the Dark Time in the beginning of the Era when vampires stalked all corners of the Mortal Realm. The druids place vampires as leeches of the Grey, adopting the empty husks of the Body to feast upon the Mind and Soul of other Bodies.
 

Magic

When a Body is lived in, the energy-filled Soul is kept within them. Though while it is contained, the power of the Soul can be accessed by those who have a natural gift or curse, or those who learn to master the craft of Wizardry whether for academic or religious reasons.
 
Magic, in simple terms, is described as the Body tapping in to the volatile energy of the Soul, to warp reality around them in a desired affect. The Dragons made the simplest techniques and forms of this art common knowledge which started the Renaissance Period, and these became known as "Cantrips".
 
As a Body understands and learns more techniques, they can reach deeper within their Souls and cast more powerful magical abilities. To those who have Sorcerous origins, they are blessed (or cursed) to naturally explore the deeper recesses of their Soul as the Body grows older.
 
Candlebishop Henrique describes this "levelling" process as potentially having detrimental impacts on the Body's Soul and sought to explore the risks of more skilled wielders of magic having a higher chance of passing on as Unseelie Minds. However, Henrique died before this research could result in any true findings and is left unresolved.

Creation Myth

The Time Before Time
Myth | Jul 11, 2021

Written for Prompt 11 (2020 Advent Calendar) - The Creation Myth in Accordance with the Holy See


The First Necromancer

Ysmgar the Five-Eyed
Character | Dec 27, 2020

Written for Prompt 2 (2020 Advent Calendar) - The Famed Frost Giant Explorer & First Necromancer


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Cover image: by raytheoverlord

Comments

Author's Notes

14/01/21 - Update! Had a free day and decided to flesh this first article out a wee bit in preparation for other things coming down the line this year. Hope you enjoy!


Destiny is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.


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1 Dec, 2020 19:37

This article is so fascinating. I love that there are ideas here that I recognise a little from the real world, but that you've taken and created your own spin on them. There is so much here that I want to know more of. You've peppered the whole article with little tidbits of excitement.   I also really like that there's a sort of backdrop of academia to this article, through the studies of the candlebishop (great title, by the way).   I'm really looking forward to reading more! :)

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
Journeyman David_Ulph
David Alexander
1 Dec, 2020 21:23

Oh wow thank you so much! Part of me is really wanting to go into explaining magic now since publishing this article, even though I didn't plan on doing so for WorldEmber but Necromancy was on my list!

Latha math leat! Sending praise from the Hebrides! Check my Summer Camp ramblings out here
23 Dec, 2020 16:35

What an interesting way to handle spiritualism. I love the idea that mind is not just some organ and chemical reactions but an almost by-product of body and soul. Super neat take!

-ZogMadDog

"I am become destroyer creator of worlds!"
Journeyman David_Ulph
David Alexander
23 Dec, 2020 16:41

Thank you, glad you enjoyed :D have some ideas to develop it further which will come along at some point :-)

Latha math leat! Sending praise from the Hebrides! Check my Summer Camp ramblings out here
23 Dec, 2020 16:36

This is a great article! I really enjoyed reading through it, though I gotta say I wouldn't mind a few tooltips here and there to explain what some of the bolded terms mean. The division between the Soul, the Body and the Mind is a very interesting one, and I like that it is reflected by the number of eyes the gods have, it works very well.   The inclusion of additional notes are interesting, but they also take a bit of the focus away from the main point of the article. Maybe they could be added in quote or aloud boxes, to differentiate them from the main text (and also make it easier to read)? I'd also recommend trying to use the sidebar a bit more, its the perfect place to put additional bits of information you don't know where to fit. Great work!

Author of Interarcanum.
Journeyman David_Ulph
David Alexander
23 Dec, 2020 16:40

Awesome! This was the first article I did before Q showed me the ropes of sidebars but I'll update accordingly thank you for the recommendations!

Latha math leat! Sending praise from the Hebrides! Check my Summer Camp ramblings out here