Arcana Sanguis

Stand face to face with your shadow.

Disclaimer, This one could get gross.

"... What? Are you confused or is that disgust? I'm not proud of what I do.
You ask me 'Why do I do it' And 'What is it like?' as if I could explain such things. I could never put it into words... not really.
All I know is I will never stop, I can't. The feeling is just that good... Well most of it.
When the passion ends and I come to my senses I stare in horror. A realization hits me as I stand there... Wnee deep in carnage. I often ask myself in these moments of wonder: Is this what it was like when Jekyll met Hyde?"
— October "Cicada" Brooks
Aracana Sanguis is an Arcane Genre practiced across the ages. Whether one finds themselves in mage towers at the time of Expedition Demeter or the prestigious cabals of The Web, there is no quicker way to silence a room and bring all attention to you than announcing yourself as a practitioner of blood magic.

A Strange Sacrament...

Part of the reaction comes from disgust. Blood, especially in the modern day, is a bio-hazard and the awareness of that fact leads many to stop in their tracks at the sight of it. Another part of this reaction is carnal fascination. The taboo of it brings more than disgust. It also brings curiosity.

The forbidden desire to lather the blood on your hands after a kill and savor the experience. To relish that metal tang on the tongue as you lick your busted lip in hunger at your enemy. If it weren't for instinct, it'd be hard to resist.
We, as all living things do, actively avoid blood. The sight of blood, especially our own, always indicates that something is quite wrong. Fainting and the sudden rush of adrenaline accompany the sight but what's most important to understand is its color.
The sanguine tint has a complex symbolism in almost every culture.
Red spells danger and can easily mark our last moments in this world, but in this context it also represents life. Our first moments are soaked in it just as well.

Blood means danger but keeps each and every one of us alive. This dichotomy cannot be overstated. It serves as a fundamental principle of the genre. These are not crazed killers driven by psychotic rage. They are not twisted or sick. They see beyond the disgust and forgo the taboo in order to experience something few ever do. This Scarlet Rapture, as they call it, is a spiritual awakening unlike any other.
It's brings on a mindset befitting all these meanings and more. Practitioners are dangerous, but not unfeeling. It is the color of love and more. It is the color of passion...and extremes.

"beautiful, yes? I love the color so much. It's fitting that blood is red like wine, it can be just as intoxicating..."

The Scarlet Rapture

The religious connotations in Arcana Sanguis are intentional. Its first practitioners were essentially a cult after all. As it grew, the theme stuck and even in the time of the web, those that practice the scarlet arts often do so as a religion of sorts.
The Scarlet Rapture is an event that occurs in the mind of a practitioner. Like most genres, a large part of learning blood magic comes from the psychological and spiritual side of the user.

This meditative state is designed for one purpose: to completely give to dark desires. To hell with taboos. The user loses themselves in the throes of their own passions. Practitioners of the genre are known for their empathy and are often quite sympathetic by nature for this reason. Obtaining the state is remarkably difficult as it requires the user to actively harm themselves without hesitation and fully embrace every sensation. The meditation puts one in a masochistic state of mind and such a thing takes time and practice as well as great understanding of pain. Their empathy comes from this pain. A blood mage no longer feels it the same as others do, but they remember it quite well. They abhor the sight of pain in others, and will always seek to correct it, or make it worse...

As one practices, they get used to the pain. They hold the blade above their skin and notice their hands no longer shake. They notice that they stop holding their breath in anticipation of the pain. They feel the flesh part as the edge severs each layer slowly and then they realize that pain is not what follows...this...this is ecstasy. The dichotomy didn't end before. It's still present and just as practitioners enter a mindset of manic masochism, so too do they risk the onset of sadism. This crimson passion is a road of self discovery and can lead one to ache at the fact that so few understand it. It is not uncommon for those who achieve The Scarlet Rapture to wish the same upon others. They need to show you what it feels like because if you eliminate the pain, what's left is indescribable. It's impossible to even comprehend. This is called the passion, and every practitioner struggles with it.

The Passion

It is the evolved form of The Scarlet Rapture. The Passion is what connects a blood mage to the blood surrounding her. It is what allows her to link her veins with her allies and her foes alike.
The Passion comes on a crashing wave as in a single moment the mage enters a state of temporary insanity.

They love every moment of it. This is where they get their power and this is how they perform their spells. They find that their devotion and masochism can heal and their sadistic need to show others what they have found can kill. They get to feel that experience as their blood is linked and feel without pain the joy of passing on into death... over... and over again.

Their feelings are clouded, however. Their victims are overcome with fear as the pain deadens and the soul is ripped from the body. The blood mage is aware of this, and their lives are often spent on edge as they walk a fine line between who they are and this otherness within them. Blood is addictive and every blood mage is an addict. On one side they have control on the other, they become a monster.

The Five Strains

The genre is divided in several "Strains" that act as guide lines and philosophical structures for those who practice the genre. They each detail ways to accumulate blood, what kind of blood to harvest and ways of using blood when you have it.

A Give and Take

Likely one of the most divisive concepts in the genre is how one harvests blood. Should it be a specific kind of blood? Must it always be red? Should you take this blood from others forcibly, or for ethical reasons only use blood freely given to you or in some cases, use no blood other than your own? The genre is a battlefield of ethics, and each strain teaches its own morals to those who wish to learn. Most blood mages use a combination of any or all the strains they learn, setting aside morality for the fix it gives or for dire situations.

Steve Arygle.jpg
by Steve Arygle

Religion and Blood Magic

Blood has always had a power, but it wasn't until The Wetworks formed that this power could manifest. This leads many to worship blood in its many forms. Some worship divine beings of blood, others simply worship the blood itself. This has lead to a massive amount of religious connotation in the genre that is upheld even by those who have no religious belief.

The Red Maiden and Wetworks

The Wetworks act as The Red Maidens domain. She is the virgin mother of all blood magic. All blood magic comes from The Wetworks. A practitioner may know nothing of the domain or the patroness who grants them their gift and it would still be so. A practitioner may receive the gift from another divinity and it would still be so.

The domain is an island of black sand surrounded by an ocean of blood. The sky has no stars, and the beings that populate this place are powerful and horrific, but much like those who desire the powers of blood, they are sympathetic and love those who visit the domain... in their own special way.

The Red Mantle

The red mantle is the most powerful gift of blood magic and comes directly from The Red Maiden herself. Few have ever possessed it going as far back to the dawn of time. The Red Mantle allows one to become one with the maiden on the physical plane. You are yourself but you are also an avatar of her. She ravages you as her impossible shapes fold from your body in countless arms, flowing rivers of red, and endless weaves of scarlet locks.
Metaphysical, Arcane

A Preference For The Feminine

Being a woman grants an advantage to a practitioner of blood magic. The art comes more naturally to women. Another advantageous trait to have is red hair. The Red Maiden prefers these traits and as such, blood magic is more potant and doubly so for one who possesses both.

The Shadow

There is a certain otherness to the person you become when in the throes of passion. Many describe it as a complete loss of control. Its like meeting your shadow face to face. Every dark part of who you are emerges as every forbidden desire comes within reach. It is unclear how or why this occurs. The psychological element of blood magic is deeply rooted in the minds of those who practice it. This is not to say that they become someone else.

They do not have multiple personalities or any other mental illness. Their filters get switched off and all social and cultural restraints they may have had disappear. This shadow is effectively who they are at their most basic level without any kind of outside influence.

The Crimson Scripture

All blood mages share another unique talent. While mostly associated with The Strain of The Sacred Rites, Crimson Scripture is a method of scrying that allows a blood mage to divine information from bloodstains, pools, and any other source of blood. They can determine emotional states, positioning, whether the owner of the blood is alive or dead, and can even track them with some limitations. If the wound is healed completely, tracking becomes much more difficult and even more so if the person is dead. When the heart beats, the pulse can be felt, allowing the mage to follow. This skill has even more effects to those who understand the sanctity of blood. Some sources of blood can be used for other forms of divination. These sources may also be used to call forth the ghost of the owner, find people related to the owner of the blood, or should the owner be alive, summon the owner to the mages location.  

October "Cicada" Brooks

  October Brooks is a character in The Web who is a highly skilled Sanguimancer. October routinely phases in and out of reality, venturing into The Wetworks for 17 years before resurfacing.

When she does, she leaves a trail of bodies in her wake. She is one of the main reasons Arcana Sanguis still exists in the modern day, many speculate that she is much older than she appears and must kill and bathe in the blood of her victims to remain alive.

This however is completely false. Her habits started to get attention and the media gave her a nickname: Cicada. She wears it like a badge of honor. During her visit in 1943, she started to leave sketches of cicadas at every crime scene.

Mira Ners.jpg
by Mira Ners

Articles under Arcana Sanguis

Cover image: by Legendary Memory


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7 Mar, 2019 17:38

Very creepy! All that red slickery blood all over the place! Quick question, is there only one Red Maiden or is there a Red Maiden at every Temple of Blood?

7 Mar, 2019 18:50

Lol that's one to find a typo. There should be an appostrophe. There is only one Red Maiden. It states that quite clearly in the side bar in her section even without the apostrophe though. My bad. I don't recall mentioning any temples either... or a bunch of slickery blood. Slickery blood was not my intention, as the real focus of this article is the emotion and psychological elements that are required to practice blood magic. Would you specify these things for me so i can go back and fix?

8 Mar, 2019 01:52

Slickery blood is an overall impression I get from the image and the continual mention of blood. You are most correct that you did not mention temples. I was asking is this magic preformed can be performed anywhere? Where is it taught? If not a temple, perhaps a school, in brightly lit tea rooms? You get the idea. Nothing to "fix" really. Your work just made wonder more about how the blood magic was propagated, etc. Great job!

8 Mar, 2019 04:16

Ohhhh! My bad man. I completely misunderstood. If a mage access to blood and the knowledge for the genre. they can practice it anywhere There were temples tho so your not wrong in mentioning them, they just had nothing to do with blood. her religion is focused on passion and extremes, blood is just a facet of it. Thanks for the comment regardless. It cleared a little bit up for me on how to approach the strains in the genre

8 Mar, 2019 02:53

The Red Maiden and her Mantle are, I think, the most fascinating bits abotu this article. That's not to say the rest isn't ingenious (it's amazing), but it's those two snippets in the sidebar that really snagged me, personally. I especially like, though, how you've created several "strains" with their own philosophies. I don't think that's something often considered when writing about magic, is how different people would approach them and the sort of ideologies that would develop around its use among certain groups. Wonderful work!

8 Mar, 2019 04:28

So I was having a rough night here and looked and saw just a string of likes and this lovely comment. Thanks so much! It made my night.     The Maiden is my absolute favorite deity I've created thus far. She appears in all my worlds and I'm surprised I havnt written her yet. The mantle is another favorite of mine!   Magic is by far my favorite thing to write, even though its plain to see I get carried away. The strains come from a format I made when I did chaos magic to break up how long the articles can get when I care to much XD Kind of a magnifying glass on a specific element. It grew to encompass the philosophy and psychology of the magic users who wield it cause you are so right: very few people think about it. These are not just pointy hat wizards and witches. Each is unique and uses the powers for their own reasons. I studied psyche, and always wondered about how the kind effects magic. What gets really intense is how users work to justify learning two different strains. Lol anyhow, thanks so much! I'm so happy you enjoyed it.

8 Mar, 2019 04:46

Glad I could brighten your night ^_^ You should write about her and the mantle some time! I'd definitely say that your "getting carried away" is perfect, and not to stop <3 And breaking it all into different articles is an absolutely wonderful practice... Makes people explore more and keeps articles on a single topic (something I need to get better at myself lol).   Bit of a Sidebar: Have you considered using out Parent + Child article categorization method to attach strains to their appropriate magic classes? It'll make them appear together in the TOC of your world and even add their article panels to the bottom of the relevant article they're attached to when viewing the article; great way to keep your world organized without having to take up quite as much TOC space and stuff :3

8 Mar, 2019 04:51

You know I think I will! The article doesn't feel complete without those links so I'll likely be doing it next. Lol I need to get better at it as well. I like everything to be contained until I want to expand but it gets way to cumbersome.     I've thought about it and now that I have a world dedicated to my magic systems i will be doing so, organization is something I've been falling behind on.   Thanks for the kind words and just everything. if you have any articles you need looked at I'm always willing to repay the kindness!

8 Mar, 2019 07:53

I love it when people poke around my world, so feel free at any point <3 No direction necessary ^_^

8 Mar, 2019 14:52

Lol me as well. I'll be sure to take a look here soon.

8 Mar, 2019 14:02

The article really encapsulates the idea of how blood magic works. I mean, the idea of using blood for magic has been a tale as old as time, but how you describe it really gives it its mystique to it. The strains are a neat touch as well, even how to say things like red hair or being female can increase its potential.   Though the curiosity from me comes as following question: could one technically bag a bunch of blood for storage by say, bloodletting corpses and just draining their own blood and storing it for later, or does one have to always have fresh blood with them to even perform said magic?

8 Mar, 2019 14:57

This is actually a litttttle iffy. Once I finish the rpg assets for the strains ill be adding getting critiques on them as well. The strain of chirurgury and new moons both involve stored blood, particularly new moons. They can construct a blood ladder, which is like a weird looking wind chime made of wood and twine that is soaked in ritual blood. It opens to the wetworks and literally collects blood over time that floats around it for the purpose of storing it. The only blood that can't be used for spells is dead blood. So dry, coagulated, spoiled blood. Players will usually use fresh blood tho.

8 Mar, 2019 20:33

Well, this is a very well written article. It is a cool idea being addicted to blood magic, as it takes from you and gives to you. cool concept great article   I would like to know tho why October was given the name cicada, because from the way you wrote it looks like it came after she started drawing them

8 Mar, 2019 20:59

Her name came first, and she began to leave the drawing in response. I'll fix that, lol her name is inspired by the periodical Cicada, which only shows up every 13 or 17 years. Thanks for the comment my friend.

7 May, 2019 21:54

It's great to see an article take magic and flesh it out on an almost primal level instead of giving it a single facet. This has definitely inspired some thoughts, and I, like others, was a big fan of The Maiden. I don't know if this is in another article, but does she interact with other deities? How do those interactions go?   Also on the sidebar under 'A PREFERENCE FOR THE FEMININE', it should be 'potent' instead of potant.   A very well crafted article.

7 May, 2019 22:16

Oooooo thanks for that spelling error. I'll fix it soon.   Thanks so much for the kind words and thank you we're taking a look at it. Since pretty much all of my worlds are more than just fiction and also related to role playing game settings, I decided to focus on each magical school as if it was its own magickal system with its own set of rules and also its own set of abilities to use. Interesting ly enough distance to make articles very long to where I actually have to break it down into smaller articles that deal with more specific facets of it which is what the strains are. I get carried away with my magic articles XD as far as the red Maiden is concerned she is a major part of the overall plot that occurs in all of my worlds except for one or two. Her article has not been written yet so there's no problem whatsoever. She does interact with other deities, though she is a specific kind of deity in the lore. I want spout on much about it but she was a goddess of Ozlith, an Empire that fell and is one of the few remaining that lived past that fall. She's many more things depending on what world you're talking about but that's where she began. The interactions were... odd. One of the main things about the red maidens that she is now cider and Outsiders are bizarre and don't make sense most of the time. The red Maiden represents a strange sensation that is difficult for some to even experience much less understand. For that reason she was the least worshipped of the seven gods in her Homeland but she is arguably the most powerful. Her article is in the works and I will get it done eventually but I'm not sure when.

7 May, 2019 22:20

As i'm crafting my plot to a tabletop experience as well, I completely understand wanting to create different schools and give them unique lore, patrons, mechanics, so on and so forth.   The different schools of magic are on my list of things to do, and yes, one of the more daunting tasks that i'm mentally chipping away at each day.   I think you've done an incredible job so far and I look forward to seeing not just the different schools but how they interact with the world and one another. Questions that go through my head are: How do the other schools see practitioners of blood magic? How do the practitioners view other schools? Are there competitions between the schools, and, assuming blood magicians aren't banned, how do they compete? Are future prospects encouraged or dissuaded from joining the school(s) that teach blood magic?   I look forward to finding out more.

7 May, 2019 22:44

As far as the direction between different schools goes it's kind of difficult to say. The system I developed makes it to an individual can learn an entire School of magic at once if they happen to be arcanists (mages) so an Arcanist can learn multiple genres they're not exclusive necessarily you can be expensive as far as purchasing with experience which is how they level up in my system, but it is not uncommon for any Arcanist to have multiple genres to rely on. Interacting with each other is a mechanic I call Synergy. Some genres blend very very well together others don't. This is generally dependent on things like elements in canceling out and other stuff. As far as how blood Mages are looked at it also kind of depends. Blood magic is never illegal in any of my worlds it's just considered gross. Anytime somebody claims they are a blood Mage generally people are going to look at them as if they are crazy especially when you talk about more modern-day settings where are bloodborne pathogens and STIs are prevalent and well known about. Generally people are dissuaded from learning certain strains of blood magic. And the addiction doesn't help the matter. Most people refuse to teach it and it has to be learned on their own which is not the best way to go about doing it because teaching can lead to better self-control. Those who Focus individually on a single genre generally do so for very specific reasons. A blood mage being one who only practices blood magic has more time to learn the more powerful abilities in it but misses out on various other avenues of magic. It also depends on the kind of magic you say you are bards for example can learn spells but not entire genres and usually those individual spells one at a time but not the whole genre, and that version of the spell will come with some sort of connotation and lore that connects it to The Bard's rather than to arcanists. Truly sorry if none of that makes sense there's a lot of stuff out of context but that's the gist of it lol.

7 May, 2019 22:49

No problem. I got an idea. Format that and put it into an article or this one. I look forward to seeing how you explain these things. It helps give the players a view on what the world may view them as and how they may want to act when taking on this role and knowledge.   Kind of like how the world would treat you if you studied Liberal Arts versus Engineering, or Communications versus Marine Biology.

7 May, 2019 22:54

Tis very true. this is (halfway) discussed in the individual strain articles but not to the degree that I probably should have. I'll have to go through and really work with my magic systems because currently there are all kinds of all over the place. The most developed is Arcana discordia, and even then I kind of missed the mark on how people view the discordians. Is a good idea and I'll definitely be utilizing it! The actual information on how magic Works will likely be where I start if that's what you're talkin about lol. I'll be reading circle of thorns very soon I'm not putting it off I'm just at work lol want to make sure I give you a critique worthy of it.

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