Spiritual Essence: Dark Fuel for Dark Magics
Magic has and always will demand balance. To accomplish greatness within the field of the arcane or the divine, one must understand and respect the balance. How one provides that offering determines the goodliness or the evilness of a spell. Goodly things are altruistic, voluntary, and given with gratitude. Evil and dark things are taken without permission or knowledge. Good has always been seen among those of the 4 Corners are less powerful because very few are willing to offer up the sacrifices themselves to wield that kind of power. Evil methods are quick, dirty, and effective- a more powerful bang for your buck for the impatient and power-hungry. One of the darkest methods to fuel magics is known as Soul Harvesting. This method is considered high treason among the practitioners of the Arcane, Divine, and even the new Alchemical fields. Practicing such methods is a quick way for all three communities to hunt and punish the practitioner for doing so (most often the punishment is death). Yet, no one can argue its effectiveness nor its potency.
What is Soul HarvestingWhen the four elemental gods arrived, they blessed the people with magics similar to their own. These people blessed with these gifts became a new people altogether known as the Touched. They were effectively immortal provided they were not killed. Once their life force and magics had been up to a point of exhaustion and death, the Touched would achieve one last transformation and then assume a rebirth, starting their life over and over again. This form of reincarnation would allow the Touched to maintain some of the memories of their previous lives but also to live an entirely new one. That powerful final transformation is a large influx of power and magics being used up in order to secure the Touched soul into its new life. Dark magickers however, discovered that this last bit of power is the perfect fuel for other magics, most often fiendish ones. Soon deep in the shadows hunters emerged looking to capture elemental touched beings and sell them to the highest bidders to whoever is looking to delve deep into the black magics of the arcane or divine. The soul and power of a transforming Touched can raise armies of undead, summon the lost souls of Fiends to do the caster's bidding, and create terrifying natural disasters and horrors of weather.
Society's ResponseThe response from society was one of disgust and horror at first. Not only were dark mages set for death for what terrible things they were doing, but the emergence of this practice began during the Era of Connection. The Touched were still considered holy beings and under the protection of their Patron Deity. Divine intervention often stopped many a dark mage from doing these terrible acts, and all 4 of the gods reprimanded the people for such atrocities to those with their gifts. All of this was maintained until Severence. After the gods left, the moratorium and horrific punishments for dark arcane slowly but surely lifted. With an exception of the Western Corner who abhors any and all magic, the capturing and harvesting of a Touched is an abhorred tradition. Any and all officials have banned the practice entirely, yet enforcement is not nearly as strong enough as it once was. There are even rumors that some of the Southern Corner nobility even engage in such horrific practices, however, no journalist has ever lived to expose the story on a Continental level at all. Arcane, Divine, and Alchemical communities still will put to death any practitioner who chooses to engage in dark magics. Yet, there are only so many Scarlet Knights, Lyra's Shadows, and other enforcement agencies to cover an entire continent that has slowly been descending into desperation. Narne has been known to judiciously engage in Soul Harvesting, and 9 out of 10 Hunters work for her. Yet, the battle against Narne has proven to be incredibly difficult as she grows in power and territory. The number of Touched in society is slowly but surely dwindling, and there are plenty out there who are sympathetic to their cause to elp hide and protect them the best they can. The Resistances, both Southern and Eastern have offered complete asylum for any Touched who seeks it, and the brand new ruler of the Western Corner has opened up the Corner's doors to provide safety for the Touched despite a long and difficult political battle to establish those policies. Soul Harvesting is quickly becoming a hot topic among those in the Northern Corner as well. Typically the Corner of apathy and neutrality, action has been called upon to help. The governments there maintain that the Arcane and Divine governances across the corner are already deploying methods of enforcement and help to keep the problem at bay, yet more action has been called upon from the North to provide more assistance for the Touched. This is still a hot and controversial topic buzzing around the Northern Corner as the people in the streets have begun to protest "The magical end never justify the horrible means"