Seal of Silence Tradition / Ritual in Pathfinder: Crusades | World Anvil

Seal of Silence

"The worst sin a person can commit is treachery." - Sharon Milwaukee

The Seal of Silence is a ritual that some Caelsimilian military and leadership officials are subjected to when swearing to maintain the confidentiality of sensitive and classified government and military information. It was created by Sharon Milwaukee and first implemented in Florence.   Highly controversial, it is nonetheless considered incredibly effective, and a strict level of secrecy surrounding the exact method of execution is enacted to ensure that it is not nullified or countered.

Execution

Swearing of the Oath

Well the exact details pertaining to the ritual's implementation are unknown, those who are aware of the ritual itself are familiar with its deceptively simple and straightfoward steps.   To begin, the oath taker and the Oathmaker enter a mundane private space. All magical items and equipment must be removed prior, and personal enhancements or other magical protections must be deactivated or dispelled. Once this is completed and verified, the pair can face one another and clasp hands.   After being prompted to do so, the oath taker begins to recite the the oath, which have they been given beforehand. As they do, the Oathmaker quietly murmurs an incantion - the exact words of which are unknown. Some speculate that it's a complex arcane spell, while others believe it to be divine in nature- perhaps a prayer to a higher power, such as Iolond.   Once the oath taker is finished speaking deep, maroon tendrils light up the participants' skin and wind up their arms, beginning at their clasped hands. They continue until the Oathmaker's hushed incantation is completed, after which they appear to be absorbed into the skin.   After they have faded completely, the Oathmaker breaks physical contact and pours both themself and the oath taker a shot, toasting to Caelsimil. It is unclear if this is a necessary step or simply done to honor the nation. Regardless, the ritual is considered complete.  

Consequences of the Oath

  Once sworn, the service memeber or government official is bound to secrecy regarding classified national information. Should the vow be broken, an arcane trigger is activated that immediately silences the individual from divulging further information.   It does this within seconds, rapidly filling the oath breaker's throat and mouth with their own blood, making them entirely incapable of verbal speech. If not treated very quickly by someone with knowledge of how to counter the spell, it also kills the victim within a matter of minutes through suffocation. It is said that this is a mercy to spare those who have broken their vows under duress of torture- so that the victim may die before they can be tortured any further- and, ideally, before an enemy could potentially find a way to work around the seal.   It is rumored that the gruesome appearance of the oath breaker's blood spilling from their lips is a very deliberate choice. Those who spread this rumor allege its highly visible nature is both a scare tactic and a warning. Any other potential traitors in the area will see their comrade choking on his own blood, and know that they will suffer the same fate should they try to share any further information. The victim themself will realize immediately what is going on, and will be acutely aware of how little time they have left to live.   When transcribing confidential information or sharing it telepathically, the results are similar, but it also affects additional areas. If the offending information is written down, blood will also pool in the oath taker's eyes, impeding his vision and dripping down onto the parchment itself, obscuring what has already been written. When transmitted telepathically, they instead also suffer a brain bleed.

Components and tools

While most are unaware of the details involved in the process, one thing is agreed upon: that the Seal of Silence is a complex ritual that draws from several different sources of magic. Some have theorized there would need to be at least 10 different arcane spells utilized in order for the seal to work the way it does, and others believe that possession of some sort is involved.   To the dismay of many, the lack of written records on the spell itself, and on whom it has been performed, makes it difficult study further. It has been intentionally left off of official records to keep its integrity- and to keep information from falling into the wrong hands.

Observance

While only those with a General rank or higher may determine when an Oathmaker's duties are necessary, each Oathmaker has some freedom on how they fulfill them, so while some have adopted and utilized Sharon's method, many others have rejected or simply ignored it.
by Alycia Fung
Related Ethnicities


Cover image: by Kal V, derivative work created with the Canva Content License

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