Sigilarium - Words of Power Language in Shedim | World Anvil

Sigilarium - Words of Power

Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can do so much worse.
  Ancient beyond reckoning, Sigilarium is a language from the Beyond and of raw magic. Though the origin can only be guessed at, Sigilarium appears again and again in the most unexpected places, blazing like fire in the mind of those who learn it.   Such magic was never meant for mortals, and understanding is never more than fleeting - once the blaze goes out, it is forgotten save for the smoldering embers.  

Words of Power

Any final words? Well, I can think of one...
  Opinions are divided on what Sigilarium actually is. The runes look like nothing found in any earthly language but feel somehow familiar, while spoken Sigilarium doesn't sound like anything much at all. To those who hear it, and survive, it sounds like what it meant. 'Fire' sounds like the roar of flames, 'death' like a shroud of stillness that rests over the face of a corpse - it's as much a feeling as noise, something that resonates with the core of every being. No one, neither magi nor demon, yeti or vampire, remains unaffected.  
Some Magi believe the Sigilarium is a True Name situation, holding the secret essence of things rather than creatures.
by (Freepik)
  Written, the runes of Sigilarium devour whatever they are recorded on. Most material from the Prime lasts no longer than a few moments, and the Shadow only fares a little better. It is only in the Beyond where Sigilarium runes last, and even then never for long. Eventually, whatever edifice that holds the Sigilarium will crumble under the weight of its power.  
Sigilarium can't be taught by mortals, only discovered.
  Once read, an innate understanding of how to speak is imparted to the reader, no matter what other memories it has to shove aside to do so. Letters and words burn their way into the human mind, consuming pieces of the past as a price for their power.
  It's never certain exactly what will go missing, everything from childhood memories to pieces of long division, so a witch can just hope for the best.  
Learning Sigilarium can be like putting together an ancient jigsaw puzzle, where the pieces occasionally catch on fire and explode.
  Every time Sigilarium is used, it fades from the mind. With enough time, it disappears from memory, leaving only a hole where it was - magi who once knew it finds themselves unable to speak the word, even when reminded by others. Only by learning it again, from whatever pact they made or part of the Beyond the visited, can a Magi catch it in their mind once more.   Some magi hoard the words, saving them for just the right time, but time is the enemy of those who adopts that strategy. The longer that Sigilarium stays inside the human mind, the more it grows and the more it consumes until all the magi can think of is a chaotic storm of splintered words. The words want to be spoken, and will not abide their prison forever.  


Figuratively and literally, for once.
  When spoken, Sigilarium creates the essence of the word. Saying fire spawns flames, screaming for oblivion brings it down upon some poor bastard. Sigilarium is guided by intent, giving a magi a measure of control over what appears where... But not always. With some words, it isn't entirely sure what'll happen if spoken aloud, and most Magi who stumble on one of those decisions not to risk it.  
Magi who specialize in word-magic of any kind are called Dictumancer, for whom Sigilarium is somewhat of a holy grail.
Sigilarium draws power from the language and their own internal essence, generating what they need by devouring memories and growing its strength within the mind of those who have learned it. The longer it is allowed to fester, the stronger the effect once finally unleashed. On the other hand, the longer it is left to grow, the more things the magi will forget, and the more violently the word will rip itself from their mind.  
It's not like you need algebra anyway.
  Speaking words of power like that isn't without consequences. Some magi liken it to trying to vomit out a bowling ball, and many are left coughing blood or with splitting headaches, with a gaping hole in their thoughts where the Sigilarium once was.   The more powerful the word, the worse it gets, but at least that's also true for whoever's on the receiving end.
by (Freepik)
Of course, if used without due consideration, it might be more of a 'to whom it may concern' type of situation.
  Using Sigilarium comes three distinct types: Slivers, Word-spells, or Speaking True.
by Pixabay

The Beyond

The Beyond is a realm of monsters and magic, of wonder and horror, far from the mortal world. Here, spirits, gods, and demons dwell among impossible, myth-shrouded lands. Getting there is difficult, and getting out can be even worse.   Fragments of Sigilarium can be found across the Beyond, on the tongues of demons or burned into the land itself.  
The Beyond
Geographic Location | Jul 3, 2021

The world beyond all other worlds, a place of wonder and horror in equal measure.



Pacts are contracts signed with entities of power, usually from the Beyond, where a Magi makes a promise in exchange for some boon. These range from small and fleeting, such as safe passage through a part of the Beyond or the Key to a particular Gate, all the way to immortality and forbidden, blasphemous powers. The price paid rises accordingly, and only fools make such promises lightly.   Some entities in the Beyond bestow understanding of a Sigilarium word or fragment of one, but always for a heavy price.    
Condition | Jul 8, 2021

Making a deal with a devil, and its consequences.



Sigilarium isn't the only magic made from words, but some think it might be the originator of them. Scribblomancy is another art of word-magic, transforming words into their meaning, but with ink instead of apocalyptic hellfire. Some consider it a lesser form of magic, and none more so than the more snobbish of the Dictumancer, up until they take a scribbled-shuriken to the face.   At least one mad bastard hopes to combine the two, if only he could find something sturdy enough to not disintegrate under the Sigilarium's power.  
Item | Jul 8, 2021

Enchanted pens and accompanying magic, launching words and hastily scrawled doodles like shurikens.


  Even individual letters of Sigilarium contain a spark of magical substance. On their own, they don't do much save for a rush of power, but combined with magic spell or ritual, they can provide a boost for whatever a magi is trying to do, without blowing their brains out in the process.  
  So-called Slivers are half-words or letters of Sigilarium, used to infuse other spells with additional potency. Especially skilled mages even weave these slivers into other incantations, making them part of another magical art and adding to it, sometimes to unexpected results.   Even then, a mage has to be careful. Using too many, and there's a risk of a death by a thousand papercuts. If the magi know the word, they have to be even more cautious, or they will assemble themselves unbidden when just a letter was called on.


  Word-Spells use full words or even multiple words of Sigilarium, but bound tightly to existing magic. It dulls their power, but makes the effect more predictable and the cost less hazardous.   With Sigilarium, a magi can change the function of a spell. The essence of the word charges the spell, changing it to do something differently - or something else entirely. It isn't as quick or as potent as just winging a word of power out there, but it's a hell of a lot safer.  
Not necessarily for the victim, though.
  Word-Spells allows for a great deal of finesse and versatility from magi who can think on their feet, changing a tried and true formulae to fit whatever trouble they've bumbled their way into. Though the price tag is lower, it isn't absent, and any word-mage hoping for a long career remembers that.

Speaking True

Considered by some the purest form of word-magic, Speaking True unleashes the full power of Sigilarium without restraint or caution. Whether a whisper or a scream, the magi speaks Sigilarium and wills the essence of those words into being. Such power comes with a heavy price, as the letters tear loose from the speaker's mind and out of their throats, blood-splatter and all. Speaking True is reckless at best, suicidal desperation at worse, but a word can change the tide of battle. A sentence or more, and there's a real recipe for disaster for everyone involved.  
Don't stutter, whatever you do.

End of the Line

Only fragments of Sigilarium are known to Magi, individual letters and occasional words. Because of its self-immolating nature, even the best Dictumancers can only guess how many words they might once have known and how many have faded from their memories. It's an old tongue, with no words for new-fangled inventions like computers or terms like radiation, but primordial and fundamental. No one is really sure exactly where Sigilarium comes from or where its origin lies, but there's plenty of theories. Most settle on some sort of magical language of the cosmos, but don't get much further than that.   Some think Sigilarium is the result of some ancient Pact that a magi bound with an entity of terrifying power. Whatever they paid for it, well, most prefer not to think about that. Some go even further with the theory, given how the words seem to feed and hunger and desire, and speculate that every word of Sigilarium is in fact a Familiars, taking the shape of knowledge.   As with all these things, there's a great deal of speculation about what would happen if someone were to learn the whole language. Some utopians believe it would allow a magi to unlock the true secrets of magic, but most think that it'd be like trying to fill a water balloon with a fire hydrant.  
More than like apocryphal is the story of the scribe who spent a lifetime learning every word of Sigilarium there was, only for the last to burn from his memories why he'd bothered in the first place.
visnezh - base - kopia.jpg
by Visnezh (Freepik)

Cover image: by Unsplash (Natalia Y)


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17 Jul, 2021 22:33

The first thing that It came to my mind was, "It would be so cool to combine this Scribblomancy!!!" And then I read this!

At least one mad bastard hopes to combine the two, if only he could find something sturdy enough to not disintegrate under the Sigilarium's power.
  I'm the mad bastard?? XD

18 Jul, 2021 07:03

Honestly, all mages are a little mad. :D They're doing all kind of wacky magic nonsense all the time, how can they not be?

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
19 Jul, 2021 20:10

I'm sure this is the moon!!! It's always the moon's fault...   This is such a horrifying form of magic! So powerful and interesting and it just tears your mind apart :( I'm so sad... Can people learn it by accident if they stumble upon a word or does it requires a conscious effort?   Since you said that monsters and familiars can teach those words to Magic, does that mean that they can speak the language fully? Or are they just able to keep a few words in their mind better than us and share them without forgetting them? Can the fae speak it/use the magic perfectly? True word magic is often something I see associated with fae. I really like how horrifying you've made it even if I'm really sad it's a forbidden magic :(   Lovely article, I peculiarly like the quote "It's not like you need algebra anyway." and "Of course, if used without due consideration, it might be more of a 'to whom it may concern' type of situation." :D

To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
2 Aug, 2021 11:45

Thank you! :D It turned out pretty awesome, almost by accident!   And speaking of accident.. Yes, I think it's something that some poor saps learn by accident, though it'd be one heck of an accident. xD   I think monsters might have individual words that they just know inherently, and don't suffer like humans do, since they are magical creatures. And the words they would know would be intrinsic to what they are. :D   Alas, I don't think Fae have any particular connection to Sigilarium, just the same as any other critter, I think :D Thought they might enjoy collecting obelisks and ancient rune-plates for fun...   Thanks again :')

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
20 Jul, 2021 06:38

Wow, what an absolutely fantastic idea! I LOVE good word based magic system, and making one where the words burn their way both into and out of your mind? It's like delicious spicy food but FOR YOUR BRAIN AND IT'S MAGIC.   I wonder what sort of magic one could do with the Sigilarium equivalent letter for Q ;D   This is amazing. I love the detail and depth, and planning between your other articles, it shows such care and thought. Loving this :D

2 Aug, 2021 11:46

Sigilarium word for KIMCHI to really burn the brain! :D   Thank you so much :D I'm pretty happy with how it turned out

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
2 Aug, 2021 20:11

mmmmmm, but I bet that burn tastes deliciousssss