Slaying Spell in Shedim | World Anvil

Slaying

When just death ain't enough.
  More than murder, a Slaying is a ritualistic butchery - annihilation of a creature of magic for the purpose of usurping its power. To slay another is to remove them from the world, to take their place, and to erase all they could ever be. It is an act only fools and villains undertake without pause, and to be known as a Slayer in the magi community is not a compliment. Still, a short-cut to power is hard for some to resist, and the bones of would-be-slayers litter the lairs of creatures that proved more powerful than they.   It is a vile act of mystical obliteration, practiced by only a few particularly power-hungry mages. The wise witch thread carefully around them, least they become the next victim.  

Beyond Killing

Hold still. This'll be your last breath.
  Slaying is part spell, part butchery, a proacted ritual of destruction that begins and ends with terrible bloodshed. Whatever foe the mage wishes to vanquish is cut in flesh and beyond, their very being dismembered into component pieces and stolen away.  
by Pixabay
The exact details of the ritual varies between mages, everyone has their own way of wielding magic to Slay. For most, it involves cutting, burning, or flaying whatever monster they've managed to hunt and bind, peeling back layers of skin, then meat, then finally bone and being. It is not a short or clean rite, nor for the faint of heart - even against the immortal creatures of the Beyond, such suffering taints the soul of those who inflict it.   When the Slain has been reduced down to the core of their being, all pretense and all corporeal shields flensed, the final act of Slaying begins. The Slayer begins to cut the soul and essence of their victim to pieces and swallow them before they can escape into whatever awaits beyond death. Many times, it is a visceral, messy consumption that leaves little doubt about what has transpired.
 
Some witches coach their murder in ancient rites - strangling, drowning, burying beneath enough rocks to crush the life out of anything. Any way you go about it, it is a slow and deliberate act, so make sure you know what you're getting yourself into, pal.
  A Slaying can take everything from a few hours to a few days, depending on the power of the victim. While a Slaying can be performed by groups, most Slayers are a greedy sort and not keen to share the rewards of their butchery, no matter the risk. Those who do are especially dangerous, hunting like packs of jackels that even horrors fear.  

Slain and Slayer

Can't die dead enough.
  The jury is still out on what lies beyond death, but most magi agree that there's something there. Echoes of the past can be felt throughout the Shadow, and just killing someone isn't always enough to put them away. Whatever there is, a Slaying severs that thread. It annihilates the soul and being of the creature slain, preventing them from any sort of return or communication from beyond the grave. They are gone, their essence removed from the universe.  
It's a kind of obliteration that causes even creatures of the Beyond to pause. For many, death in the Prime is more of a temporary, if painful, inconvenience, where their essence flees back to the Beyond after their Prime vessel is destroyed. But to be Slain is to be touched by true oblivion.   It is not a fear entirely unknown to them. In the manyfold worlds of the Beyond, there are predator and prey. Many spirits and monsters have their own way to destroy each other, at varying degrees of permanency - but at the hands of a mortal?
by Unsplash (Jaroslav Devia)
  As such, Slaying is sometimes an act of desperation rather than ambition. Some beasts are too dangerous or powerful for the world, their very existence too much of a risk to suffer. When killing them isn't enough, a Slaying can end a threat forever. Such Slayers are usually tragic figures, haunted by what they've done, but there's always those who develop a taste for it.   For the Slayer's part, they are now the usurper of their victim's being and all they once were. The effects are unpredictable, but often addicting as the rush of power accompanies new powers, heightened magical abilities, more mystical energies, and even physical changes. Slayers always inherit some Aspect related to their Victim, from a vampire's pale skin or dislike for the sun to a dragon's greed and reptilian eyes. It leaves a mark on the slayer's being, one that can never be erased.
by Unsplash (Jaroslav Devia)
 

Slaying Mortals

Like any monster, a mage can be Slain, though for much less gains. Despite their powers, most mages are still mortal, still creatures of the Prime, and offer much less power to their Slayer. Regular folk, however, give nothing at all, besides screams and blood.  
Still, as far as revenge goes, few acts compare.
 

Grafting

The new-fangled cousin of an ancient horror, Grafting perform many of the same acts of terror for a more physical transformation by transplanting the flesh, bone, carapace and organs of monsters into mages in search of power.   There's something of a debate raging between mages about which is worse, for either Slain or Slayer, but neither are particularly pleasant.    
Grafting
Technology / Science | Jul 11, 2021

Binding bits and pieces of monster to mortals, to make something more than the sum of their parts.

 

The Butcher

For every kind of killing, there is always a tool. From ritual daggers to garrot ropes, Slayers have their pick of venerable weapons of murder, but none is as feared as the Butcher. An old blade that looks like nothing more than an old, saw-toothed blade, it was made for to Slay and consume... And has served its purpose well.   No one is sure where the Butcher is right now, and no one would celebrate knowing it.    
Butcher of Being
Item | Dec 1, 2022

An old, rusted blade with jagged teeth that cut apart the bonds that hold a soul together.

 

Aspects

Aspects are the supernatural parts of a person's being, manifesting as a sort of friction between the reality of the Prime and the magic of everything that could be. When a witches shadow acts on its own accord, or a warlock's very presence causes milk to spoil - those are aspects in action.   Although the Veil smoothes over memories people have of the girl with hair like raging fire or the man with the impossible eyes, they can be make a mage's life real complicated.  
Aspect
Physical / Metaphysical Law | Dec 1, 2022

Aspects are magical parts of a mage's essence, a sort of metaphysical friction between the mundane reality and the glory within them. It leaks out through their flesh and out into the world, scarring both in the process.

Such changes are often enough to change a mage's True Name - making them both more and less then they were before the knife came down.  
True Names
Rank/Title | Jul 28, 2021

True Names are the essence of a being. It is an embodiment of all they are, their essence distilled to a name... Or in some cases, several.


Comments

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Dec 1, 2022 20:04 by R. Dylon Elder

Oooo dark and beautifully written. It's a nice touch that slaying actually severs the slain from the universe. It does not sound like good way to go.

Dec 1, 2022 20:04

Thank you!!! :D   And no, it is not. Even horrors feat it. >:D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Dec 1, 2022 20:40 by Annie Stein

This is exactly what I expected from you this worldember, what a great and grisly start!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Dec 2, 2022 07:32

Thank you! :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Dec 1, 2022 22:23 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

The indignity of being killed by a mortal :p

To see what I am up to: my Summer Camp 2024.
Dec 2, 2022 07:32

The outrage!


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Dec 2, 2022 00:10 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Terrifying start to WorldEmber, Q. It's a nice touch to have something even the worst of monsters can fear.

Dec 2, 2022 07:32

No one is safe, not even the monsters. >:D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Dec 3, 2022 21:40 by JRR Jara

I have read all your articles so far and I can say I really like how you are going about WE this year! You are shaping up a very intriguing story!

Creator of Hanzelot and many more.
Dec 4, 2022 13:28

Aw thank you!! :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Dec 26, 2022 16:02

Interesting! I like the contrast between the benefits of such a total consumption of another being, and the fact that sometimes it's an expedient way to rid the world of a dangerous entity. I wonder if the power-hungry sort outnumber the more heroic sort though...

Dec 26, 2022 19:10

That's a very good question. I'm not sure, but I imagine the power-hungry sort have a much higher turn-over rate. :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Jan 26, 2023 15:05 by Angantyr

I enjoyed (if that is the right word in this case) and learned a lot from this piece. There are a lot of little pieces tied together, making the article more intricate and connecting it to other parts of the world, making me feel like learning several things at one read.   What would happen if one was to perform Slaying on two beings with opposing features? Would they add peculiarly or negate each other? I'm thinking of situations when someone would, e.g., Slay a vampire (gaining a dislike for the sun) and then Slayed a being with a great liking in the sun.   Changing the True Name is a big thing! Would that also mean that Slayers are generally more difficult to attack with the use of their True Name?   Lastly, a gruesome one. What happens when the Slaying is interrupted? Would one have a partially Slain being and a partially empowered Slayer?     Thanks for the wonderful food for thought! :D

Playing around with words and worlds
Jan 27, 2023 15:35

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the read, and thanks for the fun questions!   I think, in essence, the answer for 1 and 3 is "and then plot stuff happened!" Every case would be unique so there's no easy answer, except for 'there would be trouble, and a lot of it'   For the second one... Kind of! If you had their old True Name, you'd be flummoxed obviously, and you'd have to learn what alterations happened. But it's a you have it or you don't situation - either it'll work, or you have an angry slayer looking for whoever's trying to mess with them. :)   Thanks again!


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.