Null Marks/Scars Technology / Science in The Brightbound World of Essiothas | World Anvil
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Null Marks/Scars

Null Marks are crystalized Weaves created as a humanitarian method of punishing sentenced and guilty casters/weavers. Do to the difficulty of imprisoning casters many, where over sentenced and ended up in a situation of cruel and unusual punishments. Examples of this type of treatment in the past is the removing of casters hands, it was traditionally thought that a casters power came from there hands. This belief was wrong, though casters often use there hands to direct the expression or effect of a weave, this is not necessarily the case for all casters. Weaves can be expressed from any part of the body all it requires is for the weave to be powered by the casters chroma, their unique chroma signature allows them to attune and control the weave. The Veiled Court specifically designed Null Marks as a way to rehabilitate rogue casters. They believe its the most egalitarian way to deal with these individuals. A way that will not completely anger the worlds caster community. Null Marks are internal weaves that act similar to curses that being, they connect to the casters mortal pattern and drains their chroma to power its expression or casting. They are alchemically treated, the process created a crystalline casing which grounds the weave making it extremely hard to effect or break the weave/Null Mark after it is implanted into the prisoner. As much of the casters chroma reserve should be purged before the surgery as possible, this is to reduce the need for larger or more advanced Null Marks. This is because casters build up chroma overtime, more so in areas with high concentrations of the bright, less so in long settled areas where the bright has been pushed back, and is but a memory. If you determine how much the caster is likely to produce over time you can make it so that amount is used up by the Null Mark. The process of imbedding a Null Mark into a caster is quite painful so in most cases the prisoner is put under heavy anesthesia to manage the pain of the procedure. A surgeon or shaper normally performs the procedure, they imbed the mark deep within the casters flesh most likely the upper arm or thigh. If the procedure is performed properly then there should be little pain and or discomfort.   This punishment allows casters to enter back into normal society and to get rehabilitated. They have little possibility of being able to power a weave again even if they could manage a way to acquire one, for it is illegal to sell to criminal casters. Especially so to casters with a Null Mark and being Null Marks are quite noticeable due to the fact they glow with the casters chroma signature even through medium layers of clothing. Null Marks also have many different names to the citizenship and in caster communities. They call Null Marks void Scars, shank weaves, a siphon mark, a crystal scar and many more depending on region.   Some critics disagree on it being humane Roderick Decelles from the son's of Argus is quoted saying.
"humane, death would be more humane. We live and breathe weaving, put years of our lives into our art our craft. Why not remove the hands of an artist who creates forgeries, why not remove the legs of an athlete who couries illicit parcels, why not remove the tongue's of merchants and politicians who lie and commits libel. No life without the ability to cast is no life, no life at all".

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Nov 27, 2020 17:21 by Corvo Branco

You deal with one of the most interesting angles of ostensible magic here. They historical touch or a period when hands where cut of, given a poor understanding of objective magical facts is a nice touch. "Can that be taken away?" is a natural question, I think. We know lobotomy was used to take away the human magical ability of thinking, for medical reasons, and criminal for criminal reasons as well. If a group of individuals was able to affect physical reality directly with their will some would claim for the total eradication of this possibility in the most "human" way possible. Some would accept that special groups had it (military perhaps) and a third branch of society would give the benefit of doubt for all gifted and just demand convicted criminals to be mutilated. Very few non gifted individuals would ever think twice about strip the magical powers of convicted criminals. That considering world as it is and people as they are in this world, if magical powers just appeared among us.   There is something powerful in the theme, this idea of take people with some amazing and rare capacities and make them "normal", take the wings of an X-Man or make a mage of Dragon Age Origins tranquil: irreversibly destroying something precious. And dangerous.   I have excluded that possibility from the basic structure of magic in Sharitarn from the beginning. Is possible to block magic powers, and even to slave mages and sigraxes, but not to cut their connection with Xar for good. But is possible to mutilate non-human species who have capacities similar to magic, permanently.   That is a important part of this, I suppose, the impossibility to reverse the process. For instance, if in your world someone is punished with a Null Mark and one year later new evidences prove this crime never happened, or the person convicted was completely innocent. Could them the govern reverse the punishment, and erase the mark? Is doable? That situation_innocent convicted as guilty_ will inevitably happen from time to time in any penal system administrated by imperfect beings.

Nov 27, 2020 21:11 by Derek Miller

Hey thanks for being the second person ever to comment on a article i wrote. I was hoping for feed back questions etc but haven't received any until know so thanks very much and thanks a lot for looking at the article. As for the answer to the question yes null marks can be reversed the veiled court which is the largest judicial body in the world, administered/controls a subsidiary organization that being the Shadow tower who has some of the most skilled and powerful weave breakers. The null mark can be broken by a shadow tower caster as it was meant to. Then a surgeon or Shaper could remove the crystalline casing from the body. Though if a caster other then a shadow tower caster tries to break the weave it is almost impossible due to safe guards and defensive routines.

Nov 27, 2020 21:42 by Derek Miller

Or another way to think of it is imagine the null mark is a lock, the key is a shadow tower casters chroma signature being they are the only known group to all have black chroma. No one knows how the veiled court managed this feat but it has proven beneficial. Making it so no single shadow tower caster can be identified by there chroma signature because all members have the same chroma signature. Since all casters have a unique chroma signature they could be identified by it.

Nov 27, 2020 21:59 by Corvo Branco

Is a pleasure to read and comment your article, Blackblood.   Your experience of relative frustration for lack of commentaries remind me my own, actually. But I have adjusted my expectations about that in some extent by now. Since I have been publishing stories and draws in Hentai Foundry, and especially in Deviantart for some time, and even in the now dead orkut community before that. Never found a place where comments to my fiction where not scarce.   Not too odd, I suppose. After all most people who frequent communities like those are primarily interested in share their own creations. Only secondarily inclined to read and reflect about the fictional worlds that belong to others. So they seldom comment those fictional worlds.   In any case, I do have noticed that some people get a lot of comments. Enough to complain about too much attention, and even to be smug and a bit rude with their fans in some cases. I wish you luck in get a lot of comments (and never too many of them).   About the null mark, if I understand it well, what our friendly criminal mage need in your world is a corrupt shadow tower caster who accepts his bribe. That or one with a weakness of some sort that can be exploited, in blackmail. A resourceful criminal organization should keep a list of both types (?)

Nov 27, 2020 22:10 by Derek Miller

Yeah it would work if shadow casters were not so much of a secretive and eccentric organization. Professionally trained and very skilled. Though it is still possible maybe kidnap one protecting a traveling Jurist during there travels to remote communities of the world. But besides that there identities all secret and there outfits make it impossible to identify then from one another.

Nov 28, 2020 00:58 by Corvo Branco

Do they have families? Something that can cause a conflict of loyalty?   Mages on Sharitarn are close to nuclear weapons in terms of pure destructive power, and their spells are far more versatile than H bombs. But they are not immune to blackmail under some circumstances. In wars, who takes the city gets the mages, because in the end of day the mages will surrender instead of let their fellow countrymen be slaughtered. (wars between major global powers are fought mainly to get mages, those from the defeated nation move to the victorious state city after capitulation. But winning or losing mages are mages, and they and their families will be respected citizens in their new city: mages are about as loyal to their global organization than they are to their Nations).   If shadow casters do not have any conflict of loyalty to be explored, and are not vulnerable to torture, then capture one of them may be useless. If they are sensible to torture they can be forced to provide some information and service. But if they are corruptible or can be bend by blackmail them their eccentric organization is even less safe.   May not be easy to corrupt them, but is at least possible.

Nov 28, 2020 02:18 by Derek Miller

They do not have families most are orphans who have a greater ability and compacity for casting. Who are found, taken in and trained for most of there lives giving every thing to the shadow casters and veiled court. As conflict of nations and death by nature or the bright is common specifically in the frontier lands. There whole lives are devoted to live and breath casting they are trained to be weapons, tools and to be loyal to a fault even risking there lives if a High Jurist commands them to do so. Though some are gathered from universities and other organizations but if you want to be a shadow tower caster you have to be willing to give up everyone you loved and you would most like be moved to another part of the world and your life and information would be scrubbed. Like one day you just vanished. The shadow casters were created originally to fight other casters and with there abilities they could easily track/find family members etc that is why the veiled court and shadow tower remove all and any identity.

Nov 28, 2020 02:55 by Derek Miller

Though if you truly wanted to break the null mark you could hire a independent Weave breaker casters most likely in the The Grand Alliance of Imperial Powers/The Blooded. Due to the fact there are no veiled court Jurist and shadow tower members are unwelcomed there. They also have powerful casters normally used to Imprint/mind control or influence the populace with there weaves(spells).

Nov 28, 2020 15:07 by Corvo Branco

Meaning that you have explicitly shaped the shadow caster organization to be beyond corruption. Their members being immune to bribery of blackmail, to and supernatural degree. No internal conflicts or mixed loyalties.   That is interesting material for stories! Such an organization begs to be corrupted.

Nov 28, 2020 21:13 by Derek Miller

Well they can still be supernaturally manipulated. They are kind of a secret police force not that they are not seen or even secret just that there is very little known about them the Veiled court wont say anything being only the leading jurist know the secrets of the organization. And they are not talking either being that they are trained to be loyal at a young age. But the organization is setup so only the people in the need to know are in the know.

Nov 28, 2020 21:29 by Derek Miller

Just think about it this way when your an organization created to go against people that can throw fire shoot lightning bolts alter minds etc it pays to be very careful any mistake means the death of many members. If you have people that can track you down/spy on you/ scry on you even across the world you best make sure they don't know who you are. I just thought it was logical conclusion to have an organization that as good or better then the best spying agencies/organizations.

Nov 28, 2020 21:34 by Corvo Branco

So, if one of then where to go rogue how that would happen? What such a corrupt agent could do in terms spying and sabotage, for either selfish or altruistic reasons?   Do you see some character compatible with the theme of Elderdiea when you consider the possibility of this rogue type?

Nov 28, 2020 21:47 by Derek Miller

There definitely been rogue shadow agents, one even joined the The Grand Alliance of Imperial Powers which has had conflict and is against the veiled court and the shadow tower as a result. Though they only deal with the Law house or regional parts of the organization not the whole of it. So if one goes rogue and they were fairly high up in the organization then they could do some damage to the regional group they were part of. Though normally a Undyne or hunter of casters would be sent after them. The Undyne consume chroma and are resistant though not immune to weaves(spells) the veiled court is the only organization to have control over them. If you are interested you can read the veiled court article the shadow tower article doesn't have anything about the Undyne since they are separate groups both controlled and administrated by the Veiled Court.