...he knew he had to keep his magic secret and buried his wind stones so they would not be found. But the next morning he woke to find that someone had taken them and left behind only holes, like several tiny graves.
...they have been known to locate Shadowcasters and pick apart their temple libraries like vultures taking meat from a carcass.
--story about the first Incorporeals
--letter from one Shadowcaster to another, 1097
The spies gave no indication of which army they were from, but they did reveal they had been taking notes on the training procedures. We have detained them, awaiting further orders, though we fear there were others we did not catch.
I have heard many tales of magic thieves, but I do not fear them. If they wish to learn our ways, all they need do is find me on a full moon night.
--report from the Illusionist
base at Co'ar Island
--from the diary of a Ghost Speaker
Everyone has their opinion on Scavengers--even you, I'm sure. We've been around as long as all the other magic factions, and most of them curse us. But let me tell you a little bit more about what we do.
Scavengers, obviously, have no official magical training. That's why we're Scavengers. In fact, most people become Scavengers because they were not allowed to participate in another magical community, usually because they're told, their not magical enough. As a result they find ways to steal whatever knowledge the can. Mostly this means taking or copying books from personal libraries. Some do this by ingratiating themselves with hosts, and finding a moment to be alone in the library. Others do it by literally breaking in. More courageous Scavengers will find the hidden communities where people live. When those random tourists drive through because they were lost? Usually Scavengers. They'll spy on lessons and rituals, or they'll break into larger, community libraries, where the older and more important texts are housed.
Regardless of the methods, Scavengers are usually unable to get full books. They usually manage some notes on a single magical working, and none of us knows the proper order in which to learn this stuff. Or the technique. So half the time it doesn't work for us. So Scavengers have developed tinctures to help the magic stick. As far as I know, these tinctures are not found in any of the other twelve magic communities, but were specifically Scavenger developed. Different ingredients allow your body to absorb different varieties of magic, making particular workings easier. To use them, you run a bath and literally soak in the solution. But the effects are temporary, and overusing the tinctures makes the body physically frail. They give you allergies to all sorts of materials, including the tinctures themselves.
Similar to Werewolves
, we also use pain magic, though for different reasons. We've discovered that blood is the best ingredient for any tincture--nothing helps you absorb magic better. You can even use blood to steal magic from someone who died, as long as you get to their body quick enough. But for some reason, the more violent the cause of the death, the more powerful the blood is. The same goes for taking the blood of the living. The more painful the manner in which it is taken, the more powerful it is. Scavenger factions actually go to war over this. Some factions will kidnap people they think are powerful--Scavengers and others--to steal their blood. Some even have rooms designed for the perfect manner of obtaining it. Of course, other factions have sworn off blood magic for ethical reasons. But there are other ways to obtain blood, even if you don't kill for the sole purpose of it. Some become soldiers to obtain in. Or get involved in dangerous activities--from sky diving to drug running. And even those who don't go looking for it could be attacked for their own and they have to be ready to defend themselves. The factions fight over it. People die in the process, often violently. And well, if they're already dead. And the body is still there... it doesn't matter which side you're on, there's no point in letting it go to waste. I've killed my fair share. We all have.
Structure and Location
Where there is magic, there are Scavengers. We have a world-wide network. Every Scavenger has their contacts. Every Scavenger has their specialty--for making tinctures, for obtaining information, or for being an expert in a certain magical skill. And often, if you don't know who to go to, one of your contacts does. We are probably all connected through contact chains. But we're still divided into factions. We group tend to group with those that have similar ethical beliefs. We rarely have leaders. We just have people we trust. And people we don't.