Shroudlings

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[reprinted from old blog]

I've played with different cosmologies for Shroudlings. The first is what I call the "soul aspect" Shroudlings.

This type of Shroudling includes five different aspects.


  • The Familiar
  • Image
  • Blood
  • Spirit
  • Hunger

Before going into the different types, there are three things common to all Shroudlings: Teve, The Shroud, and the Calling.

TEVE:

What is Teve? (Pronounced Tehv-long A)

Magically, shroudlings are social types, and it is a rare shroudling that walks alone. (1) They do best amongst others, either their own kind or fellow sentients, learning about the different worlds. Shroudlings are natural mimics, and without living amongst a people they tend to pick up the details without context.

Teve is one of the things a Shroudling seeks amongst others. Teve is a form of soulmate-bond, an innate attraction to one other person (2) to whom the Shroudling is inextricably linked. It is not a matter of like or dislike, but a magical connection that can only be broken with one or the other's death. It is a level of impression, unknowable until the circumstances under which it is found, unforceable and undeniable.

A Shroudling under the bonds of Teve will begin to look a bit like that person, able to feel that person's presence and mood. (It is said that upon finding their Teve, the Shroudling can always hear the other's heartbeat... but that may just be a romantic notion.) Shared presence strengthens each partner, making wounds heal more rapidly, magic more powerful, and in good Teve bonds, a form of silent communication develops even to a certain distance.

It is not known why Teve is a part of Shroudlings. Some people theorize that it is a matter of Shroudlings finding their reflections and becoming whole...but others insist Shroudlings are whole and Teve just forces them to find the best use for their powers.

Teve does not mean romantic love or even sex -- often Teve can be found between people who cannot reproduce with each other. Sometimes partners in Teve do not even like each other, which is sad because as Teve means "heart" so can a heart be broken. Shroudlings in Teve live longer and healthier...and only when the Queen and her Consort reproduce do two Shroudlings have Teve together.

THE SHROUD:

Shroudlings speak of four things when they talk about The Shroud. Either they speak of the Shroud, the veils between worlds through which they travel, the Shroud as the Castle, the home of the Shroudlings, where all Shroudlings are welcome, the Book of Shrouds, or utilizing a power of the Shroud. It should be fairly obvious through context.

The Shroud as the veils between worlds is the heritage of Shroudlings. They live through mirrors, in the spaces between... it is said by some that Trump is truly their realm, that one who transports using it is stepping through the reflections of their world...and that if one is not careful, they may get trapped. Others liken it to the Undershadow, a place without colour and with only tones of grey in light...neither is necessarily wrong.

The Shroud as a power can be called up in three different ways.

The first is as a defense; you can leave images of yourself, pale shadows that look like you and can lead pursuers behind. This requires a lot of you, though, mentally and physically. A discipline of this is called Shadow Casting, where you leave enough of a piece of your psyche behind to fool pursuers.

The second is for transportation. With concentration, you can go through any reflection of yourself. The problem is, it can be hard to find your destination. There's three ways of looking for a place beyond the Shroud:

1) You can go to the Shroudling Castle and look up a reflection of where you want to go. If there is nothing to reflect, however, you can't get there from here.

2) You can flip through the mirrors on the way to where you want to go. The disadvantage is that your image shows up in the reflections. That can be very eerie and difficult to use to sneak up on someone. Plus, you'll pick up whatever's left on the mirrors that you sneak through -- magics, curses, if they're trapped...

3) You can cast an image out (from the first, defense method) to where you need to go, and then follow that thread through the mirrors.

Certainly, bringing anyone else through (by touch, only, and I'm afraid you can't Trump into it) would lose them, unless they have been given some aspects of the Shroud, and that does not necessarily confer a knowledge of how to use it.

The third use of the Shroud is to change what you look like, at least temporarily. Much like the forms of transporation, you go through mirrors that reflect people you want to look like. Timing is everything, but in the Shroud, time means very little. You can't go backwards in time, and you can't speed it up...but you can use the Shroud as stasis... a reflection of a reflection that traps the instant. Search first for someone with red hair, and pick up that reflection...plus the hairstyle. Then search further for the curl you want...

THE BOOK OF SHROUDS:

It isn't exactly attached to their souls. Think of it as a Book for the Dead, really: it explains in ways only a Shroudling can understand how the Shroud works, and what they are. People have translated it in a million different ways, leaving philosophers convinced that the books say different things to different people, but the Shroudlings who have read it agree...page number for page number, line by line.

The book can be damaged, or destroyed. It does nothing to the Shroudling who it came into being for, although some say that if the Shroudling is then reborn, it is crippled, left without some measure of its soul and power. There is some truth that certain magicians can use a Shroudling's book to track them down, but they are rare (and to be feared.)


THE CALLING:

Shroudlings are bound by their nature to their political and magical source, the Shroudling Castle. At some point within the lifetime of a Shroudling, he or she will be Called to the Castle to participate in the choosing of a new Queen. The Calling reflects through every mirror, drawing the Shroudling through, willing or not. It becomes painful to resist, as if every mirror is a shard piercing into the Shroudling. There are those who have experimented with replicating the call, and bringing word to those of the Shroudlings they care about, but it is not an exact discipline. Needless to say, Shroudlings on the whole are very sensitive to the existence of mirrors.

The choosing of a new Queen is not something done by word or vote, but through the amassed power of the Shroud. The Shroudling Ruler is known as the Queen of Nightmares, a title of some respect... she is known to be able to Call any Shroudling as necessary to serve the Shroudlings as a whole... and this thought haunts the strange dreams of the Shroudling people. To be called to serve is both a blessing and a curse, for it usually kills... and to be Queen is to sacrifice yourself for the power of the kingdom, releasing it upon death to a new Queen, to improve the magics and knowledge of the Shroud itself.

SHROUDLING APPEARANCE

Shroudlings in their natural state seem to be pale, washed out, humanoids, except for one or another very intense feature. All of the forms a Shroudling chooses will tend to bleach out after a while, faster the more magic is used. Without care, Shroudlings will grow nearly translucent, almost reflective. This state of being weakens them against invasive magic. They can return to dark colours (you will occasionally see black Shroudlings, but that's rare and because of other magical circumstances. Most magics bleach, some darken.) with time and patient application of the Shroud to heal them.

Shroudlings of Blood appear much like the one who created them, although from their "birth" and on, experience may change their looks. [For example, in one game I have a Shroudling of Fiona. She's half a foot taller and far more muscular...you can TELL that she and Fiona are related -- they almost look like sisters...and then it starts to creep people out to how JUST alike their facial features and everything are.]

"Resume True Form" does not work on Shroudlings.

SHROUDLING MAGIC

DIVINATION:
Shroudling magic has to do with divination, primarily. They can see other people's futures in sharp glimpses, as it reflects off mirrors of the future. However, that future is but shards, and each of these glimpses are but possibilities. Sometimes this power can overtake the Shroudling and they see terrible things...sometimes they can pick things up and see the past as well.

EMPATHY:
Shroudlings are wonderful empaths, and can sometimes echo people's thoughts as well. They're relatively sensitive and can see magic without any effort.


HOW SHROUDLINGS ARE AFFECTED BY POWERS:

Pattern: Shroudlings register as "real" by the Pattern, and are therefore very difficult to change. However, a Patternsword would have very interesting effects on a Shroudling and their Teve... perhaps cutting away the Shroud, perhaps running into the bonds of Teve. It sounds painful, doesn't it?

Logrus: Again, they register as "real" and not opposing powers... part of this is because the Shroud provides such an "exact" reflection that the powers don't know they are opposing.

Trump: You cannot make a Trump of a Shroudling. Trumps attempted of Shroudlings turn into small compact mirrors after a while.

Magic: Shroudlings are very, very susceptible to magic. Especially those of controlling and binding, and they tend to learn these in self-protection.

Shapeshifting: Cannot affect a Shroudling. The only way they can change is magic or the Shroud.

Demon Magics: Will affect Shroudlings most of the time. Demon Magics of the Heart can only affect Shroudlings in Teve.

The Familiar

Shroudlings who are born as Familiars are considered to have had something happened to their Book of the Shroud, and while they are still quite powerful, they are forced into keeping and maintaining one form. Removed from the Shroud they begin to lose their colour and power, unless in Teve, and close proximity to their Teve-bound. Familiars are the most in danger from binding magics, as they gain some level of protection being caught by them, much like an imitation Teve.

The Image

Shroudlings of Image were born of Shroudlings mating together. They are the most common sort of Shroudling. They are vulnerable to mirror-magics, but strong against magics that would seek to change their form.

Blood Shroudlings

Born from the reflection of a broken mirror whose shards have cut someone, Shroudlings of Blood are fairly rare. They require blood as sustenance, unless in Teve. To bind them requires a gift of their own blood. It is rumoured that a Blood Shroudling can gain any of the powers that their reflection or Teve has, as they share the same "blood."

Shrouldings of Spirit

There are those of Spirit who are born to the Queen and her Consort, and those who have given up their own spirits for another. A Shroudling of Spirit has no natural "colour," save bright, bright eyes. They are immune to any magic that does not come directly from a mage's spirit. If something is caught between two reflections, they can merge with its spirit, or take on its shape without travelling through the Shroud.

The Hunger

Feared by demons and other Shroudlings alike, they are rare, and it is thought they are born of those who have taken other's souls, the dark reflection of a Spirit Shroudling. No one has seen one in a long time, but the office of Shriver (the Shroudling keeper of secrets, chooser of the Consort) is always held by one. Hunger Shroudlings can feed off of magic, although this takes concentration. Similarly, they can walk through mirrors in the dark.


(1) Shroudlings who walk alone are usually thought to be in search of Teve, or simply mad.

(2) Sometimes Teve is found with a place, although this is rare.

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This page contains a single entry by MtFierce published on April 21, 2005 2:47 PM.

A Grand Affair: Ybara was the previous entry in this blog.

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