Shadowmancy is the
magical art of manipulating shadows, and is used almost
exclusively by the darkpriests of the
Kasumarii tribe in Cyhalloi. Shadowmancy serves purposes both occupational
and recreational, for while it may be used by assassins to hide in the shadows,
it is also utilized for entertainment purposes, to act out scenes and stories
Spell Range. Those who dabble in Shadowmancy learn how to bend light around them, to cloak themselves in shadow, and have the frightening knowledge to turn the very shadows around an individual into spiritual ghosts that have the power to literally suck the life out of the one whom they have attacked. The darkpriests who perform this kind of art are, in a change from the human norm, valued members of the Kasumarii society, and are treated equally to the other Kasumarii sects like the Nightsons, the Korenjaans or the Echiiliani. They are both feared and honored, as the art of Shadowmancy is quite a scary thing to behold - seeing a figure clothed in black suddenly disappearing only to reappear behind the orc that had snuck up behind you and slit its throat.
Shadowmancy is also very comical, however, and is one of the Kasumarii forms of entertainment - playing with the shadows of an individual, turning them into dancing figures and reenacting tales. Only the caster needs knowledge of the play in order to perform it correctly with the shadows.
Shadowmancy is a clerical magic, but it does
not operate in the same manner as the
Santharian clerical system. In the
clerical system, spells are cast often with the use of song or spoken
prayers, and when a spell manifests, it is said to come from the worshipped god
of the respective caster. For example, if a
Nehtorian cleric casts a spell that heals an open wound, that healing was
said to be done by Nehtor and not the
caster himself. The cast was merely the means through which the god operated.
This is not so in the Kasumariian art of Shadowancy, where the clerical quality is more indirect than in Santharia. Darkpriests, the most skilled and knowledgeable practitioners of this art, believe that the spells come from them - that they are the ones who cause the spells to take place. However, they believe their gift and ability to cast spells comes from Korenjah, their God of Shadows. Because shadowmancers believe they are the true casters of their magic, they tend to have more control over the end result of a spell than most Santharian clerics.
Shadowmancy also differs to traditional Santharian clerical magic in that no prayers are vocalized. Instead, Shadowmancers make use of hand gestures to cast their spells and manipulate shadows. In this manner, they can retain the silence necessary for their assassinations. These hand gestures and movements tend to differ slightly from caster to caster, which implies they were, like prayers and mantras, more of an aid for focusing than as an action necessary to cast a Shadowmancer’s spell.
The casting of spells relies heavily on faith - as do all clerical spells. Most Ximaxian scholars attribute this to strong will power gained through their faith. When a Shadowmancer loses her faith, often their spell-casting will suffer through a similar loss in will. In general, from what is known of the art of Shadowmancy, those who have perfect faith in Korenjah tend to cast more precise, potent spells than those of little or uncertain faith.
Ximaxian Explanations. Shadowmancers are clerics, and thus they are not limited in many of the ways Ximaxian mages are by being bound almost exclusively to one element or type of magic, but can enjoy use of many different types of spellcasting, though with less control. Although with what kind of magic Shadowmancy can be compared to has been debated for some time, most Ximaxian scholars have identified the Shadowmancer as a kind of fire mage on the basic level, and an Ecuá mage on the more advanced level, though some should argue otherwise.
The explanation starts on the smallest level: One of the basic principles of fire magic is that fire oun (the most basic element of a spiritual structure) has a tendency to be attracted to other fire oun. This is why, for instance, when the sunlight fades and night comes, it gets cold. The heat you felt from the fire oun in the surrounding area followed the sun as it went down, and thus won’t return again until morning. Similarly, when a candle is lit in a dim room, the shadows appear to get darker - the fire oun giving them light has been attracted to the candle and the candle’s rays. One reason many perceive the night to be dark even when the stars are out is because, due to their size, the stars don’t possess enough energy to push their fire oun out enough to light Caelereth. In the same way, a fire grows by attracting the fire oun in various carallía to feed itself. A shadow is merely a caráll lacking in fire (or in a caráll where the fire oun, no longer sharing the energy of surrounding fire oun (i.e. from the sun), have their connections move from soór (active) to ahm (passive), while the other oun links go from ahm to soór).
The concept of simple Shadowmancy often deals with this attraction of fire oun to themselves. Often, the simple fire mage will be able to change these xeuá links between fire to make them ahm (though thus far no Shadowmancer has been able to change the links to soór), echoing the type of spellcasting done in spells of the first sphere. In this manner, he creates shadows in dimly-lit places, and often moves these shadows to some degree, but like most spells of the third sphere, they quickly fade and the caráll returns to its most comfortable balance. In a slightly more advanced way, a Shadowmancer may separate fire oun, as is done in the second sphere, and while keeping a caráll in an ahm-fire state is slightly easier, it is still considered by most darkpriest to be “novist” or just “poor Shadowmancy.”
The most advanced Shadowmancers have the ability not only to change the quality of the fire links in a caráll, but in fact “move” some fire out of the caráll. This is made easier, obviously, by a source of light to which the fire oun can attach themselves too. These spells last longer, making the shadows more malleable for a longer period of time. While this is generally considered to be spellcasting in the third sphere, many of those who are capable of manipulating shadow this way are also able to turn their shadows into “individual ghosts who are able to suck the life” out of their victims. While this is a frightening thought, the truth of it comes through the power of advanced Shadowmancers to summon, which of course supports the claim that some shadowmancers are, in turn, ecuá mages.
Many of the life-sucking ghosts rumoured to emerge from a Shadowmancer’s conjured shadow are often parasitic demons both from Caelereth and the Netherworld who are easily able to inhabit shadows or are most comfortable in shadowy habitats.
Shadowy Practitioners. Shadowmancy is an art limited almost completely to the cold island of Cyhalloi. Though Shadowmancy can be practiced on the most basic levels by fire mages, they tend to lack the skill of manipulation and control of their assumed shadows that the Shadowmancers of the north enjoy. Ecuán mages are the only non-Kasumarii who can practice Shadowmancy on the fundamental level, though their lack of faith does not allow a practical use of the art. Only those blessed with the Shadowy ‘gift’ by Korenjah can use this clerical magic with stealth, grace, and pragmatism.
The most elite of the Shadowmancers are the darkpriests, who are said be gifted the most by Korenjah in the ways of shadow magic. Many Kasumarii say that the gift of Shadowmancy is “the gift of Korenjah to his beloved Kasumariian daughters,” as most darkpriests are female. Others believe that female Kasumarii are merely more potent in magic, and are thus most suited to such a sect. In any case, darkpriests are the most highly trained and skilled in Shadomancy, though many Kasumarii not of the darkpriest sect also have the ability to cast novice spells to aid them in their assassinations. These include, obviously, the Nightsons, who are trained in all Kasumarii sects including that of the darkpriests. Often the Korenjaans will also make use of basic Shadowmancy spells as well.
Information provided by Rayne Avalotus