art of Blood Magic is one of the two rivalling magic
systems of the Marmarran Citystate based on the teachings of the Pyrunai
brothers. It involves the manipulation of
Sanryu - be it one’s own or that
of another source. Practitioners of Blood Magic - known as "Sanriers" - have a
whole manner of possibilities at their feet with the versatility of this system.
Amongst its wide potential, within Blood Magic one can find out how to increase
your physical strength, sharpen your senses, heal perhaps fatal wounds and even
kill with a single touch.
Prevalence. Those within Marmarra generally only practice Blood Magic. The only known (or at least recognised) school of a Sanrier’s art is the Pyrunai institute inside the Witch Queen’s city. Despite this, there are groups who are known to possess abilities or practice arts that resemble Blood Magic. One such group is the Rayiorn Children that can be found elsewhere in the Zhun peninsula, a religious cult of healers whose techniques and results highly resemble that of a healing Sanrier. At any rate, however, it seems the practice of Blood Magic is limited to the continent of Nybelmar.
Concept/Worldview. Blood Magic is based on the concept of ‘Sanryu’. This mystical force is thought by some to be what connects an individual’s soul to their body. Additionally, Sanryu is also considered to be the ‘Fuel for Function’ (quoted from Gairus Meitarel) - an absolute necessity for life. Sanryu flows around the individual’s body, which is what enables them to perform every physical action. It supposedly travels in the blood, collecting at certain points around the body known as ‘Mydri’.
Basic Principles. Fundamentally, Blood Magic at lower levels works by controlling your Sanryu and focusing it into different parts of your body. The more concentrated an area of the body is with Sanryu, the stronger it becomes. At low levels of mastery, Blood Magic can increase one’s physical strength, speed, stamina and resilience - endowing them with unnatural capability.
When one gets to high levels of Blood Magic though, a different idea is explored. At further stages a Sanrier will study how to affect Sanryu outside of his own body, controlling the flow of others for beneficial or harmful purposes. Through controlling the flow of others a Sanrier is able to heal wounds, paralyse others or even kill with a mere touch.
Locations. Blood Magic itself doesn’t require any specific setting to be practiced. The safest place to practice it though is the Pyrunai institute. Not only are they perhaps the most accomplished Sanriers in Caelereth (perhaps only conceding to the Red Sisters) but the institute also has standard procedure to deal with mishaps and are trained for dire circumstances.
Abilities, Limitations, Restrictions and Practice. The abilities that a Sanrier possesses are very varied, depending on what area a Sanrier chooses to study further. Primarily, the abilities granted by Blood Magic are physical improvement. By focusing their Sanryu to certain parts of their body they increase both its potency and efficiency. A Sanrier can focus his Sanryu into any muscle to increase the amount of force it can produce. They can focus their flow on the eyes to see much further with much more clarity than a normal person may. They can focus their flow onto their ears to hear the softest whispers as bellowing shouts. The potential changes to one’s physical capabilities are immense when studying Blood Magic and there are few areas that Sanryu concentration doesn’t have an effect on. This though, in principle, is very simple.
More complex techniques are discovered at higher levels of study within the institute. After one has mastered their own Sanryu, they begin to learn how to affect the flow of others. One technique that Sanriers are famous for is their ability to heal others. This skill, as with many of the higher-level techniques, involves manipulating Sanryu for purposes outside of your own body. In the case of the healing technique, the Sanrier transfers their own Sanryu into the injury. This accelerates the natural regeneration process of the victim and can make a wound that may have taken weeks to heal or may even have killed the individual inflicted repair itself at an amazing rate. This ability is in fact so remarkable that the Marmarran military actually maintains a string of hospitals that employ Sanrier healers to deal with serious casualties of war that are near death.
Conversely, outer-body manipulation of Sanryu does have a dark-side - something that the proponents of the rival Marmarran ‘Gaisho’ system are too quick to point out usually. A Sanrier can also shut off Sanryu flow to certain parts of an individual’s body. This usually will only result in temporary paralysis of the said body part - such as an arm. The paralysis though can remain constant as long as the Sanrier continues to focus on the redirecting Sanryu flow. Though this usually is non-fatal, if a Sanrier wishes it he may turn this technique into a lethal one. By maintaining a constant paralysis on vital organs a Sanrier is able to slowly kill a person. An even more infamous technique is that of the "Final Touch". Though some consider it only a legend, the "Final Touch" involves a Sanrier placing a hand on the target and flushing their system with lethal amounts of Sanryu.
A common practice within Blood Magic is increasing your own personal amount of Sanryu so that you have more to work with. There are two conventional ways of doing this. The first form of Sanryu absorption is that of "Raw Absorption". This method involves ingesting Sanryu in its natural form - Blood. This is something that doesn’t help Blood Magic’s reputation, and something that makes many reluctant to progress further in the art. Some of the system’s opposition have joked about this point, saying that they are claiming by drinking the blood of your enemy you gain extra strength - nothing more than barbarism. The second form of absorption is "Relay Absorption". This involves transferring Sanryu from a source (possibly a live one) into your own body - usually through physical contact. This form is much more complicated and harder to perform, though some are happy to go through the extra hassle to avoid drinking blood wherever possible.
Blood Magic, though marvellous, is not without its dangers. There are three main perils that a practitioner of Blood Magic may succumb to if they underestimate or abuse the power that the arcane art gives them. The first and most common when absorbing large amounts of Sanryu is that of "Sanryu Flooding" (something the aforementioned "Final Touch" induces). This is when too much Sanryu is taken into the body and the body begins to overwork itself. The muscles and organs tire until the body is no longer able to support itself, leading to death in many cases. Flooding can be treated though by having another Sanrier share the excess Sanryu, but usually will permanently damage a sufferer irreparably.
The second danger of Blood Magic that is reported is known as "The Thirst". This condition is induced when a Sanrier’s body becomes accustomed to unnaturally high levels of Sanryu. It is also quite common after overcoming "Sanryu Flooding", since the body begins to accept higher amounts of Sanryu. "The Thirst" leads an individual to require more Sanryu than normal to survive and to date is incurable, though the institute is investigating further into ways of dealing with it.
The third and least understood of the most common dangers of Blood Magic is known as "The Lust". "The Lust" is an explained phenomenon that seems to occur as a development of "The Thirst"- though the reasons behind it are still mysterious. This ailment seems to involve an individual who suffers from "The Thirst" managing to stabilise their original problem with regular dosages of extra Sanryu (usually in the form of blood). The sufferer seems to develop a fixation with blood, drawing unusually large amounts of pleasure from absorbing blood. This condition is very rare and there is no conceivable way to remove this dangerous obsession with blood that has been proved to be effective.
Passionate individuals within the institute are still investigating the limitations of Blood Magic, with new advances being made regularly. In theory, a whole manner of amazing possibilities exist and it is only a matter of working out how to achieve them. The Pyrunai institute is famed for the fact that it always disproves conceptions. They are known in the past to have claimed things impossible themselves, only in a matter of years to find solutions for them. A brilliant example is that of blindness. It was suggested that blindness was caused due to inefficient Sanryu flow to the eyes. The institute claimed it was impossible to construct a permanent change in flow and as such could only temporarily aid blindness, never cure it. However, a mere decade after this claim a method was produced that could construct permanent changes in Sanryu flow and therefore cure acquired blindness (blindness that you were born with though seemed impossible to cure with this method however). It seems after all that Blood Magic does have a philanthropic side.
The ‘invention’ of Blood Magic is attributed to the three Pyrunai brothers.
These individuals and their actions are shrouded in perpetual mystery at all
times, with a whole manner of legends being told about them. They or others can
confirm little to be true about these men, even the names that they are known by
could simply be aliases conceived. The most popular story to the origin of Blood
Magic is that the Pyrunai brothers discovered a series of ancient scrolls. After
they managed to decipher the confusing runes that the scrolls were written in,
they discovered a great wisdom - the details of which are still a topic of
debate amongst the Sanrier community. Each brother it is thought had a different
opinion on how this wisdom should be applied. The Eldest Brother, Tyran, wished
to use the wisdom to augment his own body - he desired physical supremacy
overall. The second brother and middle child, Orgus, was less selfish. He wished
to devise a way for this great wisdom to help others - healing the injured,
curing chronic sickness, anything that could make the world a better place. The
youngest and perhaps most naive of the three was Salus. Salus’s desire was to
attain immortality, for he deemed it a concrete possibility that these teachings
would help him to live to an amazing age, perhaps even indefinitely. The three
it is said argued terribly over how they should apply this ancient wisdom until
the point at which it divided them so bitterly they separated.
Many years passed while the trio honed their skills independently, shying away from each other. Some claim that during this time each brother took some students, though only Kashina Scaralus - the first mistress of the Red Sisters - has claimed to be a direct student of the men. As the men aged they slowly reconciled until they reunited as old men. They didn’t wish for their joint wisdom to be lost in the hands of their (to be fair) unreliable students and so they compiled their wisdom into the tome now held with almost religious accord by the Pyrunai institute - "The Pyrunai Testament". After the men passed away (except perhaps Salus, who some claim did achieve his goal of immortality) their students became the teachers and using the testament as an aid they taught the art to others. Some claim that the students of the Pyrunai trio failed to properly translate the testament to the new learners, meaning the potency of the magic was significantly lowered.
Many of these ‘original Sanriers’ flocked under the banner of Eluda when she began to develop Marmarra into the colossal state it is now, and in honour of the fathers of their art they built the institute bearing their names, to continue in their example and to further spread the knowledge and renown of Blood Magic.