The Darkness will Grow.
The Illusion is all around us. In every corner of the Nine Worlds – beside every creature that slithers or stalks. It is an illusion made to keep reality safe. And if anyone should be clever enough to pierce that phantom – and see directly into the heart of what is real – then they would be as Syrilith is. For the Goddess is the only being in existence to have seen beyond the Illusion. She alone has glimpsed reality in its true form. As her sorcerers, we strive to be as she. To pierce the veil that surrounds us. To see into the pure heart of reality – and to draw power from that seeing.
The Darkness will Grow.
Thought. Desire. Impermanence. Eternity. These are but a few of the great illusions mortals have created to chase away their fear of what they can never understand. Deceit is a well-worn garment passed from beggar to king to pontiff to heretic. Half-truths are often told to protect our friends from harsh truths. Masks and guises are used to shield our true selves from the world outside. We understand the great Illusion they have created. Through the Goddess’ teachings, we cause it to do our bidding.
The Darkness will Grow.
We are the Sorcerers – the first of all religions. The night is our domain and darkness our liberation. For the light has become unbearable – and zealous in its blind sense of righteousness. For millennia beyond counting, we have cowered in caves and sewers. Prison cells were our pews and refuse our only libation. We wasted in nameless corridors and sunless halls. Through the penitent flames of the scaffold we gave our sermons – the fire bleating like a chorus of damnation till our voices thinned and gave the final red strains of our sacred blood-drenched hymns. These were the Harrowing Times – the Burning Days – when the Eddar clergies hunted us nearly unto the brink of annihilation.
But those days are over. The One War takes place of the many. No longer do we cower like criminals. No longer do we suffer the insult of heresy and the accusing hand of wrathful and ignorant justice. The Crusade is over.
The Darkness will Grow.
The Sorcerers are the oldest priesthood in Aeryn. They were the first to channel the power of a god through the use of prayer. They serve Syrilith, Queen of the Sh’ddar and ruler of the Pantheon of Darkness. A sorcerer’s prayers focus on the manipulation of shadow and untruth. They are slow to take any sort of aggressive action and instead rely on powers that manipulate others to achieve their goals for them. A sorcerer can magically induce sleep and forgetfulness, confusion and coercion. Only a handful of the sorcerer’s powers are directly offensive. The bulk of their prayers require all the cunning and guile the Goddess demands to be used to their fullest potential.
Syrilith, Night Maiden. The blind and all seeing eye. The pale and seething shadow. She is Queen of the Sh’ddar, pantheon of Darkness; the former bride of Athos and mother to Evora. Consort of Morander and ruler of Sheol. All things dark and beautiful are her icons. All acts covert and cunning are her sacraments. All powers mortal and divine are her pawns. Let it not be said that there is a single entity that is more filled with guile, deceit, and above all else; patience.
For the Queen of Night is waiting for a thing to pass that has been Ages in the making. None can know what that might be – but all who serve her sense that something important draws near. As surely as the light of the fire dwindles to ashes and dust, so do the Shadows writhe steadily forward, crawling always closer toward the ever thinning light.
The Litany of Lies
The Litany is the backbone of the Sorcerous faith and it is invoked by its Disciples quite often. Many feel that the Litany is incomplete and note such obvious exclusions as Love, Faith, and Honor. For their part, the Sorcerers seem to enjoy the debating of outsiders with their usual sense of mystery and cynicism.
The First Lie: Self
For I am of the Shadows
The Second Lie: Fear
For it is the Greatest Illusion
The Third Lie: Justice
For one cannot speak for many
The Fourth Lie: Power
For what is gained is always lost
The Fifth Lie: The Enemy
For he is my Ally
The Sixth Lie: The Ally
For he is my Enemy
The Seventh Lie: The Spoken Word
For the mouth that holds the tongue
The Eighth Lie: The Written Word
For the hand that holds the pen
The Ninth Lie: Innocence
For none are without guile
The Sybils, Malfean, and the Grey Witch
The Nine Sybils are the greatest sorcerers of all time. Granted immortality through the power of the goddess, they are the masters of the Vampyr and the greatest witches the world has ever known. Over the course of the Second Aerynugeth all nine of the Sybils were captured and imprisoned by the powers of the Eddar. Three were trapped in withered Oaks by the Druids. Three were entombed in the Talons of Malice, the great lances forged by the Crusaders and Arcanists. And three Sybils were bound into the Treachery Scrolls by the Emissaries of Evora. Three Sybils were able to escape eternal imprisonment when the Demon overran the Druid Isle of Horrors. Of these three, only one, Malfean, was able to escape the subsequent onslaught of the demon hoard. This lone Sybil works endlessly to restore the other “prisons” which have all have been lost to the ravages of time and war. Only one of the Talons of Malice remains in the hands of the Crusaders and its whereabouts in Archum Valoris is a closely guarded secret of the knighthood.
When he emerged from the Isle of Horrors, Malfean bore two shards of oak wood, presumably the remnants of the other two prison Oaks. With one he was successfully able to restore one of the deceased Sybils by plunging the wood into the living heart of a mortal. But this new Sybil was maddened by her own existence and abandoned her brother. She has since become the Grey Witch who appears as virgin, mother, and crone depending on her mood. She delights in causing mayhem for all who cross her, including and especially sorcerers. Her truest goal is the destruction of Malfean himself.
The Ministry of Deceit
The shrouded heart of the Sorcerers is the elusive Ministry of Deceit. The most public face of the Ministry is the Citadel of Silence beneath the Obelisk of War in Ashendar. But any who come to this abandoned, water filled shrine find only the massive, labyrinthine ruin of a Sh’ddar temple. Nonetheless, all who seek council with the Ministry are instructed to make their petition before the still, cold waters. Should something warrant the attention of the Sorcerers, it is assumed the Ministry will respond. The Shrouder, a creature that is said to haunt the water filled ruin, is said to make short work of those who trouble the Ministry without good reason. Because of this, even the other Sh’ddar churches keep their distance from the Citadel of Silence, confidant that the Ministry will contact them if need be and sure that if it does not – it has already been informed.
The Ministry is rumored to have several other places of power hidden throughout Artanna. The greatest of these is undoubtedly Sorrowfall, the Shaded Isle. For it is here on the far, northern edge of the Sanctuary that the Obelisk of Deceit stands. It is so remote that only sorcerers who are willing to completely abandon their lives to the Ministry ever even attempt the journey. Most perish long before ever coming near the northern shore.
Like the Ministry itself, the leaders of the religion of Sorcery are also shrouded in mystery. The highest ranking visible figures in the clergy are the Shades. Shades seem to oversee the general affairs of the religion and are called upon to officiate important ceremonies and rites. Shades are usually present when a new disciple is baptized to the sorcerous faith. All Shades are easily recognized by the violet gem that appears on their foreheads. It is thought that Shades use this gem to keep in contact with one another and to the Ministry. Exactly how the gems are empowered, however, remains an enduring secret of the faith. Shades have a tendency to speak in the collective voice. “We speak for the Ministry.” “We have noticed a flaw in our plans.” This gives the unsettling feeling that many sorcerers are speaking through the Shade. Below the Shades are the Ministers. Ministers are generally priests that oversee a certain area of land and are responsible for keeping careful tabs on just who and what crosses their borders. Finally, there are the Sorcerers and sorceresses who make up the lowest and most abundant rung of the priesthood. Rank distinctions are very loose within the faith and it is not clear what one needs to do to move from one rank to the next. The religion is also honeycombed with any number of hidden echelons and secret orders.
Those who hear the summons of the Shadow are baptized into the faith of Sorcery. They are expected thereafter to uphold the tenants of the faith and to keep its interests before all other obligations. Sorcerers must choose a new name when baptized and some even undergo powerful rites to altogether erase their former lives from their memories. The life before Syrilith was one that was imprisoned by the Illusion. As a Sorcerer, a Disciple takes control of the Illusion. No longer is she bound to the normal rules and laws that govern the rest of the world. She must see beyond what appears, hear beyond what is spoken, and read beyond what is written. A Sorcerer is always aware of the Illusion – but is equally aware that the Illusion exists to keep the weak minded from falling into madness. The Sorceress herself is always trying to pierce the Illusion and to dwell completely outside of it is the greatest goal of every disciple.