Future Feat Choices
- 11th: Lightning Call
- 12th: Elemental Pact: Earth
- 13th: Elemental Pact: Water
- 14th: Elemental Pact: Air
- 15th: Arcane Talent: Cold Shaping, Fire Shaping
- 16th: Elemental Pact: Fire
- 17th: Wind Walk
The following are the rituals and ritual materials Desshin uses on a regular basis.
All members of the Whispered Word are given their Sword, Stone and Wand at initiation, though many magi take finer and more potent tools as they advance in power. The phrase "Sword, Stone and Wand" are often used to describe the mantle and responsibilities of being one of the Whispered Word.
- The Sword of Warding: One of the Three Ritual Tools of the Whispered Word, the Sword of Warding is used to draw the boundaries of Wards and to bless those being individually Warded. It is a Unique Material (Wards): +4. Cost: 15
- The Stone of Clarity: One of the Three Ritual Tools of the Whispered Word, the Stone of Clarity is usually set into an amulet and used as a focus for expressions of the Second Sight. It is a Unique Material (Second Sight) +5. Cost: 10
- The Wand of Purity: One of the Three Ritual Tools of the Whispered Word, the Wand of Purity is set with grounding stones and etched copper, used as a focus for the Psychic Shield Arcanum. It is a Unique Material (Psychic Shield) +5. Cost: 10
- The Cabalistic Circle: Not a tool, the Cabalistic Circle actually qualifies as an Common Place for ritual purposes. It is drawn using a Knowledge (Arcana) check, with a Difficulty equal to 5 + the level of the Arcana being used. This normally takes thirty minutes, but many magi use magic to accomplish this. It takes 30 minutes with a Difficulty 10 Arcana check, and that time is reduced in half for each 5 points over the Difficulty the Arcana check is. The magus must have an Arcanum that will allow him to actually create the circle, though the magi are quite creative in their endeavors.
The following are some of Desshin's unique magical tools, used in his Arcana. Some of them are based on standard correspondences in the Whispered Word, others are based on his own preferences.
- The Stone of Solidity: A much larger stone than the Stone of Clarity, the Stone of Solidity is a piece of finely-crafted marble, in the shape of a perfect orb, with mystic etchings all over it. It is a Unique Material (Earth Shaping) +10. Cost: 20
Standard Whispered Word Rituals
Uncommon Whispered Word Rituals
- Sanctified Shackling of the Dark
- The Twelvefold Invocation of the Lord of Evening
- Through the Prism
- Creation of the Cloister
- Revelation of Midsummer
The Book of the Magi, Riversend Chapterhouse: Magus Desshin
It is my duty, now that I have graduated from the Whispered Word as a full magus, to record my story within the Book of the Magi here. I have spent the last hour reading through the words of those who have come before me — I have read the entries of those I grew up considering heroes, and read of the most amazing people that I'd never heard of before. I have read of amazing feats of magic and mighty discoveries that we take for granted today, but were once unheard of.
And yet, I can't help but think that I know too little about these magi. Call me a romantic (among other names, I suppose), but these don't actually tell about the magus. They are brag-sheets, the sources of legends. These are the foundations upon which legends have been built.
I suppose that it is worth mentioning that I am an Adeptus in the Ars Terram, and the Ars Luxam. Likewise, I have been trained as an Adeptus of the Third Tower, the Tower of Warding, and of the Second Tower, the Tower of Shielding. I have earned my title of Warder of the Whispered Word, and I have mastered the Three Aegis Ritae of the Riversend Chapterhouse.
But I don't wish to be remembered as another magus. I only want to be known for the man I am. So, I tell this story, in my way.
I was born in the province of Hillsmoor, the first-born son of House Albremair, who are the bannermen of Staider of Skyhold. There were many friends and family in my early life. My father, Donal, was doting, but stern, and my mother Marise was quite proud of my intellect. She used to tell me stories of the Ancient World, and the Great Sorcerer-Kings. My favorite was Drugastryn Mountain-Singer, who sang mountains into existence.
It should come as little surprise, then, that when my Talents first manifested, I had wrecked my mother's garden trying to raise a mountain of my own. Oh, I didn't do a very good job, to be sure – I'd really only pulled small hills into the terrain, destroying quite a few of her more precious transplants and giving the general impression that a colony of calf-sized moles or gophers had suddenly taken up residence in the garden.
Still, thought I, it was a start.
As happens with many sons who manifest magical Talent, I was sent away to the local chapterhouse of the Whispered Word, in the city of our lords, Skyhold. There, I was taught to use my Earth Shaping Talent with adroitness, as well as a taught a large variety of other skills — engineering, mathematics, history, magical theory, logic and deduction and even the crafting of jewelry, though this I learned from Barnis.
Barnis was there because he had a great future ahead of himself. The son of a renowned jeweler, Barnis had manifested no small degree of Earth Shaping himself. He taught me to make jewelry, first simply by hand, and then we practiced with the Earth Shaping, crafting intricate molds from stone to pour melted silver into, and then finally crafting precious stones themselves into shapes and forms impossible to the unTalented craftsman's chisel and hammer.
But I learned other things from Barnis, as well. He taught me bedsports among boys, and we enjoyed our games. We were the best of friends, inseparable in all things.
All of this lasted, of course, until my brother, Balrec, arrived at the Whispered Word, two years after I did. At first, I was afraid, and Barnis and I quarreled. I gave in to his tears, however, and we became as we used to be. It astounds me to this day that we believed that we were subtle or secret — everyone who saw us knew what was going on. The other boys thought it odd, but took their cues from the masters there. The masters had seen such bonds form between boys exploring magic before, and knew that it was normal. Better between two noble boys than between a noble girl and boy, after all. There was no possibility of pregnancy, no maidenhead to be concerned with, and scandal was easily averted, explaining it away as boys playing games.
But it was not so easily explained away to my younger brother, and he disliked Barnis and my friendship. In fact, a few months after he arrived, my father himself came to fetch me back, appalled at hearing from him what I'd been up to. My father had demanded Barnis be whipped, but the masters refused — he'd done nothing against the law or against the rules of the Chapterhouse. Furthermore, his father was in the entourage of Lord XXX, and if my father had issue, he could take it up with that esteemed lord.
My father did not do so, of course. Instead, I was snatched out of the Chapterhouse, beaten soundly in plain view of my schoolmates and especially Barnis, and taken from there.
We returned home, and I was forbidden to ever contact Barnis again. Furthermore, I was told that if I ever engaged in such loathsome congress with another boy again, the consequences would be dire. I was the heir of House Albremair, and I had a responsibility to the family.
My mother tried to comfort me, but my father would have none of it. We began a regimen of warrior training that left me exhausted at first, but built up my fighting skills significantly. I think he'd hoped that this would be terribly grueling, but I shined under his tutelage. I could not defeat him in battle, but I was at least as canny in combat as any of the others my age, and a great deal more intelligent.
Within a year, my father was speaking glowingly of me, and the magus of the Whispered Word he'd hired as my tutor found me to be a marvelous student, though I refused to entertain him with the practice of my magical talents.
Eventually, my father began speaking well of me again, and we never mentioned the events of the year prior. He began to formulate plans and contacts intended to arrange for a sponsorship into the Rose & Gold Knights when I was old enough, and he ordered me to begun using my magic again, that I might impress the Lord Marshall of the Dawn-Knights.
I hadn't used my magic since I'd left the Chapterhouse. I brought a large bucket of soil up into my room with me that evening, and just stared at it for hours, I think. What was I afraid of? Why didn't I want to use the magic, I wondered? How would I bring pride to my father and House if I didn't make full use of these talents?
So, I began the Breath of Shaping, and extended by will towards the bucket of soil. It moved at my command, and I commanded it for hours. By the time I was finished, I was sobbing, tears streaming down my face, weeping out the anger, misery and frustration of this last year. I'd managed to cork it all up within, but tapping the magic had released it, and I knew that I could never be what my father wanted me to be.
But I knew that I must hide it. I swore to — I could not be heir and a scion of my House otherwise. Still, it is strange the way fate has other plans for us.
Though I'd never noticed it before, Mellari, one of the stable-hands, always watched me closely. I'd never noticed his green eyes before that, nor his wide, strong shoulders before. He watched me, though, having heard the rumors of why I'd come home. When I met his eyes the day after I began using my magic again, he smiled, in the way that a young man smiles when he is interested in someone, and his eyes sparkled with jade fire. I think I blushed, and nearly tripped, and he was there instantly, to help steady me. His hands were hot on my arm, and in the small of my back, just above the curve of my buttocks.
"Are you alright, m'lord?" he asked with that smile, and I stuttered and assured him I was. I think I practically fled the stables.
I chided myself for that, and wanted only to see him again, so I decided to go riding in the late evening, and asked him to accompany me. He did so, gladly, and we talked long into the night. He confided in me that he found me comely, and I admitted the same. I know we kissed that night, but I was so terrified that I did little else.
It went on like that for nearly two weeks: when I was around him, I was stern with myself and him, knowing that we couldn't be together. But when I was apart from him, I wanted nothing more than to kiss him again, and perhaps more, this time. Finally, one night, I crept down to the stables where I knew he was sleeping, and we made love in the hayloft there, surrounded by the smell of sweet, fresh hay and one another's skin.
For weeks we were terrified and happy, and in the months that followed, our subterfuge became like an enjoyable game. We created a dozen little signals and signs to arrange trysting places and times, and continued our lives as though we did not love one another.
I think things changed when I began to grow melancholy. I hated denying what I felt for him — why could we not be together openly? Eventually, I began to speak with him of what it would be like when I was the lord here, and of how I would take him as my farrier and horse-man when I became a Rose & Gold Knight.
I should have known, then. I should have allowed our love to remain innocent, and the play of boys. But I did not know better. I became, as many boys do, bold while in the throes of love, and I was unsubtle.
But most damning of all, it was Balrec who betrayed me a second time.
He'd just come home from the Chapterhouse, having gone as far in his studies as he had the aptitude for (which was nowhere near as far as I might have gone, I knew). His mastery of his [Arcanum] Talent was impressive, though, and father deemed it time that he come back to us. He saw immediately what was going on between Mellari and I, and history repeated itself.
I very nearly didn't survive the beating father gave me. Mellari tried to interfere, and father had him dragged to the stocks, whipped and his tongue burned out (so that he could not tell anyone that he'd been fucking the heir of House Albremair, I discovered later). I held my own for a short while, resorting to the use of my Talents in order to even the odds between my father and I as best I could, but the guard intervened, led by my brother.
It was his blow that rendered me unconscious, and I am told they had to pull my father off of me, so angry was he.
I awoke in the infirmary; thankfully, one of the nannies had some measure of Talent in healing, or I might have died, apparently. I was locked into my room and father never came to visit while I healed. Mother was there often, but she didn't speak of what was going on, and often fled weeping when I tried to speak with her about it.
Eventually, I discovered that Mellari had died of the infection his flayed back had taken, though to his credit, my father did pay Mellari's father the blood-price for the boy, and have him buried in the retainer's graveyard.
The night he came up to see me, I could only stare out the window. He began by asking me to forgive him for beating me as severely as he did, and I nodded. He continued to speak, explaining to me all of the reasons why he did what he did, and how I must understand why things must be this way, and that if I felt the need to carry on in such a fashion, well, that would be my right when I was an adult, and married. I would not be the first lord to take a catamite to his bed, but I must ensure the survival of the House first and foremost.
I turned to him then and said:
"Save your breath, father. I will not ever marry. I will love whom I please, and there isn't a damned thing you can do about it. You can beat me, put me in the stocks, lock me in the dungeons, if that is what you like, but give me my freedom, and I will find love where I please. Your vision of my responsibilities be damned."
I saw the murder in his eyes then, and I flinched. He didn't strike me, though. He simply narrowed his eyes and left the room. I burst into tears then, terrified beyond words.
I left, that night. It was simple enough to leave the grounds. I simply used the Light Shaping to bend light around me, so that I might go unseen, and then I Shaped handholds into the stone wall, and climbed out over it. I visited first Mellari's grave and wept bitterly there. I found a large stone nearby and removed the sparse wooden marker they'd marked his grave with, and I Shaped the stone into a fitting memorial for one who'd lost his life because he made the mistake of loving me.
And then, I left.
I had no idea what I would do. I had neither training nor vocation, and was unprepared for living in the world at large. But my pride was greater than my fear, and I went into the world, taking some of the pieces of jewelry I'd made to sell.
I made some money as a jeweler during that time, primarily repairing the work of others. However, I had no master's mark, nor was my word bonded by a guild, and I almost ran afoul of a jeweler's guild in Skyhold. Moreover, word got out that my family was searching for me, so I continued south.
I reached Riversend many weeks later, having gotten rides in wagons and boats, and simply walked a great distance. I was completely without money and very hungry, so I presented myself to the Riversend Chapterhouse, begging for food, because I knew that the kitchens of the Chapterhouses kept the remnants of meals to give to those who came to the Beggar's Gate, and they fed everyone they could until the meal was entirely gone.
I'd missed the luncheon hour, though, so I stood around the gate. I napped a little, leaning against it, and drank from the small drinking water trough there (which was kept filled by kitchen staff). I entertained myself with my Earth Shaping as I waited, taking a small pebble and changing its shape, again and again, until I heard a voice from above me.
"You, there! Beggar!" it said, and I looked up to find one of the masters above me, looking out of a large window. Several other windows had younger students all looking out of them, as well — they'd been watching me shape and reshape the stone. "Stay right there!"
As the heads disappeared, I thought about running. But instead, when he arrived, I told him that my father had been a jeweler, but he'd died before I could learn the trade from him, and now I simply wandered from place to place, trying to earn money where I could. I told him that I'd been able to do this since I was young.
They took me in, then, and in a short time, I was in another Chapterhouse of the Whispered Word — not as a noble student, this time, but as a novitiate to the Order itself. I seemed to learn the Arcana quickly, and a master taught me the skill of imbuing stones, which I found myself quite adept at.
I spent much time there, years in which I was actually happy. I was careful to keep myself aloof from the others, though at least one of my classmates showed a romantic interest in me. At first, I was afraid. There had been too much trouble already.
As time went on, however, I think I subsumed that need for companionship – it sank beneath my love for my family. By this time, I'd already taken my oaths to the Whispered Word, and given up any and all name I'd had. I was no longer an Albremair, I was simply Desshin of the Whispered Word.
In time, I came to the Master of the Riversend Chapterhouse, and confessed to him who I was and what I had done. He was appalled, and immediately contacted my family. That meeting was perhaps the most difficult thing I'd ever had to attend, in my life.
In the end, though, it worked out — I made amends to my father by taking my Oath of Service to House Albremair, to aid it in any fashion I could. I was incredibly well-suited to service to a lord, given my talents: a Stone-imbuer with great skill in Shielding and Warding, and an Earth Shaper with the highest marks in engineering, as well as a body of knowledge that came from having been nobility myself.
And thus, I come to this point. I depart with my father and his retainers upon the morrow; not as his son, but as his magus. I do not know what the future holds for me. I am terrified of seeing Balrec again, for I do not know if I have forgiven him for his betrayals. I shall be glad to see my mother and siblings again, as well — I have missed them terribly.
But my life is my own, now. I am paid a stipend for my services, and free to love whom I choose, though I doubt my father will like it very much. But not matter — I am Oathed to obey his word as magus, but he cannot dictate my conscience nor my private life.
And so I close this. The Book of the Magi has long been the source for the beginnings of powerful magi through the generations. This may be, perhaps, the first time it has been used to tell the tale of a man.