Teraphim

From Chronicles of Esshar
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Some see them as saviours and direct manifestations of The Light. Others see their pride, their hubris, and think them haughty and arrogant. After all, being born into a bloodline of people that believe themselves to be the true protectors of the world can blur the lines along the way. It wouldn't be unusual for someone in their position to wish to rule the world with an iron fist in the name of order and peace. In the end, despite their beauty and grace, they must make the hard choices just like everyone else."

Teraphim are descendants of those that survived the dreaded tyranny of the Elysium Coven and lived to tell the tale, blessed by the mystical forces within the spirit plane, Vanaheim. This spurred a rebirth of those present and willing to fight, where they took new forms that their descendants would go on to inherit.

The Fall of Elysium occurred at the height of the war between Osrona and the demon host of the Dark Tower and Moonfall. While no Osronans participated or were present, this turned out to be a decisive battle that pulled the forces of Moonfall out of the conflict entirely. In the following restructure under the rule of the Valeborne, Osrona was declared to no longer be an immediate threat to the people of the forest and the village soon grew into a kingdom in its own right.

Origins[edit]

At the height of Moonfall's war against Osrona, the Coven of the forest village made an attempt to call upon their Dark Lord for guidance and power in the calamity around them. The already thin barrier that existed between Eternia and the Spirit Realm within Moonfall’s Vale was torn open, but instead of being greeted by the powers of Helheim, a benevolent entity that had been observing the corruption of Moonfall from afar decided to intervene. Aschea, an Overseer of the Spirit Realm and a Primordial, set foot onto the Vale’s ground to counter the horrid witchcraft at play there.

For each flower that wilted in the presence of the Coven’s occultism, a dozen more bloomed with each step forward Aschea took. True to their nature, however, the witches did not flee in fear or caution, but fought back immediately against what they deemed an intruder and an enemy. The battle was long, and those outside of the Vale that night say the entirety of Moonfall shook where the darkness of Elaide’s daughters clashed with the light of the Overseer.

The villagers who had been subjugated by the witches for so long ventured into the woods to meet the conflict, and it is said that it was there where they found the great spirit bloodied, but still fighting. Most of the Coven had been forced back, but the wounds upon Aschea were proving to be more than she could handle. The villagers rose up against the witches in order to defend the spirit who had come to save them, but their numbers began to dwindle with each wave of shadows they had to face.

In a final moment of desperation, Aschea gave her last blessings to the Moonfallen who had come to her aid, many of whom were lying in their own death beds amidst the twisted woods. With her light now within them, the Moonfallen who would have otherwise perished rose again, and found that they had gained the power necessary to finish the job. These Moonfallen, druids and human villagers alike, were able to free their home of the witchcraft that had held it hostage for so long. Those who were born anew with Aschea’s breath discovered their physiology changed. With skin pale white, occasionally tinted with a natural hue of green or blue, these children of the Overseer called themselves Teraphim, and with the blessings of their Mother Aschea they vowed that their new kingdom, dubbed Myllenoris, would never again fall to darkness, marking themselves as its spiritual protectors and hunters of the night.

Physiology[edit]

F24ac5643c51f6469ab45f059485523b.png

These newly formed people were recognized immediately for the unique gifts granted to them by the Overseer. With pale skin that bore an underlying hue of one of the four primary elements, the Teraphim are said to have a heart not of blood and tissue, but of crystal. This core is both fueled by and generates the spiritual energy Aschea's people are capable of tapping into, some of the more adept of their kind capable of using this power to commune with the flow of the world around them. The art of Wayfinding comes easier to the Teraphim along with other capabilities that would relate to the world unseen by most mortal races.

Their longevity comes at a price, though the Teraphim consider it a blessing. As they exceed their prime, they begin to 'grow out of their flesh' and view the world through the soul rather than the mortal senses, becoming more spirit than man despite their decelerated ageing upon reaching maturity.

To an outsider, a Teraphim can be described in many different ways; subtle, graceful, cunning, and perhaps at times arrogant. Their strong ties with the otherworldly magic and their natural longevity can instil a sense of superiority, especially when surrounded by humans and how they might be considered the less polished species. This is not to say that there aren't many noble and kind Teraphim, as they vary in character just like any other race despite their defining traits.

The Teraphim have a natural affinity for Crystal Magic. It was with the gemstones of Aschea that they were formed, after all, the light of the Overseer still fuelling each of their crystal hearts.

They're strictly monogamous and mate for life. Once they couple with another, their crystal heart spiritually attunes with them and forms a heightened bond. If they lose that person, a piece of their heart is also lost (quite literally) and they will not love another romantically again. Teraphim typically prefer to restrict romantic relations to their own species, as they're distrusting of other races and their capacity for utmost loyalty.

Reproduction[edit]

Only exclusively-Teraphim couples will produce Teraphim children. This has historically made Teraphim unwilling to bond with and marry humans, as this will end their bloodline.

Couplings of Teraphim and non-Teraphim often do not produce children, but when they do, the child will always be the race of the non-Teraphim partner. The recorded few of these unions generally produced only one child after decades of marriage. The absolute maximum offspring produced ever recorded was just three. These children, though completely the race of the other partner, may often exhibit restricted physical Teraphim phenotypes such as very slightly-pointed ears.

Religion[edit]

The Overseer Aschea as depicted by an artist. Unfortunately the warden's essence was spent and dispersed in what was considered to be her final moments of life in order to bless the Teraphim with her gifts.

The Teraphim faith, a belief system centered around the residual whispers these children hear from their Mother Aschea, revolves around the concept of balance. A realm without balance is one that is certain to fall apart, no matter what the two sides are. This concept was a unique one that Aschea held to within the Spirit Realm, and it was for this reason that her involvement in Moonfall was required, for the village had sunk far too deep into the depths of darkness, blotting out any source of light or goodness.

The idea of balance extends to all aspects of the collective community, but many Teraphim hold firm to one side of the ‘scales’ they choose to represent. In this regard, a aquatically adept Teraphim may find a strange bond with a flame aligned one, or a Teraphim exhibiting a talent for scholarly activities may have a strong relationship with one of a more athletic stature.

While this means Teraphim believe in a world of both shadow and light, good and evil, many of them remember the tyranny of the Elysium Coven and share a continued and staunch opposition to the practices of dark magic and demon worship.

Even so, Aschea’s teachings are clear, and the morality of walking a life attuned with equal steps holds incredible importance. Members of Aschea's Faith, the primary religion of Myllenoris. The Valeborne pledge themselves to Aschea and vow to uphold the natural balance of all things. They undergo a rite of passage within the depths of the Vale within the grove that Aschea was said to fall. The Valeborne also make up the primary hierarchy of Myllenoris's leadership, the head of the church ruling as a theocracy.

The Vale[edit]

A dense and misty woodland that marks the true heart of Myllenoris, this place is held with severe reverence by not only the Teraphim, but any who take upon themselves the Faith of Aschea and her Valeborne. While the Vale itself suffered at the hands of the Elysium Coven, it has since healed over some of its scars and bloomed into a noteworthy and calming locale. Given its unique nature, the Vale is considered one of the most sought after locations upon Esshar to visit, not only for its rare materials, but to feel the power that lies within it. Within the Vale, the divide between the spirits and the mortal realm is thin and malleable, so much so that cross interactions between these two worlds is blurry and strange. Magic is most notably amplified within the Vale, so much so that even a fledgling druid may give rise to an entire, blooming bed of flowers within its confines. Teraphim that lived a life truly loyal to the Vale are said to manifest there on nights of a new moon, their spirits capable of lending their wisdom and care to those they’ve left behind. Due to its purpose and role as a sacred and magically potent place, the Teraphim have been tasked generation after generation to protect it to ensure it never falls into the wrong hands. It is said that even if Myllenoris itself began to fall, the Valeborne would fight to the last man in order to protect the gates where the Mother Aschea gave her blessings to the world. Teraphim believe if the Vale was ever to be ruled by witchcraft or an abundance of dark magic again, it would mean another cataclysmic event and the end of life upon Esshar.

The Valeborne[edit]

The High Lord - the established leader of both the Kingdom of Myllenoris as well as the head of the Valeborne. The High Lord is ordinarily one who is in harmony with the spirits and wears ceremonial robes of black and white. The leader of Myllenoris is not only known as the political and theocratic ruler of the kingdom, but also its prime intermediary between this world and the next. Using the power within the Crown of Aschea, the High Lord is capable of directly summoning greater entities within the Vale to receive blessings, speak to, and commune with for rituals and whatever else the head of the Valeborne might deem necessary. The High Lord is asked by the spirits to offer up sacrifices and payment for these particularly special gatherings, as they are not wont to appear in this capacity without good reason or enticement. This responsibility comes at a great cost, oftentimes even the sanity of the mortal mind of the crown’s wearer, given the whispers of both the darkest and lightest spirits can be detected by the artifact. Only Teraphim are truly capable of taking upon themselves the weight of the crown, and even then it is a strain on the wearer’s mentality.

Mistseers - Advisers to the High Lord. The Mistseers are normally seen wearing silver colored clothing and are often delegated responsibilities by their ruler. Usually the Greycloaks and the citizenry will report to a Mistseer before seeing the High Lord. The higher authorities of Myllenoris, the Mistseers are gifted with a cloak that is entirely woven of the spectral thread. These cloaks are notably silver and attract more notable spirits that might completely manifest before them. The Mistseers are often known to commune with the spectres both for personal as well as communal reasons. If a Greycloak or another Myllenorian citizen is facing troubles, they may ask a Mistseer to accompany them into the Vale to seek out answers to light their way.

Greycloaks - The entry level ranking of the Valeborne. The Greycloaks act as both the kingdom's primary security as well as its lesser clergy. While mainly seen as the lesser authorities of the Kingdom of Myllenoris, the Greycloaks serve as the primary defense to their home and the Vale. These soldiers and guards have proven themselves one way or another within their community. It is said that by simply donning the mantle of the Greycloak draws some lesser spirits toward the wearer while in the Vale, given the cape itself is laced with a particular silk, known as spectral thread, that can only be found within the depths of Myllenoris’ most sacred gardens. Though these manifestations are nothing truly noteworthy, personal prayers, vows, and thoughts are often spoken aloud while traveling within the misty forests within their Kingdom where the first of the Teraphim were given a second chance at life.

The Rite of the Chrysalis[edit]

In some rare instances it is rumored that a non-Teraphim mortal can become a chosen of Aschea. It is one of the Teraphim’s most sacred rituals and one that is spoken of with great reverence. Those who are welcomed to undergo such a transformation are those who the Teraphim entrust wholly, loyal friends and neighbors who have earned not only their utmost trust, but their love as well.

The ritual is said require the heart of a fallen Teraphim, and takes place within the depths of the Vale where the barrier between the physical realm and the netherworld are especially thin. The details beyond that are unknown outside of the Mistseers, and as far as Essharans are concerned in general, this is a myth.

Culture[edit]

The Spirits’ Witness[edit]

A special kind of duel that Myllenorians may invoke with others. It is primarily used to settle disagreements within the kingdom, but nothing is to say it can’t be used for more. This type of challenge occurs between two opponents who wish to involve only themselves. The duel takes place within the Vale and both are given a ribbon of spectral thread that attracts spirits to come and view the scene. Valeborne believe the victor is chosen by the spirits, and that their success translates into whatever they stand for to be within the approval of those entities watching. Challenging another Myllenorian or Valeborne, or even a foreigner, to a Spirits’ Witness carries with it a heavy meaning, as these duels often end in death or particularly gruesome maiming in order to please the phantoms that came to see it.

Kanta[edit]

The concept of the kanta came about with the earliest Teraphim when the High Lord Randor invoked the first Spirits’ Witness. In an attempt to challenge his rule, the Mistseer Catrina Ghell declared that the spirits would select her to wear the crown over Randor. The two met within the Vale, and though Randor won with a decisive swing into Catrina’s side, he chose not to kill her. Randor declared this decision came to him before the fight when the crown’s whispers told him his victory was imminent, but that Catrina’s continued advice and counsel would be needed in the wars to come. They told him that Catrina was to be known as his kanta, or a ‘counter’ to his own presence within Myllenoris, for one man cannot stand upon both sides of the scales. She went on to save his life while consistently offering up ideas that went against Randor’s. She is remembered as one of the most loyal Mistseers the Valeborne has ever known. This idea has become more solidified within Teraphim culture; the concept of seeking out one’s rival in the world not to cut them down like an obstacle, but to better oneself and bring their soul closer to a truly balanced purpose.

Skill Tree (OOC)[edit]

  • Essence Strike: Teleports 10 tiles in front, dealing heavy damage to the enemy if they're in the path.
  • Crystal Heart: For 15s, the caster gains 5% AP and heals 3x power every 3s.

-10 RPP discount on Crystal Magic.