Approximate time to read: 4 minutes.
The stain of Corruption is a reality for any practitioner of the mystic arts, or for those braving artefacts or locations where magic invites the taint. All individuals so effected are made aware of the accumulation of such vile, aggressive energies but interpret and manage the taint in different ways depending on their beliefs, tutelage or study. In all cases the affected have a sense of when the soul staining taint is reaching critical levels and they risk supernatural backlash.
Theurgy of Prios
For members of the church and other devout worshippers of Prios, Corruption is the antithesis of their belief and relationship with their God. At its simplest they see Corruption as the absence of light, life’s antagonist and the antipathy of all they hold reverent. Corruption is perceived as a growing shadow that separates the faithful from the radiance of Prios.
Corruption is a clinging, cloying darkness that deepens with exposure, chilling the blood and defiling the mind. Seductive whispers of dark promise and a forbidden allure cloud the thinking and probe the very souls for weakness.
The theurgy ward off this dark stain through trust in their inner flame; they focus on the light within and cast back the creeping shadow. When they falter and their light dims, foul forces emerge, embracing and torturing the soul in a viscid blanket of blackness.
Stigmata most often suffered by Theurgy manifest as unpleasant body odors, scaly skin and similar symptoms of disease and physical degradation. More notable however are the sadistic cravings and uncontrollable depraved habits that often accompany these repugnant yet minor outward manifestations. The afflicted often succumb to unnatural carnal desires, hungering for repulsive fodder or developing loathsome mannerisms, such as licking or picking at sores, grunting when speaking or ceaseless scratching.
Recovering from the taint of Corruption is a matter of prayer for the faithful. Muttered litanies and petitions for intercession often follow the opening of the soul to Corruption and are believed to strengthen the light within as it strives to drive the shadows away. In extreme cases the Priests of Prios use flame to purge themselves of the taint, welcoming the pain and sacrifice of the flesh for the cleansing of one’s soul.
For those practised in the ancient art of Witchcraft, Corruption is not so much a black energy of evil but a counter force of nature. Whenever a Witch summons the spirits of magic the very fabric of reality thrashes and stabs in retaliation. The greater the power of the summons, the greater the affront to nature and the greater the resistance shown. The Witch’s perception of this resistance depends on the path followed.
The Green path presents as a tangled mass of probing, grasping, thorn covered vines that squirm about the Witch, pressing ever closer to ensnare and strangle. The White path surrounds the Witch in a swirling haze which becomes a howling white tempest capable of dragging the unwary in. For those on the Red path a sea of churning, bubbling and ever oozing blood beckons, deepening about them and clawing warmly, threatening to drown the Witch in its crimson embrace.
The Witch counters all of these forms of resistance with a blend of will and poise. For the witch it isn’t a matter of overcoming resistance but an attempt to coax nature into permitting the perversion suggested. However, as the Witch uses her guile, knowledge, reputation and power to sway the spirits in her favor their opposition increases. The debt she owes swells and the patience and respect once extended to her begins to wane. Eventually, the barbed thicket takes hold, the storm whisks them away or the Witch sinks into the hot red pool.
Stigmas suffered by the offending Witch relate to the path that has overwhelmed them.
Walkers of the Green path often become afflicted with bark like skin, leafy tendrils, painful spores giving off foul odors, or dank fungi growing from their bodies. Sometimes they find they grow weak without sunlight, suffer perpetual thirst or cannot sleep unless abed in soft, rich earth. Vines and roots replace their hair and woody nobs form, like tumors, upon the skin or the tongue. In rare cases, branches strut from bone, piercing the skin and angulating the joints in twisted, painful ways.
Those following the White path are sometimes driven close to madness by their glimpse into the gales of Corruption. Many suffer terrible nightmares that shatter their sleep, while other glimpse grim visions of their future. Some become accursed with uncontrollable weeping or maniacal laughter, their minds cracking beneath the strain. Sometimes the effects grow manifest, as snow white hair or sudden baldness, while the pupils vanish from the eyes of others, leaving only a stark white orb, their vision clouded and surreal.
For those on the Red Path, the consequences of Corruption are grisly. As the Witch succumbs to the deluge of blood they are typically stricken with a hemorrhagic purge, blood trickling uncontrollably from their nose, eyes, ears or other orifices. The eyes fill with blood, the pupils disappearing in a reddish murk. As they speak, they sputter and cough blood, their voices often garbled and compromised by the continuous bubbling and gurgling in their throat.
The veins of the corrupted Witch have been known to stand out hideously on their wracked body, roping their way under the flesh like great crimson worms. A thirst for blood is also common, varying in degree from a slight preoccupation to a slavering hunger that must be appeased before the Witch can rest. In rare instances the Witch is robbed of her life-giving blood each day requiring a daily feeding or suffer as if starving.
Recovering from Corruption is a burden of bonding for the Witch, wherein they must commune with the spirits aligning against them and reestablish a harmony. This is typically attempted during short periods of meditation, accompanied by the use of rare herbs (ingested or inhaled) and ritualistic chants and gestures utilised to deepen the meditative state. Through the process the Witch regains the respect and trust of the opposing spirits and their hold relinquished.
Thanks to Richard Grove for authoring this extended article on the effects of corruption in Symbaroum. And, thanks to Vuogle for kindly giving permission to use the illustration Golden Flower.
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