|Affected Races||Ailor and Nelfin excluding Kathar, Drowdar, Mages, Silven, or Aleia|
Phantasma, more commonly known as the Witchblood Curse, is a mysterious blood-curse that shares many similarities with the infamous Sanguine Curse, but is far less widespread and known of. For many centuries, Witchblood concentrated itself purely in Ellador and Daendroc, before the increase in travel and legalization of Magic attracted those with Witchblood to the Regalian Empire. The recent resurfacing of Feathered Dragons has led to Witchbloods being created inside the City of Regalia, creating the implication that Witchbloods are somehow tied to Dragons. Phantasma have a peculiar urge to consume the Soul Essence of Mages or Silven, or indeed any other being connected to the Void or Exist—even Aleia. They consume the soul essence of their targets, granting them satiation based on the subjects they have successfully drained, who are left lethargic and often unable to use their own abilities as a result.
Phantasma occurs in only one way, though the manner in which it occurs is not known to scholars. Those who have a near-death experience (or in some cases are considered clinically dead), have a random chance to become a Witchblood. The exact process by which this occurs is unknown, which is furthermore complicated by the fact that nobody knows where Phantasma comes from, or who first contracted it, or if it is even contagious. The blood curse itself doesn’t start showing symptoms until a week after the near-death experience. The first of these is a constant, dull ringing in the head. This is usually misdiagnosed as imbalance of the humors or headaches, and subsides after a few days. The next symptom that occurs is a phenomenon known as greensight, followed by a state of jarring confusion. Everything they look at will appear ever so slightly more green, almost as if a green filter has been placed over their vision. Meanwhile, the infected will become more disoriented and confused about what is going on, who they are, where they are, or what they were doing. At this stage they usually do not seek medical aid (unless forced to by others) and even when assistance is sought, these symptoms are not curable or diagnosable as anything but insanity.
In the final stage of their transformation, the Phantasma gains a strange and unexplainable urge to strangle any individual with a Void or Exist connection—notably Mages or Silven. The first target a Witchblood seeks out is almost automatic; they are able to sense a nearby Mage or Silven, and will proceed to strangle the one closest to them. While in the process of this strangulation the Witchblood curse will fully activate, and they will instinctively learn how to feed in the future without the need to strangle their victim. They will additionally lose the ability to implicitly track Mages and Silven, but will retain the ability to sense the vague existence of one of their prey in the radius of a few dozen feet. On top of this, their eye color will turn from their natural color to the eerie Phantasma green permanently, and will glow brighter after subsequent feedings. The entire infection process takes a week to commence, and a week to fully take hold; after that week, it can take anywhere between a single day or three days for a Witchblood to find their first feeding. Witchblood infections can only occur in Ailor and Elves (except Kathar and Drowdar), and but cannot occur among Mages, Vampires, Aleia, or Silven. Witchbloods have a number of other curious abilities that aid in their hunting of prey:
- Call of the Dragon Lord: Witchbloods, while carrying weapons, gain a nearby prey detection mechanic. Their weapon (while either in hand on in hilt) will start gently glowing with a lime green glow coming from Draconic runes all along the weapon that only appear while near either a Vampire, Mage, Silven or Altalar with a Ring of Power. Additionally, the weapon starts gently vibrating, not so strong that it would impede wielding, but strong enough to notice it reacting to proximity of prey through for example a weapon hilt on a hip band.
- Call of the Dragon Will: Witchbloods, while in combat or in non combat situations with any of their prey, can use the Call of the Dragon Will to dispell ongoing spells or magical effects in their close proximity. This is done by inhaling deeply before shouting out any manner of scream, battle cry, loud phrase or any other loud vocal noise. When this sound is produced, a shockwave of green energy flows in an ever expanding radius around them traveling with a speed of 3 meters per second, and tapering off after 12 meters or so. Any spell caught in this expanding dome (it expands sideways but also above the Witchblood) is instantly nullified mid-travel. Any mage or ability casting individual caught in the shockwave instantly has their casting interrupted and become unable to cast again for several seconds after the effect is over. Repeatedly using this ability will cause lightness in the head and eventually passing out from oxygen deprivation.
In a similar manner to Vampires who must consume blood to stay healthy, Witchbloods feed on the soul essence of Mages, Silven, and others through a process initiated by touch. In order to feed, the Witchblood grasps onto the individual (which weakens their ability to resist), before their irises turn bright lime-green. In addition, lightning-like patterns of light fan out from their hands up their forearms. As long as the Phantasma has firm grip with both of their arms on the target, the victim will become weaker, unable to resist the ritual. The feeding itself takes about thirty seconds, after which the victim will pass out and the Witchblood experiences a rush of adrenaline. Feeding is not lethal for the subject; while the Witchblood feeds on their soul essence, they do not suffer any permanent damage. Without frequent feeding, a Witchblood—much like a Vampire—becomes weaker and drained of energy. A Witchblood needs to feed at least once a week in order to remain healthy. They lose about 25% of their body strength for every week they go unfed in a row. They become frail and incapable of fighting after the 4th week. Unlike Vampires however, Witchblood still need to consume food and drink as mundane Alorians do to keep their body sustained. While Witchblood is a blood curse that alters the host mentally, it doesn’t affect their physical appearance in any way aside from the change to their eye color. Once satiated, a Witchblood’s irises will remain lime-green and continue to give off a faint glow while they remain in a fed state. The satiation of Witchblood will last roughly a week.
- Feeding on Mages: Mages that have been fed on lose their magic for up to an hour after feeding, and remain physically tired for up to 24 hours.
- Feeding on Silven: Silven that have been fed upon become physically tired for up to 24 hours. If they are additionally a Mage, this stacks on top of the Mage numbers.
- Feeding on Altalar with Rings: Altalar (who have Rings of Power) that were fed upon lose the ability (ability cast, so not passive effects) of their ring for 48 hours.
- Feeding on Vampires: Vampires that were fed upon lose their ability based (like transformation or casting) Mutations for 48 hours.
There is currently no known cure for Witchblood. It is not possible to effectively hide Witchblood eyes with tinted glasses, most notably because Witchblood eyes glow, and are thus visible behind most glasses or even hoods unless they are pulled all the way over the face.
Witchblood in Regalia
Witchblood have a curious relationship with the Regalian Government. Much like Vampires, Witchblood are considered aberrants and illegal. To be Witchblood-infected is to be hunted—perhaps not to the extent of Vampirism, but certainly to the extent of ridicule and exclusion or discrimination. As such, most Witchbloods hide their identity and live in the slums, feeding off the aberrant populations. Some choose to report themselves to the Regalian Government and enlist among certain organizations to assist in the hunting of Mages or the capture of Silven due to their natural ability to weaken both. Others yet that have devotion and zeal for their religion seek guidance and solace from the holy men that administer their faith. Witchblood that show their glowing green eyes are almost always reviled, and are commonly mistaken for demonically-possessed individuals, notably because the very existence of Witchblood is not common knowledge. The first reaction any Regalian citizen has to seeing someone with glowing green eyes is to call for the guard and the inquisition.
- Rumor has it that the Grand Vigil of the Azure Order was actually a Witchblood. The woman has never shown her face in public, so it could not be confirmed nor denied.
- Many suspect that the Azure Order used a host of Witchbloods to drain the essence from mages in the Azure Spire when it still existed, and that this is how they managed to keep the mages under control: By denying them their magical abilities.
- One Witchblood by the name of Sebastian Salbard was said to be incredibly powerful—able to drain the essence from a Mage or Silven from a distance instead of through physical touch, and even able to drain multiple mages at once. He was eventually killed when a group of Dark Mages tracked him down and killed him in revenge.