Cahal, also known as the Shattered Curse, is an Exist-spawned blood-curse that has plagued Aloria for hundreds of years. Being a Cahal causes the subject to undergo physical and mental transformations, while also controlling them into actions that result in them attacking strangers for their rituals, but also potentially infecting them in the process. Cahal are reviled by the people of Aloria in a similar manner as Vampires are, and many would call them much the same. The Cahal, much like the Vampires, have started forming their own societies and Cultures, blurring the lines between Affliction and identity as they struggle between their cursed nature and their old lives. Some Cahal try to live in their old societies, while others seek to live in as much isolation as they can, avoiding persecution. Most Cahal however have embraced their identity, and many have taken the fight to society at large and organized ideologies that prosecute them. Others yet are choosing to fight the Regalian Empire, to fight back against the repression and insulting way that the Regalian authorities have clumped the Cahal with the Vampires and declared them unholy abberrants.
The word Cahal comes from the Empire Altalar word Cahëllon, meaning “worshiper of the wild rituals”. The Altalar who made first contact with the Shattered Curse did not consider them an Affliction at first, because their behavior was very unlike the typical Void-based Afflictions that terrorize the other Races. As such, they were simply named after their most common interaction with society at large, the abduction and forced involvement in otherworldly rituals that made them appear more like a cult than an actual danger to society. The word Cahal can also interchangeably be used with Cahalism. A singular person infected with the Shattered Curse is a Cahal, while the word is also used to describe a plural group of Cahal.
The exact source origin of the Cahal is unknown. Early fighting with Vampires in particular caused much of their history to be destroyed. The more violent and imposing Vampire communities went out of their way to eradicate much of the evidence or recorded history of the first appearance of the Cahal to repress their self identity. This involves a period during which many Cahal were forcibly enslaved by the Vampires, particularly in the north of Ellador, to serve as expendable soldiers, or house servants among the courts of the Dorkarthi Desprinces, as they were immune to converting or feeding. As decades passed following Cataclysm, some Cahal escaped slavery by blending into the retreating Regalian armies during the Unspoken Wars with the Vampires, using Regalia as a springboard to make it into the remnants of the Allorn Empire where they could disappear into the Wyldered forests and overgrown temples far away from the prying eyes of society. In secret, the Cahal regrew their numbers outside of slavery, though never quite forgetting the Cahal left behind in Ellador, still enslaved to the Dorkarthi Desprinces to this day.
In the deep Wyldered forests of Daen, the Cahal started forming their first societies, and to some degree even a mirror reflection of the Dorkarthi Princedoms: The Mesver Tribedoms. Through having all the hallmarks of a State: A unified hierarchy under the Messiahs (the Cahal version of a Desprince), a unified ambition and cultural identity, the Mesver Tribedoms did not ever stay in one place. The encroachment of Altalar reclamation of lost cities caused the Mesver to constantly move their base of operations, though always taking a few Altalar with them on the way to convert or use in their rituals. As such, they mostly stayed hidden from the public eye, though eventually around 70 AC, their status became well established among the Altalar Princes, and the name Cahal was first created. The lack of prosecution from the Altalar early on meant that the Cahal became emboldened, resulting in a longer running campaign of spreading to other continents unchecked, something that would later come to damage the Altalar and the original inhabitants of their new found bases of operation.
As the Cahal spread out over the world, their populations splintered further and further, and more groups of Cahal became independently minded from the Mesver Tribedoms, though many still held some respect for their old homeland. The Mesver Tribedom was known to have a good rapport with the Exist Colossi, and many of them manifested to share gifts, visions and information with the Messiahs of the Cahal. Eventually, contact with Regalia’s strong anti-Occult attitude (at the time) resulted in mass-persecution, and acted as a “wake up call” for the rest of the world that the Cahal had infiltrated nearly every society. Global persecution (mostly exported by Regalia) commenced, though at this point, the Cahal had already rooted themselves in place in so many locations that it was nigh impossible to repress them as thoroughly as Regalia might have hoped. To this day, the Cahal continue to grow in number, albeit less virulent than Vampires. They continue to be repressed by Regalia, but considered of a lesser existential threat than the Vampires who seek the complete destruction of organized society.
To understand the Cahal and their collateral effects on any society they exist near, one must first understand how they feed their desires. All Cahal have an urge to feed or perform (the term used depends on one’s perspective), and there are more than one way to do it. Unlike Vampiric feeding, which involves simply drinking the blood of any victim, Cahalic feeding is far more complicated and involves a multi-step procedure. There are two types of Cahalic Feeding: The Soulrend Ritual, and the Colossi Ritual, each with different appeals and drawbacks.
The Soulrend Ritual
The Soulrend Ritual first requires the Cahal to seek out a victim. The benefit of Cahalic feeding is that it can occur in a group-activity, meaning a single Soulrend Ritual can satisfy the feeding needs of multiple Cahal, even those who are not actually directly involved in the ritual and just standing by at a distance (within 10 Blocks). As such, many Cahal operate in Clans under a so-called Sachem. A hapless victim is either taken from a pre-prepared holding area, or abducted from the street, and dragged to the Cahal Clan’s base of operations, or some kind of ritual area they have prepared in the Wilderness (possible with Construction Proficiency). Then, at this ritual site, the victim is offered up to the Colossi through one of the following possible rituals:
- The victim is put down on an altar made out of cut pieces of stone, while the leader of the group (not necessarily the Sachem if they are not present) summons a Dagger of the Colossi, a white glowing dagger, before plunging it into the heart of the victim. This does not kill the victim, but rather sends their body and soul in a state of near-death, where they disintegrate. 10 minutes later, their body re-manifests in their own bed (or wherever they sleep at night), waking up as if from a bad dream.
- The victim is put down on a throne of flowers and plants, while the present Cahal commences the ritual by either chanting or singing to the Colossi. This process causes all the flowers and plants to glow and bloom, releasing a magical miasma that chokes the victim. This does not kill the victim, but rather sends their body and soul in a state of near-death, where they disintegrate. 10 minutes later, their body re-manifests in their own bed (or wherever they sleep at night), waking up as if from a bad dream.
- The victim is lowered into a battle arena and forced to fight to the death, either multiple Cahal, or a summoned beast avatar of their favored Colossi. Regardless of the skills of the victim, they always lose (even if they win from the Cahal, a beast avatar appears to rend their throat). This does not kill the victim, but rather sends their body and soul in a state of near-death, where they disintegrate. 10 minutes later, their body re-manifests in their own bed (or wherever they sleep at night), waking up as if from a bad dream.
In any and all cases, those who were within 10 Blocks of the victim at the time of their fake-death will become fed for a week. While this whole process occurs (from the moment of potential abduction to fake-death), the Cahal must either wear ritualistic masks, or be in their Cahalic form. The victim still remembers the whole matter, but will not be able to properly distinguish it from reality or a dream. They might just as well have fallen asleep or gotten drunk and forgotten the night before, and just had a very wild dream. Having been the victim of a Soulrend Ritual, the victim must perform a /dice 1 5 roll. If the victim rolls 5, they have become infected with Cahalism (whichever Soul Line the player likes). For more information, see Cahalic Infection and Curing.
The Colossi Ritual
To prepare the Colossi Ritual requires a large number of Sachems to come together and open a portal to another dimension through which the Colossi might interact with the world of Aloria. Such a Colossi Portal can only exist in one location on the entire map of Regalia, so it is important to select a proper location where it is both close to the City of Regalia itself so that it can eventually siphon Soul Essence from the inhabitants, but not so close that is becomes easy for the Regalian Guard to destroy the Portal before it has had time to manifest itself properly. A Colossi Portal will grow every week, spewing more Exist Essence forth and spreading an Exist Corruption that will kill all Flora and Fauna and turn it into Exist Florae, thus corrupting the area (or, cleansing it, in the eyes of the Cahal).
Individual Cahal feel the urge to bring offerings to this Colossi Portal (which usually manifests some form of altar around it). This can be done either by offering up dried flowers, crushed metal ores and crystals, or hunted animal carcasses. Each time an offering is made, a little more Exist Essence is spewed forth, and weekly activities must be maintained around this portal to keep it growing. Every month, each Sachem is able to lead a single ritual with their Clan at the Colossi Portal (this is the actual Colossi Ritual part). In what way the ritual is done does not fully matter, it can be a party, or a public gathering, or a sacrifice, or even a tournament. All participants of the Clan acquire fed status for participating in this event for 14 days, but the Colossi Ritual can only be done once per month, meaning the Cahal must use The Soulrend Ritual for the remaining 2 weeks of the month.
There is an exception to this rule: While nearly all Cahal work in Clans, there are a few independent Cahal who prefer going at it alone. These so called Clan-less Cahal must specifically avoid co-operating with other Cahal on Rituals to have this solo status, but while they have solo status, they can acquire feeding from the Colossi Portal purely by being near it, thus not requiring them to do either the Colossi Ritual or the Soulrend Ritual. Clan-less Cahal can participate in Colossi Rituals if they want to, and can also acquire fed status from it, but should generally avoid working with other Cahal in other situations so as not to lose solo status.
The location of the Colossi Portal is not innate to newly arriving Cahal or even Sachem. It must be transferred by word of mouth, and its location should not be meta-gamed by “accidently walking into it”, unless it is extremely obvious and close to frequently traveled paths or roads. The Colossi Portal can be destroyed, though not by conventional means. Individuals cannot destroy the Colossi Portal, only the concerted effort of both the Regalian Guard and Void-based Mages or Sorcerers can destroy it. If the location of a Colossi Portal becomes known, a Crime_Rules#Clandestine_Raids (much like the Fae-Sepulchre Raid) must be called by the Regalian Guard Commander at a specific date and time. Then, all Cahal may (it is not required) come to defend at this particular time slot with a multi-stage assault depending on how large the corrupted area around the Colossi Portal is (large corruption also causes defenses and even traps to spawn). Non-Cahal may also be contacted at this point (breaking the secrecy of the Colossi Portal) to provide additional defenders for the Cahal Portal. If the attackers succeed, the Colossi Portal is destroyed and all defenders are transported to safety by the Colossi for their service, to whatever location they deem safe. If the defenders succeed, the Colossi Portal begins a mass-teleport of itself to a new location, thus hiding itself from the attackers once more, and providing a boon to the Cahal who came to protect it (usually Ability based). If the Colossi Portal is destroyed, the Cahal Sachem must once more come together to create a new Portal to begin the cycle anew.
Cahalic Infection and Curing
As mentioned in the rituals above, one of the primary manners of becoming infected by the Cahalic infection, is by being abducted and having the Soulrend Ritual performed on one’s self, with a 20% chance of infection. This infection method is slower, taking 72 hours to fully manifest itself before the victim is fully infected and turns into a Cahal proper (of the Soul Line of their OOC choice). Another method however is to voluntarily travel to the Colossi Portal by being guided there by other Cahal, and performing the joining ritual in front of the Portal by praising the will of the Colossi and accepting their powers. As opposed to the previous infection method, This infection method causes instantaneous turning into a Cahal (of the Soul Line chosen OOC by the player), with all associated effects. Curing of Cahalism is exactly the same as Curing for Vampirism, and therefore it saves space on this page by simply linking the Vampiric Curing method Vampirism#Curing_of_Vampirism.
Cahal are affected far less by their blood-curse than Vampires are, who often have their entire personality rewritten. It is especially because of this fact that the Cahal are often able to blend with society at large and hide among the mundane, not drawing too much attention to themselves, and not aggressing factions that would seek to destroy them so much that they draw attention. Still, some Cahal Clans become fanatics and there certainly is a capacity for Cahal to become majorly mind-altered as a result of constantly worshiping and praising the Exist Colossi. There are several rules to follow when it comes to playing a Cahal that all Cahal must observe. These are the following:
- No Cahal may ever reveal the location of a Colossi Portal to non-Cahal individuals, they simply would never. If a Cahal is cured, they magically forget where the Colossi Portal was, or how to get there. They additionally cannot be magically compelled under any circumstances to reveal the location, even by Racial Abilities. The only exception being, if a person is genuine in their will to be converted into a Cahal at the Colossi Portal (the desire must be genuine, if it is not, the Cahal will detect this).
- Cahal must worship the Exist Colossi, but are able to combine this belief with an earlier religion. For example, a staunch Unionist becoming a Cahal will worship the Exist Colossi, but not necessarily bury their Unionist habits. They might for example start seeing the Unionist God-Emperors and Empresses as the Colossi embodied into mortal form, and thus worship the Colossi through Unionism or vice versa.
- Cahal develop a pack mentality and seek out a Clan, unless they have a very distinct lone-wolf personality and rather go at it as Clan-less Cahal. A Clan may form with at least 5 Cahal coming together, and one must be established as Sachem (also known as Chief). This can be either by duel, or simply by wit, or democratic election. Each Sachem must send a ticket to Rp Com Discord reporting them having become a Sachem, and of what Clan. This is for future reference when organizing Cahal Events as well as Colossi Portal creation/Raids.
- Cahal hatred of Vampires is not strictly hard-coded to the point they must attack Vampires on sight, but all Cahal feel the suffering that Cahal suffer still at the hands of the Dorkarthi Vampires. For Vampires unaffiliated with the Desprinces of the Dorkarth, Cahal can turn a blind eye, but any Vampire who supports the Dorkarthi Desprinces or is a Dorkarth Vampire themselves will have the disdain of the Cahal.
Common Cahal Abilities
All Cahal have a basic set of Abilities that govern their mechanics as well as some aesthetics. All Soul Lines have these Abilities, and Cahal Brood even have a few of them.
World Shift 1 Afflicted Life 1 Sacrifice Curse 1 ( i changed the wording on this to remove the old ability that I scrapped) Cursed Soul 1
Cahalic Soul Lines
The Cahal are divided over so-called Soul Lines, four of them and each governed by two deity Exist Colossi. It is vaguely assumed and implied that the Colossi had a direct hand in creating the Soul Lines, but strictly worshiping those Colossi alone does not seem to happen among the Soul Lines, who prefer to keep their options open to all Exist Colossi. All Cahal have access to some form of the Cahalic Form Ability, an Ability that allows them to transform into a very different being, an appearance that is often unrecognizable and sometimes even in-human. These Cahal Forms can be designed by the player to look as unique as they like, but they are constrained by some rules and design elements. Primarily, each Cahal Form can include Beast, Plant, or Statue appearances. The rules for these themes are as followed:
- Beast aesthetics can include any type of animal such as mammal, bird, aquatic, reptile, and even insect. Individual parts may be a 1:1 copy of an existing animal, like a wolf head, but the wolf head may also be further customized with bear-ears, a falcon beak, and a feathered parrot neck.
- Plant aesthetics can include any type of flower or plant, and even bark. This may also include flowers that do not exist with shapes and colors that are unique to the Cahal Form. It is important that if these traits are used, that the Cahal Form does not look like a normal Yanar.
- Statue aesthetics can include any type of stone like marble, granite, basalt, but also glass and crystals such as quartz. They can be rough hewn rock-like in appearance, or smooth and sculpted like marble statues. The stone may also be dyed different colors.
How much of each of these themes, or whether to focus only one a single theme, is up to the player (pending the limitations of the individual Soul Lines). A player playing an Usaar may for example choose to have a fur covered body with a wolf head, yet have statue-like arms with round ball joints between them, and a row of flowers growing from their spine. Or, the same player may be playing an Usaar and choose only a wolf-like head, with a few flowers sprouting from their ears. However much the player uses the Cahal Form to disguise the identity of their Character is up to them, but is recommended.
The Usaar were created by Conferron the Elder Spirit, and Saalmar the Burning Freedom, and represent the unchained ferocity and power of the fauna of the world. The Usaar are a predominantly animalistic Soul Line, meaning their Cahal Forms must predominantly be animalistic, and their heads must also be of some kind of animal (or a combination of them), but can include plant or statue-like features. Animalistic features present may incorporate a whole host of animals, or stick to just one animal alone. Usaar are predominantly also more Clan-focused than the other Soul Lines, but can on the opposite side of the spectrum also be more independently minded lone hunters than other Soul Lines would be prone to. Usaar infected may also choose to have more animalistic aesthetics in their non-Cahal Form appearance, like more body hair, sharpened canines, sharper ears, and larger nails. The Usaar have the following Abilities:
Blood Eyes 6 Cahalic Form 1
Wall Climb 2 Super Self 2 Gate Smash 1 Super Self 6 Armor Rend 1 Light Mend 3 Bunker Down 1 Super Self 1 Armor Flux 1 Hunt Sense 1
The Ëlen were created by Vol the Gardener of All, and Calaan-Toraan the Two Faced Liar, representing the ordered beauty of nature and its flora, and the deceptive charm of flowers. The Ëlen are a predominantly floral Soul Line, meaning their Cahal Forms must predominantly be flower or plant-like, but can include animal or statue-like features. Plant or flower-like features may include non-existing flowers that are unique to their Form, with colors and patterns that are as wild as the imagination. Ëlen are predominantly community driven, meaning they do gather in Clans, but not as strongly as the Usaar, and are also prone to working together with other Clans through cross-Clan cooperation. The Ëlen also have additional optional aesthetics outside of their Cahal Form such as flowers growing in their hair, or floral tattoos and shapes on their skin. The Ëlen have the following Abilities:
Blood Eyes 5 Cahalic Form 2
Rogue Gift 4 Light Mend 1 Empath Sense 1 Empath Sense 2 Nature Gift 1 True Path 1 Light Mend 3 Parasitic Control 1 Mind Surge 1 Flux Shift 2
The Aphar were created by Do’llah the Purest Form, and Itaal the Maiden of language, representing the purity and cleanliness of permanence and eternal stone. The Aphar are predominantly a predominantly statue-like Soul Line, meaning their Cahal Forms must predominantly be stone or statue based, but can include animalistic and flower-like features also. Stone appearance features may include gems and glass, in varying colors and types (such as marble, granite, sandstone), and have a wide range of shapes, though their head must at the very least always be made of stone, and have one resting expression through which they can speak without moving their mouth. Aphar often avoid Clans altogether, preferring the life of a Clan-less Cahal, though some do work with Clans by acting as advisors and intellectuals to support the often more primal Usaar or fickle Ëlen. The Aphar have additional aesthetics available to them outside of their Cahal Form which are optional: whitened or grayed and blemish-free skin, the ability to speak without moving the mouth, and stone-cold skin. The Aphar have the following Abilities:
Blood Eyes 5 Cahalic Form 2
Exist Gift 1 Cahalic Familiar 1 Arcane Mastery 1 Casting Light 1 True Path 1 Light Mend 2 Mind Wall 1 Dravinda Gift 2 Shrewd Insight 1 Memory Sense 1
The Scor were created by Lraach the Gold Chaser and Nehret the End, and represent the cycle of life and death and blossoming and decay, more specifically the role of insects in feasting on the bones of the dead. Scor do not have any particular design focus, meaning they can have a wider range of aesthetics for their Soul Line, but they do have a thematic focus. Whether it be made of stone, or animalistic, or shape invoked by the composition of plants, many of their features must be bug-like or bone-like, or a combination of the two (but never to such a degree that they look like an Undead). Scor are indifferent to Clans, being able to either join them or disregard them entirely, what usually defines Scor is how apathetic they are to the struggles of Clans and how they just like doing their own thing. Additionally, Scor can optionally use the following aesthetics outside of Cahal Form: the ability to make chittering or rattle-snake like noises from the mouth, slitted pupils, bug-like skin patterns, and saliva that causes a faint numbing or tingling sensation when touched by skin. The Scor have the following Abilities (even if Sollerian Mist 1 has a description only to affect Solvaan Altalar, it affects Scor, but only if any Scor used that Ability):
Blood Eyes 6 Cahalic Form 1
Omniaware 1 Illuviation 1 Summon Wall 1 Predator Leap 1 True Path 1 Light Mend 3 Wall Climb 4 Sollerian Mist 1 Sustenance Gift 1 Dark Curse 1
Cahal Broods are made when Cahal reproduce with any other Cahal, or even non-Cahal. Cahal Brood status is incurable, meaning, the person is always a Brood, however they are never fully manifested Cahal. That being said, any time they come into contact with either a Soulrend or Colossi Ritual, they are instantly infected into the Brood Soul Line that they were born with (the Soul Line usually follows the Soul Line of the mother if they are a Cahal, and if not, the father). Cahal Broods (regardless of what Soul Line they belong to) are born with the following Abilities:
Blood Eyes 6 Cahalic Form 2
Additionally, Cahal Brood receive dreams or nightmares of the Colossi Portal if one exists on the same landmass as them. Finally, because Cahal Brood always have the dormant Cahal infection in them, they cannot acquire any other Affliction and are always considered Aberrant or Occult.
- Cahal are sometimes called Werebeasts, but this is not accurate. This misnaming comes from the fact that Usaar Cahal favored attacks at night in Anglia, leading the Anglians to believe they were entirely nocturnal beings, ignoring the wider range of Cahal appearances.
- Some scholars theorize that the memory lapse upon curing regarding Cahal powers is a latent aspect of infection that prevents those who were prior infected from explaining all of their powers to would-be Cahal hunters, so as to protect its host should they be infected again.
- When a Cahal is killed in their Cahal Form, their body actually does not change back to its pre-transformation stage. This has often led to confusion for slain Cahal, and a lot of misinformation on their nature.