|Affected Races||Ailor and Nelfin excluding Kathar, Drowdar, Mages, Silven, Vilitatei, Aleia or Vampires|
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, 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 Vampires and Aleia. They consume the soul essence of their targets, granting them certain boons 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 month 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. The entire infection process takes a month 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, Vilitatei, Aleia, or Silven.
Witchblood Feeding and Rituals
In a similar manner to Vampires who must consume blood to stay healthy, Witchbloods feed on the soul essence of Mages, Silven, Vilitatei, Aleia, and Vampires 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. While fed, Witchbloods can commence what is called a “Witch Ritual.” This ability involves gaining a specific ability or skill through the expense of soul essence drained. The satiation of Witchblood will last roughly a week or until a Witch Ritual is commenced (though individual rules may apply). The ritual granted is determined by the last target fed on. If a Ritual is not used but a new target is fed on, the ritual that the Witchblood has access to overrides the old one. Different kinds of feeding targets suffer different kinds of negative side effects, as explained below.
- Feeding on Mages: Mages that have been fed on lose their capacity to cast any magical spells for 2 days. Feeding from a Mage gives the Witchblood access to the Mage Essence Ritual.
- Feeding on Silven: Silven that have been fed on lose their ability in any combat schools for 2 days. If the Silven is also a Mage, they are counted as a Mage as opposed to a Silven for the purpose of receiving the bonuses. Feeding from a Silven gives the Witchblood access to the Silven Essence Ritual.
- Feeding on Vampires: Vampires that have been fed on lose their Vampire-Born abilities for 2 days, though will retain the appearance and negative traits of Vampires. Feeding from a Vampire gives the Phantasma access to the Vampire Essence Ritual.
- Feeding on Vilitatei: Vilitatei that have been fed on suffer no real negative drawback from having been fed on. In order for someone to classify as a Vilitatei, they need to have more than three mutations, otherwise it will default back to the other classes. Feeding from a Vilitatei gives the Witchblood access to the Vile Essence Ritual.
- Feeding on Aleia: Aleia that have been fed on lose their abilities for a duration of two days. Feeding from a Aleia gives the Witchblood combat mirror regeneration for two days. Combat mirror regeneration is a passive skill that removes damage from the Witchblood through rapid healing as long as damage is inflicted on others. For example, if an opponent slashes an arm, the Witchblood attacking the opponent back with an equally damaging strike will rapidly heal the slashed arm. Due to the fact that Feeding on Aleia only imparts a passive ability that does not translate into a Ritual, it does not formally become part of the Ritual list further below.
Mage Essence Ritual
The simplest and most commonly used ritual which can be performed is the ability to inflict distant harm on a victim through the Mage Essence Ritual. In order to do this, the Witchblood (after having fed on a Mage) must know the target by name and face, after which they must produce an Idol of Summoning. An Idol of Summoning can be any kind of straw doll, clay statue, or wood carving that resembles a person, which contains a small, hollow center where-in a piece of a fingernail or hair of the individual is placed. In order to activate it, the Witchblood must slice open their palm and allow a drop of blood to fall onto the doll. The Idol of Summoning can then be damaged by impaling it or breaking it, causing physical harm to whichever person’s nail or hair was implemented inside the hollow part. This harm does not specifically have to be caused by the Witchblood, in fact, all that is required for the doll to activate is the blood of the Witchblood, after which anyone can use it to inflict harm. Once the blood is dripped onto the Idol however, the Witchblood loses their fed state. An Idol of Summoning can be harmed a total of four times separately, each of which last roughly five minutes. For example, the doll may be impaled with a needle, and the person will experience a five minute long excruciating stabbing sensation, or the doll may be put in a barrel of water, and the person will experience five minutes of drowning sensations. The pain is not completely crippling, but severe enough to prevent a person from falling asleep, casting magic, or using combat or intellectual prowess.
Silven Essence Ritual
The Silven Essence Ritual is also known as the Demon Shield Ritual, as it is utilized during fights as a type of magical shield. The Silven Essence Ritual can only be activated once, and only for the duration of an actual fight. How the duration of a fight is determined is unclear, though the ability seems to react to danger subsiding, or enemies being disabled, or the Phantasma having fled. The Witchblood may choose any fight to activate this ritual, but it must always be against either a Silven or an Arken. While this Ritual is active, the Witchblood in question will only receive half the damage inflicted with harming intent from either Silven or Arken, through either magical or physical attacks. For example, if they were to be slashed with a sword that could cut deep in the flesh, they would instead only receive a superficial cut. Or if they were to be attacked by a harmful magical spell, the spell potency would halve. It does however not make them more resistant to Mind Magic or Celestial Magic, or other forms of utility magic.
Vampire Essence Ritual
The Vampire Essence Ritual is also called the Ritual of Speed, because it grants greater acrobatic abilities to the Witchblood. Up to three times, a Witchblood who has fed on a Vampire may activate the Vampire Essence Ritual to boost their speed and agility. This state lasts for roughly thirty minutes, in which they are capable of jumping twice as high and far, and run roughly 50% faster. This ritual also affects their combat capacity, though it doesn’t make their attacks any faster or better placed. Rather, their ability to jump in and out of combat, or rapidly switch stance simply improves, thus increasing their survivability. This ritual is still very much tied to the stamina of the user, meaning that if the person’s stamina is low, they are unable to sustain this agile movement for long. After the third use, or a week has passed without using all three rituals, the Witchblood loses their satiated state and have to feed once more.
Vile Essence Ritual
The Vile Essence Ritual is also called the Lure Ritual because Phantasma use it to lure their targets away from crowded areas. In order to be able to cast a Vile Essence Ritual, a Witchblood needs to have fed from a Vilitatei. This grants them a once-usable Vile Essence Ritual that, once commenced, continues until the target is grabbed at the arm, or until the Witchblood (or the target) is disabled. The Vile Essence Ritual is commenced through focus on an individual within visual range. As the person becomes affected, they will start experiencing hallucinations or voices that they cannot quite explain in words, all drawing them to wherever the Witchblood is. The Witchblood can then, after attaching the ritual to the target, walk in any direction and the target will eventually follow unless restrained or disabled. Witchbloods frequently latch this ritual onto abberations and then slowly draw them into the slums or the countryside before they commence the feeding, but the ritual can be used on mundane Alorians too. The target will not become incoherent or crazy, they will simply experience a strange drive to go to wherever the Witchblood is, and will become irritated if anyone starts questioning them or slowing them down on the way there. This ritual can only be used once, meaning that if the Witchblood or the target are disabled, or if the ritual has made its full effect, the ritual can no longer be reused until another Vilitatei is fed from.
There is currently no known cure for Witchblood. There is also no known way of limiting or otherwise decreasing the negative effects caused by underfeeding aside from effectively comatosing someone with 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. Rumors exist of Witchblood-affected individuals who have been cured by consuming Dragon blood, but since said substance is near nonexistent due to the extinction of Dragons, this has never been confirmed.
Witchblood in Regalia
Witchblood have a curious relationship with the Regalian Government. Much like Vampires or Vilitatei, 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 imprisonment and subsequent torture. 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. 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 is actually a Witchblood. The woman has never shown her face in public, so it cannot 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.
- The Vile Essence Ritual is often used to set up feeding from other targets, as Vilitatei are usually more isolated and easier to spot, while Silven and Mages tend to group and seek safety close to one another, making catching one out of the group more difficult.