Excerpt: The Hand of Bethor

Saturday, April 19, 2008 - 1:07 PM

“Most years, they stay in the wilderness. We see their witchlights and the violet flames in the distance. It is not well to enter that land, because of the work they do... some years, they come out and bring their work against us. They shout of freedom and power, but we have seen what they are. They are all mad.”
Herennya, Matriarch of the Hhanash iron druids

“The Church of Bethor is insidious beyond measure. Somehow, though they are all mad, many choose to join them. Their numbers swell when they skulk in our cities. Soon after, the battle is joined, and the Church of Bethor attempts to enslave all those who do not join their blasphemy. They hold great power, but it is power which destroys their own as well as others.”
From the roster of Blasphemous Cults, in the High Temple of Kesr.

“Bethorans aren't mad in the way most people think. They see the world differently, maybe, but they're very rational. At least, the leaders are. Look past the insane cultists, look past their zealotry, and you'll notice... they're smart. They plan, they plan far ahead, and they're good at improvising when things don't go well for them. It's easy to say they're just madmen, but the Bethorans have been in the world for over five hundred years. Clearly, they know what they're doing... whatever that is.”
From the personal journals of Wallace Rievenfeld

Viewed as insane cultists with an obsession for stealing enchanted items, the Bethorans are actually a sophisticated and ancient society who views magic as an essential form of expression. Though splinters of the organization have secretly lodged in cities far from their homeland, most still consider the Bethorans as backwards-minded fanatics who have little to no order at all.

The Bethorans are actually two connected groups. Bethoran purebloods are those born Bethoran, usually raised in their magic-tainted homeland. Adopted Bethorans are outsiders who have been accepted into Bethoran culture. These groups work in conjunction to further the goals of the Bethoran whole, although many adopted Bethorans are not sane enough to understand the bigger picture, and are used as a barrier to those investigating the truth of the Bethoran movement.

The Vision of Bethor

Skybending was the first magical technique known to humans. In this method, the magician becomes a funnel for raw magical power, and attempts to shape it with his will as it explodes out of him. Though this process is capable of incredible creation, it is also inherently dangerous, and prolonged skybending in a given area can create various forms of magical pollution. As such, skybending in the current age is completely forbidden in nearly all civilizations.

Humans learned the fundaments of modern magic from the High Elves. The elves presented a cleaner, more efficient wizardry, allowing a reliable technique that did not corrupt the surroundings. Most humans jumped at the chance to learn, but there are rare exceptions mentioned in history. One such name was Bethor Chainmaker.

Bethor was a very successful skybender and warrior, chieftain to a large nomadic clan in what are now the wilds of Amboq. Accounts of the day state that he refused the elven teachings, calling them subtle tyrants who were attempting to control and subjugate humanity by restricting their power. He claimed they feared human ascension, though he did say it was a justifiable fear, for he believed humans are mighty.

Bethor's philosophy was that magic is the purest expression of the human will, and therefore, any attempt to codify or constrain or restrict magic is an attempt to restrain and limit human potential. He believed that magic is for all, and should be used in all situations.

In response to the quickly spreading elven influence, Bethor's clan absorbed several other large clans in the territory, and began to teach skybending to anyone with the fortitude to use it, as a prelude to waging open war. Accounts differ wildly on the events of Bethor's war, but it is true that he drove the elves away from his people, using massive magical assaults that claimed the lives of many of his own people as well as the enemy. The arcane fallout from these magical assaults would be the the foundation for the bizarre and erratic magical influences that blanket the Amboq, influences which would increase further from generations of skybending.

It is uncertain what happened to Bethor himself. It is assumed that any further records of Bethor's life are somewhere in the Amboq, if not destroyed. After the war, his people fortified their homeland and presumably retreated to develop the foundations of modern Bethoran culture. Would-be invaders avoided the Amboq, afraid of the seething magic that had racked the land, and the Bethorans did not leave the Amboq for several generations. The true history of the Bethorans remains unknown, and few historians are willing to brave the Amboq for further records..

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At April 23, 2008 6:51 AM, Blogger MCHossman said...

I like this little creation, here. It leaves a lot of speculation as to how things like mimics and other semi-magical creatures/items have come to life in the worlds of fantasy adventure.

It also makes one think of what other effects this type of harnessing of magical energy would create. What happens if a bethoran burns himself out? How do they describe their magic, is there a 'flow' pattern that the bethoran would see as integral in attempting to describe what they do with the energies? How would they interpret the magic imbued in magic items, does it in some way staunch the flow? Do random color sprays just float around and attract itself to spell casting or spell effects?

Lots of good stuff to mull over with this idea, kudos!


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