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"A Study on the Occult Origins and Intrinsic Properties of Everblood and its Derivatives (Part I)" - by Cruxophim.

posted Dec 16, 2016, 1:40 AM by Jez El-Ramey   [ updated Feb 21, 2017, 10:57 PM ]

"A Study on the Occult Origins and Intrinsic Properties of Everblood and its Derivatives (Part I)."

- As Researched and Presented by Cruxophim.

There are two primary objectives of this ongoing study: to present the results of collaborative research regarding the properties associated with the subject Drangell's preternaturally regenerative blood (commonly known as “Everblood”), and to assess the epidemiology of - as well as the feasibility of a cure for - the current pandemic known colloquially as the “Black Blood” blight, and henceforth referred to as such. Both are believed to be of occult origin, and latter is suspected of being devised and propagated by a powerful blood witch known as Raznel. My purpose here is to determine what connections may exist between both subjects, and what commonality they may share that could be exploited toward a cure; secondary to that objective is a determination of how the active components of the Black Blood might be reverse-engineered to synthetically and/or magically alter its target to a specialized new vector, for the purposes of weakening or abolishing the Everblood that imbues Drangell and the subsequently infected Blameless with pseudo-immortality.

During the course of a recent siege, an active sample of Drangell’s Everblood was acquired by Dergoatean (commonly known as “Goat”), and divided with careful preparation by Magister Svala and others for the purpose of research by various groups with pertinent knowledge of hematology and/or the Everblood’s unique occult properties. In the past, I had acquired various samples of the Everblood for personal study, but such are not prone to remaining viable without the physical host present to act as an adjuvant of the magical effects; even with careful maintenance and the creation of parietal homunculi to serve as temporary artificial hosts, I found that such samples eventually lost their potency, which made them less-than-ideal for prolonged study. As serendipity would have it, however, the techniques developed from such practices have proven to be effective in extending the shelf-life of the aforementioned samples.

The Everblood itself is a peculiar beast: borne of the final curse cast by a powerful dying witch, I believe that it originated with both Drangell and Thrayzar (now acting as Steward of the Militia for Wehnimer’s Landing) as its primary recipients and hosts. Blood hexes of such a dynamic and impermeable nature are typically the apotheosis achieved by such death-curses, having been horrifically augmented by the entirety of the remaining soul vitae their invokers. The quintessential elemental source of that particular taxonomy of blood magic is soul vitae itself - largely transubstantiated through blood, flesh, or remains (either corporeal or necrotic) - and though it can be derived or transmuted through symbiotic relation to other naturally occurring elements, such remains its most natural and effective catalyst.

Through some surreptitious study, I have determined [inconclusively] that the strains of cursed blood possessed by hosts Drangell and Thrayzar are quite categorically distinct; while they bear several fundamental and overlapping traits, Drangell’s strain seems to be inherently far superior to the Secondary strain. The potency of the Primary strain is likely the result of the recombinant infusion of troll blood via Drangell’s initial teratomorphosis, which triggered its unique properties to transform into a more powerful synergistic gestalt known as Everblood. The physiology of trolls bears a consanguineous, magically-induced capacity for extremely rapid regeneration, borne through an intraspecies trait that is deeply encoded into the defining signature markers of their blood. Empaths with sufficient training and skill at flesh-sculpting (manipulating corporeal vitae) are able to identify and replicate those markers, and temporarily transmute their own blood - and even the blood of those in close proximity - to mimic this peculiar coding, allowing them to possess these characteristics for very limited durations. Such is extremely taxing on one’s physical and spiritual integrity, however, and my own experiments with attempting to emulate the Primary strain itself by these methods (and less conventional ones) have proven to be exhilarating, but ultimately unsatisfactory.

Conclusion: There are other, more distinctly occult elements beyond simple structural composition which lend the Everblood its potency. The experiments will continue, but at the present time, further esoteric knowledge of the precise ritual keys and components used to create the Everblood will be required to fully reproduce and trans-hematically alter it (as will be outlined below).

There are a few important distinctions to be made between the Primary strain (Everblood) and the blood of trolls; at peak development, trolls are capable of spawning inchoate peripheral entities from dismembered portions of their own anatomy, which will eventually regenerate into perfect reproductions of the original. The less said about troll reproduction the better, but the point of interest here is that this unusual duplication is a direct result of the aforementioned magically-encoded imprint within their blood. Each individual’s blood has an exquisitely differing taste, texture, and scent to it, which is the culmination of a unique sequence that is singular among nearly infinite possible combinations. For those who are able to detect and decrypt such through innate magical intuition or complex divination, a mere drop of blood contains a wealth of secreted information that can be used to identify the blood’s source, including a nearly inscrutable blueprint to the entirety of the subject’s design. This is part of what allows Empaths to mend others, and transmute their own flesh and blood to replicate the damaged tissue and bone of their subjects; they are able to perceive this innate design and make corrections based upon it, within certain limitations. Troll’s blood, however, appears to have some largely undeciphered aberration that allows it to automatically reconstruct itself entirely from even a moderate portion of divorced flesh. Incidentally, some believe this to be the aftermath of an ancient curse, while others believe it to be the result of powerful and deliberate experimental modification.

The important distinction between troll’s blood and the Primary strain, however, is that Drangell appears to be incapable of that manner of corporeal mitosis; his body regrows itself from a singular source and into a singular source. Were he to be cleaved in twain and the halves immediately separated by prohibitive distance, his body would theoretically regrow from whichever of the halves was slightly dominant, i.e. the larger biological mass. The disjointed remainder would likely decay at a vastly accelerated rate due to magical dissipation, not unlike limbs separated by necromantic disruption. The question remains thus: if Everblood is analogous but functionally superior to the blood of trolls, and troll’s blood - at its most evolved potential - is capable of division and reproduction, then why is Drangell not capable of such autogenous duplication when torn asunder?

The observable outcome of this query may lend credence to the premise that there is an occult element of the Everblood that is specifically tied to both the host’s corporeal and spiritual vitae, not merely the flesh; in more simplistic terms, the death-curse which created the Everblood was engineered to function through an implanted bond with the host, to better synchronize with and perpetually maintain the cohesive form that the host possesses. By my estimation, the Primary strain does not duplicate itself in the manner of trolls simply due to the fact that the spiritual vitae (or in layman’s terms, the “soul”) of the host, Drangell, is as homologous to the bond as the flesh itself. The spiritual vitae of fully sapient and/or living creatures is far more complex and difficult to manipulate than that of lesser or deceased creatures, but it is conversely far more potent for magical application. Perhaps that symbolic cohesion is necessary for the Everblood to perpetuate itself, or perhaps some magical alteration has been made to allow it function in another way.

The Everblood may be keyed - at least in part - to a particular form of necromantic magic which subverts the host’s natural spiritual vitae into a pliable state that it can draw amplified power from. The resulting necrotic or death-energy [spiritual vitae perverted by corruption, or enslavement to the deceased form] could easily be converted through blood magic to allow the physical body of the host to become a proximal fleshmanse. Such would not necessarily be indicated by any outward signs of decay (and thus difficult to detect) such as occurs with liches and undead, but would instead draw power from the inherently malignant nature of the Everblood itself.

To elaborate further for the purposes of this hypothesis: all living organisms go through a slower and far more gradual process of perpetual regeneration through the natural cycle of life and death. When this regeneration process becomes aberrant in a normal organism (either naturally or through magical manipulation), the results are tumefaction and malignant growths which are damaging and often ultimately fatal to the host; however, the corporeal vitae of trolls naturally compensates for this by drawing from their spiritual vitae as a means of adaptation. Their severe susceptibility to flame is a peculiar side-effect of this inherent thaumaturgical chimerism, as magic often functions through and upon symbolic representation.

The fact that their untapped spiritual vitae is severely diminished may also explain why trolls commonly appear to be of lower intellect, demonstrate poor self-control, are prone to outbursts of extreme violence. There is some line of thought that the “soul” - the metaphysical embodiment of sentience, self-awareness, and innate magical connection - has subtle effects upon an individual’s personality and capacity for warmth, empathic response, social intuition, and rational thought. And while studies have shown some correlation between these elements, it is also possible in some cases that certain aspects of the personality diminish, while others expand; for example, capacity for empathy may increase quantifiably while rational thought and/or social intuition decrease proportionality, or vice versa. This may or may not explain Drangell’s diminished capacity for empathy, or the true nature of his relationship to Chaston Griffin, or various other factors. One might postulate that his condition has somehow made him more susceptible to whatever ability to enthrall the Prelate possesses, although such could also be attributed to more direct manipulation of the Everblood. While difficult to conclusively prove or disprove, it is not entirely inconceivable that the traits which make him a cold-blooded and more effective killer may actually be an incidental (but likely irreversible) byproduct of the Everblood itself, and a clue toward the nature of its design.

At its surface, the ritual once performed by the Tehir spiritcaller, Akhash, appears to have succeeded in reverting Drangell back to the normative physiognomic characteristics of his Giantman form; deeper study, however, reveals that it has done little to nullify the deeper hematological changes wrought by the initial death-curse. A comparative analysis of samples taken before and after Drangell’s transmogrification and resubstantiation would seem to support this, as the primary strain is very much as potent and active - if not more so - as it was prior to the reversion. If one assumes that a practitioner with talents similar to the deceased Hexmother (dispenser of the initial death-curse) is currently conspiring with the Prelate, who seems to command Drangel either directly or through magical beguilement, then it should be warned that there is a very strong possibility that the Everblood has been modified in some way since Drangell’s release.

Even with the various elements outlined above, there is another evidentiary factor that should be weighed heavily: the recently observed and unprecedented transmission of the Everblood through bloodborne contact. For all intents and purposes henceforth, I am working with two assumptions: that Raznel has been sufficiently linked to Chaston’s operations to become the primary suspect regarding this modification, and that as such, she is fully capable of complex blood magic comparable to - or even greater than - the Hexmother. I suspect some primeval method of amplification is being used toward such ends, likely implementing the recently unearthed material known as “blood marble” (which also has several germane properties that will be discussed later).

Premise: Via powerful occult modification, Raznel has somehow managed to trans-hematically alter the composition of the Primary strain to be capable of cross-species/cross-organism infection. This is an extraordinary feat in its own right, given the sophisticated architecture of the subject, which is the most notable reason why I suspect Raznel’s direct involvement. Thus far, this change of vector dynamic seems to consist of two variable criteria: the recipient’s blood must be human-compatible or demihuman hybrid-compatible, and another unknown component that allows the subsequent infection to target only those entities who have completed their transformation into the Blameless. From what I have been able to determine, I believe that the second criterion is of far more significance than the first, and that there must be some key element of the initial baptism of the Blameless that ties into this factor. With so little information to go on regarding the specific ritual elements of conversion process itself, I’ll simply have to continue to make do with conjecture and educated guesses; meanwhile, I suppose I will proceed with researching this topic, as well.

Regardless of the process used to create them, my investigations have verified that the Blameless do contain several innate magical signatures that could be indicative of manipulation via blood magic. While the blood of Giantmen is not natively compatible with that humans, Empaths and/or skilled practitioners of blood magic are capable of transmuting the blood - through careful and precise manipulation - to achieve an acceptable level of modified internal congruity; while this is commonly done as a temporary measure by Empaths for the purposes of mending wounds, it is entirely possible to modify the blood so deeply as to permanently transfigure its composition. As one might imagine, however, this sort of complex haematic transformation leaves tell-tale markers that reveal some hint of the history of this process, and by thoroughly studying those enigmatic markers, it may be possible to reverse-engineer and replicate this process. Unfortunately, magic is such a vastly complicated and opaque subject that without reliable evidence as to the prototypal source, these elements remain largely obfuscated and acataleptic. In simple terms: once again, without knowing more of the specifics of the autochthonic ritual (the initial ritual procedure), any such endeavor would be a proverbial “shot in the dark” that could require weeks or even months of experimentation and a steady supply of willing test subjects.

For the purposes of clarity, I will henceforth refer to the Primary sub-strain (the lesser Everblood possessed by the Transubstantiated Blameless) as “Zealot’s Blood”, due to its obvious etymological relevance.

An [abridged] hypothetical etiology of the autochthonic transformation ritual, based on known or assumed elements:
1] Query: Dissection method of the Everblood by means of analogous magic, likely compatible with that used by the ancestral Hexmother.
Conclusion: Raznel uses a darker taxonomy of blood magic that largely focuses on the necrotic severance of life-energy into death-energy through the abnormal acceleration of decay, augmented by the inherent causticity of pestilence and contagion. This particular taxonomy relies heavily upon the disruption of extant biological systems and a perversion of the natural order, feeding/converting thusly comprised and deteriorating systems into engines of necrotic energy and virulent epidemia that further fuel the spread of such disease-born hexes. This narrows down the starting point significantly, provided one accepts such as an yet-unproven basis.
2] Query: Conversion method of the Primary strain into one capable of targeted cross-species contamination and secondary host-conversion.
Conclusion: The particular taxonomy of blood magic outlined above presumes a rather comprehensive knowledge (either instinctive or academic) of corporeal and hematic manipulation, which leaves only the particulars to debate. My inclination is that the conversion was done through direct manipulation of the necrotic energy manifested by the malignancy of the Everblood itself; while most common hexes [curses] function by contravening or disrupting the subject’s native systems (either physical or magical), it is possible to alter an extant hex into a comparable counterpart without further damage to the subject. The primary goal, in such a case, would be to create a _hematic cipher to serve not only a carrier for the subsequent infection, but to work as a invocation-activated catalyst when introduced to the secondary hosts; in other words, it would not only provide an artifice of the blood to allow the strain to cross undetected from the Primary host to targeted subsequent hosts, but would lie dormant until completely infecting the secondary host at the behest of a predetermined “triggering” invocation or rite. This is obviously comparable to the unknown vector of the Black Blood, and I will revisit the potential similarities to and applications of such later. As we have witnessed through divination, the Primary strain was largely issued through the direct ingestion of the blood of the Primary host, which would obviously indicate the communicable nature of the strain.
3] Query: Underlying methodology of the Transubstantiation of the Blameless.
Conclusion: I have discovered potential signs of such blood-artifices within samples taken from both the Transubstantiated Blameless (those affected by the Zealot’s Blood) and various individuals afflicted with the Black Blood. While inconclusive thus far, I would estimate that there is a small possibility that an etiological correlation between the two does exist, and that if further progress is made in decrypting both the original hematic cipher and the autochthonic ritual used to create it, it may be possible to synthesize a virulent bloodborne counteragent by similar means. Furthermore, I have discovered trace evidence of the possibility of pre-existing haematological tampering within samples of the blood of non-Transubstantiated Blameless, versus those with full symptoms of the Zealot’s Blood; if further headway is made to prove this connection, it would greatly support the second conclusion made above. Regardless, the diagnostic result of the Transubstantiation is a “lesser” form of the Everblood (the Zealot’s Blood), with comparable but markedly less potent regenerative powers. I have a burgeoning theory, however, that this may not be the only tangible byproduct of such; I have an yet-unproven suspicion that there are distinct endogenous parapsychological effects induced by the Transubstantiation, including the unnatural stoicism and greatly reduced nociception (immunity to pain response) commonly witnessed among the Blameless. I believe that this may be an intentional side-effect of malignant reconstruction of their spiritual vitae by the Zealot’s Blood [see Theories on Composition and Structure, above], which causes them to be more susceptible vessels for the Prelate’s preternatural control; this leads me to conclude that there may also be a more direct blood-empowered conduit between the Prelate and the Transubstantiated Blameless than we initially perceived, which has far more - do pardon the pun - grave connotations. Beyond these two preliminarily outlined symptoms, there may be further tertiary effects uncovered as the research continues.

There is another matter regarding the nature of Prelate Griffin himself, and his apparent preternatural abilities, which may bear some deeper consideration. The interchangeable use or conversion of necrotic energy into tenebrous (or shadow) energy is far less rare than one might think, due to its close affiliation and symbolic magical connections. As the antithesis of Light itself, shadowborne energy is often destructive, entropic, chaotic, and inherently disruptive in nature, especially when uncontrolled, which makes it an ideal pairing for the purposes of compelled necromantic decay. However, while radiant (lightborne, or “holy”) energy lies categorically upon the opposite axis, the potential for elaborate false simulacra here should not be entirely ruled out.

Due to his suspected familial association with Raznel herself, I should not be entirely surprised if the Prelate’s abilities are the result of some much darker shadow-magic disguised by a illusory veil of duplicitous golden light. Through what is known colloquially in some circles as “black light” or radiant decay, it is entirely possible to disguise the perceived works of one Arkati as that of another, or to mask darker energy signatures with those of a far more benign or even benevolent origin; while this type of complex illusory phenomenon is not typically found in sorcerous or necromantic magic, it would not be impossible to incorporate thaumaturgic mimicry in order to sublimate more sinister magics into a less detectable (and more easily palatable) form. This is especially true given the symbolically dichotomous relationship between the sacred and the profane, between light and dark magics, as some of the more potent incantations ever devised have been empowered by the dynamic attraction and repulsion of opposite forces.

And with that, I conclude the initial report of my relative findings; in the next report, I will continue to discuss various experiments regarding the yet-unclassified contagion known as the “Black Blood”, the results of any further collaborative research, as well as any other pertinent topics that may come to light in the interim.

-- Cruxophim
Resident Chirurgeon of Wehnimer’s Landing