The Sylvan Perspective on Ancestors

Please note that the opinions below are not all mine, but rather a simplification of theories and beliefs held by many different Sylvan people.

The Lady Galantir

Incantation is a method we have long been interested in understanding. It is clear that the power drawn comes through some third party, the ‘ancestor’ as it is known, though the nature of this ancestor is not understood.

There are three common forms of ancestor: those who are dead, those who are still alive, and those who never lived.

The Dead, such as Danu, Morrigan et al, comprise the better-known and more popular ancestors. These sometimes walk the world again, called back from the cycle of life by their followers, often in ritual circles. All evidence we have seen here suggests that these individuals have been removed from the cycle of life, in a way different but not without parallels to the corruption of patterns. This our people object to.

The Live, such as the Pharaoh of Aegyptus and Rathenn D’Abo, are not ancestors in the conventional sense of the word (it is my understanding that the Pharaoh of Aegyptus has no sired children) yet people invoke their name to power incantations. The Live ancestor has no control over whether the incantation power is drawn or not – as demonstrated recently when incantation power was used in the name of Rathenn, to hamper Rathenn. It would seem then that the power does not come directly from these individuals, as incantors would believe, but rather from another source.

The Unalive (if such a clumsy term may be used) covers ideals and places, such as “The Dream”. Again, there seems to logical way for such a thing to have lived, died and begotten offspring, and so the Unalive also cannot be ancestors in the conventional sense. It would seem reasonable too to assume that this power comes from a different source.

So what of this ‘different source’? Instinct would be to distrust it. An unknown being, giving power in exchange for nothing but worship, sounds….suspicious, to say the least. It is worth noting that those with the power to detect if an individual is affected by demonic possession, can also detect an ancestor’s presence in the same way. This believe was given further credence with the creation of the Mordred device – why would these kind and benevolent ancestors freely give their power to such an evil machine? Sadly, it is far easier and more rational to believe in malevolent demons manipulating incantors for their own purpose, than in benevolent gift givers. Perhaps incantors will prove strong enough to defeat and control these beings. The resurgence of the Mordred Device would suggest not.

History of Incantation

As regards the use of Incanting and Magecraft in the times before the race wars, incantation was something primarily practiced by the younger races. When this newer form on magic was developed – I believe it was the drow elves who lay claim to the first ancestral power, though I may be mistaken – some few people chose to study its forms, including at least one lesser blood of the Sylvan, but most looked upon it as ‘modern’ and more clumsy when compared to the more familiar magecraft.

This was particularly true because a lot of incantation spells appeared to have their basis in a previously known form of magic – in Magecraft, healing or necromancy – and so it was seen more as an amalgamation rather than a new discipline. I believe the phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” would describe the attitude amply, and the Elven cultures of the time were mainly based upon deep study of one or other path.

Incanting then of course gained an abhorrance in many eyes caused by the ancestor’s agreement to power the Mordred device. Even of those who had previously embraced the study, many turned against incanting when their ancestors turned against them.

Understandings of Incantation

Where does incantation power come from? From what source do these ‘ancestors’ draw the power they give to incantors? It has been mentioned above that incantation appears to be an amalgamation of other powers, and this would seem true. With so many mentally affecting spells coming directly from the void through magecraft, is it so hard to believe that the mind control of a Befriend takes a similar route? Likewise the power of Halt – a scaled down version of Freeze, drawing upon earth rather than water and air.

Imagine a sloping line. At the top of this line, write “Healing”. at the bottom, “Necromancy”.

Then consider the powers of life and death granted by incantation. Healing wounds, though less powerful than true healing. Preservation, renamed Sanctuary and of a longer duration. The power to cure disease and purge poisons. All common powers drawn from the planes of life, twisted somewhat and given to incantors.

Speaking to the patterns of the dead. Sensing the presence of corrupt patterns.

Sending an unliving pattern back to the plane of unlife and further from the cycle of life. Powers connected to the necromantic arts. But not so strongly connected. Closer, then, to the powers of life than of death? Then write “Light Incantation” upon your line, perhaps three quarters from the base.

And consider then the reverse. Incantation that does not give the power to heal wounds, but to cause them. Which does not simply dismiss unliving but bends them to the caster’s will. Which does not merely detect the presence of corruption, but which draws it closer as though Enthralled. Which can embody the powers of those corrupt patterns and take on their likeness. Far closer then to necromancy than healing. Complete the diagram, and place “Dark Incantation” perhaps a quarter of the way up your line, and perhaps not even that far removed from necromancy.

All incanting carries the stain of those dark powers. We are surprised that so many who profess to detest pattern corruption use the shades of necromancy to fight it. When any weapon is chosen, the wielder must decide if the value is worth the cost. Incantors seem to feel that it is. We remain less convinced.

The Lento Bloodline

The Lento bloodline are one of the eldest and most noble bloods in the Sylvan lands. Yet during the Race Wars they suffered a terrible agony. When the Empire of Man marched across the lands, and the Aquillas begged us for help against these people, the Lento blood mobilised to defend the refugees, to engineer a fighting retreat and buy the Aquillas time to reach the Sallirna ships, and safety.

Thus it was that the Sylvan nation first encountered the Mordred Device. And yet the Lento stood firm, though it all but cost the entire bloodline, they protected the Aquillas and the Sallirna from the Device. So many died in those few days. The Lento came very close to annilation, to being destroyed so utterly as the Rulien later were, and for similar reason: to save the lives of another.

Thus I shall close with the words of the Lord Lento, written earlier this year.

“I am not surprised that you dislike us. All you know of us is our hatred of incanting. You do not know the noble heritage of the Lento blood. You were not there when Lento stood in the ritual circles, when the Tomes of Magic were created. You did not see us stand tall and proud with our brethren at the founding of the Sylvan nation. You did not hear the voices of the Aquillias, raised in supplication for our help. You do not know the horrors of the Incantation Device. You do not understand its power, as we understand it.
You were not there with us, in the front line, holding back the forces of evil. You have not fought among the bodies of your slowly dying companions, as your skin burned, as your flesh turned to ashes upon your bones, as your last breath rattled softly in a decaying throat, and still you must fight, knowing that if you allow yourself to fall, to succumb to the release of a merciful sword blow or the slow death of incanting, then all others would be doomed to your fate. You were not there. You do not know.
We have heard your prayers of supplication to your ancestors. We have heard the voices of incantors raised as one, begging their ancestors for the power to wreak this evil, to wipe a race from the face of this world. We have heard your ancestors, your merciful ancestors, your Danu and your Blodwyn, as they answered that call. We have known the suffering they have caused. In that time, all the ancestors of the world turned their faces against the Elder Races and sought our destruction. All the Ancestors despised us and wished us destroyed. We shall not forget.
We will never again allow such suffering. Work with us, or against us. Love us, hate us, help us, hinder us, admire us, despise us. Spare us your pity.”
–Lord Lento, February 1102AF