The Grimoire ov Ordo Tenebris
Dark Lord Assurdirapal Bolverkr
Lux in tenebris lucet. The light that shines in the darkness holds mysteries that would reshape the face ov the world if revealed to the common folk. That is, if they would be even able to grasp its intricacies. Some secrets can be hidden in the plain sight, and the secrets ov Shadow Magic certainly belong among them.
Out ov all schools ov dark magic, this one is certainly the most obscure and shrouded in mystery. There are good reasons for that, Shadow Magic holds the key to understanding the very nature ov Umbra, and offers one mastery over both the darkness without, and the darkness within. It is the magic ov the unknown, and therefore it is its nature to be accessible only to the few persistent seekers. It entices many, but gives no immediate power. It whispers and eludes, dancing around one’s core, until all that was once a coherent picture dissolves into a sea ov mists and shadows, revealing the true face ov the world.
What are your reasons for studying this book? Perhaps you desire power, then you would do better by learning Infernal Magic. Perhaps you want mastery over life and death? In such case Necromancy and Blood Magic will serve you better. And perhaps you are an honest seeker, with burning curiosity that makes you step into the dark, seeking after the mysteries ov the universe… in such case you have come to the right place.
Ordo Tenebris is not a school into which one can just walk in. You must find it first. Go deep into the Umbra, and if you don’t go mad, perhaps you are a fitting candidate. Perhaps you will find its headquarters at the verge ov the infamous Nightmire. Or perhaps you will die or forever wander these wastes, consumed by your own insanity. When dealing with the unknown, one must expect the unexpected.
Shadow Magic comes exactly from that very darkness which drives men insane. Dense mists ov Spatio Somnus house all memories ov the dead, all the images they ever saw, all the voices they ever heard, all the smells, tastes and sensations they have ever experienced. But it is not the memories itself that power the Shadow Magic, but rather these mysterious energies that keep them together in a sea ov shadows. Their precise nature is unknown, as can be expected. Personally I would call them the darkness ov the future, an energy most familiar to those who once draw power from the Abyss itself… but these days are past and these powers are lost. Shadows are all that remain now.
Shadow Magic cannot be precisely defined, it is a wide collection ov arts concerned with the energies and memories originating from Spatio Somnus. Some ov them are basic magical operations relying on the force ov will and magical muscle memory. Others are complex rituals and ceremonies, developed by the enigmatic Magi ov Ordo Tenebris in their secluded dwellings. However, Ordo Tenebris bases its rank system on the mastery ov the former and the general attunement to Spatio Somnus. Nevertheless, some ov the rituals will be listed at the end.
To begin one’s journey on the mystical paths ov Shadow Magic, one must forge an initial attunement with Spatio Somnus, from where all required energies will be drawn. While other forms ov dark magic have alternative sources ov energy outside ov Umbra, no such source have been discovered for Shadow Magic. Thus months on meditation and spiritual practice near Spatio Somnus will be required. Note that you are not to enter the Spatio itself, but to remain near its border. The reason for that is safety and sanity ov the aspiring Shadow Mage. Mists ov the Nightmire are infamous for drowning the mind in a tide ov blended and mixed memories, which can quickly deprive one from his or her senses. This is to be avoided, and remaining in the proximity ov Spatio Somnus is more than enough.
After the initial attunement is achieved, would-be Neonate must continue meditation practice in the dark places outside ov Umbra, to make themselves familiar with channeling the powers ov Spatio Somnus to other realms. Some physical phenomenon will be observed, like the shadows moving by themselves, or weird shapes creeping through the dark corners ov the room. This is to be expected, and ultimately controlled. The next step is gaining dominion over such occurrences by the practice ov the will, concentration and visualization. In time, aspiring Shadow Mage will learn how to manipulate existing shadows and shape them in accordance to his or her will.
Once such ability to presented to Scola Maleficis, a title ov the Neonate ov Ordo Tenebris is bestowed upon the aspirant.
The next step is often unnerving to those who try or behold it, but in itself it is rather harmless to the practitioner. Yet first, the attunement must be deepened, and following exercises should not be attempted without at least nine months ov rigorous training with shadow manipulation, in order to develop magical muscle memory.
Once Neonate can shape and freely move any shadow without putting much thought into it, they should begin a following routine. Before going to sleep (or before intense sleep-like meditation in case ov demons) you should turn off all lights in your abode, and study all its rooms without the use ov sight. Outside ov teaching you how to move in complete darkness and operate on other senses, this will make you extremely familiar with your dwelling. When falling asleep, visualize the same routine in your head, this time adding sources ov light and channeling energies ov Spatio Somnus. At first, you will be just falling asleep, but after some tries, you will realize that you are indeed moving through the rooms and corridors ov your dwelling. When this happens, go back to your place ov rest, and behold your sleeping (or just torpid, as in case ov demons) body from the outside. What happened, is your soul leaving the body and entering your own shadow.
Practice this skill ov leaving your body each night (or as often as you can for demons) until you can leave it and enter your own shadow at will. This is another magical muscle memory, which must be mastered before developing further abilities. When you feel confident enough, summon your own shadow and enter it. Now, you will use your skill in shadow manipulation to move around. Notice that your previous training in moving without sight allowed you to enhance other senses, thus allowing you full perception in this form. However, beware strong light or total darkness, because any shadow disappears in them, thus sending your soul back to your body. While such process is harmless, it is unpleasant and shocking.
After you have mastered entering, moving, and leaving your shadow form, Scola Maleficis will grant you the title ov the Initiate ov Ordo Tenebris. However, be mindful that while your ability makes you a supreme spy, other Shadow Mages can recognize a shadow form, and even track your steps back. Be careful on whom you spy.
While useful, previous skills are only a preparation for the real power ov the Shadow Magic. True Adept is able to make his or her shadows resistant to light and total darkness, and ultimately even to make them enter into the third dimension as various forms ov liquid darkness, which can be manipulated, just as shadows before. Nevertheless, such versatility is not earned easily.
To even begin creating three dimensional shadows, Initiate must strengthen the regular shadows that he or she produces and controls. This requires even further attunement, which is gained by meditation in the shadow form, while dwelling between the physical world and the shadow world ov Umbra. Then, Initiate must begin experimenting by exposing his or her shadows to the sun. They will disappear at first, but if you infuse them with your concentration and attentive channeling ov Spatio Somnus’ energy, you will discover that it is very much possible. Practice this until you can make shadows resistant to sunlight and total darkness without putting much thought in it.
Only when this skill is mastered, you may attempt to summon the famous liquid darkness, which is the signature ability ov Shadow Magic. The process involved is rather straightforward. Once you have resistant shadows, you channel even more ov Spatio Somnus’ energy, and visualize the desired effect. Depending on the precision and the depth ov your attunement, the liquid darkness will emerge. Traditionally, Shadow Mages produce shadow tentacles or versatile wings on their backs, which act as additional limbs. Yet even after successfully producing them, you will need to learn how to manipulate them as if they were really a part ov yourself. Fluency in basic shadow manipulation will be your main guide, because the process is similar, just taken to the third dimension.
Once this has been achieved and presented before Scola Maleficis, the Initiate will be elevated as the true Shadow Mage, and granted title ov the Adept ov Ordo Tenebris.
So far all the training was based around the magical muscle memory, as in the case ov most manipulative forms ov dark magic. However, if one wishes to go beyond that and join the elite ranks ov the Magisters, more esoteric studies will be necessary.
The attunement will deepen with daily practice ov more advanced forms ov shadow manipulation, so this is the simplest part. Much more difficult is understanding the various metaphysical truths about the nature ov Umbra and Spatio Somnus itself. Yet these mystical undertakings will be necessary for the practice ov various rituals ov Shadow Magic, and no one can pretend to the title ov the Magister without mastering at least a number ov them.
Yet even that is not enough. The most risky moment ov this path comes when the Adept wishes to learn the mysteries ov Nightmire itself. Students ov Scola Maleficis often tell each other stories ov unsuccessful journeys to the mists ov Spatio Somnus, and there is much truth in them. However, many more Adepts return, and with them they bear unique quality ov knowledge, which can be known only by listening to the million voices speaking at the same time in a cacophony ov merged and mixed memories ov all who ever lives in the mortal realms. This is not a simple experience, but it open new paths to the wielder ov Shadow Magic.
The most infamous one is the ability to reach through the liquid darkness into the souls ov others, extracting memories, or even draining life force, which is often identified with the Vitae ov Blood Magic. This makes these Shadow Mages into perfect interrogators and investigators, since no secret known by another is beyond their reach.
It is required to display this ability, and the mastery ov several rituals ov Shadow Magic, before being admitted to the title ov the Magister ov Ordo Tenebris by Scola Maleficis.
Magi ov Ordo Tenebris often say that Spatio Somnus is the largest and the most ignored library in existence. While most go mad from just walking its halls, particularly dedicated Magisters spend decades ov meditation and practice in order to deepen their attunement to the Nightmire enough, to safely walk through its mists. This requires tremendous force ov will, to keep out all the invading stimuli and intrusive memories, yet years ov raising mental barriers allow such individuals to safely extract knowledge from Spatio Somnus.
And there is little knowledge that cannot be found there after long enough search. All the wisdom ever produced by mortal beings dwells there, and those who spend enough time within Nightmire, discover even more than just the key to that library. Magus is recognized by the attunement so deep, that they can walk into Umbra and out ov it, by merely stepping into the shadow. They walk unseen through the mists forbidden to all but them, travelling with the speed ov darkness. Distance and space have been conquered by these Magi, and each journey brings them more ov a forbidden knowledge, that usually finds its way into the countless rituals that enrich Shadow Magic thanks to their efforts. These are some ov them, ranked by difficulty.
Shadow Magic Rituals
An example ritual which can be used even by a Neonate are the Operations ov the Dark Sun, which is a complex ceremony based on a series ov invocations and mystical operations, with a purpose ov altering the Shadow Mage’s sight. If performed correctly, it allows the user to see in the darkness as if it was light, but normal light becomes so blinding that nothing can be seen in it. The operation can be reversed by reading the invocations backward.
Another useful rite, which requires mastery ov the shadow form, is the Transubstantiation ov Essence. If Shadow Mage ever becomes seriously wounded, they can enter the shadow form as a last resort. If their body is left in peace, let’s say because it already appears dead, they can perform this rite while in the shadow form. Through an evocation ov vital forces from Umbra, Shadow Mage can keep their wounded body from dying, while slowly healing it through unceasing mantra. This rite can also be used on others, provided that Shadow Mage is skilled enough to move his or her soul into someone else’s shadow. Blood Mages theorize that these vital forces are something else than Vitae ov their tradition, and many Shadow Mages are inclined to agree.
Adepts who master creation ov three dimensional shadows can try giving them a form ov sentience in the so-called Abyssal Sacrament. If Shadow Mage has some grasp on Necromancy, he can perform it alone. If not, a Necromancer will be necessary as an assistant. Shadow Mage begins by forming a shape ov desired servitor from the liquid darkness, and infusing it with powerful amount ov Spatio Somnus’ energies. Then, Necromancer calls a soul from Spatio Noctis into the shadow body, using complicated invocation to actually bind it to such usual host. If performed successfully, ceremony creates a dark servitor, who is commanded by the one who dominated the soul inhabiting it, usually the Necromancer.
Magisters who study the mysterious nature ov the Nightmire possess even wider possibilities. One ov the most famous rituals wielded by the elite Shadow Mages is the creation ov the Orb ov Shadows. The process ov making one takes nine weeks, during which Magister infuses a ball ov liquid darkness with progressively more rarified energies ov the Spatio Somnus. After it is complete, an orb ov black crystal is created. Its main use is in viewing distant places and even dimensions, however there are some limitations. The Orb can transmit only the sight, with no voices at all. Moreover, while it can reach to any place in all possible dimensions, the user must have seen that place at least once. It is also possible to set two Orbs in a way that allows two or more Magisters to quickly trade information, usually through the written medium.
Magi are known for having countless rituals, every Magus developing his own and rarely sharing them with others. Due to the secrecy, I cannot share them in here. I can only hind that Shadow Magic is exceptionally useful when mixed with other forms ov dark magic, and there will be always some areas ov it, that will resist being fully uncovered. After all such is the nature ov darkness.
Lastly, it is important to note, that Demon Lord Tiamat developed exceptionally interesting use for the Shadow Magic, which focuses on the elements ov memory and dreams. While her rituals are not a public information, and Ordo Tenebris cannot teach them, demons and cultists ov Tiamat are equipped in more than enough knowledge to successfully employ it. Nevertheless, they guard these secrets jealously and it is not my role to reveal them.
Created by Assurdirapal 4 months ago. Last modified by Assurdirapal 4 months ago