The wraith-witches of Bhudokima possess many magics; being mistresses of goetia and voodoo, these mysterious infernalists have long been known to the tribes of Bhudokima, the Mani, as creators of wondrous tools, as oracles and strange pseudo-spirits, and as workers of magic, for good or for ill.
One of the most common creations of the wraith-witches are the small magics known as the Mani Path-Hider.
The witches have created these small objects for centuries- the first was a gift to the Sburakka tribe of the Mani, to aid them in their war against their sworn enemies, the Trukknat tribe. The Path-Hider has since become a common tool of the Mani in their two major occupations- hunting and war.
The wraith-witches craft these tools from the huge galls of the Bhudokiman mnugash, the great forest constrictor-serpent, which they prize out with sacred bone knives. They then soak them in meltwater from the Glacier of Urdikkas and harbor them away in sealed jars until the next full moon. The specimens which have not crumbled into thick rotten dust in the jar have hardened into small, fist-sized stones. The witches take these stones forth and whisper hidden, small rituals over them.
When the sun rises, these small stones have become Mani Path-Hiders.
A Mani Path-Hider resembles a lumpy, spherical gummy mass, perhaps like a ball of very hard clay. It fits in the palm of a hand.
The magical properties of a Path-Hider may not be immediately obvious. It is not an object that one activates- it works spontaneously, as a property of its existence and pleromatic composition.
The wraith-witches give these stones as gifts to the Mani tribes. They are the least of the magics which the witches can create, and each tribe possesses a few.
The Mani use them in their constant infighting. The tribes are always at war with one another over territory, food, or slights to honor. Thus, Mani warriors stalk each other through the endless primeval forests of Bhudokima at all times, tracking the paths of their enemies, setting cunning ambushes. The Path-Hiders aid the Mani in evading and surprising each other, and make wars amongst the tribes that much more deadly.
In addition, these items are useful in hunting; their scent-erasing qualities make it easy for a hunter to sneak up on his prey.
These items are nearly unknown outside of Bhudokima, and though the Mani possess them easily, they are laothe to give them up to any stranger.
Applications in the outside world are manifold- these are perhaps most useful to thieves and assassins, who can use them to make their paths invisible, and make lawmen and posses unable to follow them.
The first function of the stone is to erase the scent of the person holding it. No matter where they go, the traces of their odor are erased. Animals cannot follow him by scent (even bloodhounds or other finding animals), nor can human trackers who are skilled enough to find him by scent (such as Jjekki trackers or the fearsome and hidden Yolarng Masters).
In addition to devouring the holder’s scent, the Path-Finder also exhibits the power of causing the footprints and small traces of the holder’s passage (such as snapped twigs, disturbed grasses and leaves, rippled water and scattered gravel) to fade and slowly reorder themselves in ways that seem natural and undisturbed. Though with extremely close inspection, a tracker may find these traces, they will appear days or even weeks old.
The final ability of the Path-Hider is to blur the pleromatic signs of his passage to those with spiritual sight. The magic of the stone causes the spiritual tracks of the passer to drift and sublime away, as if they never passed at all. In some ways, this makes spiritual tracking of a stone-holder the most difficult of all ways to track it.