An Ode To The Colour Red
The cover depicts a stylized rose with one drop of blood dripping from one of its thorns.
(But is there more than meets the eye with this book, of bloody course there is!)
At first glance the book seems to be filled with god-awful, sappy, misspelled poetry written by some pining noble youngster trying desperately to appear more interesting than he is.
Excerpt from the book
Lo, tis in mine thumb as in anger's veil. Anger, wrath, outrage! Pray hwhy dost thou cloth thyself in such a garb? Dancing bryghtly upon cave as in hearth. Touch me not, aye cannot endure thy embrace! Spilled upon slaught er's field, shyning on raven's beak. The rose hath carried thy guise for centuries still, tis but a kiss whence sharpened prick concearned, to open one's heart to bring f orth thy name! To bite into thy soft skin, and thus taste thy nature, growing from a branch, be it apple or currant. To share in true love's embrace, and so meeting thyself, to better yet form the petals of affection. From thy, aye sip the wine of thy mouth, sharing our devotion. Like sweet cherries, aye shall pick and pick, yet no fullness will ever sate me. To sit downe and dine on ras pberry tart, to watch thy soup be lifted to meet with thy lips. Oh sweet ladybug, like the ribbons in thy hair. Coursing through our joined flesh, and so shall fill our heir. As the brick hits the tomato, so as the lobster's claw, is thy hair, a fiery blaze. Setting aflame mine heart.
But if the reader were to flip through the book three times in fast succesion, the drivel will be replaced by far more interesting, yet horrifying words.
Excerpt from the 'true book'
My name is Kardan Caedsang. And this is my legacy, not the drivel thine eyes first glanced, no. But a thesis on this my craft, the forbidden art of blood magic. Believe not what others would tell thee, tis no more evil found inherit in this than in any other school of magic. If thou can learn to control it.
I would surmise that from what thou allready heard, if indeed it is still spoken of, blood magic is a way to control the body, not the mind. And that much is true, it can be used to force others into doing thine will. But I ask thee, is this anymore inherently evil than a simple charm spell? No, whilst the subject will be aware of what is happening during this, bonding, it is but a temporary spell. Yet a more potent one by far.
If thou are allready trained in the craft of spellcasting, thou should be aware that magic comes from within. Specifically, the blood. No doubt thou know of summoning spells for daemons and the like, and why thou use blood to open a portal. Tis the magnetism brought forth from the traces of iron in thine blood that will so allow.
Magnetism is also found in fields surrounding all life, these magnetic fields, also known as the aura, can be stretched from thine own form to envelop another, and thus manipulate the workings of that body, as if it were thine own. But first thou must learn to control thine own body, through a series of breathing exercises(as detailed on page. 48). Only when thou hath learned to temporarily stop thine own heart, are thou ready for this, most demanding art.
One common mistake made by beginners, is that the subject will oft die after the bonding. My research hath lead me to believe, that this is caused by blood clots, formed of iron, as a byproduct from the manipulating. Yet, this can also be used willingly by a veteran of the arts, to great effect. As thou wrest control from the subject, thou do so by controlling the flow of iron allready present in the subject's bloodstream. This will cause the limbs to move, according to thine will, not the subject's.
But be aware, some prove more resistant than others, especially warriors, who have spent so long honing their bodies, will oft prove harder to control. This could result in broken bones, dislocated limbs or snapped tendons, leaving the subject worthless. As an aspiring practitioner of the art, thou should be aware that the act of bonding takes much out of thyself as well. And at first, controlling but a single being will prove an ardous task indeed.
It is strongly suggested that thou start out by controlling smaller beings, such as vermin, chickens, cats and the like, which hold not as large quantities of blood.
Blood is the key, anything lacking blood cannot be controlled obviously. One can still control a corpse shortly after death occured, but not once the blood has thickened for whatever reason. The bonding will not work on creatures from the lower planes, such as daemons and devils for some reason. My experiments on imps and quasits have showed me thus.
The art is much more though, than controlling others. It is also the art to control oneself. But not in any minor way, I assure thee. If thou can control thy own bloodflow, what shackles doth mortality yet hold upon thee. None, I say.
And that isn't even scratching the surface. By manipulating the subject's brain, a more subtle form of manipulation could be possible, I surmise. Thou could convince the subject that thou are invisible, or that thou are another person entirely, without having to change thine appearance. But of course, given the right amount of control, thou could possibly use it to change thine own body in numerous ways, both superficial and profound.
For a true master of the arts, it should be possible to lengthen one's lifespan indefinately. To mend wounds, to regenerate broken or missing tissue. That, is the true power behind blood magic. To be the arbiter of life and death, to walk eternal, never fearing an untimely end. Thy life, as well as anyone foolish enough to cross thine path, will be thine to control. I hath not yet achieved this enlightened state myself, but I remain confident that I have many years still to perfect this, mine art.
And so shall thee, my apprentice, for I cannot begin to imagine who would be foolish enough to throw such an offer away.
The Book Itself
It is vaguely enchanted, but only a true master would recognize it as such. Bound in dark leather covers. It seems very unremarkable indeed. Its only magic lies in the masking of the true writings, covered by the sappy poetry.
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? Responses (11)
As the brick hits the tomato, so does this sub get 5/5.
I actually really like the poem. Poetry is so much better when the author isn't trying hold themselves back. It's just this messy jettisoning of vaguely connected ideas without any attempt to be graceful.
And the red letter clue is pretty cute, too. I'd love to give that to my players. If they figure it out, they get a spellbook. If they don't, they get bad poetry.
Wow, thank you! I think this is my first 5 ever...It's not likely to last, but thank you all the same! =D
I had my reservations about this when you mentioned the lettering in chat and on the forum. But after taking a look at and reading through this, I didn't react the way I though I would.
As for the sub itself: delightfully nasty! Fabulously written.
Really enjoyed this one Gossamer, thank you :)
I like this system of blood magic- being quite powerful but also offset by major dangers. I personally think this might fit better into a modern setting rather than fantasy (not sure whether medieval people know abt the concept of iron and minerals intakes and linkage with health, but then they might have known)
P.S. At first I got gibberish when I wrote down the bolded letters and I thought it was some arcane language you invented yourself but then I realise you have to read it backwards to get the sentence.
Well, you got alchemy. So wouldn't be that farfetched the way I see it.
This is quite clever and an interesting expose on dubious arcana....and blood.
Thanks to Moonlake for solving the puzzle. I second her thoughts on using this for non-fantasy games as well. Brings Poe to mind for some reason, which is good. Can see this book as a good dingus in an early Renaissance or Victorian-goth type game.
This is quite creative and cleverly done. Enough is hinted at (even if not outright stated) to add this type of magic to a world.
One thing that stands out for me is that, rather than stated openly and boringly, a picture is painted of the callousness required to be a practitioner of this art.
I see this as a potent school of magic with very few practitioners. Learning this blood magic, it seems to me, requires a certain sociopathic bent as well as patience and focus. (In other words, they would make excellent, coldly calculating, villains.)
This is pretty neat Goss!
This is excellent stuff, a great idea, good fluff, and delivers all the information about the concept without breaking voice. I can't believe this doesn't have a perfect score, seriously.
Art - Full point - A very simple concept which could be explained in only the last paragraph you wrote. But you bring it to life with the lovely drivel and probably insane rantings of the excerpt. Perfectly executed.
Craft - Full Point - While I found a few of what I think were typos (but which could have been deliberate choices as the hand of the writers, and it overall flows wonderfully. The hidden message was also nicely done. Reading quickly over the text I didn't even spot the special letters at first.
Style - Full Point - Again, executed perfectly. It gives us a lovely image.
Substance - Full Point - At first, I wondered... what is the point? It is the hidden writing, or the book's ability to hide the writing? Which am I supposed to care about? But then I realized... who cares?!?! They're both cool so thing is really two ideas for the price of one.
Extra Mile - Full Point - So easy to just SAY 'the book appears to be filled with drivel.' So easy to SAY there's a hidden message. But you gave us drivel and a hidden message to decode.
5/5 and a Golden.
When did I stop being able to type???