Godly Men of Magic
A Psilogist is a learned man who area of study is witches and witchcraft. To this end, these men are cloistered in fortresses of erudition, surrounded by books, holy wards, and the best protection generally available. To defeat one's enemy, one must know their enemy, and it is the psilogist who follows this harrowing path.
The Psilogist is recognized by his robes, which are white with a fascia of a lighter color denoting his rank or specialty. They wear a holy symbol on a silver chain, either around their neck or around their waist, and bear a crozier with attached censer with associated sweet herbs and smoldering oils. These are used to banish evil, or to force evil to show it's true face to the psilogist.
Exorcists - the Order of Exorcists are wandering troubleshooters. They look for signs of the witch and her magics, and then works to undo them. They are not soldiers, and will typically employ religious militant orders as bodyguards, mundane mercenaries, or some other group to bear the sword, torch, and shield as needed.
Investigators - the learned men who keep to the fortresses, the Investigators study the unburned corpses of witches, of their creations, they study the books and spell implements of the witches, and work to understand how their magics work to better know them and to better find them. Investigators are commonly also students of maestery and magic users in their own right. Their magic workings are highly limited, heavily censored, and subject to routine inspection for infernal or outsider taint.
Castigators - these holy men are secular preachers who often work with exorcists and other groups, and they are deeply disliked. The Castigator hunts for corruption within the ranks of men, and doesnt hunt the witch, but rather hunts the witch's influence and corruption among his brothers, and thus, he hunts his brothers.
Witch Hunters - these are the rarest group of psilogists as they take a hands on approach to seeking out the witches themselves and to bring them to steel and flame. They are feared by the rest of the orders, as they are often insane in their pursuit of witches, fearless in their task, and often do not care what the cost is for burning a witch.They will trade an untold number of lives, including their own, so long as a witch is slain in the process.
Deacons - the kindly faced men of the orders, Deacon do the public relations work between the orders, and between the orders and the various nations and kingdoms involved. When there are claims of witchcraft, or there is concern of a witch being present, it is the Deacons who go in first to investigate. They are the least prepared for an actual witch, but the majority of claims are fear and superstition, and there are not enough exorcists or witch hunters to investigate every claim.
The Question of Magic
The Psilogists can and often are magic users, but there is a full double standard involved. So long as a man has learned his magic from approved sources, and has the blessing and vestment of the religious order, he is free to be a Magus. He is a civil, and upright wizard, and with his spellwork limited by the parameters of maestery he is not much of an actual wizard or sorcerer. There are no women among the orders, and women are barred from entering the Psilogists keeps, for fear that exposure to such magical hoardings would in no doubt cause her to become a witch.
Corruption and Abuse
In the fight against witches, many of the orders have become rife for corruption and taint. This is not the work of some external demon, or the machinations of a powerful witch, but instead the insidious nature of massive and powerful organizations with oppressive dogmas, rife with fear, sexism, and espousing creeds of violence and intolerance.
The Sins of the Deacons are the most numerous. Many deacons, especially those who have actually seen or faced a witch, will become proactive in their search for potential witches. This generally becomes closed door inspections of the women of a community. There are strip searches, looking for witches marks, devils marks, and anything else that might make a young woman seem likely to become a witch. Unsupervised men with full authority examining naked women, from the elderly (so very rare) to teens (so very common).
The sins of the witch hunters are well known, is it seen in mass funerals, piles of dead bodies, and isolated witches going to war against communities they formerly ignored.
The sin of the Castigators is that of distrust and disloyalty, they are the men behind the scenes who are the politicians and the power players, and those members of the order who dont play by their rules fall to them. Castigators are also frequently targeted by witches for their machinations as they are not involved in witch hunting, and are feared by their fellows. An enthralled castigator can do more damage than a rampaging war beast.
The sin of the Investigator is seeking that which man was not meant to know. Any can learn magic, it is something that transcends gender. Those women who seek out outsider pacts are taking fast tracks to power, along with the associated risks and dangers. The maesters who study their magics run the same risks of being corrupted by them, and invoking the same outsiders for greater powers. A maester turned warlock can be a powerful and dangerous, if highly predictable foe.
The sin of the exorcist is that of zealotry, and fanaticism. Many exorcists would send innocent people to their judgement and death so long as it served finding and destroying a witch. The modern aphorism is to release 10 criminals rather than jail one innocent, the exorcist creed is the opposite, sacrificing 10 innocents to ensure a single witch burns is an acceptable rate of exchange.
There is a greater sin of the orders and that is widespread, systematic, and methodical sexism and chauvanism. The become a subject of interest for the witch hunting order, a woman only need be independent, our opinionated, or outspoken, or single past a certain age, or educated, or to have no children, or be disobedient, or immodest, or improper, or to be singled out by someone in the community. The Order, in hunting witches, has created a toxic environment for all women. The tests for witchcraft range from the bizarre, to the unpassable (aka only a witch will survive this test), to suffering abuse and molestation under the guise of atonement or penance.
The Creator of Witches
To the Order and its intolerance, there is no difference between a woman who knows magic and a witch. There is an important difference, as a female magic user is an incredible asset for hunting and destroying actual witches. Those women who do make deals and pacts with outsider powers are committing grievous and unforgivable sins against humanity and nature. Their magics are poisonous, alien, and entirely unwholesome. The hostility shown to women, the offenses they are forced to endure makes dealing with these evil forces seem more appealing than following the path the order shows. Thus in its zealous hunt for witches, the Order is continually creating new ones.
Not All Deacons...
Not all of the members of the order are sexual predators, or demonically influenced, or oppressors. Many are genuinely good souls who know the evil that a true witch is capable of, and that there are innocents who are harmed weigh heavily on them. If these organizations were overrun with such individuals, it would be relatively easy for their corruption to become the norm and the Order itself would turn into a monstrous faction of Witch Lords and Witch Kings. The castigators for the most part do their job, and for the most part the deacons arent molesting all the girls in every village.
But there are enough who are that it is poisoning the well.
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? Responses (1)-1
It must be quite unpleasant being a woman in this world.