TMN received this submission from Sawyer the Seeker, written in a neat, even hand—on clean well-maintained parchment. The account is recently laid out for review and consideration in the main Puddleby library.
"The order is finally open to newcomers.
The bloodpool's hunger seems to grow by the day, but our numbers are ever dwindling.
Nacerus was right to share the power of the pool with outsiders."
The duty of instructing unspecialized fighters and bloodmage novices is not one to be taken lightly, as it is important that as the hunger of the bloodpool continues to grow our numbers do not dwindle.
It is from this lens of instructing novices and initiates of our Order (and gathering the opinions of some fully-realized mages), that I have sought greater knowledge and understanding of the nature of blood magic, and of the bloodpool. While there are still many un-answered questions (and some of the masters and Speakers are fairly tight-lipped), I believe that more meaningful connections can be made based on what we do know. Many of these connections may not be new, but I hope that by consolidating and compiling the information, myself, it will be easier for those interested mages, or future mages, to ask the right questions, answer the call, and find the path.
It is my hope that the following questions, connections, and theories can help every mage to better understand the nature of that which we serve. It is important to return to the order what we take from it.
-Sawyer the Seeker
The Savannah Temple
"Those who would remain safe must pass no further. Likewise shall those who would remain safe learn nothing of true power."
The first experience many young fighters will have in walking the path is a trek through the marshes to a temple located deep under the Savannah. This is where hopeful novices have been introduced to Nacerus and taken the first steps to forging their own blade. Though many novices have actually received blades before this time, the forging of one’s own bloodblade is still an important rite, and a noteworthy marker along the path. The construction and location of this temple are both interesting to note, and also lend credence to the theories of some more… flippant…members of the bloodmage community. First, the building entrance lies deep within the Savannah maha cave, which some have viewed as a connection to Detros the Ruknee (protector of places containing ancient wisdom). The façade of the temple bears a depiction of a warrior in battle, perhaps very similar to Ina D’Xus the warrior (which extant writings would suggest is associated with life and, more notably, blood).
Of note is the fact that the upper level of the temple appears largely abandoned and left in disrepair. It does not appear that this upper level has been used for some time, but by descending into what appears to be a dry well in the center of the structure, one may navigate a series of old tunnels and find themselves in Nacerus’ chamber, the entrance to what this mage would consider a separate and distinct structure. While the temple above is constructed of marbled stone and ornate columns, the temple below is constructed almost entirely of dark basalt stone, lit by torches, and is better maintained and free of refuse. The veil is thin, here, and while undine will accost any travelers seeking to traverse the well or the tunnels, below in the entrance chamber they serve as guardians of the gates, and are harmless to fully realized bloodmages. Perhaps a question for another time is, how are these undine made to serve the order as guardians?
It is the opinion of this mage that these two structures may indeed, have served two distinct purposes. What once was a temple, perhaps to Ina D’Xus, was either abandoned, or…changed (I hesitate to use the word corrupted, but a discussion on that will come later.) And the old façade is now home to the temple of the current Order. The lower temple does somewhat resemble other structures spread throughout the islands, but lacks many of their distinctive ornamentation and markings that may link them to the ancients. It is this mage’s opinion that the similarities may only be in the building materials, though any such similarities should still not be overlooked, and are worthy of further examination.
The Altar and the Bloodpool
"Where does the bloodpool come from? Nobody knows. It called to us and we came."
Where the bloodpool comes from is perhaps the subject of the greatest variety of theories when it comes to even the most experienced mages. Perhaps we care most about this topic because the bloodpool is the very source of our magic.
Some more…outspoken members of the bloodmage community have proposed the theory that the bloodpool is actually Ina D’Xus, converted or changed in some way. While Ina’s connection to blood has been documented, there doesn’t seem to be much else that this mage is aware of to support the theory that Ina, himself, is somehow the bloodpool.
Instead, I believe the subject requires a closer examination of two things that Puddlebean exiles are very familiar with: Altars, and Moonstones.
There is a great deal of documentation to support the connection of moonstones to the Altar in the Crystal Temple in Town Center. In the past, when the altar was taken and broken, the magic of the moonstones began to fail, and waned steadily until the altar was eventually repaired. It can be surmised from this that, at least in part, moonstones draw their power from the altar. It must also be noted that, according to the Loremasters, moonstones do not exist or do not function on the mainland.
When exiles touch the altar, a portion of their spirit is left behind or “remembered”. While the origins of this magic are perhaps not well-understood, its effect has been experienced by most every adventuring resident of the Lok’Groton. When an exile is injured to the point of incapacitation, or even to death, their spirit will disconnect from their physical body. All religious conjecture aside, it is evident to Puddlebean exiles that instead of emerging in some sort of afterlife after wandering through Purgatory, exiles instead emerge at the altar in a weakened, traumatized state. The plane that exiles call “Purgatory” appears very much like the ethereal plane and is yet another place where the veil is thin. Lesser undine can often be found wandering purgatory in small numbers.
This is where my theory for the origin, or at least some of the nature of the bloodpool begins.
Moonstones and Bloodblades
It is common knowledge among many that a moonstone is required in the forging of a bloodblade. During the forging, the magic of the moonstone is somehow…inverted, and infused into the blade. Instead of being used to restore vitality, the magic of the blade instead saps it. Without training this drain will eventually prove fatal. Just as the moonstones have shown to draw their power, or at the very least be connected, to the altar in the Crystal Temple, so too are the bloodblades connected to the bloodpool—presumably drawing their power from that source.
The relationship between moonstones and bloodblades allows for further thinking along the same lines when studying the two altars, one in the center of town, and the other in the temple of the Order. It is the opinion of this mage that the altar housed in the Order, while similar in design and effectiveness, has either been constructed in such a way or… changed… in such a way as to result in it being “inverted”. Much like the magic of moonstones is inverted to create bloodblades.
This begs perhaps the most relevant (to this mage) unanswered question: Is the bloodpool the cause of the inversion of the altar in the temple of the Order, or the result of it? We are told by the disciples that blades draw their power from the bloodpool, but does that also extend to the altar? If the altar in the temple were to fail, would blood magic also fail with it?
The blood altar in the Savannah also retains other similarities to the more recognized altar in the Crystal Temple. Mages who touch the altar leave behind an imprint of their spirit and are “remembered”. When a bloodmage bound to the blood altar departs, they will emerge within the temple where they are bound, the same as other known altars. However, there seem to be other properties related to the bloodpool and the blood altar. Fully realized mages can use their bloodblades as a focus to …traverse… the bloodpool, as it were. Traveling very quickly from the pool in the cemetery in Puddleby, to the altar and pool in the temple of the Order (they do not need to be bound to the altar for this to be possible.) Instead of passing through purgatory they pass through… a distinct, yet very similar space. This space appears much like purgatory or the ethereal plane, save for the presence of a single, small, still pool. Whereas undine can often be found in purgatory and the ethereal plane, in this “blood purgatory” the only denizen seems to be a single Astral Guardian, and the mages traversing the plane.
It would, perhaps be of interest for a Mystic to examine and explore some of these paths and phenomenon, but we are unsure as to whether such practitioners can be fully trusted, and as of yet, none are allowed entrance into the temple.
The Nature of Life and Death
“If you fear to walk the paths between life and unlife, leave this place."
Understanding more of the nature of life and death is one of the most important aspects of training for novice and initiate bloodmages. Once mages have learned enough to perform elementary blood magic by use of a bloodblade, they are encouraged to learn more of the bloodpool, and of the nature of life and death. These tasks are largely accomplished by feeding the bloodpool and studying the undine. This mage has many unanswered questions about the connection of blood magic to the undine, and to places where the veil is thin, but at the very least they seem to embody one of the most important tenets or facets of blood magic: the boundary line between life, and death. If blood mages are somehow intended to serve as the keepers or stewards of this boundary, or at the very least experts in walking along it, I suppose it only makes sense that that knowledge comes from studying those other creatures who do the same.
The question still remains, however… what is the connection between the Order, and the undine? How are the guardians of the temple made to serve?
By extension, it is of particular interest to this mage how Speakers such as Dourin bloodrunner are able to communicate, or at the very least, sense the hungers and temperament of the bloodpool. Just as it is also of interest what magic Nacerus uses to forge bloodblades for incoming novices and initiates.
It has been posited that perhaps the bloodpool, itself, is some form of greater undine, or extraplanar entity which may manifest itself in places where the veil is thin—where much death has occurred, or some other act or action that more thickly draws the line between life and death.
Let this be an introduction and invitation to all interested mages, initiates, and novices. I recognize that my theories are perhaps more just the basis for more questions to be asked, but in this process, I also seek the wisdom of those mages who have come before, and the perspective of those younger mages who I will continue to instruct.
Let us always remember, though we have found the path, our journey is not over. There is still much to learn and discover. Use your skills well, and remember to return to the order what you take from it.
- Sawyer the Seeker