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 A Treatise of Inferian Animancy

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Munroe
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PostSubject: A Treatise of Inferian Animancy   Fri Jan 15, 2016 7:00 am

Introduction
Inferia, which lies on the southwest portion of the Kerodilan continent, is perhaps best known for the spatial disturbance dubbed, "The Rift." The Rift is a disruption of the barrier between the material plane, Aeria, and one of many subjective planes, in this case, that which is known as "Hell."

Hell is described by demonologists as a "counter-balance," a realm which enables the concept of goodness and rightness by existing as pure wrongness and evil. This plane is exceptionally dangerous, populated by innumerable denizens which are twisted and corrupt beyond recognition. The most complex of these forms are the demons.

Most demons are created as the result of corrupting a soul in the blood of the dead god, Sylornath. This transformation has profound and lasting effects, which completely alter the soul's make-up and remove any traces of positive qualities, leaving only the most negative aspects of subjective existence. Demons know only pain, sorrow, and malice, and delight in inflicting these things on others.

The Rift is a consequence of demonic ambition; namely, the desire to enter the material realm to torment and corrupt the purer, but flawed souls of mortals. Within the radius of the Rift, mortal souls, especially powerful ones, are at risk for attempted possession by a demon. In so doing, the demon will consume the soul, making it part of its own and purging it of positive energies. Those who are unfortunate enough to be chosen as victims are called the Marked. Exorcising a Marked individual is possible, but the victim will forever be at heightened risk for future possession. Completely curing the Marked condition has only been accomplished once in all of Inferian history, and is considered far too impractical and costly to carry out regularly.

The inevitable rise in Marked individuals necessitated the construction of Inferia's first and only Asylum, a massive complex that extends far above and below the surface of Aeria and houses thousands of the Marked. Within the Asylum's walls, the study of souls and life processes, called Animancy, began with the hope of finding ways to treat the Marked, with the ultimate goal of a cheaper cure.

Animancy has long been a practice throughout the world, with notable impact in the eastern continents. Inferian Magocrats have, of course, learned and taught this spell school through generations. The distinction which must be made with regards to the Asylum is that its vast resources, steady supply of human subjects, and near autonomy allowed for a far deeper and more intense study of Animancy, with the intent to master the forces behind souls and life itself.

Vitamancy's Influence on Inferian Study
Circa the 570th year post Miracle of Peace, Inferia was infiltrated by a group of magically-enhanced humans, which sabotaged its military structure and crippled its supply lines. The surgical strike was so effective that Inferia's entire legion was crippled for decades afterward. Naturally, Inferia's oligarchy, the Zoreate, was greatly interested in investigating these "Vitamantia" and how they had achieved such power.

Vitamancy is considered a sub-class of Animancy, and is focused on the processes of the physical body - such as its ability to repair itself. Most Vitamancers are simple healers who can accelerate or even boost these natural processes to cure wounds and illnesses. They may possess a rudimentary knowledge of anatomy and physiology, but are intent on preserving these systems as they are. The Vitamantia took this knowledge a step further - they attempted to improve upon pre-existing systems to achieve better life forms.

Following Talibar's collapse, information on the defunct Vitamantia was recovered by spies or otherwise made public knowledge by the Vindicators (in retaliation for their near-destruction at the hands of the Vitamantia cabal). Intrigued and even inspired by these new insights, the Zoreate ordered an investigation into the capabilities of Vitamancy. The Asylum was the perfect facility for the resulting experimentation.

Eugenics and Artificial Souls
The study of Vitamancy enhanced Inferian understanding of the body and its relation to the soul. Without a soul, it was found that bodies became inanimate and eventually withered and died. Somehow, the soul was tied to the life of the human body, responsible for maintaining the vital physical processes in its operation.

To explore the function of the soul, researchers dabbled in clockwork machines, or automatons, as well as simpler physical anima, or constructs. Mechanisms such as the gears inside of an automaton could be self-perpetuated by an input of energy (winding), and continue functioning as a purely physical system. It was postulated that the human body was merely a much more complex version of an automaton, and theoretically capable of living independently of a soul. Yet something in the soul gave the body vitality and conscious awareness. In constructs, the addition of an artificial soul allowed life and sentient thought to exist in something that by all rights should be incapable of either.

Although golemcraft was highly advanced in Inferia, it was generally understood that no golem had yet to achieve the vast complexity of the human mind. The size and intricacy of the human soul enabled it to interface with the brain, an organ still mysterious in its function yet known to be beyond the capabilities of even the most powerful and knowledgeable mages to replicate. Faced with these limitations, the conclusion of the project heads was not to reinvent the wheel, but rather, use a method known to be reliable in the genesis of souls and bodies.

Magical power was long understood as being linked to heredity. Inferian noble families had a long history of arranged marriages and prejudice toward non-magically inclined (or "mundane") people. In addition, certain individuals were identified as "Dragon-Blooded," or having ties to certain legendary figures, believed to be dragons in human form.

Despite this knowledge, magic remained a fickle entity, appearing powerfully in some individuals who had little to no mage progenitors, and altogether snubbing pairings of incredibly talented wizards. Attempts to completely control the appearance of magical talent were quickly abandoned, instead replaced with the idea that magic could be coaxed down certain paths, and steps should be taken to maximize the chances. This was the beginning of the eugenics program.

As Inferian magocracy was already inclined to limit breeding to other powerful mages, it was a simple matter to create a birth registry and begin assigning pairings. Some mages were granted multiple different partners to encourage the appearance of greater magical prowess, and the most successful pairings were encouraged (sometimes forced) to have more children. The strongest of these offspring were then monitored throughout their lifetime and assigned suitable partners themselves. This was carried out over several generations.

Neuromancy
Researchers found themselves confounded by the brain and its inner workings. They knew the relationship between the mind and the soul was a close one, something more important than the soul's relationship to any other part of the body. But they didn't know how that relationship worked, or why.

Using carefully-guided vitamancy, researchers were able to manipulate the structure of the brain. They were amazed to find that even small changes had profound effects on the individual, occasionally going so far as to alter their soul. If the soul was the seat of consciousness and experience, the brain was the conduit that linked body and soul together as one living entity.

Centuries ago, mining surveyors stumbled upon an ivory metal deep within the earth, an exceptionally rare alloy known as Metanite. This remarkable composite was capable of interacting with both material and immaterial structures within the Sphere, affecting physical and subjective reality. As such, it transformed the unwieldy practice of soul manipulation into an almost effortless process. The only obstacle, however, was how difficult Metanite was to synthesize - until much later, when Inferian metallurgists working in Arcane Arms development invented a powerful machine capable of reproducing the intense heat and pressure required to combine Magite with Titanium. Thus, the stage was set for the birth of Neuromancy.

Neuromancy combined careful brain manipulation with Metanite. Specialized Metanite tools could work in conjunction with this new form of magic to alter the mind, body, and soul to a far greater degree than would otherwise be possible. The first masters of Neuromancy, many the result of these experiments themselves, were dubbed the Ivory Hands. Their Metanite gauntlets let them sculpt flesh and spirit with greater ease and skill than anyone before them.

Prometheans
By now, the research and experimentation in the Asylum as well as other top-secret Inferian agencies had been conducted on hundreds, perhaps thousands of involuntary test subjects, across hundreds of years. Their understanding of the natural forces that governed all of Aeria, and the Sphere at large, had reached a zenith. The first Promethean was born.

Prometheans are specially bred humans who have undergone extreme physical and spiritual changes, effectively becoming new life forms. The process is so painful and depersonalizing that the Promethean's mind must be scrubbed and rewritten by an Ivory Hand Neuromancer. The resulting entity is no longer human, but an artificially selected and altered being under the complete control of the Inferian government. Thanks to the personality reconstruction, Prometheans are not bothered by their nature, nor do they question the motives or morals of their superiors. They exist only to serve and protect Inferia's interests.

This concludes the look at Inferia's advances in the field of Animancy. If you have questions, please report to the nearest Informator construct.

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