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Hierophant

The Light Order (also known as the Order of Light, or White Order), comprises those Magisters who study and wholly embrace the White Wind of Magic, Hysh. Hysh is the magic of illumination and holy radiance. It is the Aethyric manifestation of light, including the uses light can be put to and the abstracts that light sometimes represents to mortals, like enlightenment and purity.

Hysh could be seen as the light that banishes the darkness and keeps the unknown horrors of the darkness from our doors. Though diffused, Hysh can be compared to a constant and steady luminance completely opposite of Chaos’ randomness. It is also said to be the most difficult of all the fragmented Winds of Magic to channel into a spell.

Symbols & Appearances Edit

The Serpent of Light, the Tree of Learning, the Tower of Isolation, the Candle of Enlightenment, the Arrow of Purpose, the Mirror of Self Knowledge and the Pillar of Wisdom.

The Light College's symbol is the Serpent of Light and their power shines from the Wind of Hysh. Rumor has it that many of of the teachings of the Light College came from a source other than Ulthuan, an indeed many of the trappings, titles and rituals of the Light Wizards seem to echo the magical practices of lands far to the south.[2a]

The college's rune is itself a curiosity, for it little resembles the serpent that it represents. For Light Wizards, its form underpins the belief that they are the most accomplished and learned of wizards, for the rune seems to indicate one pre-eminent lore atop the Wheel of Magic. Whilst this belief might at first seem to be conceit of the highest order, there is a kernel of truth at its heart. Light Magic is particularly effuse and evasive, hard to detect and even harder to master. Alone of the colleges, Light Wizards must commonly act in concert with one another to harness the energy of Hysh to best serve their goals.[2a]

Attire Edit

Magisters of the White Order tend to dress in simple robes of pristine white. These robes often bear silver and gold motifs of the Serpent of Light and never seem to dirty or dull. Their ceremonial garments are more elaborate, consisting of pleated white robes with silver embroidery decorating the hems and little mirrors of supernaturally polished silver affixed to their belts and stoles.

Older Hierophants tend to bear the marks of Hysh, with eyes that seem to glow with a faint luminosity, or perhaps even have no visible pupils or iris, being just the purest white. Also their skin grows ever paler, along with their hair, until they are almost albino-like in appearance.

Overview Edit

Hysh has many potent applications, and its Magisters are renowned for their abilities to heal, protect, and banish darkness—in both a literal and more occult sense. The White Magisters of Hysh, or Hierophants as they are sometimes known, are amongst the wisest and most disciplined of all Magisters, vehemently opposed to the Chaos in all its countless forms. Where Hysh is steady and constant, Chaos is random destruction, and where Hysh stands for controlled grace and self-understanding, Chaos promotes confusion, insanity, and a total lack of control. It is with good reason that the Magisters of Hysh are particularly renowned for their abilities to banish from the Mortal Realms the malevolent entities of Chaos.

The Crusade of the White Order Edit

Of all the aspects of magic the humans were taught to embrace, Hysh was the hardest to corrupt and therefore its users and advocates were more difficult for Chaos to prey on, making theirs the hardest existence of all. Darkness was simply the absence of light, so Teclis told them, and so they must take their light to the very darkest corners of the Empire and the darkest corners of Humanity’s soul, and banish the shadows that dwelt there.

The Hierophants were to devote their lives to hunting down and casting out Daemons and evil spirits that plagued the lands and minds of men. They were not to follow the ways of Witch Hunters, slaying and burning all they found corrupted. Instead, the Hierophants were to destroy only the darkness within and save the man if possible.

Outside of their Order, the life of a Hierophant is a lonely one. They spend their lives travelling secretly from place to place, dealing with hauntings, possessions, and other supernatural phenomena caused by daemonic influence or Dark Magic. Because of the nature of their calling, the Hierophants often appear in places unexpectedly. If a possessing Daemon were aware of the Hierophant’s presence too soon, it could cause harm to its host and flee to a new one.

The goal of the White Order is to rid the world of the taint of Chaos, Daemons, and Dark Magic — a never ending, largely thankless, and frequently terminal task. It is rumoured creatures and objects the Hierophants cannot destroy or banish are instead bound and captured. The Hierophants then trap the dark objects in a magical prison somewhere in the Empire, to which only they are the keepers.

Philosophy of the Order Edit

The Magisters of the Order of Light are the most accomplished and insightful philosophers in the Old World; it’s why they’re called the Order of the Wise.

The White Order also studies philosophies that examine the nature of reality, including the pursuit and understanding the principles, relations, and nature of existence. In other words, the Hierophants of the College of Light are also metaphysicians of the highest order, studying the interactions between the Aethyr and mortal thought, and they seek to understand the nature of sentient existence.

Duties & Contracts Edit

The White Order is usually good standing at the courts of nobles who live along the northern border of the Empire. Such rulers often seek the council of Hierophants because the White Order’s wisdom and ability to see truth aids those who fear the contamination of Chaos, like the nobles of many of the Empire’s northern regions do.

The Order of Light receives large financial endowments from the Emperor, and it’s rumoured theirs is the largest granted to the Colleges of Magic or even the Engineers’ School. Some whisper this is because the Emperor knows the White Order’s darkest secret, and if this secret is if exposed or destroyed, it could prove the undoing of Altdorf and perhaps even the Empire itself. Few know the truth of this.

Because their ability to banish the powers of darkness is legendary, Hierophants are often employed by the Imperial armies that fight against followers of the Dark Gods. In addition, it is not uncommon for Hierophants to be asked to screen soldiers, militiamen, and sometimes even Witch Hunters who have had contact with the emissaries of darkness, to make sure none have been secretly harmed or corrupted by Daemons. In the wake of the recent war in the north, the Hierophants find themselves exceedingly busy with such tasks.

The Light CollegeEdit

Much like the Bright Order, the Order of Light is mystically hidden within Altdorf. However, the way in which it’s hidden differs significantly. There is no magical barrier surrounding the Order of Light and no spell hiding it from prying eyes.[1e]

Instead, it is built where no less than six intersecting Leylines have created a location hidden within the folds of space. Even the Waystones that mark and guide the lines of magical space drift in and out of visible existence, appearing only a couple of times a decade, materialising briefly on street corners and in overgrown gardens when certain stars are aligned and Mórrsleib, the Chaos Moon, is full in the night sky.[1e]

To those who do discover its whereabouts, usually only possible by being shown the way by a Hierophant, the building is unlike any in the Old World. The College forms a gigantic pyramid, whose shape draws, concentrates, and retains the White Wind of Hysh. Within its walls, hundreds of Apprentices maintain the ritual incantations that echo throughout the Pyramid of Light, so the entire building actually seems to hum with radiant arcane power. Because of the high levels of Hysh saturating it, the white marble walls of the Pyramid are translucent, making the pyramid glow with the thousands upon thousands of lights burning within. It is an awesome sight, one few Altdorfers imagine being within their city.[1e]

The Order of Light can be found on the left bank of the Reik, an area that just a century ago was the home of many rising merchant families. Fortunes change, and the area is now lower class and sinking. The alleys and roads crossing the folds of space link up, but mapping them accurately is impossible; the creases in space created by the Order of Light mean the area cannot properly be represented in three dimensions, much less two. People who live there get used to finding their way around, largely on faith and instinct, and they try not to think too hard about its strangeness. Those who do are rumoured to either go mad or start manifesting a vague aptitude for magic. Unsurprisingly, there is a small safe house in the area where Sigmar’s Templars keep a close eye on the locals.[1e]

The trick to reaching the College is to turn at ninety degrees to all six cardinal directions: up, down, left, right, front, and back, at the appropriate point in the road. Those corrupted by Chaos walk the path more easily as long as they know what to do, but they would be foolish to seek out the Pyramid of Light. All that awaits them there is immediate and unceremonious obliteration. It does not take long for apprentices to find the way automatically because the more often the way must be found, the easier it becomes to find it.[1e]

Once around the impossible corner, the stench of the streets vanishes, and the scene suddenly opens before a visitor’s eyes. The alleys and streets now lead into a large square laid with white marble and sparkling slabs of quartz pavement. The centre of the square is dominated by the Order of Light, an enormous pyramid that at first glance seems to be constructed of pure light. Anyone with even a passing sensitivity to magic can feel the power humming in the square, sustained by the ritual incantations invoked perpetually within the College.[1e]

The wind of Hysh is particularly strong here, and the effects on spellcasting are profound. Magisters and spellcasters not of the White Order find it harder to grasp and channel their Wind of Magic here because of the saturating Hysh. However, Hierophants of any level of mastery will find their abilities greatly enhanced while they remain within the bounds of the Order of Light. Journeyman Apprentices to the Order are no more powerful within the Pyramid Square as outside it, but they face less risk using their magic.[1e]

Despite initial appearances, the pyramid is not made of light. Looking for longer than a moment reveals that it too is made of white marble and quartz, but all the lights shining within the College can be seen through the walls. Only the lights can be seen—even lights buried deep within the pyramid are clearly visible, but observers will notice the lights do not illuminate anything outside the College. The walls are not transparent, so those outside cannot see things or people inside. The lights inside somehow do not illuminate the dead stone of the square but do illuminate any living creature standing within the square.[1e]

The great doors of the Order of Light are fashioned from a magical silver alloy, polished to mirror brightness. They are surrounded by dozens of smokeless lanterns that burn with a brilliant white light and never go out. More lanterns are set into the doors, and as a result, the doors are bright even compared to the rest of the pyramid. Entry to the College is by invitation only, but anyone who manages to reach the door will always be given a polite hearing unless they bear the taint of Chaos, which, because the College is populated by Magister exorcists, does not have to be visible to the naked eye. If an unexpected visitor asks to speak to a particular Magister, and that Magister is in residence, a servant is sent to fetch him. There are very few Hierophants who will not come at least as far as the door. If the Magister knows the visitors, he is at liberty to invite them inside.[1e]

The interior of the Order of Light is decorated in white, pale gold, and silver, with countless huge, polished mirrors. Lanterns, candles, braziers, and other sources of light (all strangely smokeless and devoid of soot), are everywhere, and the pale surfaces of the Colleges internal décor reflect the brightness. There are no windows, but the corridors are as brightly lit as an area in direct sunshine on a summer’s day—and the temperature remains constant, neither too warm nor too cool. The perpetual incantations of the Colleges choirs of Apprentices can be heard everywhere, and even people devoid of any magical sensitivities can feel the power vibrating in the air.[1e][1f]

The rooms of individual Magisters within the College are brightly lit and contain many books. Beyond that, there is a wide range of decoration. Hierophants have a diverse sense of beauty. Thus, their tastes can vary widely, though they tend towards simplicity and minimalism. Rooms are decorated in styles from across the Imperial Provinces, as well as Tilea, Estalia, Bretonnia, Norsca, Araby, and even more distant lands. The common factor of every room is that they are very well lit, spotlessly clean, orderly, and all furniture and décor is made from very light, if not white, materials.[1f]

As a general rule, all master Hierophants who want them may have rooms in the Order of Light, but Journeyman Wizards only get them if they are particularly well connected. There are guest rooms available for any member of the White Order for brief visits, and the common areas of the College include dining halls, as well as studies, libraries, sun rooms, rooms for contemplation and meditation, and even a few arcane laboratories.[1f]

The College is a good place to meet Hierophants but not much else. Sneaking around the Order of Light is impossible. There are no shadows; the light sources are deliberately arranged to ensure this. The interior of the pyramid is riddled with tunnels, rooms, and secret passages, and it is full of arcane symbolism important to the order, such as the Serpent of Light, the Tree of Learning, the Tower of Isolation, the Candle, and the Pillar of Wisdom. There are also bells, candles, and burners of white incense, which are tended at regular intervals by Apprentices. In addition, the Hierophants are more careful about unescorted guests than most Colleges. The only groups that could sneak about are those that include, or can imitate, a Hierophant.[1f]

Once inside the pyramid, it is very easy for the newcomer, novice, or interloper to become lost in its seemingly endless corridors. The pyramid extends hundreds of feet underground; the visible portion is only the tip of the immense structure.[1f]

Deep within the College, far beneath the pyramid, it’s rumoured there are magically sealed vaults where dark artefacts and creatures are kept safe, protected by many twisting tunnels, traps, and magical fields. The story goes this was created by Teclis and Finreir as a repository and prison for many of the objects and creatures captured during the Great War that could not be safely destroyed, transported to Ulthuan, or banished. Supposedly, the most powerful and wise of the Hierophants work to keep these evils from the world, though whether any of these rumours are true is something that members of the Order of Light refuse to confirm or deny.[1f]

Apprenticeship Edit

The Order of Light has more Apprentices than any other College. Formed into choirs, they are trained to keep up an unending chorus of incantations designed to attract and bind the White Wind to the very structure of the College building and into numerous energy-folds and arcane receptacles designed to hold its power. When not aiding their superiors in such rituals, these Apprentices maintain a constant chorus of purification spells sung in the College halls every day of every year, assuring that Dark Magic can never settle, form, or be used in or near the College. They must also ensure that the thousands of candles and lamps are kept lit, that the incense burners are full, and that the proper chimes and bells are all struck at the appointed hours.

In addition to those who come to their College willingly and those who are dragged by other authorities, senior Hierophants of the Order of Light scour the orphanages of the city once a year looking for children with any magical ability, offering them a chance to become powerful and respected. Most of the Apprentices enlisted as children never rise through the hierarchy of the College, possessing neither the power nor the drive to do so. They live in barracks and their lives are strictly regimented, from their uniform white robes to their nourishing but repetitive diet. They are all taught many arcane chants and are instructed in all the skills that their master Hierophants require of them, but only a few of exceptional ability will ever be taught how to manipulate magic into spells themselves. For many Apprentices, accompanying their mentor during a military campaign grants a welcome break because even the strict discipline of military life is nothing compared to how they live within the College.

Famous HierophantsEdit

SourceEdit

  • Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Realms of Sorcery (pg. 81-89).
    • 1e: pg. 85
    • 1f: pg. 86
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy: Storm of Magic
    • 2a: pg. 36

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