Shyish, the Lore of Death is the Purple Wind of Magic, and it is the Aethyric certainty of the passage of time and the inevitability of death. It is the most mysterious and terrible of all the wholesome forms of magic.
Shyish is said to be formed by the realisation of the transience of life, of reminisences of days gone by, of mortal acceptance of the day currently lived. It blows from the past and into the future. It blows most strongly when death must be faced or endings take place. It is therefore drawn to battlefields, sites of executions, and graveyards. The Wind of Shyish is manipulated by the Amethyst Order.
Shyish is most often described as a puppet to the passage of time. It blows from the past, because the past has ended and is gone, through the recent, because endings and the expectation of death are intrinsic parts of the living of life, and into future, for the future leads inevitably towards endings and death. Some have equated Shyish with destiny, for it does not control what was, is, or shall be, but instead permeates and reflects these things with absolute intimacy.
Shyish blows strongest wherever death must be faced or endings take place. It is drawn to battlefields where men must embrace or submit to their deaths, and because all soldiers must accept the possibility of their own demise as part of their daily life. Shyish lingers around the gibbets of execution and hangs in the silence of graveyards where mourners gather in longing and reminiscence.
It is said to be strongest in times of most obvious transition — at dawn and dusk, for one is the end of night, and the other is the end of day. Its times are spring and autumn, and yet also the solstices of both summer and winter, for they mark the longest and shortest days of the year and therefore the beginning of the end for each of the seasons.
It is true that Magisters of the Amethyst Order have power over the dead and the power to cause death. They can steal the soul of their enemy or suck away his life, leaving nought but a flesh and blood husk. These Magisters are reputed to even be able to see spirits and souls as they travel between this world and the next and are said to be able to communicate with them, after a fashion.
The most powerful amongst Magisters of Shyish are rumoured to be able contact the spirit world and whatever remains of the souls of the dead within the Aethyr. These spirits may sometimes be encouraged to speak through Shyish’s Magisters, for they have a degree of mastery over spirits both benign and otherwise — although this ability ends, or so they say, when that soul is devoured or embraced by one of the many Gods or Daemons of Mankind.
Once a man has grown to full maturity and the point has been crossed where growing up is replaced with growing old, the Magisters of Shyish are said to be able to actually see in a noticeable and measurable way his slow demise as death claims him in tiny increments, second by second, hour by hour, and day by day. They see the approaching end of all things that live.
There are those who wrongly accuse the Amethyst Magisters of dabbling in Necromancy, but this is not the case. At least not entirely. Necromancers defy death and despise endings, while the Order of Shyish accepts death and embrace endings. Despite this, the Order of Shyish remains tainted by their apparent association with the powers of darkness. Yet there are some similarities between the magic of the Amethyst Order (also known as soul-stealing[3a]) and the dark arts of Necromancy. Only the spiritualism and spellcraft of the College can be practised without causing the detrimental psychological, spiritual, and even physical effects of Necromancy. Having said this, Amethyst magic can never reach the levels of raw power achieved by the corrupt and coldhearted Necromancers.
List of Known Spells
Note: the following spells have been limited to fluff material only, and the translation thereof.
- Acceptance of Fate - Causes allies to temporarily put aside their fear of death, making them immune to mundane and supernatural forms of terror.[1c]
- Amaranth - Enhances the target's physical endurance.[5b]
- The Animus Imprisoned - The spiriter imprisons the soul of their victim, sealing it in a durable vessel of their choosing such as a bottle, vial, or pouch. While the soul is so imprisoned, the victim’s body lives as a vegetable, carrying on the barest functions of life—breathing, swallowing, excreting—without initiative or awareness. Though technically living, this husk cannot shuffle around or even sit up on its own and must be fed by others or die of thirst or starvation. Damage, diseases, poisons, and other sources of harm affect it normally. It similarly heals over time and can be healed as usual by magic or normal medical practice. The caster can restore the imprisoned soul to its body at any time by opening the sealed vessel in the presence of its body. Any Priest of Morr or any other Amethyst Wizard who knows this spell, can do likewise. In either case, the restored individual likely goes insane from the experience. If the bottle is opened away from its body or is opened by one who does not know the proper rituals, the soul becomes lost in the world, wandering and damned to become a Ghost. If the soul is lost, the body can be maintained in its state, but there is little point. This is a touch spell. Due to the disruption caused in the fabric of life and death by the nature of this conjuration, all Wizards in a five mile radius are aware of the disturbance in the Aethyr that this spell causes. The Lords of the Amethyst Order do not look kindly on those who use such powerful magic without appropriate cause.[1c]
- Ashes and Dust - A choking dust cloud erupts form the wizard's fingertips, suffocating all in its path.[2a]
- Aspect of the Dreadknight - An invisible aura of horror surrounds the wizard's allies. Only the bravest foes will now stand before them.[3a]
- The Caress of Laniph - Laniph was an Arabyan sorceress whose ardent passions were eclipsed only by her capriciousness. It takes little effort to call her back from the spirit world to caress a new lover of the caster's choosing.[3a]
- The Choking Foe - Purple energy oozes from the caster's eyes, ears, nose and mouth to form a suffocating mass that flows over the enemy.[2a]
- Crystal Maze - The wizard reaches into the magical realms, drawing forth a portion of the great crystal labyrinth of legend to bind their foe. While affected, such a target cannot be harmed, nor can they move, cast spells, etc.[2a]
- Death's Door - The caster's power over death is such that they can briefly delay the inevitable. Death’s door lasts a short time, but affects the wizard and all their allies within the area. Those affected, if slain during the spell’s duration, remain alive to do one final act. As soon as the action is resolved, death beckons.[1c]
- Death's Messenger - Infuses the spiriter with Shyish, emanating an aura of menace that strengthens their attempts at intimidation.[1c]
- Death's Release - Conjures forth the Purple Winds of Magic to swirl about a target ethereal creature. Said-target is forced to confront its state unless it can resist the spell. Continual failure results in their release from the mortal world.[1c]
- Deathsight - For one hour, the wizard can see spirits and souls that are normally invisible to the naked eye. When living beings die, the caster can see their souls leaving their bodies.[1c][1d]
- Doom and Darkness - Spirits of the departed assail the caster's foes, sapping their resolve.[3a]
- The Fate of Bjuna - Bjuna was a mighty warrior, so the story goes, but famously never smiled - leastways not until the trickster god cursed him to laugh until his sides ruptured and split. Tellers of this tale cannot agree whose fate was worse: Bjuna's, or the servants who had to clean up the mess.[3a]
- Final Words - Allows the spiriter to ask one question of the departing soul of a slain character within several yards range. This must be done within the first minute of the character’s death or the soul will have already passed on to the realm of Morr. The soul is not compelled to answer truthfully (or at all, for that matter). Final words cannot be cast on creatures without souls, like Daemons and the Undead.[1d]
- Grief's End - The wizard speaks comforting words to an individual bereaved by the recent passing of a blood relative. The target’s pain is lessened as their understanding of fate deepens. Any psychological effects that were brought on by the death are eliminated or nullified.[1d]
- The Icy Grip of Death - Uses the icy tendrils of Shyish to bind enemies within a large area. Those affected are stunned, and remain so until they snap out of it.[1d]
- Iyrtu's Embrace - This spell allows the wizard to attempt to crush a single hand-to-hand combat opponent. Power surges through the caster’s arms, sheathing them with pulsating purple energy and giving the person the strength of many.[5b]
- Knock of the Departed - The spiriter asks and can receive an answer to one question thus asked of a specific deceased individual, as long as that question can be answered with a number of audible knocks other than zero (“How many robbers came into your house on the night you were beaten to death?”), or answered with a yes or no (“Would it please you for us to bring your body on our pilgrimage to Altdorf?”). In the case of yes/no questions, the spirit of the deceased knocks once for “yes,” and twice for “no.” No matter the question, the spirit is not compelled to answer at all, has no knowledge beyond that which he had in life, and can lie if he wishes. The act of answering is neither inherently pleasant nor odious to the deceased, though it may well be emotionally painful because of the living who are present or due to the nature of the question. This spell must be cast in the presence of either the deceased’s body or the presence of one of his living descendants. It is said the dead answer by knocking on the gates of Morr’s realm.[1d]
- Lesser Caress of Laniph - Amethyst energy grabs the target’s heart and squeezes it. This looks to an observer (or to someone doing an autopsy) as if the victim has suffered a massive heart-attack, and there is no way of detecting that magic was involved if no one sees the spell being cast. Armour, even magical, gives no protection. The teaching and use of this spell is strictly monitored and controlled by the Amethyst College. It is said that the senior masters of the college can tell from a corpse if this spell was used to kill the victim.[5b]
- Life's End - Forcibly expels the soul from a target within the immediate area, killing him immediately and horribly shrivelling his earthly remains to a husk unless their will is strong enough to resist, in which case the spell fails. Due to the disruption caused in the fabric of life and death by the nature of this conjuration, all wizards in a five mile radius are aware of the disturbance in the Aethyr that casting life’s end causes. The Lords of the Amethyst Order do not look kindly on those who use such powerful magic lightly.[1d]
- Limbwither - Deadens one limb—arm or leg—of a single target nearby. The caster may choose which exact limb of the target to affect, and it becomes utterly useless for several minutes. Normal use of the limb returns when the spell ends.[1d]
- The Manacles of Caloe - A heavy manacle of energy forms round the waist of a single enemy or group within 48 yards. The spell’s targets cannot move until the manacle is dispelled. They are not affected in any other way: they can still fight if engaged in combat, they may fire missile weapons, and wizards may use magic. While the spell lasts, the caster cannot create a second Manacle of Caloe.[5b]
- The Purple Sun of Xereus - A colossal orb of purple-edged darkness materialises upon the battlefield. Those who do not escape its touch are turned to inert and unfeeling crystal.[3a]
- Reaping Scythe - A scythe of Amethyst energy materializes in the spiriter's grasp, a magical weapon both fast and powerful, sweeping it down to lop off heads and limbs as if they wee ripe corn. The spell remains in effect for a number of moments unless the caster maintains focus on it.[1e][5c]
- Soul Harvest - Uttering fell words of power, the Wizard suffuses the stone of the fortress with a sickly aura. Those that fall beneath this dread emanation lose more than just their lives.[4a]
- Soulblight - Harnessing the sickly power of Shyish, the wizard weakens his foes' will to survive the battle.[3a]
- Spirit Leech - The wizard extends an ebon hand towards the chosen foe, leeching its spirit through tainted sorcery.[3a]
- Steal Life - Sucks the life essence of a foe and uses it to heal the caster. The target suffers serious wounding unless able to resist the spell. Meanwhile, the caster is healed of as many wounds as they have inflicted unless there are none left to heal. Steal life has no effect on Daemons or the Undead.[1e]
- Swift Passing - With a touch of their fingers, the caster can dispatch a critically wounded character. Swift passing kills any already near to dying, including monsters and animals. Souls dispatched in this way are immune to spells such as Final Words but still remain at risk of Necromantic resurrection.[1e]
- Telepathy - This form of silent mental communication and limited mind-reading was designed for Amethyst wizards to exchange thoughts, questions and ideas amongst each other without speaking. They can only use it to transmit the most rudimentary of messages to anybody else, and it is a laborious and strenuous process – for each attempt to communicate with anyone other than another Amethyst wizard, the caster must make sure they are accurately comprehended, lest there be a significant misunderstanding. To communicate, Amethyst wizards need only think what they want to say, and any Amethyst wizard within 100 yards will hear it. Alternatively a thought can be targeted at a specific wizard, in which case no other Amethyst wizards will have any chance of “hearing” it. To read another person’s mind is more difficult. It only works on other Amethyst wizards; no version of this spell has been created that lets wizards pry into the minds of other magicians, let alone ordinary people and anyone found researching such a spell would be turned over to the witch-hunters without further ado.[5a]
- Tide of Years - Causes one non-magical item to age and decay, with poorly made objects turning to dust. This is a touch spell.[1e]
- Tomb Robber's Curse - The spiriter casts this spell in the presence of a corpse or at a tomb or grave site. Anyone who desecrates the dead body or site any time over the following year feels the effects of the curse, becoming weaker in will, intellect, and social activity for at least a week. The culprit also risks insanity.[1e]
- Ward Against Abomination - Upon casting this spell, and for as long as the wizard remains motionless thereafter, undead creatures are incapable of coming within several yards of their person. Mummies, Vampires, Wights, Wraiths, and other powerful or strong-willed Undead may attempt to resist the spell, however.[1e]
- The Wild Kin of Zandox - Purple shadows form and lurk at the caster’s heels like two great guardian hounds. If looked at directly the shadows disappear, but from the corner of the eye they resemble a pair of slavering dogs with needle-sharp fangs and long slobbering tongues.[5b]
- Wind of Death - Calls down a lethal wind of Shyish to affect a large area nearby. Those touched suffer serious injury, regardless of mundane protection or obstruction. Due to the cataclysmic nature of this conjuration, all wizards within a five mile radius are aware of the disturbance in the Aethyr that casting wind of death causes. The Lords of the Amethyst Order have many cruel and unusual punishments for those that tarry with this spell needlessly, or too often.[1e]
- Youth's Bane - Causes one character to age years in a matter of seconds, often withering and growing feeble. While it affects animals, Youth’s Bane has no effect on Daemons or the Undead. Similarly, it has no effect on items and natural materials such as food, plants, leather etc.[1e]
- 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED: Realms of Sorcery