Heartless magic is the process of possessing others for their own gain. There are many names for the practitioners who use this form of magic; Liches, Hags, Parasites, etc.
Heartless is a immaterial and price oriented school. Every use gradually pushes the practitioner away from humanity and closer to becoming Other. However it is an excellent way to quickly regain power, youth, and other abilities. They tend to focus on the long term. Often preferring to stick to small, subtle effects, and then constantly layering it for reinforcement.
Basic Heartless techniques revolve around removing essential parts of oneself or others, removing a specific emotion for example, or creating vestiges from targets.
There is a wide variety of methods to becoming a Heartless, a few are outlined here.
Heart in a Box Edit
The Heartless creates a phylactery or vessel, where the root of their being is placed. Their body becomes a construction or representation. If the vessel is damaged or destroyed, the Heartless practitioner is destroyed as well. Should the body that faces the world be destroyed, they reform or are resurrected. Once achieved, further research or rites may steadily cut down on any of the drawbacks, with more laborious efforts enabling them to decorate or augment the construction they form. Other forms include taking one’s heart and wrapping it in a riddle, instead (a Rumplestiltskin effect), or arcane science (practice plus a transfer or upload of consciousness, with the prepared clones being the ‘box’).
Deflected Heart Edit
The Heartless creates an effigy, such as a piece of art. They invest wholesale into this and reach the point where the effigy absorbs the entirety of the practitioner’s years (the Heartless practitioner ceases to age) and/or the practitioner would need to suffer a thousand wounds in a day before the effigy’s limit was reached. Other forms may not use art, but something like science (the aging or pain becomes a waste that accrues and must be stored) or a whipping boy- a once-mortal person that is kept in a place that Death cannot reach, tattooed or otherwise set up to have the Practitioner’s ills transferred to them.
Body Thief Edit
The heartless uses a ritual to remove the target from their body and then extracts their own heart to transfer it in. Some practitioner families maintain farms or close associations with families that they have cultivated and encouraged to be optimal vessels. Variants tend to play on what exactly is done with the hearts extracted from victims and the nature of the ritual conducted. A more extreme variant involves using practice to swap bodies with others, willing or otherwise, with the other person (now in the practitioner’s old body) either left to live their life or killed after the fact.
Mind Thief Edit
The Heartless enact an assault on a target. They break a target and then create openings, which they ultimately capitalize on to possess the target as a spirit would. Mental combats or ‘dream doors’ may see the practitioner fighting the target or exploring the target’s psyche as a pseudo-physical space to be invaded. Some attack, retreat, and marshal their strength before repeating, while others will occupy, gradually affecting the target’s actions. As more leverage is gained, those that stay gain more time or influence. Either way, on eventual success, they take over the subject’s mind and body both. Some variants on this might approach things differently, or in a more personal way. The right words can worm their way into people’s heads, with curses and key phrases serving to break a person down, for a very effective mind-thieving ritual that requires the consent of the victim. A therapist might have a patient willingly let them in through hypnosis sessions, exploring the psyche in a purely benign way over prior sessions, then utilize this at one final point, going on the offensive for their one real shot at attacking and conquering.
To remain young and strong, one preys on others to take what they have. Extracting key fluids or essences serves to renew or refresh the practitioner. This road makes a practitioner much more Other, in a faster way than many alternate paths. Variants will take different things in different ways. Bathing in blood is common, but it’s possible to steal the skin of others to wear, or modify one’s own genitals with needles that extrude mid-coitus to leech out vital essences. Taps can be used on others to extract vital things, in a series of collections that are mixed and balanced to restore or enhance particular qualities of the Bloodied Heartless, in a more alchemical approach.
- The title of this school recalls the russia mythological figure Koschei more commonly called Koschei the Deathless. His soul being hid within a convoluted series of objects is commonly cited as the inspiration for liches.
- Other examples of heartless exanples inculde the Picture of dorian gray.
- Probably unrelated to the dark folks in kingdom hearts.