The Warlock Order is a congregation of people who formed long ago, after the Valerians and Silver Elves united into their empire, and they wished to form an academy where magic, philosophy, martial arts and various other subjects are discussed and practiced in depth. The higher ranks of the Warlock Order are often elevated less because of their martial and magical knowledge, but for their understanding of politics, and their ability to grasp its nuances. The Masters of the Order are often invited to partake in the government of the Obsidian Elf city state of Yuli, and chapters of the Warlock Order are present in every major city across the Empire.
Warlocks today are referred to by the common folk as any person who is capable of utilizing Void Magic, which is, or was, partially true. These days the Order only recognizes proper Warlocks as those who take part in their studies and practices.
The Order originated shortly after the Obsidian Elves arrived in our continent, and has been closely involved with every event of Obsidian Elf history for as long as they can remember, even from before the Crack.
The hierarchy of the Warlock order.
Trainees and Novices, anyone who seeks to join the Order will start here, and his advance will be based on the skills he acquired from the Master he studies under. Apprentices of the Order will study swordsmanship and void magic from his Master, and when his Master deems him worthy, he will be knighted by the Council of the Order. Apprenticeships do not focus entirely on their skills as mages and soldiers however, but borrowing from the Valerian philosophy concerning the way of the sword, also study politics, philosophy, and various other sciences.
Before they are knighted the apprentices are taken to drift through the Void itself, to better know the source of their powers. From there they start their meditation upon which path their drifting will take them, as they learn to project their spirit into the Void, being able to gaze upon its infinite emptiness without physically harming their bodies.
When a Master deems an Apprentice ready to take on a more important role in the order, both concerning his skill with both spell and blade, and his level headedness to judge when he is required to use those skills, he is promoted to knighthood. The Knights are the primary force of the Warlock Order, and are held in great prestige amongst warrior and mage guilds all over Entheria.
Before reaching the rank of Masters, Knights are required to complete both their blade training and fully master the void. There are three forms of control over the void for a knight to choose from, and even if he chooses to learn and practice them all, he will be required to focus on one form to attune himself to it. Aside from that they must also train their bladework, with many forms and styles to choose from, as the Warlock masters themselves posses a large variety of specialists amongst their ranks. While their bladework takes more heavily from Valerian, Silver Elven and Obsidian Elven martial arts, they are not limited to those, as masters from other cultures have left their mark on the Order.
When a knight distinguishes himself in service of the Order, be it by acting upon the politics of the Order, contributing in their annals or by recognition of the council, he is recognized as a Warlock Master. The council of masters is comprised of the finest the Order has to offer, skilled in their control of the Void and their bladework, any of these individuals could easily take the role of a small army. This however, is not the reason why they are made masters.
Inside the Order, there are knights who are known to be more powerful spirituality and physically then some of the masters, but they don't receive the prestigious rank for lacking the interest in the duties of one. The primary duty of Warlock Masters, even though they are often called upon to serve the military interests of the City, is to teach and maintain. They take on primarily teaching roles, guiding apprentices and studying the Void in greater depth, while others take on the roles of political figures, voting and debating upon the interests of the polis.
There is a distinctive difference of influence and power between the Warlock Masters. There are eleven main figures in the politics of the Order, the ten members of the Council of Masters, and the Grandmaster of the Order. The Council of Masters is divided in two parts, the legislative and the judiciary, with the Grandmaster being the administrator over the two, and having the power to veto any decision, unless undermined completely by all ten Council members.
Every fifteen years a new Grandmaster is elected, any Warlock Master, even those not part of the council may be elected. To be elected, the ten members of the council vote, and a public vote is also issued. Each council member carries the same weight in their vote, and the public vote carries the same weight as the vote of one of the council members. The public vote will be counted towards the candidate who received the absolute majority of votes, occasionally resulting in a second turn of voting.
Master Warlocks are always creating and improving upon the old, constantly finding new and interesting uses for already existing forms. They also tend to live much longer lifespans, regardless of race, as the perfected control over certain aspects of the Void, especially concerning the flow of time, have lasting effects on their bodies, causing them to age more slowly, or even to regress and regenerate old tissue when basking in the presence of the Void.
Forms of Void control
There are three main forms of control over the void, and while the Warlock masters learn about all spells to better manipulate the void, at the end of their training they choose to attune themselves to one of the three paths of the Arcane Void.
Warlocks of Arcane Spirit attune themselves to become one with the Void. They allow their spirit to be bathed by the raw energy that flows through the Void like rivers would through our landscape. By channeling their spirit, they can focus these imaginary rivers to flow into themselves, giving these Warlocks a larger pool of energy than the others. This greater control over mana also gives them the insight on how to channel and manipulate raw energy, without changing it from its purest form. The Mana Channeling ability was developed by Hee’jung after she spent years drifting through the void, observing everything about it. Warlocks who walk the path of Arcane Spirit are able to feed their allies with their own energy, or take mana from their enemies to sustain themselves. The forms of Arcane Spirit focus on pulling raw, unstable mana from the void to rain down on their enemies, then refuel their reserves with mana from their allies or their enemies. The form of Spirit is the surrender of an eternal drifter.
Warlocks of Arcane Order command the Void by forcing their will upon it. They pour their own mana around the Void to constrict and shape it as they see fit, hammering it down as if it was a blade in need of sharpening. These Warlocks focus the entirety of their soul in separating their spirit from the Void itself. Unlike the Arcane Spirit, they sacrifice the additional energy for the insight of looking at the Void from an outside perspective. Warlock Rozamond discovered this method failing when he tried to give his spirit fully to the Void. As he attempted a different approach to connect himself he noticed that if he simply approached the Void and did not fully connect, the energy became easier to mold, even if the molding process lost part of its naturality. The Warlocks who followed Rozamond's path of Order could sustain their spells for much longer, but lost the ability to transfer mana at will, and the added mana of the Arcane Spirit. The form of Order is the commanding presence of an immovable titan.
Warlocks of Arcane Chaos give their souls fully to the Void, becoming a direct conduit between the physical world, and the great emptiness of the Void. They maintain a constant link between the Void and the physical world, never fully committing to one or the other, but forever drifting on the edge of both. These Warlocks serve as a direct conduit between both worlds, and because of that the mana that they manipulate flows directly from the Void, with nothing to slow it down along the way. Because of that Exile Katherine discovered that some spells lose some of their power when being cast, as they are drawn from the Void, and use the Warlock's body as a conduit to affect our world.
She theorized about how this occurs because our bodies exist in the physical world, and to cast something from the Void our spirit creates a bridge to allow the energy to flow through. By separating part of her soul and allowing it to drift forever through the Void she was able to create a link between the part that stayed and the drifter, negating the need to create the bridge, and causing her forceful spells to become stronger as a result. Because her body became the bridge between these existences, the conditions that affected her body directly reflected on her spells, she quickly discovered that hate and rage above all magnified her powers to near god like levels. Like the Arcane Order, Warlocks of Chaos sacrifice the fusion of spirit, and while the separation of their spirit gives them magnified abilities, they suffer the same loss that affects the Warlocks of Arcane Order. The form of Chaos is the reckless abandon of a fearless gambler.
While once the Warlock spells were all listed as simply that, forms of differentiated control over the void, as the path of Arcane Order and Arcane Chaos were created, the spells of the arsenal of the Warlocks received a better organization.
Forms of Spirit
Originally thought to be the only form of mastery over the Void, the forms of Spirit were referred to as the only forms. After the discoveries of Warlock Rozamond and the Exile Katherine, the forms of spirit became separated from the forms of Order and Chaos.
The forms of spirit consist on the control of raw energy, the relocation of the self, and the opening of portals to the Void. Surge is one of the most simple spells on the arsenal of a Warlock, and is the purest form of control over the Void. Surge and its more advanced patterns consist on the pull of raw mana, concentrated in a stream that the caster shapes and guides to their targets. These patterns are very similar to the Anima spells, and their very nature seems to take heavily from them, but focusing on the absence of element, which separates it from the Anima school. The ultimate form of spirit control is the relocation of the very energy without letting it become volatile, distributing and absorbing said energy at will.
The relocation of both self and objects also play an important part of the form of Arcane Spirit. Open portal is the most basic form of self relocation, and as the pattern grows in complexity, the speed of the relocation and the distance covered by it does as well. The use of portals isn't limited to self however, as the Void Sheathe has been used for millennia to keep a Warlock's blade safe from outside harm, until he chooses to draw it. This simple spell was used and modified to great effect by God Emperor Gaius, who was known as the master of all weapons. Gaius used the Void Sheathe to keep his hundred treasures within his grasp at all times, and eventually developed a pattern that allowed him to use them all at the same time with a flick of a finger.
The Gates of Emptiness reached for the weapons he kept inside his Void Sheathe and launched them as projectiles to impale his enemies, using the flow of void energy to propel them, guide them and call them back. Gaius was known to be able to use any weapon, and even if he was never a Warlock, the Order has long since recognized his indirect contributions to them, even if they were fueled by Gaius's selfish desire to become equivalent to a god. The technique that the present day Warlocks use is but a mere copy of his Gates, which were filled to the brim with legendary treasures, and he could create many more gates than what the present day Warlocks can normally do.
Because of their deeper and more peaceful connection to the void, the Warlocks of spirit tend to live naturally longer lives, and find that they not only age slower, but also regenerate older tissue when in close proximity to void energies.
Forms of Order
Created and polished by Warlock Rozamond, the forms of Order consist on hammering down time and space themselves, to perfectly control every aspect of how the world affects them.
The forms of order consist primarily on the manipulation of time and space. In its simplest stage, it is used to augment the user’s speed by manipulating the time around his body and to slow down an opposing target by surrounding him in stasis.
Rozamond perfected the control of time, and hammered it down to a ridiculous level. It is said that after he achieved his prime, he was able to accelerate his own speed and slow his opponent down to the point where he could simply walk forward and thrust his blade, leaving his opponents no form of defense. The control of time is an aspect that requires a fixated, focused mind. It is harder for Warlocks of spirit to control time, as their completely serene mind often allows time to slip away, back to its natural flow. For Warlocks of chaos, because their power is drawn from emotion and rage, the required focus to hammer down time also escapes their grasp, and it ultimately returns to its natural course even quicker.
The control of space is much more difficult than the the control of time. Time is bent by quickly weaving mana into a pattern, and after the spell is cast, its lasting time will depend on how well the initial pattern was weaved, with nothing the warlock can do after it was cast. The bending of space however, requires the constant attention and concentration of the caster. While at a glance the high release of energy seems to be a form of spirit, the inherent energies are completely different, as it is not the relocation of something to or from the void, as a form of spirit would dictate, but instead it is the creating of a dimensional pocket. The inherent focus is what defines both forms, as spirit is determined by relocation of energy and mass, while order is the embodiment of creation and control.
Because of their complete separation to the energies of the void, their bodies aren't heavily affected by it. The Warlocks of Order generally tend to be longer lived races, the lack of exposure to the wild energies of the void makes them feel safer in a way, preserved.
Forms of Chaos
Created and developed fully by Exile Katherine and her apprentice before she was banished, the forms of Chaos consist on becoming a conduit to channel the energy of the Void, manipulating them as they are transferred into our plane and magnified by the wielder's emotions.
Considered the form of destruction, the patterns weaved from chaos base themselves in the unstable aspect of the void, channeling that raw power and feeding it with base emotions to magnify the effects of the spells to great effect.
The form of chaos existed already in practical terms before Katherine, she however, discovered how to wield it with primal efficiency, with a state of mind that no Warlock had reached before her. The idea behind spirit is to coexist with the void, order in turn separates from the void to better control it, unaffected by its turmoil. Chaos however chooses to embrace the turmoil, dividing the user's spirit to exist in both worlds at once.
The spells derived from this form are forceful and focus on changing the world around them according to their will, telekinetically pulling, pushing, and even crushing anything they lay eyes upon. Warlocks of chaos make heavy use of the manipulation of gravity, perfecting its control to levitate objects, change their own gravity well, or even crush their enemies with a focused stream of unhindered force.
Like the Warlocks of Spirit, the practitioners of Chaos constantly bask in the energies of the void directly, however, because of their partial surrender, they suffer from having their spirit constantly pulled in between both realms. Because of this, Warlocks of chaos may suffer from a steady degradation that eats away at their mortality. Superficially, it may cause a change in eye color, causing them to become paler and bloodshot, it may cause premature aging, and in extreme cases even lead to failure of vital organs. This however is preventable, a sufficiently masterful control of the energies of the void leads to a benefic effect, similarly to the one that affects the warlocks of spirit. The eyes however, are still the earliest and most common change, nearly no chaotic warlocks managed to avoid it.