|Faction:||Council of Nine Mystic Traditions|
The Euthanatoi are a Tradition of mages intimately devoted to the forces of death, destiny, and karma in the world. They represent a collection of thanatotic cultists, necromancers, priests of fate, assassins, and healers.
Euthanatos mages embrace the role of death in the world as that which cleanses and makes way for future growth. Most believe in the reincarnation of souls, meaning death in one life is not to be feared and in fact may be crucial to one's spiritual development. Even those who do not share this belief recognize a continuous cycle of death and rebirth throughout life, and accept that at times death may be necessary to end suffering.
Most controversially, many Euthanatos see it as their duty to push this cycle forward, removing sources of disease, corruption, and misery from the world in order to quicken the turn of the Wheel of Ages. This means judging when a person's moral degradation has grown too harmful to themselves or others to be allowed to continue, and when it is appropriate to deliver the Good Death. Euthanatos are not cavalier about this responsibility, and are painfully aware of the risk of Jhor, but they know their work is necessary and that they are destined for it.
Duty and the Sacred Self Edit
Though the Euthanatoi have roots across the world, their magic is most commonly explained through concepts taken from Indian religions. They believe that all animate beings possess an Atman, their sacred self or soul, that which is divine and indestructible. Secondly, a person's Dharma describes their purpose and place in Creation, what they are meant to do and the rules by which they are to live. It is in fulfilling their Dharma that the Euthanatoi find enlightenment, and in doing so, strengthen their connection to the cosmos. Thus, what they use magic for is as important as the tools they employ.
Many Euthanatoi believe they are chosen to be agents of Karma, tasked with judging those who have strayed too far from their Dharma. Those of other cultural heritages have similar concepts with different names; Greeks speak of the Fates as the force which punishes those who act improperly, while the Celtics say all souls are bound by geasa that guide them to their destiny. Likewise, Euthanatoi have long sought guidance from incarnations of death such as various gods, spirits, and other chthonic entities. While this may involve actual worship, it is just as often the mage seeking some form of divine consent before making the life and death decisions they are tasked with.
Tools and Practices Edit
By virtue of their Awakened state and their unique Dharma, the Euthanatoi may merge with divine beings or principles, taking on their roles and attributes in order to perform magic. Shiva, Kali, Rudra, and other Hindu gods are seen as personifications of universal forces that Euthanatoi then embody through ritual and symbolic representations. Others sects extend this idea to pagan gods, Loa, ancestor spirits, Catholic saints, or impersonal forces like death and chance. Through practice, adherence to their Dharma, and greater wisdom they come to rely on these entities less and less as their soul moves closer to divinity in its own right.
Tradition foci serve to bring mages closer to different aspects of the world, with bones and funerary objects symbolizing death, dice, and other games of chance representing entropy and luck, while staves signify divine law and punishment. Meditation, ritual purification, and extreme asceticism also help separate the soul from the body, allowing it to attain higher states of being. Mantras and songs attune them to specific gods or the subjects of their magic. As tools of death, weapons often have special meaning to Euthanatos, and serve to remind them of the seriousness of their duties.
The spiritual predecessors of the Euthanatoi arose from the merging of the Dravidian people with that of nomadic Aryans. As the two cultures evolved together, their religions combined and their gods became more complex: individual deities could be creators and destroyers, generous and cruel, vengeful but just. They came to see the flow of time as a cycle of life and death, with actions causing karmic reactions. A few heretics come to the belief that even things considered profane, such as handling dead bodies or the murder of others, are necessary for the turning of the Wheel and can serve a virtuous purpose. From these individuals willing to violate the taboos of their society in order to ease the suffering of others and aid destiny's course come the model of the first Euthanatos.
The Himalayan War Edit
The arrival of the Akashic Brotherhood in India around 900 BCE provoked a philosophical conflict with the Thanatoic cults that had grown there. While walking together, an Akashic Brother called White Tiger witnessed a healer named Ranjit performing mercy killings on those too sick to heal in order the stem a plague's spread in the region. Outraged, White Tiger struck and accidentally killed him. When White Tiger returned to his peers and spoke of the corrupt practices of those like Ranjit, the Akashic Brotherhood decided to coordinate a strike against the disparate cults with the intention of eliminating them. A vicious war began and continued for centuries, with mages on both sides using their knowledge of the reincarnation of souls to be reborn with their memories in order to fight on and settle old grudges. Eventually disparate group of death mages learn of one another's existence and realize they are threatened by a common enemy. When they unite as the Chakravanti, the Akashics are beaten back and forced into seclusion.
The Chakravanti Edit
After Alexander the Great's invasion and retreat from India, members of the Chakravanti followed his trail with the intention of learning more of the world and the practices of other mages. They found in Greece cults of the Underworld with practices similar to their own. The beliefs of the Celts likewise included sacrifice, reincarnation, and other ideas with which the Chakravanti could find common ground. Wherever their emissaries traveled over the next several centuries they continued to encounter other death mages, and in 1304 a man named Sirdar Rustam organized a gathering of the different groups to discuss a common foundation for their magic. The emissaries debated for eighteen months, followed by another ten years of discourse by messenger, resulting in the Eight Spoked Wheel of the Law which outlined their collective beliefs.
The Euthanatos Edit
By the time of Grand Convocation, the Chakravanti was a powerful Tradition with members around the known world. Despite this, the death mages still had great difficulty earning the recognition and trust of the other Traditions. A number of African and Mayan mages joined them, but their cultures suffered or died completely in the centuries of colonialism. India and Ireland became battlegrounds between the Euthanatoi and the Order of Reason. Later, the Euthanatoi were the only Tradition to oppose the Third Reich from the beginning and actively assassinated mages participating in war crimes. The Tradition continues to quietly police their peers for traitors or Nephandi, while struggling to combat the increasing levels of decay impeding the Wheel's turn.
The exposure of the corruption of House Helekar and the Consanguinity of Eternal Joy forced the Euthanatoi to face their own dark elements. The rise of a vampire-king in Bangladesh sees that the Euthanatoi believe that the turning moment of the Wheel draws near. Some now want to shed their old name, often mis-rendered by the younger generation, and return to their Chakravanti name, while others believe that the return to an old name is no better than keeping their current. These propose a new name altogether: Niyamavanti. As it stands, no decision has been made.
The Euthanatoi have never had a strong hierarchy, instead placing great value on mentor-student relationships. Mentors provide magical training, instruct their charges in the Tradition's code, and prepare them to carry the many burdens of the Euthanatos duty. When a student has undergone the Diksha, a near-death ritual meant to give the subject a greater understanding of death, they are considered a true apprentice of the Tradition. Their training under their mentor or other teachers continues for many years until they've obtained the rank of Guru, which generally means having performed their duties under great duress and either having become Master of a Sphere or Adept of several. Only then is the Euthanatos trusted to act without the supervision of their mentor.
The Euthanatoi have an informal structure of rank that pays lip service to the system of the Council of Nine Mystic Traditions, but draws much of the old organization of the Chakravarti. Students begin as shravaka, who are absolutely beholden to their mentors. When their aptitude has grown, they graduate to become chelas, who are allowed to administer the "Good Death" and whose tutorship focuses more on ethics and spiritual themes than magic. Most chelas and shravakas are organized into small "chakras" that study under the same mentor. If a chela is regarded as mature enough and has fulfilled his dharma under duress, he becomes an Acarya, who may take students of his own. Archmages of the Euthanatoi are called Paramagurus, great teachers with insights into the workings of the Wheel. Oracles are called Avataras.
The Euthanatoi, by virtue of their calling, take offenses seriously. Since the Helekar affair, even their own are watched more diligently against the death-taint. A chakra might choose an Arcarya to act as their defendant if one of their own is accused.
The basis for Euthanatoi law is the Chodona. The Chodona contains all principles that the Euthanatoi strive to fulfill. The interpretation of the Chodona for individual cases falls to the Acaryas, who may act as pramatars (judges) over accusations within the Tradition.
- Prevabhnava: The belief in a cycle of death and rebirth.
- Hiranyagarha: The belief in the unity of creation.
- Kala: The belief in the inevitability of time and decay.
- Gopaya: The belief in the necessity to protect the cycle from corruption.
- Diksha: The belief in the ceremonial death as initiation.
- Tyaga: The rejection of pleasures for the gain of pleasure.
- Sadhana: The belief in the necessity of spiritual advancement.
- Daya: The belief of the necessity of compassion.
As a diverse Tradition, the Euthanatoi gather groups of mages from all over the globe into their fold. The only real requirements are that the group believes in Fate and the inevitability of death and rebirth.
Several of these factions have their own sub-sects and specializations, as well as histories that are as venerable as those of whole Traditions.
Celtic death mages who sought shelter within the Euthanatoi from Christian persecution and have since maintained a strong group identity. They believe geasa direct everyone to their destiny, and those who violate their geasa are doomed to suffer misfortune until their next life.
- Corriguinech: Assassins who follow the triple-goddess Morrígan and employ a combination of poetic curses, martial combat, and tools that are both practical and symbolic of the Celtic gods.
- Filidh: Seers who watch over local communities, often employing animal husbandry, protective magic, and weather-crafting for the benefit of their flock.
- Main article: Chakravanti
The oldest group of Euthanatoi who represent the Tradition's core identity and ethos. They formed from numerous Thanatoic cults in the East during the Himalayan Wars. They believe in the reincarnation of souls, follow Vedic customs, and seek enlightenment by following Dharma.
- Devasu: A new sect of assassins and death mages which has taken over responsibility for protecting Thanatoic cults and holdings from outsiders. They use martial arts and yoga to channel the power of the god Rudra.
- Lhaksmists: Individuals who focus entirely on luck and manifestations of chance. Though traditionally associated with gods or goddesses of luck, many modern Lhaksmists see information theory, mathematics, and quantum physics as areas where the dictates of karma manifest.
- Natatapas: One of the two original Chakravanti sects (the other being the Consanguinity of Eternal Joy), they are a conservative group who practice historical Buddhism and Hinduism while preserving the oldest Thanatoic rites.
Descendants of Chthonic cults from Greece and Rome, the Hierochthonoi are less an organized group and more category of those Euthanatoi who employ Hellenic rituals and beliefs. Members typically draw upon the power of deities who regulate destiny, death, and the Underworld.
- Knights of Radamanthys: An offshoot of the Pomegranate Deme who formed in 1144 to act as guards for Chthonic cults, and later became highly sought mercenaries in the Ascension War.
- Pomegranate Deme: A collection of cults that focus on the goddesses Demeter, Hekate, Kore, Persephone, and the Fates. Their numbers have been steadily declining as new Awakened join other, less theological, sects of the Tradition.
- Main article: Madzimbabwe
An ancient society from Africa who have long protected their people by learning from ancestor spirits and quietly dispatching evil with poisons and disease. Despite centuries of decline and weakening identity, their numbers are growing and they have become a greater presence in the Euthanatoi.
- N'anga: Shamans who are devoted to an ancestor spirit in the form of a Wraith, Umbrood, or Avatar. They are the orthodox Madzimbabwe who consider themselves the inheritors of Great Zimbabwe.
- Ta Kiti: A subset of the Madzimbabwe tied to the Shona. They mix Santería and Voudun beliefs, while calling on Ascended ancestors for power and prophecy.
The Vrati are groups dedicated to specific duties needed by the Tradition as a whole. Promising members are typically selected from other factions, promoting continued trust and understanding between the Vrati and their more spiritual brethren.
- Albireo: Once considered inter-Tradition diplomats, it has recently come to light that they have long policed internal threats to the Traditions. Their attack on the traitorous House Janissary has exposed their secret, and now Tradition mages are divided on whether to condemn or welcome their actions.
- Chakramuni: These mages track the cycle of reincarnation, particular the Avatars of mages. They research the Tradition's history, watch for the return of ancient dangers, and pursue practical applications for their knowledge of the soul.
- Golden Chalice: Assassins descend from ancient Byzantium who specialize in eliminating Nephandi and corrupt Sleepers. They are divided into two groups: the Alphas focus on infiltration, disguise, and poisons, while the Omegas are experts in hostage retrieval, demolitions, and executions.
- Pallottino: A family of Italian death mages who preserve the magic of their Etruscan ancestors. They are only loosely associated with the Euthanatoi; they focus on protecting the graves of Italy's former rulers and preserving the rites that keep their ancestor spirits at peace.
- Yggdrasil's Keepers: Worshippers of Odin and Mímir, the Gallowsmen believe the gods take note of those who perform glorious deeds at great risk to themselves. Many study medicine and become combat medics so that the worthy can pursue their destinies.
- Yum Cimil: Secretive followers of Ah Puch who joined the Euthanatoi during the Grand Convocation but have largely been absent ever since. They are sometimes encountered when traveling through Central America.