in Miscellanea

It is believed that anyone can become a witchard, but it is also true that to date only about one in ten thousand actually have magic abilities. There are those who claim it is a gift in the blood and some are simply not worthy. Many witchards today agree this is just entitlement speaking, and the potential of magic rests in everyone.

Whatever the truth, this intangible quality is known in academic circles as “The Gift”. In everyday speech it is simply called “hexblood” despite the widespread understanding that magical aptitude has nothing to do with blood. While it is true that there is a much higher chance of hexblood manifesting in children born to two witchards, no broadly accepted study has shown a correlation between the quantity of witchard ancestors and magical potential. Plenty of powerful and prominent sorcerers have been born to mundane or mixed parentage. Plenty of scions of old magical dynasties have also been disappointing at best when it comes to actual ability.

Hexblood is found everywhere and in every social group. It seems to ignore ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, and wealth of family. A couple with no history of magic in the family can give birth to a child with the Gift, and when this happens (as it often does) there seems to be no one single thing that provoked it. This has frustrated those who have an interest in seeing more new blood in the confluxes just as much as it has confounded those who continually seek proof for their theories that it’s all in the blood.

Hexborn and Mundaneborn

A hexborn comes from a magical family, born to two witchards. This is opposed to a mundaneborn, who comes from two normal, mundane humans but displays magical talent. There are also mixborn witchards, with one mundane and one witchard parent. Many confuse the terms hexborn and hexblood, but they are different–everyone who can use magic is said to have hexblood.

Why does this matter? Well, many of the more powerful and influential families in the European Confluxes are hexborn. They’ve had a long time to accumulate power and influence, and many confluxes are more or less controlled by extended hexborn dynasties. There has been an implicit bias against mundaneborn students for a very long time. Some are known to hold the opinion that mundaneborn students are less proficient in magic or less of “a real witchard” than others. While sentiments such as racism or homophobia don’t exist in Witchard Society, there is plenty of bigotry and elitism regarding magical heritage.

There is traditionally a major divide between the old-blood and new-blood hexborn families. A family is considered old-blood if it has been a functioning hexborn lineage since before the year of 1801, the year that a change was made to the Codified Traditions which severely hampered the power of the hexborn dynasties. New-bloods, on the other hand, are considered barely better than mundaneborns and mixborns by the older clans. There are many new-blood hexborn families, since one is technically a hexborn if both of their parents are witchards, even if that is the first generation in that lineage.

What is a dud?

A dud is the term for children who are born to witchard parents, but who display no sign of magic. Most witchards show the first signs around the start of puberty. Hexblood is known to have manifested as early as the age of six years old, and in some cases even in seniors over 90. Duds, meanwhile, simply never display ability in magic.

Duds occupy a strange place in most confluxes. After all, confluxes are created primarily to house those with magical powers, and as a result duds can usually feel left out or alienated in the magical world. Many duds go on to live or at least work in the mundane world, as witchard professions invariably require some magic.

Among the more purity-obsessed families, having a dud in the family tree is usually grounds for huge concern. Some whisper disturbing rumors about what the most out-there families do to duds who show up in their families, and quite a few note that duds tend to mysteriously “grow sick” and disappear in those households. Still, most examples of duds being “reintroduced” to the mundane world are somewhat more voluntary.

The Sans-Noms

During the time of the mundane French Revolution, similar sentiments spread in Witchard Society. In the French confluxes–and consequently much of the rest of the world–these revolutionaries styled themselves the “Sans-Noms” (meaning “those without name”, as a sort of analogue to the Sans-Culotte radical lower-class empowerment movement of the time). They fought against the domination of the old-blood hexborn, culminating finally in the establishment of the Peace of Phalsbourg in 1801, which resulted in a change to the Codified Traditions. This prompted, among other things, the Guardian Order to start accepting mundaneborn members.

The Arborist Movement

Of course, it is not everyone who merely accepted these new constraints on old-blood hexborn power. Some grew yet more resentful and insular at their loss of privilege. The Arborist Movement sprang from the most hateful and extreme sections of the beaten old-blood families. This is a truly reactionary movement, known to target, harass, and even sometimes kill lower-class witchards and their progressive allies. They believe that those who study the nature of magical ability and refute the idea of it being “a property of the blood” are in on some grand conspiracy to undermine the purity of witchard existence. That they are inviting degeneracy into the European Confluxes.

Arborism is more uncommon today, and their insignia–the bloodied sickle–is considered a symbol of hate. Even some of the staunchest “hexists”, hexborns who have a dislike of mundaneborns, tend to distance themselves from these particular extremists. At least in public.

Created on July 26, 2022 by Thomas Mertz