To say mahrym is a skill, a power or a magic of some sort would be a poor description of what it truly is.
Mahrym is a unique path inherited by the living from someone who has passed away. This path is for a lifetime and can take many shapes and be perfected at different Schools under the teachings of one or more mentors.
With the help of books, writings, materials and the results of a lifetime left behind by predecessors, some more orderly than others, one can unleash a mahrym's full potential. The more times a mahrym has been inherited and perfected, the more powerful it will be.
Only the Osvarii faction, whose faces grow bone, can inherit a mahrym at (or after) age fifteen. Mahrym and life paths are permanently recorded in the form of symbols on their face and arms.
Mahrym shapes the world and its people. Though it can be channelled internally, this can be quite strenuous. For this reason, Osvarii often aid themselves with different channellers that enhance their abilities.
As a mahrym can only be inherited when the previous holder dies, this has caused countless disputes across the ages, several resulting in undercover assassinations. This prompted the creation of the Guilds and a thorough tracking of mahrym inheritances.
All mahrym inheritances, reservations, developments, apprenticeships, mentorships and incidents are reported to the Mrygat.
Mahrym-related journals, books, writings and materials can be found at the Libraries. However, only the Osvari who inherited a specific mahrym will have access to all of their predecessors' work. Some exceptions apply to the norm at the discretion of the Mrygat.
Devices, tools, garments, accessories and even large areas can be imbued with mahrymic runes. While the possibilities are endless, common uses include protection against the elements or beasts, enhancing materials, changes in temperature or weight, preserving foods and drinks, and absorbing or releasing light. The more runes required to obtain a result, the more difficult and expensive it will be to put them together.
As mentioned before, Mahrym has divided the world of Alor into two main factions: the Osvarii, or mahrym users, and the Vasarigæ, followers of the barbarian deity Vasari, who rejected mahrym. This division has caused many wars over resources that, if not for mahrym, Vasarigæ could have easily claimed by force.
Illusion is considered an art by many, and the least serious of all mahrym by others.
Those specialising in Illusion are able to project different sensorial illusions that will fool others into believing what they see, hear, smell, touch or taste is real. A perfectly-executed illusion could consist in a full banquet, making the targets believe they've had the most delicious meal of their lives... except they will realise the food and the drink never reached their belly.
Small illusions generally take a few months to project once the basic apprenticeship has ended, which can take 5 to 10 years. Nonetheless, Illusion is an ongoing apprenticeship and the more complex the illusion the longer it will take to learn, therefore most specialise in a limited set of illusions.
Maintaining concentration is essential to an illusionist while performing. Small flaws in the illusion can easily be detected by fellow Illusionists, therefore an Osvari with such a mahrym will have to train a wide range of tricks and techniques to distract the spectators when their concentration breaks.
Even if an illusion can be felt to the touch, a charging beast will break through it like an arrow through the air. It is recommended that illusionists maintain their distance from the target of their illusions. However, the longer the distance the more difficult projecting will be.
Illusionists are tested at the least expected times by their mentors, an essential training to be able to cast their illusions under any circumstance and at any given time. Each illusion is individually examined by Osvarii of different backgrounds, all related to the illusion in question, rating it in all of its five senses.
Famous Illusionists include Isilda Vexari, from Oiruu, who mastered her mahrym at the young age of seventeen and paid her apprenticeship in illusionary gems. By the time her mentors found out, she was long gone.
Morphing is one of the most difficult mahrym specialisations, not only because it takes the longest to learn but also because of the concentration required to maintain the morphed form.
Morphers have the knowledge and the ability to shapeshift their bodies into that of a beast of their choice. As there are many variants to a singular beast (there are 35 variants of sparrow, for instance), most morphers are able to inherit the mahrym they hope for, so long as the variant has been released and has not been claimed.
Most Osvarii who take Morphing as their path start by learning the anatomy, diet and habits of the beast they will morph into. The following stage is observation of a live specimen in a controlled environment or, if feasible, in the wild. If a specimen is unavailable due to extinction, the apprentice will be required additional studies and tests.
Several accidents are bound to happen during the apprenticeship. Armagia, the most potent mahrym nullifier, is often used to revert a Morpher to their previous state. If armagia is insufficient because of the magnitude of the damage (the shifting of internal organs, for instance), a medic or team of medics will intervene.
Perfection is expected from Morphers, and their mentors will not settle for less. Morphers are tested on looks, scent, call, chant, movement, habit, interacting with different settings and creatures, customs, nesting, shedding (if applicable), and countless different aspects that other Schools can hardly begin to imagine.
The average time to learn a morphing form is of 20 to 30 years, but some Osvarii throughout history have been able to master their mahrym in less.
Mahrym specialisations in Speech are not for everyone. While it is true that it takes shorter to learn than other branches, the apprentice must have a connection with the subject whose speech they intend to learn.
Speakers have the ability to communicate with any form of life, including beasts, plants, minerals and various elements. However, no two Speakers will be able to inherit the same mahrym, meaning that there will be as many variants to Spiderspeech as spider variants there are.
Reliability is expected from Speakers, especially when training or dealing with certain beasts, convincing rivers to change their course, lulling a volcano into sleep or gathering valuable information through mice, spiders or the winds.
Most Speakers need to learn a lot in a very short time, spanning around 3 to 5 years. While this comes naturally to those versed in the art of retaining knowledge, many others are equally able to learn relying on their hearing and intuition alone.
Understanding a Speech and speaking is not enough. Speakers must learn how to convey a message in the right manner, at the right time, to the right listener. Reading the atmosphere before a dialogue and preparing the setting is important, as is to understand the customs of the being or element the Speaker is trying to communicate with.
Despite rumours infer that no harm can come from inheriting a Speech mahrym, the opposite is true. A proficient understanding of the Speech is expected in order to prevent disastrous misunderstandings.
As with all mahrym, some specialisations in Speech can be dangerous in the wrong hands. A madman once convinced the moon to come closer to the world, causing terrible disasters that lasted two generations, until the next Moonspeaker was finally able to revert the damage.
Osvarii with mahrym belonging to the School of Control can, as the name suggests, take control over beasts, plants and even certain minerals and the weather.
Control mahrym is hyper-specialised, and it will take the user between ten and twenty years to master. While one Osvari may have control over common sheep, another will have control over sharilli, a sheep variant from Nariv.
Unlike Transformation or Materia mahrym, Control only focuses on logical behaviours that a body would be able to carry out on its own. This includes Movement, Growth or Energy, for instance, which are some of the branches within this School.
It will take an Osvari all of their concentration to take control over a single animal or plant. Nonetheless, a humble number of Osvarii throughout history have been able to command dozens of beasts at the same time, therefore it is not an impossible feat. Nowadays, the vast majority of Controllers enhance their mahrym with runes, allowing them to go much farther than their predecessors. This is especially used in farming.
Complex-minded beasts cannot be controlled as their behaviours are too unique to be fully deciphered and comprehended, an indispensable requisite to control another being. The key to Control mahrym is the predictability of the target's behaviour.
There are many restrictions for those specialising in Control. Not only must the user learn all about their mahrym, but also an extensive library of international laws and treaties, many of them applicable to beasts. In addition, a Controller must take a binding oath and swear not to make a wrongful use of their mahrym, alter the world's biomes or ecosystems in any way, or cause harm through use of their mahrym.