Detroit By Night(Mage)
It’s hard to accept the fact that, one day, consciousness as every human knows it will end. Death, to most people, is a terrifying unknown that must be avoided at all costs. It’s little wonder, then, that people look into the eyes of a Euthanatos and suddenly grow cold. The Euthanatoi know death, and they know that it must and will come. Sometimes, these mages bring death with them. More ofte, though, they bring the potential for rebirth, for the seeds of creation in the remnants of the past.
Proto-Euthanatoic roots heralded from the earliest cities in and near what would later be called India. The philosopher-priests of the ancient years tracked the cycles of reincarnation and led peopl through their many lives in the turning of the eternal Wheel. These early mages sensed the greater cycle of life and death, and they guided entire civilizations through their rise, fall and rebirth in new forms. Eventually, their philosophy settled in the Hindu religion and similar god-forms of the area. Dispersed throughout many cities, the roots of the Euthanatoi mantained similar methods and beliefs, but in small, isolated groups of healers, priests, and sages.
The Euthanatos Tradition has been accused throughout history of killing in cold blood, killing for the joy of killing and killing to serve its own ends and increase its own power-base. One of the greatest conflicts in Euthanatos history is the 300-year battle agains the Akashic Brotherhood. Both groups, in the end, were fighting for the same thing — The preservation of life and reincarnation — but the Akashics could not accept the Euthanatos’ methods. The Wheel must turn, and Euthanatoi believe that it is sometimes wiser to end an unproductive or suffering cycle and send a soul back to be reincarnated than it is to allow a stagnant energy to linger and hold back the turning of the ages. From this pragmatism came the need to judge and shepherd the living in times of starvation or plague. The Himalayan Wars between the two groups brought forth a terrible series of killings, not just of individual mages, but of whole reincarnated lineages. Eventually, the surviving sects united as the front of Akashic opposition forced them in contact, and the small groups finally came under a single banner of Chakravanti.
The establishment of Buddhism changed the Chakravanti, bringing to them a new awareness of compassion and a new understanding of suffering Where the various groups had worked before as fearful mages with the power to heal or destroy, they now learned to understand that very fear in their charges. From these roots the Chakravanti drew up the beginnings of their own moral code. Later, during the formation of the Traditions, that code searved as a basis for the Euthanatoi as a whole Greeks, Celts, Indians and others who served the Great Cycle and believed in the need for strong souls to ease the suffering of others all came together as a whole. The Euthanatos Tradition was born in an incarnation that other Traditions might label “killers with consciendes.”
The truth is that the Euthanatoi must kill, but they do not kill for joy or power. The Traditions is based on thanatoic — death-focused — sects of Indian, Greek and Arabic culture. In India, with its frequent plagues and poor living conditions even before the modern era, death was often the best and kindest answer for ill, suffering people. In Greece and the Middle East, death allowed scholars and surgeons to expand their knowledge and help the people who still lived. Even today, Euthanatoi plunge into ancient memories and reincarnated souls to find enlightenment. They cross to the Underworld to experience death, and they uphold a stern code. To the Euthanatoi, theirs is a sacred duty, one that must be carried out, but is so strenuous and terrible that only the most strong-willed can perform it. It’s not so much that they take on a right, as they take on a burden: responsibility for pain, for release and for renewal.
This Tradition is fairly well organized, if somewhat loosely so, with a set system of apprenticeship, mastery and leadership. There are established Marabouts (Chantry houses) all over the world, and the center of the Tradition on Earth lies in Calcutta. The Pramaguru (leaders) often serve as Acarya (mentors) to new arriveals in the Tradition, spotting them through the auspices of Fate while Initiates hover on the cusp of awareness. From there, training can proceed in many forms. Some Euthanatos groups are notoriously strict in their discipline, while others have a very relaxed and egalitarian attitude. In any case, the Acarya is formally responsible for the Initiate once the agama sojourn is complete, up until the Initiate is recognized as a full mage. Once inside the Tradition, there are really only three ranks: apprentice, member and leader. Recognition comes with wisdom and magical skill, and leaders stand only as long as their followers support them.
In order to truly understand the power of death, the Euthanatoi believe that a mage must have touched it. All Euthanatoi must undergo the agama, or little death, when they are initiated into the Tradition. This sojourn is a brief trip int the Underworld itself, overseen by a mentor and used as a guide. Often, the Initiate is drawn to the Traditioin because her Awakening involved some sort of near-death experience or the death of someone close to her. Therefore, Initiates tend to be people familiar with endings in some form or another.
Euthanatos sects are about as fluid as those of the Dreamspeakers or Cult of Ecstacy (both of whom he Euthanatos carry strong ties to). That is to say, Euthanatos have a great variety of sects and beliefs, and they have a largely open attitude toward philosophical differences within their own society.
Death is not the end; death is an end. There isn’t much good in an existence that will serve no purpose, and there is less good in an existence that brings pain or trouble to everything it touches. It’s better to end that thread and let a new one take its place than allow it to take up space. Like flowers that grow from a burned forest bed, these threads will be rewoven into the Tapestry. The Tapestry weaves into a great picture, but suffering and sorrow mar that picture. Every man must take up his burden, surpass it and accept the responsibility to deal with this inevitability. That responsibility becomes a keystone for the support of the world, for the willingness to support and shelter others — and to perform the duties necessary to release those who only bring or know suffering.
There’s another reason behind the careful attention these mages pay to emotion: Jhor. All mages gather Resonance from their activities, but this Tradition gathers more of this type of Resonance because its mages deal with the energies of Death. Jhor is the physical reflection of decay-related magic. It is common for Euthanatos mages to have sunken eyes, hollow cheeks or pasty skin. As they channel Entropy, even to divine what the fall of a die will be, it comes to rest in their bodies. The accumulation of Jhor isn’t always related to the mage’s intent when she uses her magic, but a Euthanatos who seems too corpselike bears watching. Death is not a force to be used lightly or too often. This Jhor can accumulate and cuase Quite, too, leading the Euthanatos to mrbidity and an obsession with death. While any mage can suffer this sort of affliction, Euthanatoi are notoriously prone to it. A mage who’s fallen into a Jhor-Quite becomes an emotionless killing machine, and he must be put down. Most Euthanatoi are acutely aware of the irony that they’re about two steps from being killed by their own fellows.
Theories and Practices
Euthanatos mages have a variety of approaches to actual execution of their magic. Most use some kind of device to analyze the balance of a life or a situation, divining the probable outcome of a course of action. This device can take the form of a coin flip — if it’s heads, the person can be changed; if it’s tails, it’s curtains — or a pair of glasses that the mage looks through to see what the soul holds. So many things depend on what the Sleepers would call random chance, and the Euthanatos uses that perception to her advantage. However, just shrugging an Effect off by wondering what the odds were of that happening is clumsy and unsubtle. A clever Euthanatos begins a series of perfectly believable events that trigger her desired result (a man in a bar takes on drink too many, decides not to drive home and calls a cab
- the Euthanatos has effectively gotten herself a rid to wherever she wishes to go). Not all Euthanatos magic involves killing, either - a situation can be changed for the better without anyone losing blood.
The Euthanatoi must look at the gains achieved by giving someone the Good Death, but they cannot ignore their sorrow, either. Healing is accomplished through excising the diseased material from the healthy, allowing the subject to feel the pain of the knife and then produce new, clean tissue to replace what was removed. Only through experiencing every phase of the healing cycle — pain included — can the Euthanatoi make a positive difference.
The Euthanatos dedication to furthering the progress of the Wheel doesn’t only apply to individual souls. The world itself is constantly changing and moving, and it too becomes diseased. Euthanatos mages find these diseased areas of society and, by addressing individual components of the problem, attempt to end them. Doing so becomes harder and harder, however, as the world degenerates further. There are too many people involved in too many problems, and the Good Death cannot be given to every one of them. More and more often, Euthanatoi find themselves performing delicate adjustments to people and situations instead of simply ending the cycle and letting the Wheel spin itself out.
Like the Dreamspeakers, Euthanatoi have an acute sense of duty. Instead of feeling consequences of actions in the spirit world, however, Euthanatoi are intimately familiar with the human ramification of anything they do. Each time a death-mage takes a life, she must be certain that it is the right thing to do. The choice is final, and the people left behind must live the rest of their lives with the loss of the victim — that’s not an easy thing for a mage to deal with. Therefore, the Euthanatos must be able to understandthe consequences in order to weigh them against the benefits of the Good Death and make the right choice.
However the mage finds the Tradition, she must understand that the Wheel turns. She must understand that although she can affect some cycles for a short time, she will no longer be in control in the end. Games of chance are common illustrations for new Euthanatoi — mages practice predicting how the dice will fall or where the ball will land, and they inevitably make a wrong choice. Euthanatoi must accept the inevitability of their own deaths — they must understand the fear in their victims — before giving the Good Death to anything.