Absolute power corrupts absolutely is a tenet that the Cymry are all too familiar with. During a period of history known as the Age of Dreams, the Cymry had risen to great heights of power and arcane technology, only to fall to great depths. There are few documents from the time before the fall of Atlantis, but the few scraps of text that do remain suggest that the Cymry had developed arcane technologies to rival anything in creation. They could perform what amounted to arcane genetic manipulate an existing creature to create a new creature. The Ddraig an example of this. Their power, their arrogance and their interference with the natural order of things led to the Shattering of the Great Talisman and, ultimately, to the fall of Atlantis.
These tragic events taught the Cymry that there needed to be rules and guidelines set forth to govern their use of their powers and so the first tenets of the Rule Arcane were born. For thousands of years, the Cymry abided by the rule and lived in relative peace. Time tends to cause memories to fade. The Cymry’s natural proclivities to command, make war and explore high magic took hold once more. This led to five-hundred years of rule by the powerful and insane archadepts of House Tsarimov.
This period of Cymerian history is known as the Interregnum, and it was marked by untold horrors and brutality. In the end, other powerful Cymry Houses rose up against the Tsars and led a revolt to overthrow them, but the taint has never faded and the backlash of that period reverberates throughout Cymeria and Cymry society to this day.
Not only was there a backlash by the Celts who slaved under the yoke of the Tsars, but even Cymry came to rue their warlike natures and fear their own powers. Over the 1500 years since the Interregnum, some Cymry have buried their heritage, denying their bloodlines and raising their children in ignorance of their true nature. There are also Cymry descended from ancient pure bloodlines that embrace their arcane natures and have kept alive the training and knowledge albeit mostly in secret. Due to the public onus on the arcane, these Cymry tend to be very secretive with harsh punishments for those of their number that color outside the lines.
The Rule Arcane
Bide the Arcane laws ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust.
Live and let live, fairly take and fairly give.
Cast the Circle thrice about, to keep all evil spirits out.
Soft of eye and light of touch, speak little, listen much.
Heed the North wind’s mighty gale, lock the door and drop the sail.
When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss thee on the mouth.
When the wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.
When the West wind blows o’er thee, departed spirits restless be.
Nine woods in the cauldron go, burn them quick and burn them slow.
Elder be the Lady’s tree, burn it not or cursed ye’ll be.
Heed ye flowers, bush and tree, by the Lady blessed be.
Where the rippling waters go, cast a stone and truth ye’ll know.
When ye have need, hearken not to other’s greed.
With the fool no season spend, or be counted as his friend.
Merry meet and merry part, bright the cheeks and warm the heart.
Mind the Threefold Law ye should, three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow, wear the blue star on thy brow.
True in love ever be, unless thy lover’s false to thee.
Eight words the Arcane Rede fulfill, and it harm none, do what ye will.
The two tenets listed below from the Rule Arcane are at the heart of the Cymry’s beliefs regarding the use of their powers. In Cymry tradition, the Threefold Law is a primary consideration when Marnwr is balancing the arcane scales.
- Eight words the Rule Arcane fulfill, an it harm none do what ye will.
- Mind the Threefold Law ye should, three times bad and three times good.
The Judgement of Marnwr
The Cymry equate the Threefold Law with the Judgement of Marnwr, the great ringed moon that rides the day and night skies over Gaia. It is believed that Marnwr holds the Scales and with the loss of the Great Talisman, it is he that sees the balance is kept and metes out punishment to those that upset the Scales.
Marnwr’s judgment is often harsh. The backlash for misuse of power and causing the scales to swing out of balance can be devastating to someone close to the person being judged.
If the Rule Arcane is not enough to govern a Cymry, there are laws on the books of Cymeria designed to do so. Many of the harsher laws have been repealed in recent years, but some still exist and are enforced. Below are a few of the major ones.
Law of Nature
A Cymry can be accused of manipulating or interfering with the natural laws of nature. For example, trying to end a drought or bringing game animals to the hunt. This is considered a minor infraction and the punishments are usually light. Actions such as the arcane luring of animals to their death are viewed as a form of animal sacrifice and carry a backlash from the Threefold Law.
Law of Sacrifice
During the Interregnum, some of the Tsars used the spilling of blood to increase the scope of their workings. As long as it was their own blood, this was not truly an issue as the Rule of the Land held dominance (The Land is the King, and the King is the Land). When they spilled the blood of others, animal or human, that skirted too close to dark workings and, as a result, after the Interregnum became illegal. The Ddyrchafael is not subject to this law. Punishment is usually severe and can include blinding and the amputation of their hands so they cannot perform sacrifices.
Wrongful Death by Magic
This law is the most severe, but also the least enforced as the majority of Cymry would never use their abilities to cause death to another outside the formal bonds and rules of a Duel Arcane (which usually ends in death) or in self-defense. However, if a Cymry is accused of wrongful death by arcane means, tried and found guilty, the punishment is execution, usually by fire. If the Challenger survives a Duel Arcane, they risk being charged under this law.
The Apostates of y’Carthu keep demanding more and stronger arcane civil laws. The majority, of course, would like to see everything arcane outlawed, in the manner of Aquitaine.
The Mathian Council
Named for the Savior of Cymeria, Mathias Azarov, the Mathian Council is a group of very arcanely powerful Derwydd (archadepts). There is always thirteen seated on the Council. Their stated purpose is to keep Cymry sorcery on a leash (police their own) and, at the same time, restore the Cymry to their former glory regarding knowledge and magic.
The Mathian Council has always invited the reigning High Lord to assume a Seat, but to date, none of them have due to feeling serving on the council could be in direct conflict with serving Cymeria. Of all the recent High Lords, Mikhael Stormdanovich concerns the Council the most due to his powers and willing use of them.
The Council uses various forms of Binding as a punishment for arcane murder. A Cymry accused of murder by arcane means will be sought out by forces loyal to the Mathians and brought to their stronghold.
Once brought in for questioning and trial, a Cymry is kept arcanely sedated using merasha which renders them incapable of using their powers. Trials are usually conducted via Truth-Reading and Mind-Seeing. Depending on the level of guilt determined at the end of the trial – not a pleasant experience in itself – punishment is carried out. The most extreme being Spirit Binding, also known as the Living Death, where a person is given a narcotic that paralyzes them (like blowfish venom that has been associated with the creation of zombies) and their spirit (chalon) is arcane bound to their body. Other variants include administering the narcotic, binding the spirit and then burning the convicted Cymry alive.
Also known as Blood Tips, merasha is a fleshy tubular plant native to the tropical regions of Gaia. It can be cultivated in hothouses, but it is not easy to keep it alive under artificial conditions.
Compounded and administered correctly, merasha inhibits a Cymraeg’s ability to use their powers. It disorients them and can even cause hallucinations.