By Mohammed Bugshan
Magic plays an integral role in the World Of HOOD’s character-driven fantasy story. It adds that extra level of romanticism and allows the audience to expand their visual and auditory pallet when consuming our transmedia content. Magic will also help further Robyn Loxely’s cause against King John.
Venturing into the mind of our fearless leader, I questioned her on why she decided to add magic to this retelling of the classic tale and she shared her thoughts.
History of the magic in the World Of HOOD
In the World Of HOOD, there was an extremely powerful goddess called Hecate. She possessed three heads that let her see into the past, present and future. Hecate foresaw a catastrophic event in 3500 BC, she then descended into the underworld to take preemptive action against it. She bestowed her powers to eight female souls. These women became the first Hycathae, who then passed their powers on to their daughters. Hycathism is practiced worldwide, but is mainly dominant in the Anglia Isle. (Want to know why? Check out the Clash of the Cousins podcast.)
Hycathism is divided into two major categories: Hycathae, which are women who possess magical powers, and Hycathi, non-magical persons of all genders who believe in the tenants of their religion.
Hecate carefully withheld the ability to see the future from the Hycathae, as she knew that this type of power would be too much for a mortal to handle.
How magic works in the World Of HOOD
The magic that is passed among the Hycathae is limited to their genetics and there is a finite amount of magic in the world. When passing magic to their offspring, the mother then loses some of her own magic, and the child will never be more powerful than the mother.
However, if the mother chooses to not bear a child, then upon her death her magic will disperse into objects called Relics. These artefacts can be used by humans, although the effects on humans using these artefacts can be dire and can actually ruin the mental health of the user. The powers of the Hycathae are mainly limited to and based on physics and the manipulation of atoms and chemicals. This allows the most powerful to create fires, have X-ray vision and many more.
So magic spells of summoning demons and dragons aren’t really a part of HOOD’s magical story. It is not based in any established system of “black magic,” but a unique blend of science fiction and fantasy.
Tiers of magic
There are three different tiers of power at the base, but within each tier there is also variation because mastery is achieved through rigorous study.
Baethlae are the weakest of Hycatha, and their magic is limited to physical touch. It is also limited in what the Baethlae can actually do such as: creating sparks and flames (mainly small fires like lighting a candlewick), breathing underwater (only for 10 minutes) and blowing apart solid objects, resulting in solid debris.
After that, we move to the Cynthae who are considered middle tier Hycatha. They are also limited to physical touch but are far more powerful than Baethlae. And they can: liquify solid objects, resulting in fluid debris, thermal/night vision and small acts of telekenisis over short distances (e.g. opening a lock).
Finally, the strongest Hycatha are the Nyridiae and they are said to be 10 times more powerful than the Cynthae. They don’t need to physically touch an object or a person to affect them, and their powers range from creating large fires that can spread rapidly and at a great pace across a large mass of land (e.g. setting an army on fire even if they are miles away) to breathing underwater for a maximum of 60 minutes, as well as obliterating solid objects causing gaseous debris. As far as anyone knows, there are currently no Nyridiae left, as over the centuries they have all either been killed without daughters or committed a crime so heinous their souls were trapped in Reckoning Holds. [link to Reckoning]
Alana the Hycatha
In the World of HOOD, Hycathae are usually pressed into government service. But if they keep their powers a secret, they have more freedom.
Alana, a Hycatha, uses her magic to further the agenda of the rebellion and to support her adoptive brother Will in any way by assisting him. For instance, if someone is injured she can stop the bleeding. However, she has only ever practised magic by herself and has never received any formal Hycath training. So her skills may be unreliable and dangerous in certain situations as she doesn’t fully grasp her capabilities. Read more about Alana.
The History and Campaign of The Promised Land
Unlike the traditional Robin Hood tales, the “promised land” in the World of HOOD is not tied to the Crusades. The Promised Land (called Al-Murooj by locals) is currently a prosperous and entirely self-sufficient city-state established in western Africa in the 1890s after the Second Hycath War [link]. It is both a pilgrimage site for Hycathi and a refuge for Hycathae, who were forced to flee Europe after the conflict.
Seven years ago, East Mercia approached The Promised Land for help to end their food crisis after The Change, but the Octal refused to give them the magic seeds they’d developed. When negotiations broke down, King Richard ordered an attack, and the ensuing siege was named The Promised Land Campaign. This war resulted in many casualties, including Robyn Loxely, who was presumed dead after her capture in the Promised Land. However, as we now know Robyn was alive this whole time, and actually stole these magical seeds to help the people of Nottingham in their rebellion against King John.
Could all of this bloodshed have been avoided? Who’s side are you on? And what would have happened if Hecate had shared her gift of prophecy with those first eight Hycathae?