Hycathae are women who possess a unique magic power, originally believed to have come from the goddess Hecate. Recent studies have discovered that these powers most likely arose due to a genetic mutation that has been passed down from mothers to daughters since 3500 BC. Hycathae are divided into three tiers: Baethlae, Cynthae and Nyridiae. Each tier has different strengths and abilities, Nyridiae being the most powerful. Hycathic communities unite under the Temple of Hycath. Their religion is known as Hycathism and their followers and/or believers are known as either Hycathae (women with Hycath powers) and Hycathi (followers of all genders without Hycath magic).
Following the Sacking of the Vatican in the 14th century, Hycathism became one of the most widely spread religions in Europe. It is regulated by the several Oculae, groups of spiritual leaders who have jurisdiction in the Hycathic community. These leaders are responsible for general council duties and inflicting punishments. They have representatives in every country, always led by a high priestess called the Octal. The worst punishment an Octal can inflict upon a Hycatha is a Reckoning, which means trapping the person and her powers into an object known as a Reckoning Hold.
Hycathism follows Hecate’s teachings based on eight pillars known as the essential aspects of an individual’s life: Care, Respect, Perception, Resilience, Ingenuity, Benevolence, Dedication and Competence. These pillars are documented and further examined in the Hycath Mythos, the most valued objects of the Hycathic community. The scriptures also contain the origin myth of the Hycathae and stories about Hecate’s travels to the underworld, believed to be the source of the first Hycathae’s powers.
Contrary to popular belief, Hycath “magic” would be better defined as a skill than sorcery. The women with Hycatha genes possess a great and deep, natural, understanding of physics. Using their abilities, they can manipulate particles on an atomic level. How well they can do that depends on which tier they are a part of. Generally, Nyridiae are the most powerful Hycathae, followed by the Cynthae and then the Baethlae. Hycatha genes are passed down from generation to generation, always from mothers to daughters, as Hycathae only have daughters.
Transferral of Power
Hycathic powers are always passed from mothers to daughters. Unlike other kinds of inherited traits, these powers actually diminish in the mother as they are transferred, meaning that at the moment of birth the mother loses part of her own power.
Though Hycathic children possess their power from birth, the mechanics of using it are so complicated that they are not able to wield it without extensive training. This training is often carried out by their own mother when she deems the child mature enough. Women who miss the training will usually have difficulties controlling their powers, and they more easily exhaust themselves.
A strong Baethla can outperform an untrained Cyntha, so training is crucial for a Hycatha. If a Hycatha dies without a daughter, her magic will jump into the nearest object, which will become a Hycath Relic. These relics are powerful enough to be used by humans for magical purposes.
Tiers of Hycathae
The Baethlae are the least powerful Hycathae. They can set items on fire, blow up small objects, speed up self-healing, shapeshift, breathe underwater and change the temperature on a small scale. They can’t perform any of these on a large scale, and they need lots of practice to perfect their skills, as well as direct skin contact to perform them on another person or object.
Cyntha powers are similar to Baethla powers. However, Cynthae can extend their abilities to larger objects or tasks, as long as they have direct skin contact. For example, they can shapeshift or breathe underwater for longer amounts of time and cause emotional impulses and make blood boil by touching someone’s skin.
Nyridiae are the most powerful Hycathae, and due to that their bloodlines were monitored throughout history. Nyridiae possess the same skills as Baethlae and Cynthae with additional ones, but they don’t need skin contact to perform any of these. Nowadays, no Nyridiae line has survived, they only live on in Reckoning Holds, like the Phoenix stones in the city of Al-Murooj.
The Andrathae are humans, women and men alike, who practise Hycath magic without the inherited genetic mutation. The only way to do this is by using a Hycath Relic or a Reckoning Hold. This practice is extremely dangerous, and it can lead to dire consequences. Acquiring this skill demands plenty of training, but even with that, this activity often leads to mental illness as a normal human brain can’t cope with these powers in the long term.
The Phoenix Stones
The Phoenix Stones are the most famous Reckoning Holds. Their origin goes back to the Second Hycath War in the late 19th century, when the infamous Blomgren sisters attempted to achieve world domination. They planned to destroy all humans and reinstate Hycathism as the ruling power. The sisters’ plan eventually failed when humans and Hycathae joined forces in order to stop them. At the end of the war all sisters were captured, sentenced and reckoned.
However, the three leading sisters, Ingeborg, Ragna and Ylva, were so powerful that the Oculus decided to create a specific prison just for them that would still allow the rest of the world to benefit from their powers. This is how the three Phoenix Stones came to be. They would later play a significant role in creating the Hycathic safe haven of Al-Murooj, which became known as the Promised Land. According to the legend, the Red Phoenix Stone will protect and kill, where the Blue Stone can resurrect and finally the Green Stone can sustain life to unfertile lands or for those struck down by the red stone and resurrected by the blue.