The final two Talents found among witches are not only the rarest but also the least understood, even by the witches who possess them. These are the Psi-Witch and the Auger. Additionally, the Auspex will be discussed, which presents a special case all its own.
The Psi-Witch is able to work his witchery on the minds and hearts of other people. While this is something any witch can do with the proper ritual, for the psi-witch, it is almost without effort, and there is virtually no sign that witchery is being worked. For a psi-witch to work a person’s emotions takes little more than eye contact and some spoken words. Most witches with this Talent tend to work only one person or a small group at one time, very few ever attempt to use their witchery on a crowd. A Psi-Witch can also sense the emotions and thoughts of those around him, usually as an involuntary action that is simply part and parcel of having this Talent.
Psi-Witches have a noted problem in their lack of self-control when their Talent first manifests. The pressure of other people’s minds and thoughts can be difficult on the young witch, causing a form of stress unknown to anyone else. Many young psi-witches do not learn to handle this stress and find a way to diminish or even subvert their Talent. While still witches, they have little use for their abilities, their bonds with their familiars are weak, and they live much as Orthos do. For any who do not have someone to teach them to use their Talent, this is often the best possible solution.
Fortunately, most psi-witches are born to families where this Talent is well-known. Unlike most witch Talents, the gift of psi-witchery tends to run exclusively along certain family lines. Indeed, there is a belief among scholars of witchery that the psi-witch Talent was deliberately cultivated by specific lineages. The four elemental Talents are the most well-known of the witch abilities, but many scholars claim that there is actually a fifth element. They believe this fifth element to be “spirit” or “psi”. As the four better-known elements are aspects of the physical world, they believe the element of psi to be the one that reflects and controls the non-material parts of existence. Why this Talent seems to require a consistent bloodline connection is unknown to even those who make a study of such matters. One theory, though it has little to no verifiable support, is that psi-witchery was the original Talent when witchery first appeared in the human species and that all other Talents mutated from it.
The psi Talent is known for having one serious weakness, though this knowledge is possessed only by a relatively small number of people. The (fortunately rare) Hexern virus has a devastating effect on any psi-witch who contracts it. While this virus can be fatal to any witch, it can actually wrest control of a psi-witch’s Talent from him and turn it against any with whom he comes into contact. The dreaded Hexern – while almost never encountered by anyone – is the result of a psi-witch who contracts the virus and in whom the virus runs its full course. Such a person is barely human any longer, and not at all sane.
The rarest of the witch Talents, there are many who do not think the Auger is real, believing it to be only legend, or perhaps a Talent that has died out.
The world of Perfect Coven Earth contains not only physical beings of all sorts, but also a wide variety of supernatural spirits. These include elemental spirits, spirits of the dead, spirits of the natural world, and a host of other sorts. Under normal conditions, these spirits have virtually no contact with the physical, mortal world.
An Auger does not count as normal conditions.
The Talent of the Auger allows the witch to easily breach the barriers between the mortal world and the worlds of the spirits, and to call forth those spirits. Once a spirit has come into the physical realm, it is bound by the Auger’s will and must obey the witch for a time period determined in the working that summoned it. Most witches with this Talent will limit the time of a spirit’s service to the time required to perform whatever task is expected.
Even when not summoning spirits and other such beings, Augers tend to view all their workings as being spiritual in nature. A working to create a fire, for example, would be seen as calling on a fire elemental spirit to start a flame. Workings by witches with the Auger Talent generally are more formal and ritualistic than those done by other Talents. An Auger working will usually include a circle or triangle drawn on the ground or floor to contain the called spirit or the witchery’s effect. The witch will stand outside this shape while doing the working that calls the spirit into it. Calling a spirit will usually require a token of some sort, an item or image that is representative of the spirit being called. For example, a bowl of pure water would be used as the token by an Auger seeking to summon a water spirit. As do most witches, Augers view spirits as non-intelligent energies which can be used to accomplish whatever goal the witch has.
Augers, being as rare as they are, must usually create their own workings rather than use those created by other witches, although they are perfectly capable of using workings created by others. This gives them much in common with the Crafter talents (discussed earlier), but they are not Crafters themselves. Due to some quirk of their Talent – perhaps the same one that lets them easily reach into other realms of existence – the workings created by Augers cannot be used by other witches.
The Auspex is not a witch Talent, it is a learned skill set, available only to those witches who possess the Auger Talent. An Auspex performs the same sort of summoning workings as does an Auger, but he then takes that working one step further. An Auspex masters the very difficult ability to actually speak with the spirits and supernatural abilities he summons.
One key difference in the working of an Auspex and that of a “regular” Auger is the diagram used to summon the supernatural being in question. An Auger stands outside the drawn emblem, but an Auspex must stand inside it while the working is being done. This is a vital part of opening the witch up to communication with the spirit.
Of all witch types, the Auspex is the single rarest. So few people – including witches – believe in the existence of free-willed supernatural beings and spirits, that even most Augers seem no reason to learn to communicate with what they summon. The Auspex holds a truly unique place and role among witches.
Sid says: This has been an informative series of posts, and has contributed so much to the world we’ve built and the books we’re writing. Sometimes, I think we’ve enjoyed the sessions where we discuss these things as much as actually writing the books! The more we know about the world we’ve built, the richer the experience for the reader…and the more roads we give ourselves to travel in our writing.
Mickie says: Okay, everyone. I hope you’ve paid attention because this will be important later on. Thank you to James for putting this all together for us. The discussions have been very interesting and this has been a fun part of our world building. Speaking of, I’ve been tasked with coming up with the political and historical side of the world building, and I’m doing my research. Expect to learn more about our world over the next few months.