Vivomancy: the Fifth Gift

An Introduction

Vivomancy Symbol A Vivomancer is a formally trained native of Lyran Tal who is born with the ability to manipulate the Life Energy of the body to produce a healing effect. The training for Vivomancers is quite often a life-long ordeal, but there are some who choose - or have the choice made for them - to never pursue this formal training. Those who reject training are commonly known throughout Hyathis as Herbalists, or more often as your everyday Healer, who possess limited amounts of magical skill but vast knowledge of salves, elixirs and the like. A 'Vivomancer' is a title given to only those sanctioned and trained by the Vivomantic Order in Desleben. While someone that is able to heal with magic (a.k.a. the Solar Knights, who do not receive their training from the Vivomantic Order) may practice the Fifth Gift, they are not called or considered 'Vivomancers' because that is a title given to those who follow the worship of Nostrella.

The current Archmagess of Vivomancy is Julia Galyn.

How does Vivomancy Work?
Death and Resurrection
Encounters with the Undead
Rank and Rings
Robes and Attire
The Rules of Healing
Nostrellan Tradition
Return to Magic in Lyran Tal

How Does Vivomancy Work?

In a healing, there are three forces at work: Ley lines, a Vivomancer's Life Energy and the patient's Life Energy. This is why a Vivomancer cannot heal him/herself. It is the combination of these forces that allows a Vivomancer to heal illnesses and injuries, depending upon a Vivomancer's abilities. A Vivo can discern various illnesses/injuries, especially those not blatantly visible to the naked eye, by mingling with a patient's Life Energy and mentally 'visualizing' the body's natural energy patterns which crisscross and layer the body like an intricate colorful tapestry. Each thread of this 'tapestry' is tied to a particular aspect of a person's body whether it be the pattern of blood flow, bones, nerves, organs or tissues. Illness/Injury, etc, will cause a rent, tear, dimming or discoloration of certain energy patterns and it's the task of the Vivomancer to put them back they way the should be. Hence, healing that particular part of the body.

When a healing is being performed there is a natural 'stopping' point which falls at the moment of complete healing, when the 'tapestry' is once again whole. When this happens, a patient's Life Energy is in perfect balance. In essence, it's full. A Vivomancer knows this point has been reached both by the visualization of the 'energy tapestry' as well as a feeling of resistance to their energies. If a Vivomancer attempts to continue feeding energy into a person past the point of healing, that energy will snap back towards the Vivomancer with painful and harmful results. This is often a difficult lesson for Vivomancers to learn.

Because the process of healing requires the use of Life Energy, the Vivomancer will be weakened by the use of their magic in proportion to the amount of Life Energy expended. Healing a minor wound may leave the Vivomancer somewhat tired or dizzy, while healing of a major injury could very well cause the Vivomancer to lose consciousness for a time. In the same fashion, the patient -- though healed of the injury or illness -- will still need time to recover as well.

A Vivomancer cannot use someone's Life Energy without their permission; it has to be freely given. Neither can it be stolen from a living being, nor taken from one to give to another. It remains in the body at all times while the person is alive, and disappears at death, like a light going out. There is one exception to this: for the unconscious person, who cannot make the choice to accept or deny help, their energy is 'assumed' (not unlike how today's Emergency Medical Services make decisions in treating unconscious patients). In this circumstance, consent is implied. One has to assume that this person would want to be healed, and hence, a Vivomancer would attempt to heal.

Death and Resurrection

Death is a fact of life. Vivomancers are trained to understand that within the cycle of Life, all things must come to an eventual end. It is impossible to predict how much time is given to each person, and when that time is finished not even the most powerful Vivomancer can reverse this natural process.

However, from time to time, a life ends before fate has decreed it should. The only exception to the 'Life Energy' rule is in the instance of resurrection which requires an Archmage or a collection of Master Mages with exceptional amounts of ability to 'feed' life into the lifeless. In essence, they have to actually create Life Energy by using the ley lines as well as giving up of their own Life Energy to provide to someone who has passed, which literally takes life away from the Vivomancer. This is why it is so dangerous to attempt, as well as being limited to only the most powerful of Vivomantic Mages. Even the most skilled Archmage may still not succeed.

Encounters with the Undead

Any Vivomancer does their best to stay away from the Undead, but there are times when encounters occur. As for the initial feeling, one might refer to the scrape of fingernails across a blackboard or a clash of silverware. Life and Death both play a role in existence, but they do so as polar opposites.

If an undead creature is encountered, there is no reason for a Vivo to do anything unless the Vivo is in fear for their life or the life of an innocent. Remember that vivomancers are primarily healers, and cannot take offensive measures. A Life Warding spell, which taps into Life Energy and creates a 'shield' of sorts, can repulse all but the most powerful Undead. (For more on Vivomancers and use of self-defense, please read Training for a Vivomancer - Training in the present day.)

Training for a Vivomancer

A short history lesson...

Prior to 1272, training for a Vivomancer began at Nostrum, the Vivomantic temple just outside of Damansque, and centered around the worship and teachings of the goddess Nostrella. Only those who were taught at Nostrum were considered to be true vivomancers. But the Klockwork Master's Tivili Decree in 1272 made the worship of Nostrella an act of treason, punishable by imprisonment or death. Nostrum itself was destroyed by the Klockwork Army a short time later.

The Tivili Decree brought about significant and fundamental change to Vivomancy. First, in order to escape persecution, many Vivomancers either attempted to go into hiding, or were forced to publicly renounced their belief in Nostrella. Second, the decree brought to light the fact that elsewhere in Luminii there were small groups of Vivomancers who trained and practiced their magic without the worship of Nostrella, and who believed that the goddess did not truly exist. Previously, these men and women would have been called Herbalists or Healers, and denied the title of Vivomancer. But in the days of the Tivili Decree, these non-Nostrellans were able to come to the forefront, claim their title as Vivomancers, and lead the rebirth of their magic throughout Luminii. They found an Archmagess in Anara Midiere, and under her supervision began construction of a new temple.

By 1274, a rebellion in Luminii had left the Klockwork Army virtually defeated, and thus the Tivili Decree could no longer be enforced. Nostrellan Vivomancers were once again free to worship as they wished, and indeed were welcomed back into the fold by the new Archmagess. However, a great many had been killed and countless others still remained in hiding or scattered throughout Hyathis. The days of Nostrella as the focal point of Vivomantic training had come to an end, and the fate of the remaining Nostrellan Vivomancers was very much in question.

Training in the present day...

Today, formal training begins at Desleben, the new Temple of Vivomancy located where Nostrum once stood (as of Spring of 1274 the temple was still partially under construction but already in use). A Vivomancer's ultimate rank is determined by his/her own inherent abilities and the age at which he/she began formal training. For most, it takes an average of eight to ten years to ascend the levels between Novice and Second Adept, and many more years to achieve the mastery of a Ranking Mage. Note that the percentage of high-ranking Vivomancers - Vivomantic Mages, Master Mages -- is much lower than those ranking between Novice and Second Adept. There are, of course, exceptions to this generalized rule, as there will be in all things based upon inherent abilities, but prodigies are far and few between. (The areas of study for each rank are listed in the next section entitled 'Rank and the Vivomantic Rings.')

A Vivomancer's training includes not only rigorous instruction in magic, but also of herbs, roots and plants that are useful in basic healing. The use of magic is not necessary to heal all ailments and injuries, particularly if they are minor; this is one of the first lessons that vivomancers learn in their training.

Vivomancers are governed first and foremost by a respect for life and all that it encompasses; Do No Harm is the first rule of Vivomancy. This rule forbids the possession or use of weapons against another person. Even when a Vivomancer or an innocent in a Vivomancer's presence is being attacked, a Vivo is only allowed to act defensively, and must never seek to permanently harm or injure another person. The use of warding or defensive spells is taught at the temple, such as those which can cause temporary blindness, sleep or temporary paralysis. Students are also taught the basic forms of physical self-defense, which focuses on movements that use the attacker's strength against them.

Rank and Vivomantic Rings

As Vivomancers progress through their training, they are given a ring to reflect each advance in their rank. In the Nostrellan days of Vivomancy, these simply-designed rings were worn on different fingers. Today at Desleben, there are still ten rings given but the rings are now crafted to be interlocking, in the style of a puzzle ring, to form three complete rings. These rings are worn on the second, third and ring fingers of the left hand. (Note that Nostrellan Vivomancers may still wear the old rings if they so desire.)

This chart describes the rings and the order in which they are awarded. It also describes some of the areas of study for each level.

Wood This ring is received upon induction to Vivomantic training and is worn on the ring finger of the left hand.
Stone Rank: Novice. This ring is made of stone and connects to the previous ring on the ring finger to show the Healer's connection to the earth and mastery of the first level of healing. Courses of study include herbal remedies, elixirs and salves and their importance in use when healing energies aren't necessary. Novices are also introduced to ley lines, the body's energy lines and basic defensive/warding spells.
Coral Rank: First Level Novice. This ring, worn on the ring finger, is made of coral to reflect the Healer's connection to the fluids of life and mastery of the second level of healing. This includes minor abrasions, cuts, scrapes and avulsions. First level Novices are taught the basic recognition and manipulation of ley lines and the body's energy lines.
Topaz Rank: Second Level Novice. The last of the interlocking rings worn on the ring finger, the band with a Topaz inset symbolizes a Healer's connection to the air and mastery of the third level of healing. Studies include colds, flu, bronchial and breathing disorders, and the multitude of airborne pathogens that can cause illness. Second level Novices are taught to recognize the disorder of the body's energy lines when illness and injury are present and use their manipulation skills to 're-thread' the basic energy pattern. Note: At this level, a Second Level Novice can be apprenticed to a Vivomantic Mage for a year of field study and experience before continuing to Adept.
Copper Rank: Adept. This simple band is worn on the third finger of the left hand, indicating a Healer's mastery of the basic elements of earth, air and water. At this point a Novice is named an Adept Vivomancer and begins studying advanced healing using the manipulation of Ley lines and Body Energies.
Steel (Soniarium) Rank: First Adept. This second simple band on the third finger indicates an Adept's mastery of individual broken bones and deep tissue laceration, minor circulatory disorders, minor nervous system disorders (febrile seizures, paralysis of a single limb, etc), minor diseases and 'sickness' (colds, flus, stomach bugs, intestinal ailments, etc.) as well as advanced defensive spells. Energy line manipulation is still continued.
Silver Rank: Second Adept. This third and last band for the third finger symbolizes a First Adept's mastery of advanced diseases, circulatory disorders, disorders of the nervous system (IE: seizures, paralysis, etc ), multiple broken bones, internal injuries and other life-threatening conditions. Defensive spell study and energy line manipulation is continued. At this point, students would be referred to as a Second Adept and would be allowed heal during battles and wars.
Gold Rank: Vivomantic Mage. The gold band is worn on the index finger of the left hand to reflect the Second Adept's mastery of all Vivomantic skills except Resurrection. The Adept is named a Vivomantic Mage and is free to hire out their services to various towns, cities and/or nobles at their own discretion. At this level, a Vivomantic Mage is also permitted to take on a Second Level Novice Vivomancer for a year of 'field training'.
Bloodstone A gold band set with a rich bloodstone entwines with the first gold band on the index finger indicating a Mage's mastery of Resurrection. This ring is limited to Master Mages and only offered to those who possess the most inherent skill. Traditionally, these mages are given a seat on the Archmage's Council. A multitude of tests must be passed before a Mage is offered the chance to test for the ninth ring. Only the Archmage and the Council members may wear this ring.
Sigil of Life This ring entwines with the gold band and the bloodstone ring, and is worn only by the Archmage of Vivomancy.

These rings are merely indicative of a Vivomancer's rank and aren't used in any way to enhance or channel energies.

There is no real correlation of age to rank amidst the Vivomancers, but it usually takes quite a number of years to acquire the sixth to the eighth rings. There are some exceptions to this as there always will be. It is based purely on the Vivomancer's individual inherent and learned abilities.

The Rules of Healing

In days past, it was believed that Nostrella handed down ten rules to govern Vivomancers. The rules have long been a core part of Vivomantic studies and therefore they are still taught at Desleben, only modified to omit specific references to the goddess.

  1. We will do no harm.
  2. We will promote health and life. We shall strive to educate the people to the blessings of existence.
  3. We will alleviate suffering.
  4. We will honor the wishes of the sick and injured wherever possible.
  5. We will treat all with dignity.
  6. We will work harmoniously.
  7. We will have respect for life.
  8. We acknowledge that each of the Gifts has the right to exist.
  9. We will distance ourselves from Necromancy.
  10. We will follow the guidance and teachings of the Temple of Vivomancy.

Vivomancers at Desleben spend a great deal of time on the study of ethics in healing. While the rules seem very clear, a Vivomancer quickly learns that there are situations when these rules will actually conflict with one another. This is often a source of passionate discussion and debate within the halls of Desleben. However, Vivomancers are taught that there are no easy answers to these conflicts, and that in the end each man and woman must hope to make the best decision they can, based on their training and their beliefs.

Vivomantic Robes and Attire

While at the Temple of Desleben, or at official public duties (such as participation in ceremonies), Vivomancers are required to wear robes befitting their rank. While 'out in the field', at home, or anywhere else, Vivomancers may wear whatever clothing is appropriate. The rings that they wear, along with the Sigil of Life pendant, identify them as a Vivomancer when they are not wearing their robes.

Inducted Novice
Robe: Tan
Sash: Brown
* No adornments

Robe: Lt. Green
Sash: Brown
* Given the sigil of Life pendant
* Allowed to wear belt-pouches and carry herbs, elixirs and salves.

First Novice
Robe: Lt. Green
Sash: Drk. Green

Second Novice
Robe: Lt. Green
Sash: Gold

Robe: Gold w/sigil in black threading at hem
Sash: Lt. Green

First Adept
Robe: Gold w/sigil in black threading at hem
Sash: White

Second Adept
Robe: Gold w/ sigil in black threading at hem
Sash: Burgundy

Vivomantic Mage
Robe: Burgundy w/sigil in white threading at hem
Sash: White

Master Mage
Robe: Burgundy w/sapphire blue threading at hem and cuffs
Sash: Sapphire blue

Robe: Sapphire blue w/silver threading at hem, cuff and neckline
Sash: Silver


The Nostrellan Tradition

Nostrellan Vivomancers approach their training from a religious perspective, and thus have a series of rituals, greetings and prayers. While these are no longer taught at the Temple, these beliefs are not forbidden either. Persons wishing to learn more about the teaching and traditions of Nostrella are invited to read about them in the Imperial Library: The Nostrellan Tradition, as recorded by Celina Vita Hastur


For more information on Vivomancy, contact:

The Luminii Region Leader

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