Pallia, Mantles, and Marks

Pallium (pl. pallia) is a Latin word for "cloak." Here, it is the name for a partial ka that endows the wearer with a package of skills, powers, knowledge (often instinctive, latent, or unconscious), and geases.

"Pallium" is the formal term; "mark" is used as an informal term. A pallium that confers authority, either by social recognition or by magical gift of command, is called a "mantle." The pallium that confers vampirism and creates an undead vampire is called a "pall" (related to "pallium"; "pall" is a name for a cloth covering a coffin).

Transmission of pallia:

Vampires: Lineages and Vulnerabilities

Classic middle-European vampires raise other vampires by casting their pall on a victim with the killing bite. If they can, they also cast their geas of personal domination at the same time, to acquire a slave. They cast a pall judiciously, because it is exhausting to do so, besides creating a potential competitor. It is a condition of their pall that they cannot cast a pall except on the killing bite.

It takes very great and rare magical talent to create or modify a pallium, so the vast majority of vampires can only pass on what they received themselves. But it is comparatively easy to damage a pall or other pallium. Over the ages, great vampire hunters with magical power have laid curses on foes they could not kill, so that the foes and their descendants by enpallment have acquired more and more vulnerabilities over the ages.

Different vampire lineages have been attacked by different hunters in different parts of the world, which is why vampires in different places have different vulnerabilities.

Hunters' Marks

Just as there are lineages of vampires, there are lineages of vampire hunters and other monster hunters. Some claim to go back to Nimrod. These pallia, called "Hunters' marks," are not as spectacular as vampires' palls, but neither are they so easy to damage. A typical list of gifts involved in a Hunter's mark is:

Royal and Heroic Mantles

The following novels involve characters acquiring powers and roles. Not all the novels explicitly use the idea of a mantle, a royal or heroic pallium, but the acquired packages of powers and roles fit the description.

In all these instances, the candidate has to be made ready to receive the mantle, or maybe receives it in chunks, getting some powers and knowledge with each installment. But there is no growth and learning in the normal human sense. It's a lot more like a software installation.

Divine Mantles

In the Inkliverse, almost all pagan gods who are more than fictions are djinn, elves, ghosts, or very occasionally humans, who have managed to acquire an angelic ka. The fourteen Powers often work in the world by casting very fragmentary and tightly edited ka'u to accomplish some mission. Once exhausted or damaged, these ka'u sometimes get snapped up. To the Powers, they are hardly more than dandruff, but they are as much as the recipient can handle, and said recipients usually find their personalities overwritten or reduced to a coloring in the ka.


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Copyright © Earl Wajenberg, 2015