Friday, June 09, 2006

Anechkavanya Hratchouhi Ex Miscellanea


Introduction

An inheritor of the blood of King Minos and Circe – ancestors of traditions which had initially rejected Bonisagus’ overtures – Magus Anechkavanya is considered suspicious by many outside Ex Miscellanea and thought a Hedge Wizard. Despite this she is confident and proud of her abilities as well as heritage and is driven to eclipse this reputation through her activities within the Levant Tribunal and the many opportunities such a turbulent area of the Order of Hermes presents.

Apprenticed

Anya of Ex Miscellanea apprenticed Anechkavanya, then known as Tsdrig, at the age of 10 after identifying the youngster’s potential at age five through meticulous research into her lineage. Tsdrig’s birth parents were more than willing to give their young but unnerving daughter to this apparently pleasant and well meaning scholar. Tsdrig was taken to her new home the covenant of Adrasteia located in Cilicia Trachea, the rugged hinterland of the Cilician coast within the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and given the name Anechka.

The Apprenticeship

Anechkavanya has a close and respectful relationship with her Parens who provided ample and thorough training - the focus being Creo, Perdo, Corpus and Vim. Anya spent a great deal of effort ensuring any vestiges of Anechka’s magical heritage which would be considered negative by detractors amongst the Order did not manifest. Only the strange cold breeze which can rise to a gale - when Anechkavanya casts spells of great strength – remains, though this appears only to raise the fears of those without magical resistance and is not of itself dangerous, or forceful. Anechkavanya has incorporated this warped magic into her casting sigil in an effort to disguise it. Her sigil is a light breeze carrying the smell and feel of a dark night in the crisp mountain air.

As part of her efforts to eclipse the Hedge Wizard reputation the proud and ambitious Anechkavanya – with the agreement of her Parens - sought additional training amongst senior members of the tumultuous Levant Tribunal. Anechka sent letters; two responded and agreed, a Bonisagus Seeker for whom she now feels a great deal of respect, and Hoplite of House Flambeau to whom she also owes a debt and whose powers she holds in great admiration. The Bonisagus Magus improved her knowledge of Magical Theory as well as introducing her to Medicine and Philosophiae. The Flambeau Magus improved her Penetration and Parma Magica as well as introducing her to Finesse. These two Magi are allied within the Tribunal and saw probable utility within the potentially powerful apprentice.

The Magical and Fae Bloodlines

Anechkavanya brings two of the Titan Helios’ blood lines together, as well as adding the heritage of Zeus and Dionysus. She comes from the lineage of Circe and the Greek Hero Odysseus, through Odysseus and Penelope’s son Telemachus who married Circe, as well as the God Dionysus through his marriage to Ariadne – daughter of King Minos and Pasiphaë – and is a distant cousin of Medea, Daughter of the Colchian King Aeetes. These familial connections manifest themselves in a powerful gift which terrifies normal people and animals while she additionally has the overt Faerie traits – courtesy of Dionysus and Minos - of almost translucent white skin and vivid grey eyes shot with bright ruby red flecks.

The gift runs more powerfully through the female line and has manifested in ancestors and relatives such as Circe, Medea and Ariadne.

Anya of Ex Miscellanea

Stern and encouraging, as well as kindly when needed, Anya was a good teacher for the young Tsdrig, whom she named Anechka during her apprenticeship. Anya needed to do little to prompt her student who, after understanding her position within the covenant and her possible future within the Order of Hermes, threw herself into her studies and practice with unerring determination.

Anya is an elderly but still vigorous Magus who knows the Levant Tribunal well, having been apprenticed to a Magus who traveled the Tribunals borders bringing new members to the Order, or striking down those few that she could not convince to join. She is thus well schooled and experienced in both diplomacy and combat.

Anechkavanya Hratchouhi Ex Miscellanea

During her apprenticeship Anechka was nicknamed Hratchouhi by the members of the Covenant, not just for her fire-flecked eyes but also the mostly hidden passion with which she pursued any objective she set her mind to – something that would only flare from strong and controlled presence when her pride was pricked or her drive buoyed. Named Anechkavanya at the completion of her apprenticeship she also adopted the Covenant nickname she had been given. Both as acknowledgement of the debt she owed to all those within it’s walls as well as pride in knowing that the name rang true for her drive as much as her appearance.

Tall but painfully slender and pale Anechka’s appearance has been likened by other Magi to an Icicle. The red flecks within her eyes belie this, as does her engaging wit with other Magi. With normals though, few get past her appearance and the power of her blatant gift to discover anything other than their own fear and the hatred that oft accompanies it. Not that she pays much heed to normals unless their actions impact upon her in some way.

Anechkavanya has yet to determine the best way to eclipse her reputation. Thus far she has concentrated on improving and perfecting her abilities. But she considers herself lucky to be within the Levant Tribunal as the political climate and conflict, both within the Tribunal and on the borders, offers ample opportunities to prove her worth to respected members of the Order.

The Hedge Wizard reputation

Anechkavanya’s reputation as a Hedge Wizard is a result of her ancestry, rather than the magical tradition she is trained in, or the way she practices her own magic – which is flawless. Her reputation is derived from the interpretations of her ancestors casting methods that have been intertwined with the fear these powerful women evoked when they lived and continue to inspire.

Quotes from some of the narratives familiar to members of the Order of Hermes which contribute to this reputation include:

Circe in Apollonius’ Argonautica Book IV

Here they found Circe bathing her head in the salt water.

….

A number of creatures whose ill-assorted limbs declared them to be neither man nor beast had gathered around her like a great flock of sheep following their shepherd from the fold. Nondescript monsters such as these, fitted with miscellaneous limbs, were once produced spontaneously by Earth out of the primeval mud, when she had not yet solidified under a rainless sky and was deriving no moisture from the blazing sun. But Time, combining this with that, brought the animal creation into order. The Argonauts were dumbfounded by the scene. But a glance at Circe’s form and eyes convinced them all that she was the sister of Aeetes.

Circe in Ovid’s Metamorphoses XVIII

The goddess was indignant. She could not harm Glaucus himself, and would not have wished to do so, since she loved him; but she was angry with the girl he had preferred to herself. In her rage at finding her love rejected, she straightway ground together certain evil herbs, whose juices contained horrid powers and, when she had reduced them to powder, mixed them with spells that Hecate had taught her. Then, wrapping herself in a dark cloak, she proceeded out of the depths of the palace, through the host of fawning beasts. She made her way to Rhegium, which lies opposite rocky Zancle, walking over waves that boiled with currents, treading upon them as if on dry land, and skimming dryshod over the surface of the sea.

There was a little bay that curved round in a smooth crescent, where Scylla loved to rest. When the sun, halfway on his course, was at his strongest, shining from the heights of heaven and reducing shade to a maximum, she used to retreat there, away from the heat of sea and sky. In anticipation of her coming, the goddess tainted this pool with her wonder-working poisons. When she had poured them into its depths, she sprinkled the waters with baneful root and thrice nine times, with magic utterance, muttered a mysterious spell, in strange and riddling words. Scylla arrived, and had descended into the water up to her waist, when she saw her loins disfigured by barking monsters…she found, instead of her own limbs, gaping mouths like those of Cerberus

Circe in the Odyssey Book 10

But while I was moving through the sacred groves

on my way to Circe's home, a goddess 360

skilled in many magic potions, I met

Hermes of the Golden Wand. I was going

toward the house. He looked like a young man

when the first growth of hair is on his lip,

the age when youthful charm is at its height.

He gripped my hand, spoke to me, and said: [280]

'Where are you off to now, you poor man,

going through these hills all by yourself

and knowing nothing of the country here?

Your comrades, over there in Circe's house, 370

are penned up like swine in narrow stalls.

Are you intending now to set them free?

I don't think you'll make it back yourself—

you'll stay there with the rest of them. But come,

I'll keep you free from harm and save you.

Here, take a remedial potion with you,

and go in Circe's house. It's a protection

and will clear your head of any dangers

this day brings. Now I'll describe for you

each and every one of Circe's fatal ploys. 380

She'll mix a drink for you and with the food [290]

include a drug. But she won't have power

to cast a spell on you. This fine potion,

which I'll provide you, won't allow it.

I'll tell you now in detail. When Circe

strikes you with her elongated wand,

then draw that sharp sword on your thigh and charge,

just as if you meant to slaughter her.

She'll be afraid. And then she'll order you

to sleep with her. At that point don't refuse 390

to share a goddess' bed, if you want her

to free your crew and entertain you.

But tell her she must swear a solemn oath,

on all the blessed gods, not to make plans

to harm you with some other injury, [300]

so when she's got you with your clothes off,

she won't change you to an unmanned weakling.'

"After saying this, the Killer of Argus

pulled a herb out of the ground, gave it to me,

and explained its features. Its roots were black, 400

the flower milk-white. Moly the gods call it.*

It's hard for mortal men to pull it out,

but gods have power to do anything.

Then Hermes left, up through the wooded island,

bound for high Olympus. I continued on

to Circe's home. As I kept going, my heart

was turning over many gloomy thoughts.

Once I'd made it over to the gateway [310]

of fair-haired Circe's house, I just stood there

and called out. The goddess heard my voice. 410

She came out at once, opened her bright doors,

and asked me in. So I went in with her,

heart full of misgivings. She led me in

and sat me on a silver-studded chair,

a lovely object, beautifully made,

with a stool underneath to rest my feet.

She mixed her potion in a golden cup

for me to drink. In it she placed the drug,

her heart still bent on mischief. She gave it me,

and, when I'd drunk it, without being bewitched, 420

she struck me with her wand and said these words:

'Off now to your sty, and lie in there [320]

with the rest of your companions.'

"She spoke.

But I pulled out the sharp sword on my thigh

and charged at Circe, as if I meant to kill her.

She gave a piercing scream, ducked, ran up,

and clasped my knees. Through her tears she spoke—

her words had wings:

'What sort of man are you?

Where are you from? Where is your city?

Your parents? I'm amazed you drank this drug 430

and were not bewitched. No other man

who's swallowed it has been able to resist,

once it's passed the barrier of his teeth.

In that chest of yours your mind holds out

against my spell. You must be Odysseus, [330]

that resourceful man. The Killer of Argus,

Hermes of the Golden Wand, always told me

Odysseus in his swift black ship would come

on his way back from Troy. Come, put that sword

back in its sheath, and let the two of us 440

go up into my bed. When we've made love,

then we can trust each other.'

"Once she said this,

I answered her and said:

'O Circe,

how can you ask me to be kind to you?

In your own home you've changed my crew to pigs

and keep me here. You're plotting mischief now,

inviting me to go up to your room, [340]

into your bed, so when I have no clothes,

you can do me harm, destroy my manhood.

But I won't agree to climb into your bed, 450

unless, goddess, you'll agree to swear

a solemn oath that you'll make no more plans

to injure me with some new mischief.'

"When I'd said this, she made the oath at once,

as I had asked, that she'd not harm me.

Once she'd sworn and finished with the oath,

I went up with Circe to her splendid bed.

Medea in Apollonius’ Argonautica Book IV

She [Medea] boiled with rage. She longed to set the ship on fire, to break it up and hurl herself into the flames. But Jason calmed her. She had frightened him.

And she [Medea] reinforced her words with magic; scattering to the four winds spells of such potency as would have drawn wild creatures far away to come down from their mountain fastnesses.

Medea went up on the deck. She covered both her cheeks with a fold of her purple mantle, and Jason led her by the hand as she past across the benches. Then, with incantations, she invoked the Spirits of Death, the swift hounds of Hades who feed on souls and haunt the lower air to pounce on living men. She sank to her knees and called upon them, three times in song, three times with spoken prayers. She steeled herself with her malignity and bewitched the eyes of Talos with the evil in her own. She flung at him the full force of her malevolence, and in an ecstasy of rage she plied him with images of death.

Medea in Ovid’s Metamorphoses VII

The king lay relaxed in deathlike sleep and his attendants too were in a deep slumber, caused by Medea’s spells and by the powerful magic words she had pronounced.

The new bride whom Jason had married was consumed by fire, kindled by the Colchian’s poisons, and the seas on either side of the isthmus saw the king’s house in flames.

Ariadne in Catullus 64

… I am forced to bring forth from my very

Marrow, helpless, burning, blinded by mindless passion.

But since they are true children of my inmost heart

Be sure you suffer not our grief to go for nothing,

…After she had poured forth these words from her sad heart,

In anguish claiming punishment for cruel deeds,

…Theseus’ self, his mind thick-sown with blinding dark,

Let slip from his forgetful heart all the commands

Which hitherto he had kept constantly in mind…

These commands, hitherto kept constantly in mind,

Drifted from Theseus like clouds driven by the wind’s

Breath from the airy summit of a snowy mountain.

Euripides Medea

[Enter the Messenger, coming from the royal palace]

MESSENGER

Medea, you must escape—leave this place.

You've done an awful deed, broken every law.

Take ship and go by sea—or go overland

by chariot. But you must go from here.

MEDEA

What's happened that I have to run away?

MESSENGER

The king's daughter has just been destroyed,

her father, too—Creon. You poisoned them.

MEDEA

What really splendid news you bring. 1330

From now on, I'll consider you a friend,

one of my benefactors.

MESSENGER

What's that?

Are you in your right mind, lady, or insane?

To commit this crime against the royal house, [1130]

and then be happy when you hear the news,

without being afraid?

MEDEA

I have some remarks to offer in reply.

But, my friend, don't be in such a hurry.

Tell me of their deaths. If you report

they died in pain, you'll double my rejoicing. 1340

MESSENGER

When your two children came with their father

and went in the bride's home, we servants,

who had shared in your misfortune, were glad,

for a rumour spread at once from ear to ear

that you and your husband's previous quarrel [1140]

was now over. Someone kissed the boys' hands,

someone else their golden hair. In my joy,

I went with the children right inside,

into the women's quarters. Our mistress,

whom we now look up to instead of you, 1350

before she caught sight of your two children,

wanted to fix her eyes on Jason only.

But then she veiled her eyes and turned away

her white cheek, disgusted that they'd come.

Your husband tried to change the young bride's mood, [1150]

to soften her anger, with these words,

"Don't be so hard-hearted with your family.

Check your anger, and turn your face this way,

look at us again, and count as friends of yours

those your husband thinks are friends of his. 1360

Now, receive these gifts, and then, for my sake,

beg your father not to exile these two boys."

Once she saw the gifts, she did not hold out,

but agreed in everything with Jason.

And before your children and their father

had gone any distance from the palace,

she took the richly embroidered gown

and put it on, then arranged the golden crown, [1160]

fixing it in her hair at a bright mirror,

smiling at her body's lifeless image there. 1370

Then she stood up from her seat and strolled

across the room, moving delicately

on her pale feet, delighted with the gifts,

with a great many glances to inspect

the straightness of the dress against her legs.

But then it happened—a horrific sight.

She changed colour, staggered back and sideways,

trembling, then fell into her chair again,

almost collapsing on the floor. An old woman, [1170]

one of her servants, thinking it was a fit 1380

inspired by Pan or by some other god,

shouted in festive joy, until she saw

the white spit foaming in her mouth, her eyes

bulging from their sockets, and her pale skin

quite drained of blood. The servant screamed again—

this time, to make up for her former shout,

she cried out in distress. Another slave

ran off at once towards her father's palace,

and another to the girl's new husband

to tell him the grim fate his bride had met. 1390

The whole house rang with people's footsteps, [1180]

as they hurried back and forth. By the time

it would take a fast runner to complete

two hundred yards and reach the finish line,

her eyes opened—the poor girl woke up,

breaking her silent fit with a dreadful scream.

She was suffering a double agony—

around her head the golden diadem

shot out amazing molten streams of fire

burning everything, and the fine woven robe, 1400

your children's gift, consumed the poor girl's flesh.

She jumped up from the chair and ran away, [1190]

all of her on fire, tossing her head, her hair,

this way and that, trying to shake off

her golden crown—but it was fixed in place,

and when she shook her hair, the fire blazed

twice as high. Then she fell down on the ground,

overcome by the disaster. No one

could recognize her, except her father.

Her eyes had lost their clear expression, 1410

her face had changed. And there was blood

on top her head, dripping down, mixed with fire.

The flesh was peeling from her bones, chewed off

by the poison's secret jaws, just like resin [1200]

oozing from a pine tree. An appalling sight!

Everyone was too afraid to touch the corpse—

what we'd seen had warned us. But her father,

poor wretch, didn't know what she's been through.

He came unexpectedly into the house

and stumbled on the corpse. He cried aloud, 1420

embraced his daughter, and kissed her, saying,

"My poor child, what god has been so cruel

to destroy you in this way? Who's taken you

away from me, an old man near my death?

Oh my child, I wish I could die with you." [1210]

He ended his lamenting cries. But then,

when he tried to raise his old body up,

he was entangled in that woven dress,

like ivy wrapped around a laurel branch.

He struggled dreadfully, trying to get up 1430

onto his knees, but she held him down.

If he used force, he tore his ancient flesh

clear off his bones. The poor man at last gave up.

His breathing stopped, for he couldn't stand the pain

a moment longer. So the two of them lie dead—

the daughter, her old father, side by side. [1220]

It's horrible, something to make one weep.

Concerning you there's nothing I will say.

For you'll know well enough the punishment

that's coming to you. As for human life, 1440

it seems to me, and not for the first time,

nothing but shadows. And I might say,

without feeling any fear, those mortals

who seem wise, who prepare their words with care,

are guilty of the greatest foolishness.

Among human beings no one is happy.

Wealth may flow in to produce a man

more lucky than another, but no man, [1230]

is ever happy, no one.

[Exit Messenger]

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