The Magisters of the Amethyst Order, known as Amethyst Wizards or "spiriters," embrace the Purple Wind of Magic called Shyish, practicing "Cessationary Thaumaturgy." This term was adopted in the Articles of Imperial Magic specifically because using the term "Necromancy" would have been both ill-advised and somewhat inaccurate.
Symbols & Appearances
The Scythe, the Hour Glass, the Amethyst Skull, the Thorny Rose.
The Amethyst College bears the scythe as their symbol, for their business with the Wind of Shyish, and the grim aspect of death, hangs heavy about them. To be a practitioner of Death Magic is a weighty burden, for an Amethyst Wizard will never be entirely trusted by those around him.
The suspicious dread is only fuelled by the silent and sombre nature of Amethyst Wizards, who prefer to communicate with one another through means of telepathy, rather than speech, and whose little-used voices therefore have the dusty tones more suited to the long dead rather than the living.
Even other wizards, whose own oddities and habits are nothing short of peculiar to outsiders -- find something eminently distasteful about the morbid obsessions of Amethyst Wizards.[2a]
For this reason, the scythe is always portrayed as a scythe inverted, to represent a heavy burden propped against the ground. Occasionally, an Amethyst Wizard will carve a tomb with a pair of overlaid and reversed Shyish runes. Only a fool enters such a place, for this symbol warns of great evil slumbering therein and acts as a ward against its escape.[2a]
The colour of the robes worn by Amethyst Magisters is deepest purple, though many wear jet-black. Magisters of this Order often carry a razor-sharp scythe instead of a staff, yet this scythe is not of the unwieldy variety used for harvesting wheat, but is instead an elegant object designed for combat and as a symbol of the Magister's Order.
The belts of Shyish's Magisters are often hung about with bleached Human bones that symbolise the transience of life. These bones are sometimes carved with occult runes and the various emblems of their Order, like the hourglass and the thorny rose; symbols by which the people recognise them.
Regardless of how they looked when they joined the Order, the austerity of life in the Amethyst Order and the hours of study assure that all initiates become lean and pale before very long. All members of the Amethyst Order are clean-shaven from their scalps to their toes -- they are as hairless as bleached skeletons.
The Amethyst Order is among the most introverted of the Imperial Orders of Magic. After the Shadowmancers, the Brethren of Shyish are the most successfully secretive organisation in the Empire. This serves to increase the public's already considerable fear of Shyish's Magisters.
No other College can match the austerity, asceticism, and discipline of Shyish's Magisters, not even the Hierophants of the Order of Light. As Teclis impressed upon the first Magisters of this Order three centuries ago, their magic rests upon the line most easily crossed by short-lived Humans, a line that once crossed can only lead to darkness, suffering, and misery.
The Brethren of Shyish (as they call themselves) hold the power of life and death in their hands. With a gesture they can squeeze a man's heart inside his chest so that he dies of seemingly natural causes, or they can delay his death almost indefinitely. They can cause a man to wither and die in a matter of moments, and the greatest of them can even steal his soul and lock it away if they so please.
The most experienced Magisters of Shyish become minor avatars of the magical paradigm that they have embraced and so have no fear of endings and are completely fearless of growing old or dying. To the young and new Magisters of the Amethyst Order after the Great War, Teclis stressed the level of caution and responsibility with which they must practice their magic.
The more they would learn about the nature of death, the greater the control Shyish will grant them over it and the greater will be their temptation as short-lived Humans to delay or even escape their own inevitable end. As with any of the strands of Magic, embracing Shyish over a long period of time can extend a Magister's life considerably (in fact especially with Shyish), but still the temptation to turn to the Black Art of necromancy, intentionally or otherwise, is a distinct one for more inexperienced Magisters of Shyish.
So it was, and is, that the Amethyst Order is utterly ruthless towards any initiates who draw upon Dark or Black Magic. Whether they are corrupted or not by their action, they will be expelled from the Order as soon as their actions come to light, and then they will be obliterated so that not even dust remains.
Along with their extremely careful selection process for initiates and constant indoctrination and supervision of apprentices, it is very rare for a serving Amethyst Magister to go renegade. Four times in the last two centuries the Lord Magisters of the Order have banded together to hunt down and kill one of their colleagues. When these hunts were conducted they were done so in utter secrecy. No one knew or suspected what had happened; not the Witch Hunters and not even the Shadowmancers of the Grey Order.
Each time one of their Order turned traitor, the Lord Magisters of Shyish have pursued and persecuted them with unparalleled relentlessness and absolute intolerance. They covered all traces of the traitor's crimes, destroying his works and eradicating all memory of him.
Robbed graves were filled and buried before anyone could notice, mysterious deaths were blamed upon natural causes or common footpads, and the sudden death of houseplants, ivy and even moss across whole city quarters were blamed upon early frosts or some unknown parasite.
Whether the chase took days or years, none have escaped the combined wrath of the Lord Magisters of the Lore of Death.
Yet these measures are only fitting to the crimes they are designed to combat. Renegades from the Order of Shyish can become powerful in the arts of necromancy. Although spiritual corruption seems to represent the most obvious threat of Shyish's Magisters to those outside the Order, the greatest threat from the Magisters of the Amethyst Order comes from the threat of morbidity and madness.
While the Magisters of many Colleges have their eccentricities, the madness of an Amethyst Magister is a truly terrible thing -- and a more likely occurrence than moral or ideological corruption of an Amethyst Magister.
Though he is unsure and cannot prove anything, Magister Patriarch Reiner Starke of the Order of Shadows believes that the massive defensive counter strike from the Bright Order that destroyed the area around the Bright Order eighty years ago might in fact have been initiated by magic wielded in a confrontation between a deranged Amethyst Magister and the Lords of his Order.
Whether this can be proven or not is not Starke's interest, and besides, he would never speak his suspicions even if they could be proven. The Bright Order is proud and combative, and he suspects that the Order of Shyish is more deadly than even the Magisters of the other Colleges expect. He will do nothing to risk prompting a war amongst the Colleges. Altdorf would certainly not survive it.
Duties & Contracts
The Amethyst Order is expected only to garner Imperial armies with battle Magisters as and when the need arises. Local authorities and very wealthy families who live and operate around the land once known as Sylvania in northeastern Stirland often seek to employ Shyish's Magisters.
Such is the malignancy of that dying and Warp-dust saturated land that many people believe the dead rest uneasily in their graves there, and Vampires are said to stalk the night. True or not, the skills of the Amethyst Order are highly valued by the desperate, the paranoid, and the terrified, and the Magisters view it as their sacred duty to undo all the works of necromancy and Dark Magic.
The Amethyst College
The Amethyst College is a grim, sepulchral building that looks more like a necropolis than a center of higher learning. [3a][4a] The building is built out of dark stone in an elaborate gothic style. Windows and doors are in pointed arches, gargoyles and statues adorn the architecture, and narrow, balconied towers rise from the building. The door of the college is decorated with the symbols of death, and always stands open. Next to the door is a bell.[5b]
The building seems completely abandoned by the living. It seems like one never sees a wizard entering or leaving the building. Lights are never seen in the college’s windows at night, except for pale ghostly lights. [5b] Altdorfers generally try to avoid the college. Its proximity to the cemetery does make it suspicious, and rumors of unholy practices abound regarding the Amethyst order. [3a] However, if a citizen was brave enough to enter it, they would not find any signs of activities carried out by the Amethyst wizards. The interior smells musty and still, like an embalmed body. The floors, the furniture, the black and purple draperies, and the shrines to Morr that dot the halls are all covered in dust and cobwebs. No sign of life can be found. Above all, an eerie silence pervades the halls. [5b]
The only comings and goings from the colleges appear to be the enormous swarms of bats that leave the college’s towers every sunset, and the rats that are known by the sewer watch to enter and exit the cellars. [3a][5b]
In fact, there are two different “versions” of the college. One, seen by most, is completely abandoned. The other, visible only to those who have arcane knowledge of the Amethyst lore, is where the college’s activities take place. This one looks much like the mundane version, but is much less dusty, and living things (including wizards) are present in it. [5b]
The college includes offices for wizards. These are usually locked, and contain nameplates outside the doors. Beyond these are the wizards’ personal rooms. Oddly, Amethyst wizards like to keep pets, and furnish their rooms with living plants. Deep within the college are libraries, laboratories, and a dining hall. [5b]
If someone has a delivery for a wizard, they must ring the bell outside the door. They will be approached by the college’s steward. The steward, who appears in the mundane version will then bear the parcel or letter to the wizard. If someone has business in the college, the steward will fetch the wizard they have business with. The individual will not be able to enter the arcane version of the college until the wizard takes them. [5b] The college is located on a plot of land in northwest Altdorf overlooking the Cemetery of Old Altdorf. [3a][5a] Altdorf’s main temple of Morr is located just a few blocks away from the Amethyst college. People living in the area generally have a profession related to death and burial, and are considered somewhat eccentric. [5a]
Amethyst Magisters accept few Apprentices, and those wishing to learn Amethyst magic must pass stringent tests and make serious vows.
The Amethyst Order expects Apprentices to hand over all their worldly wealth and possessions upon joining the Order, including all rights to any future inheritance, at the time of entry into the College.
In some circumstances a new member may be allowed to keep certain possessions, but this is very rare as the College instills in its apprentices the idea that joining the Amethyst Order is, like death itself, a passage from an old life that must now be cast away and forgotten.
There are an inordinate number of ex-seminarians from the priesthood of Morr who have joined the Amethyst Order. It is not that uncommon among those who feel drawn to serve Morr that they may in fact have a particular sensitivity to the Purple Wind of Magic. When this happens, the would-be priests often see its churning energies descend upon their services and rituals, a process that priests lacking witchsight cannot, or do not wish to, explain.
Those that manifest signs of power not bestowed upon them by their god directly through prayer and ritual are deemed either to be cursed or unsuitable candidates for Morr's priesthood. Such rejected and disenchanted individuals often find themselves drawn to the sepulchre building of the Amethyst Order. If they heed this call, they are set upon an inevitable path that can rarely, if ever, be deviated from.
The teaching methods are apprentice-based, but other than this nothing is known of the internal workings of the Amethyst Order's system of education.
- Viggo Hexensohn - Magister Patriarch of the Order of Shyish.
- Gabrielle Marsner - Master Wizard still within her early twenties.
- Heinz Liebermann - Former Magister Patriarch of the Order of Shyish, murdered by the Cult of the Broken Wheel.
- Felip Iyrtu - Former Magister Patriarch, Iyrtu wrote A Defence Against Necromancy in 2415 IC.
- Elspeth von Draken -Von Draken is known as "The Dark Lady of Nuln", she is the Magisterix and arch-wizard of the Order of Shyish.
- Magdalena Thaurstein - 15 year journeyman wizard of the Order of Shyish.
- 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Realms of Sorcery (pg. 110-114).
- 2: Warhammer Fantasy: Storm of Magic
- 2a: pg. 41
- 3: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (7th Edition)
- 3a: pg. 28
- 4: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (8th Edition)
- 4a: pg. 19
- 5: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 4th ED -- Spires of Altdorf