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"Everything that lives is, to some degree or another, a tabernacle for the pure energies of magic, and each and every mortal creature is as much a vessel of magic energy as it is a generator of it. The greater the intelligence, emotive responses, and creativity of a species, the greater effect they have on the ebb and flow of this energy and the closer they are to its influence. Being as intelligent life has the closest ties to the Warp, the physical form of intelligent beings has the capacity to contain more of a Daemonic entity’s purpose and power than simpler forms of life, such as plants or livestock."
The Malefic Mallacarium[1a]
Possession

An Imperial noble possessed by a Daemon

Possession is the assumption of the physical form by some external agency. Hedge Wizards and Shamans sometimes dabble in Necromancy, conjuring up the spirits of the dead, or worse, allowing these disembodied beings to occupy their bodies so that they can channel thoughts and wishes of the departed with their living loved ones. There is a natural order of things: When a mortal dies, his spirit is let loose to Morr's Realm. Spiritualists and Necromancers disrupt this order to dabble in forces best left undisturbed.[1a]

While they sometimes can communicate with the dead, more often than not they deal with something far worse — a Daemon.[1a]

Involuntary Possession

Some mortals are born with a stronger connection to the supernatural. Of them, most are discovered by the Colleges of Magic and selected as Apprentices. A few discover their talents and develop magic use in a haphazard way, mostly through trial and error. But, the rest can go their entire lives never knowing what potential lies within them, what powers could be theirs to control with training and study. It is these whom the Daemons seek.[1a]

The reason for the attraction stems from their latent ability to deal with magic. Perhaps the subject can peer through the veil and see Ghosts. Maybe they can sense when a particularly strong magical wind blows or sense the manifestations of magic. In any event, this unconscious connection allows the Daemonic entity to breach the natural barriers and slip into the consciousness of the individual.[1a]

Of course, not all of the involuntarily possessed are systematically chosen by Daemons. Some might be sacrificial victims used by a Cult Magus to house an unruly spirit. Others could be ambitious Wizards who accidentally mishandle the sorcerous energies resulting in a brief, albeit disturbing, bout of Daemonic possession. But, in any event, the results are typically the same.[1a]

Daemons who force their way into a vessel never reveal their presence at first. If they did, the subject might reject them, as he is still strong enough to force the invader out of his body. Instead, the Daemon worms its way deep into the unconscious where it gently prods and pushes over the months to gradually corrupt its host’s mind and actions. For this reason, it’s harder to detect a possessing Daemon since the telltale marks of possession are slower to manifest.[1a]

There are occasions when the host discovers his is not the only set of thoughts rattling in his head. Normally, the victim’s sanity shatters, removing any barriers preventing the Daemon from assuming complete control over the host. The Daemon takes his time here, exquisitely dissecting the thoughts and memories, utterly devouring its victim’s consciousness.[1a]

Voluntary Possession

Unlike the occasional and incidental Daemonic possessions, there are some who invite entities to reside within them. Through profane ritual, they conjure the Daemon from the Realm of Chaos and trade their souls for it. Only the most desperate and evil individual would volunteer for such a fate, for Possession takes a terrible toll on both spirit and body.[1a]

Candidates for this blasphemy normally come from Cults. As established members, having been ushered into the secret purpose of the organisation, some Cultists believe it is their duty to serve their masters by allowing such an entity to invade their bodies. Others think, erroneously, such an act elevates them to equal footing with the Daemons. And some believe they can retain their personality and control the force within. In all cases, they are wrong.[1a][1b]

By accepting such a being, the mind is immediately devoured by the Daemon, who in turn assumes complete control. The fragments that remain of the host’s mind are tortured mercilessly for the duration. While the Daemon inhabits the body, it has no concern for the mortal flesh, abusing it as the Daemon likes. Worse, the raw energies twist and warp the victim, causing it to sprout horrid mutations. Such torments are finite, thankfully, since the human body cannot withstand possession by a Daemon for long. In time, the body collapses into muck, forcing the Daemon back into the Realm of Chaos. And, for the host, nothing remains.[1b]

The Signs of Possession

Once the Daemon destroys or corrupts its victim’s soul, it is free to do as it wishes. Henceforth, the Daemon warps and mutates the physical form, so that, in time, the host’s body resembles the Daemon’s true form. It’s important to note that, at first, a possessed mortal may appear no different than any other — at least to those who don’t know what to look for.[1b]

The Daemon hides within the mortal, concealing its presence from the host, at least for a time. The victim of possession, shortly after he picks up the entity, experiences strange sensations. He may feel a bit more hale and healthy, having magnified senses and an incredible appetite. He also sees things, odd bits out of the corner of his eye. He might see strange figures in the shadows, odd faces peering out of the clouds, or disgusting expressions on the people he sees. As the Daemon gains greater and greater influence, the mortal begins to see the entity when he looks in a mirror, though anyone around him sees just the expected, albeit haggard and with a horrified expression, visage.[1b]

The Templars of Sigmar, better known as Witch Hunters, follow a careful doctrine when identifying a mortal in the grips of Daemonic possession. Key signs include supernatural strength accompanied by fits and convulsions, extreme changes of personality, knowledge of future events or occult information, and the ability to understand and communicate in languages previously unknown to the host. There are other signals to look for, but they vary with the type of Daemon. Slaaneshi Daemons tend towards lewd and licentious behaviour, while Nurgle’s Daemons stink of death and decay. Khorne Daemons are extremely violent and prone to strange and excessive mood swings, while Tzeentch’s Daemons are cunning plotters, working nefarious plans that may take generations to reach fruition. Other signs can include strange markings under the flesh (usually spelling out the inverted name of one of the Gods), dilated eyes, spontaneous and violent vomiting, mutations, unholy appetites and cravings, and much more. In all of these circumstances, the Daemon is well in control of the host, and by the time these signs have emerged, there is little hope for the victim.[1b]

During the early stages of possession, especially in cases of accidental or forced Daemonic possession, the Daemon is reserved in its influence; thus, harder to detect through normal means. Though well hidden, all possessed react the same when confronted with the unholy sigils of the Ruinous Powers, breaking cover and acting out in their madness. The host cackles and screams, unleashing streams of blasphemous profanities.[1b]

Exorcism

Though possession is a terrible ordeal, those who house a Daemon in their bodies have little time to spare before the fiend devours their souls. But, all hope is not lost, for the Daemon can be expelled from its host through an exorcism. Exorcism as a practise has existed since the time of Sigmar, as recorded in the Book of Sigmar. When the mighty hero first crossed the Reik and discovered a man whose form contained a fiend, the wretch begged for help, claiming he had long suffered from unwelcome spirits. Sigmar called forth the Daemon, demanding its name. The Daemon could not resist and appeared before him, revealing itself to be a servant of Lanshor, known as Ll'hh'eeg'gae'ion'n. Sigmar attacked the vile creature, and it fled into the mountains. Sigmar followed for thirteen days and nights until he finally smote the creature, sending it screaming back to its hellish realm.[1b]

Priests and Templars of Sigmar follow the example first set forth by holy Sigmar and use the power of their God to free mortals from Daemonic clutches. The means for this act is through the ancient Ritual of Exorcism. When performed, the Exorcist calls upon the might of Sigmar to wrest control of the fiend and force it to act as the holy man demands. Since the creatures of Chaos cannot abide the presence of Sigmar, they must abide by the Exorcist’s commands.[1b]

The Ritual of Exorcism is known almost exclusively by Sigmarite Priests and Witch Hunters. A few Priestesses of Shallya have a Rite of Casting Out which functions similarly to the Sigmarite ritual. Though most can learn the methods and words required of the ritual, few have the resolve to face down Chaos in its most awful form. To be an Exorcist, one must be in peak physical health, no older than middle-age, and particularly dedicated to the faith. The methods of Chaos are many, and Daemons search out any weakness they can to defeat the holy followers of the Heldenhammer. Far too many would-be Exorcists have found themselves physically or psychically destroyed by the power of a Daemon.[1b]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Tome of Corruption
    • 1a: pg. 20
    • 1b: pg. 21

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