The most obvious trait of Oscuri are the network of green, ordinarily faded, circuits trailing across their skin. Oscuri's mana circuits are altered to process mana differently than other races in Eternia, causing it to be visible by the naked human eye- In a form known as rieka. A powerful, concentrated form of mana, Oscuri are able to sense other rieka users around themselves instinctively; This sense was intended to bid even the most frenzied Oscuri to direct their assaults towards the enemy in the midst of a bloodied battlefield. Powers wielded by Oscuri are not subtle- Any form of casting causes their rieka to circulate in vivid, bright patterns along their leylines. Oscuri were often more inclined to advanced mana sense in general, for differentiating and assessing targets easily.
Their altered mana, while it has benefits, does come with side-effects which are considered beneficial among Oscuri. Oscuri naturally crave violence from a young age, far more than humans do. They become frustrated if they are unable to battle, and will often lose themselves to these emotions. Oscuri can reach almost untold adrenaline highs, with combat and conflict acting like drugs- Many are berserkers. It is unheard of for an Oscuri to not enjoy violence. Oscuri have an inherent bent towards depravity, and an innate resistance to the ill effects.
Oscuri are born with a natural affinity for darkness or light magic. Oscuri do not feel uneasy around magi of the opposing alignment of mana, having been crafted to work together with ease. The majority of Oscuri tend to develop the former. In addition to this, they are able to wield their rieka with great ease in comparison to how humans struggle to learn magic (only 2% of humans are Magi, whereas 20% of Oscuri are Magi). Their rieka also tends to give them visions of Azrael and the Divine War that occurred, consistently showing them the massive battles of the past, and further encouraging their lust for blood.
Oscuri powers are a symbolic variant of energy magic associated with worship and devotion to Azrael- Ceasing to venerate him therefore inhibits the casting of these powers. While not widely known, oscuri that recant their faith also find that due to their weakened rieka, children they might bear tend to be stillborn or non-oscuri, a failsafe by Azrael to prevent splinter sects.
Children of Oscuri inherit these traits. There is no such thing as a 'half-Oscuri'; Even if Oscuri mate with non-Oscuri, the child will be born as one as well. Rieka overpowers mana, resulting in Oscuri regardless of blood purity. This removes the blessings of the spirits, such as Drakanites - Rieka always overpowers these and is completely incompatible, regardless of how slight the ancestry is. This trait aided in the recovery of the Oscuri race from multiple chain of events that had led to their near-extinctions.
As far as weight, height, hair color, and eye color goes, they are the same as humans, with great variation from the first generation's recruited origins. Their upbringing, which often involves heavy physical training, tends to result in a more muscular physique however.
The Oscuri did possess some unique cultural traits- Holdovers from all committing to the same faith and serving together under Azrael, despite the extreme variety of the humans enlisted.
Weddings between Oscuri would only be conducted with human sacrifice to be considered official in the eyes of Azrael. High ranking Oscuri were known to sacrifice dozens of humans throughout their wedding, paying tribute to Azrael. The two getting married will exchange items, such as rings, to present their partnership from that day after.
Nonetheless, wedding ordinary humans was considered different. For the most part, while there was no stigma to doing so, wedding a human required a rite of bloodletting, and was much simpler. Oscuri would often 'wed' several humans in the long past as temporary captives and slaves during the war to avert ideas of bastardy, in order to sire more children or sate lusts. Generally, to ideally wed a human as an equal, an Oscuri would do the same honour they would for another Oscuri.
The Hierarchy of Oscuri is decided by power alone. An Oscuri is able to challenge higher ranking members of their order, and if they defeat them, the Oscuri then ascends to the defeated person's rank. Law disputes are also handled through trial by combat. It is also not illegal to murder in Oscuri culture, as long as the Vindicators approve of the battle. The Vindicators are the Oscuri's top warriors, second only to the Oscuri High Priest.
As a formerly religious sect rather than a race, even if power is the only factor, respect was considered tantamount to one's betters- Under the understanding that if words displeased, tongues could be lost. Their organization was always very militarial in nature, with their purpose of war.
Though, in modern day New Alteros, formerly known as Byson, the Oscuri have developed a twist in said hierarchy. Combined with monarchy, members of house Kyros, the reigning monarchy house, are to duel against one another, and the one whom rises to claim victory earns the crown of the kingdom.
The religion Oscuri follow is known as 'Mortem Azrael'. It was founded shortly before their creation, and is mostly focused around humanity's ascension past what Azrael considers to be a highly flawed world. A summary of the contents:
In the preface, Azrael details how he and the other Angels were betrayed by Kraus. That they were enticed by the promise of a much better world, only to discover it was as flawed as Atmos. Azrael explains how he feels the world will suffer a similar fate to Atmos if humans do not take control of their destiny and strive towards preventing what he considers to be doomsday. He writes how evil is created by a fear of death, and that humans only kill to survive, due to a lack of resources for a growing population.
This includes information on how to further magical prowess through conquering the mind and taking advantage of carnal desires, such as violence. Azrael explains how humans will always stray towards violence from what he's seen, and that it is without a doubt the most powerful weapon they possess. However, he does write that he detests this aspect of humanity, regardless of its strength -- but that it's needed to create a better Eternia.
He writes how all Oscuri must follow him if they wish to become immortal. That only he has the power to provide physical immortality for all of humanity, and that the gateway is death. After a human loses their body and releases their souls, Azrael is able to craft a new one, placing them in a much better shell than the temporary bodies he considers lesser. An Oscuri's role is to become strong and to then kill and sacrifice in his name, so that Azrael can revive all and put an end to mortality.
In the event that Azrael is destroyed, he has a contingency section written out that instructs Oscuri to never give up. He is an Angel and his soul is immortal, able to regenerate its body -- and as long as he exists, he can return. Azrael writes that regardless of his fate, there is an eternity to ensure this plan ends with success. He believes that the future generations will seek the flaws with Kraus's design and seek out his revival in case of death.
Role in the Divine WarEdit
The Oscuri acted as Azrael's personal army during the war, and killed tens of thousands of humans during their years of combat. They were created with the sole purpose of killing as many humans as possible, and they were engineered for just that task.
One, out of the many Oscuri legions of the past, was defeated by a group of Angels in Valmasia, who cast a powerful spell that locked them in time for several centuries. After re-emerging, the Oscuri played havoc on the country of Valmasia, until eventually being beaten and almost wiped out by Uriel Melym. Nearly all of the Oscuri in Valmasia today are descended from the Oscuri legion, with a few turned Oscuri through the Chalice.
Alteros was quickly established as one of the primary grounds of Oscuri power.
Served Eline loyally to her death. Instrumental in raising the Empress to power, Vindicators enacting the capture of Byson with Consort Hakim Najeer aiding, and assisting Umbra with the taking of Nostvale.
Entered into conflict with Nostvale. Wholly successful, killed King Biorr. Infighting thereafter weakened Alteros for retaliation by Uriel Melym threatened to wipe out the Oscuri, killed those capable of fighting back and enslaved the rest.
New Alteros, formerly Byson, is the primary ground of death's chosen as of 970AC.
Notable Oscuri Edit
Several Oscuri are notorious for their role in Valmasian history, particularly the first generation.
The original foremost leader of the Oscuri by trial by combat, Qaelthan was the original lord of Alteros under the title of Vindicator. An affable but ruthless man, he practiced torture as a hobby, having an afficionado's taste for poisons and similar concoctions, he was one of the prime occultists in Valmasia following the Empress' death. He ruled Alteros with an iron fist before his abdication before Danarium's wrath fell, a heavy proponent of slavery, which ended up in the irony of the Oscuri's utter thralldom post the fall of Alteros.
He was notable for his connections for the former kings of the east, Xezbeth Eutrice of Tilandre and Eurus Avharain of Byson. During his later years after the fall of Alteros, he served in the Aegis Historia, a fact not openly advertised ordinarily.
Soul transferred into a new body, Qaelthan was the longest living Vindicator- Reaching a lifespan of 137 years. He was killed in the rebellion that overthrew Empress Aria Hirano in the year 836 at the hands of Erhard Nevin.
Vindicator Armadyl SareenEdit
An occultist and illusionist known for manic, erratic, and chaotic behavior, Armadyl was best recorded for his actions in the service of the Empress. Having taken part in the siege on Nostvale, and taken captive the fleeing princess, Lailah Melym by defeating a whole troop of Duratus. Aided in the retrieval of the notable oscuri artifact, the Ear of Azrael, along with Sai'zeal Ashting. He rarely appeared without some form of trick in play, such as duplicating images of himself.
The first of the Vindicators to fall, he was found assassinated outside of Nostvale. Revived by the doppleganger of Namarre, he bequeathed his surname unto it- His second death saw him sealed within a blade once more, in the year 836 at the hands of Ulrik Ulfdyrson.
Vindicator Sai'zeal AshtingEdit
One of the original Vindicators, and the last of the Vindicators to have perished. He was the lead general of the siege on Byson, and orchestrated it's fall. Having been the holder of the Ear of Azrael, he was in charge of one of the most sacred holy relics of Azrael after assisting in it's recovery. He forged his own sword from the bones of the Elder Dragon, Pythagore the Everlasting, to create The Dragonsbane.
He perished during the Plague War at Alteros, having left Valmasia's mainland prior to it's initial fall, in the year 777 AC to a Nivisman.
Vindicator Dyon AschenEdit
The eldest of the original Vindicators, Dyon Aschen was originally unwilling to follow the commands of Eline Sakete, although this stance was recanted following ostensible instructions from the Ear. He took part in the assault on Byson, losing his eye in the final stages of the battle. He wielded the oscuri artifact, the dual twohanded axe, Caladbolg in combat with fluidity and power.
Serving Alteros and Azrael to the very end, he was killed in a fight with future Danarite king, Seraphiel Melym II, falling in combat; collapsing a whole tower with his demise.
Vindicator Namarre SaketeEdit
While notable for many acts, as an Oscuri, Namarre claimed the title of Vindicator as Qaelthan's apprentice in the time period folllowing Alteros' fall and the dissolvement of the title of Vindicator with the enslavement of the majority of the Oscuri. Having had taken the title first during her reign in Nostvale following the defeat of Sariel Melym and Gene Caitiff, and once more following the defeat of Hayliel and Ouriel Melym, she was relatively well known for her actions in taking Alteros for the Oscuri for as long as it lasted; For more information, see Namarre Sakete.
She was exiled in the year 788 AC, after a verdict in 785. She is presumed dead.
Vindicator Korrin Sakete Edit
Following the exile of his mother and the abandonment of the newly-rebuilt Alteros by then-Vindicator Azeil Vindictus, Korrin claimed the title of Vindicator after fighting every other living oscuri for the title. During his time as Vindicator he raised the shattered oscuri people from less than a hundred broken slaves to a thousand proud warriors in Alteros alone, and helped shape for them a place of power once again. For more information on his life, see Korrin Sakete.
He died defending Alteros from the Genocide Machine of Kokb'ael Kzer-za, ensuring its destruction at the cost of his own life.