Magic is a big part of The Frontier, a kind of raw, intangible energy that permeates the world and a faction who harnesses it to the fullest extent are the witch clans. Feared, respected and worshiped (by some) in equal measure, the witch clans of The Frontier have their own internal politics and systems that have been built on centuries of tradition.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the types of witches to be found in the world, a couple of clan examples and what the lore surrounding them is.
What is a witch?
In the context of The Frontier, a witch is any kind of woman who’s been identified as having magical powers or working some kind of spell. Yet not everyone who is accused of a witch is one, as there’s a lot of superstition and prejudice.
In times of strife and uncertainty, it’s common for townsfolk to accuse others of witchery and when this happens there’s different ways to handle the situation. Some choose to handle it themselves, while others call in professionals like the Questers, who’ve made their living hunting and stopping real witches.
True witches (malefici in the language of the Questers) are born with the innate ability to wield magic, which manifests at a young age. Within the culture, all witches trace magic back to the first of their kind, Tenebria, a goddess of the group of deities that are worshipped in The Frontier and the sworn enemy of the God of the Underealm, Aegnius.
All witches have the potential to be immortal, in the sense that they can live for centuries and feed off their connection to magic. This makes them extremely hard to kill and the most common practice for stopping them is to trap their essence in specialised witch bottles, which was popularised by the Questers.
Other common abilities of a witch are the ability to flit i.e. fly and travel great distances, skin-walk in the body of animals and place curses on people. Certain clans e.g. the Cartwright clan, have a reputation for specific abilities and there are several types.
What are the types of witches on The Frontier?
Elementi – Witches with the ability to control the weather, create storms and have a mastery over other earth and vegetation etc. This particular class has several subcategories too:
Pyromancers – Witches with an exclusive focus on fire magic and are common in the eastern parts of The Frontier, where there’s an arid climate.
Aquamancers – Witches who favour water spells and living near rivers and in coastal regions.
Terramancers – Witches with a focus on earth-based magic and are common in mountainous regions.
Anium – Primitive, animal-like witches with bestial characteristics such as having the head of a bird or the head of a cat. Found in forests and are less prone to using magic than other types.
Swamp shaman – Reclusive, hermit-like witches who have turned away from society and live in isolated regions. Have a tendency to focus on herbs and natural remedies and may be used as a kind of village healer.
Amoriti – Witches who favour seduction, hexing and love magic. It’s common to find them in places of political power and intrigue.
Necroti – Witches who focus on death magic and prefer the company of the dead. Among the most reclusive witches on The Frontier.
Notable witch clans
Cartwright clan: Perhaps the most infamous witch clan in The Frontier. A group of powerful elementi, the Cartwrights have been a scourge on the land for decades and they have a specific ability to control werewolves and use them as attack dogs.
The Hammer of the Witches, Clay McNab, has a particular hatred for the Cartwright clan.
Myra clan: A proud clan of pyromancers, the Myras have a stronghold in the Eyra Desert in the eastern region of The Frontier. They live a nomadic lifestyle and are open to trading goods with humans when necessary.
Belson clan: The Belson clan are aquamancers with outposts along the coast of the West Sea. Are suspicious of outsiders and ruthless when it comes to protecting the sea and other forms of water and the wildlife within.
Dunavin clan: The Dunavins are a group of amoriti who are active across The Frontier and desire to control high society present within all the major cities.
Ghaist clan: The Ghaist clan is the collective name for all necroti witches and although rare to see them in groups, it does happen when they appear to deliver death rites and portents of doom.
What are witches vulnerable to?
All witches are vulnerable to the following factors:
- Silver: Silver binds witches and saps them of their connection to magic. Questers commonly use silver chains during their hunting of witches.
- Rowan: Witches are vulnerable to rowan through not being able to pass through areas where rowan trees are present. Rowan leaves are also useful for detecting a witch.
- Witch bottles: These are specially-designed runic bottles developed by the Questers. They act as prisons for the spirit of a witch and are activated by an incantation to pull the essence of a witch from their body and inside the bottle.
- Alcitium: A compound created by the Questers for interrogating witches and suppressing their magic.
You can find out more about the witches of The Frontier in AT THE DEAD OF DUSK. Order the novella today!