These next few worldbuilding posts will cover the origins of the different viral states — zombies, vampires, werewolves, plantsims, and witches. And some of the non-viral states, like servos. Aliens The fae and half-fae will definitely require their own separate post, and it’ll be a while before I get to genies and Bigfoots (Bigfeet?). The fae and half-fae will need their own post because I have a lot of ideas for them, and genies and Bigfeet I have, um, fewer ideas for. At this point in time. Plus I don’t know how I’d work a genie into the story. (Can we say deus ex machina, anyone?)
Anyway, this first post is short, because I managed to distract myself, and it’s almost 1:30 AM where I am. It’ll cover witches and servos. On we go!
The Origins of Witches
Though the Book of Wright, chapter 1, mentions witches as some of the last creatures the Lord Wright created when he created the world, witches and warlocks have been around for as long as the world of Albion has been in existence, since I created Albion after I installed AL for reasons unknown to all but the Lord Wright and the demigoddess Morgaine. Traces of witches and warlocks can be found in the earliest of recorded history, even in the Book of Wright itself — and not just in the “thou-shalt-not-suffer-a-witch-to-live” sections, either, but in other parts, even sometimes portrayed in a positive light.
The potential for witchcraft is inborn, a Sim either has it or does not have it. Legends state that all witches and wizards spring from two original “high witches,” one of the Path of Light and the other of the Path of Darkness. Some gossips even claim that Naomi Emrys was one of these original “high witches,” but that is, of course, ridiculous — she may be old, but she isn’t that old! (Or is she?) Witches and wizards begin to manifest their talents around the time of the onset of puberty, though astute observers can often see signs of magic developing in children much younger than that.
There are three Paths available to witches and wizards: the Path of Light, the Path of Darkness, and the Path of the Neutral Magics. Those who follow the Path of Light tend to focus their energies on life-creating magics, magics that cure illnesses, brighten moods, improve relations between Sims, etc. Those who follow the Path of Darkness focus their energies on magics of death and destruction. Spells to worsen moods, destroy relations between Sims, remove memories, even to raise the dead in zombified form. Followers of the Neutral Path can access limited spells in both the Light and Dark Paths. There are other spells that are available to all witches and wizards, no matter what Path they follow: spells to, for instance, clean the house and yard, spells and potions for birth control, cures for various viral states, spells to call familiars, even spells to freeze time. Of course, followers of the same Path cannot all access the same spells. There are differences in skill level as well as Paths, and different witches and wizards have different interests. One follower of the Path of Light might learn spells to, for instance, help plants grow for crops and various magical cures, while another might prefer to seek out spells that protect against misfortune or bring luck or love.
Currently in Albion, there are nine known* witches and warlocks. Six of these — Lady Morgan le Fay and her daughter Ravenna, Lady Morgause of Orkney and her children Sir Mordred and Lady Garnet of Orkney, and Princess Jessica Pendragon — are related, all ultimately getting their power from the Duchess Igraine, King Arthur’s mother. The other three — Merlin and Naomi Emrys and George Ferreira — have no blood relations in Albion who possess magical ability. Of the nine, five follow the Path of Light (Merlin and Naomi Emrys, Lady Morgan and Ravenna le Fay, Princess Jessica Pendragon); two follow the Path of Darkness (Lady Morgause and Sir Mordred Orkney); one follows the Neutral Path (Lady Garnet Orkney); and one, George Ferreira, has yet to begin his training and determine the path he will follow.
It is from witches and magic, though, that most of the other creatures of Albion and the surrounding environs — the servos, the zombies, the vampires and werewolves, even the plantsims. We’ll move next to one of the witches’ more obvious creations, the servos.
The Origins of Servos
Let’s face it: being a witch or wizard is hard work. You have potions to brew, spells to perform, reagents to make — and on top of all that, most witches and wizards have houses or apartments to clean, children to look after, dinner to cook … no one Sim can do it all on his or her own. Spouses, children and extended family are helpful — servants, if one can afford them, are even more helpful — but both have their drawbacks. Spouses, children and extended family generally have better things to do; servants are expensive and need feeding and keeping at the very least. Magical servants, though they can be summoned, are only available to witches and wizards who follow the Light path — and even in that case, they’re borderline useless, since they disappear as soon as the housework is done and need to be re-summoned, using up precious time, energy and reagents. With all this to contend with, what’s a poor overworked, overstressed witch or wizard to do?
Make a magical automaton and put all the housework in its hands, duh.
Chester of Gieke (a small town on the Glasonland-Gaul border) created the first servo some three hundred years before the founding of Albion. On top of being a wizard of the neutral path and thus shunned by his neighbors (except when they needed a magical solution to their problems), he was a bachelor and a very shy Sim. Rumor has it that he created the first servo as a female with which to share his life, even to marry! Whether he wanted a female companion or just someone to clean the dirty dishes, Chester’s creation was a masterstroke of genius. Not only could it cook, clean and fix things around the house, Chester’s creation did not age, did not grow sick, did not need to eat or sleep or wash itself. A few hours in the sun, first thing in the morning, would give it ample energy to work the rest of the day. There were some drawbacks to it, of course. It could not reproduce sexually, though Chester’s creation and all subsequent servos possess the magical knowledge necessary to produce another servo, provided they have the necessary skill in smithcraft. Water caused an unfortunate reaction with the spells that went into the servo’s creation, causing it to “run amok,” sending jolts of magic into all sorts of unsuspecting passers-by. Chester was still trying to iron out that last kink when he died at the ripe old age of seventy-three — fifty years after he had first created the servo. His servo was able to hand over blueprints and such to other witches and wizards seeking the knowledge to build their own magical companions, and from those first experimenters, the knowledge of servo creation spread far and wide.
Though there are rumors that servos have gone through many different appearances, most servos are created by bespelling a suit of armor into life. The spell works in two parts. The first part endows the servo with consciousness, a willingness to work, and certain key skills — skills in cooking, skills in fixing things, skills in cleaning. The second spell is the “activation” spell. This is a particularly ingenious bit of work, for activation can be accomplished by anyone, even the most non-magical person in the Sim world. Upon activation — which, for the activator, consists of no more than pushing a button — the servo takes the personality, life goals, and skills of its activator, though not necessarily the activator’s gender. After that, there’s no learning curve. The servo is ready and willing to work and slave away while the creator or activator sits back and either eats bon-bons or sips those little umbrella drinks.
Creating a servo, though, is hard work. It takes a witch or wizard of the highest skill to accomplish it, and on top of that, the witch or wizard must possess a certain amount of skill in smith-craft to create the body of the servo — a pile of regular old armor just won’t cut it. As such, servos are quite expensive and thus are only available to the highest and wealthiest members of society (that is, among the non-magical; witches and wizards who can scrape together the cash to buy the metal to make the armor can create their own servo at any time). Furthermore, owing to the clandestine nature of magic in most other countries, servos are even rarer thereby — very few people are willing to take the risk of being this obvious about either using or patronizing those who use magic.
In Albion, there is currently one servo, Ambrosius, the steward of King Arthur. He was given to the King by Merlin Emrys in order to help convince the King to allow him to open up a magical school within Albion’s borders. (It worked.) Ambrosius has created, but not activated, two other servos. They will be given to Princess Jessica and Prince Kay upon their marriages/when they move out of the house.
*Some of these witches and wizards have children who may or may not be witches or wizards, but who are too young for their powers to show (i.e. Agravaine and Mordred’s brood.) Also, there are rumors of witches and wizards among the natives of Albion (i.e. the townies), but they have yet to show themselves in any concrete way …