Posts tagged essay
Posts tagged essay
I just drew a right laugh from that. Muggles with wands? I can only imagine the fool who started that trend. I suppose I should be grateful that they can’t effectively use them, I’d hate to think of the bumbling, floor-crawling fools ascending to our level.
To think about it, perish that thought. It is impossible. We fly, while they will continue to crawl. Even this old snake has wings.
Evidently, a good lot of them call themselves “Wiccan” and even refer to themselves as Witches.
The bloody nerve…
On the one hand, I find it intensely entertaining.
On the other, quite insulting.
Speaking of wings, I hadn’t even thought to resume practise on certain areas of transfiguration. Best that I don’t for awhile, I think. I’d hate for that to go wrong.
I don’t remember who, no. I’ve taken no precautions against forgetting the man entirely.
A trophy indeed, though not the sort I would mount on my wall (at least, not in these warm, fluffy muggle-hugging times). I actually keep the thing in a box in my desk drawer; it often serves as a muse.
I’ve seen Muggles with wands, as of late. Obviously, they’re not proper wands (ornate, overpriced sticks might be more apt) and they don’t do anything, but really.
Inspiration I tend to draw from the oddest of sources; I find it helpful to look back on past failures, whether they’re my own or the spectacular, very public failure of, shall we say, others and make note so I, with a bit of luck and more than a bit of skill, do not end up dead before I intend to end up dead.
Winning is everything. Good show.
How utterly Slytherin of you.
Never forget it. Though, As you mention it, the only memento I have of…then… is a broken wand from an unfortunate soul I stood too close to in a moment of his…displeasure. I fail to remember if you were there or not. To this day, I have no idea why I scooped the thing up like a common vulture, but I’ve kept it without hesitation since.
Ah, I remember that, yes. Unpleasant, and I don’t think I’ve ever found carpet patterning to be so intensely interesting. Do you remember whose it was? Rhetorical, I can’t imagine you do; it was always best to forget those who fell to that degree.
Quite frankly, I’d consider it a trophy at this point.
Winning is everything. Good show.
How utterly Slytherin of you.
Damn you for making me remember the old days. Have I told you? I know you’re polite enough never to bring it up (you do a damn good job of pretending not to notice), but I usually avoid any mention of my little memento of those times. I’ve been fixated on it lately. I find it odd, but somewhat comforting. Your thoughts?
I haven’t quite been fixated on that (No more than I ever am, at any rate. I still get a bit of a jolt if that particular area ever so much as itches. I suspect that reaction will never entirely leave me.), but I do wish I hadn’t sent a couple of my originals off to the Catwitch.
If nothing else, it’s a reminder that at least one person is currently worse off than you.
While I may be battered, a bit wobbly, and knocked temporarily off kilter, I’m still alive.
I’m fairly certain that that means I win.
Both! Yes, for the love of Salem. I was trying to be accommodating in light of your current circumstances. If you can make both nights that would be splendid. I do so need to indulge myself a bit with reason and company enough to employ discretion. I admit that I have indeed had a couple of bad nights at home, hence my silence (My stocks are near depleted, I shall have to go make a rounds for more soon).
I daresay, as terrifying as it is, ‘baiting the reaper’ as you so affectionately coin it provides a thrill that I haven’t experienced in years.
I’m beyond the point of needing accommodations; at the moment, I’m simply accommodating my mother who, I suspect, is more worried about me than I am. I do find that somewhat amusing, considering the aspirations she once held and still brings up.
If I mend, I mend.
If I do not, I cope like the adult I am. No worries, you’ll not hear any angsty whinging from me, even over drinks. I am not, and have not been for some time, an idiot teenager. Whatever end meets me will be of my own doing, as will anything I run into (or through) along the way.
And that thrill is exactly why I continue; I never feel quite so alive as I do when I’m tempting Death directly.
I do hate to think what I’ll need to resort to if that ever starts to lose its lustre.
Aye, so be it. Don’t hesitate to bring me along if you decide to return to it.
Aside from that, do you think you can get an hour away to visit the pub on Thursday or Friday evening? It’s been some time, and I suspect for old fools like us that may be effective therapy.
I’m unfurling some parchment to begin writing at the moment.
I’m not entirely sure if I consider it an addiction or if it’s simply the same curiosity I’ve had throughout my entire life; while I may not return to that spell specifically, make no mistake: I’ve no intentions of straying, simply—proceeding with a bit more caution. While I do enjoy baiting the Reaper, I’m not yet ready to allow him to catch me. Tricky bastard got a little too close for my liking this last time.
As to this weekend: Why Thursday or Friday? Could it not be both?
On this one, I find myself torn as to whether to go into great detail or whether or not to keep things succinct. As I have not yet decided at the time of starting, we shall see how things go.
My associate and I decided that it would…
Well written. I have been trying for the longest while to write up my own reaction to the events, but my hand stills each time. Forgive the delay, my old friend, but I require perhaps another week before I can objectively provide you with that information.
On a Lighter note, I hope things are well at home.
I have my wand back, if nothing else. I expect to go back to my own home by this weekend, regardless of whether or not they wish me to stay.
An odd note on your attempts to write: I find it passes quickly once one starts. I’m not entirely sure if that’s simply how I cope and/or rationalise, but the more I reduce it to pure, cold academics, the less and less it bothers me.
Of course, that could simply be how such things work, how they weed out the ‘unworthy’, as it were: Frighten them half to death. If they’ve got the stones to continue, they always return, otherwise they’re reduced to something akin to rubble.
I think, for the time being, any return (as it were) will be done quite cautiously.
On this one, I find myself torn as to whether to go into great detail or whether or not to keep things succinct. As I have not yet decided at the time of starting, we shall see how things go.
My associate and I decided that it would do well for purposes of research to attempt the curse on a living being. Fear not, however, nothing sentient or Ministry regulated was chosen: We simply used a common, garden variety rat.
It is with that that the conclusion presents itself at the beginning: I do not know what sort of twisted creature could manage this curse on a sentient being but, perhaps, that is my own weakness presenting itself. For obvious reasons, testing on a sentient being is both ill advised, illegal and, if I am being entirely honest, not something I would even wish upon even the worst among Wizarding sorts.
There are theories, and I apologise for the digression, on the topic of soul splitting, as well as few examples in history as to what it entails and what its effects and after effects are. While I do not believe the effects of nihilus on the caster, when the target is a living being (and therefore contains a soul or spirit of some sort) are the same or, to be perfectly frank, even on the same level, they are, in a way, similar.
I will not go into detail the effects of the curse on the caster on an inanimate object: Those were detailed clearly in previous writings.
On a living object, the spell’s effects are markedly different. At the onset, it appears identical to casting on an inanimate object, however, once the curse begins to take effect there is a pervasive and all consuming presence of terror. It is exceedingly difficult, even in the case of using a small, non-sentient animal as a target, to maintain focus. It is, to that end, difficult for an observer to refrain from attempting to intervene. My associate likely thought I was not paying attention to my surroundings (or was unable to do so) when, in fact, I was. I will state for the record that, in the case of someone who is extremely far gone in the aspect of ‘humanity’ may not feel the same effects.
I can only give my personal experiences with the curse, and as I am or, at the very least, was, relatively undamaged prior, it is possible that I felt the effects more keenly than one more, shall we say, seasoned, may feel. Aside from the pervasive, almost all-consuming fear, the slight “tug” mentioned in previous writings was not present. That is not to say it was gone or even minimised, quite the contrary: It was amplified exponentially to the point of feeling as though one was not being torn apart so much as shredded. If the ritual to create a horcrux, in theory, tears one apart nihilus shreds in the same way that one might create paper streamers or, getting away from paper analogies, causes things to become tattered or frayed. One is not broken by nihilus as one would be if one were creating a horcrux, but there is significant damage done.
From what I can recall and, from what my associate has told me, the initial response varies from fear to regret to violence, not always in that particular order. To that end, after I had collected the resulting dust from the poor, departed rat, the idea of anyone being near me caused a violent fear-response. I do not know why, entirely, as my associate was not at all a threat to me, nor I to him (or so I thought). While he did not move to approach me, his verbal suggestion that we leave was enough to tear me from my thoughts and cause a response that, unfortuantely, resulted in an almost reflexive casting of the killing curse. I, quite thankfully, had very poor aim due to numerous factors (all of which stemmed from what I had just witnessed), and missed him by a good degree. The spell, however, was accurate in its intent and delivery, it just happened on hit the ground in front of him. Though I immediately apparated out of the area and did not see his reaction, he was kind enough to tell me that he had a similar reaction to the first living, and curious, creature that he encountered.
My associate had a dog. A dog that had been rightfully concerned when its Master returned home in a bit of a state. Unfortuately for the dog, its Master’s reaction was the same as mine had been: A defensive fear-based killing curse, and that was merely from witnessing the effects of a nihilus on another living creature.
I do not know if there is a rational response behind that reaction, and I suspect that there is not. It seemed an irrational response to an irrational level of unnecessary destruction; lashing out for lack of any other method of coping or dealing with what was just witnessed. This was not simply the death of vermin. I have seen others die, having lived through two Wizarding wars in my lifetime, but the death granted by the killing curse is simply that: Death. The forced removal of the soul from the body. A spirit is able to move on, as it were, in the aftermath of a killing curse.
Nihilus does not grant that same mercy.
Nihilus destroys the body, mind, and soul, as I have previously written.
It also seems, after further experimentation, that it has a slower, more pervasive effect on the caster. While it cannot rebound and consume if properly controlled, it can slowly decay, tatter, and, it is very likely, eventually partially consume the one who wields it to the point that they would scarcely be considered human. That, of course, makes the presumption that the caster does not go mad before it reaches that point.
As I wrote to my associate the morning after: Nothing is capable of destroying me.
Any research beyond theory on this particular curse is at an end.
Prior, I had written that I had no experience in casting the curse Nihilus. As a preface before I begin committing new information to paper, I would like to make it exceptionally, crystal clear that none of what you are about to read was attempted on anything that had been, at any time living, sentient or human. The target was a dummy constructed out of a combination of magic and debris, and was not, in any way, alive.
An associate of mine was kind enough to construct the dummy-target for purposes of seeing the effect of this curse on something roughly the size of a human, as the original intent of the curse was to destroy another person, body, mind, and soul. Quite obviously, I was only able (or willing) to test this on the ‘body’ portion of what amounted to little more than a replica.
Size of the target, however, does play some role of importance: The larger the target to be destroyed, the more powerful the Witch or Wizard required to make it successful. This stands to reason as the spell is physically destructive in nature, and is tightly controlled and directed by the caster behind it.
It is not a consuming spell in the way a fiendfyre would be considered consuming, and it will not go wildly out of control if control by the caster is somehow lost. It will, instead, simply rebound and consume the one who was too weak to control it properly. Again, this is fitting behavior when one considers the base nature and intent of the curse.
The preparation leading up to the actual casting takes a bit of time; in my case, roughly an hour or so. It would, perhaps, take a bit longer in the case of an actual living target but, as previously mentioned, that cannot be tested unless one wishes to spend the remainder of one’s life in Azkaban. Preparation consists primarily of systematically clearing one’s mind and emotions of anything not having to do with the curse itself; by the time of the actual casting, the only thing on one’s mind should be a clear vision of the structure of the spell, intent to completely and utterly destroy the chosen target, and concentration on the curse itself bringing about that end.
In terms of the word, nihilus, I find it difficult to speak as anything other than a sharp whisper or hiss; there are simply too many ‘soft’ sounds in it to do it otherwise and keep one’s mind focused. Spitting the word like an angry serpent, for lack of a better way of phrasing it, simply makes it feel natural.
The wand motion is complex and sutble; from an outside view, it may appear as though the caster’s hand is simply trembling, but this is an illusion. The series of movements are small and practised, and if one is at a point where one can successfully master the curse, they will come as second nature. While the diagram below may appear as though it requires a bit of flourish, doing so does nothing but hinder concentration. Done correctly, it will scarecly seem as though your wand is doing anything more than trembling in your hand.
Initially, and visually, there is nothing immediately following the incantation. Within a fraction of a second, the caster should feel a rather vicious tug. Having no prior experience in the matter, I am disinclined to say it feels like something tearing at one’s ‘soul’, as that sounds only mildly paranoid, however that is the distinct impression with which it left me. This first stage is quite critical, as any faltering on the mental state of the caster will simply cause the curse to consume him or her. Obviously, I came through it unscathed as I am still here to put this all to paper.
The second stage of the curse is visual. It initially manifests itself as a faint, violet light that, unlike other spells, does not begin at the tip of one’s wand. Instead, it appears to almost slither out from the base, working its way around the length of the wand and pooling at the tip. The light it casts, in addition to being violet, appears almost as tendrils or vines. The caster, at this point, will still feel as though they’re being pulled at to a degree; it appears to be almost an attempt at distraction, but that would mean that the magic itself holds some degree of sentience which is, of course, not possible.
Once the tendrils of energy have all reached the end of the caster’s wand, there is a brief pause followed by a jet of light in the same, faint, sickly violet.
The target then finds itself surrounded by larger versions of the tendrils that had previously graced the caster’s wand; rebound is still very possible at this point, though it is not ‘quick’, so much as it appears to be an attempt. During my own cast, several tendrils ceased to wrap around my target and instead coiled back toward me. Fortunately, I noticed this very distinctly. Having anticipated the possibility prior, I did not give in to fear of complete destriction, and simply (but quite firmly) directed them back to their proper target. It should be noted that, beyond the incantation, no part of this curse is verbal. Any ‘direction’ of the spell must come directly from the will of the caster. Speaking would break concentration and cause a rebound effect.
Though it seemed to take much longer than the couple of seconds in reality, once the tendrils have taken a ‘feel’ for the size and depth of what they are to destroy, they simply collapse in on the target and extinguish both it and themselves. Outwardly, this manifests in the violet light dissipating, a sharp crack (which sounds a bit like that that accompanies apparition) and a rush of air. What is left looks to be nothing more than a pile of ash.
Should one deign to touch the remains, one would notice that it feels like nothing when run between the fingers. Obviously, one can see the dust, but it is so fine in nature that it is difficult to feel. Even the slightest movement of air scatters it entirely.
I hestitate to write about the aftermath to the caster as it is entirely possible that what I felt is simply due to the magic in question being unfamiliar to me, however, for purposes of documentation I will note it.
Mental exhaustion. I do not know if it was fear, euphoria at success, or sheer strength of will that kept me from collapsing on the spot. I felt as though I had not slept for days and had all of the energy and life simply sucked out of me with the spell itself. None of this, however, took away from the dizzying ‘high’ that magic of this nature tends to produce. That, on consideration, may have been the force that kept me conscious for the rest of that particular evening. I did note that I was not confident in my ability to apparate over long distances and had to resort to side-along apparition, which my associate was kind enough to provide with minimal jokes made at my expense.
Though I did waste an entire Sunday sleeping on and off, it should be noted that any negative side effects to the caster (barring rebound which is, of course, lethal) are temporary and fleeting. With continued use, it is likely they would cease to manifest altogether.
Timeo, depending on the skill and intent of the caster behind it, is capable of causing anything ranging from a vague, almost imperceptible feeling of unease to a shrieking panic, to actually being able to incapacitate the target, leaving them paralysed with fear and at the mercy of ‘demons’ only they are capable of seeing.
The spell, as far as I have been able to find in looking over regulation, is not forbidden simply due to the fact that it is so rarely used in its more potentially dangerous forms that it has been all but forgotten in terms of being a spell that is capable of causing significant damage to its target.
On its surface, timeo seems rather harmless; weaker variations of it are still occasionally used in the construction of Muggle repelling charms and wards, and are used in non-specific ‘warning’ wards now and again and, in the collective conscious of the Wizarding world, is viewed as a helpful bit of magic and little more. The intent, in these cases, holds no malice or no will to dominate or terrify, and the spell itself is rendered little more than a harmless warding charm, which leaves use of the spell largely unregulated by the Ministry at present.
Below the surface, however, is where timeo becomes intensely interesting.
The spell itself has been used, in the past, as a form of psychological torture.
Unlike the teratio, mensrapere, and carna corruptis, there is no record of timeo having ever been used as an officially sanctioned Ministry interrogation tactic. All records of use of the charm to that end come from speculation, anecdote or in fragmented hints from old history scrolls. While these could certainly be fabricated or embellishment to explain away legitimate, non-magical fear reactions or simply for good story telling, my own experimentation with timeo (not, of course, used on Muggles, Witches or Wizards) suggests otherwise and seems to corroborate historical anecdotal evidence that the charm can quite easily be used as a form of torture so long as the intent behind it is, in fact, crystal clear. To that end, it does not need to be used in a single, violent burst of terror, as one might initially assume, but can be used over time (and at significantly lower levels) to simply drive the victim mad with a never ending sense of dread during every waking and sleeping moment.
At the onset, that would seem ineffective and, indeed, it is a slow method of driving someone to madness, though if the intent of the caster is to induce a gradual, difficult to discover decline in a victim’s mental faculties, it could prove quite useful.
Of course, it can be used to simply destroy a victim’s psyche by subjecting them to intense bouts of terror but, as with most things, one would need to be quite skilled with the charm, have the clear intent, and have the will behind it to push the charm to that level.
Timeo has the added advantage of being overlooked in cases such as the above, as there are no reliable records of it ever being used in such a fashion. While it is a commonly used charm, it is commonly overlooked by Aurors and Cursebreakers due to its perceived harmless nature.
For my own testing purposes, I used a particularly bothersome Niffler that steadfastly refused to remove itself or remain removed from my garden. I do not know if the creature is still alive, though I do know that it no longer bothers my home or garden, and I no longer “misplace” shiny objects.
As indicated in my past writings, I have saved my favorite (as it were) of the lesser known and still grossly misnamed “Unforgivables” for last.
This particular curse has never seen heavy or widespread use for reasons which I will detail further down the page, however, in the hands of a sufficiently skilled, sufficiently powerful Wizard or Witch it is simply terrifying.
Other curses produce viciously painful side effects, destroy minds and bodies or end life, but these things are superficial, as cold as that may sound; none of the other Unforgivables touch the very essence of the victim. Even other spells that leave the body a broken husk or even reduce it to little more than liquid or bone do not cause damage to the soul of the victim. I will not go in to whether or not they damage the soul of the caster, as that is pure speculation and generally a used as a scare tactic to keep children from even expressing an interest in knowing how such things work.
The final of the four spells is named as it is cast: Nihilus.
Etymology alone gives a clear indication as to what the curse is, though for sake of saving guesswork, it is colloquially known as “the nothing curse”. Nihilus appears, on the surface, to be a simple, straight forward incantation, however the spell behind the incantation requires a good bit of lengthy preparation prior to casting and requires absolute, unwavering mental control. The curse does nearly exactly what its name would indicate: It reduces the target, be it a living creature, stone, or simply an object, to a particulate dust. Nothing remains. Whatever has been targeted for destruction by the caster is obliterated down to its very essence which, in the case of living creatures, also includes complete destruction of the soul.
Nihilus' resulting death is true death; the victim does not “move on”, cannot return as a ghost, and cannot be resurrected. The person’s entire being, body, mind and soul, is simply consumed and removed from all existence.
There is no block for Nihilus, it does not require line of sight, and it will pass through and, in the case of a sufficiently powerful caster, obliterate objects or other creatures in its path; the only “block” that could be speculated upon would revolve around the interruption of the caster. This, however, is unlikely if the caster is practised in this particular curse as the unwavering control and preparation that is required to simply make it function indicates strongly that the one casting the curse is not one that can be easily distracted or who will easily lose control of a situation. Death of the caster is the only certain way to stop Nihilus, and even then it is only effective if the caster is killed before the curse is cast.
While I am certain, at this point, at least a few readers have had their interest piqued, I am afraid I’ll need to rain on the proverbial parade and go into the explanations as to why Nihilus never gained widespread use and has been all but forgotten: The chance of it rebounding is extraordinarily high.
Any wavering in mental control, any distraction, any miscalculation in preparation or casting and the spell is prone to turning back on the one who cast it and consuming them in the process.
Several old texts contain anecdotal references to this happening, penned obviously by witnesses or victims who escaped that fate through the failings of the one attempting the curse.
Failure to exert proper control during preparation is thought to be the primary reason that this curse backfires and consumes its caster. Since the preparation is mental in nature, it is not efficient nor is it accurate to have someone else “check your work”, so to speak; Nihilus is a curse that demands perfection from any Wizard or Witch daring enough to try and bring it under control. It doesn’t simply politely request it and fizzle if that request is not satisfied, it will rebound and take the caster if not cast flawlessly. I will not go into detail as to whether or not I have been able to successfully harness this particular curse, but as I am still among the living and clearly have some detailed knowledge of the curse, one of two things must be true:
I have been successful in my experimentation with this particular curse.
My knowledge is theory only, and I have not attempted this particular curse.
I will not give the answer one way or another, and will allow the reader to draw his or her own conclusion on the matter, but would ask that they keep in mind that there is nothing illegal about simply knowing spell theory.
I have no doubt that the curse has been successfully used in the past, or it would not have been written about to the extent that it was; despite the texts slipping into obscurity over the years, the fact remains that Nihilus is an exceptionally powerful curse and an exeptionally powerful weapon in the right hands.
Cast properly, Nihilus could be a devestating weapon of persuasion (among, of course, those close to the intended target, and not the target itself), but I cannot, in good faith recommend it be attempted by any but the most highly skilled for the reasons previously stated. This should be reason enough to keep any Wizard or Witch who has even the most minor wish to stay alive at a good distance, and leave Nihilus to theory alone.
 This may not be true in the case of the Wizard or Witch who has delved into the realm of soul splitting and horcruxes. Those are so few in number, and any of those known to have done so are long dead, however, that further research onto the topic is difficult, if not impossible without taking a route that would allow me to test such theory on myself. For as much as the theory intrigues me, I am not yet at a point in my life in which I’m willing to shear off bits of my own soul for purposes of testing.
(( And, if you missed the last four essays:
Carna Corruptis: I’ll Make You Melt.
Mensrapere: When Legilimency is Just too Soft-Handed.
The Teratius: Let’s Do the Twist.
Venari: Making a Game of Tag Unwinnable. ))
Of the two remaining ‘obscure’ spells, I admit, I’ve dithered between which to tackle first; in the end, I came to the conclusion that I would much prefer to save my favorite of the four for the very last. With that out of the way, the topic of this particular paper will focus on the once commonly used Carna Corruptis.
To those of you with even a minor literary background (or the ability to recognise similarities between Latin and modern English), the name of this spell should give ample idea as to what its purpose actually is. To those of you who do not, this curse was also commonly known as either “Fleshmelt” or “Renderspell”, depending on the area of the country; if the prior statement still does not give you a clear idea as to the purpose of this spell, I would ask that you do yourself a favor and simply set this parchment down and walk away.
Carna Corruptis was, as recently as the last century, used as a fairly common method of torture, both official and non-official. The curse itself is exceedingly versatile and is capable of being anywhere from mildly excruciating to lethal. It is, as with the others, fully controlled by the caster, though, despite any wishes the caster may have to prolong the session, the spell reaches its zenith at roughly the two minute mark.
Unlike some of its similar counterparts, Carna Corruptis does not require extensive concentration on the part of the caster beyond simply aiming the spell at its intended target. Once the spell is cast, and once it lands, it seems fairly innocuous and may, in fact, be missed by the victim; its initial effect is simply a feeling of very slight warmth over the affected area(s). It is worth noting at this point that this particular curse can be ended, within ten seconds, by breaking line of sight of the caster. The wand work required is simple and straightforward, especially when compared to many other high level curses but, like the Teratius it cannot be cast accidentally. Clear intent is required.
Should line of sight be maintained beyond ten seconds, the previously mentioned warmth intensifies exponentially, with flesh beginning to melt from bone within twenty seconds, and with it being entirely rendered off within two minutes. The time taken from start to finish does vary slightly and does depend on the caster’s will, but not to the point that the spell would ever be rendered ineffective after the initial warm up period (pun gleefully intended).
As one can imagine, the physical pain felt by the victim is excruciating and intense. If the victim is allowed to be in a position to see what is happening, the psychological effects of seeing one’s flesh quite literally melt from one’s bones can also be significant; this is worth keeping in mind when employing Carna Corruptis.
It is interesting to note that flesh removed in this particular fashion is not beyond repair if a few caveats are observed. Generally speaking, if the victim is allowed to be attended by a Mediwitch or Mediwizard or, if the caster is sufficiently skilled and wishes to patch his or her victim up for another round, within roughly twenty four hours, the flesh can be restored to almost pristine condition. If more time is allowed to pass, amputation may be necessary where limbs are concerned or, if the flesh was melted from more delicate areas, sepsis and a swift (albeit painful) death tend to bring things to a close.
Since Carna Corruptis does not require the level of concentration that the spells of my previously written essays detail, it is suitable for use in a duel situation, though the caster would do well to keep in mind that it does require ten seconds with line of sight to be effective; other spells can be cast during this period, but care must be taken to not allow the victim to break line of sight.
(( And, if you missed the last three essays:
Mensrapere: When Legilimency is Just too Soft-Handed.
The Teratius: Let’s Do the Twist.
Venari: Making a Game of Tag Unwinnable. ))
In my previous writing, I had briefly (and by briefly, I do mean extremely briefly) touched upon a spell known as mensrapere, in terms of incantation. Commonly referred to, in other texts (if it is mentioned at all) as either “mind rip” or “mind rape”, those names should give the reader an indication as to what the spell’s intent is.
And that impression would be incorrect, especially in terms of the latter nickname. “Mind rip”, while somewhat accurate, still finds itself more inaccurate than not as there is no physical damage done to the mind of the victim; I will elaborate on that later.
The last known use of mensrapere was sometime in the mid nineteen-sixties; it had been outlawed for some time previously and, by the point of the last recorded use, had fallen nearly out of the Wizarding world’s collective consciousness. As with many of the more obscure “unforgivable” spells, this could be viewed as both a blessing and a curse, no pun intended.
Mensrapere could, without prior knowledge of the spell in question, be easily mistaken for the very inaccurately named memory charm (obliviate); when cast by a sufficiently skilled and sufficiently knowledgeable Wizard or Witch, the effects of the two on the victim would be almost indistinguishable. However, oblivate is wasteful in terms of knowledge transfer; it simply leaves blank spaces in one’s memory at best, and at worst, removes many memories and sense of self recognition. In some cases, a mediwitch or mediwizard can restore what was lost, in the case of an obliviate, however if the spell misfires or was cast with the intent of obliteration (either partial or complete), it is occasionally irreversible.
On the other hand, mensrapere, by its very design is meant to extract information, which is where its nickname of “mind rip” originates, though it is unfair to say that it rips information from the affected mind. One could liken it more to reading a book and simply removing the words on the page as one goes. It should be noted that a skilled Legilimens would be much more effective in their use of mensrapere than would one not skilled in such a craft; the two go hand in hand quite well.
The side effect of mensrapere that lands it among the ranks of the supposedly unforgivable is that it, as it removes information and relays it to the caster, leaves simply nothing but blank space in its wake. It is, in theory, perfectly reasonable to literally erase the victim’s mind. This does not kill the victim, and does not appear to affect autonomic functions necessary for life to continue, however, it does reduce the victim to a mental state akin to that of a newborn baby; the only physical side effect, which is only mentioned in theory, is that the curse “smooths out the wrinkles in the brain” as information is extracted. The victim retains no knowledge of anything learned, no recognition of friends or family, and no memories of anything from their life, up to and including how they ended up in that state. What makes it different from a mis-cast obliviate is the fact that, should the victim be provided with proper care, they could (in theory) be ‘re-raised’ as a child, though the same person would not re-emerge, they would grow into a new person with new memories, new experiences, and an entirely built from the ground up knowledge base.
Once again, in theory, a spell of this nature could prove useful, if applied carefully and selectively, but considering that the base point of the curse is to extract any and all information, useful or not, it has not been used to that end in recorded history; doing so would simply be too inconvenient. When extraction is complete the victim is historically either killed or left in a highly crippled state to ensure that they can never return to society, as it were.
In cases of information extraction where a skilled legilimens is not present, it would be recommended to soften the captive’s resistance and will via other methods; as per usual, the most common being application of the Cruciatus curse. Care must be taken, however, when using the Cruciatus to ensure that the mind in question is not damaged to the point that viable information extraction becomes impossible.
There is no known block, including breaking line of sight with the caster, for mensrapere; once started, it must be ended by the caster either voluntarily or by disabling the one casting the spell; because of this, and due to the fact that, like all high level spells of this nature, a successful cast and extraction of information requires near perfect concentration, this is a spell that should be employed only in cases where the victim has been effectively secured and rendered harmless.
(( Some part of me lives in fear of good ol’ Cyrius showing up and giving some sort of harsh correction to mistakes here. This is an IC essay written for an old RP game that Calleo used to be a part of. The game in question ended around 2006 or so. ))
Generally accepted knowledge tells us that there are three curses deemed “unforgivable”; first and foremost, unforgivable is a misnomer as there are dozens of curses under various classifications that have been labeled as having “no justification” for reasons that vary from slow acting to lethal. By the Ministry’s own logic, there are quite a few “unforgivable” curses, gray, direct, indirect or otherwise.
We, of course, hear mainly of what could be termed the big three, of which I’d imagine everyone is quite familiar (not, of course, through practice, but simply via word of mouth and mention in passing).
There are, however, others, three more of which could have extremely effective and practical applications in the hands of those willing to resort to such methods. For the purposes of this writing, I will focus on “The Monstrous Curse”.
Related to the Cruciatus, the Teratius is cast in a similar fashion, its incantation being simply teratio.
The wand-work involved is a bit more complicated, but nothing a sufficiently skilled Wizard (or Witch) should have any difficulty in mastering.
Unlike the more well known crucio, teratio does more than simply cause a generalized (albeit agonizing) overall pain in the victim. Keeping that in consideration, it is worth noting that teratio requires an equal level of concentration to keep itself active and project the caster’s will onto the intended target.
This is not an unknown curse by any means, though it fell out of favor for as an interrogation technique just prior to the turn of the twentieth century; fortunately for the scholarly sorts among us, it is not possible to entirely eradicate knowledge. It is through research of Ministry archives, obscure reference books, and the like that spells of this nature, at least in theory, remain ‘alive’.
From a practical standpoint, the curse draws upon the creativity of the caster. That is where the inherent requirement for higher, more focused concentration comes into play over the Cruciatus. Whereas the Cruciatus applies overall, generalized pain (to put it lightly), the Teratius will, without direction from the caster, do nothing. Once engaged, the spell will draw on the caster’s thoughts and images to determine its results. It, in effect, turns its victim into a living, conscious canvas for the caster; the body, bones, organs, the entire being can be shaped, twisted, split, and wound into whatever shape the caster so desires, so long as their concentration holds.
At the risk of sounding a bit like a child’s fairy-tale, the only limit is one’s imagination.
One of the downfalls of other, similar spells, is that the victim frequently ends up dead. As I’m sure the reader is well aware, a dead captive offers no information. This is where one of the benefits of the Teratius enters: So long as the caster wills it and maintains the spell, the victim will not die. They will remain conscious, feeling and aware throughout, thus adding a level of terror and agony that the Cruciatus is unable to muster even in the hands of the most skilled caster.
A silencing charm is effective in muting that aspect, should silence be required.
As previously mentioned, the incantation, teratio, is very simple; as with its more well known cousin, the spell requires a line of sight and a very clear intent behind it.
It is not a curse that one could accidentally cast, whereas the Cruciatus can be, in a sense ‘accidentally’ cast in the wake of a surge of powerful emotion, though it cannot be maintained without the intent behind it; an accidental cast of the Teratius simply does nothing.
This is not a curse to be used in cases of imminent danger or mid-fight, as the caster would render themselves near helpless due to the amount of concentration required. While it could be effective for something as simple as twisting a limb to cripple an opponent, there are much easier spells that are just as effective. To that end, it should be noted that the Teratius was and is still designed to be an implement of interrogation, at least, it was from an official standpoint.
Use of this curse, if suspected or discovered, would result in incarceration in Azkaban, though that should go without saying.
The mere fact that the Teratius has fallen out of favor puts it in a good light to be brought back as a method of persuasion in the hands of certain sorts; it is no longer looked for, no longer officially recognized, and those in the Ministry would find it difficult to pinpoint exactly what had happened; to that end, I, both respectfully and highly, recommend the destruction of this document once it has been committed to memory, though even that is not a failsafe if one takes into consideration the effects of veritaserum or, as unlikely as it may be, use of mensrapere.
(The word mensrapere is circled several times, to the point of the parchment nearly being worn through and, in markedly different handwriting, has the word “Elaborate." scrawled underneath.)