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Grand Oath

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Image:Scroll2.png "Still somewhat confused after the induction speech, we were taking a tour of the Academy dorms with a senior student, when we spotted a robed man crawling down the corridor on all fours. We stared at our senior quizzically. 'Oh, pay him no heed,' he said dismissively, 'we keep him around as a reminder. Never take a Grand Oath while drunk.'"
- Vuld Shaik, "Magic and I"

The Grand Oath is the most sacred pledge one can swear in the world of Mizahar. A contract signed with the very halls of the gods, the dimension of Ukalas, a Grand Oath limits the subject's free will so he cannot help but uphold the pledge no matter how he feels about it. Once taken, a Grand Oath is utterly unbreakable -- the only way to prematurely release one from their obligation would be for every single god in existence to sign a waiver for the recipient. Given the plethora of different divine agendas and the presence of many cruel and sadistic gods in the pantheon, this translates to a practical impossibility. The only other ways to find release are 1) fulfilling the contract's condition if there is one, or 2) death and reincarnation in the afterlife (ghosts and undead are still bound to the Oath).


Ever since mankind's arrival on Mizahar, the relationship between men and gods has been, in many cases, one of mutual benefit. With the exception of some benevolent, altruistic deities, gods were in the business of helping those who gave them something back in the form of favors and worship. However, there was the problem of what to do with those mortals who would not fulfill their end of the deal. While some gods had no problem stepping in and destroying the offenders, many others felt that a more civilized approach to the problem was needed. Qalaya, goddess of writing and memory, drafted the first version of the Grand Oath, a tool for making sure a mortal stuck to his word.

It was not long before knowledge of how to compose a Grand Oath became relatively common in the magic community. Ironically, use of this instrument declined among the gods as growing populations and organized religions removed much of the personal interaction between them and their followers; instead, it become a favorite tool for powerful mortals to control their brethren. Because of its mercilessly unbreakable nature, the Grand Oath has ruined countless lives over the centuries. What is worse, the Oath is only of average complexity to write and seal, and thus its knowledge easily survived the Valterrian. Its use is still sporadic in modern Mizahar, and some magical communities forbid it entirely, but it is employed from time to time.


The Grand Oath can be drafted by any magic user who is at least Expert at Glyphing; by the time one has reached this level, it is almost inevitable that they would have read about the Oath, since such knowledge is still relatively common. The user can draft the Oath for themselves or someone else; the person actually signing the Oath is irrelevant to the creation process. The Oath will bind exactly one person; separate Oaths must be made for each participant.

Writing down the contract requires several hours, though a master Glypher could probably do it within minutes. Also, expensive inks and scrolls are required; the combined cost of all materials averages 100 gold Mizas.

How it works

The Grand Oath is, at core, just a contract written using Glyphing runes and calling upon the divine dimension of Ukalas as its judge, witness and enforcer. The exact wording is left up to the writer's desire; this is extremely important, because an Oath follows the letter of the law, not the spirit. The Oath will be upheld literally, even though its application may differ from the scribe's intentions (or the one taking the Oath, for that matter). There have been cases of people escaping the Oath through clever tricks that exploited ambiguous language in order to fulfill an otherwise impossible condition.

A sample contract can be as simple as the following.

"I, the undersigned, hereby swear upon the divine halls of Ukalas and all those who dwell within that I shall deliver Rozi Aaljak's letter to his cousin in the fastest possible time, even should my life be forfeit in the process."

Once signed, the contract is binding, provided it is valid by the rules of the gods. This means:

  • The Oath-taker must be aware of the text of the Oath in all of its parts, even though they might not realize its full implications. Signatures cannot be obtained by lying about the content of the contract.
  • The Oath-taker must sign of their own free will. They cannot be convinced to sign with Hypnotism or by making their hand move against their volition. It is still possible to threaten and torture someone until they sign; it is just the physical act of signing that must arise from the person's free will.

If a contract is valid, it dissolves immediately after being sealed with a signature. It will crumble to dust, self-combust, or just disappear; either way, this means that the Oath has been accepted and is now being enforced.

The Grand Oath limits the Oath-taker's free will depending on the text of the contract. Actions that directly oppose the Oath will be outright impossible to perform, and the person will feel irrestibly drawn towards actions that fulfill the Oath in his own judgment. For example, if one has pledged to kill someone and happens to meet them in the street, a warrior might immediately proceed to draw his sword on the target, whereas a more cunning character might decide to follow the target or come up with an elaborate plan to ensure their demise. It all depends on the person's mindset and approach. All the while, the person's moral and rational processes are unaffected: they may feel horrible about their actions, but will still carry them out. Oath-takers have often been known to apologize to those they were about to kill.