Unity

overview

Applications

Risks

Learning Unity

Performing Unity

Unity Bonds

Unity bonds are tethers which link two souls intimately together; bondmates are much like longstanding partners or a long-wedded couple in their familiarity with and awareness of one another, but come into that intimacy over months rather than decades. Once forged, the bond endures for life, severed only by the death of a bondmate or the deliberate editing of the soulscape, and its echo can resound through future incarnations; as such, Unity bonds are not to be entered into lightly. All Unity bonds confer a relative sense of where one's bondmate is (general distance and direction) and their overall state of being (healthy, infirm). What else communicates between the linked souls depends upon the level of bond entered into, detailed below. Notably, because these bonds exist in the soulscape, they are not affected by distance or any other facet of physical reality.

All Unity bonds take time to fully mature, affirming themselves over a period of days to months. The forging itself is a matter of moments, taking only as long as the shaman needs to enter the soulscape and weave a portal between the two being bonded — which often takes the form of a bridge, but may be symbolized as a door, hallway, cavern, canal, river, or any other passage that suits the souls to be linked. The stronger and more developed the bond, the wider and stronger the passage appears. The bonded themselves have no conscious awareness of the bond, no immediate sense of difference or change; rather, they grow together into a gradual, innate alignment of their selves that seems to them as natural as breathing, no stranger than growing up from a child to an adult with all the changes that involves.

It is possible, although rare, for a soul to carry more than one Unity bond. Linking to multiple sapients is widely considered the next best thing to suicidal; it is difficult to balance such bonds, and the person so linked tends to end up subsumed, their own sense of self smothered beneath the competing needs of their bondmates. It generally takes an unscrupulous shaman to even consider forging such a link. Bonding a person to multiple animals is somewhat less dangerous, but still very likely to result in them becoming catatonic, if the animals are of different types, or being overwhelmed and devolving to animalistic behaviors, if the linked animals have similar natures.

Spontaneous Unity bonds are not unheard-of, but are the stuff of legends and fables, almost never occurring in life. Generally these only happen between people who have been bonded in prior incarnations, often multiple times; if they meet again in the flesh, the residual tracks of their former bond can spontaneously weave together into a renewed, fully intact link. As with new-forged bonds, this process takes days to months to entirely complete, and the bond will not be realized if they do not spend sufficient time around one another.

Bond Types

Unity of Purpose: The least intrusive of Unity bonds, this link aligns the goals of two individuals, both in terms of short-term objectives and in long-term ambitions. It may be forged between two sapients or a sapient and an animal. For bonds between sapients, both partners contribute equally, with neither's goals inherently dominating the other — thus it is essential that they have compatible objectives before the bond is forged. Purpose bonds are widely forged between people in physically active professions, such as fighting or dancing, where an innate understanding of a partner's location and intentions are invaluable. They may be used to yoke together people who dedicate themselves to a common and compelling objective, such as an oath of vengeance or ambitions to climb the figurative economic or political ladder. Purpose bonds are also sometimes used in contexts where dedication and loyalty are considered paramount. When one half of the bond is an animal, the main effect is to make the animal "in tune" with their owner's intentions from moment to moment, significantly reducing the need for training and commands; similarly, the owner gains an innate understanding of the animal's needs and desires. Purpose bonds are the only Unity bond which can be as readily broken as created, but even their severing is not without consequence. Even a short-lived bond leaves residual influences in its participants; long-term bonds etch permanent impressions into one's identity and soul, just as a tree trained to grow into a shape will retain that form after the training wire is removed.

Unity of Feeling: These second-level Unity bonds link two people in not only objectives and goals, but also in feelings and opinions. Bondmates are aware of their partner's emotional state at all times. Usually this is a subliminal awareness, like knowing the weather is sunny or gloomy; one doesn't necessarily think about it overtly, but that context affects choices and preferences nonetheless, and a sudden change can draw one's notice. Furthermore, what one loves, the other will also; similarly with what one despises or fears. A Feeling bond is a highly intimate connection few are willing to enter into. Most often, such bonds are built upon an existing Purpose bond where two people feel they have need for the deeper link, the greater awareness of their partner's state. Feeling bonds are also sometimes used in master and subordinate relationships, particularly with a personal servant who is expected to serve for the lifetime of their master. Due to the depth and strength of connection involved, Feeling bonds are almost never broken short of one partner's death; the loss of the bond is like having part of one's self cut away, and leaves the survivor accordingly devastated.

Unity of Thought:

Fields of Expertise

Unity in Kind: same species, empathy, sense close relationships, kinship

Unity in Association: interspecies, herds, crowds

Unity in Dependence: food webs, ecology, summons and ward-aways

Unity in Substance: weather, tides, earth pressures (quakes/volcanoes)

Unity in Experience: psychometry

Unity in Soul: creating and sensing bonds; the only branch which allows soulscape manipulation per se

Skill Progression

Trainee

Professional

Exceptional

Master

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