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Dance, puppet, dance.
Granted bySagallius
Positive marksManipulating the actions of others
Negative marksInability to influence others
Pos. mark appearanceAn elaborate optical illusion, blue
Neg. mark appearanceAn elaborate optical illusion, red
Mark locationUsually hidden
First markAfter a display of intelligence or manipulation
ChampionSupervisor Drainira

Cordas is the gnosis of Sagallius, the god of manipulation and puppetry. Cordas is also called the art of the string as its users are capable of playing the world and even its people like puppets on their metaphysical strings. This power ranges from controlling inanimate objects to manipulating living targets. Cordas is a fearsome ability in a manipulator's toolbox, however it carries a major risk in the form of fellow Cordas users: Sagallius actively encourages his followers to outwit one another, with the winners gaining favor and more marks, and the losers' marks turning cursed and negative.

Because the heart of Aquiras beats in Sagallius' chest, those marked by Aquiras' lover Priskil are immune to Cordas.



It is known that Sagallius, born Sahgal of the Benshira and former Court Mage of Alahea, ascended to godhood with the Valterrian when he stole the heart of the door-god Aquiras. It is also speculated that he was planning on becoming the god of magic, a seat that has long been vacant in the Mizaharian pantheon. However, Aquiras' divine rank was too low to let Sagallius claim such a major domain, and he had to content himself with the trait that best described him: manipulation and puppetry.

Throughout his life, the wizard had deceived the world in every way possible. In his youth, his innate magical talent led his tribe to believe he was a child of prophecy destined to free the Benshira from the Eypharians. In fact, he had no such intentions and routinely hit the streets of Ahnatep under the Morphing guise of an Eypharian to enjoy the debauchery of the slavers' lifestyle while his brethren toiled under their whips.

Sagallius' manipulative exploits ranged from deceiving Rupert Pycon and eventually killing him, to playing the Seven Robes against each other to keep them loyal to Emperor Kovinus. His tendencies further escalated after the overgiving incident that drove him insane. He was the mastermind behind the creation of Sahova, forcing his pupil Zarik Mashaen to serve as its undead leader. All in all, Sagallius' domain is fully deserved.


'Cordas' is a corruption of 'Korad', meaning string in the ancient tongue, and describes exactly what this gnosis is about. A person marked with Cordas can generate strings made of pure divine energy that only he or someone with the same number of Cordas marks can see. Just like Illusionism, the only way someone without Cordas can see the strings is through gnosis-based detection powers like Syna's Inavalti and Eyris' Lykata. A Cordas user plays the strings with his hands and fingers as with their normal counterparts, though Sagallius' strings can be much more accurate and will work regardless of distance as long as within range. Most Cordas will know the Puppeteering skill to some extent. A champion of Sagallius does not even need to use his hands anymore.

Having more marks lets the user create longer and more durable strings that can perform more tasks. At low levels, strings only have a short range, break rather easily and only one set can be created at any given time. The greatest Cordas can control many people with nonchalance and even make them cast magic. In addition, there are many creative uses for the strings, though Sagallius typically lets his chosen discover them on their own.

Strings are created upon touching the target and moving away. One touch is enough to lay a set of strings, generally ten, which distribute all over the target's body. Nothing happens until the Cordas decides to pull on the strings, though. The strings break if the target leaves the range at which they can stretch, after their duration expires, or if the Cordas wills them to. Greater Cordas can attach their end of the strings to various objects instead of their fingers. This, for example, allows them to keep track of people by simply following the strings to their current location.

When a Cordas pulls on the strings, he can transmit force and behavior. For inanimate objects, a Cordas is somewhat limited, meaning that they will not be able to pull a loaded wagon - Sagallius is not a lover of brute force. When a Cordas manipulates a living creature, however, that being's physical strength itself fuels the puppetry, meaning that a Cordas can puppeteer someone radically stronger than himself as long as the strings hold. Someone being controlled is still conscious and thinking normally, but may not be able to even tell people what is happening to them. Indeed, a priest of Sagallius can even make them say anything he wants.

Perhaps the most important - and manipulative - thing about Cordas lies in how to break or maintain the strings. Trust is the key. A Cordas may not control or even attach strings to someone who actively distrusts him; this means the gnosis is useless in direct combat. If the victim can visualize the Cordas as the culprit in his mind while he is being puppeteered, then the effect ceases. This is why a Cordas acts from the shadows and must absolutely keep his victims from realizing he is the one controlling them.

Cordas users will generally manipulate two kinds of people: random strangers and people who trust them. The former are exploited once to fulfill a need, whereas the latter are a long-term investment. With strangers, the Cordas much touch them without arousing their suspicion, or they will draw the connection between the puppetry and the person touching them, thus breaking free from the gnosis. For habitual puppets, the Cordas must keep their trust and make sure he is above suspicion.

If the Cordas victim is unable to break free, others may still be able to help them by incapacitating them, or possibly by cutting the strings. Any gnosis can do so, but the task is difficult if one cannot see them.

Because Aquiras' heart beats in the chest of Sagallius, those marked by Aquiras' lover Priskil are immune to Cordas. Priskil sometimes gives out gnosis to people of great authority who must absolutely be safe from Sagallius' influence. This is one of the reasons Sagallius is bent on destroying Priskil (or possibly absorbing her heart as well).

Marking process

Sagallius marks someone with Cordas when they have done something to attract his attention. Intelligence and deceit are the traits he values in his followers; he will mark people with above average intelligence who enjoy controlling the environment from the shadows. Sagallius is unique among the gods in that he gives his marks in pairs. Upon marking the person, he tells them the name of the other individual and orders them to outwit that person. Depending on the target, the goal might be to steal a prized possession, or swindle the person in some way. A battle of wits ensues. The winner typically receives his second gnosis mark, whereas the loser's mark turns negative, making them more vulnerable to manipulation. In some cases, the loser becomes a slave to the winner.

The god tends to stick to this pattern in order to weed out the less resourceful members. Sagallius greatly favors quality above quantity and may ask his faithful to defeat progressively smarter Cordas to acquire more influence.

Mark progression

Marked [Cursed] - 1 Gnosis Mark
A Marked individual can use one set of strings at a time. He has to dissolve one before he can make another. Strings will last up to one hour and can stretch up to thirty feet from the Marked person. At this level, he can control a small doll-sized inanimate object or cause a brief, involuntary movement in a living creature before the strings break. Examples include deflecting a punch, or making someone trip. Manipulations require major hand gestures and line of sight.

A Cursed individual has lost the challenge given to him when first marked. He has a hard time influencing others. People will tend to not believe him unless his words are backed up by solid proof, and shopkeepers tend to give him worse deals. Cordas manipulation is more effective on a Cursed individual.

Favored [Despised] - 2 Gnosis Marks
Those Favored by Sagallius can use two sets of strings at the same time, typically one in either hand. They can control a child-sized object at will for up to a day before the strings dissolve. They can also control a person's entire body (except for speech, though they can make the victim stay silent) for the same duration if the victim is willing or does not realize it. If the victim opposes the manipulation, generic willpower is all it takes to break the strings. Depending on the person's strength of will and the type of behavior being induced, this may take a second or a couple minutes. Suicidal behavior tends to instantly break the effect, and disrupting the Cordas' concentration will also interrupt it. Strings can stretch up to 100 feet. Line of sight is not required, and the Favored gains the ability to see and hear through the victim's senses while pulling on the strings, but the strings will not pass through walls and obstacles. Manipulation requires minor finger gestures.

A second negative mark is usually bestowed when the Cursed person fails another test Sagallius has given to him. A Despised individual finds that others are hard-pressed to care for or about him. If he screams for help, all but the best-natured people may turn a deaf ear on him out of generic dislike. His relatioships grow colder, and he tends to be the victim of all sorts of scams and betrayals. Cordas with positive marks actively seek out those despised by Sagallius, for they cannot break Cordas until their strings dissolve naturally. They make excellent puppets.

Priest/Priestess [Adversary] - 3 Gnosis Marks
A priest of Sagallius can maintain up to ten sets of strings at the same time, though he can only control up to four, with no hand gesture needed; the rest are tethered to the priest's possessions, waiting to be pulled. Strings can stretch up to a mile and will dissolve naturally after a month. The priest can control man-sized objects, as well as a living creature's movements, including speech. They can even puppeteer minds into casting magic or other special abilities. If the victim opposes the puppetry, generic willpower is not enough to break its influence: the victim must also visualize the Cordas in their mind. If the Cordas just touches someone and tries to control him right away then this is very easy, but if the Cordas is unknown or indeed above suspicion then this may prove very difficult. However, even a priest of Sagallius is almost powerless once exposed. Trying to induce suicidal behavior will still break the strings.

Sagallius sometimes gives people a third chance. Most often, they fail again and earn a third negative mark. An Adversary of Sagallius is a pitiful creature. Others see in him the things they most dislike, and he is often blamed for anything that goes wrong as well as anything that could have gone wrong. In other cases, it is as if he were invisible as people may pretend not to see him. Cordas users do not need to touch him in order to control him, and they can do so indefinitely and at will.

Champion [Nemesis] - 4 Gnosis Marks
A Champion of Sagallius is the epitome of manipulation. Their powers are equal to those of a Priest, except that they have no limits on how many strings they can maintain, for how long and at what distance. They are limited to controlling eight sets of strings at the same time, though. The champion does not need hand gestures anymore. A Champion's ability to attach strings and wait years before pulling on them is truly fearsome as it can stave all suspicion off of them and make their power very difficult to counter. However, in practice the Champion will not overuse this power as any person with the ability to see the strings can follow the lead and discover their location.

Sagallius does not give a fourth chance. One would have to anger him horribly for him to create a Nemesis. The abyss of solitude and paranoia in which this person would find himself is difficult to imagine, let alone describe.