Here are the next two sections of the magic system I’m working on for the Demons of Light RPG (see this post for the intro). No mechanics yet, just pure world building fluff and nonsense that will inform the rules. I’ve written it for a modern setting, but will probably change it later.
The Bornless Gods
The Intelligences from beyond reality, call them the Bornless Ones, the Never-Manifest, the Sovereign Demons of the Limitless Light, they are the LETTERS and the WORDS of the primal tongue. They rule the Aatts and they are the kingdoms that they rule. The dark shores of matter are a vesica piscis of exclusion. A sliver of outlands unclaimed by the dominion of any Aatt. The final piece of reality free of allegiance to any Power, yet at the center of all power. Perhaps the Bornless fight each other in an eternal stalemate war, the influence of each perfectly counterbalanced by the other. Perhaps the mortal coil is the only chip left on the table and the gods wont stop gambling until one of them takes all. Or more likely, perhaps their motives are fundamentally unknowable. Regardless of which story is told, they each seem to covet something down in the damp mud of lowly creation. They worm their way into our universe, they find analogous vessels to carry them, they seep into the collective unconscious and squat there, spreading tendril-vectors through our language. That’s were they live, behind syntax, between thought and words, a disease of the mind gestating since humans first decided to make arbitrary noises and pretend they were the things they symbolized. Most animals are immune to their touch. Animals think in pure emotion and image, and so cannot be deceived. They are an entire order of life immune to sorcery and the powers from beyond (this is why some Bornless enjoy watching animal sacrifice). Gorillas are wavering, unsure of their true loyalty. To learn any language, even sign language is to accept the mental virus and take it deep inside oneself.
The Vessels of the Bornless each hold the essence and virtue of one of the Aatts, the will and spirit of its Monarch. They are the roads that lead beyond and the guides that teach the way. They are small pox, tobacco, and psilocybin. They are monomania and sensory deprivation. They are illness and madness and ascetic tortures that pierce and whip the flesh until the mind collapses screaming into the caverns of the night. These alien consciousnesses speak on the molecular level, through bacteria burning in the sorcerer’s blood, through the hallucinogenic smoke that sears the lungs, through ideas that leap from mind to mind, leaving each brain reeling from the trauma. Each Vessel is an intercessor, a spirit that brings forth a God, an ally that opens the roads of power and convenes the Sabbath. They are the needed setting, they lead the sorcerer into audience with the true masters of all fate.
Each Vessel is a holy mystery filled with secret ways. By embracing a Vessel and learning its essence, the sorcerer opens the doors to one of the Aatts. To have only this much knowledge is a deadly peril. Opening the doors to the beyond without the WORD is an invitation to doom and calamity. The Logos of an Aatt, the sacred syllables that are its Ruling Spirit are vital to commanding its power. Even the debased Lunar Speech is enough to complete the working. The Vessel Spirit makes up for the errors that should cost the sorcerer their life. It fills in all that is missing and twists all that is incorrect until the words are fit to be heard by the Bornless. They are a councilor arguing the sorcerer’s case in a court no mortal can enter. Such inter-dimensional translation services are costly, the Vessel must receive a greater share of the sorcerer’s life force to pay for them. This is why mastering the Solar Speech is such an obsession for practitioners of the art. Using a Vessel to open the gates and then speaking on your own saves tremendous amounts of power. It is seen as a mark of mastery among the Wise.