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Malleus Maleficarum
Malleus text

Origin

Heinrich Kramer

Type

Treatise

Effects

Plague of fear and hatred

Activation

Exposure

Section

REDACTED

[Source]


OriginEdit

The Malleus Maleficarum, usually translated as the Hammer of Witches, is the best known treatise on witchcraft. It was written by the Catholic clergyman Heinrich Kramer (under his Latinized name Henricus Institoris). It endorses extermination of witches and for this purpose develops a detailed legal and theological theory. It has been described as the compendium of literature in demonology of the fifteenth century. The top theologians of the Inquisition at the Faculty of Cologne condemned the book as recommending unethical and illegal procedures, as well as being inconsistent with Catholic doctrines of demonology.

The Malleus elevates sorcery to the criminal status of heresy and recommends that secular courts prosecute it as such in order to eliminate witches. The recommended procedures include torture to effectively obtain confessions and the death penalty as the only sure remedy against the evils of witchcraft. At that time, it was typical to burn heretics alive at the stake and the Malleus encouraged the same treatment of witches. The book had a strong influence on culture for several centuries, notably in its contribution to the Witch Hunts of the 15th to 18th centuries.

It is widely believed that Kramer's main basis for the Malleus was his own biases and experiences with women, particularly Helena Scheuberin of Innsbruck, Austria. Her reputation among the locals as an "aggressive, independent woman who was not afraid to speak her mind" and her continued contempt of Kramer's religious preaching led to her being among the first accused of witchcraft in Europe. Though acquitted based on paltry evidence, this grudge deeply affected Kramer, who published the Malleus two years later.

EffectsEdit

The effects of the Malleus are slow building but incredibly catastrophic. Initially affecting a single person, typically one in a position of power or authority and always male, the treatise will infect them with a strong sense of fear and revulsion. This begins as a heightened apprehension of things the subject already finds distasteful, but quickly spreads to encompass other related factors and eventually things only loosely connected to the original point of focus.

Once the primary victim becomes consumed with their expanded net of hatred, the artifact moves into phase two. Any persons NOT included in the first subjects grievances with become infected with the same mindset, expanding it to include anything they personally find distasteful. Infection can be spread though any form of exposure to either the artifact itself or the first subject. Once these individuals have fallen for the effect, they become new vectors and the effect continues to spread.

The effects of the Malleus are insidious in that they can remain hidden for extended times, the infected often concealing their symptoms or even being unaware of them. Once the first subject, hereby referred to as the "Inquisitor" denotes a target to an infected individual, the artifact moves onto stage three.

Stage three is a strong and almost unbreakable mob mentality centered on the goal of eliminating the perceived degenerates or threats to their society. Stage three requires at least 15 people at once to trigger, and once it has it is impossible to stop unless the "Inquisitor" is removed or the group is dispersed. Alone the infected pose little physical threat, but in groups they can become incredibly violent.

Unusually for an artifact, many people can be affected directly at once, thus multiple "Inquisitors" in many locations at any given time. Neutralizing the artifact has no effect on any infected, and only by the removal of the "Inquisitor", either by isolation or death, can break the effects on any infected. Once an "Inquisitor" reaches that stage they are considered lost and nothing can save them. Extended contact with an "Inquisitor" can result in the mantle being passed on unintentionally, resulting in the removal of one not breaking the current cycle.

StorageEdit

The location of this artifact has been [REDACTED] by order of the Regents due to the high potential of a societal collapse.

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