Front to back... 1000 Daughters, Princess Draca, Rhinos, Trudy
The very first thing you teach is summoning demons? It is safe to summon demons?
This depends very much on who you summon. Let's just say the first thing I will teach you is my True Name. I will teach you to call out to me. Yes, this involves trust. Both ways. Any time you think my Name too clearly, well, I'll feel it, so lesson two might be how not to think my Name unless you really want me. But don't think you will be doing any of the opening of Gates, or navigating the Warp. You will call. I will come to you.
I don't think of you as a demon, but...
Thanks! Appreciated! But. Well, you are right to fear Name magic, to fear any form of magic. There are very real dangers. Do not just dismiss all the Sisters of Battle taught you, but there is more to learn as well. In context of the Warp, a person who thinks another's True Name is adjacent to the person Named. They might communicate. They might share power. Each might sense where the other is. Well... When you were a redemtionist, you prayed to the Emperor? You prayed through a priest? You had an image in your head, a connection to the Emperor, a way or reaching out to Him when you pray?
You know the Emperor's True Name. You have touched at least one public aspect of Him. Your prayers gave Him power. With the help of your priest, you could draw back power, though the priests do not teach soldiers how to use that power for themselves. Redemtionists give, but cannot take. I just need to teach you to reach me as you once reached your priest and the Emperor. You are already psychically aware, but you are focused on only one tradition, one Name.
But you won't be drawing power from me? Or giving it back?
We seldom do. To the Ladies, sharing power is an advanced technique, seldom used. The Ladies of the Night teach independence. Psi is dangerous. The politics of psi, I give you power, you worship me, I declare edicts and rules, you follow my path. No. Don't go that road. Don't get addicted to the game of giving and taking power, of joining hierarchies. If one seeks power, authority, control, the ability to kill... It's addictive: war, rules, hierarchies, tyranny. The Ladies of the Night see little difference between the Emperor and the Four Powers of the Eye. If you learn their Names, they offer you power, but take your soul. They will use you. You become a tool. They will value you not, save that your worship gives them power, your skill at arms gives them power, your death feeds their Soul.
Then how is psi used?
Our founders were healers and shape shifters. If you wish to follow our path, after you learn my Name, I will help you find your own Name. From there, the next several decades focus on meditation in motion. It's the typical military ten mile run before breakfast, but thinking on your Name all the while, being aware of mind, body and spirit at the same time, breaking down the borders between the three. You might have noticed, even among the militia, that the veterans heal rapidly, and are, well, very healthy?
I've noticed. Your heavy infantry look and move like fashion models, the cavalry like dancers.
Once you are aware of what you are, you can decide what you want to be. We're healers... Shape shifters. Our heavy infantry is as fast and strong as a marine, not because of genetic engineering, but because we have willed to become so. The Thousand Daughters know so well what they are, remember so well what they have chosen to become, that many wounds can be forgotten. The warp cavalry... We choose not only what we are, but where we are, riding the paths of the Warp.
Yet you remain human?
Most of us. Some of us take shape shifting further than a slender waist, straight nose, big hair, and an extra cup size. Lady Draca decided to become a dragon. We've had a few unicorn. Some of the warp cav think it easier to grow wings than to stay on the damn board. If you suspect some of the black cats wandering around camp think they're smarter than you are, there might be more to it than just who is feeding who. But there is human on the outside, and human on the inside. Do you care about healing those who hurt? Do you want a man, and his children? Will you follow with passion the fortunes of your battalion's quiddich team? When the Veil Dancers walk upon the edge of the Warp, will you see only the power and flame, or can you feel too the beauty? Will you teach some damn superstitious rookie your True Name - though she calls you a demon - on the off chance she might just become an immortal? In the middle of a war, when walking among ruins, will you care more for the people who once lived among the ruins, or for abstract concepts like 'victory'? Do you care more about people than war and power?
This... seems an unusual attitude for a military organization.
Or for a bunch of heretic witches. You get what you wish for. You become what you want to be. If all you want is power and death, you will become a demon. Your Name will become tangled with the Eye, mind and body both corrupted. Wish for other things. Perhaps this is a lousy attitude for an army to have. Perhaps we will never conquer... but watch us grow.
Easy? If I might ask? Is it easier to grow wings than stay on the damn board?
Haven't you heard that one doesn't discuss religion or politics in polite company?
Isn't this whole talk about religion and politics?
So, maybe I'm not polite company. OK. You have touched upon one of the great controversies of our order, the schism between shape shifters and artifact users, between our princesses and our ladies, between the succubi and the board riders. Which is better, wings or boards?
I take it the answer isn't simple?
Not simple. The boards might have an advantage in speed and maneuver. Wings might be more stable. Maybe in time you will face this choice, to remain human, or to grow beyond. Until then, in less serious spirit, there is but one place to measure the relative merits of succubi and board riders.
On the quiddich field.