By my blood that flows in you,” Maeve said. “Through no dishonor, through no act of treachery, I hereby free you, Rowan Whitethorn, of your blood oath to me. You are free of me, Prince Rowan Whitethorn.

–Maeve to Rowan Whitethorn-Heir of Fire

A Blood Oath is a magical binding used to bind humans and/or Fae together through blood.

Description

The blood oath is an ancient magic, having existed for thousands of years since the time of Brannon Galathynius. It allows two beings to bind themselves to one another in what is always an unequal bond, with one person being completely subservient to the other. Bound by a blood oath, the secondary, or beta, party relinquishes their free will to the primary/alpha party. Because of the nature of this bond, the blood oath is seen as the ultimate display of loyalty and obedience.

Swearing the oath

Swearing the blood oath is a simple process; the person who wishes to swear themselves to another must drink their blood while/after swearing to serve them. The words themselves do not matter, but rather the intention behind them. As long as they follow a basic format and have a clear meaning, the oath will work.

Due to the profound meaning behind the oath, the process has evolved over time and differs from place to place. In some cases, a ceremony may be held to commemorate the occasion and give it more importance; in Doranelle, and specifically in the case of Maeve's [Cadre|cadre]] the oath is sworn or broken accompanied by a short speech in the Old Language. This is not necessary, but ultimately adds weight to an otherwise underwhelming ritual.[1]

Breaking the oath

I strip you of the blood oath. I strip you of your assets and your titles and your properties. You, like Gavriel, are released with dishonor and shame.

A blood oath is meant to last forever, or in the case of mortals until one party's death. However, it is possible for the alpha to sever the oath binding the secondary member to them; throughout history, there have been no recorded cases of the oath been severed honorably.[1]

The act of stripping someone of the oath carries an air of dishonor attached to it; to do so is a great insult and punishment, and being blood magic, an involuntary severing of the oath is physically painful and may leave a person breathless and in shock. In order to dishonorably sever a blood oath, it appears necessary to specifically state that the blood-sworn is released with dishonor.[2]

It is possible for a beta to break the oath on their own, without the alpha doing so, by forcefully disregarding a direct command or directive. However, this method places great strain on the beta and while they may be strong enough to break the oath on their own, they will die from the shock. In the instant before their strength fails them, it is possible for a beta to survive this severing by swearing the blood oath to someone else, which will effectively "heal" what has been broken within them.[3]

Usage

In the continent of Erilea, the blood oath was used by House Galathynius of Terrasen since the time of Brannon Galathynius to bestow honor upon a chosen friend or family member. Each king or queen of Terrasen would allow only one person, their most trusted and respected companion, to swear the blood oath to them as an act of loyalty. This tradition ended with the court of Aelin Galathynius, who allowed several members of her court to swear fealty to her.[4]

In Doranelle, Maeve permanently had a group of powerful Fae warriors blood-sworn to her.

Trivia

  • Only one case of an honorable release from the oath has ever been recorded: that of Rowan Whitethorn's severing from Maeve.[1]
  • The extent of the blood oath's control is not absolute; a beta may choose to deliberately interpret a command in another way than it was meant, thus allowing them to work around the order. Alternatively they might choose to take a command quite literally, ignoring any secondary commands given in the fulfillment of the initial one.[4]
    • Similarly, while blood-sworn are incapable of betraying their alpha they may proceed with actions which appear to amount to betrayal if their intentions are true, ignoring other orders in the interval.
  • The distance between an alpha and a blood-sworn seems to have an effect on the potency of commands given; the farther away they get from each other, the easier it may be for a blood-sworn to disregard an order.

References

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