The Blood Mage is a primer pyromancer and skilled arcanist found primarily within blood elf society. While the elves of Quel'Thalas are not the only ones to manipulate their life force into spells, their variety is the only one based on the studies of the arca
ne rather than ritual. As such, rather than focusing on the exchange of life itself, elven blood magic instead favors the accomplishment of goals regardless of damage, either to the self or collateral perils.
They are often associated with phoenixes, fiery birds of prey renowned for their rebirth cycles. Any practitioner that successfully passed their apprenticeship is expected to be able to summon and maintain one firebird themselves. Despite the phoenix's constant tie to life, a blood mage's familiar is incapable of any act of healing. Nonetheless, they see varied uses, from mere aesthetic companions to battle mounts, to aids in combat.
While it is unclear when elves first picked up the notion of using their own blood to power spells, the discipline would begin to be recorded in detail after the Sundering. The diminished amount of natural magic available to the Highborne magi would have led them to prying their own energy from their lifeblood, in a manner they recorded as "only passingly similar to that used by the troll-tribes of Kalimdor."
While lacking in all the reverent, fearsome ceremony of the trolls, it was no less powerful. Restoring constructs and empowering arcane sentinels were the first uses that the elven blood magi gave their power, as well as staving off the incipient magic withdrawals. This also gave rise to a particularly necessary brand of hedonism, where the practitioners would indulge in meals and painkillers in order to remove some of the inconveniences of the craft.
However, blood magi were most skilled in the arts of binding and summoning: the Highborne sect of Eldre'thalas would bind arcane ley lines with blood and crystals, then summon their own demon slaves to power their timeless city. While eventually their arrogance and isolation led them to their ruin, the remains of their library within the Dire Maul complex is still regarded as a trove of magical knowledge.
Summoning also led to the phoenix-bindings, at their dawn constructs similar to the warden owls Moon Priestesses would have as sentries and messengers. Unlike the ethereal raptors, phoenixes were able to be summoned regardless of divine blessing, and capable of anchoring themselves to the mortal plane even in absence of their masters. Fiery as they were, rather than sentries phoenixes were used as a ranged weapon or even in siege scenarios when teams of blood mages (or particularly powerful ones, aided with stored reagents and arcane enhancements) would summon truly monstrous Phoenix "Gods".
In Quel'thalas Edit
While the art would be far from lost, blood magic grew to be secretive in the High Elven culture. In order to upkeep a facade of extravagant well-being, indulging and favoring the arcane was the line of thought the ruling magocracy would feed their people. Even within the higher echelons, blood magic was not common among all: those expected to fight for even more noble lieges, or those vested in the great shields of Quel'thalas would be expected to be at least passable in the art.
Only after the Third War would blood magic filter down to the general populace. After contending with a foe unafraid to use it freely, with all the pomp of a rally, the rank-and-file battle mages of Quel'thalas would take what they were able to discern and use it for themselves. While highly volatile, this would set the standard of the blood mage as a master pyromancer, after the widespread use of blood-lit fires.
To maintain the exclusivity of it, any 'blood magi' from the front lines that survived to the end of the Troll Wars would be put through a strict regime, led by the nobler, elder blood mages. Those that proved up to their standards were then elevated and allowed to learn the craft in full. However, already weakened by the battle efforts, those that did not all too often ended up as husks of elves defined only by the gnawing hunger of flames. Thus, the more combat-oriented blood mage was 'born'.
Often, these combat-based blood mage pyromancers rely on their own, living blood to power flames. When such is inadvisable, they turn to trinkets imbued with the energy of their reagents, or runes marked onto their bodies that allow for more efficient channeling of the latent arcane energy in most beings.
In Other Schools Edit
Felmancy often also draws from an individual's vital components, although records of blood mages doing such acts rarely refer to them as 'blood magi' proper and rather use the 'warlock' denomination. Combat-oriented blood magi usually also fall under the 'warlock' types as well, although this is more related to the constant draining of blood from sources other than the self.
Enchantment usually draws on some lesser forms of blood magic as well: items bound to an individual or bloodline are imbued with some of the power of the living being, in order to guarantee a birthright and legacy. Additionally, weapons modified in this way can also be used independent from a wielder, provided the enchanter also includes such in a spell.
It is exceedingly rare, but there are records of extraordinary individuals that have harnessed the aggressive blood magic of the elves to heal, rather than purely destroy. Unlike the pyromancy-based art, these "Blood Shapers" only take personal apprentices, and lead lives that separate them from their calling.
Necromancy and flesh-shaping, while illegal, are extensions of blood magic as well. Similar to the healing uses of blood magic, they channel an individual's very life force and will into another. While using the dead is impossible, since blood magic cannot create more life than a single, lone individual holds, they can be targeted.
Likewise, blood magic powered constructs have seen use as formidable, if fragile, siege weaponry. They are unmatched in offensive power and versatility, at the cost of very high running costs and delicate assembly.
Physical Appearance Edit
Blood mages will often favor the colors of Quel'thalas in their clothing, a very clear reminder that at their core they represent an ancient tradition of the elves. Arcane-imbued robes are favored, more often than not meant to be worn as easily in courtly situations as in battle, for many blood magi of old were nobles as well. Gloves are oft avoided, the simple garment too vulnerable to unsightly stains and burns, as well as most jewelry that would adorn hands or fingers. Sleeves are largely optional, despite their potential to absorb the lifeblood of the caster, although those that choose to wear them may have thin barbs sewn on the inside, as well as special clotting and cleaning enchantments, to ease the powering of spells.
Jewelry, especially bloodstones or arcane-attuned gems, is common. These are also useful to store energy for later use, or as reagents for complex spells. As far as other adornments go, runic tattoos meant to enhance magical ability may be marked onto the blood mage's body. The arms are the most usually tattooed area, although markings can extend much further.
Exceedingly powerful blood mages, or those wishing to boast of their skill, or carry additional energy supplies, will have verdant spheres floating around them. These smaller orbs of living flame take blood to summon, and thus it is rare to see any mage hold them for long.