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This article, Henkōdō, is property of Njalm2.

Henkōdō (変更道, "Way of Change") is one of the two hidden branches of Kidō, it is never taught at the Shinō Academy given the potentially catastrophic consequences it can impair on an inexperienced caster. Henkōdō has been described as a branch of magic known only to the most dedicated and skilled members of the Kidō Corps. Even among those though, it is not an art taught lightly; and for one to be granted tutelage in the art it is commonly required to receive explicit permission, complete with a signature from the current Kidō Corps Commander.

Henkōdō is a very hard art to practice. As to change something or even someone requires an indomitable force of willpower as the caster pits their will against the intended target; and indeed even the spiritual fragments they gather in order to cast the spell in question. The tremendous amount of strength, both of willpower and personal conviction is partly due to the fact that some Shinigami; disregarding their skill entirely are almost completely incapable of using Henkōdō to any effect whatsoever. Lacking the fundamental drive necessary to force a change to occur. The infamous Hiroya Ginkarei being a prominent example of this.

Henkōdō's most general usage; and indeed the one whom is easiest to perform (though even this requires a tremendous amount of skill and natural affinity with the art). Is to use its magic to alter the flow of individual spells; most commonly changing the element or intended function for that select spell - this phenomenon is known to advanced users of Kidō as spell alteration. The primary reason that spells are easier to affect in this manner is because that in most cases the spells 'wills' are already tamed and therefore much less resistant to the change that the caster demands.

Due to the rarity of users whom can make any good effect of this art, there are very few actual Henkōdō spells in existence. Most of those whom DO exist being unique to the few gifted individuals capable of using their power; and those very rarely share their secrets even with others like themselves. The usual reason being that they see the few other practioners of the art (at least those worth mentioning) as fierce competition in the profession and its widely believed that this haughtiness together with the great deal of accidents involved with the art have lead to the fact that its regarded with as much suspicion and wariness as it is.

Through the millenniums though, the few Henkōdō Specialists in existence have managed to learn to accomplish a wide variety of different effects with their unique spells. But of all the talents discovered, only the art of spell alteration is considered to be common knowledge -- the spells are split among several different categories depending on their effects. It should also be noted that the branch of Binding spells possesses spells whom are diluted versions of Henkōdō spells.

  • Perceptions: Some rare Specialists of the way of change have developed spells which relates to change how others perceive the caster, themselves or something else entirely; making them see, hear or feel things that don't exist. Play upon their emotions in order to effectively bewitch their mind and goad them into doing or behaving in manners which are atypical of themselves. Most spells relating to this category of Henkōdō are related to illusions, enchantments and general mind control - they're notable for being easy to use in comparison to most and thus diluted and more practical versions have been designed for the way of binding. Though those spells generally don't eve n come close to the effectiveness of their original components.
  • Enhancements: Among the feats displayed by users of Henkōdō is to change the properties of an item in their own or another's possession so as to imbue it with magical qualities. The enhancement vary from Specialist to Specialist, but it generally involves fusing the essence of Kidō with the intended object, granting it the ability to channel spiritual energy for special attacks, or to grant it special properties which can passively aid the wielder. These enhancements are usually placed on rings and other types of jewelry whom are easily worn or carried around.
  • Curses: Curses work by establishing a forced bond with one or more targets, linking the subjects to the will of the caster and thus allowing the caster, provided their resolve is strong enough; to literally change the conditions, peculiarities and situation of the targets physical body. For this reason, its widely understood that curses are especially effective against spiritual beings, where a single curse can completely redefine the victim for as long as the spell permits, provided its properly executed. In these cases, the caster strengthens the established connection to the point that it becomes more like a semi-permanent conduit - allowing the caster to more easily imbue a victim with their own thoughts, experiences and desires, sending their intentions coursing along the conduit and into a victims spiritual body, in essence; injecting and 'drugging' them with their own commands and desires, overriding their usual behavioral pattern and forcing their bodies to do as commanded.
  • Transfiguration: Transfiguration is an art which has fascinated mortal spell casters for centuries; and Kidō Masters are no exception to this. However, its widely considered one of the most frequently understood of the various applications of Henkōdō; this development was due to a mass research project enacted some time back; when a group of spell casters flooded the Maggot's Nest and was given permission to use the inmates as guinea pigs for their various magical experiments. This sudden interest was based upon stories from the human world where mages transformed people into various critters; the Kido Corps - with their vast resources attempted these very same feats, almost always resulting in irrevocable and gruesome aftereffects for the unwilling participants, including death, permanent deformities and perhaps most fascinating of all - loss of identity; the latter phenomenon actually being known to sever the bond between Shinigami and their Zanpakutō. Transfiguration, while being the second best understood concept, after alteration, is frequently treated as one of the most dangerous forms of magic in existence, and all known users are catalogued and put under constant surveillance by the rest of the Corps. The exact mechanics of Transfiguration is to change the spiritual construction of the object or individual to alter its form or shape.'
  • Alteration: By far the most widely understood of all the applications of Henkōdō; the aspect of alteration differentiates itself from its twin, Transfiguration, in that its powers changes what something does as opposed to what it is; and that it, unlike Transfiguration doesn't make permanent changes, but rather briefly alters the way something works, and how it works as opposed to an all out transformation. In fact, its been commonly accepted that alteration changes actual energy as opposed to form, shape or conditions: This has made it an all time favorite of battle-oriented Kidō Masters - whom make certain to learn it as quickly as they can; due to how immensely useful it is in combat; this made the basis for the highly favored skill of Spell Alteration.

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