Divine Oculus

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Gods are spirits of great metaphysical importance in Creation, and their occult power can be used by artificers in their works through numerous methods: by awakening Least Gods and granting them power, by binding spirits into artifacts, by constructing complex miniaturized pantheons via Microtheurgy. Though they are Spirits, by nature immaterial beings of essence, there is also another approach: using components of gods directly in artifice.

The key component of a god is termed by artificers to be the ‘oculus’, the god’s ability to sense its purview. Typically this manifests as the eyes of the god, though in some cases it takes the form of other senses. From minor gods, an Oculus is of little use, but from Celestial and major Terrestrial deities they can be used as Exotic Components in works of artifice.

The removal of an Oculus is a complex process, and difficult to achieve. First Age artificers devised methods for solidifying gods and engaging in surgical procedures upon their divine corpus, based on the principles of Necromancy and use of specialized tools. As the production of artifacts expanded through the Golden Age, several Twilight Caste Solar Exalted proposed more industrialized methods of extraction, but these had yet to be implemented before the possibilities were ended in the Usurpation. The Shogunate Era saw the Dragonblooded also engage in the practice, with rival daimyo glad to assist their patron divinities by hobbling rivals while at the same time securing components to construct new weapons for their wars.

The blinding of a god is a severe thing... while gods themselves appear inexhaustible and largely immortal, a god whose Oculus has been harvested does not regenerate the stolen portion of its being. As perception of its purview is oft vital for a god carrying out its duties, being deprived means all but the most skilled and powerful gods are soon overcome by rivals, ousted from their posts and replaced, left to wander the streets of Yu Shan unseeing and unemployed. In the First Age and Shogunate Era, when unemployed gods were a rarer sight and one which made other divinities uneasy or disgusted, the Solar Exalted and Sidereal Exalted would make point of arranging for their conviction by the Celestial Censors to render them into Starmetal, often allowing supply of that Magical Material to join the Oculus of the slain spirit in an artifact, while removing them from the public eye in Heaven.

In the present era, the use of the Oculus is a rare thing: the Immaculate Order holds that doing so is a direct and heretical violation of the Perfected Hierarchy, specifically decried in the Immaculate Texts as one of the foul crimes committed by the Anathema against Heaven. The laws of the Scarlet Empire ban the practice on pain of death, and while the Seventh Legion of Lookshy did not shy from the practice in its early centuries even they now restrict it heavily to prevent diplomatic incidents with Great Forks and their other peers in the Confederation of Rivers.