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Umbran Symbol 2

The Umbra Witches' symbol

Umbra Witches - controllers of the dark power. The ways of their discipline were actually quite varied - breathing, movement, medicine, and tactics were joined in the Middle Ages by training in the operation of heavy weapons, culminating in a curriculum whose total breadth and intensity are hard to ascertain.

Antonio Redgrave

The Umbra Witches (ウンブラウィッチーズ, Unbura Uitchīzu) were a clan of European dark art practitioners from ancient times, who Bayonetta is descended from. Their affinity is to Inferno, darkness, and the moon. Making pacts with demons in order to possess their extraordinary abilities, the Umbra Witches are fluent in using the Bullet Arts as a fighting technique and in the use of abilities such as Witch Time. Their counterparts were the light affiliated Lumen Sages.

Characteristics

Through the harnessing of Spirit Energy, Umbran Witches were practitioners of magic revolving around the influence of the moon and the evocation of beings from Inferno. While well versed in the supernatural and metaphysical arts, they were also keen in the arts of alchemy, chemistry, acrobatics, firearms training, medicine, anatomical health, and what could be assumed, various sciences and technological prowess of many sorts, to temper and refine their body and soul in the process of handling the powerful forms of magic that they would come to wield.

What differentiates a Witch (and presumably a Sage) from a normal human being is her great control over Spirit Energy, or magic. As Antonio Redgrave writes in his notes:

"Those with the power could become Witches despite being of low birth, and those without the power would be forced into secular life, regardless of any blood-ties to a Witch clan."

An all female clan of Witches as per namesake, their ranks included only those who could harness spirit energy by birth and those who were strong enough to survive their brutal courses of training and study. Children born in the Witches' homeland of Crescent Valley were taught the workings of Spirit Energy from a young age, and would thus manifest abilities--if they had them--at an earlier age than children born elsewhere, although what constitutes an "earlier" age is unspecified. Upon becoming a woman, a trainee would take the "Witchly Vows" and become a full-fledged Umbra Witch, although some candidates of particular skill and achievement were permitted to take their vows earlier than this.

In order to gain their power, all Umbra Witches make a pact with an Infernal Demoness to sponsor them and allow them to improve their power (perhaps as part of their Vows,) which allows them to summon with fists and feet of their sponsor to attack their enemies. The demon's silhouette is seen instead of the Witch's shadow to reflect this. When the Witch dies, her soul goes directly to Inferno as part of their contract. Bayonetta has a pact with Madama Butterfly and Jeanne has a pact with Madama Styx.

Those powerful enough to become heiresses of the entire clan matriarchy also undergo an intense duel to prove their worth; the role of leader is also entrusted with watching over the Left Eye of the World.

History

The Umbra Witches were one half of the two clans who worked hard to maintain the balance of the world's light and dark forces in order to ensure the just passage of time. They were a predominantly female society with strict laws regarding contact with all non-Witches, demanding that their magical arts be kept with the utmost secrecy. They paid great respect to their Lumen Sage other half and, from the existence of the Golem, they once had worked together for reasons unknown. Like the Lumen Sages, the Umbra Witches possessed an "Eye", part of a set which were known as the Eyes of the World that oversaw history and time itself.

500 years ago before the modern day, a Sage named Balder and a Witch named Rosa fell in love and conceived Cereza. This violated an age old tenet that stated that "The intersection of light and dark would bring calamity to this earth". This broke the delicate balance between the two clans and sent them down a path of conflict, eventually sparking the Clan Wars by plunging all of Europe into a chaotic loop of battle, ambush, assassination and casualty. Despite the Sages' best efforts with the help of the heavens themselves, the Witches' efficiency in combat and the use of the dark arts assured their upper hand. Years after, the Witches were victorious.

However, Balder had survived due to his exile from his clan. He rallied the human population into fearing the Witches' dark abilities and launched the Witch Hunts, subjecting the remaining Umbra to monstrous acts of torture before finally killing them. Within a short amount of time, the Witches were hunted to extinction. However, two Witches survived: Bayonetta and her best friend Jeanne.

Powers and Abilities

Besides their sponsor, Umbran Witches may also summon other demons from Inferno by using a medium such as their hair and chanting a magic spell. It would seem that these chants, spoken in Enochian, are unique from Witch to Witch; they might be granted by the sponsoring demon, or they might be an invention of the Witch herself.

Witches have the ability to travel from the normal world to the Purgatorio dimension, which allows them to travel unnoticed by the populace of the human world. Only the angels and other people with magical power/artifacts can see into this dimension.

The Umbra Witch's special ability called Witch Time allows them to slow down time for everyone except other Witches. Witches usually activate this ability in beneficial moments like after dodging an enemy attack. They can also use something called Witch Walk whenever the moon casts its glow, allowing them to defy gravity and walk sideways and upside-down. According to Antonio's Notes, it was said that these powers were obtained from their demons instead of the moon itself. Witches are also able to use the Beast Within that allows them to transform into different animals such as felines and birds.

Because of their knowledge of the Bullet Arts, Witches possess great weapon knowledge that allows them to master any one that they pick up. Their supernatural connections to the underworld also give them incredible strength, acrobatic skills and lightning fast reflexes. Umbra Witches seem to be well versed in herbology and are able to concoct items that are able to heal them, increase their strength and magic power etc.

Appearance

The Umbra Witches are usually exceptionally tall, attractive women that wear formal tight fitting outfits depending on their rank within their clan (ex: Rosa and Elder). They can use their hair to create their clothing using magic and commonly carry four guns with them at all times should they have to use their fighting abilities.

Known Umbra Witches

  • Bayonetta/Cereza - Survivor of the Witch Hunts, Left Eye of the World.
  • Jeanne - Heir to the throne of the European witches, survivor of the Witch Hunts.
  • Rosa - Veteran witch and mother to Bayonetta, killed during the Witch Hunts.
  • Umbran Elder - Former leader to the European Umbra Witches, killed during the Witch Hunts.

Mentioned Witches in Accessory Descriptions

  • Turandot - A Chinese witch who crafted Pulley's Butterfly.
  • Matryona - A witch from Muscovy who made Sergey's Lover.
  • Yenaldooshi - From American-Navajo legends, Yenaldooshi created the Star of Dinèta.
  • Karaba - A Malinese witch, killed during the Witch Hunts after being forced into the accessory Gaze of Despair.
  • Cleopatra - Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra made the accessory Selene's Light to help younger witches.
  • Akko - Servant to Queen Himiko, Akko crafted the Evil Harvest Rosary from Buddhist prayer beads.
  • Yaksi - An Indian witch who crafted the coveted Moon of Mahaa-Kalaa accessory.
  • Aizen - A queen among the witches feared for her power, Aizen made the Eternal Testimony accessory.
  • Eva - A witch that fought armies from Inferno and created the Bracelet of Time.
  • Mary - Also known as 'Bloody Mary', a proficient fighter that created the Immortal Marionette accessory.
  • Okuni - A chivalrous and lonely witch from the east who created the accessory Mallet of Rewards.

Gallery

Trivia

  • The "umbra" is the darkest part of a shadow and is usually used in reference to shadows cast by heavenly bodies.
  • How the Umbra Witches use firearms is a historically significant characteristic; during the introduction of gunpowder in Europe back in the late days of antiquity, many that used the first western made firearms were seen as users of black magic.
  • The term "Left Hand Path" is a term in Western Esoteric Tradition and many various mystical traditions, said to represent black magic and chaotic/anarchic ways; some also include the inclusion of sexual practices into their repertoire. This is alluded to how the Umbran Witches oversee the "Left" Eye of the World.
  • Despite the fact that the Umbran Clan hails from Europe, the witches who created the accessories of the game show that witches of other countries may be part of the clan as well.
  • Coincidentally, there is a type of flatfish called a "witch", which has both a separate "right eye" and "left eye" genus.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica's Main Protagonist Homura Akemi's Shield Symbol has similar to Umbra Witches Symbol.
  • The Umbra Witches are in a philosophical sense, the representation of Yin in Taoism. Like Yin, they embody darkness, the Moon and femininity.
    • Another interesting trait as like Yin, the Umbra Witches are misinterpreted as the "evil" side between them and the opposing counterpart.
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