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Author Topic: Life Magic Rewrite  (Read 14944 times)
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Azhira Styralias
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« Reply #30 on: 25 November 2009, 13:30:41 »

I'm going to pull a Bard Judy here and suggest perhaps some alternate names for "life mage" and "life force"... She was immensely helpful in giving me alternate names for my Kaaer religion as she has a talent for turning Terran terms into exotic, Santharian terms.

I am in favor keeping those terms to explain the concept, but perhaps the Brownies have certain unique terms for life mage and life force? Maybe words like Primal, Awake, Vital, Form, Body, Flora...etc. Maybe the Brownies call them "Flora Kin" or "Life Wakers" or "Pulse Mage"...something like that. I am terrible with names, sorry...I can usually think of exotic names in my own half-orc language, but I don't know Browniin well enough to make a guess.

Anyway, I am still reading the entry! Wonderful so far. More comments soon. Don't feel you have to change anything on account of me. The nomenclature can work as is.  thumbup
« Last Edit: 25 November 2009, 13:36:36 by Azhira » Logged

No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
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« Reply #31 on: 26 November 2009, 05:46:56 »

Eldor:  Yeah, I meant "enchant" rather than "make".....or "make them magical"...sorry for not being clearer.  Anyway!  I suppose my main problem is the fact that life magic only affects things that are alive, and most objects are dead or inanimate.  I was considering whether if you enchanted a tree whilst it was still alive, would it then still keep those properties you'd given it?  But I can't think of any properties you could give it that would actually be useful for magical items, because you can only give things properties that living things have, and most of these aren't going to work after the thing is dead.  I'm going to make a tree to combat this - a tree that doesn't need soil and clings onto rocks with little suckers.  I'm thinking the Brownies could make it cling to a small stone and then use it as a living staff.  I haven't really thought of any other cool possibilities though.

Valan:  Yes, exactly, there is no point in performing a manipulation that you could do much easier by hand.  However, you could change a plant to make it more useful in another way - maybe you take a healing herb plant and manipulate it so that it only grows very very small but with increased potency.  Voila!  You now have a handy sized source of that herb which you can carry with you on long journeys.  Or you could make a certain tree's wood grow really strong, or encourage it to grow strong and straight to make the perfect arrows.....which are all using life magic to make new objects.  However, I was talking about enchanting objects here :P

Azhira:  I'll have to mull the idea over a bit....it's been just "Life magic" and "life mages" for so long that the idea of having other names is kind of weird.  It would be cool to have some nicknames for them though....maybe some insults too....oooooooooo
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« Reply #32 on: 02 December 2009, 03:28:35 »

(Uri time! Not that there is ever been much to really find issue with a Rooks entry...*whips out a yellow pen*)

Life Magic

Also called “Brownie Magic” among other races in Sarvonia and “Wood Magic” by the Memnoor Brownies of Aeruillin, this system gives the wielder power over all things living.  Where life is abundant and thriving it is extremely powerful, whereas in barren or desert areas it can be terribly draining on the mage.  It is most famous and prevalent as a healing magic, but it can also be used to control animals or change the way a plant grows.  The lifemage can draw an energy called “lifeforce” from other living things and channel it into another being, imbuing them with strength and vitality.  They can also manipulate this lifeforce within a being, allowing them to change aspects of its personality or even its appearance.

 In the time of the Birni Kingdom, a lost golden age for the magic, it was possible to grant life to something which was not living, or rip the life out of something which was, but these secrets were lost with the break-down of the Kingdom around 10,000 b.S.  Most Brownies believe that the Birni abused the magic by giving life to things that shouldn’t have it, and that the Birni Kingdom’s rapid demise was a punishment for this from their spirit gods.  The techniques that are believed to have caused this have been left “lost” and there has been no official attempt to reinvent them.  Because of this, it is no longer possible to cross the line between life and death in either direction.

Prevalence

Among the Brownies

Life magic is most often associated with Llaoihrr Brownie Vale in Southern Santharia and the Brownies living at the Council Tree, a huge pine in whose hole-riddled trunk they live, eat and work.  A little distance away from this tree the life mages have their own small settlement, where new Brownies can be trained without putting the rest of the population in danger.  Simply looking at the area will give a few clues as to why - the Sikel Trees that surround it are oddly sized when compared to each other, some towering over their neighbours whilst some are only as big (tall) as two or three Brownies.  Some of the branches and even sometimes the leaves are strange shapes too.

(Is there a special academy in the Vale or elsewhere that mages can be taught the fundamentals of life magic? Another tree similar to the Council Tree?)

The magic is also practiced by the Memnoor Brownies living inside the Void in southernmost Aeruillin under the label of “Wood Magic”. Although their barren desert home limits the available lifeforce which they can manipulate, it can be just as impressive there as in the woodland.  Under the hand of a Memnoor life mage a field of wasted crops can swell and flower, turning the dull sandy expanse into a sudden blanket of lush colour.  It is used in a very similar way as by the Llaoihrr, predominantly for healing and manipulating the growth of plants.

(Would it be possible that certain areas of Aeruillin are wooded or possess more life forms as a result of the Memnoor practice of wood magic over the years? Perhaps ever slowly, much of the area around the Void has been changed permanently. I don't know much about Aeruillin so I may be talking nonsense here...it just seems odd that wood mages would have so little to manipulate in a desert.)

Some of the Aohu’o groups who live scattered over the sarvonian (Sarvonian) continent have also retained and improved certain basic spells, maybe a few healing abilities or certain ways of controlling animals.  These abilities may be seen thought to be a result of certain rituals rather than as a system of magic. As these groups vary immensely from one to the other, it would be impossible to describe the life magic skills of each one here.

Among other Races

As mentioned before, it is rare to find a non-Brownie life mage, but not impossible, as any sentient being could learn it if they had the will and the teacher.  It is felt by many people that the Brownies have some sort of natural affinity for this magic, that something in their make-up makes them particularly attuned to it. According to common mythology the Brownies were made from the bark of the Tree of Life, and this is thought to have made them naturally skilled with plants and life magic.  The rarity of really adept non-Brownie life mages makes it hard to test this theory.  Other races learning among the Llaoihrr do have more trouble learning than Brownies, but this could be caused by adjusting to the Brownie way of life rather than a lack of magical talent.  They typically struggle with the language, the food, the structure of the day and the fact that all their new classmates are 15 nailsbreaths tall, among other things. 

The only place on the santharian (Santharian) continent where one can learn all the techniques of a life mage is at the Council Tree settlement in the Vale of Brownies.  Here, the training to become even a moderately competent life mage takes the same as any other apprenticeship: 15 years.  That is a long time to live in a city where you are too big to even fit through the gates and require ten times as much food as anyone else.  Permission from the Brownies to stay that long in their city would also be extremely hard to come by, probably only given if the person or their family has good connections with the Llaoihrr already and if the training will actually benefit the tribe.  If the applicant is only going to leave and never have anything more to do with the clan after their apprenticeship, then there is very little incentive for the Llaoihrr to accept them.

The Memnoor are far more accepting of new mages, and anyone of any race is welcome to join their school, as long as they pull their weight in the settlement throughout their training.  The only issue is their location. Deep in the southernmost reaches of Aeruillin, they live on the edge of the Void itself, an isolated settlement that relies on magic to survive.  The long slog through inhospitable, sand-covered country is a real test of dedication for potential students.

In reality most santharian (Santharian) non-Brownie life magi are humans of the Helcrani tribe, or other inhabitants of Milkengrad, where the ever-inquisitive Milken Brownies have lived for generations.  Other Brownies have a much easier time being accepted to study at the Council Tree, as they require only a “normal” amount of food, can be housed relatively easily and just aren’t so scarily big.  As the Milken live alongside (or underneath) the Helcrani, some of them have passed on a little of their knowledge. These Milken will never be the same as a Llaoihrr teacher who has studied Life Magic for thirty or forty years, but you can find Helcrani who have learnt some of the more basic healing magic from them.

(Are there any examples of an outsider who has learned life magic? Also, is it possible for an outsider to be accepted to learn life magic but reside elsewhere in a human town? That way he only "goes to class" when required. He doesn't have to stay in the Vale.)

Concept

The Brownies say that every living thing possesses something called “lifeforce”, a source of energy which they need to move, think, grow, heal or repair themselves and make more things: all the activities that distinguish them as living things.  It is invisible to the naked eye, but a life mage can learn to sense it.  When describing it to a non-life mage they usually describe it as moving waves or lines that circle and entwine the being’s physical body.  The lines move through the body as if it wasn’t there at all, but always clearly belong to it, making an ever-moving, ever-changing pattern around it. 

Although many actions deplete being’s (...can deplete a beings' store of...) store of lifeforce, nature gradually but constantly replenishes it, so it doesn’t vary too much in day to day life. A life mage can take lifeforce from something else into their own body’s store, artificially replenishing themselves.  They could also take lifeforce from their own store and give it to another being.  Notice that the lifeforce always has to be travelling (traveling) between their body and another being’s; they cannot transfer it between two separate beings.  Nor can they take lifeforce from one being whilst giving it to another at the same time – the two actions each require their full concentration.

Lifeforce is homogeneous: it doesn’t change from being to being.  A tree’s lifeforce is the same as a human’s, or a Shir’s, or any other living thing.  The two things that do distinguish one being from another are the amount of lifeforce they have and the way it moves around their body. The normal amount of lifeforce that a being has is the easier of the two to manipulate, and is normally the first thing a life mage learns to sense. Generally, larger beings with a longer life span will produce and store more of it than smaller, shorter-lived beings.  So a huge tree that could live for hundreds of years would have far more than a tiny Jeshanna Lily.  Strangely, sentient beings do not follow this rule: all have far larger life magic stores than would be expected for their size.  Still, larger races do naturally have slightly more lifeforce than Brownies.  The few non-Brownies who do become life mages find they can work more on their own than their Brownie counterparts, as they have larger resources within their own bodies. 

(So a mage can sense another being's size due to their amount of life force?)

The way that the lifeforce moves around the being’s body is often called the being’s “flow” of lifeforce.  The Brownies say that this flow around the body is the being’s spirit, the part which gives it its identity and produces more lifeforce. Beings that move and think little, like trees, have the simplest flow, and the more intelligent the being the more complicated this becomes.  In terms of physical structure plants are indeed just as complicated as sentient beings, but the speed of the lifeforce flow is affected by the speed and complexity of their reactions.  A plant would change the direction of its growth to take advantage of sunlight or water, but it does this very slowly and fulfils (fulfills) very basic needs.  A creature that can learn to avoid a certain place because a predator lives there, or learn to associate a certain smell with large claws is reacting on a higher level.  A sentient being who constantly makes decisions based on wants, fears, potential reactions of others, and long-term benefits or problems is reacting on an even more complicated level.  Some life mages say that sensing a being’s lifeforce flow is like watching their thoughts whizz around them, although in truth it is even more complex, as the overall pattern also determines their permanent attributes, like appearance and personality.  The lifeforce of trees and plants much easier to manipulate than anything else’s, because the lifeforce moves in far more predictable ways: slower and smoother, with few spontaneous changes of direction. It’s hard to siphon off lifeforce when it is wiggling around as much as a Brownie’s or human’s, changing direction and density with every new thought that pops into their head.  The more experienced life mages are able to change and manipulate this flow as well as change the amount of lifeforce a being has.

Ximax mages would call a beings lifeforce flow it’s Car’all, and say that the Brownies were somehow able to encourage it to warp itself into different formations.  Although the key to life remains a mystery, they do notice that living things tend to have a fairly even balance of the four types of ounia and there is some speculation that this balance is what allows the Brownies to manipulate it.  By temporarily tipping the balance, the Brownies can cause one type of ounia to momentarily rule over the others, and if they can do this in a precise enough spot, they can have minute control over the being.  If they could locate the part of an animal’s brain that deals with fighting and protecting its territory, they could tip the balance of spiritual ounia so that fire ruled for a moment, and cause the animal to lash out in anger.  However this model doesn’t really explain how a life mage infuses their patients with lifeforce from other beings around them.

Other mages argue that there is some unknown aspect of living things which simply doesn’t come into the Ximaxian magic, some extra factor that makes living things aware of their surroundings and of themselves.  It is this self aware part that the Brownies are communicating with – they can somehow “speak” to the part of a being that dictates appearance and behaviour, and convince it to do something different instead.  Perhaps this self aware part needs energy (i.e. lifeforce) just like the physical body does, and this energy can be manipulated by the life mages.

(Perhaps lifeforce can be classified into two separate entities - mental and physical. Physical lifeforce can be manipulated to make something heal, grow or strengthen. Mental can affect emotions, behaviors and desires. There is a slightly different wave pattern associated with each that can be tapped into.)

(Looking awesome so far!  :D More later!)
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« Reply #33 on: 03 December 2009, 03:29:53 »

Thanks Azhira :)

Quote
(Is there a special academy in the Vale or elsewhere that mages can be taught the fundamentals of life magic? Another tree similar to the Council Tree?)

Indeed there is - it's described in the paragraph above this reply....I'll do some rewording and make it clearer.  Basically it's part of the Council Tree for all legal/cultural purposes, although not physically part of the actual tree.  Like a campus university if you will.

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(Would it be possible that certain areas of Aeruillin are wooded or possess more life forms as a result of the Memnoor practice of wood magic over the years? Perhaps ever slowly, much of the area around the Void has been changed permanently. I don't know much about Aeruillin so I may be talking nonsense here...it just seems odd that wood mages would have so little to manipulate in a desert.)

Well, they could probably grow some crops....although they would need water and soil too, life magic provides a boost of energy and encourages growth but it can't replace those things for any huge length of time.  I'm not entirely sure is the answer, as that area of Aeruillin is pretty much undeveloped.  The Memnoor have 6 other strands of magic to play with too though.  And why does it seem odd that wood mages have little to manipulate in a desert?  Deserts have less life, so therefore life magic is less powerful.

Quote
(Are there any examples of an outsider who has learned life magic? Also, is it possible for an outsider to be accepted to learn life magic but reside elsewhere in a human town? That way he only "goes to class" when required. He doesn't have to stay in the Vale.)

I will definitely put in a funny story about a famous non-Brownie life mage, that's a great idea.  It wouldn't be possible for them to live outside the Vale and travel in though - the life mages' settlement is about as far from the entrance as you can get (over 200 strals) and the path is steep, narrow and sometimes almost covered in undergrowth.

Quote
(So a mage can sense another being's size due to their amount of life force?)

Certainly an experienced life mage could, although it would be far easier for most to simply sneak a peak :P

Quote
(Perhaps lifeforce can be classified into two separate entities - mental and physical. Physical lifeforce can be manipulated to make something heal, grow or strengthen. Mental can affect emotions, behaviors and desires. There is a slightly different wave pattern associated with each that can be tapped into.)

To me this would make it too much like the Ximax system, something I'm keen to avoid.  I prefer splitting it along the three lines I've got already - the different types of manipulation.
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« Reply #34 on: 02 March 2010, 04:08:28 »

BUMP for Magic Mods, Magic Commentors and Brownie Devs!!!

COMMENT!!

INTEGRATE!!
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
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« Reply #35 on: 01 April 2010, 06:35:40 »

Just a bump, I'm going to try to finally get to my comments to this by this weekend. :)
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« Reply #36 on: 01 April 2010, 12:54:26 »

'Bout time is all I gotta say.  :P This entry has been deserving of attention for months.
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« Reply #37 on: 30 April 2010, 08:48:57 »

Okay! Finally read through it all.

It's a great entry, and there isn't really much needed to be changed. I can blarrow it after the following small changes are made.

I left out the sections where no changes were needed, so the following just includes a few specific sections of the entry.

:)


Quote
Concept

The Brownies say that every living thing possesses something called “lifeforce”, a source of energy which they need to move, think, grow, heal or repair themselves and make more things: all the activities that distinguish them as living things.  It is invisible to the naked eye, but a life mage can learn to sense it.  When describing it to a non-life mage they usually describe it as moving waves or lines that circle and entwine the being’s physical body.  The lines move through the body as if it wasn’t there at all, but always clearly belong to it, making an ever-moving, ever-changing pattern around it.  

Although many actions deplete being’s store of lifeforce, nature gradually but constantly replenishes it, so it doesn’t vary too much in day-to-day life. A life mage can take lifeforce from something else into their own body’s store, artificially replenishing themselves.  They could also take lifeforce from their own store and give it to another being.  Notice that the lifeforce always has to be travelling between their body and another being’s; they cannot transfer it between two separate beings.  Nor can they take lifeforce from one being whilst giving it to another at the same time – the two actions each require their full concentration.

Lifeforce is homogeneous: it doesn’t change from being to being.  A tree’s lifeforce is the same as a human’s, or a Shir’s, or any other living thing.  The two things that do distinguish one being from another are the amount of lifeforce they have and the way it moves around their body. The normal amount of lifeforce that a being has is the easier of the two to manipulate, and is normally the first thing a life mage learns to sense. Generally, larger beings with a longer life span will produce and store more of it than smaller, shorter-lived beings.  So a huge tree that could live for hundreds of years would have far more than a tiny Jeshanna Lily.  Strangely, sentient beings do not follow this rule: all have far larger life magic stores than would be expected for their size.  Still, larger races do naturally have slightly more lifeforce than Brownies.  The few non-Brownies who do become life mages find they can work more on their own than their Brownie counterparts, as they have larger resources within their own bodies.  

The way that the lifeforce moves around the being’s body is often called the being’s “flow” of lifeforce.  The Brownies say that this flow around the body is the being’s spirit, the part which gives it its identity and produces more lifeforce. Beings that move and think little, like trees, have the simplest flow, and the more intelligent the being the more complicated this becomes.  In terms of physical structure plants are indeed just as complicated as sentient beings, but the speed of the lifeforce flow is affected by the speed and complexity of their reactions.  A plant would change the direction of its growth to take advantage of sunlight or water, but it does this very slowly and fulfils very basic needs.  A creature that can learn to avoid a certain place because a predator lives there, or learn to associate a certain smell with large claws is reacting on a higher level.  A sentient being who constantly makes decisions based on wants, fears, potential reactions of others, and long-term benefits or problems is reacting on an even more complicated level.  Some life mages say that sensing a being’s lifeforce flow is like watching their thoughts whizz around them, although in truth it is even more complex, as the overall pattern also determines their permanent attributes, like appearance and personality.  The lifeforce of trees and plants much easier to manipulate than anything else’s, because the lifeforce moves in far more predictable ways: slower and smoother, with few spontaneous changes of direction. It’s hard to siphon off lifeforce when it is wiggling around as much as a Brownie’s or human’s, changing direction and density with every new thought that pops into their head.  The more experienced life mages are able to change and manipulate this flow as well as change the amount of lifeforce a being has.

Ximax mages would call a beings lifeforce flow it’s Car’all, and say that the Brownies were somehow able to encourage it to warp itself into different formations. Although the key to life remains a mystery, they do notice that living things tend to have a fairly even balance of the four types of ounia and there is some speculation that this balance is what allows the Brownies to manipulate it.  By temporarily tipping the balance, the Brownies can cause one type of ounia to momentarily rule over the others, and if they can do this in a precise enough spot, they can have minute control over the being.  If they could locate the part of an animal’s brain that deals with fighting and protecting its territory, they could tip the balance of spiritual ounia so that fire ruled for a moment, and cause the animal to lash out in anger.  However this model doesn’t really explain how a life mage infuses their patients with lifeforce from other beings around them, though some mages explain this as being a method of creating Xeua links between the Cár’áll of one patient to another.

Other mages argue that there is some unknown aspect of living things, some extra factor that makes living things aware of their surroundings and of themselves. While Ximaxian magi have explained a similar phenomenon in their writings on the Sentences of Will, regarding the possibility of a transcendent “Willpower” that goes beyond Cár’áll, there is no real evidence to support either it or the ‘spirit of life’ as is used in Life Magic or other forms of the arcane.  It is this self aware part that the Brownies are communicating with – they can somehow “speak” to the part of a being that dictates appearance and behaviour, and convince it to do something different instead.  Perhaps this self aware part needs energy (i.e. lifeforce) just like the physical body does, and this energy can be manipulated by the life mages.

Another common argument made by some Ximaxian magi, based on the ability of a life mage to the change a being’s appearance to a significant permanent degree, is that that Life Magic is a form of raw magic, which has much less restrictions than other forms of magic.

Quote
Techniques of the Life Mage

In order to be able to take advantage of the effects that can be caused by lifeforce, the life mages have developed three specific techniques for manipulating it.

Manipulation between Two Separate Beings (or “Transferring Lifeforce”)

The first thing that any new mage learns is how to sense the lifeforce that flows around and within the bodies of various beings.  They study the lifeforce of various different beings in preparation for learning to manipulate them later on, learning how it flows and which parts will respond most easily to manipulation.  They also practise breathing and meditating techniques that[/color] slow down the flow of their own lifeforce, which will make it a lot easier to deal with.

They are then taught to find the right point to focus on in order to divert another being’s flow into their own store of lifeforce, and how to judge how much they can safely store within themselves without suffering dangerous side effects.  As they practice they learn to control the side effects of an imbalance of lifeforce and their bodies become conditioned to them, so that they gradually suffer less and less.   After a year or two of practice (you said earlier it’s a ‘long and arduous’ practice. This seems to imply that every life mage accomplished it eventually. You might want to be specific in the Redbark description above that, though hard, it is a vital step to becoming a Life Magi. The way it was worded made it sound like something most didn’t do.) they should only feel them when their life force store is really low or really high, as a Redbark Brownie naturally would without practice.  They then start to learn how to siphon off the lifeforce in their own stores into another being.

At this point they are working only with their own lifeforce and that of plants, and it is common to see a group of young apprentices traipsing out to sit beside the rushing waterfall, each carrying an acorn cup of soil which contains a small and extremely mutated little plant.  As mentioned before, plants have a slower, steadier flow of lifeforce and therefore it is easier to manipulate, but this doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes, sometimes replicating very advanced techniques completely by accident.  This is why they are kept away from the rest of the Brownie population, and always fairly close to some very advanced mages who spring into action whenever anything goes wrong.

Although the mage’s own lifeforce flows quicker than the plants’ they are able to slow it down through meditation, making it much easier for them to manipulate.  As it is not possible to move lifeforce directly from one being into another, it must be taken into the life mage’s store and then sent out again. The amount of lifeforce the mage can manipulate at one time is therefore limited by the size of their own store as well as the amount of time they have to repeat the process.  The lifeforce flow is always changing and moving, so maintaining the right point on a being’s lifeforce flow and channeling it into or out of one’s own body requires full concentration.  Any distractions can cause a mage to loose sight of the point on the other being’s flow, so it is fairly impossible to simultaneously channel lifeforce into your body and out at the same time.  The mage must take lifeforce from one being into themselves, stop, and then channel it out into the target being.  Working together as a group is the one way you can get over this issue, but mages do not learn this technique until later on in their training.

The flow of lifeforce doesn’t only differ between species; it is also different for each individual thing depending on personality and appearance.  A bluebark will have a different flow to a greenbark and a male ferret will be different to a female one. However, the flow is similar enough between creatures of the same species that if a life mage is used to working with giant rats, for example, they are not going to have much problem with mice, kuatu or any other rodents.  If the same mage tried to siphon off lifeforce of a horse, however, it would take them a bit longer to locate the correct point to manipulate.  This means that even a fully qualified Llaoihrr mage who has completed the 15 year apprenticeship still won’t be really speedy with all beings and most of the specialist areas for study only deal with a limited number of species.

Manipulation en Masse

The Brownies have also developed a meditation technique that allows them to temporarily combine their stores of lifeforce for a short period of time in order to be able to deal with much larger amounts of it.   If one lone mage tried to deal with large amounts, they could suffer serious side effects, so sharing the burden is far safer and allows them to deal with far greater amounts of lifeforce than they could alone.  The Llaoihrr Brownies use this technique to keep their Council Tree in good health.  This is a cinnabark pine that is both older and larger than normal, and also riddled with holes for Brownies to live in.  Up to a hundred mages can be needed to work on this huge, ancient tree.  They may also use this technique to save a critically ill patient, as such a sick body will be using lifeforce so quickly.  If four or five mages work together then one at a time can leave to replenish their lifeforce from whatever beings are nearby, or a couple could channel lifeforce into the shared “store”, whilst the others were directing it out.  In this way there can always be a constant flow of lifeforce into the patient, which could be vital if they were close to death.

This is extremely difficult to do, as it requires all the mages’ minds to be completely in tune with each other, concentrating on combining their lifeforces whilst still sensing the point of manipulation in the other being’s lifeforce too. Practice is the key, and young mages are not expected to have much success until they’ve been studying for at least five years.  Even towards the end it is common for mages to still have problems.  However, Llaoihrr students who wish to pass their apprenticeship must show they are able to use this technique among a medium-sized group of about twenty mages taken from their classmates, who they know quite well and are used to working with.  Generally the longer a group has worked together the easier the process is, as they can develop a routine and rhythm to their work which everyone gets used to.

When a group is successfully combining their lifeforces, they look to a life mages senses as if they are one creature with several bodies: the different strands of lifeforce flow around and within the whole group as if it was one body.  It may be possible to pick out which strands belong to which mage if you knew them well but only if you knew the characteristic pace with which they moved and changed direction.

Manipulation of the Lifeforce “Flow”

Manipulating the flow of lifeforce is something not taught until a mage is competent with the first two techniques, because it is an extremely delicate operation that takes a lot of experience and knowledge of how the lifeforce works.  Not even Llaoihrr apprentices have to be able to do this to pass their exams, but it is normally the focus of further study.  The mage must be experienced enough to be able to clearly sense every movement of the lifeforce even before they begin to learn how to recognise which sections affect which parts of the body.  This is what makes it such a time-consuming venture – the mage needs to locate the precise area they want to manipulate before they attempt it.  Remember that this section would probably be moving as they tried to locate it, possibly quite fast if the animal was alert and fighting in battle, as the speed of the lifeforce flow will increase as its reactions become more rapid.

Most simply, the flow can be gradually slowed down to allow easier manipulation of the lifeforce.  This will also often slow down an animal, as its body won’t react quite as fast as it normally would.  It can also be quite confusing or disorientating.  Equally, quickening the flow might make something more agile and more aware of its surroundings, or a mind more focused on its task.

Once a mage can do this, they begin to learn which parts of the flow control what, and can manipulate a being even more specifically.  Using this knowledge to compliment the basic technique they already know, they can influence or control the reactions of specific parts of the body.  They could remove lifeforce from a predator’s eyes for example and cause their vision to blur, or remove it from the legs so that they can’t react quite in time to prevent the creature from stumbling.  However, because the lifeforce flow is so complex this takes time.  Even if the mage is extremely competent with manipulating the species they wish to influence and has practiced this particular spell many times, they will still need several uninterrupted minutes where the being is close by and moving in a way they can predict.  A fully qualified Llaoihrr mage after 15 years of apprenticeship would probably take between a quarter and a half-turn of the hourglass to do the same task.

Mood and temperament change so often day to day, they vary depending on season, weather, setting, time of day, that they do not resist manipulation and can be altered relatively easily.  Something more permanent, like appearance, or even the personality of an animal, needs a different technique.  Whereas before the mage was simply enhancing or diminishing the creatures natural processes, this actually goes against nature, which would normally return the lifeforce back to its original state over time. It is often necessary for the mage to repeat the manipulation many times in order to make the effect permanent. Back in the time of the Birni Kingdom, mages would not expect to be able to achieve significant results until they were over a hundred years old, but then they had the secrets of immortality to play with.  These days it is possible, if a mage concentrates their studies on one species: birds, canines or rodents for example, to learn to change things like fur colour or eye colour with a degree of accuracy.  Plants are simpler, and life magi have been known to study obsessively to be able to increase the potency of a fruit or seed made by a particular tree, or to subtly change the structure of a plant to make it harder for pests to eat.

It should be noted that there are a couple of instances where proper nouns like Santharia and Sarvonia and such are not capitalized. I'd recommend doing a quick run through to pick these up. :)

« Last Edit: 30 April 2010, 08:50:56 by Fox » Logged
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« Reply #38 on: 02 May 2010, 17:46:04 »

Yay!  Thankyou Fox, + aura for you :)  (and to Azhira too for poking in my absence!)

I've got a few corrections I wrote whilst on the way back from visiting Irid too, nothing big, just rephrasing for clarity.  I'm adding them all in now, so hopefully we can get this thing up soon.
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« Reply #39 on: 02 May 2010, 20:46:23 »

Oooh, the Rookster is back!  Huggles (very gently) and jubilations!

(puts down a Brownie-sized acorn cup full of cha'ah for her friend to sip from) and a crumb of fresh scone...)
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« Reply #40 on: 02 May 2010, 21:06:18 »

Hey Judy!  *hugs back forcefully*  How are you these days?

Unfortunately I wouldn't say back......just want to finish off and round up some things :)

« Last Edit: 02 May 2010, 22:58:14 by Rookie Brownbark » Logged

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« Reply #41 on: 02 May 2010, 22:56:16 »


Unfortunately I wouldn't say back......

 cry cry cry
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« Reply #42 on: 02 May 2010, 23:00:18 »

Done!  (Fox's corrections plus a bit of phrase-tweaking from me.)

Fox:  I couldn't spot any Sarvonias or Santharias that weren't capitalised.  There were a few "santharians" and "sarvonians", but they're adjectives and I don't really like capitalising them, although I know the computer tells me to for things like "a french table" or "a german house".  It just looks weird to me when I give them capitals :P

Azhira:  I just can't see me getting back into everything, sorry.  Too much to read! :P
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« Reply #43 on: 03 May 2010, 00:28:04 »

Okay, blarrowed!

As for the no-caps-on-adjectives. I'm actually not sure on that myself. I've heard conflicting reports on whether you should or not. Technically since most previous works have had them capitalized, they should be capitalized here too, but I've left them uncapitalized since I figured Arti can make the ultimate decision of whether they should or should not be capitalized.
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« Reply #44 on: 04 May 2010, 01:03:55 »

Thankyou! :)
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