UNDERSTANDING XIMAXIAN MAGIC THROUGH THE CÁR'ÁLL

PART: I: WHAT IS THE CÁR'ÁLL?

 


The following text is a verbatim transcription of one of Lord Frozenzephyr’s lectures at the Academy of Ximax. As such, its informal tone and methodical reiteration of key points is ideally suited to the needs of the uninitiated. It aims to introduce the newcomer to the Ximaxian system by examining the Cár'áll concept. The text discusses: what the Cár'áll is; its composition; and how the different Schools of Magic (Elemental – Xeua/Ecua – Raw) can be analysed in terms of the parts of the Cár'áll they manipulate.

INTRODUCTION

Throughout your time at Ximax, you will be lectured on numerous aspects of magic. You will study the history of magic – as well as the history of Ximax, Elven Cosmology, and the different attitudes of the various races towards magic. You will have classes on magic theory, the elemental schools, the concept of spell-casting, Carall theory... In fact you will spend a whole semester introducing yourselves to the Carall concept. Then you will encounter specific modules on the various aspects of the Carall – its Structure, its Content, Ounia and expression of properties, how to sense Carall and so forth. In fact students are assaulted with such a wealth of information in so short a time that they quickly lose sight of the woods for the trees. But how could you hope to see how the pieces fit if you cannot discern the unifying principle, the focus that holds everything else together? Carall is the unifying principle of Ximaxian theory. Understand Carall, and you can understand everything else. The purpose of this class is to present a bird’s eye view of the various aspects of magic you will encounter in the years to come, and to show you how the material of your other classes traces descent from or through the Carall. As such, this seminar represents the core of your knowledge – a centrepiece to which you can attach every piece you gather hereafter.

Our seminar is structured in two parts. In the first section – which is today’s class – you will mainly be lectured at. Next week we shall devote the entire session to questions and answers. That said, should you require further clarification you are welcome to interrupt me at any point. You need not worry about disrupting the lecture; if I do not wish to deal with your query, I will ignore you anyway.


T
HE DEFINITION OF CÁR'ÁLL

The cár'áll is the essence, the magical energy out of which everything is created: the essence of which everything in physical reality is a reflection. So while everything has a cár'áll, the cár'áll exists “beneath” the physical dimension we see around us and is in fact its essence. In this sense the cár'áll can be seen as the substance of Existence.

A note on terminology: The term “cár'áll” can refer to a number of different concepts. “THE CÁR'ÁLL” (in capitals) refers to the Universal Cár'áll, the aura that underlies the whole universe. “Cár'áll” without any articles (a/the) usually denotes auratic energy, the purest form of energy from which all matter and other forms of energy descend. “The Cár'áll”, by contrast, is a term of art which refers specifically to the Ximaxian concept of cár'áll, with its Form, Content, Substance, Structure and so on. Individual entities are also said to have cár'allía (Styrásh plural for cár'áll), referring to their individual aura (cár'áll) through which they manifest in physical form. This last usage is rather controversial – and will likely earn you a sermon from one of the elven members of staff should they ever catch you desecrating the Styrásh tongue. Hopefully the meaning will be apparent from the context.
 

THE CÁR'ÁLL'S FUNCTION

The Cár'áll is not only the magical energy out of which every single thing in existence is created, but this energy also holds everything together and in relation to each other under a pattern. Human Ximaxian mages call this resulting pattern “the Cosmological Design”. (The important point to note is that we are not equating the Cár'áll itself to this Design.)
 

CÁR'ÁLL AS ENERGY

The essence of the aura is energy. That is: What we call the Aura (Cár'áll) is a form of energy – or more accurately: it is “the” prime energy. Everything else - physical objects as well as different types of energy like heat-light-alsetism - are merely “qualifications” (from “quality”) of this auratic energy Ximax calls “cár'áll”. Thus it is said: “An object is cár'áll (energy) brought into shape, with the possibility of changing into something else.”
 

THE UNIVERSAL CÁR'ÁLL: THE UNCARVED BLOCK
A philosophical appreciation of what the cár'áll stands for and the existence of a Universal Aura defining, unifying all that exists

What the elves call “THE CÁR'ÁLL” (notice the capitals) is the aura that underlies the whole universe (humans: “Universal Cár'áll”). Everything in the universe is created from this source, from this single energy. A theorist would say: Everything existing is a “reflection”, an “embodiment”, a “qualification”, an “incarnation” of this energy.

This is why elves see the aura as “possibilities of creation” and why their ancient texts speak of cár'áll as the “infinite potential” for being. The Cár'áll is this pure, unprocessed energy. It is the “uncarved block” that harbours infinite possibilities of creation in it.

And since every entity and object has a cár'áll - or more accurately: is an incarnated, a ‘processed’ form of a part of the Universal Energy - cár'áll can also be seen as The Defining Principle. It defines what is in existence, distinguishes the Real from the Unreal. More specifically, a cár'áll is the defining principle of an entity: the cár'áll (aura) decides what a given object is, how it behaves etc.

As the name itself bears testimony, Ximax imported the concept of Cár'áll from the elves. Therefore, as a gesture of respect to its origins – and to satisfy the purists among you – I ought to warn you at the outset that the “puzzle-theory” your Santharian human instructors are apt to teach in Practice and Spell-crafting classes is not accurate. The recognition of individual “cár'állia” (this cár'áll, that cár'áll) is a simplification. Technically speaking, Cár'áll is one large, fluid entity – not a sum of a series of smaller parts. Every object has its own cár'áll, but that aura smoothly flows into that of the air around it. Thus, whilst we can say that every object has a cár'áll that creates it, where that of one object begins and another ends is impossible to define. Better to conceptualise the Cár'áll as a universal aura flowing in a continuous stream from one object to another, with each entity representing a node or concentration in that unified field. With practice you will grow more sensitive to changes in concentration and... I guess you could call it “flavour”, so that you will be able to sense where one cár'áll roughly ends and another begins – even if you cannot pinpoint the line separating the two. Yada yada yada and so on and so forth. As I am aware that you have a very entertaining lecture on Elven Cosmology scheduled right after this one, I shall say no more on this. Moving on:
 

THE FOUR ELEMENTAL CONIDITIONS OF THE CÁR'ÁLL

So the aura is pure energy – or rather the purest form of energy. But this energy, the energy that is the cár'áll, can assume different qualities (can be “qualified”). There are four main conditions of auratic energy: These are the four elemental energies of Wind, Earth, Water and Fire. The Elements thus define the four main states the Prime Energy (Cár'áll) has. Each state, each elemental condition, sets down certain characteristics for the auratic energy - or to state differently: bestows upon the Prime Energy certain qualities. To satisfy the pedants of the world, we ought to write: Each elemental condition ascribes a certain quality to the Prime (Auratic) Energy through exclusion. In simple terms: The Cár'áll is the Prime Energy from which everything issues. Since it is ‘the mother of all’, the ‘infinite potential’, Auratic Energy (cár'áll) in its pure form already possesses all possible qualities. Think of sunlight passing through a prism. Cár'áll then is white light and different elemental energies the different colours of the spectrum. For instance, the Elemental Condition of Fire (the prism) ascribes “fire properties” only because it excludes all other qualities of the Prime Energy. You get red light only because you block all the other colours in the ray of white sunlight.
 

THE OUN: THE PRIME ELEMENTAL ENTITY
OR: "
THE SUMMARY OF AN ELEMENT"

Since Cár'áll is energy, the actual material (“Substance”) of which it is composed must also be energy. Therefore, an “oun” (plural: ounia) is an immense concentration of elemental energy. Now, if truth be told, the Ximaxian oun is an elusive concept. According to Ximaxian theorists, an oun is only a very concentrated “package” of energy, but due to its incredible density (intensity?) it can be conceived of as a particle while the cár'áll as a whole must be thought of as a wave. Once upon a time an exasperated lecturer who had had enough of novices asking him how something that is a wave could be composed of sand-like particles - that is not, after all, how the surf in the Aetryam Sea behaves... – came up with the following analogy: Imagine a long line of people waving one after the other in a synchronised fashion or a field of grass rippling in the wind. Each person or blade of grass is an individual, self-contained unit but if you stand far away enough, the whole thing reminds one of a wave... To be frank, this seems a bit far-fetched. Perhaps it would have been better to compare ounia in a cár'áll to droplets of water in an ocean and then qualify this analogy by saying that these are special or “magical” droplets which do not mix – so a red one would stay red and not melt into the others.

Turning to the relationship between ounia and the cár'áll: We speak of “moving”, “adding” or “removing” ounia to explain the energy transactions, the transfer and transformation of magical energies involved in spell-casting. While an oun harbours within itself all the qualities of the elemental energy it is composed of (so that it acts like a sort of energetic node rather than say a grain of sand), for the sake of simplicity some mages treat it more like matter - as a particle that can be “moved” around within a cár'áll and between cár'állia to achieve certain effects. Elves frown upon this attitude and certain other pedantic users of the elven tongue point out that “an oun” is a contradiction in terms: There is no such thing as a single oun floating around that one can pick up with pincers and transport from one cár'áll to another. There are only ounia. Students be warned.

Notice that an oun is the Prime Elemental Entity. In a sense ounia are “quantified”; they are the smallest units of the cár'áll – you either move an oun or don’t, there is no such thing as “adding half an oun” to this or that part of the cár'áll. Consequently, the “puzzle” method of viewing magic, where one makes slight modifications to a cár'áll’s parts to achieve effects or give certain characteristics to the overall object, is not entirely incorrect but it is incomplete. Whilst arid theoretical debates on whether this mysterious creature called an oun exists or not gets us nowhere, neither should we become slaves to our own analogies. If thinking of cár'állia as interconnected puzzles helps you conceptualise how Ximaxian magic works no one could be happier; the important thing is to remember that ounia are ultimately a metaphor we use to explain how mages bring about changes in the cár'áll.

To summarize: An oun is a great concentration of elemental energy. They are the building blocks of the Cár'áll – and therefore all of Life. An oun is “the summary of an Element”: A fire-oun for instance can be viewed as a condensed form of the raw energy that is the Element of Fire and all that it represents. Consequently, an oun harbours within itself all the qualities of its Element – and the potential to express or impose these upon the object as individual properties. Likewise, even a single oun mirrors the “Cosmological Purpose” or “Existential Orientation” of the Element of which it is composed – or shall we say: the Element it “reflects”? As such the Oun is the Prime Elemental Entity, the smallest elemental particle, the “summary of an Element”.

 

 Date of last edit 9th Sleeping Dreameress 1669 a.S.

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