UNDERSTANDING XIMAXIAN MAGIC THROUGH THE CÁR'ÁLL

PART: II: WHAT MAKES UP 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.

THE COMPOSITION OF CÁR'ÁLL: FORM AND CONTENT

Commit to mind the following formula, which we shall look at piece by piece: The Cár'áll is (magical) Energy. This energy has a Form and a Content. The Idea (the abstract concept), through the Form, sets the blueprint for a Cár'áll's Structure. The Content is the realization of the intangible Idea - the resulting Cár'áll-entity that is built from the universal energy. It is the corporeal manifestation of the abstract concept. Each Cár'áll-entity (of which its physical entity is a reflection) is an individualization of the Idea it belongs to.


 

THE CONTENT

The Content of a Cár'áll has two aspects: Substance and Structure. The Substance is the “material”, the energy that makes up the carall. Structure is the overall design in which “the what is in there”, the Substance of the Cár'áll, is arranged. In other words, the Cár'áll’s Structure represents the precise configuration of its Substance. In this sense the Structure forms the skeleton of the Cár'áll’s Content; it defines how exactly the Content (the manifestation of the abstract concept, the resulting concrete entity) should look like.

Just as ounia are the building-blocks of a Cár'áll’s Substance, the links build up the specific configuration that is its Structure. These Xeuá links are the chains that tie together each component or “Ounía”. The Xeua links are the “glue” that holds the Substance of a Cár'áll, the magical energy, together. It is in this sense that the elves talk about (the Principle of) Xeuá holding Life together.

STRUCTURE AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO FORM

As each entity is a unique manifestation of an underlying Idea, no two entities can have the EXACT same Structure, but there are similarities between the Cár'áll structures of two objects of the same kind. It is these similarities that help us identify two objects as objects of the same “kind”. Each “kind” is of course the reflection of an intangible Idea – or to put it differently: Each of these classifications represents an abstract concept we name the “Idea”.

When we single out these similarities and assemble them together, a pattern emerges. This “pattern” signifies the Highest Common Factor among objects of the same kind. From this exercise we draw the conclusion that: Each Cár'áll of the same “type” has a pattern identifying it as being a Cár'áll of that type. This pattern, the Highest Common Factor shared by all objects of the same kind, is the Form. Otherwise stated, the Form of the Cár'áll outlines its Structure. Observe that this “pattern” is only a subset – an “abstract” or summary, if you like – of the whole Structure.
 

IDEA VS. FORM: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

Now recall our formula: The Idea, the abstract concept, through the Form, dictates the blueprint of the Cár'áll’s Structure. The Idea, the all-inclusive abstraction, is extrapolated from this pattern/HCF. In most cases this last sentence can be translated to: The abstract concept that is the Idea can be extrapolated from the Form of a Cár'áll. This is because most of the time it is clear just what an object is; to put it differently, most of the time an object is the realization of only one Idea: A table is a table, a spoon is a spoon, a bird is a bird.

I am careful to maintain this distinction between the Idea and the Form as I believe the answer to borderline cases lies here. Imagine an object that not only functions as both a table and a chair but also looks like both. At first sight it is not immediately apparent what this object is – whether it is a table or a chair. So we say two Ideas, the Idea of a Chair and the Idea of a Table, are reflected in the Cár'áll’s Form. Correspondingly, the Cár'áll’s Form contains both “patterns” (or perhaps it would be better to say “elements from both patterns”). The Form here is a mixture of two Ideas. But through this Form a new concept, the “Table-Chair” Idea, has been created. Depending on what you believe, you can also claim that the Table-Chair Idea already existed (i.e. ALL possible ideas exist), but it has only now been “realized” in corporeality. This leads us neatly into a discussion of the differing perspectives of elven and human mages on Ideas, which comprises the subject matter of the next section.

One last point to emphasise is that an Idea cannot be altered by Raw Magic, but the Form can be.

ELVEN AND HUMAN PERSPECTIVES ON IDEAS

Elves believe in the actual existence of Ideas (what they call “The Thoughts of Ava”) as separate entities outside Reality. The Universal Aura, THE CÁR'ÁLL, permeates the whole of Creation (Elves usually speak of Cár'áll in a universal sense). To borrow a turn of phrase of Krean magic, it is “the world beneath the World”. Just as the Cár'áll is the “world beneath the World”, Ideas lie on a world beyond the world that lies beneath the World. The World of Ideas – the World of the Thoughts of Ava - therefore is separate from our universe. Ideas exist beyond the reach of anything in this Reality. They cannot be manipulated – even “touched” – by mortals. This includes the strongest of Ximaxian mages as well as those blessed with Raw Magic.

Human mages would say “Ideas” are just abstractions - theoretical concepts extrapolated from the Form of the Cár'áll. Therefore, whether Ideas in fact exist or not is immaterial and irrelevant.

HIERARCHY OF IDEAS

Then there is the issue of a hierarchy between Ideas – a hierarchy of generality rather than importance. This notion is best explained by means of an example: Looking at an entity you may instantly say that its Cár'áll has the Human Form. But you can funnel the Form down from Human to Man (as opposed to Woman) then to Old Man then to Sick Old Man etc. At same time you can go the opposite way, up the ladder: From Human to Humanoid (Elf, human, dwarf etc) to Sentient to Animate (Living) to Existing (Real). Obviously, the more general the Form the fewer similarities will be shared; the more specific the Form, the more the objects will resemble each other. Related to this is what I call “Idea Subsets”, where one Subset-Idea is almost like the CONTENT of the Superset-Idea: take for instance The Idea of a Chair within the greater Idea of a Room. But we need not concern ourselves with this topic today.

What are the ramifications of such a hierarchy? That there are patterns within the pattern imposed on the Cár'áll’s Structure by its Form. The smallest subset will be a reflection of the most general Idea of which the entity is a manifestation. And of course logic dictates that the more specific we go, the more shared features will appear - and thus the larger, the more extensive and detailed the relevant pattern will become.

A Raw Mage with the talent would choose the necessary Form according to the task at hand. For example, he may just substitute the “Sick-Man Idea” with “Healthy-Man Idea” to cure someone instead of having to insert the more general “Perfect-Man Idea”. Or he can refine his focus even more and just focus on the specific disease – for example the “Mage Grabber Disease Idea”.

So when a mage talks about “the Form of a Cár'áll” he usually refers to the most obvious “pattern” the Structure of that aura bears. Judging from the number of inquisitive hands suddenly assaulting the air like catapults preparing to strike, I presume you have spotted the problem: There is an element of subjectivity in “most obvious”. Three people can look at the same creature, and one would say “It is a bird”, and the next “It’s a Lisebird”, and yet another “It is an adolescent ruby-throated Krean Lisebird”. Which is the most obvious Form of this Cár'áll? Depends on the context. There is no simple answer. In magic, as in law, context is everything. In a lecture on different species of birds, it might be “Lisebird”. If you are comparing flying and aquatic creatures, “bird” might suffice. The true Form of the Cár'áll of course includes reflections - “seeds”, if you will - of all possible Ideas that entity belongs to.

WHY IS THE FORM IMPORTANT?

Inertia. Even if some of the actual Substance, some ounia, is removed, the blueprint – of what needs to be where and in what intensity –still remains there. That is why the Form is an indispensable in magic theory. Incidentally, this is also why Xeua/Ecua can never alter the Form directly. All they can ever hope to achieve – and this is no small task – is to rework the Structure, by shifting the links that hold up that skeleton, to such a point that the “pattern” contained in it resembles another pattern which would have been imposed by a different Idea. The Cár'áll always wants to revert to its original state - because there is an Idea, a cosmological design, the Cár'áll of the object needs to be in line with. If the Xeuatan maintains the new state long enough or if the change is too drastic for the Natural Will of the Cár'áll to re-correct - like losing a limb - then the aura undergoes a gradual shift in its Form. If not, the changes will only be temporary; the Form will bring the Cár'áll back into line with itself – i.e. the Cár'áll will be automatically “reset” into its original blueprint.


 Date of last edit 29th Sleeping Dreameress 1669 a.S.

Information provided by Coren FrozenZephyr View Profile