Magic" is the term commonly used to refer to the magic
system of the Brownies of the
Memnoor settlement in
Aeruillin. It is obviously not a very accurate term, for
Brownies of other tribes have their own
magic systems, and do not use this one. Still, it is the
only name we have to refer to this system by, short of coining our own.
Brownie Magic is one of the better known foreign magic systems aside from the Ximaxian ways, and the Seven Schools of Magic, the school where it is taught, has the reputation of being one of the best, second only to the Magical Academy of Ximax.
Prevalence. There are relatively few practioners of Brownie Magic, nearly all of them inhabitants of the Memnoor settlement, which is located far in the south of Aeruillin, on the edge of the Ethereal Void. It is there that the Seven Schools of Magic resides, and it is considered an essential part of the settlement, for without the magi it produces, there is a very real danger of the settlement being swallowed by the Void.
At the edge of the Void, where the Memnoor Brownies live, reality is quite malleable. The Brownie magi take advantage of this to create far stronger effects than they would otherwise be able to, allowing them to create a rather decent living environment in the harsh Aeruillian desert, as well as to extend it into the Void itself. However, the malleability of reality in and around the Void means that a careless thought, or even random Void phenomenon, could easily result in the entire settlement being wiped out, making it necessary for them to retain a relatively large number of magi, using their disciplined minds and knowledge of how to create magical effects to counter these threats.
Practioners of Brownie Magic are seldom found outside the Memnoor settlement. However, the other Brownie tribes do practice magics that greatly resemble the Wood Magic of the Memnoor Brownies. It is generally believed that these are independently developed systems, though they might have had a common origin.
Concept/Worldview. Brownie Magic is based on something the Brownies call 'Lifeforce'. It is apparently an energy of sorts that is possessed by living things, such as plants and animals. Non-living things do not possess Lifeforce, and neither do things that were once alive, but no longer are. Activities use up Lifeforce, and thus cause one to tire, while rest allows Lifeforce to be regained. Should a living being be comepletely drained of its Lifeforce, it dies. Extrapolating from this, infusing a non-living object with lifeforce will presumably grant it life. Indeed, the Brownies claim that this was commonly done in the ancient Empire of Birn. However, the knowledge of how to do so has supposedly been lost over the ages, and no modern Brownie is known to possess such an ability. Spells are believed to be powered by Lifeforce; essentially, the Lifeforce is thought to be converted into other types of energies or forces, which allow for the effects of the spell to occur. Spellcasting can thus be potentially more exhausting than what one might expect from performing a mental task, and could even be fatal, though it is far more likely for a mage to pass out from exhaustion before they use up all their Lifeforce.
Basic Principles. The Memnoor Brownies divide their spells into 7 elements: Air, Earth, Fire, Lightning, Metal, Water, and Wood. Unlike Ximax, which assigns spells to an element based on theories concerning the elements and the properties they encompass, the Memnoor Brownies do it somewhat arbitrarily. With many spells, it is quite obvious what element they belong in (a spell that generates a fireball, for example, is 'obviously' a fire spell), but others generally end up where they are because the Memnoor Brownies feel that that is where they fit best. The Memnoor Brownies also seem to regard such a categorisation as mostly a matter of convenience, and are not too concerned about whether it is correct. Some do wonder about it sometimes, but for most, it is helpful, and that is good enough. It should be noted that we use the term 'spell' somewhat differently when talking about Brownie Magic. Where Ximax defines a spell as a specific application of a magical technique, the Memnoor Brownies consider only the effects. To use the fireball example again, Ximax will consider different methods of producing a fireball to be different spells, but to the Brownies, they are the same spell, except cast differently.
Wood Magic, commonly called Life Magic in Santharia after the Life Magic of the Vale Brownies, which it is very similar to, differs somewhat from the other elements, in that it not only uses Lifeforce to power its spells, but also grants the ability to manipulate Lifeforce. Practioners of Life Magic are able to, and indeed often do draw on the Lifeforces of other living beings for their spells, allowing them to cast without tiring. While some Lifeforce is needed to draw on the Lifeforce of others in the first place, a Brownie Life mage usually takes more than she uses, ensuring that her own Lifeforce is replenished.
Beyond this, there seems to be little way of beliefs and principles. The Memnoor Brownies are a practical people, more interested in doing things than figuring out how things work. That is to say, they prefer trying to figure out how to create an effect than in trying to explain how magic works. Possibly, this is due to the nature of the environment they live in. Magi are constantly needed to keep their settlement anchored in reality, to keep it from being swallowed up by the Void, as well as to keep it inhabitable. Thus, knowing how to get magic to work is a lot more important than knowing how it really works, and it seems little thought has been put into developing any theories.
That said, according to Ximax, their magic system does not appear to be incompatible with the Ximaxian system. Ximaxian theories are able to explain everything they can do with their magic, or at least those they have been able to demonstrate. However, even Ximax admits that their own magi seem to have far greater difficulty in reproducing Life Magic effects than the Redbark Brownie magi do. It seems possible that there may be some truth in the belief that Redbark Brownies are inherently gifted in Life Magic.
Abilities, Limitations, Restrictions and Practice. As mentioned previously, the Memnoor Brownies have classified their spells into seven elements, in a semi-arbitrary manner. These are the sort of effects associated with each element:
Air magic effects are generally similar to the physical effects of Ximaxian wind magic, usually involving the creation or manipulation of wind. Weather control also seems to largely fall under this element, with one of the most powerful effects being the summoning of a storm. Such a powerful effect is seldom used though; mostly, the Brownies only use what power they have over the weather as one of the ways to better their living conditions.
Earth magic deals with various ways of altering and moving earth, and is quite useful in the settlement due to the simple fact that it is located on land. Use of it in combat is possible, but not worth the effort in most cases, except in large battles, where the ability to do such things as creating earthquakes and opening up the earth to swallow enemy troops might prove useful. The remoteness and general lack of strategic value of the settlement means that it seldom sees battle though, and earth magic is usually used instead to help with more constructive tasks.
Fire magic deals with light, heat, and flames, much like the physical aspect of Ximaxian fire magic. It is especially good for combat, and thus, for defending the settlement, but otherwise not usually as useful as the other elements.
Lightning magic, of course, deals with producing and controlling lightning. Curiously, however, the Brownies also put telekinesis and many effects that affect one's mind under this element, their reasoning being that these effects have to do with something they term the 'lightning of the mind'.
Metal magic is not quite as versatile as the magic of the other elements, but no less powerful. The spell of this element mainly deal with the detection and transmutation of metals, as well as conferring minor enchantments, usually to increase strength or durability, on metallic objects, making them an invaluable asset for those who work with metals.
Water magic might not seem very useful where the Brownies are, located at the edge of a desert, but it is in fact this that makes water magic so essential to the Brownies, as it allows for the detection of water. Other spells of this element have to do with various ways of manipulating water, allowing the Brownies to use the water they have more efficiently. However, the relative lack of water where the settlement is located does make this form of magic somewhat weaker compared to the others. Where water is plentiful, however, it is most certainly something to be feared.
As mentioned above, wood magic is nearly identical to the life magic of the Vale Brownies, at least in terms of the effects they can produce.
Despite the name, wood magic has little to do with the manipulation of wood - the name is thought by some to be a reference to mythology, which states that the original Brownies were formed from pieces of the Tree of Life. Rather, it deals with the manipulation of Lifeforce, which can result in effects such as healing, growth, plant control, and even some limited transformation. Draining the Lifeforce of a target is also possible, and commonly done to replenish the mage's Lifeforce and to power their spells, allowing them to cast without tiring, though draining a target completely is seldom done, as it will kill the target. It is also frequently claimed that far more powerful and fantastic effects such as the granting of eternal life, resurrection, and the animation of non-living things are also possible, but none so far have been able to produce them, the knowledge of how to do so having supposedly been lost after the fall of Birn.
While the magic of this element is powerful, it also has a few limitations not shared by the others. The most obvious of these is the fact that it can only target living things, as non-living things do not possess Lifeforce, making it quite useless where life is scarce. Also, for some reason, Redbark Brownies are the only ones who can perform all but the simplest of Wood/Life Magic without great difficulty. Incidentally, all Redbarks show great talent for magic, though this is less noticable in the Memnoor settlement, as the necessity for magic in the settlement means that there are many great non-Redbark magi as well.
The ultimate origin of Brownie Magic is shrouded by the mists of time. What is
known is that by the time of the Empire of Birn,
some form of Life Magic was already being
practiced. Most sources claim that the Life
Magic practiced then was far more powerful than anything that can be seen
today, though many have expressed doubts as to the accuracy of these sources.
Little is known for certain about the ancient civilization, and the
magic its people might have practiced is no exception.
It is not known what became of the Brownie's magical knowledge after the fall of Birn, though it would probably be safe to assume that much of it was lost. Few records from those times mention Brownies, and it is not until after Keekoo had gathered the Brownies that we once again hear of their magic. Still, little is known about what it was like then, though most likely it was this gathering of the scattered race that allowed what knowledge they retained of their ancient magic to be pooled, forming the basis of the modern Life Magics practiced by the Brownie tribes today.
It is also during that time that we first see something that may be the seven-element system of the Memnoor Brownie's magic, in the form of a five-element philosophy of life taught by Keekoo. The addition of the other two elements (Air and Lightning) and its evolution into a magic system most likely occurred after the tribe had begun its southward journey, possibly under the influence of the other races they encounted on the way.
From the Memnoor Brownie's records, it is known that after crossing the vast Aeruillian desert and arriving at the edge of the Ethereal Void, they were plagued by nightmarish occurrences produced by the interactions between their unprepared minds and the Void, a scenario that should not be too surprising to anyone familiar with the nature of the Void. However, despite their initial weariness, they had, in the span of a few years, achieved the incredible feat of taming the Void and turning the malleability of reality in and around it to their advantage. The ordeal greatly invigorated their magical research as they sought to find a means to survive, being too weak to cross the desert again, and even today, the ever-present threat of something like this happening again is a great impetus towards magical research.