The term "Magic" is a comprehensive name given to all the kinds of arts which produce demonstrable effects in shifting the balance of the universal aura (or "Cár'áll", Styrásh cár'áll). These effects may result in someone's advantage or harm but don't necessarily have to. Such a shift of universal energy/aura can either be attained through the efforts of a trained mind, through the wanted or unwanted assistance of supernatural forces or even of departed spirits, by an intentional or arbitrary mastery of secret forces in nature by any being. Magic can be cast intentionally or not by almost anyone who can establish contact with the aura in a direct way, regardless of race, sex or other factors.
Many ways of magic are still unexplained, especially those kinds which happen accidentally or regularly in natural processes or e.g. in situations of life and death when people who have never been known to cast spells manage to survive through seemingly supernatural assistance they have somehow "produced" on their own. The second example may be already explainable by our assumption that the essence of magic is mainly manifestion of will - and it is this principle on which all other magical theories are based. The truth of the "Sentences of Will" are the first sections apprentices at the Mages' Academy of Ximax will learn, so if you plan a magical career, make sure that you can master your own will. - And back to the first example: There exist many theories explaining natural magical phenomenons, but the most likely seems to be that the Sentences of Will are not only applicable to individuals but also to nature itself (whether you relate this will to a deity or not is just a matter of personal preference). Though this thesis is heavily disputed among Santharian scholars, it seems at least the most probable, which is why we mentioned it here in this introduction.
The Power of Will. One of the main implications of the Sentences of Will is the fact that the might of magic is directly related to the will-power and thus the imagination of the caster, which determines the amount and intensity of magic one can cast. People with lack of concentration won't become mages at all, mages with lack of imagination won't be capable of casting powerful spells. It also has to be noted that the most intelligent magicians often are also those who won't use extremely destructive spells or spells with chaotic energies as this contradicts their focussing of will for which they've trained so hard. There exist several examples throughout history when extraordinary mighty archmages retreated from their studies at the peak of their fame and withdrew to live their further lives in solitude. Obviously many of them were convinced that the mastery of will can only be achieved if the will itself is not instrumentalized more than necessary and that casting magic for the magic's sake is not their primary goal.
But not many people who try to cast magic have the necessary will-power to cast without much training and practice. Therefore certain means have been used since magic existed in order to add form, energy, stability etc. to someone's will. Appearance and usage of these tools vary concerning race, culture and the kinds of magic, but always serve the same purpose: to enhance the caster's ability to focus his mental energies to transform aura(s) to the desired effect. The following tools are the most commonly used:
Magical Formulas and Mantras
Magical formulas are recited aloud during the casting of spells and represent the most common tool used to focus magic. They play a central part especially in Elemental Magic. Though Clerical Mages also recite short prayers which seem to resemble magical formulas, these are called mantras and work a little different, so it is not advised to treat them as the same.
Spell Books and Tomes of Prayers
While Elemental Mages use Spell Books, clerics prefer Tomes of Prayers. Spell Books contain magical formulas, which are needed to cast spells. Tomes of Prayers contain mantras, short prayers. Each mage/cleric usually carries such a book with him/her and transcribes newly learned spells into these books.
Runes and Symbols
You have to discern between runes and symbols in physical form and runes and symbols you draw into the the air, on a piece of cloth or at the ground. The latter technique is quite similar to using magical formulas or mantras: You can either support your own casting by drawing runes or symbols or you can transfer your magical energy into these signs so that they can be activated later on (this technique is also used to create Spell Scrolls). If these runes and symbols already exist in physical form a mage can use this form in order to transcribe the spell in his/her own spellbook.
Elemental Mages of the lower spell levels prefer to work with reagents in order to achieve spell effects. Novice mages often carry pouches filled with strange items like snake's skin, dried rat blood, garlic, sulphur or darkearth with them, helping the caster to focus and guide the spell in the desired direction. Reagents are consumed by the energies of the spell and can't be used again. Becoming a mage therefore can be pretty expensive as you'll usually spend a lot of money buying reagents...
Picture description. The procedure of the joining of wills in order to summon a Netherwyrm. Image by Eratinalinfalah.
Artifacts are universal magical tools. Depending on the enchantment an artifact can either work as a catalyst for other spells, add energy, disrupt, twist them, whatever. Aside from that artifacts can be used for permanent magical effects like improving defense or attack skills of the wearer, cloak him/her with invisibility etc. Most artifacts also have the advantage that they can be used from non-mages as well, which explains why that adventurers are always on the lookout for such valuable items.
Joining of Wills
Another possibility to strengthen magic or to guarantee successful casting is to combine the forces of two or more mages in order to achieve the same goal. More will-power makes focusing easier, which is a technique especially Weavers use very frequently in order to realize complicated patterns.
Note: All these tools indeed are only optional in order to cast magic - they only make it easier and more efficient, but nevertheless are required by nearly all spellcasters existing in the one way or the other. The more the mage can rely on his own will-power the fewer tools he/she will need to cast.
The Three Ways of Magic. For many people in our world magic is a mystery. And it still remains a mystery in many ways for those who have knowledge of it, who are gifted with magical abilities from birth on or are learned spellcasters. Not everybody is capable of spellcasting, and those who can have to be aware of their responsibility when changing the way of nature when they try to shift the aura of things existing. Magic is a world of its own, a miraculous world however, which has its laws, but nevertheless different faces. It is important to discern these faces and to extract the basics of all magic actions to be able to understand magic - at least as far as this is possible for us humble servants of a greater cosmological cause, of which we don't know the intentions for sure.
There are three main kinds of magic, which have to be cast completely differently and therefore make it very difficult for one person to master two kinds. All kinds of magic affect the aura of all things exsisting, only in different ways.
Basic scheme of the Xeuágram showing the arrangements of the elements within the cár'áll.
Raw Magic (Resonance Magic)
Raw Magic is the kind of magic which deals with the form of the aura, the pattern of things as cosmologically defined. Raw Magic is used by the so-called Weavers, a secret order, which recruits members who are gifted with magical abilities from birth on. This kind of magic therefore is extremely rare and only the most talented mages can master it.
Clerical Magic is the kind of magic which deals with believing in other possibilities of the aura, depending on the caster's faith in certain deities and supernatural support. Clerical Magic is orginal as well as meta-magic, meaning that clerics may cast either own spells but also Raw or Elemental Magic in an indirect way. What spells clerics can cast depends on their religious membership and in case other persons are involved the effect of the spell is determined by these persons' beliefs as well.
The Basics of Magic. The basics of magic can be described in four steps according to the Xeuátan Khaelvan III., an expert on Xeuá Magic, who teached at the Ximaxian Academy in the 9th century of our time. For this purpose Khaelvan III. also wrote a lengthy introduction in the way of magics especially for newcomers in this field of science, where he tries to integrate elven ideas in human concepts of magic. Upon this introduction the following summary is mainly based on.
The Cár'áll (the Aura)
The basis for every single thing existing must be a principle or an idea, or, more precise: Something which makes a thing real and discerns it from something which is unreal. The elves named this something the "Cár'áll". This is a Styrásh word and the humans would interpret its meaning as the "natural astral aura of things or beings".
This "energy" or simply "aura" can also be refered to as the "soul" of things, regardless of the fact if this thing is a being, a natural substance or something which was produced by the hands of someone, an artificial item. A stone, a branch, a gas, a table, a human, a dragon - all have Cár'áll. Though it is not visible, the Cár'áll is inherent in all things existing and everything is based on it. It is natural, exists everywhere and cannot be destroyed. It is the essence of existance.
Magicians of any kind can now take advantage of this principle.
The Elements within the Cár'áll
The Cár'áll (the Aura) appears different on different objects. If you burn something, the flames you get will have a high "density" of Fire Cár'áll - the flames have a strong affinity towards the Fire Element. Note that the Cár'áll in fact can't be seen, but is defined mainly by the properties of the object and not necessarily the appearance, though the appearance of course may indicate the Cár'áll, which in case of a simple flame is very obvious.
Mages may be able to concentrate their energies (in fact they use their own Cár'áll to do this) in order to modify certain elemental parts of the object's Cár'áll. A fire mage for example will be able to use the affinity of a flame towards the Element of Fire to his advantage. The appearance of the Cár'áll will help him to make the fire brighter, more intense, because he has the knowledge of manipulating this part of the Cár'áll.
However, please note that the element itself does not represent the Cár'áll as a whole. The Cár'áll is form, and this form has a content. It is like a bag in a metaphorical sense and you can put various things in it - what's in there determines the form of the Cár'áll: if you put square, solid things in the bag for example, it will change the appearance of the bag itself.
There are 4 basic affinities a Cár'áll can have, which result in four differnt kinds of magic. You may also picture this as quantities of certain things you put into the bag, just to make thinking easier (but in fact it's all about quality):
- towards fire (generally representing abstract ideas like desire, longing, power, will)
- towards water (ambiguity, instability, change etc.)
- towards earth (stability, endurance, strength etc.)
- towards wind (spirit, idea, peace, healing, tranquility etc.)
You can influence the Cár'áll by modifiying one or more of these elements, e.g. enlarging/enhancing the Fire part (give something more "power" or someone more determination to do something). On the other hand a typical Wind Spell therefore like Levitation (moving an object) will be extremely difficult to cast upon a large boulder, because the Earth Cár'áll is much more intense within such an object than the Wind Cár'áll and therefore contradicts the intention of the spell. But the more a Wind Mage is able to master his skills, the easier it will be for him to manage this feat.
The Elemental Connections within the Cár'áll
All auras we just talked about are embedded in a larger context. A stone for example in general has Earth Cár'áll, but may have other affinities as well. Loam, clay consists of earth and water and therefore also quite obviously has Earth/Water Cár'áll. A table on the other hand will mainly have an Earth/Wind Cár'áll, because it is a constructed object, where the form of the table is determined by an idea (Wind, or - as the elves would say - the Thought of Avá).
Now these different elements within the Cár'áll are connected, more or less loosly, but there lies a pattern within the fabric of reality, spun by the Gods (or Avá if we belief elven mythology). The pattern defines the connections between the elements within the Cár'áll. This connection is called
- Xeuá (link)
Think about the X to remember the meaning of the Xeuá more easily. X stands for connections, crossings, links between the elements. Of course these links don't only exist within a single Cár'áll, but also between other Cár'allía, forming a unity in time and space, e.g. a bush stands in relation to a tree, and all exist at the same time. So there exist various Xeuaía (links) between bush and tree.
For the elves the Xeuá is the center of all life. At the beginning there was chaos, the elements reigned. Then the Cárpa'dosía tells us that chaos was connected by the Gods, forming life and order. There exist several varities of Xeuá Magic, but one of the most important is the Xeuá Magic one of the smallest races of Caelereth, the Brownies, are very famous for: This variation was titled "Life Magic" by the Brownies themselves and is a form of Xeuá Magic dealing especially with Life connections.
Of course these links are modified constantly in reality. If you dig out the bush and move it away from the tree, the Xeuá between these two becomes weaker. But even if you take this bush and move it to another continent, there still exists a Xeuá between bush and the tree near which it stood before. And if you could only shift the time factor a few days, months or years back, the bush will stand again close to the tree. So in fact you've only changed one of the many factors of the Xeuá.
Xeuá magic can intensify these links in various ways (within a Cár'áll and between different Cár'allía). But magic can also break these links if desired:
- Ecuá (link breaking)
So to summarize: Magic on the one hand focuses on
- modifying elements within the Cár'áll
- modifying links between elements within or between Cár'allía (either by intensifying or breaking these connections)
Note: In the Academy of Ximax scholars learn that there are different ways of links. You may draw an arrow from X to Y, or from Y to X, or in both directions, or do a simple line without any arrows. This all represents the theory of Ahm and Soór, of communicating and responding, and is more of theoretical nature, which isn't relevant at the moment, but should be studied seriously by those who are willing to learn the arts of magic thoroughly.
So we have six kinds of magic so far, and we lack one more:
- Raw Magic (Weaving)
We've learned that the appearances of the Cár'áll (the elemental parts, see above) are different from the Cár'áll itself. The appearance of an object is its content, seemingly - but the content can only exist through the form. A table only appears as a piece of furniture because it is shaped like a table and thus represents the idea of a table. If the idea, the "soul" of the table (the Cár'áll) wouldn't exist and identify an object as a table the object would simple be a combination of wooden elements. The Cár'áll is form. It's the bag we spoke of before where you can put in things.
We have also seen that Elemental Mages modify the quality of the Cár'áll: the Fire Element, the Wind Element etc. and can make something e.g. more stable, or lighter, so that it flies.
Xeuá mages connect or seperate things, e.g. a typical Xeuá mage would be a healer who can make a wound heal faster. I choose this example, because the accelaration of the healing of a wound is something quite obvious, but of course there are several more ways to use Xeuá magic which are not that easy to follow.
A Raw Mage on the other hand goes directly for the form of the Cár'áll and therefore can do much more powerful magic. If you are capable of modifying the form itself, you could e.g. make the bag of our example much smaller, allowing only a certain limit of elemental affinities within an object. You can make something/someone more or less powerful without altering his elemental parts or the connections between them directly. Extremely powerful Raw Magic may not only reduce or improve the Cár'áll of an object (e.g. change a "large table" to a "small table", a "blue one" to a "white one" by altering its Cár'áll etc.), but can also substitute the Cár'áll, e.g. convert a table to a chair.
Raw Magic (or Resonance Magic) is the kind of magic the so-called Weavers use, an order, whose members are capable of weaving strands of raw magic from birth on. This sort of magic is mainly used for creating purposes, but one can do practically everything with it and Weavers with evil intent can be extremely dangerous. As a matter of fact this kind of magic is extremely rare and only the most talented mages can master it.
Magic through Belief
There's of course another kind of magic, which is different from Elemental and Raw Magic: Clerical Magic. If you ask a cleric (be it a Santharian, an orc or a Kasumarii) about how his magic works, he will of course answer you that his God endowed him with magical powers and that the spells he obtained from the godly presence prove not only His/Her existence, but also His/Her might. Scientific research in this field is often seen as contradictory to the principle of belief, which Clerical Magic is based on. However, we'd like to give you a short glimpse on how Santharian scholars of the Ximaxian Academy try to explain this kind of magic from the scientific point of view as well:
As a matter of fact the magical powers of clerics can't be denied, but the explanation of their sources has to remain questionable - or how would it be possible that two clerics of different cultures/races both can receive blessings of their Gods, who both claim to not tolerate any other Gods?
The key to casting Clerical Magic therefore lies in the faith, the belief of the spellcaster and not primarily in the existence of a deity (we apologize in advance to all priests and clerics about this scientific reduction of metaphysical issues and fully understand if such theses are rejected from their point of view): "Belief" affects the elements and the Xeuaía (the connections between the elements). Not directly, by influencing an element in a focussed way, but in modifiying the pre-conditions for the existence/combinations of certain elements/Xeuaía so that the unreal becomes reality because the conditions changed. You don't concentrate on achieving something special with your mind, but affect your whole surroundings so that certain things become possible. As the elves would say: "As Avá [the High Elven Goddess] dreams the world, so does the one who believes in her glory dream as part of Her world. He dreams through the help of Her servants, the Gods, of a shift within the Great Dream [our reality] - and thus he dreams of dél [casts magic]." (Kára'kái, "Book of Dreams").
An easy example of belief: Sometimes people think so hard about something that they forget everything else and it becomes reality for them, simply because they have reached this state of conciousness by denying other things which influence their apperception. You might think that e.g. you visually see an apple if you meditate and deny other realities. The apple will then appear, not mainly because you focussed all your thoughts on the apple, but because you keep everything disturbing about the apple's viusal appearance away.
You see that belief not only affects yourself. Your belief can affect others as well, e.g. if you cast a healing spell - if the target believes in the success of a clerical healing spell, he/she will be healed faster as the Xeuaía are strengthened by a joined faith. If you want to heal a pagan the spell will often have much lesser effect (depending also on the belief of the caster), while inanimate objects (natural or artificially produced) usually can't negatively influence the magical energy of belief.
Scientifically spoken Clerical Magic can be explained this way: You either (re-)order the cár'állía through your belief or send vibrations through your surroundings which shake the elements and the Xeuaía (Clerics of course would say that it's their Gods' work). If you're good at this you will be able to achieve certain results you desire as if you would focus. Spells of clerics therefore are much more difficult to cast and will take a much longer time than other spells, which are focussed.
History. Many legends tell us that magic once was the most important power in the world and that there were great warlords who were endowed from the Gods themselves with otherworldly magical abilities: They are said to have been capable of making mountains crumble, rivers drain instantly - and they accumulated many followers, only to fight each other for dominance and bring havoc over the lands. This dark time is known as the War of the Chosen (9500-9000 b.S.) and it brought death and destruction upon the continent of Sarvonia, where the cradle of world lay.
|Picture description. An archmage casting a powerful lightning bolt spell. Image by Quellion.
After this time magic was banned from the world. Though there were indeed many rulers of various tribes who explicitely prohibited the use of magic and punished those severely who offended against these laws, it was mainly the hate of the people themselves who took care that the use of magic wouldn't thrive anymore. Too many deaths had been caused by the art of magic and too few had been able to deal with these enormous powers, so that the wrath of those who survived led to many persecutions of mages and people who were said to have abilities nobody else had. Even healers, "witches", whose extraordinary talents could not be explained, were often hunted to their death for many centuries to follow as people were convinced that they belonged to the progeny of the Chosen, those who were responsible for so many horrors at the Dark Era of Sorcery. Especially elves were often seen as a seed of evil by the humans race as they bore the talents of spellcasting within themselves from birth on, and many wars against the elves were fought, nurtured by this general suspicion. There are many rumours and confirmed reports about secret orders of magicians being formed during these times.
In the course of time, however, the general opinion concerning the use of magic has changed again. The three huge Sarvonian Wars brought sufferings and lamentations upon the people and healers were accepted again to soothe the pains. Magic was also re-discovered as a science of the spirit and the Magical Academy at Ximax was founded in order to give magical research direction and purpose. Since then magic was analyzed, categorized and its possible roots and effects described. This new approach on the matter of magic in many ways has to be interpreted as a positive development, but on the other hand the dark side has also come to surface again and it shouldn't be concealed that magic was also used as means of warfare in this new era. Therefore we have to remind the reader of these lines once more that especially in our times it is essential that magic and its consequences have to be kept at bay by the other forces of our spirit, the part of ourselves, which tells us that life has to be heeded and stands above everything else.
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