If everyone would lower their voice please, so i can start with the first lecture. Yes?...
...Thank you. As many of you might have presumed because of my skincolor, I am Magistra Ashar Nirudi, and i am the Headmistress of the Tower of Amn...
I can still hear some giggles, thank you... I would prefer if you would carefully listen, and try to understand. I am here to make an offer to... most of you.... And I want you to think about it.
Very, very hard.
The reason i always take it up to myself to start the first lecture is, that most of you don't have the slightest idea what you got yourself into.
You might have heard that wizards are rare, and some lucky few of you might have met one in your life like once... or probably twice. Well... i am a witch that has been educated and trained in the far away tower of Eridu, as you can see here..."
The dark skinned Oromi lifted her hand and showed its inside to the young men and women who had come here from all over Caldaven, and also from the Summer isles. The Summer girls, Shura Kaaro and Evlin Sur, arrived 3 weeks ago and had been the source of the giggles. Now they were listening. Ashar did talk to both of them allready and kept a close eye on them, because of... well...
She had learned that they were friends, and from impression she got during the last weeks, very close ones at that too. One of them had talent, but the other had determination. Too much talent, sadly. The choice Ashar was going to offer was only for one of them. The other one had to stay. Thats why Ashar had to change her standard speech this year. It was a choice for most of them... not for all.
Ashar was just hoping that the fate of one would not drive the other one to foolishness. She continued...
"...by the branding in the inside of my hand. So what i will tell you now, you know will be true.
You have heard about mages and wizards, and what they could do, and probably one of those stories brought you here. Some of you are here, because of your parents, because you are the third or fourth son or daughter of a baron or other noble with no realistic hope to inherit a title... but with the hope for an arcanists salary.
Now... there is a reason wizards and witches are so rare. In this tower only one of 300 Students manages to pass the exam. Most don't even get there. But not getting to the exam doesn't mean that we can let you go. But just so you understand why we do all this...
First things first.
What is... a spell, and where does it come from? It all begins with the Fae..."
The Fae, sometimes also called the Lifeforce, is an energyform produced by all living beings on Ardu. Everything that lives, creates it, be it fauna or flora. At the same time, the Fae furthers life, or at least the procreation and continuous development of it. And the Fae reacts, to the wishes of those who create it. This enables Faebirth
. Every being on Ardu can bend its own "personal Fae", which is that part the Fae Energy, that its own body produced, and use this energypool for effects, which, when trained, can become quite impressive.
During faebirth procreation
, and also during some of the instinctive "magical" effects which some creatures can produce, this utilisation of the personal fae happens almost subconsciously. This makes the effects look and feel natural, despite "being Fae" in nature. Monks of several monastic orders all over Ardu, despite their differences in using it, have found a common name for the personal Fae. They call it the Qi, or Ki, and the reason why their magic seems so organic, is that their abilities rely entirely on this kind of Fae.
However with the capability for conscious thought comes the ability to not only form the personal fae, but extend one's will also onto the massive pool of energy that is the collective fae of the world of Ardu.
This is the source of magic, and magic does exactly that. By conscious agenda one can deliberately reform the collective local Fae in a specific way, such that a desired effect happens. Mages call this a spell.
As the "collective" fae consists of the personal fae of countless other lifeforms, it resists this kind of manipulation though, and this is why magic of an arcane spellcaster inherently feels unnatural, and why, to cast a spell succesfully, one does either need a special kind of mental training, or be one of the, depending on perspective, lucky or cursed few sorcerors, who have developed or, most often, inherited, an instinctual talent to reform fae energy that does not originally belong to them.
The dichotomy of Fae and life goes even further though. Once a fae construct, regardless if it was created by a conscious mind, or if it developed on its own, has exceeded a certain amount of complexity, it gains life. Complex fae creatures even gather an intellect and a form of self awareness, beginning with all spells which are not cantrips, and ending with ghosts, which are nothing but the fae imprint of a once living person, continuing a cursed existence after usually teribble incidents, elementals, which are self aware clusters of elements, or demons, fae creatures birthed by unbalanced instincts and drives of self aware beings, but fortunately, usually hidden from existence in the Counterrealm
behind the Veil
The word fae can be found in old Onari (elvish)
texts, in human
legendstones that go almost back to the Cataclysm, and in gelf
folklore of the undergelf
. Whereas humans
only denote the energyform with the name, elves and gelf also call the Veil
, all Fae realms
behind it, and the state of mind used to travel there, by this name. Literally translated, the only human word, that comes even close to describe the word Fae in elvish and gelf in its enirety, would be "the Dream", which has baffled many sages, as elves and gelf are known to not sleeping or dreaming at all, but rather transfering their mind into a state of deep meditation in order to recover, with dreams being mere mind excercises.
have given the name Gaea to the Fae, and consider her the Goddess of Life. Yet although she is one of their deities, she is nevertheless not worshipped directly. Wolven and orcs consider her too powerful, consider her the god of the gods, who wouldn't answer anyhow. This casts a shadow of doubt or at least some discomfort over all those who handle "her stuff" directly, like shamans, or druids (called gaeodes with the wolven), although they are otherwise hugely respected. It is the wolven and orcish "wizards" (actually sorcerors usually, as both cultures have no concept of codified training of arcane spellcasters) which, In contrast to them, are met with disdain, and which almost never achieve power or respect with their brethren, except by force. This is because
as well as srcs
that these casters steal the power from Gaea, and will eventually have to face her wrath, which, considering the nature of the Fae and the Nemesis Fiend
is not too far from the truth.
"..So you now know what the Fae is, but what a spell is, still escapes your grasp.
"A spell is a combination of vocal, somatic and material components, which reforms the fae in a certain way, which in reaction to this, reforms the world accordingly, and thus produces a desired effect."
Ashar Nirudi gave a scornful snort
"That's what a spell is, to those who understand nothing but the words on a page, or in a lorestone. Yes... It is a lot easier to throw a ball of fire, if you have something incendiary in your hands, because its presence alone bends the local collective fae by its potential. But most of all, it helps you convince yourself. There is someting to burn... and burn it shall. Speaking the words and doing the gestures is not what it takes to bend the fae, but it helps bend your mind, for it provides structure to hold on. It worked thousand times... why shouldn't it now? You hear that? My voice just resounds much louder through the room, for i did cast a spell. You didn't notice me speak. You didn't see my hands move. But now i have beads of sweat on my head.
Casting is one of the hardest things a mind can do, and we need every bit of relieve we can get.
Because the real thing... the one thing that works the magic, is your conviction. In order to convince the Fae that it has to be different than what it is, you have to remember the effect as if it happened, even though it didn't yet. And only then... it will. Not many people can do this. And actually... that is a blessing...
Arcane magic manipulates the Fae directly by the mind of the caster. The technic to do that is "remembering" it into existence. All Arcane casters do that, including wizards, sorcerors, bards and druids. Two things to note here: Despite usually casting spells of the "Arcane" Spellbook, a warlock is not an arcane caster. He gains his power from another entity, which "casts" for him. Thus the spell never touches his mind, and leaves him blissfully unaware of the dangers of The Counterrealm and the Fae Worlds
, if his pact did not involve one of their inhabitants at least. Druids on the other hand use spells of the "Nature Domain", which often show a more natural and balanced quality, however the technic they use to cast them is arcane, hence they are arcane casters too.
Arcane casters leave a trace in the Fae which manifests over time in a being called "The Nemesis Fiend
" which lives in the Counterrealm
and tries to manipulate the Caster in ways, which would finally allow it to pass over to the real world, possess the caster and destroy his soul, turning him into a Plaguefiend
in the process. One of the things every arcane caster thus has to succeed in is: finish his training before the Nemesis Fiend
" can do that, travel to the counterrealm and banish it (which is always temporarily), and then continue to do so regularly for the rest of his life.
Divine (subsidiary) Magic
"So... divine magic is harmless?"
"Yes. And it is not magic. The priest works the wonders through the Creator, who keeps the souls of his followers pristine. It is almost as if the Creator would take it up to himself personally to protect us. Oh and the other... "deities..." well... they can cast too, but that's just... humbug and window dressing. I mean... believing in something that just exists because you believe in it... what if you don't anymore? Will all the wonders worked in it's name go away? Better trust in the Creator i say "
The dark haired priest, clad in the white robes which were bearing the red circle of the Father aspect, uttered a disdainful snort.
"So... no Nemesis?"
"No nemesis fiend. The Maker protects."
"Ok... but what about the nemesis fiend of the Maker?"
The priest almost choked on his bread and stared into the distance, his face slightly more pale.
"Thats... heresy. Such a thing does not exist..."
Divine Magic is often represented as a benevolent kind of magic, and, provided it is used by benevolent people and comes from a benevolent deity, it might even be.
The reason why it is considered "benevolent", is that it does not pose the threat of plaguefiends, as the caster does not provoke the formation of a nemesis fiend in the counterrealm, because the energyflow is different. Divine casters pray or ask for the help of their divine (or not so divine) patrons, and are granted or denied. The difference between clerics and warlocks might only be the level of trust their patron puts in them.
Clerics get a "trust loan" by getting their spells (they call them "miracles") every time they wake from sleep after they prayed in the evening, and can then "cast" them at their will. They prefer the term "work" rather than "cast", as it is not them who actually does the casting. Therefore a cleric does not "cast spells", but "works miracles". Warlocks, on the other hand, get them when they need them... no trust involved, thank you. If the warlock ever falls from grace of his patron, then the patron can decide to just stop the flow, no strings attached. There is no need to inform the warlock even, he will figure it out anyway.
Paladins belong to the class of divine casters too.
Not all magic is cast from external fae. Monks are specialized in this kind of magic, because they are aware of the limits and how to best make use of them, whereas other natural casters may not even be aware of the distinction between personal fae and collective (or external) Fae at all. These are the magic wielding subclasses like arcane tricksters and eldritch knights, but also rangers. For their magic they entirely rely on their personal fae, and thus they are also considered "harmless" compared to the true arcane casters.