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Arcanism

"Arcanism really lives up to its name. To an outsider, mages just concentrate for an indeterminate amount of time, and then magic appears. Once one becomes a mage, one comes to realize that mages have no idea how it truly functions either. We create models and formulae to define and understand, but is it not all just blindly pawing through snow, hoping to find a shred of a shred? How much closer have we really gotten to the Truth?"- Hauntfall lecturer famous for disastrously botching a demon contract   Arcane magic focuses on using large amounts of energy from the soul to produce immediate effects. Mages, users of this style, typically perform rituals (a specialized form of binding, another field entirely) to increase their soul flow rate at the cost of other inconveniences. While enchantment originated around the midlands and east due to their abundance of magical resources, arcanism mostly developed in the deep north, where resources were scarce and danger constant enough to justify tampering with the soul. Northern arcanism focuses quite heavily on hard light, partially due to the cultural association of light and safety/good.   The Midlander belief that the soul is sacred and not to be tampered with fundamentally heavily stifled the arcane arts' growth in the Terian Empire. Even the more forward thinking Epacsi still shied away from the practice, instead preferring to achieve similar functionality through complex hard light circuitry and arcscript.   One side effect of arcanism is that it lightens the user's hair. Generally, this is simply due to lots of exposure to harsh light form hard light constructions, although it is very slightly influenced by the nature of drawing energy from the soul (which is why even solid-shadow focused sorcerers exhibit this physical difference). One's natural light color can also have an effect on the exact tint. Eyesight damage is also common, especially among self-taught arcanists, simply due to the art generally producing very bright light. As a result, light blindfolds are a common sight on practicing apprentices, working their way into the North's perception of mages as a whole. Among experienced mages, glasses and poor eyesight are often seen as a sign of carelessness.   Fundamentally, arcane magic is the act of converting one's soul energy into a measurable effect. The conversion process revolves around an act best described as visualization, although the cognitive processes involve directly interact with the soul and have no real-world direct equivalent. One's ability to manipulate magic essentially revolves around a higher-dimensional, abstract 'muscle', which can be trained and manipulated as such. Different cultures have different names for this, often based on the way that they interact with magic- Midlanders know it as the Inner Flame, Whirlpool Country refers to it as the Third Eye, and Northerners tend to call it the Arcane Spark (or just the Spark).  

History & Origins

Arcanism can be considered a distillation of concepts seen throughout the continent, the purest expression of Transmutation of Will. It's a relatively young discipline, with similar practices like Xiphaem and Sorcery(Ink especially) predating it by centuries. The cultural roots of the magic lie in a similar practice; one which utilized such concepts to manipulate stone and create architecture. Due to the lack of Conceptual Alignment, this wasn't viable for combat use, but allowed the mages' predecessors to create grand architecture in what is now the midlands.


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