Magic in everyday life

Table of Contents

Magic is everywhere in the world and only 10% of the population of the empire does not have any magic at all. Yet magical power means everything for one's social status in the empire, which meant that weak individuals are both less able to create craft or impressive magic by themselves and that they are also poorer and so have even fewer chances of benefiting from the new technological innovations.   The empire is vast, spreading over a whole continent. Because of this, a wide variety in the degree of magic present in imperial villages can found among the different Estates. Yet, common points can be drawn to represent an average village and household.  

Raw magic

Apart from the 10% of the population who do not have any magic, everyone in the empire can use raw magic, which is defined as magic accessed without help (of artefact, ritual, elixirs...). The most common form of raw magic used is "line-gifts". Each type of magic requires a high level of specialisation and over time some family's magic can become attuned to it, making it easier to practise and allowing them to accomplish feats of magic not possible for others.   While not as impressive as that of noble Houses, almost all families have specialised in some form of magic and can perform it easily without assistance. The difference lies in the magnitude of what can be accomplished. While nobles with a levitation gift might lift mountains, commoners are most likely to be limited to a few plates. Those line-gifts have developed from magic used every day for several generations of a family, and so they tend to concern activities such as household chores or jobs.   Raw magic is by definition less controlled and precise than magic accessed through artefacts. Cooking a meal with raw magic, for example, is more likely to get it fully burn than anything else. As such, most magical activities require those artefacts to be performed skilfully and safely.
Oriane walked into the kitchen, stumbling on the threshold and struggling to look in front of her above her basket full of apples. Doing several travels from the garden would have been clever, but doing several travels would have been a loss of time! The table was high, and she had to put the basket on the ground first, before transferring the apples one by one.   Once done, she looked smugly at her spoils: only three apples were slightly bruised by their fall, and by the time she would be done, nobody would ever know anyway.   She glanced around the kitchen and pinched her lips. Of course, the pots and cooking craft were nowhere to be seen. Typical. Dad always assigned her chores, then conveniently forgetting to actually give her the means to achieve them.   She dragged a chair towards the kitchen cupboard and climb onto it until she could reach the shelves and rummaged through them. The pot almost slipped from her hands and fell to the ground, but an instinctive shove with her raw magic threw it against the opposite wall. Loud clangs echoed in the whole house as it hit the bricks and fell down onto the table. She winced.   Well, maybe she should have been able to get the pot to land perfectly on the land if she had had full control of her raw magic, but she had accomplished her main objective of preventing it from falling, hadn't she? She had plenty of control where it mattered! Why could she not be allowed to cook without a craft? It's not as if she was going to put fire to the kitchen again, she was not three anymore!

Assisted magic

The empire has developed highly specialised magical crafts. Those are artefacts ranging from objects used to facilitate everyday life to weapons. Thanks to these, powerful and rich individual can live a luxurious and comfortable life. As for the poors and those without magic, they mostly depend on the good will of their rulers. Some rulers will develop the public infrastructures and make sure their people have access to public crafts. Others will not care about them and condemn them to a miserable life.   People need a minimum of skills to properly use runes and crafts, however that can be acquired through experience by going through trials and errors. The true limitation is in the degree of savoir faire that is required to create them, which is impacting in their prices. As a result, what an average village and household have access to is limited.   Individuals without magic of their own can use crafts designed to use environmental magic and which are activated by touch. Thus, they are not completely excluded from society. However, such crafts are more expensive to make, and powerless individuals are already at the bottom of the social ladder.
A low quality cooking craft by AmélieIs with an Image from -Steffi- on Pixabay
Some more careful rummaging through the cupboards produced the cooking disk. Oriane grimaced at it, holding it between two fingers. You never know, the thing might actually bite her, or give her some kind of disease just by looking at it given how horrid it was. Ancestor-cursed scammers who had sold it, and dad who was unable to see through them! Honestly! How was that thing less likely to put fire to the house than she was?

Magic available in an average household

The main type of magic present on all homes is the protective wards. Absolutely all houses need to have those, if only to avoid leaks on the roof. Most wards will also include magic to ensure the integrity of the structure. Fancier versions—and so only affordable by very few households in a village—would also prevent theft.   Most households then have a few simple crafts to help with everyday chores. Those are simple everyday objects, such as a short wooden stick covered with runes, a little wooden plate to fix to a wall, a small brooch for their cloth or a hairpin. From more affordable to more expensive, typical family will have such crafts to:  
  • make a light;
  • control the temperature inside their house;
  • to create localised high temperature or a flame with which to cook;
  • to protect against pest;
  • to preserve aliments;
  • to add into the water to wash clothes or dishes;
  • to filter air or water;
  • stuff toys that can keep children warm, safe, and even happy depending on their complexity;
  • simple card games with animated figures appearing when a card is player;
  • copying artefact that detect where ink is on a piece of paper and replicate it on another.

  • Kitchen by Photosforyou on Pixabay
    Oriane placed the craft on the table and put a pot on top of it. She then had to drag the chair back to the table to climb on it again to see what she was doing. And why couldn't she just cook on the floor? That would have certainly been smarter and easier! But of course, since dad kept wasting money on scams, they didn't have enough money for a pest-control craft! And it wasn't as if anyone else cared that she had to put so much effort into the cooking, was it? They could all just order her around and disappear to do their oh-so-important grown-up activities outside the house!   She forced her face to relax before she could give herself a headache by throwing so much. Standing on the chair, she could easily add a few apples inside the pot. Starting the cooking was not so easy, since the craft was completely hidden under the pot. Who had even thought this was a good design idea?   She pushed the pot around, then had to hurry to grab it so that it wouldn't fall. At least this revealed the disk. She contorted herself around to keep hold of the pot while simultaneously touching the disk, allowing her to push her magic through it.   The runes covering it lighting up as expected, but then they immediately fizzled out. She watched it incredulously for a few seconds before pushing more magic into. Nothing happened.   She pushed more and more magic with exactly the same results before letting go of everything and crying out in outrage.   The pot crashing to the ground was her only answer.

    Second-hand craft trade


    Properly made crafts will never get used and will on the contrary gain in power as they age. However, this requires a level of skill on the part of the crafter that is reflected in the prices of the objects, and so they are not available to common in people. Other crafts will get used a little every time they channel magic, and will lose their efficiency over time, leaking magic when use which results in them requiring more magic to use and being more dangerous.   Because of this, crafts used every day may need replacing every few years or more often if their quality is especially bad. This has led to a thriving second-hand market for crafts where they are slowly traded down the social ladder as they become worn and less efficient.   Since magical-sensitivity is an extremely limited line-gift, the only way to estimate the quality of a craft is by testing it. But tricking a customer during a few minutes is relatively easy, either by boosting the efficiency of a damage craft, using another craft, or even outright illusion magic. this means that scams are frequent and sensible customers are always on their guards.
    Second-hand light crafts by AmélieIS with an image from Steinchen on Pixabay
    Oriane glared at the door of the second-hand shop before pushing the door opened. Her hands tightened around the money pouch. She had stolen it from her dad's secret stash, but it was not as if he could ever know it was her or he would have to admit that his six-year-old daughter had managed to outsmart his stupid wards.   "Well, if it isn't the little Merisse!" the old shopkeeper greeted her happily. Far too happy for such a liar and scammer. "Back for another cooking craft, are you?"   She nodded tightly without speaking. If she did so, only insults would come out, and she still needed to buy something from him.   "I've got just the thing for you, girl!"   He walked to one of the shelves lining the inside of the shop and rummaged through one of the wooden box there. Oriane walked over and peered inside without prompting. It was filled with cooking crafts with their runes in various states of wear. And of course, the man had to pick up one of the worse one out to hand to her!   And even more insulting, it wasn't even the right design!   She gave him a look of pure outrage and exclaimed. "That's not even a cooking craft! The last one didn't even work once, but at last it had the right runes! Stealing our money wasn't enough, now you're trying to kill me!"

    Magic available in a village

    Typical jobs in villages are that of farmers, craftsmen (butcher, baker, brewster, miller, blacksmith, woodworker, seamstress, crafters making magical crafts...), and lowly workers (builders, road maintenance...). Less common jobs are that of traders, Estate administrators, soldiers, and servants. Only a few individuals in the whole Estate have the opportunity to be artists or politicians.   All of those jobs are made with magical tools if people can afford it. Beyond making the tools more resistant to breaking or wear, the magic they contain also makes them more practical. For example, it can give objects such as a sewing needle the ability to levitate and a certain level of independence and so that they are more efficient. However, this is an extreme case, as using such a needle all day would be exhausting and most individuals in the empire would not be able to do so.   The magic of everyday tools tends to give small nudges that simplify people's live rather than completely revolutionise the way they work. This would reduce the amount of strength that needs to be put into actions such as digging or hammering, or help guide and refine gestures to a level of precision impossible to reach otherwise.

    Mill by Couleur on Pixabay
    Needless to say, Oriane was out of the shop without buying anything. Her hand was clenched on her useless moneybag, and she glared at the shop. The wood of the door started to smoke but she did not look away. Her raw magic might set it on fire, but that would totally not be an accident!   The door reopened and someone else came out. Master Larie. Oriane blinked.   The man hurriedly let go of the door handle and did a double take at it before looking back at Oriane. She stubbornly looked back at him and refused to look guilty.   What was he even doing here? It's not as if he had any need to buy second-hand crafts, he was making his himself! And he wouldn't just come and talk to anyone in town. All masters thought they were too good for the rest of them.   "Well," he said after a few seconds. "That was certainly well done, what you did over there. Not many would have been able to recognise such a subtle change in the rune design, let alone someone as young as you. Why do you not accompany me back to my workshop and I will see what I have lying around that could suit you?"

    Public infrastructures


    The lord or lady of an Estate are supposed to take care of their people and provide them with a public infrastructure, including public crafts. For example, this includes tools that would benefit the whole community such as a well. Most wells are indeed fitted them with crafts that filter the water and that carry buckets upwards by themselves.   Public infrastructure can also include a tool library where crafts that are more rarely used can be borrowed for a day in exchange for a small payment. The quality and worn-state of those crafts highly depends on the generosity of the ruler and of the elite of the Estate.
    A well by Jazella on Pixabay
    It was not as if Oriane had anything better to do, so she followed him. What did he even mean by "something that would suit her"? It's not as if she would have enough money to pay for anything coming out of his workshop!   She was almost dancing with impatience when they made a stop at the craft library. She looked around with boredom while waiting for Master Larie to be done, but there was nothing new to see. All the crafts were old and worn, not truly any better than those at the second-hand shops. The lord didn't really remember any of them existed, so why would he bother gifting them with proper craft?   Oriane was powerful, most powerful than anyone she had met in their town. But what use was that when she couldn't get her hands on a proper craft? And without one, there was no way she'd ever be able to show off what she was able to do to make her situation better...

    Crafting and technological development

    Every Estate specialises in different types of magic and crafts and trade them through the empire. The creation of crafts is done under the leadership of Master crafters and can take place in art studios, workshops, or manufactures.   Skilled crafters already know well how to design simple crafts, and it is only their price and the skills that are required to make them that limit their spread to a wider part of the population. Therefore, they feel little need to innovate in their design of everyday craft. To further this, the existence of the second-hand market also limits the variation in the design of basic crafts, as most people will only trust something they can recognise. Finally, the fact that any skill master crafter can study a simple craft and easily copy its design has limited people's drive to innovate. Why bother when all the effort put into it can so easily be ripped off by others?

    A craft guiding workers' hands and enhancing their strength and its copy by AmélieIS with an image from BRRT on Pixabay
    When they finally got into Master Larie workshop, he led Oriane directly to his workbench. Rests of crafting materials were pushed to the side, and he grabbed a stray piece of wood.   "Come, child, and look at what I am doing. That's a new runic design I have created myself to make the cooking disk more efficient—of course that twice accursed Naresse has stolen it from me and claimed all the honours with our lords, but I am not going to let him get away with it! Because of him, my prices have all collapse and I've been relegated to selling crafts to second-hand shops or provide crafts for the library! The indignity of it! But that man will pay the price for forcing me into infamy, marked my words!"   He took a tool that look like a fancy stylus and started to engrave runes and geometrical patterns onto the hand. Oriane observed all of his gestures carefully. It didn't matter why he'd chosen to show her that. That was important, and the key out of poverty! If she could do that herself she'd never need buy a cooking craft ever again!   She frowned in an effort to remember everything. After a few minutes, the whole disk was covered with engraving. That was very complicated. Far more than any Oriane had ever seen on a simple cooking craft.   Master Larie leaned back from his work and turned back towards her. "See that design?" He pointed at the external layer of the disk. "That's what makes it a lot more resistant to wear than what we normally use. Only problem is that it requires a great deal of magic to be injected into the craft to properly activate it. If I do that myself, I will tire too much and will not be able to create many crafts every day. Well, I have a deal for you, child. You are powerful. It would be a great shame to let all of that magic go to waste! I will take you into apprenticeship and teach you proper crafting. In exchange, you are going to be empowering all of those crafts for me, and that will allow me to increase the average quality of my crafts far above anything Naresse could ever hope to achieve! What say you?"   He stopped and looked at her expectantly. Oriane's eyes widened. She stared at the man for a full minute before she hurriedly agreed.   "Fantastic! This will be a good opportunity for you, child. Your low birth is of little importance. If you follow my instructions, I will make a proper crafter out of you! Why, and I am even sure that should you be diligent enough in your work and your study, you might even one day reach the elevated status of a mistress in your own right!" The man nodded with self-satisfaction at his own open-mindedness and condescension.   Oriane pinched her lips but forced herself to smile. What he said didn't matter. She would become a mistress all right, but that would only be a stepping stone towards a brighter future. Since fate had not seen fit to make her be born into the correct family with the right fortune, she'd correct that mistake herself!

    If you want to read more about Lady Merisse's story, you can go here:  

    Cover image: Kitchen by Photosforyou on Pixabay


    Author's Notes

    Thanks to everyone in the Lodge who helped me brainstorm this article!

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    2 Jan, 2022 18:23

    And so it begins. ;) I love her so much, what a great character.

    Lead Author of Vazdimet.
    Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
    Eternal Sage AmélieIS
    Amélie I. S. Debruyne
    2 Jan, 2022 19:19

    Thanks :D

    To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
    4 Jan, 2022 09:14

    Huzzah! The everyday magic is here! :D   I am especially interested in how the public infrastructure works might look on a broad scale, and how the world treats those without the ability to use crafts. Really interesting stuff! :D   Are there any particularly epic or grand public infrastructure crafts in the Empire?

    Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
    Eternal Sage AmélieIS
    Amélie I. S. Debruyne
    4 Jan, 2022 10:49

    Thanks :D The public infrastructure is really a great question and one I'm meaning to develop a bit more in my article about the overview on technology (the one I didn't get to finish last week). Right now I have listed things like roads and village wells, but also riverbed which should have some magic to prevent overflowing, and all the coast should have protection against sea creatures in th east and magical storms in the west. I need to think a bit more about what else I could add...   I didn't really mention explicitly people without power all that much, did I? When I mention people at the bottom of the social ladder, I'm referring to them. So they do have those crafts fuelled by environment magic they can use, and I'm guessing the public infrastructure should use that too so that everyone can use them. Socially-wise, powerless people are not treated too different from the other poor as there is not a clear distinction between them (he weakest people can barely do any magic at all and it's not really going to help them). In some Estates though, there are more likely to be slaves.

    To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
    4 Jan, 2022 13:28

    I love the idea of magic used for everyday chores! And the story extracts are really fun and interesting to read too! :D

    Eternal Sage AmélieIS
    Amélie I. S. Debruyne
    5 Jan, 2022 12:16

    Thanks :D If I had magic, I would totally use it to wash the dishes for me even if it ends up being more tiring than doing it by hand XD

    To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
    Sage nnie
    Annie Stein
    5 Jan, 2022 14:15

    I love how elegantly you weave Oriane's story in with the sections. They make each part come alive.

    Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— Worldember 2022
    Eternal Sage AmélieIS
    Amélie I. S. Debruyne
    5 Jan, 2022 21:09

    Thanks! I'm glad to hear this is working well :D

    To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
    7 Jan, 2022 14:02

    The character is great, the worldbuilding is great. I don't even think of magic-powered devices, let alone the cookig craft is splendid. :)

    You want to hear the voice of fire? I got you covered with my actual entry to the bard challenge: Amara Silverharp. You wanna see what we did for Summer Camp? This way please: Eddie's Summercamp
    Eternal Sage AmélieIS
    Amélie I. S. Debruyne
    7 Jan, 2022 18:19

    Thanks :D I think those kind of stuff would be the first think we'd do with magic, just after the flame-throwers XD

    To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
    30 Jan, 2022 06:59

    This was such a fun read! It was awesome to get a glimpse into every day life in your world, and all the little details here work so wonderfully to both weave a story and show us how important magic is to everyone in your world. Well done!

    Eternal Sage AmélieIS
    Amélie I. S. Debruyne
    30 Jan, 2022 09:59

    Thank you :D Everyday like is hard to write about, but it's really what makes a world come alive :D

    To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
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