During all my years at the service of his grace the emperor Tristan the second -may he live a long and prosper life-, I was asked to invite many representatives of each species and give them a complete examination. The purpose was to determine the differences in magic between each species and find out which one had the most affinities with arcane.Magic is a gift only a few in the world possess, a power to shape the world through their ideas; the percentage of magicians in populations varies among species: roughly 5% of Humanity, 20% of the Morknars, and only one Géroun. Gods' gift to some, science to others, the arcane is the source of many conflicts, disasters, and wonders in the world.
BasicsMagic is a force of imagination. Through their ideas, mages interact with the physical world around them. A strong concept, viewed and reviewed a thousand times in one's mind can unleash storms, wreck cities at the cost of physical strength. Any spell cast will tire its owner, up to the point where they will collapse of fatigue or die if they went way over their limits. Aside from each one's degree of affinity with magic, nothing but practice can reduce the weight of spells. The better their mental image, the stabler and the smoother the spell will be. Before anything else, young practitioners are taught to dream. Anything that can help a mage to remember its magic will be provided, whether it is words, objects, or experiences. Still, each wizard needs to know its limit. Learning too many spells can be detrimental, as the mind cannot remember an unlimited amount of perfect mental pictures.
It was a bloodbath. The woman walked to the center of the crowd with a knife in her hand. People backed away immediately, but it was already too late. She raised her blade and cut the palm her own hand. Ten people fell in the crowd, screaming in pain as they had the exact same wound as her. Guards rushed, but they were late too. Before they could even step in the circle, she took her own life, and another twenty fell with her, throat cut clean.
After a few years of researches, I concluded that despite our differences, we all ultimately fall under the same rules which I called layers. They could be compared to families of magic with their range of possibilities; Three of them were identified so far. I hardly believe that some people could actually be able to reach further than the first one, the physics, where all mages are confined. Lots of us tried to grasp the power of the intangible -the second layer- for decades without any success.
Layers are a concept introduced by Humanity to classify the different types of magic. This was later completed and shared with Morknars' studies on the topic, which had roughly the same idea. Magic is separated into three distinct great families that regroup various types of arcane, but only the first is really accessible to mages. The two others are more conceptual, elaborated through many testimonies and research on old texts about past wizards that reached the second one. The third has always been a mystery, domain of the gods, that no mortal ever grasped.
First LayerThe first layer is called Physics. Magic in this area interacts with matter, either by creating, modifying, or influencing it. As the first layer of arcane, it is the simplest and broadest way to do magic; in fact, only a few magicians ever reach the next one. Among Physics, spells have been classified into five domains in which they all belong.
ConjurationConjuration, or Summoning, consists of creating an object or a creature from nothing. However, summoned entities do not have a mind of their own; they are more like puppets that the mage needs to control via Manipulation. It is among the most difficult magic to perform, as it needs a very clear mental image for the object to work. Note that a conjurer cannot summon food or drinks, only replicas that do not stop hunger or thirst.
ProjectionA Projection spell is an energy projected onto an object or person for an immediate effect; a fireball, a lightning bolt or a steam spray would be good examples. Alongside Manipulation, Projection is easy to use as spells tend to be straightforward. The most experimented mages often combine a projection spell with Reinforcement or Alteration to create vicious effects.
ReinforcementReinforcement is a subtle domain among magic. These spells are meant to change how a given matter interacts with the world. A piece of paper reinforced by a potent mage can be as hard a shield or sharp as a sword. The potential of this magic is nearly limitless and keep increasing each time scientific discoveries are made. Reinforced Projection spells are among the deadliest magic weapons existing.
AlterationOften mistaken for its twin the Reinforcement, Alteration is another subtle magic. Its spells change how a given matter is perceived by the world, either visually or when touched, and so on. These spells do not only trick people's mind, but nature itself: someone freezing to death can stop shaking when hit by a warm illusion.
ManipulationManipulation or Telekinesis is applying physical forces to move things in space. While surely straightforward, expert manipulators are among the deadliest mages. They can crush a knight in its own armor, break through walls like butter and sometimes even fly. Manipulation is also broadly used by conjurers to animate their objects or move their puppets.
Second LayerThe second layer is called the Intangible. Only a few known mages ever reached it as a tremendous amount of hours of training, and a high natural magic affinity is required. Intangible spells can influence and manipulate things that Physics magic cannot, such as minds, memory, wills, and even time at a certain extent. In fact, the second layer's magic is an advanced application of the first layer's, which always require mastering two or more domains at the same time. While arcane is dangerous, having an unclear mental image of a second layered spell can be deadly. Failing to conjure an item is not a problem, the object just won't work or have the wanted shape. However, failing to calm or read a mind can simply destroy it.
Third layerGods' domain, unreachable by any mortal being. The third layer is also the most powerful: you do not interact with the world anymore, you are its master. This is where testimonies stop, and legends begin: anything past this boundary is speculative, as no one ever reached it.
Runes are advanced magic, halfway between the first and second layer. Aside Morknars, only a few Human mages dedicate time to rune crafting, as the process is long and most of their work will be lost when they die.Runes are the only known way to efficiently store magic in a place or in an object. They act as a pre-registered thought that a mage only needs to feed with energy to activate. While seemingly convenient, this magic comes with a lot of prerequisites that discourages many people to actually delve into it.
Creating a runeThe first step to carving an original rune is to fully master the spell it will replicate; the quality of the mental image will be the quality of the rune. The second step is the most difficult one: creating the runic spell that will store the effect into the symbol. This is done by combining Alteration and Reinforcement: the carving will absorb and release the energy while the idea of the spell is stored in the Alteration part. Since each rune has to be unique to properly work, this procedure has to be redone each time a new rune is created. The last step is to successfully use the spell each time a carving is done. One second of distraction during the incantation is enough to ruin it. Still, once it is done, the rune will at least be usable until the death of its creator.
LibrariesLibraries are an abstract concept about a mage's panel of runes. The main reason why other species than Morknars tend to not use runes is that Libraries disappear with the death of their owners, as they are memories of spells. When a rune mage dies, their runes usually cease to work as well. Only the best of them, who also have strong affinities with arcane, can craft everlasting runes.
Yet here he is, and he proved many times in History that he is a very powerful wizard, starting by the fact that he is immortal. This alone keeps the eyes of all the influent mages over the world on Menicea, waiting to know more about its prophet and how he managed to break the rules of time.
Kestar Skril GereeKeeper of the great Morknar library, Kestar is also the current leader of the Morknar realm, and one of the brightest minds in the world. In their mind lie generations and generations of knowledge, powerful spells, and runes. They nearly never leave the Spire of science in Grishnak, which is considered to be one of the safest places in the world.
HumansHuman mages are rare. Only roughly 5% of their population has magical abilities and even less took the time to master them. Yet, those who learn the ways of arcane find themselves blessed with the Humans magics traits. Humans can use magic longer, as their native stamina is not only for manual tasks but also benefits mages. They also tend to be able to remember more spells than Morknars do, making them more versatile.
MorknarsStrangely, Morknars have a poor processing ability of magic. They get tired quicker than Humans and have to spend lots of time to master a single spell. Their strength lies in their native ability to pass on their rune library to anyone, through an old ritual kept secret by the elite of the High Morknars. While Humans tend to directly cast their magic, Morknars use items covered with runes. These artifacts are priceless, especially those carved with immortal runes.
GérounsAmong all the species, Gérouns are a mystery. They are entirely unable to use magic and have a natural ability to repel it. It is incredibly complicated to affect a geroun with magic, as their bodies react by themselves against it.
Nothing was more complicated than investigating the gérouns' natural immunity to magic. Aside from their cultural fear of mages, I received many anonymous letters forbidding me to do any research on the subject. Naturally, as a citizen of the Ivering Empire, such threats mean nothing to me, but things became more complicated when I started to get more explicit warnings. Somehow, a few people managed to pass through the guards and steal one of my family's jewels, which I held dear. They were later discovered on a dead body in the lower districts of the capital. I did not want to let this discourage me, but all the gérouns in the city had vanished the next week.