In the illusionist schools in my homeland, a truly immense amount of information is stored. Frankly the stories and places the illusionists have recorded is incredible, and I've never seen its equal. Once I managed to get one of the historian illusionists to show me one of the last remaining illusions of the west coast before the Starfall. It was blurry and you could tell that the person who had originally crafted the illusion was an amateur... and it was one of the most precious things I've ever seen.
Known in Minyi as the nwiomulen, illusionists are a backbone of Vutteisian culture. Illusions comprise the top art form throughout the north. Multiple styles of illusionist art coexist, and much of local history and lore is passed through this medium.



All illusionists are typically trained at one of the Leiyduen Order's schools, or at home. The general classes at Leiyduen are about twenty students to a teacher, but if a student is particularly talented and willing, they can be apprenticed to have old tales passed down to them.

Schooling begins at age 10 in the form of memorization exercises and art classes on perspective and drawing. As their magic comes in with puberty, the classes will begin to focus on magic techniques and basic illusions. Classes on more advanced art such as painting or sculpture are optional, though frequently taken. If a student wishes to go into theater, they'll need to get themselves an apprenticeship outside of the school.

Types of Illusionists


The traditional illusion isn't anchored on any physical object or person, and is instead a three dimensional illusion in thin air. Generally highly realistic, traditional illusions are usually of locations far away, or a recording of a myth or tale from many years ago. These illusions require the highest amount of memorization and power. An illusionist may only learn three or four of these in a lifetime and pass them on to their apprentice.


Almost all modern theaters, especially in the north, use illusions for costuming and special effects. The illusion of a fireball spell, as it happens, is generally a lot safer than actually throwing around fire on stage. Even if a particular troupe consists of mostly human or birdkin actors, a few rabbitkin illusionists are hired to help with these aspects. As these illusions are anchored and small, the cost and memorization isn't too strenuous.

Paintings and 2D Illusions

Painting is less popular in Vutteisia, but is one the more cost-effective and artistic careers in illusions. Painters spend most of their time painting their subject, and only using illusions to bring a bit more movement and realism to the piece. Of course, those willing to memorize more of the end product might only anchor a normal illusion to a canvas as well. However, this strategy sacrifices permanence and magic efficiency for a faster end product.

Sculpture and 3D Illusions

Similar to painting, 3D artists create a base to anchor an illusion on top of. Some merely make something in roughly the shape of the final illusion to save on magic costs, and this is a good strategy for quick and dirty large illusions. Other sculpt statues and anchor a smaller illusion on top instead. The best are used as landmarks, with the small illusion so easy to reproduce that local illusionist can be hired to maintain it, instead of forcing the creator to stay nearby.


Social Status

While illusionists and their art are a part of daily life and Vutteisian culture, most artists are considered only a few steps up from labor. Only religious illusionists apart of the churches and teachers who use illusions in their teaching are exceptions to this rule


Early Illusionist Art

Thousands of years ago, the job of the illusionist was limited a religious or formal position. Many were the religious leader of a village, who would teach the children about life and would show them tales of the gods via their illusions. They would take an apprentice who would learn each and every tale and engrave the imagery into their brain in order to recreate the scenes for the next generation.

Eventually around 1800 BD, the Leiyduen Order was created. The Leiyduen believed that Sirdulluin had granted rabbitkin illusion in order protect and archive the secrets of the world, and started teaching illusions on a wider scale than had been seen before.They valued knowledge and the preservation of such, and while even today many of their closely guarded information is only known to those high up in the
order, this widespread teaching of the art caused a cultural renaissance.

Before, the art of a realistic illusion was only known to a few in each village, passed from one to another. Now while less refined than the great epics and myths shown by a priest, smaller pieces became an artform of their own. However, these smaller pieces were discriminated against, and called "a perversion of the sacred duty to preserve knowledge." Only religious or historical illusions gained any credit, let alone passed down. Only a handful of these so-called 'lesser' works survived to the modern days.

Growth of the Medium

Smaller illusions only came out of the street-side entertainer with the creation of Lemeisi theater. Born in the town of Lemeisi in 1285 BD, a group of trained minor illusions put on a play using small illusions as special effects and makeup. All of the illusions were highly realistic but small to save on both energy and memorization. Larger pieces of special effects, such as faking other types of magic, or monsters on stage, would be produced by offstage magicians to save the actors on power. This style of illusion, unlike the traditional picture-story, focused primarily on stamina rather than large scenes, which meant that fewer hours would need to be spent memorizing hours of imagery.

Lemeisi theater was a huge hit, and soon spread throughout the north, and even into the southern territories. Furthermore, many of the plays written in this time period survive as they could be written down for posterity much easier than other forms of illusions.

In the 1100s to 1000s BD, artists wanted to make illusions more permanent. Illusions allowed realism unseen in other mediums, and brought sights to people who couldn't see them elsewhere. What an illusion wasn't, was permanent. Yue Tarkel created his own solution: a life-size sculpture of the hero of Sialuel Kiyei. Upon the sculpture, Tarkel laid a simple illusion to make the stone seem just a bit more lifelike and make the eyes shine a bit brighter, and put the rest of his magical stores into making the illusion last as long as possible. With such a simple illusion anchored on it, its said that the illusion lasted for two days before it ran out. The statue was a made a landmark in his hometown, and sparked a trend of other illusions doing the same.

While not all of them put as much effort into the base artwork as Tarkel did, a physical anchor and simple illusions meant that the artist wouldn't need to stand next to his art all day. Furthermore, the simpler the illusion, the easier the art would be to sell, as the buyer might prefer a piece even they could make move.

Rise of Painting

As the sculpted illusion evolved, a separate artform using a combination of painting and illusions began to rise up in the 750s. At first, in the early paintings, illusions were merely anchored onto the canvas, any painting on the canvas itself was acting a visual guide or cheat sheet for the illusionist. This strategy was good for easier simple illusions, and meant less memorization, and more creative interpretations of the scene at hand. However, while this made for a good showing, it was more performance art along the lines of Lemeisi theater, than a painting.

In 683 BD, the illusionist and painter Benoire Tunotu created his first fusion piece "Pol ve wun Meiy" or "View from the Top." Picturing the top of one of the nearby mountains, Tunotu uses illusions to add extra depth to the horizon shown in his piece. Furthermore, he also made the clouds move in the background. Tunotu wanted to use illusions to bring painting to the next level, rather than the other way around. Benoire considered the conventional use of illusions to be a waste and only covering up the real art.

Benoire went on to have a long career and multiple apprentices, and became a huge influence in the art field. Even without his magic, Tunotu was an talented artist, trained in southern artistic traditions. Painting hadn't been seen as high art in the northern mountains up until he came upon the scene and elevated it in society's eyes. This style of illusionist art came to be known as the Pettsine (/pɛtˈtsinɛ/) movement, and would continue for the next two centuries.

As the Pettsine movement began to wind to a halt, a new form of painting began: the Demoli (/dɛˈmoli/) movement. An attempt to take Pettsine thinking to the next level, Demoli artists wanted to paint the purely unreal and make it more than that via illusions. Emotions and dreams were the topic of their paintings, and illusions allowed them to come ever closer to a 'real dream.' The movement only lasted from the 460s to 400s BD, as the Sirdulluin church and religious ideals at the time kept it unpopular at best.

The Starfall

Like most aspects of life, the arts were deeply affected by the Starfall, illusionist art especially. The lowered ambient magic caused magic users to have smaller reserves when casting spells. While illusionist didn't draw on ambient magic when casting as much as other spellcasters, ambient magic was often used to maintain an anchored illusion like the ones used on paintings.

Furthermore, the cultural impact of the Starfall was huge. While Vutteisia wasn't in the path of most of the migrating monsters, the rapid decrease in magic caused Mana Deficiency cases to skyrocket. What few reports of the south made their way to their home told widespread destruction and thousands of beasts destroying the settlements. No news of the western kingdoms of Urlelian and Muáji came in at all, and given that all the monsters were coming from their direction, it wasn't a good sign.

Art produced after 124 BD, therefore, was made with all of that in mind. During the early years, the most skilled illusionists of the north had little time for the fanciful paintings or careful recreations of yesteryear. Instead, many of them were drafted on the borders to redirect or confuse incoming monster packs. Its due to this hard work that Vutteisia survived as untouched as it was, but it was tough, unrewarding work that easily could overdraft a magician. Many old illusions passed down through families were lost in the protection of the borders, and when the artists came back the mood of tension and loss permeated their art as well.

Two approaches became popular post-Starfall: a resurgence of Demoli or the 'real dream' illusions, and neo-traditional illusions.

The Neo-Demoli art was more focused on optical illusions only possible with a blending of sculptures, installations, and magical illusions. Neo-Demoli artists wanted to bend the edge of what was real, and used this combination is surprisingly effective ways. One of the more famous pieces, Tel pyeno Tel (/tɛːl pjeːˈno teːl/, or 'Mirror of Knowledge') by Talle Skiyon, uses a one-way illusion. The sculpture, composed of scrap metal and rocks, has an illusion anchored on it that is only visible from one direction. If a person looks at the piece from the left, it looks like a figure reaching out. If looked at from the right, the ruined metal and stone underneath becomes visible. An innovation in illusion technique, Skiyon's piece is a great example of the movement.

Meanwhile, the neo-traditional movement took the traditional style of semi-3d illusions and began creating landscape pieces with it. Generally scenes of devastated settlements or pristine nature, neo-traditional illusions were purely made for realism, rather than emotion like the Pettsine movement. This style was particularly beloved by the masses and the churches, where Neo-Demoli was primarily targeted to art collectors or enthusiasts.

Alternative Names
nwiomulen /nwiomulen/ - roughly translates as picture-historian or picture-storyteller
A small luxury, that's not too hard to produce
Legal in the north, with no real regulation. In Rubefià and other southern states, to operate as an illusionist they need a licence.
Used By
Lunar Magic
Physical / Metaphysical Law | Oct 31, 2018

Magic of the Moon

Organization | Jul 1, 2018

Mining nation of the north

Ambient Magic
Physical / Metaphysical Law | Feb 26, 2020

Natural Magic

  • c.1800 B.D.
    Founding of Leiyduen Order

    Leiyduen Order is founded. The teaching of history, literacy, and illusions spreads.

    Additional timelines
  • 1285 B.D.

    Creation of Lemeisi Theater
    Artistic creation

    Lemeisi theater

    More reading
    Lemeisi theater


Please Login in order to comment!
Ariel Webster
7 Nov, 2018 01:11

I love the idea of mixing an illusion magic-esque ability and art. Reminds me of something I would want to do in my own world. It just makes too much sense for a society that uses magic to use it as some sort of art form, as opposed to purely battle like you see a lot in media. Good idea, can't wait to see more from you.

7 Nov, 2018 21:10

Thank you so much!! I wanted to put magic into the whole society because, like you said, magic wouldn't just be used for war but all sorts of things. Plus, I've taken a lot of classes on art history so this seemed like a nice place to start. I'm glad that you liked it!

Elijah T
Elijah Talbot
7 Nov, 2018 06:40

The article is detailed and very well done. The idea of magic and art does give me an idea of how the cultures of your world are created. But I see only one problem, how long do the illusions last? If the time period is short why bother having it? Even if you get people to maintain the illusion magic would it just be a waste of money?

7 Nov, 2018 21:46

Thank you! This is basically the framework for the northern nation's culture, so I'm glad it created that sense of culture.
Illusions have a different duration depending on what kind we're looking at. The tradition illusions where its essentially hologram are so high in cost that they are short duration. They're only used what I'm internally refering to as 'magical youtube.' Its only good for preserving a lot of information and visuals, but only lasts as long as someone's watching. Archival purposes only.
On the other hand, people use anchored illusions more commercially. They have much lower cost and don't need to be actively maintained, though they do run out eventually. It does depend on how large and complex the illusion is, but the statue landmark I described lasts for about six hours. For it, its probably only applied on the local equivalent of Sunday church, and other holidays. On the other hand, some cities might have signs or lamps done via illusions that are simple enough to last for 10+ hours. Those would be contracted work like lamplighters in the 19th century.
So basically, it depends a lot. Sometimes its a waste, but smaller illusions are often integrated into basic services around town.

R3negade X
R3negade X
7 Nov, 2018 22:56

I like how it goes a little in-depth about the history of the profession, although I do have to wonder exactly how the stuff is stored. Is it like video cassettes or DVDs? Is it possible to use this stuff to make movies?

8 Nov, 2018 00:06

I'm glad you liked my article and the history! Writing out the history was really fun and interesting to research!!

Unfortunately, its mostly stored via written record and rote memorization. Its part of why large illusions from thousands of years ago generally are pretty fuzzy: there's only so much that can be done. I imagined it to be a lot like oral traditions from some cultures. Its mostly due to the cultural emphasis on preserving knowledge and the rabbitkin's innate ability to store that sort of knowledge that so many have survived to the modern day.

And you probably could make a movie, but until a real recording device is invented, it'd be a bit hard to distribute.

Sage Dejers
Dejers Garth
11 Nov, 2018 01:48

This is really cool, you write solid history text that feels like a history text. The various references to history in the world is super interesting and makes me want to read more into it. I think it could definitely benefit from some more tooltips and links to various things, but this is a really cool article overall!   I really liked how you put Block Links on your sidebar to relevant articles, I think that's a beautiful idea that I might streal. XD   I do wonder what brought about the "Fall" of the Pettsine movement? Usually such things are replaced rather than almost forgotten as displayed here, and something as solid as moving paintings would be fairly intriguing.   Also, the moving paintings have a longer shelf-life than a hologram due to the base material, right? So, art galleries could be prepped in the morning for things like this, and they could go for a fair part of the day?

11 Nov, 2018 04:40

Thank you so much! I like my history to have that sort of feeling. There's all sort of little milestones, and movements that fill out a history like this. Without them, I think this article would feel a bit empty, you know? I'm glad you like it!! I'll definitely be adding more tooltips to this article over time, I still need to write all the articles to go with them!!

Go for it! I actually stole the article block trick from another author! It really makes the formatting seem a lot nicer, doesn't it?

Like you said, its less that the Pettsine movement fell, and more that it got replaced. Moving paintings are still popular even after that particular form fell out of fashion. I just didn't really have time to go into all the different art movements associated with them in the end. This article is already my longest at 2300+ words, I didn't need to add even more history, haha. Maybe I'll do an article about moving paintings alone one of these days.

Yes! That's one of the things a made a point to add. Art galleries are full of moving paintings in the north, and most of them only need to be prepped just before opening. A few of the more 'creative' pieces might need to be refreshed once or twice though.

11 Nov, 2018 23:12

An impressive and well-detailed article I say at least! I do love how you make the illusionist be almost entirely used for artistic stuff and paintings, kinda gives me a bit of a Harry Potter Vibe with that latter part of moving images on a picture. I'm curious though, is there any alternative choices besides being essentially a special effects artist with being an illusionist? Could they be for instance used in combat to scare off enemies with fake monsters, or make booby traps that are hidden with an illusion spell?

11 Nov, 2018 23:34

Thank you! It is actually very useful in combat as well! I didn't want to go into details since the article was already so long, but combat illusions are something I'll probably do a whole separate piece on. Its part of the reason illusions are so distrusted in the south: they remember fighting against combat illusionists in the past, and if one could do it, how do you know the rest can't?