Originally thought to be just a mental exercise to aid in visualisation, this practice is integral to the utilisation of magical energy in practical ways. There exists many hundreds of thousands of different schema throughout the world, although many of these are more than likely just variations of the same application. I would wager that the majority of Magic users do not realise what they are actually doing to cast their spells. Only true university taught mages have this mastery and therefore the ability to go beyond their current limits.
-Principles of Magic by Abelard Cirester
According to the Laws of Magic
, once the source of magic has been decided, the only thing left to do is to harness and shape that energy to the intended purpose. This shaping is via the use of something that is called a Schema or a Forma. Schema is the term used by magic users taught in the grand Magical University Obrok
. Forma is the term used by imperial magic users from the Atralum Empire
The user of magic pictures in their mind the energy as line of energy. They shape this energy in different ways that influence the outcome. There are schema to create heat, light, water, fire, to leech heat from something, to move something through space. The possibilities are endless, only restricted by the magic users’ knowledge and ability to figure them out.
The schema themselves differ based on how the tradition of magic was taught to the user. In the days before the universities, every magic practitioner had their own way of visualising the control of magic. Even schema for the same outcome differed slightly, all having variations on the outcome.
For example, the schema to create light is a shape like a coil. When the magical energy is forced into this shape, the user can project the energy outside themselves and create light. Some users have tighter coils with more loops and create a light that is very focused but uses more energy as the schema is longer, some might have much looser coils that give off a more diffused light.
The schema for the creation of heat is a sharp peak of energy, repeated peaks create greater heat. The longer the peak, the more energy it takes, but it can create a greater heat when projected. It was discovered that if one used the light schema and made the coils exceptionally tight, then the light given off would also give a warmth. When combined with a single short, sharp peak after the coil, it created a quick burst of conjured flame. The heat generated by the light schema took some of the strain to create heat off the heat schema. Once this kind of synergy was discovered between different schema it opened a whole new level of control and finesse up to magic users.
It is the linking of different schema in controlled, different ways that create what people consider spells.
Different Magical Traditions
People from a magical tradition with a less centralised pool of knowledge, such as the islanders of The Itani
, view what they do in a much less advanced way. They will still use words and hand gestures to control the magical energy, for they have not realised that they can just use mental visualisations for the same outcome. However, their traditions go back hundreds of years and are highly focused, specialising on their environment and what they need to survive. Many smart university mages will try to go and learn from these sorts of traditions to enhance their own understanding.
Large-scale rituals also utilise the same format as single user spells, however, with some differences. Depending on the ritual, each user will have specific schema they have to focus on. Sometimes everyone involved will be focusing on the same thing to enhance its power, but sometimes each person is given something different to focus on. This creates a highly intricate weaving of magics that would be next to impossible by a single person.