Let’s get to know more about the setting of my upcoming novel, A Bridge To The Quiet Planet.
Magic has three definitions to the humans whose worlds orbit the star Avenoth:
- Magic is the potential for a person or being to alter beyond its nature and/or the liklihood of probability.
- The alteration of something by a person whose mind is able to, via various disciplines, call upon the potential in themselves or a target to alter it’s nature and/or bring about an otherwise improbably event.
- The results of the alteration in #2.
When mages don’t want to mess around with semantics they usually put it simply “people can both instinctively and in practice change reality because people and reality are malleable.” However, as magic is common (and indeed, everyday), most of humanity gives it little thought.
Reality has the potential to be altered, it is alive with probabilities. Humans have over the aeons developed disciplines to allow them to use their own mental effort to “align” with new potentials and bring them about. This is akin to a conversation, a dialogue where reality is rewritten, though in modern magic it happens extremely quickly.
It is akin to a dialogue as this change is created by visualizing various symbols in one’s mind that align a person’s mind with the potential in reality. These symbols and methods have been hard-won over the ages, crafted and improved to create the most efficient ways to invoke magic, and to do so in the most efficient and least painful way possible. Combined with practiced meditations, the understanding of other relevant sciences such as chemistry and physics, and guiding physical actions, mages can create powerful changes in their environment.
There are still disciplines and individuals that require such things as magical circles, runes, and diagrams created to help visualization. These may be used by less practiced mages, but also by those who have to invoke complex forces such as Necromancers or those creating powerful warding magics. Sometimes having a map is just easier.
Many mages discover an aptitude for magic without training, and there are some disciplines (such as Shadowing and Divination) that develop instinctively during a person’s life and experiences. A surprisingly large amount of people do low-level magic instinctively with no training or detection, such as luck manipulation.
Modern mages tend to train in specific disciplines and elements, such as manipulating stone or calling upon fire. Specializing in a few forms of magic means they learn quicker as similar lessons play into each other – to try and manipulate many elements or forms over time requires extensive learning and practice, as well as unpleasant potential accidents. The more elements or forms one can master, the higher ranked a mage is considered by their various Guilds and organizations, though certain complex specializations (Necromancy, Illusionism, and some forms of Divination) have their own ranking systems.
Magic is taught in large schools and universities, and is carefully regulated because of it’s nature. A mage, as respected as they are, as much as they are a part of society, is powerful – and with all the unpredictability of a human. Responsibility is emphasized by schools, parents, clerics, and society.
All mages are required to either join one of the many Guilds (which provide services and employment) or register with appropriate Universities in whatever Great City they live in (which is very rare). All mages must wear Guild colors and badges or logos at all times to identify themselves, no matter how poor the Guild’s fashion sense is. This policy, enforced over the centuries, goes virtually unquestioned – and has helped people trust mages.
The god of magic is Ivonau, The Spellshaper, The Eye of Magic. Ivonau is a thoughtful god who focuses on knowledge, education, responsibility. A bit of a “wet blanket” among the gods, Ivonau isn’t exactly exciting at parties, though occasionally they get off on a tear or an odd experiment or impart some new idea to a sorcerer that is world-shaking (and probably the other gods would have wanted to know). Ivonau as of the 250’s has decided it’s time for them to “rethink” this whole god of magic thing and has been conducting research and polling.