Overview

Unlike many races, including dragons and elves, not all humans can use magic - only about 5% of humans in Kairula have magical ability. These humans are known as mages. The percentage of mages and potential mages on Terra is unknown as testing for magic is currently not compulsory in any Terran country. However, it is compulsory in most of Kairula for children to be tested for magical abilities so they can learn to control and use them.

There are many different types of mage, and hundreds of different ways for them to use magic. The most common are explained here.


Page contents

  • Where do mages get their power?
  • Elemental magic
  • Mind magic
  • The Ancient language
  • Runes
  • So what does a mage look like?
  • Uses of magic


Where do mages get their power?

Mages get their magic from a sort of magical well, known as the source, at the centre of the planet. When this magic is drawn out of the source, it is in its raw form and must be shaped into a spell by the mage. The amount of power an individual mage can draw from the source at a time varies from one to another, and is known as their magical strength.

Magefire

If raw magic is released without being given a shape, it manifests as fire. This can be either natural fire or magefire, which can be different colours depending on the mage. Each mage has a distinct colour which doesn't change.
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A mage deliberately calling magefire

Magefire can be used for light as well. It is much safer to use than natural fire because it can be contained in a magical globe, where it acts like a lightbulb, and it isn't hot unless the mage decides it needs to be. For example, it can also be used for heat in a fireplace, or for cooking. It is also occasionally used for fireworks and other displays in place of gunpowder.


The Elements

There are five main elements that mages can work with: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. Most elemental mages work best with one or two of the elements, but the more powerful the mage, the more likely they are to be equally good with all five. The very weakest can only use one, and can't use the others at all. There are also minor elements such as Wood, Metal and Ice. Affinity with these elements is much rarer.

If a mage is talented with two or more elements, it is very likely that one of them is Spirit. Common combinations of the other elements are Earth with Fire, and Air with Water (which creates a Weather talent). Generally, men tend to be better with Earth and Fire, and women tend to prefer Air and Water.

Some very powerful mages can summon elementals. These beings, each with powers based on one of the elements, can act as servants to the mage and perform tasks like digging a tunnel or damming a river for him. They can also be used as additional power sources. However, they are very difficult to bind once summoned, and more than one mage has in the past been killed by an elemental in revenge for bad treatment.

[Picture(s) coming soon.]


Mind magic

This includes the three skills of telepathy, empathy and telekinesis. Some mind mages have more than one of these, but one is often latent and is not discovered until they use it accidentally. The most common combination is telepathy and empathy, which are often combined into one skill. The most powerful mages have all three skills.

Telepathy and empathy

Telepathy and empathy are very similar. The only difference is that telepathy deals with thoughts, and empathy with emotions. They are both divided into two skills: sending and receiving. Some people only have one of these two skills, but most have both.

Sending means the mage can project thoughts or emotions into another person's mind. In telepathy this is used for communication, in empathy it is used to calm someone down or make them feel sad, etc. This can be useful for a teacher working with a young mage who can't control their powers, but it is often misused, either accidentally by teenagers who don't know about their power and use it to make their crush fall in love with them, or con artists who manipulate people into giving them money, etc.

Receiving means the mage can hear people's thoughts or feel their emotions. This is a far more common ability than sending, and is a lot less dangerous if misused. However, it is still powerful and useful, and not to be underestimated.

Telekinesis

Telekinesis is moving objects (and people, including the mage themself) with mind power. It includes teleportation and levitation. Some skilled mages can even use it to fly!
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A mage using telekinesis to fly


Physical empathy

Physical empathy is a very rare skill that is quite hard to define. Some people argue that it is the passive form of telekinesis, like receiving is the passive form of telepathy. Others argue that it is a form of empathy which senses the physical rather than the mental, hence the name.


The Ancient Language

The type of magic preferred by traditional mages, this method of spellcasting dates back to before the time of the Roman Empire. It was first used in Britain, by Celtic druids - the original mages - and spread quickly to the rest of Europe.

When the druids first started to work magic, they discovered that it required a lot of focus to achieve the desired result - focus which could easily slip, sometimes with disastrous consequences. For example, an apprentice druid, set the task of lighting a fire by his master, might in the middle of his spell start thinking about his master and how cross he would be if the apprentice went wrong. Since magic in its original form was wholly directed by thought, he would end up setting his master on fire instead of the wood!

Obviously this was no good, and the druids held a meeting at Stonehenge to decide what to do about it. They argued for days over possible solutions to the problem, including simply never using magic again and giving it up as a bad job, until eventually one wise old druid hit upon a solution. They could not control what they thought, but they could control what they said. So they would bind the magic to their words as well as to their thoughts. All the druids agreed that this was a very good idea.

However, there were still problems. A druid might be talking to an apprentice, and say the word "fire" while, naturally, thinking about fire. You can guess the result! The solution the druids eventually found was to use a completely separate language to the one they spoke normally, and reserve this language for spellcasting, so they would only cast spells when they wanted to. This language is still used by mages on both worlds, and every apprentice has to learn it to be able to cast any spell other than magefire, mind magic or elemental magic.

[Some common spells coming soon.]


Runes

Symbols that can be used to power spells, to keep them going when the mage stops concentrating on them, to protect against spells, or simply as a focus for concentration.

[More details coming soon.]


So what does a mage look like?

Mages can be male or female, although just over 60% are male, and can be any age from 9 upwards - this is when magical abilities usually start to manifest.

[More details and pictures coming soon.]


Uses of magic

Magic, in most of Kairula, has generally kept up quite well with technological advances on Terra, and in many cases magical solutions were developed years - or even centuries - before the technological equivalents.

Communication

As you may already know, the telephone was invented - on Terra, of course - in 1876, almost simultaneously, by Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray, and the mobile phone was developed in 1947. However, you were probably not aware that 9 centuries before Misters Bell and Gray's history-making race to patent their invention, a Welsh mage and a Theriven magess had a similar contest over two spells created for almost exactly the same purpose as the phone.

Gwion ap Hywel, from Betws-y-coed near Snowdon, and Elena verch Ieuan, from Camelot, each managed to develop, in the same year of 937, a unique spell that enchanted two mirrors, allowing them to communicate. When a person looked in one mirror and concentrated, it became a magical window looking out of the other mirror. This connection, once the spell was perfected, was two-way and also allowed sound to pass through. Mages on both worlds seized eagerly on this idea, and within a decade there was a whole network of mirrors, of all shapes and sizes, connected in a web much like the phone network of today, which could be used by anyone who knew the trick.

Mirrors now serve all the functions of phones, TVs, computers, etc, including interactive touchscreens, video conferencing and internet - but not the same internet we use. Unfortunately, no mage has yet found a way to connect the mirror network to any technology-based network. So a Kairulan teenager can't use his mirror to contact his pen-friend in the UK, who has a mobile phone and a laptop, but not a connected mirror.

Light and heating

Calling magefire is one of the most basic skills a mage can learn, and it has hundreds of applications. Among the most common are cooking, lighting and heating a room, which were perfected in the early 8th century with the invention of the lightglobe by Rhys ap Selwyn in the harbour town of Esterborn, on the east coast of Theriven.

In its natural state, magefire resembles a tiny, coloured, controlled flame that sits in a mage's hand or hovers near him. Maintaining one require continuous, although light, concentration, and most mages cannot conjure more than three or four, or sustain one for more than an hour or two. For obvious reasons, these limitations make magefire impractical as a light or heat source for everyday, household use.

In the winter of 786, Theriven's east coast was hit by a snowstorm that blew in across the sea, and Esterborn was snowed in. Since Rhys didn't have enough magical power to melt the snow blocking his front door, he was stuck inside like the rest of the town. Where Rhys differed from the other townsfolk, however, was that he was extremely imaginative, intelligent and, because of these two traits, easily bored - and inclined to "messing around" whenever he was bored. On this particular occasion, Rhys was "messing around" with magefire, trying to see if he could stick some to the ceiling so he wouldn't have to concentrate on holding it up.

Instead, completely by accident, Rhys discovered a way to stabilize the magefire inside a glass-like globe, which meant that he could leave it and it would continue to burn, producing heat or not as he wished, without him having to constantly maintain it. After the snow cleared, he shared this discovery with the rest of Esterborn, who all wanted one in their homes. Rhys discovered that he could alter these lightglobes to be white, instead of the green of his magefire, and any other colour as well. His neighbours encouraged him to go to Camelot and show his new trick to the Mage Council, who declared it a fabulous invention. Within a year, there were lightglobes in every home in Theriven, and candle-makers had just about gone out of business!

Rhys ap Selwyn, inventor of the lightglobe
Rhys ap Selwyn, inventor of the lightglobe