Difference between revisions of "Magic Symposium"

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Adventurers were asked to submit their own theories for discussion and as part of a contest.
 
Adventurers were asked to submit their own theories for discussion and as part of a contest.
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==Submission Winners==
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The following authors were chosen as finalists for the Submission contest and awarded with prizes:
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*[[Lupdels]]
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*[[Yvela]]
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*[[Eyst]]
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*[[Traim]]
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*[[Miskton]]
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*[[Qiyan]]
  
 
==Contest Submissions==
 
==Contest Submissions==

Revision as of 07:40, 2 August 2020

Caution.png The following article contains player-created lore or theories.

It is not necessarily an accurate reflection of official game lore.


Sponsored by the Lorethew Mentor Society, Mazrian and Perune hosted the Magic Symposium within Zengmodaleth to bring adventurers together to discuss subjects of a magical or supernatural nature in the year 435 AV.

Adventurers were asked to submit their own theories for discussion and as part of a contest.

Submission Winners

The following authors were chosen as finalists for the Submission contest and awarded with prizes:

Contest Submissions

Aaoskar

Title: Thoughts on Prophecy by Aaoskar Moonbender

The lay observer likely believes prophecy is the ability to merely divine the future—this oversimplifies a complex concept.

Prophecy comes first from understanding of the interconnectedness of all things. Indeed, prophecy would not be possible without knowledge of the Web of Fate, which connects us all through its many threads. An individual cannot be understood as merely a being unto himself—for with each action we influence those around us, their reactions influence others around them, and so on through links of interrelatedness crossing time and space.

The other side of prophecy, much more familiar to the lay observer, is foretelling. This is achieved through application of intuition, an unconscious surrendering of our mind to the planar link to determine a probable result. When a prophet observes fated things, beings, or actions that interact with each other, he determines the probable outcome of their interplay by accessing the Plane of Probability. Prophecy exists where these two concepts meet—understanding and foretelling.

It should not surprise any that prophecy changes the Web of Fate. Indeed, conscious manipulation of the Plane of Probability in this way to expose what will be allows the prophet to change his path according to whatever goal he has in mind. But the average prophet is unaware that in his mind there lurks a hidden danger—the ~unconscious~ mind. As the researcher in Throne City tells us, the unconscious mind can alter probability and reality.

This Dream Theory, as we have called it, identifies the danger this poses. The actions we intend and that we carry out do not necessarily mirror the unconscious mind that lies beneath, with its unspoken desires and its faults within the soul. Intention is a present thought, a decisive choice knowingly made. The unconscious mind is much deeper, and inaccessible, but its natural, raw emotion can nevertheless control our choices.

Thus, our unconscious minds can manipulate probability without us even knowing how, thereby causing erratic ripples in the fabric of reality. There are those who would demand we cease prophecy immediately, demand that we hold static the strands of the Web of Fate. We need not do so.

Through teleologic sorcery, the hidden and unspoken desires deep within the soul are laid bare, allowing us to see what was before unseen. It leads one beyond what is rational and logical into a world enriched with intuition, and emotion. It is here we begin to understand the darker parts of us that lie beneath the conscious mind. It is here where we grow. True understanding requires one to face darkness – within and without - to not only see, but to feel in ways that we normally do not. But equally important, when one faces dark emotions, the good ones become more vivid. Teleologic sorcery has shown me this much.

The Saesordian Compass spell is one method of opening our eyes and widening our perception to reality that is painted by a myriad of thoughts, expressions, and feelings that were once inaccessible to us. It does this by surrendering a part of the caster’s Targeted Magic faculties to a living concept—an entity that attaches itself to the caster’s consciousness. In casting this spell, I have identified ten distinct concepts as they bound themselves to me, including Disgust, Hunger, Hatred, Hubris, Envy, Contempt, Rage, Spite, Alchemy, and Justice.

Yes, most would look at this list and recoil before they seek to understand how such unions are beneficial. We cannot understand the interconnectedness of all things without accepting that negative emotions can connect two beings within the Web of Fate, just as easily as love can bring people together. But we must also examine how these unions affect our own perception.

When in union with different concepts, I felt at once envious of all, but also more tolerant of everything; disgusted with everything, but also with a newfound respect for those around me; like a sanctimonious paladin, but also filled with love.

With each union, it was not that I was overwhelmed with one emotion, but rather that my mind simultaneously appreciated and felt opposing viewpoints. My perspective was not made narrow as some would claim, but much wider.

Indeed, the other teleologic spells also widened my perspective. The Tezirah’s Veil spell – which, as an aside, was not created by Tezirah – filled my inner being with foresight. With this knowledge, my connection to the Plane of Probability was augmented and I could seek a greater understanding and obtain a greater influence on the paths that I would walk. Tangled Fate loosened the shackles of fate to allow me to undo manipulations of prophecy. With this one spell, a caster can avoid fated negative consequences and prevent disasters from continuing, or even from occurring in the first place. Both the Sever Thread and Sovereign Destiny spells liberated recipients from the forces of destiny. Sever Thread does this by using a force of improbability to loosen the shackles of fate while Sovereign Destiny indirectly affects the Plane of Probability by separating an individual’s shadow from the Web of Fate, thereby liberating one from the forces of destiny. Research along these lines may one day provide us a vehicle for our own liberation as we learn to remove ourselves from unsought influences.

Instead of continuing to allow the unconscious mind to alter probability in unpredictable ways, teleologic sorcery brings those deep emotions to the surface. With this awareness, we can correct our imperfections, or we can use that inner darkness for some good. Indeed, through the widened perspective offered by teleologic sorcery, the caster can reshape the contours of his sense of self or reshape the world around the caster for the benefit of all.

Detractors say that these spells damage the Web of Fate and a seer’s connection to the Plane of Probability, but in reality, a Teleologic caster’s manipulation of Fate is more tempered than the harsh pulling of prophetic threads routinely performed by seers who primarily embrace one modality of viewing the world—one that fails to fully appreciate the powerful non-rational forces that pull on the strings of the Web of Fate As the perspective of a Teleologic caster widens, the potency of their predictions decrease. Thus, the Teleologic caster is prevented from pulling the individual strands of the Web of Fate too hard. However, the non-teleologic caster is not so restrained. Moreover, certain spells actually ~enhance~ a caster’s probabilistic connection. I encourage detractors to seek out this knowledge for themselves.

Reason has its place in our world—without some rules, some order, the world we know would descend into random chaos. But we should not allow ourselves to become restrained by reason. To limit our sight to only the rational is to blind ourselves to secrets and truths in the name of safety. This blind devotion to only doing what is comfortable limits the individual, stagnates growth, and prevents the individual from achieving their true potential.

Teleologic sorcery leads one beyond what is rational and logical into a world of intuition and emotion. Once we understand our true selves, the combination of the conscious and unconscious mind, we can better decide what step to take, or not take, to achieve what is good. Indeed, teleologic sorcery can be used as a tool to reshape the contours of one's sense of self or reshape the world around the caster for the benefit of all.

In summary, prophecy does indeed come from an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things. But the complexities of existence and interaction can not be understood by reason alone. Men are moved by the irrational, by wants that reason could never explain. To truly understand the Web of Fate, we must open our minds and embrace the totality of existence – the rational, the irrational, and the emotional.

Ayrell

Title: The Curiosity of Time

Time is an intriguing concept. A concept we all face on a daily basis yet never really stop to think about. A roisaen is simply a roisaen. An anlas is simply an anlas. The past is the past, the present is the present, and the future is the future.

But what if it is not?

What if time is not as linear as we think? What if time is not what we think at all? What if time could be manipulated or changed? History re-written. The fate of our future altered. What if our actions in the present had the power to undo or create anything and everything that has already been or might be?

Until recently, these questions were little more than idle thoughts with little reason to find their way into our daily considerations. After all, why waste precious moments contemplating a subject matter that is beyond our basic ability to investigate. Without a means to gauge time, or truly delve into it, there has never been a way to research how it functions. The only ones with that ability are the ones known as Timekeepers. An elusive group tasked with “tending the lines,” as the one known as Veralos explained. But before I get into any sort of explanation, I should start with the initial theories, speculation, and concerns.

The most common theory is that which was suggested above. That time, itself, is linear, and the past, present, and future are what they are, and history is what it is, forever and ever, into eternity. There are some who also believe the future is set by fate and nothing we do in the present will affect it. This suggests we all are simply going through the motions of a life and timeline foreordained by fate. Another theory about the future is that only the present can affect it. That the past is done, but changes we make in the present can alter our path in the future, be it for better or worse.

So, what about the past? Belief that the past can be changed is one of the rarer theories. It is also the aspect of time which brings about the most disturbing of questions. If we were to, somehow, change the past in the present – would it change the present? The idea of time being linear suggests that would be the case. If we, in the present, found a means to travel back in time and change a pivotal moment in history, it would then create a waterfall of changes, each affected by the one before, until the present is transformed into a world where the history we once knew no longer exists and a new history has played out in its place. As such, those we knew to have died might still be alive. Those we knew to be alive might be dead. The altered chain of events could lead our friends and loved ones down different paths that might cause them to never enter our lives at all… or cease to exist altogether.

The fears associated with these theories, however, were never more than an uncomfortable thought until the past suddenly showed up on the present’s doorstep in the form of the Gorbesh. This was when my search for answers became more of a necessity than a curiosity. If the Gorbesh from the past were here in the present, what was that doing to our history? What did it mean for our future?

My first observation was that the present appeared stable. After each assault waged by the Gorbesh, nothing shifted in our current time. We still remembered history exactly as it was. The books still told the story of the Gorbesh war the way we all remembered it to be. Despite interactions with Veralos that spoke of lines being twisted, we were clearly interacting with the past without alteration to our present. This made me realize there is another theory about time that had yet to be considered. That there is not just one time. That time itself is not linear, but a constantly shifting and changing thing that exists with not only what we know to be, but what could have been and what could be. Endless combinations and possibilities. This was the theory that most interested me. The most intriguing of all, to think that there could be alternate timelines out there, running parallel to our own, but so different from the world and life we know. Alternate versions of ourselves, leading different lives, with different experiences and, therefore, different personalities or perspectives.

Although I didn’t expect my investigation to bear much fruit, given the limits we face when it comes to researching something so far beyond our ability to see or touch, we experienced a revelation during yet another interaction with the Timekeeper Veralos. A revelation that provided several answers to several questions already floating around in my head. Answers that confirmed the existence of “parallel” timelines, as I had already begun to suspect. Through our interaction with Veralos, he confirmed that time is, in fact, not linear. As a Timekeeper, he is able to see, not only the timeline we exist in, but a host of other timelines which allow him to view the possibilities which could have been, or would have been, had anything in our timeline occurred differently. These were described as branches, extending from our timeline, in every direction, to account for every variation, every choice that could be made, no matter how good or bad, benign or devastating.

When I inquired about what effects our interaction with the past might have on us in the present, the answer I received from Veralos indicated that the past in our timeline could not be altered itself, but that more branches were being created, separate from our own, to account for the changes being made without altering the world we know. This is an indicator that our timeline, with regard to the past, is in a fixed state. Interactions with the past as we know it, while it should not be possible, would not alter our past but would form additional branches with additional possibilities that had not previously been, but now are. Another timeline, with yet another version of us, living with the repercussions of the changes that were made.

In closing, there remain unanswered questions about time, and these so-called branches, that continue to pique my interest, and fan my desire to seek greater knowledge of the unknowns connected to the theory and idea of time. Veralos stated that the “lines” cannot cross, though the arrival of the Gorbesh from our past into our present serves as proof that the lines can become what Veralos referred to as “twisted.” But what causes these twists? How do these twists get undone? And what would happen if these “branches” did somehow cross? When Veralos says they “can’t,” does he mean it is impossible, or does he mean it would be catastrophic and therefore simply “shouldn’t” cross? Were they to do so, I feel it is safe to hypothesize that the end result would be disastrous. It also begs the question that, if we are able to create alternate timelines, are alternate timelines also being created by the versions of us in those alternate timelines? Could a threat to time as we know it be instigated in our time by versions of ourselves in another? Only a Timekeeper would know for sure. And without a means to speak with one, or see the web of time ourselves, we are left with little more to do than speculate upon the potential answers to these questions and wonder about the infinite curiosities of time.

Written and submitted by Ayrell Evyntine.

Briaen

Title: The Undying Threat II

By Briaen Huns

Necrolord and former Apprentice of Zamidren Book

Now Divine Knight of Berengaria

Introduction

He called them the Undying Threat.

And then we went and became one.

Zamidren Book set out as a young neophyte Warrior Mage with the auspicious intent to find enlightenment, to seek out the secrets with hopes to better understand what he knew to be an enemy. Many may well not believe it, but he did at least that much. It was long thought he may have died or fallen to the plagues and monstrosities he himself called a scourge. That he might have bravely fought a battle of zeal and faith, but in his last breath, fell a faithful man of Murrula.

This, however, is just the first of many lies. Zamidren Book can still be found, if one has the inclinations on where to look. In so having those inclinations, I found him. But why? A question I have been asked time and time again. Being born of the Clan of Shadow in a blighted land known well for a history of undead, I perhaps had a similar line of thought to Zamidren’s first attempts. I sought the knowledge to understand my enemy. Naivety and determination are a potent combination for fool’s errands.

Chapter 5: The Great Work, The Great Lie

Many others have followed this path, one gilded with promises of a better world, freedom from an existence of pain, of strife, disease, and even death. We called it the Great Work. It is the primary drive of organized Necromantic cults, no matter their claims to the contrary. Through the blood and visceral use of cursed blades drawn through the flesh of the dead, our twisted view was to find the secrets of immortality by any means necessary. This sort of pursuit is not for the fainthearted, and certainly not for the faithful. Well, at least not those who would claim the Grace of the Thirty and Nine.

The Great Work is a Great Lie.

It is an abomination against Their Grace for it seeks to directly undermine Their Authority and to ultimately usurp Their Divinity. We are taught to gaze into the viscera of the dead in hopes of gleaning secrets and a more complete understanding of how to bring about a change in the status quo. In essence, the various Necromantic cults use ritual knives as a tool for advancement, without realizing or even perhaps ignoring the obvious threats such a study brings upon the sanctity of this world. Claims will be made against this statement and heresy will follow in the explanations as to why I am wrong. For a long while, I too ignored the warnings and shame I felt at my pursuit of the Great Work.

I now know that it is a Profane inquiry, and suspect that Zamidren and his ilk only teach so that they might reap the benefits of their potential students for the sake of themselves. Whether they are aware of it or not, the study of Necromancy is far from making this world better. It is, instead, an Unholy attempt to reorganize the blessedness of this life in an attempt to undermine what follows. Necromancy and the further of the Great Work are lies told to by manipulating masters to petulant children. They seek the great source of the Divine, from whence we all belong and to where we must all return. The blight upon the soul of a Necromancer directly prevents this return, and thus creates a conduit by which the Others might gain strength.

Whatever secrets Zamidren does know, only a faint hint of it does he teach to his neophytes. There are even secrets beyond his ability to stomach teaching, so dangerous that even he refuses to teach them and has, at times, barred his students who have sought such knowledge elsewhere. The Others, as I call them, the eyes in the black, beyond the depth of shadows, beneath the darkness and behind the void of Urrem'tier - in the spaces between, the demonic lurk. Some have names you know, others only we know. I intend to keep it this way. I will not detail such knowledge here. If my story and Zamidren’s story prove anything, it is that seeking to understand the enemy only leads you to become the enemy.

Chapter 6: The Death of Demons

One such name you do likely know is that of the Mistress of the Zulfang: Maelshyve. It is due in no small part to Her death that I found myself facing a paradigm shift in my own standing with my former associates. I was there, as were many, many other adventurers as the Philosopher Osven used devices charged with Feral magic to tear a hole between worlds. A plot that allowed us to complete what was once considered impossible. The citizens of this world killed a demon. Let it be known that those who seek power from such entities consider this to be a murder and not the righteous removal of a long-lived threat to Elanthia.

I submit that perhaps both sides are correct.

When Maelshyve died many of us heard whispers, screams of rage, and pain. I felt fear. I felt Maelshyve’s fear. I believe she may have served a purpose, that she filled some space between this world and the places where The Others preside. And while I make no squabble about her death being necessary, I cannot help but wonder if we did not create a crack in the dam. For now, I fear what will fill the places where Her essence fades. Maelshyve was cruel, unjust, and very much a foul creature to behold and an abomination worth destruction, but She was far from the worst of what lies in waiting.

Chapter 7: Return to Grace

Thus, with the successful attack upon that wretched creature and left with the fear of not knowing what would come, I finally saw the truth. I yearned for the Grace of the Thirty and Nine. Like no time in my life before my fall or even before I sought to find Zamidren. The adventuring gilded often forget so many of the living are born without the ability to gain Their favor. We overlook the Grace that seems so simply bestowed upon us because of our ability to manipulate forces They granted us in the first place. I would beg of you, dear reader, do not let such piousness beget a forgetfulness of the gifts you wield.

Is it possible then, for a Forsaken soul to find Their Grace once more? For decades, even perhaps centuries, it was thought the only true Redemption could be found in death. I wonder how many poor, lost, pained souls we sent home without properly giving them time to learn a better way.

The answer is, simply, yes. The Eyes of the Thirty and Nine are ever upon all of us, even those of us who abuse our gifts and fall from Their Grace. They see us all. They know our hearts. They know our pain. The Aspects of the Dark and of the Light, along with those of a Balanced approach, all of them have the desire to see Their children return. I have been filled with Their hatred, They have made clear Their disappointment, and have cleansed my sins in the warmth of Their Love.

If it is of your mind to undertake such a thing, do so with the faith that only penitence will see you through it. If you have fallen, if you know the pain of being forsaken, and have started a path you do not intend to see walked, I pray you seek the Gardener in the Gilen Otso Steppes to begin your return to grace.

Chapter 8: Closing

It is with great pride that I now serve the Immortals once more. Primarily, I atone for my blasphemies through Berengaria, the Light Bringer, the Mother of Dawn. She came to me before her humble shrine and spoke of planted seeds. Within my soul she planted a singular seed, a tiny portion of Her Grace that I will continue to nurture until I am called to return to the city of souls.

It is my purpose to plant more seeds in the souls of others who have lost their way. I will bring about a harvest born of a return to Their Grace in even the most foul and damned souls. Their creations will be destroyed outright. Their attempts to sour these lands with footholds for The Others will be cut out, root and stem. This is my declaration of intent. I will spend the remainder of my days cleansing unholy places and dismantling all attempts to the contrary. Cast aside is my desire for the easy path, for the childish desires of corrupted enlightenment, and I am now filled with the memories of what I was meant to be.

What was once my tool of insurrection has become my tool of mended hope. It is a sign of my devotional strength and a token of the Divine Directive I have received. My knife is now my instrument of wrath and of purification. Where my Goddess walks, renewal follows. I will be her instrument of salvation upon these blighted places. My garden will grow from the souls of the faithful pious and the forsaken hubris.

I am the Undying Threat long spoken of by Zamidren before me and when my Great Work is complete, the Divine’s mastery upon this world will be fortified against further erosion from the damned.

By my faith and by Their Grace,

Briaen Huns

Broichan

Title: Harnessing Inherent Magic through Crafting

By now, we’re all familiar with the burgeoning slate of products created by the talented members of the Enchanting Society, from popular mainstays like gwethdesuans to the more obscure, such as the mining stones which protect those daring delvers in our midst, one narrowly avoided cave-in at the time. However, even those of us who would feel more comfortable using a brazier to warm their hands rather than scribe sigils can still create items with obviously magical properties.

Even before the formalization of the various disciplines of crafting into the societies we know today, there was some understanding of how supernatural effects could be created in a reliable way without the use of enchantment or spellcraft. The preeminent example of this is the widespread use of healing herbs. As best understood, such herbs don't manage to produce their effects through the manipulation of mana or spell energy. Rather, they're the residual product of some external magical force causing a lasting effect that operates under its own set of laws and not the physical laws of magic. Though still not fully understood, we have better learned how to refine these effects through the various alchemical processes; distillation, decoction, and catalytic augmentation allow for us to manipulate and focus these energies.

Of course, as I am not an alchemist myself, I leave further experimentation within that realm to the experts of that craft. Instead, my musings upon this phenomenon spurred me to consider other supernatural effects achieved through this sort of unique, "non-magical" mechanism within my own chosen profession: engineering. While arguably the most obvious way to create a magical weapon is to simply enchant the finished item made by an artisan, we engineers have also employed a separate means of achieving this goal.

In the creation of bolts and arrows, we often fashion the heads of our projectiles with the fangs, teeth, and claws of a wide variety of creatures. The majority of these products are mundane ammunition, created with pieces taken from mundane creatures: boars, cougars, and elsralael, to name a few. However, we have also found that pieces taken from other, more exotic creatures make suitable tips: firecats, ice adders, lava drakes, and storm bulls. Even once removed from the beast, the trophies collected by a skilled outdoorsman still retain whatever latent magic resides within these supernatural creatures. Neither the components nor the bolt- and arrowheads created from them carry any magical patterns that can be found through examination by even a highly experienced practitioner of elemental magic, as one might expect though a focused examination. Yet when these pieces are crafted into a finished bolt, it strikes with a force reminiscent of the creature from which it was harvested. A soot-stained arrow carries the fiery bite of a firecat as if the beast were leaping forth from your bow as the arrow takes flight! This power endures for the life of the arrow and does not fade, suggesting that the inherent power found in such fangs is a durable one.

Fascinating as this observation may be (and as useful as a skilled hunter may find these marvelous creations), this phenomenon lends itself to further consideration. Firstly, I posit that these bolts and arrows drive their inherent supernatural properties from a source similar to those found within healing herbs and their resultant alchemical products. The nature of the creatures from which we collect these pieces has been deeply and indelibly affected by some significant magics. Perhaps these creatures themselves were once subject to some immense magical force that alerted the species in some manner that breeds true and perpetuates the imbuement of the beasts with unique properties. Or it could be, likely in the case of the lava drake and similar constructs, that the magic that animates such a construction endures even in pieces separated from the defeated corpse.

This leads to my second conclusion - one which holds promise for future study and exploration. While we have identified a handful of creatures whose components can be collected and harnessed to provide a range of elemental effects in ammunition, it is worth considering that other similar creatures exist whose supernatural character may lend their remains a similar magical flair. And we need not limit our consideration to creatures suffused with elemental energies (even if my own experiences as a member of the Bards' Guild does endear me to the fire and frost). Consider the golems and mantraps of Su Helmas: who can say what magics they may have absorbed from their proximity to the entropic and lunar energies let loose upon that place? I cannot say I would be eager to be struck with a bolt fashioned from a mantrap spine that may cause me to be plagued with visions of the future (beyond the general unpleasantness of being struck by a bolt in general, of course). Perhaps we could harness the powers of decay that corrode the malign beasts of the Zaulfung or the Dark Hand. Or what if an arrow fashioned from the fang of an endrus serpent might yet carry the animating power of nature?

With all this said, I feel that it would behoove us to consider what other supernatural creatures we have come across in our travels, and to recall what sites we know have borne witness to great expressions of magic. There, I believe, we may be likely to find similar creatures whose powers we can harness. Even beyond the creation of alchemical remedies and elementally infused ammunition, the possibilities expand before us!

Dantia

Title: Regular usage of Absolution or Icutu Zaharenela spells may cause weakening of Empath's potential strength

Author: Dantia Rekletar

Theory

Empathy is the natural force that links all living creatures in Elanthia, and all sentient creatures are born with a measure of natural Empathy for the life essence present in others. This is why the Empath Guild does not need to test an adventurer who wants to join their ranks for some "spark" of Empathic sense, because it is already present in everyone. Although every adventurer has access to a "well" of Empathic sense within them, only through training and nurturing can one learn how to draw from the very depths of this well, and indeed adventurers who choose to regularly harm other living creatures will over time find themselves unable to tap into this well at all.

When a non-Empath causes harm, they do not experience any ill effect because they have completely suppressed their Empathic sense. When an Empath causes harm, however, it clashes dramatically with their trained and thus sensitive Empathic sense, and that clash presents itself as Empathic Shock. Despite what many believe, Empathic Shock is not the result of violating a moral code of pacifism held either by the individual or the Guild, but is instead an automatic physiological reaction that is caused by over-stimulation of one's Empathic sense.

There are two spells that have been made available to the boldest Empaths, Absolution and Icutu Zaharenela. Although the Khalo (leaders) of the Empath Guild refuse to teach these spells directly, their availability via scroll has caused them to become both widely accepted and used throughout the Empath ranks.

Absolution works by forcibly and immediately dulling one's Empathic sense until you are far enough removed from an Undead's life essence that you can deal harm without experiencing Shock. Icutu Zaharenela converts an Empath's touch from a tool used to assess and transfer wounds into a weapon used to cause them. Although Icutu Zaharenela does not dull one's Empathic senses in and of itself like Absolution, its use does cause Shock, and with enough use will cause you to enter a "perma-shock" state. Once in this state your Empathic sense must be "jump started" through tending to a vela'tohr seed, else it will never return.

The more removed you are from your Empathic sense (and thus the shallower your reach into your proverbial well), the less effective your direct healing capabilities since those abilities rely on the presence and strength of your Empathic sense. We know from years of experience that adventurers who regularly suppress their Empathic sense will find themselves less and less able to tap into their proverbial well in any meaningful way, until they are unable to access it at all.

I thus posit that the regular and consistent use of either Absolution or Icutu Zaharenela may, over time, reduce an individual Empath's capability to tap as deeply into their well of Empathic sense as they may have been before their use of Absolution or Icutu Zaharenela, in the same way that an adventurer who deals harm regularly will eventually be unable to draw from the well at all. This difference may be imperceptible to the individual, for just as a Barbarian will never know what his strength as an Empath may have been, so, too, would an Empath be unable to know what their maximum strength could have been before they subjected themselves to a limiting factor.

Documentation

Guide to Being an Empath in Elanthia (book)

Post:An Interview with Empath Researcher Salvur - 08/25/2012 - 23:17

Dasheek

Untitled

Hello and thank you for your consideration!

My name is Dasheek Ku'Rein, a Warrior Mage of some renown. During my studies I have noticed that there are some oddities to be explored within the Aegis of Granite spell.

When cast, the spell takes surrounding energy from Elanthia itself and molds it to the caster's body, strengthening it. When the spell dissipates the energy returns to the surrounding area. Travel, being what it is, means that the caster can be a very long way from where the energy was taken.

What happens when many powerful mages scatter themselves across the realms and return with that power stored, and infuse one area with it. What happens, dare I ask, if many powerful mages took the energy from ONE place, and transferred it?

I think this would make an excellent magical experiment requiring all of the things that make the Warrior Mages the most powerful guild in the Realms, teamwork, organization, and finesse. I kid. All we really need is Guild approval.

Again, thank you for your consideration and have a wonderful day.

Dash' Ku'Rein

Eyst

Title: Our Inherent Power

Our magical community produces remarkable works driven by great minds able to study and build upon the works of our predecessors. There is a wide breadth to this body of magics from the blessings of clerics, bombastic invocations of an elementalist, to the cunning manipulations of a lunarian. But even so there is much seen as too dangerous to study, forbidden. This is of course for good reason as the stories of mages meeting tragic ends reaching for things best left alone are myriad. However, as our field is constantly growing and changing - boundaries should always be reassessed.

This paper will step into a territory that some may consider dangerous. Plainly, it will be touching on powers that involve the use of blood in their invocation or resulting effect. The author acknowledges that some magics falling into this category are among the foulest known and does not suggest their acceptance or furtherance. What is desired is for some powers to be seen for what they are, allowing us to further a field of study that deserves the focus of keen minds.

"Blood Magic" - The Dark Side

Not being an accepted book of magic it is no wonder that such a thing has historically been linked solely to deviant sorcerers. Indeed, the phrase may conjure to mind any number of dark scenarios. Perhaps cursed Adan'f empowering their weapons through the blood of the fallen or some black-robed figure performing ritual sacrifice to his dark masters. This sheer variety tells us something of our folly however.

Even among just the fell aspects of “Blood Magic” we can see can see that there is room for separation and categorization. As an example, how does a spell using blood as fuel differ from one merely acting on it? How do rituals involving bloodletting without any discernible spell pattern produce their desired results? No upstanding researcher can answer these basic question so we cannot know where proper magic ends and the depraved begins.

Fundamental to Life

Having touched on the darkest sorts of this magic it's time to turn our attention to the beneficial aspects. The obvious is its life-sustaining qualities. Any mortal being by their very nature is using the same fuel of the aforementioned dark rituals with every beat in their breast. Perhaps it's this integral nature of blood with continued immediate survival that makes it seem perverse to be used in any other way. As intelligent beings we can rise above these instinctual assumptions and reason for ourselves whether this is true.

If we accept that the basic qualities and purpose of blood are “good” then we must also accept that purely as a source of power there is also goodness. How one uses it is of course an entirely different story. We compare this to various other accepted magics that draw power from planes utterly inimical to our own and we begin to see just how much our problem is just a matter of image and perspective.

Indeed, as a possible confounding influence on magic one could argue that this appears one of the most pure available to mortals. It does not beg power from the immortals, toy with the fundamentals of our plane, nor disturb or attract attention from other planes. Of course the immediate question is “If this assumption is true why does it not appear so in practice?”.

The Missing Factors

The authors answer to this question is a hypothesis with admittedly shaky grounds. It is an answer unfortunately born from an ignorance that any researcher wishing to be part of polite society necessarily has. However in the interests of establishing grounds for future research it is thus “Blood is the source of power for mortal beings wielding seemingly magical abilities whose origin defies traditional magical explanation”.

At the beginning of this paper we lauded the magic community's depth and breadth of abilities but mana streams and spell patterns are by no means the only way of producing extraordinary phenomena.

As examples:

  • Barbarians, though exceptionally non-magical are by no means comparable to your average commoner off the street. It is perhaps the easiest leap of the imagination to connect their preternatural skills with blood, as the shedding of blood is so often involved.
  • Elven lifesculpting, producing verifiable results in their surroundings and on objects using only time and some art of the mind. Although usually applied to simple living flora there are accounts of other more fantastic applications.
  • Empaths, their ability to transfer wounds and ailments is both simple and mind-boggling. Any child can understand the relation between a wound disappearing from one person and appearing on another, yet the implications are staggering.


So we are left with innumerable paths of investigation open to us on this topic. We can see that this potential source of power need not only be associated with forbidden arts. Allowing this field of study to remain solely the domain of sorcerers and uncivilized beings could be a fatal weakness. To conclude, it is our hope that this paper offered a fresh perspective on the subject and provided sound logical grounds for further exploration.

-Written by Eyst for the Grand Magic Symposium of 435 AV

Ezerak

Title: Increase in the Inability to Attune to Mana by Ezerak Vershir

While the ability to attune to mana is generally learned, and occasionally one might find it easier to attune to one type over another, there are occasional exceptions to this rule. Rarely, spontaneous attunement can occur, but the more common anomaly is the genetic inability to attune to mana at all. It has been estimated that roughly 1 to 5% of the population have this genetic inability, and that the number is growing. I believe there are several reasons for this increase.

First, I believe the ability to attune to mana to be a recessive trait, and the inability to be a dominant one, much as with eye or hair color, children often tend to resemble one parent more than the other. The inability seems to breed true from one parent, and I believe further research would show that people with the ability have at least one parent who also has the ability.

Second, I theorize that the ability is unknowingly and accidentally being bred out of the common people that are untrained in magic. I believe further research would show that for the most part, people with attunement tend to marry other people with attunement, and that most of the untrained, unguilded commoners either are unable to attune, do not know they are able to, or have not had the opportunity to learn they are able to, and are more likely to marry another unguilded commoner that may not have the ability to. Further, I believe these unguilded commoners are more likely to have more children than those who are guilded, resulting in increasing instances of the dominant trait being passed through generations.

It is also possible that the increasing numbers of those who cannot attune to mana may be temporary in nature, and due to the dominant trait "skipping generations," where one who cannot attune still carries the recessive trait, and may pass it to their offspring, should the other parent possess or carry the recessive trait as well. A long-term generational study would likely be necessary to determine if, in fact, these traits behave as I have described, and if the increase continues over the generations.

Gwenddolyn

Title: Time Travel, Grazhir Shards, Pillars, Artifacts, and the Mana Field Theory

Hopefully my years of research in a variety of fields, including my early studies of Lunar and Elemental Magic, can be beneficial to this project, and as a historian, I can contribute knowledge that will help further magical studies at the Gealeranendae College of Magical History. I do not practice Sorcery, but Sorcery and Feral Magic do fall into my Mana Field Theory, since they are created through mana manipulation. Understanding the varied uses of Magic is critical in knowing defense and strategy.

As an example, I've thought long and hard about how Veralos could be showing snippets of himself from the past and the future. One possible answer to that I found goes as far back as nearly a thousand years ago, on more than one instance, which should definitely be researched.

It is basic knowledge that the Plane of Abiding is central to all of the other Planes, but the real significance is that the Planar Observatory overlaps that Plane of Abiding with the Astral Plane. My theory that I’m discussing is called the Mana Field Theory, and covers many aspects of related historical events and artifacts as evidence that such a theory already exists. The opening of the doorway to Zengmodaleth using huge amounts of group mana prove that the manipulation of mana is a valid theory. I will attempt to explain the major components that led me to this theory, since understanding these moving parts would be key to realizing the possibilities that this theory brings.

First and foremost, Nera and her nomad tribe build the Planar Observatory and Telescope, and her foresight was so powerful that she created images of herself having conversations with the Arbiter in Darkness and Pelag ai Aldam. These did not occur until hundreds of years after her actual death, and therefore occurred in the future after she was gone in her physical form. This seems related to the change in Lunar Magic since a deal was made with the Arbiter to grant Traders the ability to use Lunar Magic. That I will explain later.

How did Nera do this, what did she use and most importantly when? The answer is very compelling. It is possible that Veralos has been doing exactly what Nera did, using similar tools to create the snippets and images of himself, which could have occurred hundreds of years in the past and also even farther into the future. Were they trying to warn us or were they trying to lead us astray by our curiosity?

One of the most likely possible connections seems to have something to do with the shards of Grazhir, which I will explain in detail further. These shards have always been used for Astral Travel, but could they also be used for time travel? What powers these shards, and how can other artifacts, powered by manipulating mana, be used in conjunction with Grazhir?

Nera sealed one of these shards, specifically Teloish, in a warded area inside the Planar Observatory somewhere. Was this for safekeeping, since it would be needed in the future? Or was it what she had used to create the images of herself and store them there, appearing as snippets seen in rips or tears at planned future times? Lines are crossed from one time to another, because one line should end before another line in time begins, and they should never be crossed. Please also take a historical note that the usage of sigils was first developed by this same Nera tribe who built the Telescope and Observatory. This is very important, because the use of sigils can do very powerful things along with the power of mana manipulation.

To our knowledge, many of the Grazhir shards fell into the Reshal Sea and were never recovered, though I have found evidence that new shards were indeed found. The largest of these shards, known as Axis, has an unknown location on the Plane of Abiding, but according to history, it is most likely somewhere in the Reshal Sea. It is without a doubt that Axis is the most important piece of Grazhir, because it is the shard that the Pillars rotate around within the microcosm, meaning that it is central to travel and could have so many other possibilities. It is also possible that it was somehow found and recovered to be used to power the microcosm, which would need to be the most powerful of the shards. Looking into historical events that would tell us when the location of the microcosm was changed would be key for us to know where it actually is.

I find it odd that both Axis and Teloish cannot be learned by even the most experienced Moon Mages, so this may hold significance as where to look for answers that are being kept hidden. I had previously mentioned the Suur Pillar and an Obelisk not far from each other in a former meeting, and Aaoskar had mentioned how closely located one of the Obelisks was, and which was more than just a coincidence.

The Obelisks are said to protect and divide the Plane of Abiding from the Plane of Probability. Each Obelisk had a gem at its peak that corresponded to a moon; topaz, pearl, ruby and sapphire. This too is significant as each Obelisk is clearly related to align to one particular moon and then to each other. Knowing which is which would be a key. The obelisk corresponding to Grazhir, is this the burned obelisk, when it exploded? Is this what tangled the lines of time, and caused tears?

Someone who would know more about these obelisks is Grell, and how he became a part of the Mirror Wraith Prophecy. After a piece of an exploding Obelisk lodged into his chest, he said he had been caught between obelisks for a while, unable to move. So that would mean somewhere between the Planes of Abiding and Probability. Is this where Veralos could also trapped?

An expedition that Grell was part of had gone to study the old manor below the Crossbow Observatory guildhall. Looking through the ancient ruins, they found an intact Obelisk and also the disassembled Deceiver device. Being researchers, they reassembled the pieces of the device in the Crossing Guild and unleashed the Shadow Masters from the Void. Taramaine, along with Mortom and Erzebet, knew the danger the Guild was in, so they utilized the power of Sorcery.

Although the Shadow Masters were destroyed, a Y'shai named Shanrolias died, a soul lost forever. This was when a shard from the exploded Obelisk lodged itself in the chest of Grell Pel'cora, and would later give the Obelisks the power to summon him to them as they wished. Such is how he became a part of the Prophecy.

Now the obvious question is why does it always seem to involve an artifact? The real question is an artifact from when? It could very well be the Staff of Firulf, or anything else from the past local history going back to ancient times. Some examples I'll give will show possibilities that could be any of the many artifacts listed in books from ancient times. Many artifacts require various types of mana in order to be used..

Some other examples are, a device known as Gaharzen was created by the Children that sends shards of light throughout an area. Then there is the "delicate bone ritual" incident of Krrish, a S'lai Moon Mage and bone artisan, and another is the tiny silver ring with a broken silver bell that was found in an envelope left by Logaro's Legacy. Another device called the Hemiphere with Black Seal, was was constructed with the aid of the tome titled "Tales of Lunar Majesty" and used by Ealuik and Karosti on the Obelisk at Taisgaith to sever the tie that Moon Mages had with the Plane of Probability. Although this was reversed by a group of Moon Mage students, the Webs of Fate where dramatically changed.

Thoughts of the Mirror Wraith Prophecy as an example seem significant in this current situation. Yet how many of the verses of the Prophecy have actually been completed? Regarding the sudden appearance of the Gorbesh from the past, how far back in time could it possibly be from? We saw one snippet when they were building fortifications in Shard, which was a clue as to when given its midway position among the series of snippets.

The Deceiver Device was found by a group of researchers near an Obelisk, also no coincidence. The Deceiver Artifact was a sphere made from three parts; two semispheres and a translucent key kept in Mortom Saist's coffin. Each semisphere was unlocked by Penelope's music box that was housed in Ilithi, or Andraethu's trapezoid statuette. These three separate pieces were gathered using treachery over decades by Lasarhhthas, who used it to release the Shadow Master that killed an Imperial Emperor, many centuries ago.

The artifact was quickly retrieved by the Moon Mage guild and given to the Grandmaster Taramaine, who tried to destroy the device, but instead activated it. This briefly released the sorceress Tezirah from her prison in the Plane of Probability. Where is the Deceiver Device now? Some say it was destroyed, but there is no evidence to prove that it was destroyed, and instead could have been disassembled and once again hidden.

The most compelling part of the Mana Field Theory involves Pillars and Obelisks and their relation to Grazhir shards. This was so important that they pillars and shards were all named, and learning the various pathways, except for the few disallowed, which was a way to prevent the discovery of the truth of what happened.

So in regards to Obelisks, as a former Ambassador to the Gypsies of Ker'Leor, I am certain that High King Talorc is aware of the existence of such an Obelisk in Ker'Leor that has quite a history behind it, and central to the founding of the Gealeranendae College of Magical History in Theren. The College houses a piece of the Suur Pillar and the Grazhir shard Dinegavren, both taken from Ker’Leor. Historical records from both Therengia and Throne City go back to Kings, Barons and Emperors well over a thousand years, The Gypsy history dates back to shortly after the Victory of Lanival, since they still proclaim to be the lost Dragon Clan founded by the followers of Lanival, proclaimed by the Gypsy Princes themselves.

Oddly, the Gorbesh seem to appear here and there, as if coming through occasional rips and tears in the lines defining time. When one occurs, they return to their forts in the Provinces because the line between then and now was crossed, and more than likely by someone using some kind of artifact that opened a portal. So who could be behind V and the Gorbesh suddenly appearing? The possibilities are endless since the Gorbesh go back in time over a thousand years. Emperor Vithwok III from the Gorbesh battle in Darkstone, or Verek the Ram Clan Emperor, or Viggu who is so old that he must be from another time, and Veyne with his famed tomes almost seems to fit the best, or possibly Mystic Veila Tebaiya who founded the Phelim Club in 627 BL which was known for the origin of the Celestial Compact that eventually led to the Lunar Accord, or could it be the Elpalzi linked to visions about Maelshyve, or worse yet Velmix?

There is however, two more hugely interesting parts that seem related to the Suur Pillar and the Planar Observatory. As I stated before, the Planar Observatory overlaps with the Plane of Abiding and the Astral Plane. The shard Teloith is housed in a warded area within the Observatory, somewhere within the area that these two Planes that overlap.

So the next glaringly obvious question to ask is, what were these artifacts I found for and what significance do they have to the Suur Pillar? This is where the relation to the shards of Grazhir is critical. Each named shard is related to a pillar, and each pillar defines the lines of the pathways between shards for Astral travel.

If a diagram of all of the pillars and their connections were drawn, it would be obvious that a few of them used to converge with each other, but were redirected around something that was most certainly destroyed. I've found notes written about broken pillars, and it is not odd that these pillars were damaged on one side of the Suur Pillar, similar to the Obelisk on the other side, and most likely caused by the very same explosion.

The most extraordinary pair of artifacts that I’ve found on the opposite side of the Suur Pillar that the Obelisk is on, are two very ancient columns. Now when I looked closer at these columns, on one I saw: Swirling bands of color are frozen forever in time. Strange markings, perhaps ages old runes, mar the simple beauty of the stone. . And on the other column I saw: Age old runes mar the simple perfection of the stone. Whether carved by nature or some other force is unknown.

It is not a coincidence that the nearby Suur Pillar is the greatest collection of Elemental energy anywhere. Other historically documented explosions locally of this magnitude was when the Staff of Firulf was used to destroy an army in Ker Leor, near the Suur Pillar. This is where some of the areas surrounding these pillars still show damage from that very explosion. The only other huge explosions in history were that of Grazhir and also of the Greater Fist.   This rift between Elemental and Lunar mana energies can be a very dangerous one. The clear evidence shows that something was tampered with that blew up by the Suur Pillar, and caused enough damage to have to reroute pillars. Knowing which ones were changed and where they previously went to and from, could be key to understanding when it occurred, by whom and why. Further research on this is highly recommended, but my theory leads me to believe that the explosion of Grazhir is somehow related, possibly marring the Pillar linked to the pearl representing Grazhir.   It is my assumption that the columns I described were in fact frozen in time, after the removal of the shard that had once opened the pathway through those columns, and likely taken to the College. The pillars were disconnected and the lines were rerouted around the Suur Pillar. I do believe this concept should be fully researched for two very important reasons.   First and foremost, because the lines were twisted by explosions, they had to move the pathways along with the shards, and also to where the pillars had been pointe. Tears or rips in time appeared as a result once this was changed, tangling the lines of time. Knowing when this happened is important.

Odd sightings, like very old trolls emerging from under the bridges by Arnshal Keep and heading towards the Handsome Plateau, off and on soon after the Outcast War was over. Now decades later, we have Gorbesh in every Fort and coordinated Elpalzi attacks. There are a few known tangled areas, like Ker'Leor, Therenborough, Throne City, Rossman's and Riverhaven, yet Dirge (Darkstone) seems to be the common contentious area, with attackers from there often sighted heading towards Kaerna.

The second reason, and the most intriguing, is that one must wonder where the access to the Planar Observatory is, and the possibility that it could be located somewhere within the Gyspy lands of Ker’Leor and under High King Talorc's control. Therenborough has been known as the place to go for telescopes, and the G'nar Peths may actually be guarding this very secret. It would have to be close by, since access to Throne City can be found in 2 places in Therengia, via the turtle in the College and also the barge from Riverhaven. Please note that at one time, the barge was the only way to travel to Throne City, and knowing when that was could be important, since it was related to a splinter group of Tezirites who grew up in the orphanage there, known as the Children of Kalestraum.

Throne City was the foothold of the Seven-Pointed Star Empire for a reason, and for a period of time, that foothold was changed to Elamiri, around the time of the emergence of Sithsia, before being changed back to Throne City again just one year later. It was in 484 BL when the rioting began in Throne City and Darkstone (Dirge). So central was Throne City to power, that it would lead one to believe that this is where Axis and the microcosm truly are. It is my belief that Ker Leor, which is on one side of Throne City, was once accessible through the pillars I have described as ancient columns. It also makes one wonder why the area around present day Dirge was so heavily battled over.

Also of importance, the shard Besoge was known as the Pillar of Secrets, which requires the highest amount of experience to learn than any other shard. I think this is because there is something beyond that, perhaps the microcosm itself. Once thought to be in the Reshal Sea and closer to Mer'Kresh, it could actually be somewhere within Throne City, with access to the Planar Observatory from both Therenborough and Leth. The possibility of access in Leth at the Observatory of Ankis Dir, where the Children have been seen often and their possible base location, would bring great interest as to what is nearby that interests them so much. The Planar Observatory has a few practical access places throughout these locations. There must be access to a device that controls the microcosm, which is likely inside the Planar Observatory itself, and was somehow damaged where the broken pillars had once led somewhere else. Places it could lead if opened now are places worse than the Dunes of Despair in the Hidisharon desert, or the missing Desert of Dismond, which would reveal HighHold itself.

It is no secret that the related Proginy was a splinter group of Tezirites known by various names, although the notes were obscured once the pillars were disconnected by being damaged beyond use. Was this perhaps to keep the explosion a secret, by hiding what happened, and especially where certain artifacts went?

So what was the secret? More than likely the location where the hub or microcosm was, and it also likely that it is, or was, on Gypsy land or accessible from there. Knowing the location of the Therengian G'nar Peths would likely be the greatest hint of all, as either the guardians or the caretakers of such a secret would make the most sense. Though I have no doubt that High King Talorc has also been aware of this ever since his Princely years decades ago.

The story still goes that this great divide between the Outcast descendants of Tiero, and the Lost Dragon Clan in Ker Leor with its Gypsy followers of Lanival, who may still be in his deep slumber in a mountain somewhere. This extraordinary elemental wall surrounding the Suur Pillar, not far from pillars that once lead to the Fist of Heavens, which were broken in another time. They say it is protecting something very important. Could it be the Staff of Firulf or could it be the slumbering Lanival himself? Let us first prove that this great Elemental Mana Wall is part of something with such possibilities so vast, one could never define the unlimited benefits of mana and its many uses.

The following are my notes and field study observations about missing shards and broken or rerouted pillars. These require further research to prove my theory of how powerful mana manipulation can be using various devices, even sigils, causing an explosion that twisted the lines of time, and could date as far back as Imperial times.

  • Aliaes; Grazhir shard is not on display, location unknown.
  • Emalerje; formerly in Tiv's Guild, [Inside the Fortress, Stone Garden], known as the Pillar of the Shrew. Missing since the Greater Fist volcano erupted and the guild entrance was destroyed. It is no coincidence that the Children are closely associated with the Shrew, and may possess this very shard because of its significance to Kerenhappuch, and their later use of the Sigil of the Shrew. Tiv was found sometime later, wondering dazed by the old guild, and was muttering about being somewhere with odd descriptions. The book "Tales of Lunar Majesty" was also missing, and more than likely contained relevant clues about useful artifacts.
  • Erekinzil; Lomtaun's Guild, [Taisgath Guildhouse, Walk of the Winds], Pillar of Fortune. Previously known as *Undarverjah and previously connected to Pillar of Heavens. Does this mean they renamed the same shard because of the change in pillars, or was it a new shard, and if so what happened to Undarverjah?
  • Tamigen; located in Cragstone Vale, North of Raven's Point, [Cragstone Vale, Shrine of the Shell, Pillar of Heavens. Previously connected to Pillar of Convergence.
  • Taniendar; located in the Riverhaven Spire, Gylwyn's Guild, [Obsidian Spire, Roof], Pillar of Introspection. Previously connected to the Broken Pillar.
  • Teloish; somewhere in the Astral Plane, in a warded area within the Planar Observatory.

Additional notes on Grazhir Shards: The first attack by the Children was on the Grazhir Shard connection between Throne City and Taisgath. The two shards are reported to have been recovered by the Moon Mage guild. A third shard in the possession of the Guildleader Gylwyn was later attempted to be stolen but she was able to escape to Throne City. That shard is raw and much larger than any other known shards it is also now connected to the Ways.

The evidence below, where we can go to do a field observation, as I have shown others, most recently Aaoskar, Rehlyn and Angel, are these artifacts of ancient pillars.

[Arnshal Road, Stone Column] A huge column of multi-hued stone dominates the view. Tumbled boulders on the opposite side of the road suggest it once was one of a pair, perhaps the gateway to a forgotten city. The wind and rain have erased any evidence of the column's origin.

On the column: Swirling bands of color are frozen forever in time. Strange markings, perhaps ages old runes, mar the simple beauty of the stone.

[Arnshal Road, Caravan Route] The road gently curves around a huge stone column that may once have been part of some long ago edifice. Odd markings seem to be etched into the side of the stone, chiseled by some strange hand, or the sharp blade of the wind. Stately elms and oaks hold back the march of the forest, preventing it from overtaking the road.

On this column: Age old runes mar the simple perfection of the stone. Whether carved by nature or some other force is unknown.

And so, on the other side of Arnshal Keep, at the bottom of the Suur Pillar in Ker’Leor, there is a slab.

[Ker'Leor, Gypsy Road] Sparse stands of trees line the road as it inclines along the base of Ker'Leor. Chunks of rock dot the ground, some nearly the size of boulders. As the breeze builds and wanes, it carries the lively beat and tinkle of a faraway tambourine.

The great slab, cut directly from the mountainside, towers high above you. Its surface is chiseled with the image of a massive dragon's head, with features ablaze in lifelike fire. The dragon's massive, gaping maw reveals razor-sharp teeth and a split tongue upon which is an indentation.

At the indentation: Right at the point where the beast's tongue splits, you find a deeply-cut indentation about the size of a fist.

I was witness to the use of this indentation by one of the Gypsy Princes, who wore a royal bracelet that was used as a key when worn on his wrist when he embedded his fist into the indentation, and opened the slab, which was an entryway.

And so the Gypsy Prince's history of bracelets, including one told to me by a Prince and shown to me stuck up in the tree there. Then there is the mystery of their Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze bracelets that are given to Gypsy's with Royal blood and based on their ranking in the blood line. Back then, King Talorcen had the platinum, Talorc had the gold, Raymer had the silver, and Yric had the bronze.

I was told of their several children, including those of the late Warrior Mage Prince Raymer, who was a devout follower of Lanival and followed the Paladin code, unlike his brother, Moon Mage Prince Talorc who did neither, and instead became a student of Sidhlot and is now the Gypsy High King. We know of the demise of King Talorcen, Princes Raymer and Yric. But that story is for another time. Maybe their children will emerge one day.

Submitted by my hand, Gwenddolyn MacAlhaismorien-Odarien.

Imerald

Title: Naga are Fae by Imerald Nihshyde

The naga are beasts of pure magic and sound this we can count on. They take on a physical form, they are blurry though, they seem to float, very little is known of their origin. If we analyze what a Fae is, it is a being created by the Immortals that travels between planes on their behalf. We have several different types of fae in existence but none that to and from the elemental planes on behalf of the gods outside of elemental sprites that seem to take on a full on physical form and are typically outcast by all other fae and thus could potentially be the failed experiment that lead to the immortals making naga. It is the naga's inability to completely corporealize that has left me with the conclusion that the naga are indeed a form of Fae created by the Immortals in order to keep the breaches between the Plane of Abiding and the Elemental Planes open at all times in small ways and thus they exist in both at the same time which is why they remain blurry at all times and cannot be drawn into a corporeal form for very long at a time. It also makes them very reluctant to obey any commands during this time because they are neither here nor there thus their understanding of servitude is subpar at best. It is thanks then to the Naga that both the Bards and the Warrior Mages have access to their magic, the naga cause bleed thru that the Bards utilize. They also allow for constant small tears thus allowing any trained Warrior Mage access to the elemental planes without having to destroy themselves attempting to create a breach from nothingness.

This concludes my theory at this time, although I can and will continue to study the phenomenon that is the Naga.

Jorenn

Title: A Materialist Theory of Elemental Manipulation by Jorenn Evarsa

A being of “pure sound” -- the naga. Not an elemental creature, but one capable of “moving under the surface of the air,” as if slipping between the dimensions of air’s gaseous state. The naga’s mere movement bubbles the atmosphere as it travels -- we Bards have seen it -- like forming a blister, expanding the space between elemental particles as the creature emerges into the Plane of Abiding.

The College of Magical History’s “Treatise on the Elements” describes the naga as composed of pure sound. I ask: can we identify “pure sound”? Vibration, harmonics, resonance… these are not merely musical concepts, but processes of matter. Despite their wondrous effects, they are material phenomena. And the materiality of sound rests in sound’s precondition: a medium, for genesis as well as transmission.

What is it that carries a melody to the ear? Matter. The elemental building blocks of the physical world. In this way, the Bardic tradition owes its very existence to the diverse elemental fabric that conveys the oscillations of the voice, the resonating vibrations of an instrument, rendering these by turns something beautiful or terrible. Here I emphasize the dependence of all sound on different material media, from air and water to the earthen materials of built acoustic spaces.

This indicates the synergistic relationship between the elemental magical traditions, both rooted in materialism: one oriented toward the manipulation and reconfiguration of matter itself (that is, Warrior Mages) and the other toward the application of oscillating forces upon matter, to use it as medium.

Each of us may sing, and some of us with beautiful voices, but only we Bards can apply a deep knowledge of the natural frequencies of material things. Our praxis is mediation and the redirection of matter. We listen to the elements. This explains why Bards have a particular affinity for aether, an element perhaps best understood as pure medium. It is my view that the Bardic route to magic, though we are certainly capable of many spell patterns, begins through music: exploring and learning how the elements work by feeling their response to our energies.

Our alternate elementalist traditions signal an ability to work together, recently proved in Perune’s experiments. These showed us our methodologies are not incompatible. Rather, if Warrior Mages directly access the elemental planes, we Bards spin elemental effects thanks to oscillation and frequency -- the time of matter. Both require an intimate knowledge of the morphology of matter itself, and in my view call for a kind of radical cosmology for Elanthia, a questioning of the very stuff of the Plane of Abiding and its relationship to other planes.

Thank you. I welcome any comments.

Korya

Title: Theory of Size, Patterns, and Magical Devices, by Healer Korya, transcribed by Almarius Kendialahle.

My theory is that a spell pattern on a much larger scale than we are familiar with could be used to cast a much larger, stronger spell. I will go over what I understand about the formation of spell patterns and the manipulation of mana, and end with a few questions about the possibilities of creating a magical device of ridiculous scale. My thanks to my assistant on this paper, the gnome bard Almarius Kendialahle.

The weaving of mana can be done in many ways. Maybe mana is a body unto itself, and reacts to different stimulus the way we all have different senses. Guilds teach us to manipulate mana in different ways, such as prayer, chanting equations, drawing the pattern in the air, or moving our body in such a way that it invokes the pattern. As an Empath, I am aware of both large and small movements, from fingers, hands, and arms--or when those are lacking, the entire remaining body. It is in these movements that our minds record the pattern and shape the spell inside and around us. Sufficient familiarity with a spell pattern does not require movement at all, and a body with no limbs or ability to move can still mentally draw in mana and complete the pattern. Empaths are taught this feat before we are even allowed to heal our first patient. And yet it seems to me that the larger a movement, the more powerful the spell becomes. While this is perhaps only in my imagination, it is the basis of my theory!

Magic can also be done by objects with no minds or movements. A runestone holds the pattern within itself, and activates when mana is pushed through it. Our minds do not, or cannot, understand the pattern in some of these stones, yet the spell is able to be cast anyway. It is not necessary for a mind, only for the mana to complete the pattern within a body.

I myself own a pair of goggles which have no discernible pattern, yet are able to cast a spell on me that allows me to use my skin to see the world around me. If there is a pattern, it is so small, so finely etched within the lenses or the leather band, that I cannot feel it, and those with sight have not been able to see it. Furthermore, the goggles do not require charging with mana. A simple rub or tap will active the spell pattern, once they have absorbed enough ambient mana.

Sometimes I feel that there are two patterns. When my body is whole and I perform a spell pattern with the movement of my body, I imagine there is the pattern within my mind, and the pattern of the mana woven by my movements. Though more difficult and longer to complete, this larger pattern draws more mana from the area around me, and I feel my spells both last longer and have greater potency. (The opposite of this would be what is called "snap-casting", where a spell's pattern is but a momentary thought in the mind, and the mana is drawn into the body as if taking a sharp breath of air. For those without practice, the pattern conjured in memory can often be mis-remembered, leading to the spell's failure and damage to the body.)

So then, what would happen if a larger device were to create a pattern? Though I have never been near it, I have heard the stories of giant mechanical spiders large enough to carry the largest Gor'Togs across vast distances, to an even greater sized spider, as big as a city and bustling with merchants in its very limbs and body. If such a device were to be built with the pattern of a spell in mind, how much mana would it draw from the world to power the spell? How powerful would the spell be?

What if the earth itself could be transformed into a runestone? If tunnels were lined with the same mana-resistant materiel, or a large device were planted deep beneath the ground of a farm, would a farmer be able to absorb the mana in his fields, and water them with a bard or warrior mage's elemental spell, so that they may survive a drought? How long would such a huge pattern take to absorb the necessary mana?

What if several decives were layered, each one attuned to a different type of mana? If they were invoked all at once, what would the consequences be of the area being momentarily stripped of such massive amounts of mana? I am not knowledgeable enough to answer such questions, but maybe you are! I mean the reader, but maybe you too, Alma!

Lupdels

Title: On Dragons, Lay and Worldly

Part I: An Analysis of Dragons[lupdels 1]

Through “Journey to the Forbidden West (371 A.V.),” by Aaron Albaum, an infamous Bard, we are able to learn much about dragons. Traveling to the far western shores of Kermoria and back again, Albaum describes his amazing encounter with an ancient dragon, who, in appreciation of the Great Bard’s service and charm, provided a detailed description of dragons and their society. This remains the authoritative text on dragons to this day.[lupdels 2]

However, in the year 401 A.V., the dragon Ael’tharaxus introduced himself Ferdahl Aemmin in a public appearance in Shard. A dramatic encounter in any event, but in this specific situation this was a parley between the Ferdahl and people of Ilithi and their most ancient foes: the Dragon Priests.[lupdels 3]Ael’tharaxus introduced himself to be the “new” ruler of the Dragon Priests. In conversation, the noble dragon explained that he would purge the organization of those foolish remnants who still believed Necromancy and Sorcery are a path to service to the World Dragon, whom they worship.

In fact, Ael’tharaxus demonstrated a strong concern regarding the Necromancy and Sorcery that befouls the land, consistent with the expert discussion of dragon society and existence provided by Albaum in his work just thirty years prior to this meeting.[lupdels 4]Dragons have a connection to the land, their domain, and the power and temperament of the dragon are influenced by the health and even weather of their domain.[lupdels 5]As such, Albaum explains, dragons can turn violent towards a range of activities, from the supernatural and magical (holy men, Moon Mages, sorcerers, and Necromancers) to what we would consider mundane (mining, logging, building towns, polluting the rivers).[lupdels 6]

To attempt to summarize the discourse from the Great Bard, draconic society is built around two classes: Elementalists and druid-like Life Mages, commoners and “priest-kings,” respectively.[lupdels 7]Remarkably, dragons are unable to manipulate either holy or lunar magic,[lupdels 8]which as noted previously are also seen as corrupting the purity of their domain. We also can note the corrupting influence of Necromancy, a sacrilegious perversion of life magic in a most unholy High Sorcery. Finally, although they themselves practice some form of elemental magic, which provides for flight and fire breathing, the protection of their domain requires purity from the touch of other planes[lupdels 9]-which would indicate that the Summoning practices of War Mages may also be a threat to the domain. In other words, in draconic eyes, almost all magical using adventurers, except Empaths, Rangers, and Bards, would corrupt the purity of the domain.[lupdels 10]

A dragon would be an awe-inspiring encounter in the wild, in their domain, but Albaum indicates that the corrupting influence of the magic and industry of the Five Provinces keeps dragons away[lupdels 11]-the domain of the area being too heavy polluted. This is of course for “lay” dragons, those described in Albaum’s travelogues, where a domain can be as descriptive as “that forest” or “that valley.”[lupdels 12]But what of the World Dragon?

Part II: The World Dragon[lupdels 13]

The World Dragon. Hatched from Grazhir. Threat to Elanthia and the Immortals. And yet, sustainer of Elanthia. In a deep sleep, maintained by Peri’el and her gold-stringed harp and beautiful song, the World Dragon endures and provides inner heat to our world. And what would the domain be of the World Dragon if not the world, Elanthia, itself?

Aye, dangerously do I proceed with this, as did not Sh’kial, foolish Sh’kial, propose the same?[lupdels 14]That through worship and devotion, the temperamental nature of the World Dragon could be appeased, calming the trials and tribulations facing the Seven Starred Empire. And what did that result in? The rise of Dzree and the death of many, among them thousands of my Bardic predecessors. For the sin of Sh’kial was the arrogance to believe that World Dragon drove the chaos of the late Seven Starred Empire. The fault, dear reader, was not with the World Dragon, but in ourselves, that we are actors in our own play with free will and at time societies fall due to individual or collective bad decisions. Based on Albaum’s description of the draconic link with their domain, it would seem instead that the link would be between the purity of the domain, Elanthia, and the strength of the World Dragon.

Suppose it is true that the raw power of the sleeping World Dragon draws on the domain of Elanthia and its purity. Would we not want to drown the World Dragon in the domain’s corruption by breaking down extraplanar barriers and promoting greater and more esoteric use of lunar and holy magic? I shall not be so bold nor so obtuse as to recommend a flourishing of Necromancy, of course. Instead, would not the safer forms of so-called “corrupting” the domain be weakening to the World Dragon?

And yet, at what cost? If we are to believe that the World Dragon sustains the heat of Elanthia and provides life, would the weakening of the World Dragon through these means be suicide? And so we appear to be trapped with the World Dragon, where unless an alternative to its life-sustaining heat is found we must find a way to ensure both its dormancy as well as continued existence.

Of course, it is entirely possible that our individual activities, every day, add to the corruption of Elanthia through no deliberate collective decision. And so what are we to do? Are there ways to reverse or protect the purity of Elanthia that stop short of genocide, especially when we learn that the threat is not simply the mad raving Sorcerers and Necromancers, but colleagues within the three Magical Guilds? Could we not imagine ways to calm and sooth the pain caused by Holy Magic, Lunar Magic, Sorcery, Necromancy, and Extraplanar Summoning? Looking to the tools at hand, I must say I do not believe the individual choice of a solitary Ranger to embrace the wilderness on his or her own will do much for society. Ignorant of the deeper arts of Empathy and Transference, I can turn only to my own understanding of the Elements through the Bard Guild, as well as those organizations most similar in practice: the Ru’atin Peri’el.

III. The Ru'atin Peri'el and the Power of Song

For an understanding of the World Dragon outside of the fanatic worldview of the Dragon Priests, I turn to the Ru’atin Peri’el, the Sisters of Peri’el. As a citizen of M'Riss[lupdels 15]and explorer of Qi'Reshalia for some time,[lupdels 16]I have studied with keen interest, as an outsider, this S’Kra Mur religious order. They exist to strengthen and aid the goddess Peri'el in her efforts to keep the World Dragon asleep through the power of song. Formed roughly a century prior to the formation of the Seven Starred Empire,[lupdels 17]shortly into the reign of Sarkhhl Smo'neh over Reshalia,[lupdels 18]the remnants of the group survive on Aesry Surlaenis’a.

As devoted followers of Peri’el, they may seem similar to Clerics.[lupdels 19]But as any adventurer knows, the Immortals are receptive, to a degree, to worship from all, regardless of Guild.[lupdels 20]And their primary form of devotion to Peri’el takes the form of [and elaborate singing], which has the purpose of preserving lore and knowledge.[lupdels 21]This author and Bard shall leave it to the reader to reach further conjectures on this ancient group, well versed in singing with the intent of maintaining a sense of history, that has suffered greatly at the hands of the Dragon Priests of Dzree. Surely this predicament is not unfamiliar to some.[lupdels 22]. But it is sufficient to note that whereas the Dragon Priests of Dzree and even Sh’kial blamed the turmoil of the late Seven Starred Empire on the dissatisfaction of the World Dragon, the Ru’atin Peri’el originated from fear of earthquakes,[lupdels 23]which is more fitting with the theorized connection between dragon and domain.

It is true that the origins of the Ru’atin Peri’el formed from a belief that Peri’el, Immortal Singer and Keeper of Elanthia’s Doom, was growing weak and needed assistance in carrying on her task. However, given the aforementioned observations from Albaum of the quick and violent reaction of dragons to their domain’s corruption, it is possible that there is also the factor of how angry, even in sleep, the World Dragon is in rebelling against Phelim’s sleep and Peri’el’s song.[lupdels 24]Are we not dealing with two sides of the same coin, of assisting Peri’el and soothing the World Dragon at the same time?

IV. A Conclusion ... For Now?

In closing, if the World Dragon parallels the dragons of Kermoria, it is possible there is a relationship to all of Elanthia as its “domain.” Given the ebb and flow of outbreaks of Necromancers, practitioners of Sorcery, and the ever onward development of industry with continued mining and logging, it is very possible that Elanthia is an increasingly “poor” or “impure” domain for the World Dragon. Regardless of the ebb and flow of Peri’el’s own strength from her most devoted followers, surely we can imagine ways in which the World Dragon is driven to greater furor, even in sleep, from the continued corruption of Elanthia itself?

Again, if this proposition alarms the reader as being too similar to the ideology of Dzree, Empress of Death, the reader must also be reminded of the influence of the Ru’atin Peri’el themselves on Dzree and her demented beliefs.[lupdels 25]As the Great Bard Albaum attests, hell has no fury like a woman scorned, and scorned by her mother’s Ru’atin Peri’el, Dzree descended into hatred and madness. But the parallels between the Dragon Priests and the Ru’atin Peri’el, and the theories outlined here, do concern this author. Luckily, the Ru’atin Peri’el do not seem to have spawned a genocidal heretic in roughly five hundred years.

In some ways, these theories may serve only to further justify the existence and philosophy of the Ru’atin Peri’el, and surely the world should do more to appreciate the survivors of the Dragon Priests and their genocide. But it does open the discussion of if the Ru’atin Peri’el and their songs are the sole means of addressing the relationship between the Elanthian domain and the World Dragon, or if the Ru’atin Peri’el and their practices are merely one avenue in which the use of song, history, and lore can express itself in a way that sooths the environment and sustains it in the face of Holy Magic, Lunar Magic, Sorcery, Necromancy, and Extraplanar Summoning.[lupdels 26]Surely this area of research would require further attention from an organization devoted to, say, song, history, and lore, with perhaps an embrace of magic similar to the lay dragons in the far west of Kermoria, without the corrupting influences of other practices of magic.[lupdels 27]

- Lupdels, a Bard. 435 A.V.

Notes

  1. This author recognizes that many are unfamiliar with the work of Aaron Albaum, despite his impressive career adventuring—he saved the world on no less than two occasions! As such, our first part builds heavy on citations from this obscure work.
  2. This author is aware of some nay-sayers who question the authenticity and veracity of Albaum’s work. To those we say, when is the last time you spoke to a dragon?
  3. At this time, this author’s ongoing work on the history of the rise of the Dragon Priests and their first conquest of the city of Shard after the defeat of Ferdahl Corik is still unfinished. Additional financial assistance for this academic enterprise is greatly appreciated.
  4. Unfortunately, Albaum had passed away roughly twenty years prior, his extraordinary life of adventuring over. Oh to imagine how his keen understanding of dragons could have assisted Ferdahl Aemmin in the historic meeting!
  5. “The few scholars that have studied dragons note that their power and temperament are influenced by the health and weather of the domain they claim for their home. They are sensitive to, or at least discriminating of, the supernatural "purity" of their domain as well, leading to sometimes violent antipathy with holy men, Moon Mages, sorcerers and Necromancers.”
  6. “[T]hey [dragons] do place the health of their domains far beyond any interest in Human life. Loggers, homesteaders, and wandering Moon Mages could all happen to earn the ire of a dragon by inadvertently damaging a domain.”
  7. “According to the story, draconic society is divided into two castes, based on whether the dragon is attuned to Life or Elemental mana. Life Dragons are said to be the priest-kings of dragonkind, following a druidic tradition of rulership over nature and transformation spells -- notably, Albuam claimed, the ability to assume the form of a S'kra Mur. Elemental Dragons are the "commoner" dragons, who practice a tradition of pure elemental manipulation, fundamentally similar to the Warrior Mages.”
  8. “Dragons can only attune to two of the four known frequencies of mana: Elemental and Life. Lunar and Holy magic are to dragons what Gravity manipulation is to Humans.”
  9. “All dragons define the health of a domain in the same way, though may vary in how they approach arriving at their goals. The environment must be as close to the idea of pristine nature as possible, and the environment must be kept pure of the touch of other planes.”
  10. This, of course, reflects and reinforces the remarkable good luck that Albaum experiences throughout his adventures. Imagine the outcome if Albaum had been a Moon Mage!
  11. “Albuam cites the Five Provinces' heavy pollution, both the wholesale creation of towns and industry, as well as the heavy practice of extraplanar-based magic, as keeping dragons away from civilization.”
  12. “A domain is what the dragon calls home and a significant area around that. "That forest, "the valley," "the mountain over there" were examples that Albuam cited.”
  13. This author assumes the reader to be more familiar with the World Dragon than Aaron Albaum and his writings. For those who remain ignorant of even this matter, please refer to the work "Legend of the World Dragon (book)" This author admits that unlike the fact-based discourse of Part I, this Part II is more speculative.
  14. In addition to the previously cited work, for more on the schism within the early Dragon Priests see "Religions of Elanthia (book)"
  15. Although truly, what is a Bard if not a citizen of all realms? Alas, the law at times disagrees and confines the freedom of those with wanderlust.
  16. Unfortunately my unpublished work, “Sonatas Among the Selkies,” remains in legal dispute with a prior publishing agent.
  17. “The first singing of the Praise Song, arranged by an elder priestess of Peri'el named Aarshna tal'Hhnth, marked the first gathering of the Ru'atin Peri'el. The exact date of this event is unknown, but is believed to predate the formation of the Seven Pointed Star Empire by roughly a century.”
  18. “The Ru'atin Peri'el were founded many centuries ago -- millennia, even -- on the island of Reshalia. After Sarkhhl Smo'neh had firmly established his rule over the island and made himself King, he ruled for a number of years. But about fifteen years into his reign…“
  19. Given the poor relationship between draconic domains and holy magic, it would be of interest if the Ru’atin Peri’el simply parallel the Cleric Guild in organization as a religious institution, or if there is any use of holy magic involved in their ritualized songs. Alas, as both a Rakash and male, this author has not gained this information.
  20. I previously would have indicated with some obvious exception according to Guild, but the times seem to indicate that even that exception is changing.
  21. “The singing of the Ru'atin Peri'el is something of a mystery, but is believed to be the product of intense rituals, with its purpose to preserve lore and knowledge.”
  22. An additional observation to be made is the tripartite division of the Sisters beneath their leader, the Ur’Kapo Peri’el, the First Singer of Peri’el. There is a lay general membership, known as the Kapo Peri’el, or Song of Peri’el, who are the initiatives and attend to interactions with the outside society. Then there are the Sara’pon Peri’el, or Voice of Peri’el, who perform the more elaborate rituals that sustain the existence of the order and maintain the inner history of the Sisters. And, finally, if the rumors are to be believed, the Qi Peri’el, or Soul of Peri’el, who exist in some ways as an enforcement arm to ensure that anyone who would ever seek to awaken the World Dragon or harm the Goddess Peri’el, and by my assumption the Sisters themselves, is swiftly dealt with. Again, this author and Bard leaves to the reader any further conjectures about an organization with a public facing faction interacting with the outside world, an inward facing faction keeping the history and lore, and rumors of a more secretive faction that stands on guard for the good of the overall organization and its purpose.
  23. “I believe Our Lady of the Songs, Peri'el, is weakening from the many thousands of years she has kept the World Dragon captive. I believe he is in the throes of awakening, and these quakes are being caused by that.”
  24. Does the World Dragon suffer from nightmares of Moon Mages opening extraplanar portals and Necromancers raising the undead? What does the World Dragon dream of? Could these dreams exert influence into Elanthia and the Plane of Abiding beyond earthquakes and other geological turmoil? What emanations could we expect from the draconic mind at sleep?
  25. See “Dzree: Empress of Death (book)” for more on the effort to construct a biography of Dzree. This author is not aware of further discussion of Dzree and the Ru’atin Peri’el, but certainly finds it compelling as a component in shaping the demented mind of Dzree for her attended genocide of the Ru’atin Peri’el. Why Dzree would similarly turn on the Bard Guild, Guardians of the Past with a mind towards song, history, and lore, is again left for further conjecture.
  26. This author and Bard wonders, as one example, if there may be more to the tradition of the Dancing of The Flames or the Singing of the Flames, in honor of Tamsine, beyond simply observing the seasons and honoring of the Hearth-Keeper.
  27. Again, further financial assistance in this endeavor is appreciated by this ever and most humble Bard.

Miskton

Title: On the Nature of Prophecy

Although our connection to the Plane of Probability is one of the core elements of being a moon mage, it is an aspect of our profession that is little understood outside of the guild. Many people think of prophetic visions as something like peering through a window into the future. Those a little more familiar with the abstract or metaphorical nature of some visions might think of them as something more like a dream, being put on for the seer like a play on a stage. And indeed, many moon mages look on visions as something like a dream, as the experience shares many similarities. I posit, however, that there is something deeper to the experience.

My theory is that our visions are neither true glimpses of the pure facts of the future, nor dreams plotted out for us by some extraplanar playwright, but rather the result of a stream of complex information, which our mortal minds do their best to attempt to assemble into something we can understand. Ultimately, with enough knowledge, nearly everything can be expressed in mathematical terms. It does not seem to be possible for a mortal to have the perspective, or the mental capacity, to acquire all the knowledge needed to predict the future to that degree, but luckily we don't have to. The Web of Fate contains all of that information, which our connection allows us to tap into. We have no method as yet for seeking out particular knowledge of specific events in the Web, but certain inflection points known as 'nodes' seem to resonate with us enough to allow us to see visions of the relevant events.

But that alone isn't enough to dismiss the idea that literal visions exist out there in the web, waiting to be plucked up. But consider the other uses of our connection to the Plane of Probability. Enlightened Geometry involves calculations that would be beyond even the greatest math genius operating under normal conditions. Attempting to calculate all of the necessary conditions to accurately teleport from one location to another, especially in the time available in which to weave the needed mana patterns, should be impossible. Being just a small percentage off in your results, when dealing with a planet spinning through space, could result in being flung off the planet entirely, even if you somehow managed not to tear yourself into pieces through other errors. But our connection to Probability feeds us the information needed to make those calculations, without even consciously thinking them through. Like a more advanced version of the way even a child can make it through the complex vector calculations needed to see and catch a moving ball, without having to consciously understand them, or even perceive the math at all.

And so our mind takes the information gleaned from the Web of Fate, and turns it into something we can understand. As a very simplified example, consider the following scenario. At some point, a significant event will occur in which a man falls from a horse and badly injures himself. The information we are sent: There is a man. He is on a horse. He falls. He is injured. (The actual information sent, of course, would be far more difficult to simply summarize in words.) The seer's mind then fills in the details. He sees a man on a horse galloping down a winding road, the wind streaming through his hair and the horse's mane. The horse suddenly stumbles, sending the man tumbling forward, to strike the ground on his arm with a sickening crack. And so the brain fills in the gaps to make a comprehensible story.

But, you may ask, how does this account for the fact that many seers experience the same vision, and can compare notes to confirm? Surely the different experiences that different people have would cause their minds to leap to different default perceptions. You see a man, but what color is his skin? His hair, his eyes? But here we return to the idea of visions as dreams, because they do indeed have certain similarities; notably that, once the initial experience passes, many of the specific details slip away, like water running out of one's hands. Two different seers both agree that they saw a man falling from a horse. But if you ask what color the horse was? Well, neither of them can say, despite the fact that it would have been one of the most obvious things about it, if seen in reality. The aspects they agree on, and can recall with certainty, are those which directly correspond to the underlying information gleaned from the Plane of Probability, and most of the rest is just decorations conjured up by the mind. This also explains why certain visions contain experiences which are difficult to convey in words, because sometimes the information we receive simply isn't something our minds are able to wrap around. Seeing colors that don't exist, or chaotic jumbles of fragmented sights, and other such things which come up in visions from time to time.

I believe that, in theory, if we could record a more raw form of this information, over time we could decode something of the mathematics involved, which could lead to more precise methods of predicting the future, and even being able to change the values of variables in the equations to see alternative outcomes. Unfortunately, both being able to reliably perceive the underlying information, and actually being able to record it before it slips away from one's memory, are both currently unsolved problems.

Navesi

Title: Resonance: A Unifying Theory of Bardic Lore by Navesi Daerthon

The Bards are skilled in a number of different areas that at first appear to be quite disparate: Music, Sound Manipulation, Emotion Control, Elemental Manipulation, Evocation of the Past. I will argue that there is one, true Bardic ability at the core of each of these, a unifying ability: Resonance.

The way that musical instruments work is to excite the Air within or around the instrument. For example, the lute player plucks a string, and the string vibrates in its own, particular natural way. This is called its natural frequency, and it creates a sound by interacting with Air. Each string has its own natural frequency and thus creates a different sound, or note. These are called the instrument’s harmonics.

A wind or brass instrument creates sound by trapping a column of Air within it, which has its own natural frequency. Then the player creates excitement by vibration, either blowing through the mouthpiece or blowing on a reed. The player is actually creating a range of vibrations, and only one will match the Air inside. When the two identical frequencies meet, we call this resonance, and it is what produces the sound.

Resonance is thus like a search for the exact match of something, finding just the right position on a scale. It’s as if I wrote down the alphabet and then placed my finger on the letter N, refusing to speak until you also put your finger on the letter N. The two frequencies, together, ring out loudly. Thus it is that music relies on Resonance.

Furthermore, when a Bard uses her concussive scream ability to affect something, she also relies on Resonance. She is searching for the exact right frequency to create a “ringing out” of some type in her target. When screaming, she finds the frequency of the body she aims for and thus causes a part of it to excite wildly, to the point of injury. (The other two screams, I would argue, act more as a focus for emotion or Air manipulation.)

Emotions and Elements, of course, seem at first glance quite different from Music and Sound. Yet I argue that they are in some ways very similar, also existing at certain frequencies. When the Bard attempts to manipulate the emotions of a target, she is, too, searching for that matching frequency, in order to amplify it via Resonance. She may use music to enhance her ability, such as the melancholy strains of Abandoned Heart, which saps the will to live from those who hear it. She may then spark an entirely different frequency with Rage of the Clans. The emotion already exists in latent form within her target, but the resonant frequency draws it out and amplifies it, often to extremes.

Similarly, the Bardic schools have found that Elements are in some ways related to emotions. With our Elemental Invocations, we harness Fire to incite passion, Water for discipline, Aether for cold intellect, etc. Again, we treat the Elements like frequencies, and if we only excite them in the right way, they respond. We resonate with them. This in turn excites the various emotions they are linked with. I note that at the recent experiment I participated in with the Warrior Mages, I was finally able to secure the opening of the portal to the Zengmodaleth by screaming, pushing my voice to its limits in order to force harmonic convergence — resonance. I could actually sense my note mingling with the frequency of the anomaly’s, and I was able to use this to correct its instability.

Finally, I consider the Bardic ability to evoke the past. I argue here that, again, the Bard searches for the right moment of the past by attempting to find its own frequency, which acts like an echo that reverberates through time. Some are more powerful and easy to find than others. This hypothesis is supported by my recent experiment with Evoke, in which I gathered together a full chorus of Bards to probe the past of the Timekeeper Veralos. My thought was that, by employing a great number of us, we could search a much greater range of frequencies, amplifying each until it was noticeable to the others, and thus piecing together a much larger picture of the man’s true past. Although the timeline of Veralos is best described as complex and nonlinear, with the use of so many Bards, we were able to discern this completely. Furthermore, I could literally hear the piercingly high tones of the Feral magic surrounding him, hear their harmonizations with themselves. The past, for us, is full of sound, and sound is made of frequencies.

As an aside, I should also mention the Naga, the mysterious creatures through which we supposedly gain our unique powers. Unfortunately, very little is known of them, other than that they appear to reside on a different, unknown Plane, and they are said to be made entirely of sound and magic. Yet one thing is perfectly clear: They are masters of attacking with screams, which I argued above are the violent use of Resonance. I must wonder if their essence truly is Resonance, as in, they are beings that represent it in its perfect form. It would thus be that, through their gifts, we are able to find and resonate with so many types of frequency: sound, emotion, element, past.

In sum, I argue that the main Bardic ability is this searching for a match in frequency — finding it and producing Resonance. Although I will admit that there are certain minor theatrical abilities that we have developed uniquely, and a few spells derived from the knowledge of the Fae, the majority of our power comes from this tendency to seek and resonate with whatever it is we find.

Our work is in resonance because we are seekers of truth: true emotions, true history, true sound. When these are found, we are able to evoke them, to amplify them with resounding force. We are the listeners as well as the singers, our voices thunderous because only such truth can ring so clearly through the world.

Qiyan

Title: Theory of Neutering

To whom it concerns of the assorted judges lucky enough to be judging,

I aim to theorize on the possible magic of Neutering. Now I ain't one to know much on writing up a Theory and I'll be dagnabbit'd that there weren't a single how to book in the libraries. So we're just going to pretend we're talking and I'm tellin ya and you aren't interruptin with questions. So here goes.

While this theory ain't been proven so yet, I believe soon enough it will, as I been attemptin it as often as I can find cooperative test subjects. The cooperation of a test subject is most important to the results of such a thing as Neutering, as it needs to be a choice unlike other doings with this ability. Which is also another Theory of mine for the next Theory taking opportunity, as this ability of manipulation called shifting may not always need cooperation for the most skilled of such.

What is this theory of Neutering you ask? Why its like this, a few truly skilled and experienced practicers of life magic are able to manipulate a whatsit from a he to a she and otherwise as well.

During this very complicated transition from one whatsit to the other a pinnacle(?) is reached where the whatsit parts are either a neither or a not. At this exact moment of manipulation from one to the other and being a neither, before becoming the other you are a not and therefore Neutered!

Mind you this must take great focus and tunedinitness to recognize the exact moment this transition occurs. And whats more it will take great discipline and quickery for the life mage to halt the manipulation. Those not as skilled or focused or tunedinit or not quick will surely be left with a failure and the whatsit will be the other than what it was. Those also not as skilled or focused or tunedinit or too quick will be left with a failure as well as a whatsit that was what it was before the attempt was started.

Neutering is not only important to those wantin to be such but also important to those that don't know that they want such. I, myself have met some such that are uncertain which whatsit suits them best. And until they decide, they can be a neither with the art of Neutering!

Thank you for your consideration and ability to get through this, respectfully wholeheartedly and sincerestly,

Qiyan

Saragos

Title: Lightning Without, Lightning Within by Saragos Daerthon

A bolt of light from the heavens heaves down upon the earth, the earth shattered with its passage. Thin streamers of liquid light coruscate off of a translucent Aether. In a flash of white, you are disoriented, unsure, your body no longer obeying your commands. These are the ways in which we commonly apprehend elemental Electricity. But how well is it truly understood? And why is the Plane of Electricity different from the others?

The other elements represent fundamental aspects of our existence. The breath in our lungs, the cool splash of water. The ground upon which we make our stand, the dancing flame that casts its shadows upon us. We recognize them automatically – there is no question as to whether they are fundamental, or even if life could endure without them.

And all of these elements are painted upon the canvas of Aether.

As Scholar of the Grove Uryutis said:

“If the Elements compose a painting of our Plane, then Aether is the canvas, or the oil in which the pigments are mixed. Aether is fundamentally different from the other Elements, and suffuses everything, giving the other Elements weight and heft. The pigments provide the color, the Aether provides the medium.”

But where is Electricity in this picture? Do we see it only in the occasional lightning that flashes across the sky, an occasional visitor at best to our world? This seems unlikely. As the second “pure” element traditionally posed as opposite Aether, does it have some deeper importance to our daily existence? To begin to unravel this we must examine the nature of Electricity.

The Nature of Electricity

Electricity is deceptively complicated. Upon first glance it is only the the destructive blast – Firulf’s smiting staff. But it has several other properties that imply much of its importance.

Electricity is an element of flow. When occurring naturally it flows from the heavens always towards the earth. And as those who have been struck by a bolt of lightning can attest, via either words or wounds, it flows always towards the ground, even through their bodies. On a smaller level, we can see that when infused with a charge via small shock, we will see that our hair stands on end, only to slowly fall back again as the charge bleeds out. It is never, ever still. When we cast the Arc Light spell or reach out to touch another after being charged, we can see it reach out across the intervening space in order to flow.

But it doesn’t just flow in straight lines in its unceasing movement – it prefers to flow in some materials, particularly metals, far better than others. We demonstrated this with our experiment that opened the portal to Zengmodaleth, and lightning rods serve this purpose to protect our buildings from Drogor’s storms. It seems that it follows the easiest, though not necessarily the shortest path. Even if that path is not always visible to us.

Lightning can be seen like a river flowing down an invisible mountain, forking this way to avoid a rock, that way because the incline is steeper. Like the river it cannot easily be stopped.

Electricity is also an element of attraction and binding. This is not as immediately apparent, but the force of magnetism is inextricably linked to it. Even a small amount of electrical activity around a compass will disrupt its function, and electricity can be passed through coiled metal can create a magnetic effect. Next time you find yourself with a smith who is forging chainmail, pass a charge through the wire when it is wrapped around the dowel and test for yourself. A smaller charge can induce all manner of objects to unnaturally cling to other objects.

And again, just as with the property of flow, metal is highly reactive to this attraction. It may even be possible that natural lodestones can be created through directed lightning strikes and the manipulation of earth.

This attraction seems distinct from telekinesis, as we can see objects become attracted to each other even after the mage’s will is no longer being worked through a spell pattern.

The Role as a Pure Element

So given these dual properties of attraction and flow, what sort of complementary role can it play with Aether? If it is to be a true match to Aether, as opposed to an afterthought, then we must think bigger than we have before, make larger leaps. What is attraction and binding writ large? How can that be an equal force to Aether?

I propose that Scholar Uryutis’ analogy is only partially correct – that Aether is the canvas, and the physical elements the pigments. But Electricity is the oil that binds the paints together. It flows through us, through the world around us, through every living thing. Constantly it surges through us, binding us together. We think little of why some objects cleave closely to each other and others fall asunder, or why we are bound so closely to the earth. But I believe it is the invisible charges of lighting within us that allows our world to have shape, and life to be possible.

This is the only fundamental role that makes sense for it, rather than an occasional highlight in the sky of the painting of creation.

Alternately, if reality is a house, Aether is the stone foundation while Electricity is the framing within the walls, the invisible bones that support all which we see around us. It is the mysterious tempo that provides order to the music.

And this is why I believe that the Plane of Electricity has space – because a world that embodies the flow of power and attraction would be required to have it. Lightning cannot flow if a plane is only a single point. Attraction is meaningless if there is not a here and a there. And then there is a the structure standing in the middle, channeling that momentous river of searing light...

As a final note, I believe that the vision seen in the chaotic anomaly in Timekeeper Veralos’ archive to describe a world where the orderly binding force of Electricity is absent or broken. Where ribbons of lightning and shadow coil around floating mountains, gouts of liquid magma arc across the sky in fiery rainbows, and rivers flow upward to the limits of view.

More answers undoubtedly wait in the blazing tower seen from Zengmodaleth that blinds Elemental mages who gaze upon it.

Traim

Title: A Path Forward

Symposium visitors, guildmates, friends:

"You fear eclecticism, assimilation, loss of your cultural identity. I know your fears, for they are mine as well. But what will your stoicism gain you if your wisdom is lost upon your death? If there are no libraries to hold your research, no guildhalls to teach your magic? If unity is the price of survival, then I say, let us unite! For together, we will create triumphs of the magical arts undreamt of." - Jares Braun[traim 1]

These words marked the birth of what we know as the modern Moon Mage Guild. These words promised triumphs undreamed of and, at first glance, the truth of Jares’ words are self-evident in the guild’s political influence and stature today. Yet, it brings me no joy to deliver the words I present today. I stand on the shoulders of more accomplished mages today and hope that whatever meager argument I offer can perhaps help nudge my brothers and sisters towards change. As Master Tozu wrote: “I can no longer stand by and watch the work of centuries crumble."[traim 2]

The premise of my presentation to the symposium is this: As my guild has grown in the light, we have rotted in the shadows. This rot can be and should be traced to Grandmaster Prime Taramaine Braun’s leadership. Specifically, the Grandmaster has: (1) dissolved the Moon Mage council following the Mirror Prophecy catastrophe, (2) failed to adequately address the undue influence of the Children of Kalestraum and their practices among students of all sects, (3) failed to address the effective destruction of an entire sect of the guild, and (4) allowed an entirely new branch of lunar magic practice to blossom under the provenance and jurisdiction of the Trader’s Guild without any transparency.

In this short presentation, I explain why the Grandmaster’s failure in point 1 above has led predictably to failures in points 2-4, then I propose a solution consisting of 4 specific remedies: (1) re-establishment of the Moon Mage council with equal representation from each sect, rotating service as Guildmaster Prime, and student representation, (2) an aggressive and unified effort, backed by Y’shai, to hunt down and destroy the Children of Kalestraum, (3) re-instituting Master Tiv as leader of the Crystal Hand, or (if he is truly still unable to return to us at this point), a temporary Crystal Hand appointment to another worthy mage, and (4) a publicly identified liaison between the Moon Mage Guild and the Trader’s Guild to work jointly on any negotiations that involve the Arbiter and lunar magic generally.

I. The Moon Mage Council Should Be Restored

The Mirror Wraith Prophecy events came close to shattering our guild.[traim 3] [traim 4]It was only through unified effort that the catastrophe of Tezirah’s vengeful return was turned back. Yet in the wake of the effort, the Grandmaster disbanded the remnants of checks and balances on his intra-guild power. Unified and consolidated power is nowhere more dangerous than in the Moon Mage Guild; for all of the Grandmaster’s wisdom, strength, and, indeed, tolerance (otherwise I would not be alive to provide this submission), a single leader cannot provide diverse perspective. There is strength in diverse exchanges of theory, philosophy, and politics. Singular power and perspective may be sharp, and it may be strong, but it is brittle and narrow.

In the wake of the Grandmaster’s leadership, we have seen an explosive growth in the acceptance and development of teleologic sorcery. The critic or apologist may argue that the Grandmaster himself has been stridently against sorcery and has, in the past, made considerable, almost-violent, intra-guild efforts to rein in the worst of the dark arts.[traim 5] I do not dispute that premise. The larger salient point is that his efforts would have been more successful (and would be more successful now) with the unified support from a majority of official council members. The dissection of the guild council leaves too heavy a weight on the shoulders of the Grandmaster and the Compact generally, and leaves out the power, wisdom, and influence of the Crystal Hand, Fortune’s Path, G’nar Pethians, and Nomads of the Arid Steppe. I omit reference to the Progeny on purpose as the Progeny’s influence is ever-present. If anything, the Grandmaster’s insistence on official singular guild leadership has exacerbated the direct contest between Compact and Progeny for political power.

The rest of us deserve a voice again. If not, the light of Jares’ promise dwindles from flame to smoke.

II. The Children Of Kaelstraum Must Be Destroyed

One need only glimpse at Meraud’s star in the sky[traim 6]to see the impact of the Children of Kalestraum. From the day Ealuik passed on the forbidden knowledge of Sever Thread to a handful of students and misled them to believe in the “freedom” offered through the teleologic path,[traim 7]to the day I brazenly—and horrendously—encouraged a group of mages to conduct a group prediction tainted with teleologic threads,[traim 8]the Children have celebrated our guild’s gleeful self-destruction. Make no mistake, Karosti wants the Moon Mage Guild and the connection to the plane of probability destroyed.[traim 9] His silence and that of the Children in the decades past speaks to the growing success of their plan.

Efforts have been made, both in secret and through the Grandmaster’s singular authority, to hunt the Children down. I believe these efforts have failed precisely because the Guild’s authority was being wielded in a singular fashion; at least one sect found political advantage (and perhaps knowledge) in helping to shelter to the Children—or at least step back from hunting them. The time for such ambivalence—or quiet conspiracy—is over. There is no doubt that the practice of teleologic sorcery endangers this plane and antagonizes the plane of probability denizens even more than traditional prophecy. Decades of visions warn us, yet we persist [traim 10][traim 11]It is time to openly confront the ramifications of the spreading plague.

A full council and open dialogue among the sects would undoubtedly lead to an aggressive unified effort to bring the Children to justice.

III. Re-institute Master Tiv as Head of the Crystal Hand or Provide a Temporary Sect Replacement.

As we all know, Master Tiv made an incredible sacrifice during the destruction of the Crystal Hand hall and we are all lucky he survived[traim 12]But the Crystal Hand has been leaderless since that time and the guild itself has been deprived of even nominal Crystal Hand representation in the Grandmaster’s current political structure. To understand the magnitude of the loss without Master Tiv, in terms of influencing guild temperament and leadership, one needs only look at his history of raising students that become guild leaders (and even those that did not become guild leaders despite their undisputed talents, like Vuan the Ivory Mage).[traim 13]The Grandmaster’s decision to leave the Crystal Hand without leadership compounds the error of eliminating the council itself. Not only does the Crystal Hand not have a voice on guild matters, it doesn’t even have a voice for intra-sect matters. This is particularly problematic given the Grandmaster’s command that sects individually address the problems we face.[traim 14]

I ardently hope Master Tiv can recover from his ordeal with the Arbiter, but if he is unable to take up his post again now, so many years later, I painfully submit that it’s time to at least temporarily replace him for the good of the guild. The Grandmaster—and any leader—would benefit from Crystal Hand input.

IV. The Moon Mage Guild and Trader’s Guild Should Liaison on Trader Communications with Arbiter

Given my previous arguments, one would be forgiven for thinking that this is my least controversial proposal. Such a person would be mistaken—there is considerable personal danger to suggesting anything that may get in the way of the Trader Guild’s march towards profit. Nonetheless, I believe it is an important proposal and should be attainable for the benefit of both guilds.

It is incredibly dangerous to both the Moon Mage Guild and the public at large to allow the Trader’s Guild—a newcomer to magic theory and lore by any measure—to negotiate directly with denizens of the Astral Plane or Plane of Probability without input from the Moon Mage Guild. No doubt our guild leaders or guild members have been informally consulted during the years of the Trader’s Guild negotiations and introduction into lunar magic use but the Grandmaster’s failure to acknowledge that in any way undermines both our political position and our public ability to engage the traders on issues that implicate all lunar practitioners. The result has been haphazard experimentation—by students in both guilds—in extraplanar interactions with entities we barely know. I would propose a liaison from the Moon Mage Guild and a liaison among the Trader’s Guild to coordinate future discussions with any extraplanar entity that could impact lunar magic practice.

V. A Final Word

As critical of the Grandmaster as my submission may seem, it is important to understand that—for whatever his errors—he has brought us through an incredibly tumultuous time intact. He has not faced easy choices and without his leadership or with greater failures, we would be in even worse places. One needs only take a look at the recent alternate futures offered by the visions in the shadowy anomaly of the Temporal Pocket to know we have, at the least, avoided autocratic absolutist rule by Tezirah.[traim 15]

I understand and accept the ramifications that come with my bringing these proposals and criticisms to the public.

In case I do not have the opportunity in the future, I would like to thank Malzard and Caelumia for tutoring me—in opposite ways—when I was a very young mage. To Mozzik, Skaen, and Miskton for so many lessons since. And to Aaoskar and Lenaea for their enthusiasm for progress; it has been contagious since I returned from dark days. Whatever faults there are in my reasoning and proposals, they belong to me alone.

Notes

  1. Brief History of the Guild of Moon Magic, A
  2. Post:A Letter to the Guild - 09/27/2012 - 21:46
  3. Mirror Wraith Prophecy
  4. Post:Background - 10/04/2013 - 12:39
  5. https://forums.play.net/forums/DragonRealms/The%20Moon%20Mages/Guild%20Events/view/163
  6. http://forums.play.net/forums/DragonRealms/The%20Moon%20Mages/Guild%20Events/view/694
  7. https://forums.play.net/forums/DragonRealms/The%20Moon%20Mages/Player-Run%20Gatherings/view/204
  8. Post:The Moon Mage Conclave of 412 - 05/19/2014 - 00:52
  9. The official guild line is that Karosti’s vengeance is personal and political. An alternative reason for his dedication to the destruction of the guild may be that he interprets the daily forays between moon magi and the plane of probability as the cause of the ongoing conflict with the Plane of Probability denizens, particularly Pelag ai Aldam, and believes the destruction of our connection to the Plane of Probability is more conducive to peace and planar stability.
  10. https://forums.play.net/forums/DragonRealms/The%20Moon%20Mages/Guild%20Events/view/201
  11. https://forums.play.net/forums/DragonRealms/The%20Moon%20Mages/The%20Heavens,%20Predictions,%20and%20Divination%20Tools/view/446
  12. Post:Tiv returns to us.... - 02/18/2014 - 17:55
  13. Tiv
  14. Post:Taramaine addresses the Guild - Everything is under control! - 10/21/2013 - 04:25
  15. Temporal Pocket

Yvela

Title: Utilizing Constructs as a Labor Force

We live in a dangerous world, populated by dangerous creatures, people, and phenomena. As a consequence, a disproportionately large number of the spells practiced by modern mages are related to matters of offense and defense. Most mages know at least a handful of unique spells designed solely to take another being's life, and Warrior Mages are second to none in devising creative ways to kill. Even the Empaths, those benefactors of succor, have found a way to twist their talents to snuff out life.

It is unlikely that Elanthia will become a less dangerous place in our lifetimes. It seems that every year sees the discovery of a new den of ravenous beasts, or a breach of planar boundary and law occurs from within or out. Powerful forces beyond the reckoning of mortal minds wage battle against one another just beyond our senses. No, our world is not on the track to peace.

That said, it may not be too late to attempt to redirect the course of our future. Imagine if we could devote even half of the time we use to forge ourselves into weapons of war towards other pursuits. How might society benefit and grow if the magical researchers of the great guilds spent their days trying to create ways to unburden us of our base needs rather than more ways to separate flesh from bone?

I don't have answers for all of the problems in the world. It is far easier to shine a light on the wrongs than it is to do something to correct them. There is a line of thought that I believe is worth investigation, however, which may grant us the spare time and energy we need to address the woes of the world and better ourselves: a construct labor force.

What is a construct, you may ask, and how can it help us? A construct is an artificially created being, possessing no will of its own, animated by magical forces. A construct is a blank canvas upon which a mage can paint a directive towards nearly any end. Predictably, the most common types of constructs in existence are brutes of war; animated rock and clay designed to seek and kill.

Constructs are capable of far more than savagery, however. One need only look to Throne City to see a perfect example of how constructs can be employed to serve our needs. The Custodians of the Dusk are constructs created by the Moon Mage guild to patrol and uphold the laws of their research city, and they do so just as efficiently as any living guardsman, if not moreso.

The Custodians represent highly sophisticated constructs created to perform complex tasks, but constructs given simpler purposes would be a better place to begin. Every miner that need not brave treacherous tunnels, every lumberjack that need not fear a falling tree, every laborer that need not haul back breaking cargo is a man or woman that could be pursuing craftsmanship, artistry, research.

Perhaps eventually we could even defend our cities and borders with constructs. Think of how many lives might be spared if we met our enemies in battle with soldiers that do not bleed and are rebuildable, replaceable. How many distant villages might avoid the raiders' blade and torch if they had vigilant defenders that never slept?

There are concerns to consider, of course. Who controls the constructs? Can control be wrested away by nefarious actors? What safety measures would need to be put in place? Are the costs too great compared to the benefits? These questions and many more would need to be answered before any large scale deployment of constructs would be feasible.

Should any mages be interested in conducting cooperative research and tests regarding constructs and their potential applications, I am happy to offer my own time and expertise toward realizing this vision.

In pursuit of a better future, Philosopher Yvela Vorhalt.

[A separate page includes a charcoal sketch of a humanoid figure. Its proportions are like those of a Human, only bulkier and more rounded. Notions near the sketch describe some of its dimensions, including that it is "half again as tall as a Gor'Tog".]

Other Scholarly Works

Perune

Title: Zengmodaleth - Traversing the Plane

It has been mentioned that a person would typically require a "key" to enter Zengmodaleth. But what might such a key be? How can one traverse between important structures within the Plane or how can they enter the Plane with such a key to begin with?

Consider if you will, the Warrior Mage's well known familiar talisman and its function. A talisman is carved with an animal shape the aether intelligence will find pleasing, summons that essence from the Plane of Aether and allows it to take on that shape here in Abiding. By these notions alone we clearly see that we can link Planes, draw essence through Planes, and assign patterns using a talisman. In this manner the talisman acts as both the door and a funnel, opening the way and drawing through the essence, but it is the Warrior Mage's own elemental statis that acts as the key - Making the original connection. This works out splendidly because the Warrior Mage is standing at the point of destination for the familiar.

But how does this relate to traversing the Plane of Electricity?

Despite the massive amount of elemental energy amassing there, a concentrated effort can discern patterns (at great pains to the mage), enough to even pinpoint a central location among the array of structures. This means that either due to the pattern of energy moving through the space, or due to isolated signals of energy, one can pinpoint locations within a structure that could potentially be traversed to.

For a person to travel to a structure, they would need a "key" crafted to resonate with those signals. Recall the talisman? In this case the point of destination is not the location of the Warrior Mage, but a distant location within Zengmodaleth. Thus the door must be a work of artifice within those structures crafted to accept such resonance, and upon connection, opens the door for the mage to pass through.[perune 1] A more sophisicated method than the one used by us to discover Zengmodaleth.

Traveling from one point within Zengmodaleth to another is a much simpler task, being that both points are within the same Plane. But what if you're on Abiding and looking to reach the Plane of Electricity without the brute force method we used to discover it? How does the mage find the signal he or she would need to open the door?

The answer is fairly simple, and large - The Suur Pillar. The pillar itself is acting as a connector to Zengmodaleth and a grounding force, keeping the other Plane safely tethered to ours without calamity.

I would wager that Othersight used on the Pillar itself may reveal the overarching connection to Zengmodaleth with key points viewable by those who can piece together what they're seeing as the energy routes from the Pillar to Zengmodaleth and throughout. This may, in fact, be how our forebearers found the way inside to begin with. With a talisman (or series of talismans) properly carved to represent the pattern of energy within a device (or series of devices) in one of the structures, you could travel to any point in a structure that the talisman is carved to resonate with.

- Perune

Notes

  1. I still recommend utilizing the spell Grounding Field when attempting this, unless you like electric death.