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A Theoretical Treatise on the Origins and Nature of Magic

Introduction:

Following discussions with member of our nations, the newly uncovered information regarding the Conflux plan and a period of study with the Wizards Concillium I have decided to collect together some findings regarding the nature of magic and elementals. There are also comparisons drawn, where appropriate, between magic and power.

This is my no means an exhaustive study and as more information regarding Conflux is brought to life I will follow this up. Where possible I have tried to minimise any potential bias but for full disclosure I am a primary Grey Sorcerer with no direct Sphere connection. 

Sections:
  1. Overview
  2. Source and attitudes
  3. Manifestations and higher beings
  4. Magic as a subset of spheres
  5. Conclusions
Overview

Magic exists as one of the primary forces on Orin Rakatha, it has been here for as long as any of the Valley or Concillium are aware. Many nations and individuals cast colours of magic, often these colours will reflect nation or race traits though several nations cast all eight colour.

The similarities and differences between the colours is an interesting subject in its own rights. There are common themes across multiple colours, mostly skins and bolts of some description. Yet each colour has distinct applications and feel. However, for the rest of this paper the various colours of magic will be treated as indistinct. These differences may well make form the basis of a follow up paper.

Magic is however, not a direct power of the person casting it. When wizards draw upon magic they are drawing on an external source. It is summoned from the place of origin, used and then released. This shows in the common attitude that Magic is largely treated as a thing to be commanded and manipulated.
 
Sources and Attitudes

The source of magic used to cast spells, particularly as the spell becomes more powerful, does not come from our plane directly. Rather when spells are cast the power is drawn from another place, used to achieve the wizard’s aim and then released. More specifically (as learned very recently) what is actually summoned is an elemental. It’s power is then used and the elemental is released to return to its home, though somewhat weakened. On occasions some of these elementals either do not have the strength to leave or are angered and choose to attack. This is also why when the ways were closed in the lead up to the Cataclysm the elementals were unable to leave and almost every high level spell would result in attacks.

These elementals inhabit a series of elemental planes that exist in a way similar to the Plane of the Sleepless Dead or the Abyssal planes. We know that individual planes exist each dedicated to a colour of magic where many of the elementals live and their prince stays for the most part. These planes may simply be a place where the sphere of an element is particularly strong, as the Necromantic sphere is on our own plane during all hallows. However, the spheres are in constant unpredictable motion. If the flow of magic changes constantly on all planes how are the elemental planes stable enough that we can constantly draw our power through them?

These are certainly not the only place that elementals inhabit. We have encountered them in the Elemental Garden which seems to be a demi plane that lies between our plane and the elemental planes. We also know of the Conflux plane where elementals gather, ruled by an Elemental Lord. Unfortunately, not much else is known about these planes at the moment. We have been told that the pure elemental worlds are unlikely to be visit able by normal races as they would not be able to sustain us. Conflux however is known to be able to sustain humans and much of the progress that is being made currently is with the aim of being able to travel there. 
 
 
Attitudes

While the source of our magic power is a recent revelation the attitude to magic reflects this state of affairs. Magic is largely treated as a force to be controlled and commanded. If you listen to the vocal component of many spells they will directly order the source of magic to do as it is commanded. This is one of the starkest contrasts with power. When listening to power users invoke it is far more common to hear worship of the sphere and a request for aid rather than the demanding nature of many spell vocals. The elementals summoned do not have a choice in the matter. They must come and their raw essence is what is used to cast the spell. Look at the extent of the experiments that are performed in Aether town or by the Concillium. Even during the lead up to the Cataclysm when the ways off plane were closed. The Wizards Concillium collected together a huge number of elementals to power a weapon designed to reopen inter-planar travel and effectively fired them at a tower. 
 
Manifestations and Higher Beings

Most elementals that we encounter are mindless creatures and will attack (and be destroyed) on sight without any issues. However, there are elementals that are capable of speech and the Elemental planes appear to have a hierarchy structure with the Lieutenants, Princes, and even The Prince of All Elements who seems to function as a king and resolve disputes between the various other princes.

The standard eight colours each have elementals with abilities corresponding to what mages can achieve by casting the colour. There are also “purple” elementals discovered on a recent mission. These had the ability to cast all colours of magic seemingly at will and were also able to supress all magic on a person. They seemed more sentient than normal elementals thought unfortunately not much else is known about these unique creatures yet. It is believed that they are likely to be present on the conflux plane.

The princes themselves are very protective of their people and seem to try and stop Mages casting where possible. They especially dislike those who cast their respective colour heavily. This is why we are currently being attacked by Green elementals. The elemental prince of water has taken against our people specifically and is trying to stop people using green magic forcibly. This fits with the current theory that our use of magic directly weakens the elementals and plane of the corresponding colour. There are indications that the elemental power regenerates over time but we currently have no idea how fast this happens, or what happens if a colour were cast heavily or not at all.

We have been told that it is possible when one understands magic at a higher level to manipulate the flow of mana directly in subtler ways. This may mean that a skilled individual could create effects similar to normal magic without the need to summon elementals to do so. 
 
 Magic as a Subset of the Spheres
Excerpts from the Book of the Dead
“One of the key characteristics of the Spheres is their sentience. Some Spheres (such as Good and Evil) have high sentience and may be represented by a physical manifestation of the Spheres, called an "Avatar". Other Spheres have low sentience and are frequently called "Elements". Physical manifestations of low-sentience Spheres are frequently called "Elementals". There are many Sphere that fall between these two extremes, and even the Elements are believed by some to have a sentient aspect (hence Tarn Gurrack and the Temple of Earth and Usharl Oberon and the Temple of Storms). This reflects the fact that different people may view a sphere in different ways. “
“Then we have the Spheres of low Sentience, commonly referred to as the eight Elements. This belief is more primal and concentrates in the manipulation of the physical aspects of the Life Sphere as opposed to its spiritual component. Perhaps this is why the Elements and its manipulation are more complex and difficult, conforming to rigid rules rather than the flow of the Spheres. To call upon one's favour and strength of spirit must be easier than manipulating the Elements and banding them to your will? There are also other variations of the eight Elements and the corrupted forms such as Shadow magic, but they all relate to the prime eight elements. Then there is the ninth Element, that utilised by the Concillium, referred to as Purple. But there is no ninth Element, it is but a greater understanding of the eight Elements and the ability to return them to a greater Sentience, more akin to the Spheres. The closer to the higher sentience that we go the more power and strength we obtain. Perhaps in some places it has achieved Sentience and stands with the Good, Neutral and Evil Spheres.”

This is a fascination viewpoint and one that tallies well with much of the recently uncovered information. For example, the fact that purple elementals seemed all to have a level of sentience. It is important to remember however that Cardinaris was a very knowledgeable caster of power and so that may well bias his view of things.

This view point would place the elemental Princes as something akin to the Avatars of a Sphere that can manifest from time to time. The lieutenants with Angels and so on. It also lends support to the idea that we do not need to use elementals to cast spells. Were one able to tap into the sphere of fire in a similar way to the sphere of evil magic should flow directly from the source. 

However, there are a few points that do not line up with this view.
 
The first is that it is known to be possible for a mortal to gain enough support and worshipers to ascend to become an aspect of a sphere of power. These Aspects encourage those who use their power and are strengthen by it. There is no such recorded case that I have found for a mortal becoming an aspect of magic. There are cases of individuals becoming elemental either deliberately or through accidents but they seem to be more a fusing of life and magic than an ascension to magic.    

The second point is that the Elemental Princes are so discouraging of the use of their colour of magic. The idea of an Avatar of Ushaz appearing and demanding that evil priests stop invoking is one that is very hard to imagine. Yet this is exactly what the Prince of water has done. If they are Avatars of magic, then they clearly draw their power very differently from the sphere if they are in direct competition with mages for it. 

The third point is the elemental planes. Admittedly very little is known about these currently but Cardinaris claims that all spheres are in constant motion in some unpredictable way. This is why for example the sphere of Necromancy is strongest on our plane during All Hallows. It may simply be the case that these elemental planes are just the eight planes most closely aligned with the sphere at this time and that they will change in nature as the spheres move. 

It is possible to modify the view of the magic being spheres slightly to fix these points but there are other possible explanations. 

My current working hypothesis is that these Lords and planes are not directly connected to their respective magical sphere but are pools of mana that exists outside of the spheres. If these elemental Lords and planes are simply pools of magic, then it is possible that we are drawing upon this pool rather than directly on the sphere which would explain the attitude the princes seem to have.
 
Conclusions

There is much that we still do not know about magic but we have an established model and are working to improve it.
Our recent information has taken us on a long way and our upcoming expedition to Conflux is a wonderful opportunity for gathering more data. There are already a number of interesting experiments being planned and an ever growing list of questions for the Prince of all Elements. 

The important parts that we have discovered so far:
  • Our source of magic is not native to our plane, it exists externally and we draw it here to cast spells.
  • There are elemental planes that are places of raw magic. At least one for each colour and a number of multi-coloured planes.  
  • The Prince of All Elements exists on Conflux, one of these multi-coloured planes.
  • When we cast we are in fact summoning an elemental from its plane, using its power and then releasing it.
  • This use of magic weakens the elemental and in turn the elemental plane it was summoned from.
  • It is believed that the true source of magic are spheres in much the same way as power.
  • It may be possible to manipulate the magic from these sphere without the use of elementals.
As ever if you wish more information or discussion I can easily be found in the Grey School of Magic or Darkhome. 

Khandis Greyspider
11th Sorcerer of House Drannath,
 

Last Updated on Friday, 02 September 2016 17:33
 

Saldorian Information on the Forgotten

After numerous incursions into our lands by the Forgotten it was decided by Pradot Mar to send troops to intercept these raids on our sovereignty and also scouting parties to seek out the whereabouts of the Forgotten Nation.
Below are the reports gathered and my own conclusion as to where we currently stand and action that we can take which I believe will be successful.
It has been commanded that this information be disseminated to all Virconium units being deployed to the borders.  The forgotten must be stopped from penetrating the borders and reaching the temples at all costs.
The Path is Long, 

Master Thurlode Lur
Brotherhood of Strength and Steel
Summary on the History of the Saldorian Enclaves contact with the nation known as the Forgotten 
 
Harvest Moon The Cataclysm
The Court of a Thousand Swords has fallen and rumours Calex Wraithspawn now holds power over its people.
 
Cold Moon PC1 - North West of the Saldorian Enclave.  
Report by Jainia Bur, Virconium Wizard.
 
A force of just over twenty humanoids wearing the colours of the former Court of a Thousand Swords and bearing black marks under their eyes were identified by patrols on the North West edge of our proclaimed land.
Our scouts returned and I was quick to mobilise nearly twenty men, being well supplied from a nearby camp.
After intercepting these humanoids battle immediately broke out, however our numbers added no obvious advantage as we struggled to keep pace healing our injured in the face of significant Evil Sphere wounding enhanced blows. Indeed our most skilled warriors who were able to kill some of these “men” were astonished to see spirits rise up from the fallen bodies and attack with continued ferocity and baneful damage.
With too many unknowns to contend with I ordered a retreat. I alone remained within a suitable distance to ascertain the enemy’s direction.
After one more night in our lands the enemy turned towards the west and left into the Summer Meadows.
I lost seventeen men and I believe I reduced the enemies’ number by eight. However it is with shame and disbelief that I must report that three of my fallen appear to have been turned in some way by this foe and have deserted and joined with them.

Wind Moon PC1
Reader arriving from East Waite and also the Dai-fah-Dyne from Halfway House Waystation have reported that the people known as The Forgotten are roaming the Southwest of Orin Rakatha and attacking whoever they encounter, somehow possessing the weak or those that have fallen in battle and are near death.

Fools Moon PC1
Pradot Mar himself attended the Time of Reckoning and witnessed the presence of  Calex Wraithspawn and a Large delegation wearing the now defunct colours of The Court of a Thousand Swords.
Calex announced his group and declared themselves The Forgotten. Furthermore he revealed The Forgotten’s intention to be recognised as a Nation. He announced that the Forgotten nation will be ruled not by himself but by the Black Queen, who was also in their group and would formally attend the Time of Reckoning.
No formal introduction or diplomacy took place between The Nation of Saldor and Calex Wraithspawn.

Planting Moon PC1 - South of Bremmin Plain
The Halls of Asgard people have told us of their troubles with the Forgotten and more importantly the location of the Forgotten nation land. 
They have fought many groups of Forgotten towards the West but have difficulty defeating larger groups specifically when a Quell is present. It impedes the use of power around itself and also had the ability to stop the Halls of Asgard calling upon their spiritual totems.
We are travelling immediately to confirm the Forgotten’s location.
 
Planting Moon PC1 - Mount Grimm
After setting off from Riton’s Reward Waystation we have moved directly West to reach the northern edge of what is reportedly the Forgotten Nation.
We have so far not encountered any ill effects or in fact any Forgotten. Although there is a strange feeling we are being followed.

Planting Moon PC1 - Coast to the North of the Fair Isles
There was still no sign of any Forgotten so we decided to turn back. Almost immediately we changed direction we were assailed by over forty Forgotten. There appeared some possessed with marks we had not seen before. The fight did not go well and only the three of us survived. Forced to leave our Virconium charges behind we were pushed back towards the coast. 
Master Wurdun Oll proved to be invaluable against a Forgotten possessing spirit that had cursed us all during the battle.  We were unable to heal the baneful wounds that were inflicted upon us unless we removed the curse first. Master Vormeek Nef was close to death but he refused to die in these lands for fear his spirit would be truly lost.

Green Growing Moon  PC1 - Temple of Quiet Rebirth                 
Revered monks from the temple have reported information revealed by Martak Deadjabba, the Shaman of a group of goblins now taking the path to truth.
His group had been attacked by The Forgotten some months ago. During the fight he was able to recognise the spirits within the host bodies, he “squeezed” one spirit out of its host “cos I wanted to find out why it was hiding in there”, and was extremely confused subsequently why the man sitting down blinking in front of him with fighting all around had no idea where the “deadhead” had gone.
 After and extremely lengthy explanation it was ascertained he used the unshackle spirit invocation on the Forgotten and that banished the spirit. After the spirit left, the host was dazed, frightened and confused.

High Sun PC1                   
When seeking rest at the Desolations Edge Waystation our scouting party met a party of people calling themselves the Vagrants of Dionaite. This small group of people appear chaotic and frivolous but after initial difficult interaction they have spoken of a large force of Forgotten led by a malevolent Crypt Fiend encamped within the Dragur Marsh.
On our return journey to Saldor, we utilised the trading routes and upon them met a travelling Kalid group. They spoke openly that Forgotten attacks to the west of Valley were being directed by the Crypt Fiend and the Voices of the Mystics were doing nothing. What the Kalid were doing on this area I have no idea.
Conclusion

The Forgotten generally come in two forms, possessed mortals (formally members of the Court of a Thousand Swords, but can be others), or actual Spirits.
Possessed mortals still maintain a semblance of their former selves, how much depends on the strength of the person being possessed. It appears a few of the stronger humans have willingly entered into a bargain with the Spirit and allow themselves to be used in return for power and perceived influence; they appear as normal humans who can talk and negotiate as before and have full access to their previous skills.  The majority of possessed mortals however are just husks of their former selves, do not have access to the majority of their former skills including casting ability and do nothing but attack and follow the will of their masters.  All possessed humans have black marks under their eyes.
The Spirits of the Forgotten are generally incorporeal and are rarely seen outside of their host however reported sightings of spirits without hosts would suggest the more unique spirits can sustain themselves.  
When encountered the possessed Forgotten will fight until slain, at which point the incorporeal spirit will take full control of the host and need to be slain as well.  Therefore Forgotten will fall over initially once the host is slain and arise about thirty seconds later as a Spirit.  
In order to remove the possession of the Spirit an Unshackle Spirit must be cast on the possessed person.  If this happens the possessed person will return to their former selves.  They are dazed, frightened and confused.  They generally will not remember much or be able to offer much information or intelligence and will normally only remember the emotions of darkness, madness and despair.  They will be happy to leave the fight and try to make their way as a Nomad although some may be welcome on the Path if it can be proven that their souls are free of any lingering taint.
Most disturbing for me is the fact they seem to not just possess the weaker but also they seem to actively seek out those near death and possess those that would normally be able to resist. It is unknown what they may be able to do to those awaiting rebirth but we must never allow ourselves to find out.
Listed below are all of the creature types so far encountered and used by the Forgotten.  We have seen a mix of these types with the most senior spirit in charge.

Possessing Spirits
Lesser Spirits seem to be the majority of the Forgotten’s number. The possessed Forgotten cause critical (and sometimes mortal) wounds on top of the damage they inflict with their weapon and can be defeated by normal damage, but once the spirit forms it is only effected by power. The spirit then inflicts damage on its enemy using bane attack.

This is the possession mark of the most often encountered Forgotten
 
 
Quell 
This is a possessing spirit that impedes the ability to access power and has been used during large Forgotten assaults. It has only been encountered rarely. It may be destroyed by the application of spiritual weapons or invocations.
 
Quell possession mark 
 
Damnation 
Any damage dealt by a Damnation’s attack once it has cursed you does not heal naturally and resists all healing (potions, scrolls and so on). Before the damage can be healed its curse must first be broken by a relevant remove curse invocation. This creature appears to be damaged by any means in either of its forms 
 
Damnation possession mark
Crypt Fiend 
 
Crypt Fiends are malevolent spirits who are created from the remains of the dead.  Archived material describes they seek to turn all of the living to their will.  They appear to be trusted lieutenants of the Forgotten and are the active recruiters. One was present with Calex Wraithspawn at the Time of Reckoning.  It seems they do not possess mortals and always appear as themselves, accompanied by a number of guards.
One such being has been reportedly sighted camped in the Dragur Marsh directing attacks against the Valley. It has a reputation of extreme brutality 

Unknown possession marks
These marks have been reported but no further information is known
 
All valley information provided below italicised. 
 
Wraith – Power draining creature, also capable of freezing with fear. 
 
 
 
Ghoul – Causes pain and paralysis.
 
 
 
Spectre –Cold magic creature, multiple cone of colds, freezing and cryostatis.
 
 

Saldorian Path of Truth Iron Star Letters

Honoured N’Sago Ryusonama,
I can only assume that Daniel has fallen and that the Iron Star as we knew it is over.  I am packing my remaining articles and along with that chattel which remains under my control, principally through the use of the collars provided by Aljoran Wraithmind, moving the final camp within the Lower Waite.
  
With Ko’Su’Gara slain along with most of his retinue I suggest we attempt to meet there and pool our resources in a new brotherhood and either attempt to leave this plane behind or find a new home to insinuate ourselves into.  Perhaps the Kalid?

I shall remain in the camp for two moons before I take the remainder of my band, shed our colours and bury the most incriminating items so we can return to them later.

The Star will rise again,

Govik
 

Sale made in Snow Moon by,

N’Sago Ryusonama,

I the undersigned agree that the following commodities are purchased in good faith and the understanding that no recompense may be sought for problems arising in either health or behaviour in the future.
Two Elven druids (Sisters) of little skill or training.  Both most lovely.
A Half Orc warrior of great strength if little finesse.
Human Wizard of advanced age but showing aptitude for Water magic.
Three human children (two girls, one boy).  All virgins of the same parentage.

Agreed and Signed,

Enchanter Lurixinades
 

 For whosoever may find this,

It appears Ulrik could not keep his meddling companions in order and now I am forced to flee my comfortable life within Barad Tirgul.  While Govik may be bullish in this plan to re-establish the Iron Star in secret within the heart of another Tower I find it unlikely that such a motley crew as we have remaining here at this time will be welcomed into another Tower. 
Should any Brothers of the Iron Star find this the stone within this cache can be used to reach me through the use of the Whispering Wind spell.  Govik is too eager to be on his way and will not wait despite none of the Celestial Bureaucracy arriving and few from the Dymwan so I trust that the messages to them have arrived and this missive will eventually be found.
The Manacles contained in this chest, for they are a little conspicuous for such ‘interplanar travellers’ as we will soon be to be carrying, may prove useful in re-establishing the trade once we are settled.  

While only a prototype it should prove more than sufficient to restrain the most truculent of cattle.  After rendering the intended subject unconscious place the restraints upon them.  This should be followed by the following invocations; Beguilement of ritual rank, an Interrogation and a Cause Pain.  When the final invocation is complete the subject should be incapable of removing them of their own free will.  More importantly however the subject will be unable to resist answering any question posed to them truthfully.  I believe the installation of a number of these in a secure holding facility will be invaluable in rebuilding our intelligence network for the growth of the organisation.

Borrinard

Priest, Wizard, Dispossessed.
 
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