In the times of the gods the talent of magic was not as it is today. In those times the gods breathed magic as air, ate of it like food, and swam amidst its eddies and vapours as water. As the gods were of the essence of all they had and have no need for rituals, words, anathamae, gestures, or ingredients of power. As man came to his power on Erebus he learnt of the powers of the gods. Through happenstance, trickery, and even gifts from those above him man learned of the spheres of magic. He learned of the techniques and rituals involved in the manipulating and constraining of the ether. For man is many steps removed from the essence of all and in that seperation is both his strength and his failings as users of magic.
"The Dirty Secrets of Magic They Don't Want You to Know: An Introductory Volume"
Grigori city of Halas 1247
As I threaded my way through a crowd in the southern market of Halas a young boy rushed up to me and tugged at my robes. He wore the sash and carried the satchel of a first year initiate of the Tower University where I have had the honor to teach and pontificate for some years. He asked me a very simple question.
"Master Morose, I have just learned of all the spheres! Why are there so many?"
Having never actually been asked that question before I have had to give it some thought and though it has been several years since that time I hope that boy, now a third year senior acolyte, will read the following chapters and draw, if not some consolation, then at least some entertainment from having stumped this old theorist.
The first step to understanding is to know that the spheres of magic are artificial. They are segregations of the totality of magic used to categorize and more importantly for practitioners to manage the effects and techniques of there execution. The gods were all given dominance over particular fundamentals of the cosmos. This did not limit the gods in the application of powers dealing with another god purview. For example, Sirona was given dominion over wisdom and the sphere most closely associated with her is Spirit. This does not mean that Sirona could not create life, change the weather, or turn day into night, etc. What the purviews of the gods simply means is that no god may be overcome within their purview. Danalin may not be overcome by the use or any derivative of water.
Now this supposition of mine has raised many a great debate amongst my peers. Many varied and complicated questions have been asked. My esteemed colleague Marcus D'vagnette; one of the few fully human archmages from within the Calabim Empire; has asked such questions as, "if Danalin cannot be overcome by a derivative of water, what if Agares were to strike at him with a dark poison which is liquid in form? Can Danalin not be overcome then?"
I have no easy answer for such a question. I can only theorize that Agares, being of devilish intellect, would know not to use such a material as a component of his poison and would be better served constructing it as dust or air. However, rather than be drawn into a theological discussion which is more fully realized in a most excellent tome by the name of The gods of Erebus vol. I-III written by an brilliant young man named Sabrin the Younger. A most pernicious intellect and an entertaining writer. Instead of continuing down what can easily become a long discussion I shall instead turn to each of the spheres in turn, discussing there uses, qualities, and associated techniques.
A brilliant old rascal of a bard once said the best place to start anything is at the beginning. Iorich, if you're still alive, you're an intellectual midget and I miss you terribly. With this advice in mind I start with the sphere of Creation. For many Creation is the foundation sphere, or rather a sphere that is used in almost all workings of any importance. Creation is most closely associated with Amathaon, god of fertility. It is interesting to note that Creation is considered a neutral sphere by many scholars despite the patron of said sphere being considered a good god by the wider populace. Creation can be over-indulged, running rampant creation can lead to massive mutations of both flesh and stone. Creation can is also non-selective, it simply creates and much of what it creates then falls under the purview of another sphere after it's creation is done. In many ways it can be very easy for Creation to be completely without responsibility for that which it spawns. As I had mentioned earlier Creation is often used in conjunction with other spheres to achieve the desired effect. If one is to start a fire without fuel then one must create the fire from simple ether. If one is simply using a flame which is already present, say making the fires of a torch leap and dance like a sky fire show then only the sphere of fire is necessary in the working.
The sphere of Nature is one very commonly associated with Creation. There is a common misconception that Nature has a great deal to do with the living things in the world when in reality it does not. There is a sphere called Life for such processes. Nature more concerns itself with balances in the natural world, the relation of predator and prey, civilization and the wilderness, death and life. It is perhaps a sad irony that man has not seen fit to place the sphere of Nature in the primary position of balance amongst the spheres when we illustrate them. I think perhaps it is a matter of intellectual hubris that has the spheres laid out as they are. Nature is self correcting. When one species rises to dominance it will hold sway for a time, be challenged, eventually defeated, and another will rise to take it's place. All things in nature are cyclical. Unlike many of the spheres I believe Nature to be the most self-controlled, that is to say the sphere needs no opposite to counter-balance its power and maintain the equilibrium of power.
I would also like to note here that Nature is the first or Primus of the Gorval Barrier or as some call it the Third Ring. The third ring consists of Nature, Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. These elemental spheres support the base physical components of our physical reality. The surround and encompass the more specialized and less seperated inner spheres consisting of Life, Body, Chaos, Shadow, Death, Spirit, Law, and Sun. I write of the inner spheres being less seperated. What is meant by that is simply they overlap in there purviews far more than the outer spheres or those of the Barrier itself. Often the effect a practitioner seeks requires a primary sphere and one to three or more secondary or supplemental spheres to achieve. This is the most true when utilizing the inner spheres. The Gorval Barrier is named for an Archmage who walked these lands just after the Time of Ice. It was he who really introduced the disparate tribes of men to the idea of Magical Theory and formulated some of the first Laws of Magic. He also was the first to engage in the formal education of the young in the arts. I would humbly submit to the reader that the History of Erebus: Post Age of Ice 3rd edition may be inaccurate in it's assumption that Mage Morholt was indeed the father of modern magical theory and formal education. I would even go so far as to argue that Morholt was a miscreant and thief. If Cratenhaas Publishing reads these words and finds fault with them they know where their lawyers may meet mine own.
Pages in category "On the Nature of Magic"
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