Excerpts From the TextEdit
As of yet, no one knows where magic comes from, only that it is. Wizards and priests have seen in their dreams a great, shining ocean hidden in the earth from whence power comes, and conference with the old powers of the earth has demonstrated this to be the source of all magic, but not even those who speak with the dead have discovered where this well comes from. For now, the answer is beyond our grasp.
In other areas of magical study, though, we have been more fortunate. Wizards and wise men have, through long study, determined how magic can be used. I have humbly provided a brief overview of these methods to aid my peers in further study.
Binding and SealingEdit
Perhaps some of the oldest, and best understood, kinds of magic, spells of binding and sealing have been one of the wizard's most useful tools since the times of the old pharaohs. In their most basic forms, binding and sealing spells allow for disparate objects to be held together through the use of magical power.
Binding spells are often used in the creation of tools and weapons, but also have more general uses. By speaking spells of binding over weapons, armor, boats, carts, and even buildings, the wizard strengthens these items. Blades hold their edge better, armor is more resistant to wear and tear, boats are strengthened against the ravages of time and the weather. Binding spells also help knit together wounds or immobilize limbs by causing muscles and bones to tighten into rigid forms. More advanced versions of binding spells, however, can be used to extract oaths of loyalty or truth from others and force others to obey orders.
Sealing spells function similar to binding spells, but are used exclusively to hold things closed or to limit the capacities and motion of a creature, often for great lengths of time. Magically sealed doors and chests are a common example of sealing spells in action, as are the foul guardians often found alongside treasures in ancient tombs.
In their more advanced forms, sealing spells have a variety of other uses. Often, weapons and armor forged by wizards have spirits or other powers worked into them through spells of sealing, though these must be carefully woven to prevent the power from escaping. A famous example of this kind of sealing spell can be found in the story of the mage-errant Amon Tarath, who used a powerful spell of sealing to trap the dragon Louthun into a mountain lake, and thus rid the land of his predations.
Another old type of spell, but one with not nearly as good a reputation, spells of illusion have existed almost as long as binding and sealing have. Although they often have a reputation for trickery, illusion spells have a whole host of useful functions. The werelights that are said to illuminate the secret gardens of Gozenram are illusion spells, as are the spells that hide the secrets of Hakeshar's ancient ancestral tombs. Illusion spells function by misleading the senses, making things appear that are not really there and hiding things that are in plain sight. Illusion magic has its dangers, though. Stories are often told of foolhardy wizards who ventured into the mountains and created an illusory fire to warm them, then froze to death because the heat that they felt was not real heat. Illusion magic can be practiced, but, like all forms of magic, proper teaching is paramount.
Ask the uninitiated what the most powerful magic is, and they shall tell you "Weatherworking" almost always. Nothing generates awe of a wizard's power like the ability to control the wind and the rain. Weatherworkers shape the fog, move the clouds, and bring the rain to water crops and move ships. The most powerful of weatherworkers can even summon massive storms, pulling lightning and floods from the air. Such spells are rare, though, as they require vast amounts of magical power and can be terribly destructive.
Stories are often told of wizards who can speak with animals and talk to trees, and are thus privy to hidden knowledge. For many years, this was thought to be some kind of trickery or fearful exaggeration, but this is in fact real magic. Spells of Communing allow the wizard to cross translational boundaries and speak with animals, plants, rocks, and even forces of nature, in order to learn about specific events or answer certain questions, or even to bind these forces to the wizard's will. It is suspected that the priests of the Eagle of Maram use communing spells to foster a bond with their trained eagles in order to hone them into killing machines. And much has already been said of the cults that gather in dark places to speak to the dead and to the spirits to learn hidden secrets.
Although often thought to be related to spells of binding and sealing, spells of moving are actually more similar to weatherworking. The wizard reaches out with his mind and grasps an object or collection of objects, allowing him to move and throw them at will. Although a simple concept, these spells are, in reality, difficult to master,. As the distance between wizard and object increases, so does the difficulty of manipulating it, and the difficulty of performing the spell increases exponentially as the number or size of the objects involved increases. Many wizards find moving spells difficult to master, describing it as "Like trying to use an arm that you didn't know you had", and few have the patience to develop the dexterity required to master moving, although the rewards can be rich.
Another difficult type of magic to learn, spells of finding allow the caster to reach out with his mind and search for objects or people to learn their characteristics or location. Like moving, these spells are difficult to master, as it requires the wizard to learn how to use a new sense, and finding gets more difficult as the distance between the finder and the object increases or as the finder tries to ascertain the object's location with increasing precision. It takes a great amount of skill to be able to pinpoint the object on a map of the Shining South, for example, while trying to pinpoint its location within a room is much easier. Furthermore, spells of finding are susceptible to deception by illusion spells, so even if the object is found, the wizard may not know if the information is trustworthy. However, finding spells can also be used to detect the presence of magic, which can be masked through further use of illusions. Thus, finding and illusion spells exist to combat each other, and searches for ancient items often result in a network of finding spells trying to pierce through layers of protective illusions. Finding spells can also be used as a method of divination, though, once again, they are susceptible to illusion and are not as trustworthy as attempts that use communion or binding magics.
A dangerous type of magic, shaping is the ability to change the shape of something. While incredibly useful, allowing the wizard to literally turn swords into plowshares, shaping spells can have unexpected consequences, and require a great amount of energy to use. To shape something, the wizard must know: first, the properties of the object being shaped and second, the properties of the object it is being shaped into. This places strong limitations on what can be shaped, as the wizard often does not know one or the other. This is especially noticeable in the case of sentient beings, which often cannot be shaped by spells, because the wizard does not know their whole past, or their thoughts, etc. Improper shaping can cause the shaped object to behave in unpredictable ways, and it requires a great amount of power even then. However, a certain type of shaping, shape-shifting, takes advantage of the shaper's lack of knowledge by allowing him to change himself to another creature. Because he cannot know that creature's properties in full, he retains a part of himself and can change back. However, should he stay as that creature too long, he will start to lose himself in the change, becoming more and more like that creature until he eventually forgets who he is and resorts to life as a beast.
The final type of magic, summoning, is easily the most dangerous and most nefarious. With the use of summoning spells, the wizard can greatly increase his influence and ability by channeling spirits to manipulate forces otherwise outside of his reach. Powerful summoners can warp earth, water, and fire and bend them to their will, transmute objects from one thing to another, pull objects out of thin air, and even (it is said) raise the dead. Some say that our own hero, the Torchbearer, used summoning to greatly increase his knowledge and power, which helped him draw together the people of El-Andrel and free them from the tyranny of the other cities. However, be warned, would-be summoner! The path to power and knowledge is fraught with peril! One misspoken word, one unclear thought, and the consequences of your summoning will be terrible. The spirits are not to be taken lightly. They are chaotic by nature and do not recognize authority until forced to. If given the opportunity, they will shrug off their bounds and turn on you, and they are not merciful. If you truly wish to become great, temper your ambition with caution. Even the act of drawing a spirit from the air to you is tremendously taxing and requires great mental protection, and their duplicitous nature means that all orders to them must be clear and unable to be misinterpreted. The rewards of summoning are great, but so are the dangers.