Magic, also known as word-weaving by the Dwaerkar and many other terms by the rest of Borost, is a general term used to describe the activity produced as a result of a spellcaster's manipulation of the Skeleton of the World.
The foundations behind the existence of Magic are disputed among the cultures of Borost, with different groups generally citing different sources as its font. However, most agree that Magic is intimately tied to Religion, and it is usually impossible to describe a group's perception of Magic without also making reference to its religious creed.
Upon the ascendancy of the Dwaerkar, the free use of Magic has been prohibited in Borost, and only certain individuals are allowed the freedom to experiment with it. Furthermore, any and all use of Magic for destructive purposes has been banned under penalty of death, largely as a result of the widespread adoption of the Faith of Kel.
Nowadays, Dwaerkar spellcasters and Scholars of Magic are the primary practitioners of the art. However, there is a number of outlaws and highwaymen in the country that use it for nefarious purposes, the majority of whom are Borostím.
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Nearly all cultural groups in Borost view magic in terms of religion, with which Magic is often intimately associated.
The Chtzul simply know Magic as the incursion of fragments of the Skeleton of the World into the material plane; in other words, a spatial manifestation of the laws that govern the universe.
Borostím scholars and sorcerers regard magic as an innate component of the material plane, a mundane manifestation of the divinities they worship, and their divine will. To the Borostím, there is a deific presence in all things: from the lowliest worm in the dirt to the mighty dragons. This adherence to Borost:Single plane theory means that the Borostím intellectuals believe Magic and the Skeleton of the World are deeply connected with the material plane; that, in essence, all of these things are different manifestations of a single substance.
The Dwaerkar, led by their academicians and intellectuals, primarily believe in Multiple plane theory. Because of this, the Dwaerkar do not consider Magic to be a part of the Physical world; rather, they see Magic as residing primarily in the Ethereal Plane. Upon the appropriate conditions being met, Magic is dispensed into the material plane as matter and energy.
The Dwaerkar believe that Magic is one of the Arts of Kel. Dwaerkar lore holds that Kel used word-weaving in order to create the world, and hence Magic must be, in the light of Kel, used for edification. Thus, the use of Magic for destructive purposes is numbered among the vilest of heresies in the Faith of Kel.
The word spellcasting refers to the activity of producing magic. A person who engages in spell casting is a spellcaster. Individual magical activities are usually known as spells or sorceries. The word spells generally carries an edificatory connotation in Borost, with the opposite being true for sorceries. The Dwaerkar refer to spells as magical powers they can utilize, while Sorceries are prohibited as a misuse of the foremost of the Arts of Kel.
Mind-casting, also known as free-handing, refers to the practice of spellcasting without the use of scrolls. Because of the intense concentration required to execute a spell, mind-casting is an extremely dangerous activity, prone to many dangerous side-effects and unintended consequences. It is generally agreed that mind-casting is the leading source of death in prospective mages and spellcasters.
Unfortunately, the idea of mind-casting has become intertwined with legend, and is thus highly romanticized. This is the result of mind-casting being associated with more powerful spells and sorceries, as mages must become masters at their craft before successfully engaging in the practice. For this reason, mind-casting has been outlawed in most of Borost.
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The compilation of certain incantations into scrolls offers a far safer alternative to prospective spellcasters. Scrolls must generally be written by the individual who intends to cast the enclosed spell, as learning the secrets of the scroll of another is almost impossible.
Scroll-writing is considered one of the key arts of Magic. A scroll offers an incantation, generally written in the Holy Language of the scroll-writer, which the spellcaster may utilize as an aid in spellcasting. The use of scrolls and their incantations allows mages to consistently cast oddly specific spells.
Expert spellcasters largely possess a better understanding of the mechanics of scroll-writing, and of their own scrolls. For this reason, their scrolls are generally more potent than those of a novice or an apprentice.
The words on a scroll generally appear as a simple poem to one who does not understand it. In truth, these words hold deep personal meaning to the original scroll-writer. Speaking the words themselves without the original understanding results in nothing -- it is necessary to understand the writing on the scroll in the mindset of the original author, a task that is generally impossible.
The use of scrolls in spellcasting remains beholden to a spellcaster's focus and concentration. However, the failure of a scroll-casted spell is far safer than the failure of a mind-casted spell, as scrolls are generally written with a number of fail-safes in order to mitigate the harmful impacts of that all-too-frequent scenario.
Below is a sample scroll, translated into the reader's language:
Bring to me the One
Who claims to be Temporal --
Temporal is but a Word,
And a Word is but Air --
Evidence indicates that, in order to cast magic, it is necessary to procure certain reagents in accordance with the spell in question. Among the Dwaerkar, this is referred to as Borost:Reagent theory.
Scholars agree that certain sorts of spells are cast most effectively when a proper reagent has been procured. Finding a proper reagent is a matter of finding a reagent whose physical, elemental, or spiritual connections with the spell in question are most powerful. For example, medicinal plants open the doors to many elementary healing spells, while charcoal, allows for the reasonable casting of fire.
All known reagents are consumed, totally or partially, upon the casting of the concordant spell. This requires mages to carry a stockpile of reagents in accordance with their needs. These are usually stored in a pouch or a satchel, and carried in the person of the spellcaster.
Finally, the art of spellcasting requires a catalyst. Catalysts can be anything upon which a spellcaster can place the entirety of their concentration. This means that the majority of professional spellcasters utilize objects of profound sentimental value.
The exact purpose of a catalyst in spellcasting is a point of great contention. The Dwaerkar believe that it is necessary as a tool to link the transcendent plane with the material plane, as discussed in Multiple plane theory. The Borostím, who believe these planes are one and the same, wholly disagree: They believe that a catalyst is simply the nexus of a spellcaster's focus and the powers of the universe, a singularity from which the latent energy of our plane can be directed according to the will of the spellcaster. This is a result of their adherence to the belief in the Borost:Single plane theory.
Only one recorded spellcaster in history has been able to effectively 'free-hand', or cast using his hands rather than a Catalyst. This, as the reader will probably guess, was Orothost the Holy, who nevertheless preferred to use the Borost:Staff of Orothost.