Tuesday, January 13, 2015

     Elementalism is the magical practice of directing and controlling elemental energy. To gain access to this energy, a practitioner needs to focus their mental energies on an elemental sigil. The sigil then "responds", and the practitioner then needs to shape the energy with their mind. This is harder than and it sounds, as there are thousands of variables involved. Spell formulas were developed  in order to streamline the process. What practitioners lose in flexibility when using formulas, they gain in a dramatically lowered risk of death and dismemberment. Elemental energies are powerful and unpredictable after all, and even a formulated spell can spiral out of control, if the variables are misjudged. Elemental artifacts are created by inlaying sigils and formula on mundane tools with orichalcum and other magically conducive alloys. The resulting device can be used by anyone holding it, provided they have sufficient intelligence to hold the pattern in their. Notable artifacts include the fire staff, a cheap piece of wood with a simple fireball spell inscribed. They are mass produced in Sinrerall by the tens of thousands, and are standard issue in the army. Sinrerall also makes void ships, massive wooden vessels with adjustable planer shift spells built in. They are over  a dozen know elemental sigils. The four elements of classical Zarkian philosophy are represented, as well as stranger elements like void and time. The existence of the "lost" elements that the Directors are said to have utilised is a hotly debated topic. Proponents point to the recent discovery of the void sigil as evidence that their are unknow sigils. Detractors say that the Directors merely used highly advanced applications of known sigils, and that if there were more sigils out there, they would have been already found on director artifacts.

     Alchemy is the art of extracting magical essence out of natural materials and combining those essences into useful potions and mixtures. Base essences are found in rare plants, animals and minerals. These have minor magical effects when consumed, such as making someone lighter, or giving them a slight glow. Stronger effects can be created by mixing these essences, and these solutions can themselves be combined with others to create even more powerful potions, and so on. A major danger in alchemical laboratories is cross contamination of different products, as these will alter the end result quite dramatically. Fumes and spills can also be dangerous, and some alchemical compounds can combust quite spectacularly. Closely related to alchemy is the art of internal alchemy. An internal alchemist can use specific meditation techniques to transmute their body fluids into alchemical compounds. Just as in normal alchemy, simpler compounds can be combine into stronger ones. Internal alchemy is unknown outside the directorate. 

     Summoning allows a practitioner to manifest a spirit into the physical world. Once there, a spirit is in no way obligated to obey the summoner, but they seem to like being summoned, so they'll listen to the summoner to some degree. A clever summoner will also try to use a spirits nature to their advantage, asking them to do things they want to do anyways. To begin summoning, a practitioner first sends out a mental signal into the spiritual world. A spirit responds by entering into the callers mind in a form known as an imago. A practitioner is aware of the spirit living in their head, but the spirit itself is only dimly aware of its surroundings, and communicates through impressions and emotions. Through concentration the spirit can released, where it will fulfill its desires. Afterwards, with an exertion of will the spirit can recalled back into the mind. It is incredibly difficult to recall a spirit that you yourself didn't summon, but it is not impossible. It is much easier to recall a spirit into a prepared talisman, which anyone can use to summon or recall the spirit. Talismans are specific to the spirit they are meant to house. A summoner knows what sort of talisman is needed to house an imago in their head. If the spirit is not recalled, it will go feral, growing stronger and sometimes even reproducing. For this reason, and also because spirits are seen as unclean, summoning is illegal in Sinrerall. On the hand, spirits are venerated in Czaga, and summoner druids are held in high regard. Spirits are organized into groups know as courts that share similar forms and outlooks. Oddly, different courts are found in different worlds, though the spirit plane spans all worlds. Over time, courts can gain or lose prominence, sometimes appearing out of nowhere, sometimes disappearing altogether. The two courts on Zark currently dominate are the Proud Lords and the Wet Dark.

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