Use of magic in Cresia is highly dependent upon so called mana flows. Mana flows are invisible currents of magical energy that “flow” on the surface and sub-surface areas of the continent not much differently than how winds do in the physical realm. There are many wildly differing theories among Cresian scholars about the nature of mana flows but so far each theory has distinct flaws and no unified mana theory has arisen to explain the phenomena. The flows can be imagined as thick ribbons circling the globe at seemingly random locations; each flow is between five kilometers to over 100 kilometers in width, around few kilometers in height (usually but not always extending below ground as well) and their length can not be meaningfully measured. Their locations remain mostly the same for hundreds or thousands of years but there are constant fluctuations in the height and width of the energy fields. A few cosmologists can predict these fluctuations with reasonable accuracy.
Where the above mentioned flows connect or cross, magical energies amplify creating so called nexus points. In these areas magical abilities and unnatural phenomena are multiplied manyfold and, depending on the history of the locations, are usually highly revered or shunned locales. The most important nexus point is located right in the heart of Myrna and at the very center of that nexus is where the capital city of Myrna is located. Needless to say that magic is quite common in that country. Another famous nexus point is at the heart of the C’Sar mountain which has changed not only the history of the country but their inhabitants in remarkable ways. The sizes of the flows connecting determine the nexus’ power: the more bigger the flows, the more potent is the nexus. Nexus points are usually roughly circular areas with a diameter of tens of meters (smallest known nexuses) to a diameter of about 50 kilometers (the one affecting Myrna). The farther one is removed from the center point, the weaker the power becomes. Using magical powers within nexus points can be a double-edged sword: on one hand manifesting different powers becomes much easier than normal but on the other hand these powers are much more volatile and harder to control. In essence a good magic user can create more powerful versions of the magic they know but a bad magic user can manage to create more disastrous catastrophes than usual!
Null zones exist where there are no mana flows within a hundred kilometers or so. In those areas magic does not work at all and magical unnatural phenomena does not happen. These locations are, however, only a handful in number since most areas of Cresia are at least weakly affected by one or more mana flows. The most famous null zones are the entire island of Horna, northern islands of Margash, southern islands of Crovascia and most of coastal regions of Ferria.
Users of Magic
Most people who can wield these magical energies are born with an innate ability to harness these powers. Around one child out of a 100 has this innate ability and of those only one out ten actually becomes quite good at using it and two in ten master it adequately enough to be called magic users (should they so desire). It does not matter where in Cresia one is born but statistically speaking there appears to be a correlation between high mana areas and percentage of the population with these innate abilities. It is not, however, clear if the mana flows directly affect this or if there are other variables explaining the differences (inhabitants in high mana areas are more trained to notice and cultivate the symptoms in their offspring than people in low mana areas or even null zones; especially must be noted here that it is rumored that in Horna tribal elders condemn babies manifesting these abilities to be cooked and eaten!). Magical skills can also be taught to persons that have no innate abilities but it does require more effort and time from those doing the teaching as the recipient’s body and mind need adjusting.
Users of magic typically learn abilities from only one or two schools of magic. However, the more potent innate abilities, the more likely it is that the person achieves control of more schools of magic. Most persons that are magic users do not really have a say in the matter; they are born with these abilities and if they are not properly controlled of harnessed, they may manifest in unexpected and often dangerous ways. It’s not uncommon to hear about people who enter an emotional turmoil and unleash unknowingly powers that wreak havoc (such as cause barns to catch fire, freeze a pond, affect the passing of the time in some weird way or even cause a pestilent disease on a target of hateful thoughts). It is up to persons themselves to decide whether they want to pursue other things in life but learning at least to keep these powers at bay is paramount to their survival.
Using magic provokes different reactions in different parts of the continent. In Ferria magic users are commonly seen as cheap charlatans doing tricks and their position in society is comparable to the position of peasants and it is unlikely that they would rise to any position of importance. In Myrna the same magic users with exact same abilities are respected and adored and only the most powerful of magicians can become one of the ruling elite. Most parts of the continent accept the presence of magic but it is quite common for magic users to hide their abilities just to blend in with normal people.
Schools of Magic (Spheres of Influence)
Magic in Cresia is commonly divided into following schools of magic.
The magical discipline of manipulation of time and manipulation of the perception of time. Practitioners are commonly referred as chronomancers. Chronomancy is one of the hardest disciplines to learn and master.
This discipline is the manipulation of the physical world by either altering the laws that control it or inventing new rules that supersede how the Universe normally operates. Cosmology is the source of such things as levitation and flying, illumination control, teleportation and even gravimetrc distortion. Practitioners have no special nickname. Simply calling them wizards is normally sufficient.
Mentalism deals with the essence of living entities. The practitioners – called mentalists or illusionists – are able to tap into the essence and alter it either permanently or temporarily. Such feats as planting fictive memories, introducing new thoughts and reading other people’s thoughts are possible for a trained mentalist as well as creating make-believe structures within their targets’ minds in order to aid or hinder them.
Somewhat like mentalism, the discipline of necromancy differs from it in that necromancy does not care whether or not the essence being manipulated or controlled is part of a living entity or not. The connection to a corporeal entity is meaningless to the practitioner – called necromancer – and all that matters is it’s connection to the universe. Necromancers are notorious and feared because they can capture essences from the nether and instill them on inanimate targets (such as corpses) creating a mockery of life. However, some practitioners of necromancy (particularly those that are also witches) limit their access to souls in nether by merely consulting them (asking questions about events from the past or future) and not forcing them to be locked within corporeal entities. Even that is usually shunned by common folk.
This discipline is a cousin to cosmology in that it manipulates the physical reality but refraining in the 5 primordial elements of fire, water, earth, air and entropy. An elementalist can exert much greater control over these 5 primordial elements than is possible with cosmology. As mastering this art is dangerous and hard, most practitioners concentrate only on one, two or three elements and usually none of them are opposites of each other (air is polar opposite to earth, fire is polar opposite to water and entropy is opposite to each of the others).
Biomancers focus on the living tissue, neural activity, bio-electric impulses and stimulation of the body. The discipline is greatly valued by healers and witches alike in that this discipline allows both healing the body and making it sick. Most biomancers are also herbalists and alchemists as well since these augment each other quite perfectly.
As mentalism and necromancy deals with the essence of living creatures and once living creatures, alchemy relies on altering the chemical or atomic essence of non-living objects. Alchemists manipulate how material world operates and may change the material world’s parameters to better suit whatever objective the practitioner aims for. Such as inciting the molecular activity of a metal object heats is up due to friction. The most feared creations of alchemists’ are the golems – animated objects that the alchemist instills with energy in order to make it act like a living creature.
When objects are infused with magical energies, the object is said to be enchanted. Enchanters make the infusion happen. The infusion process may be quite elaborate taking years or it may take the form of a simple incantation taking seconds. In either way the effects are usually not permanent but fade over time. Only the most powerful enchanters are able to permanently infuse magical energies into objects making these items extremely valuable and sought after.
Witches manipulate reality and faith and predict outcomes. Some witches are not easy to tell apart from illusionists but then again others focus entirely on outcome predictions and consulting the universe while yet others make rituals that affect the lives of their targets for great periods of time in either benign or malign ways. The discipline is most diversified (perhaps after cosmology) and boasts a great variety of spells, rituals and incantations for many occasions. Many witches are also herbalists, mystics or naturalists and some are healers as well.
When nature needs to be “guided”, the one who can help out is a naturalist. The discipline deals with subtly changing natural processes and the outcomes are usually not easily predicted and take quite a lot of time to take effect. Naturalists can change weather patterns, affect growth of fauna and flora, manipulate fertility of both living creatures and land alike and even cause land slides, volcanic eruptions or earthquakes to happen! Whereas the biomancer manipulates the essence of living entities, naturalist understands that the essence of the world is just as easily manipulated as the essence of a man or an ant. The famed druids are naturalists.
Summoners (or more commonly – sorcerers) call in aid from other places. Summoning creatures from other levels of existence, temporal period, alternate dimensions or even the netherworld itself is considered a wile and evil practice since it usually means that the summoner takes the creature(s) as his prisoners and binds their essence to obey his bidding. Summoning can focus on corporeal entities, ethereal spirits and even magical entities composed entirely of magical energies. Sorcerers of the most despised and feared sort are those that summon entities from the netherworld since those creatures are immensely powerful, wile and evil by their nature. But whereas a demonologist is solely interested in summoning and controlling demonic creatures from the netherworld, a summoner could use their power to transfer inanimate objects between temporal rifts (different time periods) or even between dimensional rifts (physical barriers separating this level of existence from others that could be totally different).
Netherworld creatures are commonly (if mistakenly) referred to as demons. They can breach our levels of existence in many ways – some of which are still mysteries – but their goal is without exception to cause harm, havoc and destruction. Practitioners are called demonologists by persons initiated with magic but are commonly called as sorcerers. This makes sense since almost all practitioners are also practitioners of summoning making the two disciplines uniquely entwined. The ultimate goal of the practitioner is to trap, manifest, consult, banish, bind, control and annihilate these demons. Demonologists are much more better in summoning these creatures compared to summoners as they have devoted their time and energy to this.