History of Magic
Magic's place in the world
Magic is a craft, a profession, a skill, and a class of combat, but is also a living entity. While Magic is the art of manipulating the arcane energies, mana is it's direct name. Every living being has at least a small amount of mana, even if they have no aptitude for manipulating it whatsoever. Without mana, one cannot maintain the connection of body and soul. Some people are born with a greater ability for manipulating mana than others, sometimes less, or no ability at all. The more learned Masters within the university have recognized this, but have yet been able to explain why. Why some are born with ability, some with none. Why some take many years to realize their potential and others have excelled in it's use before adolescence. Generally speaking, anyone is capable of committing great deeds, whether good or evil, but not everyone is blessed with the talent for magic. Most must work hard to realize their potential, and some do not have the option at all. Similar to being born color-blind, some may never know the movements of mana, nor how to manipulate it.
Magic is very dangerous, and when mana is controlled by the untrained, it can have unexpected(sometimes lethal) effects upon the wielder, not to mention those who may be their target, whether friend or foe. Children still unaware of their potential are especially notorious for this. For this reason, it was made law that all that are untrained in the ways of Magic and it's practice be delivered to the University for instruction- at least to the point of being able to safely control one's manipulations, failing to do so often results in imprisonment, if not lobotomized, if one is thought to be too dangerous to be controlled. The logic is easy to see with a simple example: "How dangerous is a child? Not very. How about a child with a sword? A little bit more, but still mostly harmless. And a man with a sword? Dangerous enough to kill. In time, all tools could be used to do great harm."
It is also to be noted that no one owns mana. If a novice Wizard and a Master Sorcerer were to find themselves in a duel against one another, it is not uncommon for the Sorcerer to simply use his will to overpower his weaker opponent and sap the mana free from him. Without any amount of mana left, the Soul is ripped free of the mortal vessel. It is still incredibly difficult to force one's mana directly upon another, especially when it's far simpler to just scorch one's opponent with a fireball, it is an effective attempt at demoralization. Threat of having one's soul ripped free and left to wander the planes for the rest of eternity is a frightening prospect to many. This is what makes Defiler sorcery that much more potent than standard preserver Wizardry, in invoking terror.
Laws of Magic
- Just as any mortal man can only lift as much as his strength permits and no more, a Preserver cannot perform more magic than his mana allows. Defilers are capable of bolstering their mana by stealing it from the environment, or slaves if they have them on hand.
- If one performs more magic than they have mana, they risk exhaustion. All sentient beings hold some amount of mana, even small. The animus is what connects the soul to the body, and cannot exist without mana. Without that connection provided by the animus, the link is lost, and the body is nothing but an empty vessel.
- No mortal, no matter their power, has found any means to travel- neither over great distances or small ones- beyond putting one foot in front of the other. Teleportation is a fool's fancy.
- Life is finite. A truly great healer can pull someone back from the very precipice of death, when all breath has stopped and the heart fails, but the spirit still clings to life. But once the spirit has fled, it does not return to the body and cannot be recalled. This is no failure of the wizard, it's just reality.
- Even the most gifted of Defilers cannot stave off death forever. The soul grows weary the longer it spends in the world. Eventually it even yearns for release. One can lengthen their life and stay Death's hand, but only for a short time. One has never extended their life beyond a thousand years, not even through the most powerful necromantic workings.
- While mana is inherent, Magic is not. While all living creatures have mana that connects the soul and body, fewer and fewer are born with the fortitude and flexibility to work their own mana, or that of others, into magic spells. One is not born into the world with inherent knowledge of magic. Attempts to practice it without tutelage or instruction rarely end in anything but disaster.
- The deeper one delves into unraveling the secrets of magic, the more their mind is dislodged from reality. This process is called cracking, like damage forming in glass, and cannot be undone. Learning magic, enduring particularly traumatic experiences, and twisting the mind in too many directions will ultimately drive one to insanity.