Thesis on Magic
Magic; a power that is unquantifiable by any spectrum that man has yet to create. It seems to be able to exist in even the smallest of things, and the power is not constrained by the size of the object. A giant of a man may not even have the power to wield it, while I once encountered an awakened field mouse in one of my lectures that could blow a hole in a mountain. Luckily, field mice have a short life span and little ambition. It's a good thing the Temple of Heka didn't use a turtle.
Ah, now that I have broken the ice with that little joke let me get to the heart of this dissertation. I will detail my findings on the fundamentals of magic, it's decay, and possible preservation.
Fundamentals of Magic
Magic exist as a force that surrounds us, penetrates us, binds us to this world. Magic touches most things from birth, and some scholars believe that it effects us before hand, though their research lacks any quantifiable data so my thesis will not touch on the nature of such.
Though magic surrounds us at all times, it is concentrated in the world by things called ley lines. One could think of these as the veins that snake through the body of our world. Most often, these veins are invisible to the naked eye. The only notable exceptions are during Solumbra, the planetary equinox that happens every 1618 days, during mana flares, and slight glimpses are attainable from large nexuses.
Mana flares, for those that don't recall from intermediate magic theory classes, are when streams of magic collide. This happens when the nexuses, the points where many of these ley lines connect, swell with mana energy to the point where it creates backflow along a ley line. When these backflows cause equal pressure the ley line "burst," releasing raw magical energy. This mana is often referred to as "wild magic" and can be used for a great many purposes by an expert that knows how to manipulate it. It is believed that these flares provide mana in its purest form. The near random nature of the streams make these hard to predict, and the relative rarity of these flares makes further research difficult at best.
Nexuses, on the other hand, are quite reliable. They shift very slowly, moving but a tenth of a meter every generation. These fonts of power are often the sites of research institutions and magical cultist. These nexuses can be tapped to increase to power of a magic user beyond their normal means. Small bits of power can be gathered safely by using the standard formula of para-consumptions (10.3.9). What is unique about nexuses, though, is that you can exceed your buffer variable by a power of three. The downside, though, is that even the slightest miscalculation in drawing the mana can cause the mana to consume the individual, burning them from the inside out. Cases of sudden and dramatic mana consumption have been known to cause explosive decompression in individuals.
Decay of Magic
Though the Temple of Heka and those that worship the crone are very reluctant to hint at, and even more remiss to admit, is that magic is in a state of decay. The number of individuals born mundane (with no ability to manipulate magic) appears to be increasing with a rate of p^(ln(i+.13)) each year, where i is a compounding number. This may not seem like much now, but over a few generations of the fey-touched we may have the absence of magic in this world.
There are many thesis on why this is happening. The most prominent is that the world is dying. Though seen as poetic by many scholars, the ley lines do seem to act as the veins of the planet. Though most research in the past was only concerned with the migration of lines and adjoining nexuses, research as recent as the past 200 years has started to focus on the density of the ley lines. though it is still too early to tell, there has been signs of some diminishing in them. Old text, though, maintain that magic rises and falls in cycles. this leaves some to believe that we are beginning a low tide and that after some time magic will begin to swell through the ley lines with its former ferocity.
Another theory is that people are becoming more resistant to magical forces. Much like how the body builds up resistances to diseases once they are exposed to them, and these resistances and immunities pass to some degree to our children, it is entirely possible that our constant irradiation to magical powers has caused our bodies to start to build immunities. When looking to the past, the number of great mages we have today pales to those we had hundreds of years ago, and that pales to the mageocracy that was maintains 2700 years ago.
Prevention of Decline and Preservation of Magic
Much is being done to prevent the degradation of magic. The Temple of Heka is creating magic items to provide utility and preserve training for future mages. Worshipers of the Crone and the Maiden are spreading simple rituals and sigils to the peasant folk. While most of these sigils have little power, there has been come merit in finding those with latent powers.
We at the University of Monbrooke are looking for alternatives to tapping into magic. While demonology appears to be a viable option it is neither condoned nor endorsed. Sadly, this is one of the easiest ways to gain, maintain, or build magical powers. There is little want to relive the days of Warlord Kerdin and his swatch of destruction and conquest from the west.
My research is very recent and came to me as a boon. Recently, a new world was discovered and with it new minerals. These minerals reacted in a unique nature to test that I conducted. Most notable was a copper like metal that seemed especially adapt at conducting electricity. Was was even more amazing is that it also carried strong magnetic properties when exposed to a mana battery. Another was a gem that looks like a strange mix between ruby and obsidian. As a jewel it fails to have little value. when attempting to facet the rock it gave off great amounts of heat and the application of a mana battery caused ignition the the work table.
We began experiments on those that could already harness magic. It appears that they acted as a mana battery themselves, though their capacity was much larger than the small utility boxes that we used. Most of the mages either died, experienced immense pain, or were driven mad by the influxes of power and control.
I proposed that the materials would be of better use in a mundane individual. There was a strong lack of volunteers so I decided to experiment upon myself. Positioning of the grafts was difficult as it was hard to judge effectiveness correctly while trying to fight back the pain the procedure entailed. through trial and error (and a mountain of scars) I finally mapped out the effective placement of the materials on my body. As note, it is much easier to trace to flows of magic in a magically active individual as opposed to a mundane individual. This is surprising as although it is easier to pick up unique flows in a mundane individual, we work as an inefficient machine in processing said energies. This differs much from the constant flows in the magically active as any changes to their flows are compensated by their own bodies processes.
After recovery, I found that I could harness some powers with the skill of a intermediate student at the Temple of Heka. while this may not sound like much, remember that I was a mundane until this experiment.
While this process does not let one grow organically as a magician, it does provide the utility of one. While some traditionalist see this as an abomination to the true nature of the craft, it preserves it nonetheless.
I plan on continuing my thesis by traveling to the new world and finding more samples that I can conduct further research on. I will be cataloging rarity of these items, locations of where they can be found, mineral composition when available, and continue further self experiments to determine the nature of the materials. I will also catalog the effects of this grafts on me as time and exposure grow.
Circle of Creation
The Circle of Creation is not quite a religion, but more of a theology.
As we all know, all bodies natural to this world contain the four elements; earth, fire, air, and water. Humans contain about equal quantities of all four, fish have more water, birds have more air, worms have more earth, and lions have more fire. These are just examples, but illustrate the idea well enough.
Those that follow the Circle of Creation believe that living things are bound by a spirit the binds these elemental powers into a form. This spirit is not a unique thing, though. It is, in a sense, recycled though entities. By becoming more in tune with the elements, one finds a more powerful form in their new life. This is accomplished by becoming as balanced and attuned in the elements in your life as you can. When a new life is needed, it start as a polarized elemental form that is produced by the need of balance to the world.
Of note, if your past few lives are unbalanced elementally, then you come back as something more polar to an element you are lacking to help bring about a balance and cause spiritual evolution.
To this end, those that are of the Circle of Creation strive to become in tune with their elemental natures and increase them by a variety of means. One of the most common is to be a druid and live as one with the land. The majority of drudic sects are members of the Circle of Creation and manage a variety of safe-houses in the harsh wilderness where they not only shelter those from the elements, but also help others understand and become in tune with them.
Another path followed by the Circle of Creation is become scholars and philosophers that study the elements and the properties of the spirit. The University of Moonbrooke is one of the most famous institutes of study for this topic. They have produced some of the finest minds in the elemental field, including the late Durkin Duskforge, a dwarven philosopher that was able to decipher the soul of things bound to earth and fire and syphon the pure elements from them. He is credited for legitimizing the Circle of Creation beyond an wilderness cult.
The least common path followed by the Circle of Creation are followers called immolaters. They believe that to reach ascension they must directly become one with the elements in a more direct way. These individuals have been known to bury themselves up to their necks for days at a time, repeatedly drown themselves, set themselves ablaze, and dive from great heights. Most don't live very long and those that do are often seen as madmen. These are just the examples of extremist, though, and most of the more intelligent immolaters look for safer ways to become more encompassed by the elements.