Magic described below is how we come to understand magic in Tam'nýer—a' now. That is, without the power and the help of the artifacts (remnants of the Gods & Goddesses), but with the assistance of Trail Markers.
When the Gods first died, magic died with them, but over the years since their death, Magic is slowly flowing back into the land and the main hubs for this are what everyone assumed were mere trail markers to help people travel. However, now they glow and people feel more energized around them as they are actually nodes for magic. Trail Markers are all over Tam'nýer—a', but the knowledge of them has evaporated over the years making them fascinating and a subject of study for some, whilst others shy away from their untold power.
Aside from the nodes and the discovery of Jn's Heart, magic in this world is an ability that most are born with the capacity to do. However, some magics are race-specific, but most are not. Below the different types of magic will be broken down and explained for you to better understand. Many of them have limitations as magic is not an indefensible weapon or an unbreakable shield. Ultimately, magic comes from within. In order to have the energy to do magic you must be well-rested or carry Focus Stones or Talismans which you have stored some of your own energy into for later use. Know though that this energy source will be used up if you draw from it and you will need to recharge again when you are able.
Magic is part of your essence. Using it to heal, for example, will wear you out over time. If it is a deep wound, you most likely will use up all your energy for magic in order to heal it to a point where you will not die. But, if you use too much of your power, it can put you into a coma, or kill you. It should be mentioned that falling into a coma for a week or two is not uncommon with students of magic as they learn what their limitations are. Sleep is a necessary thing in order to replenish your magic stores.
*Disclaimer about Magic: If your character is exhausted, this means that they have not enough stamina or energy to do magic! This means that if your character tries to do magic whilst exhausted the magic will either backfire and either cause injury to your character, affect them as it was meant to affect another or not work at all.
**Do note that magic is easier to be performed, and does not require as much stamina or endurance during the Summer season. It is believed to have something to do with all the lightning, and it consequently changing the heaviness in the air. Although, again, a reminder that magic with the Gods now dead is still primarily strength of belief, stamina, endurance and the proximity to the Trail Markers.
TYPES OF MAGIC
Taking advantage of their numbers, and their religious attributes, the Ãoni have a history of using chants that have turned to magic over the millennia. The Ãoni's lookouts use their large dwelling tunnel systems like a megaphone to alert the entire colony by chanting back into them if there seems to be malevolence approaching their coasts. The more voices partaking in the chant, the more the spell will grow in power. Soon, the entire colony would be surrounded by a protection spell; a magical barrier of which no one can enter or exit until the threat has moved on, or they run out of energy.
The Ãoni are a steadfast race though, so be prepared for a long war of attrition. Aside from large defensive/protective spells, the Ãoni can affect their surroundings on a massive scale, altering the weather in the way of hurricane winds and the like. It should be said that chanting magic has never been achievable by any other race or member of a different race, and the Ãoni are extremely protective of their chants. By far this is the most amazing feat of modern-day magic within the realm of Tam'nýer—a'.
To give you a better grasp of an Ãoni magic barrier and its circumference, if 10 Ãoni of a single colony began to chant, the barrier would be no less than 1 km (0.62 mi) to start. The Ãoni can see approximately 25 km (15.5 mi) into the distance, so they will have plenty of time to set up this meagre beginning. The Barrier their magic creates blocks anything from getting in or out once fully erected, and anything that comes crashing into it will now shatter apart, living or not, like a rose in liquid nitrogen.
Remember that the barrier grows over time or as voices join in. Think of blowing air into a bubble to make it grow. The more the Ãoni chant, the more that join in as well, the bigger this barrier will grow, going to a maximum of 6 km (3.72 mi), which can also alert other colonies that there might be danger, creating a chain reaction.
TYPES OF MAGIC
Empowers all other magics/stamina
Enchantment can be taught and learned by anyone. All talismans, in order to work, must be imbued with energy focused on the type of spell that is attached to it. For instance, a Khah' whilst crafting a talisman for luck in love will constantly speak to it, tell it that it is lovely, attractive and say things such as 'certainly, no one could deny you!' putting that energy and confidence into the talisman, that will feed into the wearer. That very act of putting energy into an object and speaking to it, giving it intent, is what enchantment is.
At its core, enchanting is putting one's energy into something. One could do this with a piece of jewelry they own as well simply by wearing it when they are most energized in the morning, and taking it off before they get tired, essentially 'charging' the piece of jewelry, which that person can then 'drain' later when they need to stay up all night to study. Draining this charged jewelry will aid them to succeed in being able to focus and be awake enough to study.
The best way to practice Enchantment, however, is by using Focus Stones.
*Note that Minor Enchantment is something that anyone can do. Minor Enchantment is what storing your energy into a piece of jewelry with a precious stone is considered to be.
**When doing Minor Enchantment, i.e., storing some of your energy into a piece of jewelry for later use, please note that jewelry that consists simply of metal will hold much less than a piece of jewelry with a stone. Jewelry made of wood will hold even less than one solely of metal. Jewelry made of bone is not considered Minor Enchantment, and requires a master of Enchantment as it needs to be 'cleansed' of the essence of whose bone it was first.
Examples of Use:
Mercenaries, fighters, etc with the knowledge of Enchantment can manipulate storing energy, using talismans and/or focus stones to fight longer, or drain the energy for one last and final big push.
Scholars and anyone really with the inclination to store energy are now finding that Tók’Smărrj (Tam’nýer-a’’s version of coffee) is something that they can enjoy merely as a beverage and not rely on it solely for pulling all-nighters. And the more one works this ‘muscle’ of storing energy and draining it, the easier it becomes; almost as if second nature.
Small groups of people who trust each other implicitly can sit together, meditate with their focus stones and if their energies vibe well enough with each other they can pool their energies together to accomplish tasks.
Empowers all other magics/stamina
Focus Stones are a major player when it comes to Tam'nýer—a''s version of magic. Focus Stones are a tool for Enchantment magic and pertain solely to storing energy and drawing energy. The whole idea of them is that each person has their own hum, just as the artifacts of the Gods do. Each person has a certain energy if you will, and with that, every individual also 'resonates' with a particular stone's energy more than others. Hence the term 'focus stone', because whatever stone happens to be the stone that you and your energy resonates with most, will be the type of stone that you can store the most energy into and drain energy from more easily. It is as if the stone is an extension of your 'hum'.
With this in mind, it should be said that each individual must find what stone is their Focus Stone and the only way to do that is to expose yourself to as many gems and minerals as possible. Merchant stalls would be a good choice to visit. From there all you need to do is touch one stone of each type. Don't worry about not knowing or having an inkling, so long as you don't try to force a stone you find very pretty to be your Focus Stone. That's not how it works.
But how will I know which stone is the one? Great question! You'll know because as soon as you touch it, you will feel something akin to a magnetic pull. Your energy will begin to seek out that stone. Just wait - you'll touch one, and walk away from the stall, but find yourself returning again and again until you purchase one of that type. Talk about a nag in your soul.
Talismans are a type of magic that essentially are summed up to simple good luck charms, albeit they are usually very pretty. Crafted mainly by the Khah', they are usually worn by workers in affluent brothels, who sport them not only for the look but make for good marketing as a man can purchase one for their lover back home as a heartfelt token he got for them on his travels. Another usual place to find a talisman would be as an heirloom in a Khah' family, passed down through the generations.
The Talismans are usually imbued with protection spells, or words promoting good fortune, luck in love, beauty and wealth. But, if the charms mean little to you, they make for a lovely little piece of jewelry.
Protection Spell Talismans: Now, when it comes to a Talisman with a protection spell this usually happens via a little nudge when it comes to fate, or unbeknownst to you, deterring you from making decisions that may lead you to danger. Think of it as being guided in a way to make smarter decisions. For example, you could be traveling on foot, and you have the decision to stay at an inn or keep going. Being so focused on your journey, your heart could be pumping so much so that you don't really notice how tired or how hungry you are, so you would naturally keep going since your destination is only 2 more hours from this inn. But with your talisman, it guides you to rest your body instead, which you become all the more grateful for as soon as you take off your boots and discover blisters, and you're so hungry that you are on the brink of a sugar crash.
Good Fortune Talismans: With Lady Luck on your side, how can you do wrong? Talismans imbued with good fortune are usually coveted by those who deal in business. Despite it being a 'pretty trinket', there is a lot of belief in some for these talismans that it is not unusual for some merchants to have a pile of them hanging around their shoppes. Some pregnant women even hang them in their houses to bless them with an easier pregnancy as it may lessen aches, pains and grant a woman an easier time when it comes to getting some actual sleep. Good Fortune benefits everyone as it tends to make people happier as well, and with more positive outlooks, what's not to love?All in all, good fortune talismans can do things like tip the odds in your favor during a business deal, sometimes even when you least expect it, or, pertaining to the example of a pregnant woman, she may not suffer any pains, and have a quick labour if she happens to be wearing her talisman during that critical moment.
Love Talismans: Ah, now here is a popular type of talisman! Who doesn't want to find their one and only? Now, love talismans can be a bit tricky as you must be wearing them when in the presence of your crush, so it's best to wear these all the time, even to bed. It's believed that any time you might be thinking of them, you are putting your desire for that person into the talisman as if coaxing it and letting it know who exactly to 'work on'. Meaning that this kind of talisman will work best if you treat it as a voice recorded diary in a sense. Love talismans also can open up conversation with the person you're interested in, particularly if you get one that might appeal to them. Another way to get a love talisman to work is by wearing it yourself, putting your energy into it, and then gifting it to who you desire. This melds both yours and their energies together in this talisman and definitely should create a bit of a spark where there wasn't one before. However, it should be said that love talismans aren't an end all be all. While it is a nudge in the right direction, may spark conversation and curiosity, and/or help your desired person to think of you more often, it doesn't mean that they'll fall in love with you, but it most certainly can guarantee a bit of flirting, which is that bad really. At the very least, you'll get to know your interest a bit more personally.
The charms tend to be made from glass, metal, carved bone or sealed wood as well as being adorned with bits of shell and various dyed furs or threads to make the tassel that is indicative of a Talisman.
Note on Talismans:
Talismans are taking on personalities of their own. They feel a certain way. Perhaps the one you bought for yourself as a trinket suddenly feels playful or mischievous. Whereas the one your local grocer wears makes him more diplomatic, stand up taller and that’s because one day he reveals to you that he feels noble somehow. Not only this but the more energy you charge it with, the more it seems to be infectious to your person.
GOD SIGIL TATTOOS & SCARIFICATION
Tattoos and/or scarification of God sigils have been used for many generations in Tam'nýer—a'. Their applications vary, but all stem from a strong belief of drawing from the Gods' power and/or protections.
In the instance of the Nkhya'jra, tattooing is to depict to their peers which deity is the one they worship above all the others. But no matter what race partakes in this practice, by doing this the individual will attain a certain prowess for whatever that God or Goddess symbolizes, e.g., a person whose primary deity is VüƑ and is a devout believer who bears his sigil, may be imbued with a profound amount of patience, or the ability to be calm in a moment of mob panic because 'everything is written'. Just as a person bearing Sùrelï's sigil will have a higher proficiency with languages. This would also include numbers, as math is technically a language. These powers are referred to as Gifts.
*Please know that the Khah' tradition of tattooing the face is not a magic practice. It is solely a cultural one. As for the Z'sa'Ză-'Bäa tattoos, they too hold no magical properties, despite wearing them around their wrists, ankles, upper arms, thighs, and occasionally their necks.
Can be weakened by; Talismans, Tattoos & Scarification
Can be balanced out by; Scorch Marks
Using bits of dead or living individuals, as well as creatures, sometimes paired with the diverse flora on Tam'nýer—a' is a strong and binding magic, referred to as Blood Magic. Some magic can last years after the caster's death and may require a piece of the original caster's essence if it were to be undone.
Because of this, one's essence is extremely valuable, most especially amongst the Nkhya'jra, going so far as being a type of currency between nobility families in their culture. If you are a Duke and a Lord owes you a favor it is backed up by either a thumbprint, a piece or lock of hair, blood, tears or skin embedded into a piece of hammered gold. The Lord can only earn back this piece of themselves by fulfilling their end of the bargain. As for the common folk, currency is less of an issue as everything is run on a bartering system. However, above all, the highest price is a piece or filed off dust of a Nkhya'jra horn. This denotes slavery or ownership of another.
When practiced in non-Ṅkhya'jra society, a drop or vial of blood from a love rival can make the difference in you superseding them and bringing them into ruin. Blood Magic is considered a dark magic because of this and is therefore taboo, but if power, destruction, and control is alluring to you, you may be called towards Blood Magic.
Do take heed; Blood Magic is not for the faint of heart and may surprise you with heavy consequences. You may bring the downfall to your enemy/enemies, but you may end up trading your life.
Can be weakened by; Talismans, Tattoos & Scarification
Can be balanced out by; Scorch Marks
Sacrificial magic is considered a type of Blood magic and is the main magic of the Sk'älik peoples. Giving up things in exchange for power or an effect. This most often comes in the form of the most precious resource the Sk'älik have: food. For whatever reason, most Tam'nýer—a''ns find sacrificial magic difficult to comprehend, because at times it may seem as though the sacrifice is not worth the effect. And unlike blood magic, it cannot last past the caster's lifetime, and dies with the caster.
Sacrificial magic requires a deep belief, a stomach for the act, and a mind capable of withstanding emotional pain. In order to perform a proper sacrifice for the benefit of magic blessing or enhancement of sorts, you must offer up something that is of great personal value, e.g., food, as mentioned above, or an ability you possess. Perhaps a skill you learned during your lifetime is worth forgetting forever for the gained benefit of financial freedom? But do you have the belief and devotion to your God great enough to truly mean it? If deemed false, it will not happen, and you could suffer injury.
In any case, the Sk'älik believe and practice this magic, and shockingly enough, some even sacrifice things for the greater good, not simply for personal gain. They may be a gruff species, but they do have heart.
Note on Blood & Sacrificial Magic:
For instance, if you call upon your patron deity in prayer with candles and want to curse someone, you may offer your hair, or an appendage (perhaps one of your hands is worth it?), even your life, and depending upon the amount of sacrifice, the higher its chances that it will occur. If you use a piece of them, it is to attach the Blood Magic to that person. You could even bleed over a necklace of theirs and the tie will be made. Think of Blood & Sacrificial Magic as truly having the power to call upon and enforce Karma.
You create a mantra, you inscribe your sacrifices on a piece of something that can last longer than you (chisel into stone, brand into metal, carve into a tree) and speak it for candlemarks. If you intend to curse someone, in particular, call upon them until they witness you, say your mantra, speak your curse, and make your sacrifice. They will be marked as they hear it and the Gods will hear you.
Example of Sacrificial Magic. © Rome, HBO
Keep in mind though that no type of Magic is 100% bad. Just as powerful as Blood Magic being used to curse or hex, it can be used to give blessings as well. Some people even choose to constantly be in a cycle of growing out their hair and then offering it once each Tam'nýer-a''n month with some of their blood so that they may be protected in one way or another. This usually manifests by means of that neighbor across the street who has a brand new house, furnishings, clothes, and gets that promotion you've been working hard for.
Can be weakened by; Talismans, Tattoos & Scarification
Can be balanced out by; Blood and/or Sacrificial Magic
Scorch Marks are writing imbued with magic and depicted like sigils. Scorch Marks, for the most part, are used to protect houses, belongings of personal value, be they sentimental or otherwise, and hexes. Like most magics, there are uses for good and uses for bad.
Adept magic practitioners may simply use Scorch Marks as a way to communicate highly sensitive topics so that the common folk cannot read them, however, they must be handled carefully. Scorch Marks used as messages, depending on the level of experience, and the power and energy put into one, will send the message not only as information, but feel it and/or hear it as well. Of course, the sound won’t be out loud, but in your head, and with the sender's voice, no matter the distance between you or whether or not the sender is still alive.
It is as if the Scorch Mark copies a bit of the maker’s essence, like a fingerprint, and re-create a sense of their presence from that alone. The Khah''s Storytellers are proficient Scorch Mark users and communicate this way with their Empress. That being said, you must be an adept magic user in order to do anything in the realm of Scorch Marks, big or small.
If you are on the receiving end of a Scorch Mark note, and it is a hex, whether or not you can read it, upon touching its intended, the note's paper or parchment (whichever it is written on) will fall apart, as the sigil will ignite, like a sulfur trail, and scorch said sigil onto the flesh, marking the victim. This is in fact where the name of this magic comes from.
Now the terrible thing is that sigils from a Scorch Mark hex take an extreme amount of energy and talent to remove. Finding a magic practitioner strong enough, and willing to deplete their energy stores will be difficult, and no doubt, expensive. If, however, for some reason you are a strong magic user yourself, you can deflect the hex of a Scorch Mark and rather than falling and imprinting on your flesh it will fall onto the nearest object, i.e. a table or book. The hex will then, luckily, be transferred to that object. However, if the Scorch Mark you receive is a blessing, then the difficulty to undo the magic of said Mark is a major bonus because you'll most likely be blessed with it until your death.
Example of Scorch Mark © Howl's Moving Castle, Studio Ghibli
If a Scorch Mark is being used as a hex or a blessing, like Blood Magic, it will tie the creator’s essence with the recipient’s. You will know who has blessed/hexed you as you will feel their presence once it touches your skin. Think of it as a very intimate way of blessing or hexing, albeit it also permits long-distance, and you do not need to be in the person’s vicinity, making it inherently more dangerous.
Like all magics, Healing takes from your energy, your stamina, in order to help those in need. Now, to be clear, Healing Magics are not an end-all, be-all. You may be able to help blood coagulate faster, perhaps instantly depending on your experience of working this type of magic and energy stores, but it cannot restore someone to a state as if nothing had happened, or cure gangrene without amputation.
Healing magic, and being better at it does not solely rely upon experience & your energy levels, but also one’s ability to visualize healing, as well as a knowledge of anatomy despite the world’s level of understanding. Thanks to this, small scratches vanish as if they never happened. This, in turn, also means that an expert healer may not require a needle and sinew (or thread) to sew a laceration closed. Instead, you may be able to piece together the fabric that is someone’s flesh merely by envisioning it in your mind.
By no means is this a small feat, even for adept healers, but clearly it can save a life and reduce healing time exponentially. Keep in mind too, that even if a wound does not close all the way, that does not mean that the depth of the wound has not been ameliorated in some way. Not all healing is done just on the surface.
Healing magic, despite its sanctified trope, can actually be quite dangerous though. On battlefields, many healers have died by wanting to aid the injured and sick to a point that they themselves were not careful in watching their energy reserves. The want and need to heal can become an obsession putting a healer at risk.
Note on Healing:
If your character has set up shop as a healer, and hands out tinctures and such to help with nausea or irritable bowels, that can be handled solely with apothecary work and requires no magic. However, if you wish to write that these tinctures and powders are enhanced and strengthened by putting some of your energy or imbuing them with your magic, then that is completely acceptable as well, but remember, it will not be a miracle cure.
Example of Regeneration. ©