The Ferdiad Cycle
" Take heed young king
of Aern days to come,
for teeth, spear nor malice
can paltry seem
next to an arcane soul,
lit as the burning sun! "
- Obeiron, ‘Life and deeds of the First King’ – Chapter XII
Drystan in seeped in the transforming forces of magic both destructive and wondrous. While few are aware of it and even fewer can wield it’s power, it has shaped the lands and men since the dawn of time. The few capable of spellcasting live dangerous lives, as they are haunted not only by their fellow men and women who always have feared the unknown, but their own powers which can consume one not strong enough to contain them.
Magic is divided into two types: white and black magic, also known as the divine and the arcane. Spellcasting is an ability one is born with, not learned. Some magical creatures are capable of using white magic by their very nature but a magically adept human must go through arduous training to learn and master his abilities. A spellcaster without training is a force of uncontrolled destruction who generally don’t have long to live. The gift (or curse) of magic is normally noticed during early childhood when the uncontrolled forces start to emanate from the child. He or she is then quickly released into the custody of officials who deliver the child to be tested whether it is aligned to white or black magic. Only bards are ever able to use both.
See also: Corwynt
White, or divine magic is energy contained within the world of Drystan. It is not granted by deities but drawn from the very essence of existence. This may be specific such as the elements (fire, earth) or parts of nature (sea, the sky). It can be something ungraspable such as an idea or a manifestation of an emotion. The caster uses his training to channel the raw power found in the world through himself and thus generates changes in reality. While this is a natural ability it requires complex rituals and a strong willpower to be wielded properly.
Users of white magic are trained by the various temples as clerics and paladins, meditating and studying martial arts and for decades. While they are not officially part of the priesthood, they have a status as members of the temples and act as it’s protectors and warriors. They often leave their monasteries to travel the realms as the very essence of the world draws them like a moth to a candle.
The followers of the Corwynt are easily the most powerful divine spellcasters. White magic is drawn from different aspects of Drystan but true mastery can only be achieved by layering different domains together which enforce and strengthen each other. The maximum number of domains that can be chained together is four. Only six different combinations are known from using a mysterious cypher known as Feinn’s Wheel – a leftover from a powerful race known as the Vod-hin. These domains are linked to the aspects of the gods of the Corwynt pantheon (and in fashion their Imperial versions), making Corwynt the most popular religion in the continent. After all, if one god’s follower can channel the power of just one domain and another’s can achieve four, anyone can do the math of who’s god is more powerful.
Black, or arcane magic comes from beyond the vale – energy from another planes of existence. An user of black magic acts as a gateway for these strange forces that change reality according to their whim. Using it is very dangerous and requires extensive training and a focused mind. Even a small mistake will generate either wrong results or interrupts the casting. This is why spells are categorized and written down in the complex language of Arcanem to force the spellcaster to concentrate his will to create a specific result. Without these rituals anyone wielding black magic is a serious danger to everyone around them.
Children born with arcane powers are trained by seasoned wizards and are only allowed limitless access to outside world when they have been put through dangerous tests that make sure no weak willed individuals pose a threat by not controlling their abilities.
Wizards are a solitary lot and often have little interest in the everyday troubles of the common man. They are universally feared and respected by everyone. In most countries they are forbidden to own land, leaving them little choice but to wander the lands and find their own destinies.
Those able to use both white and black magic are extremely rare individuals. While they never reach the true heights of those specialized in one of the two, they can channel wondrous powers with little efforts. They are more difficult to detect and sometimes learn to control their abilities on their own though more often they are taken in by a wizard to act as his eyes and ears in the world. They are artistic by their nature, as creativity powers their magic, most often in the form of song and music.