It started with a spark. Nobody knows where this spark came from. Sure, they know it comes from the Vortex – the colossal tower of pure magical energy that sprung up in the Siberian tundra, giving way for the Cataclysm to occur – but where did it come from before then?
Some say it was here all along. Only hidden. It existed within the wind, the trees, the ocean depths and all elements that make up our world. It was a latent energy that only needed the spark of the Vortex to awaken – like the ignition of tinder.
Other experts argue that magic, the Spark, came from another world in the same manner as all the monsters and otherworldly beings. This world of magic is not a solid plane, like that of Earth, Olympia, the Norse worlds or the countless other planes bleeding onto Earth, but a dimension of pure energy – dripping said energy into our world like rain through a leak in the roof.
Regardless of the true origins of the Spark and the magic it enables, it is here now and humans need to understand it in order to use it.
The Human Spark
After the Vortex appeared, something started happening to seemingly random humans of all ages and backgrounds. They began to feel a well of power within themselves. A latent energy at their core. Through some cosmic fate or pure arbitrariness, some humans now had magic.
“It all started with a spark. The Spark. The Cataclysm didn’t start with monsters and demons. It started with humans. Glowing orbs rising from the hands of office workers, fireballs being flung by homeless people and an overwhelming arrogance by people who had gained immense power by sheer luck.” – Kat Drummond, Part-Time Monster Hunter.
People with a spark are called sorcerers. Sorcery, the term used for their type of magic, involves willpower and self-control to be able to harness their internal magic to do their bidding. This takes the form of controlling elements, manipulating the world around them or simply exerting pure power.
Not all sorcerers are created equally, however. Sorcerers have affinities – certain acts of magic that they naturally prefer. Some may feel an affinity to fire and become natural pyromancers. Others may be more comfortable harnessing their natural power to channel into more refined pursuits, like enchanting or divination.
Affinities aside, sorcerers also have varying levels of power. Initially, power levels were random. Spark is semi-hereditary, however. Strong sorcerers typically give birth to strong sorcerers and carry on a powerful magical bloodline. But, as is the case with all things, this isn’t always true. Some powerful sorcerer families will give birth to a weak sorcerer or, rifts forbid, a husk!
“Husk – a derogatory term for a non-sorcerer.”
An easy way to think about sorcerers and their spark is like a battery. They are their own battery and can harness their own magical energy to use as they will. Willpower and power willing, of course.
Spark is exhausted as a sorcerer uses it, simultaneously exhausting the user physically. After a rest, spark does replenish, in the same manner as stamina. It has been known for sorcerers to turn themselves into husks by over-exerting themselves on particularly harsh and powerful casts, however.
The Vortex didn’t only place Spark in the core of humans, but also spread it across the world. Think of the Vortex like a waterfall of magical energy. Now imagine that waterfall snaking out, like rivers or tendrils throughout the world. These rivers of magical energy are called weylines.
“When the big rift opened – the Vortex in Siberia – it released tendrils, like roots from a tree. These spread throughout the world. Where they passed, the new magic-users of the world felt immense power. These were dubbed weylines, inspired by the elves who subsequently colonised northern New Zealand and parts of Ireland. People flocked to weylines. Enchantments were stronger there. Magic-users flourished. And people in their vicinity just felt good. Weylines exuded a sense of purity. But not all weylines were good, and not all good weylines necessarily remained so.” – Kat Drummond, Part-Time Monster Hunter.
While sorcerers tap into their own magical reserves to use magic, wizardry is the complex art of tapping into weylines to use magic. This is a complicated process, requiring years of study, experimentation and knowledge. If sorcery is raw power, then wizardry is refined knowledge.
Wizardry, due to its refined nature, is a lot more focused and versatile than sorcery. While sorcerers are typically powerful, if blunt instruments, wizards can fine-tune their incantations and enchantments to suit very specific purposes. But they are limited. Wizards cannot use their magic everywhere. They require weylines of the appropriate type of energy and the knowledge to tap into the weyline and transfer that energy to a suitable incantation, rune or enchantment.
The most basic form of wizardry is incantation. Wizards can figure out how to voice their will into vocal totems or runes. These are called spells. If a wizard knows the words of a spell, they can channel a weyline into the spoken spell to cast it.
Most wizardry is done in the form of enchantment and runemancy. Objects are imbued with magical energy through the use of magical symbols, runes and circles of power. These can take the form of enchanting clothing to always stay dry, or vellum to carry a purifying aura to ward off evils spirits. Once created in a weyline, enchanted items can carry their magic anywhere – but this magic cannot be recycled, only destroyed.
Weylines have characteristics. Simply: they can be good or bad. The nature of a weyline determines a number of things, but in relation to the topic of this article, weyline characteristics aid in what spells can be cast in it. In addition: the types of spells cast in a weyline determine its characteristics.
Spells of a good nature, like purification and healing magic, clean up a weyline and make it good. Creatures like pixies are also known to clean up weylines.
Spells of neutral characteristics, like elementalism, have no effect, positive or negative.
Dark magic, such as necromancy or demonology, corrupt weylines.
Weylines have profound effects on their denizens. People residing in corrupted weylines are more prone to depression, anger and random acts of violence and crime. Denizens of pure weylines are more likely to feel good and act good.
The Cataclysm, while decades old, is still a relatively new phenomenon. Magic is still an active school of study and much is still unknown about it. Perhaps, humans will discover its origins and nature in time, and with it, discover more about themselves and their interaction with this new power.
Hopefully, with this knowledge, humans will gain the wisdom to not use magic as yet another tool to destroy each other.