Notes on Diverse Magicka
Legatus Pax Sytan Fiac
This is a series dedicated to informing those with limited or non-extant abilities in arcana on the various forms of magic and their uses. This is not intended as an in depth study, nor does it go into all details. For many, the usage of leylines or nodes will never manifest, nor will the finesse to guide the blood magicka explicitly.
This discourse will cover the concepts of similarities and differences among the branches, and peel back some of the mysteries.
The first section will cover my specialties of hematurgy and necromancy.
The second will cover natural magicka.
The third will touch on the psionic talents.
The fourth will delve into the divine controversy.
The fifth will touch upon the delicate and complex question of void.
It is to be hoped that the interested student will find the more technical treatises on the above topics more readily accessible for this humble offering. Any errors or elisions in this work must be attributed to the difficulty of enumerating in plain language what becomes a nearly reflexive, intuitive impulse for the grand adept.
Natural magicka contains many similar properties depending on what things answer to who, and what the power source is. As with all branches, the first inclination is to use self as the power source - blood is not called for in natural magicka, and instead the accumulation of 'mana' serves.
The current thought on how this occurs is by a form of osmosis, at latent background levels deep into all things all the time, with areas around nodes having a higher concentration. The practiced mage can draw from loose, pooled, or flowing mana to greater or lesser degrees according to both talent and training, although the modulation and direction of this power must be drawn directly from the mage's own vital energy.
It may be helpful to think of these mages above the rank of master as drawing this mana as one would draw water from a spring-fed well. The size of one's bucket, and efficiency of one's winch and pulley will have a marked impact on the upwards limit of how much water may be harnessed, but the final arbiter of what is possible will always be dictated by the strength and endurance of the operator. Foci and ritual may be likened to manual pump systems, with all the implied exponential increases in throughput that suggests, even though the maximum harnessable vitality of the operator remains the same.
To stretch the metaphor slightly further, one can only begin to picture the sheer power represented by the rare grand adept by considering that they are a living embodiment of several things at once.
Like the mechamagical mana batteries which power an automatic hydro pump, their base vital capacity is at once far greater than our proverbial winch-and-pump operator, and like those batteries, may be refilled to some degree by the very act of their proper use. Like the well operator, they can draw from still pools, and like the diversion pumps, they can also draw off moving streams of mana and redirect them with minimal filtration. The grand adept also operates like the great reservoirs and their pressure turbines - as well as the reservoir itself - able to at once open the proverbial sluice-gates of natural and created mana reservoirs for direct use, and to contain and channel some amount of that power into forms that so-called lesser Adepts and Master-grade mages can then tap.
Unlike all of these devices, the grand Adept as a living creature is highly mobile, as they can adapt themselves and their physical environments at will, and are further able to "tune" the varied sources of mana, manipulating the very composition and alignment of these mana networks. The reach of a Grand Adept is finite, but the upper limit has never been finally determined, nor is it likely to be: like every other endeavor, the practice of Arcana builds on all that has come before, and thus climbs to ever more precipitous heights.
The reader may well ask how, with such power, a Grand Adept can ever be defeated. Unfathomable though it may seem from a mundane perspective, Grand Adepts do have variations of ability within and between themselves. Consider that the oceans are several orders of magnitude more vast and powerful than any inland sea, lake, or even pond, and one may begin to grasp the nature of the distinctions in this field of magicka - and also where the limitations and weaknesses of these rarified beings might begin.
As the Oceans are both beautiful and terrible, so it is with Grand Adepts. They are but mortal creatures, and many potential Grand Adepts are themselves destroyed by the raw power that they work upon and within. Isolating one from the network of mana sources is an enormous task, but entirely possible, and in the same way that a Grand Adept may tune the local network for their ease, it may also be made discordant and poisonous to them. The reader might do well to consider the extravagant loss of life, and utter decimation of organized magicka following the Great Rending: it was not until the Era of Discovery that true Grand Adepts began to emerge again.
There are those who will always assert the increased contact with draco nobilius was the cause and support of this development: the reader may rest assured the reason is far less dramatic. Final Death and the imperfect vagaries of the Restorative Arts destroyed forever many of the greatest mage-gifted bloodlines during the Age of Turmoil. The survivors were hardly in a position to organize anything like a formal breeding program to strengthen and fix the remaining talents, even had they access to the relatively stable and vibrant mana network we use today.