Magic uses a potent, unseen force to influence events, effect change in material conditions, or present the illusion of change through the guidance of one’s immense belief in the power of their own desire. Magic is the ability to alter the moment in some manner that steps around the forces of the Universe, acknowledging them, playing with them.
Magic emerges from the vibrations of the music of the spheres, birthed of the friction of dimensions and the interaction of the Planes, creating the life of The Pale; from that Great Mystery reaching through the Weave of the Veil, we have a kind of energy field that is found in all the liminal spaces, in all the spaces in-between, in All That Is; surrounding us, penetrating us, within and without, above and below, always beyond.
Magic is alive; it thinks, it feels, it reasons and deduces, it laughs, it weeps, it consoles, it condemns; it considers, it ponders, it resists, it is willful and contrarian, and magic wants to be wielded. So much so that it has a tendency to spill out in unpredictable ways if it isn’t called on.
Magic binds us and flows between us, sweetens the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, art and wonder; dwells in the moments of eerie synchronicity. It speaks to us, whispers in a soft and quiet voice as a hidden presence, in the rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of stars.
Magic behaves according to its own rules. Always. Those rules do not have to make sense to mortals, and never consider just the here and now – it is theorized that magic considers the past, the future, and the possibilities of all three. Nevertheless, we have been able to learn some things over the last few centuries or so that have helped us to use magic more efficiently.
It is the Art, the Craft, the Way the World Works, the wisdom and the philosophy of the despairing and the science of the superstition of the hopeful yet is always and the path to new beginning. It is Magic, foundationally ineffable, indescribable, inexhaustible.
It is a cheat, and on Wyrlde it is a cheat that some have embraced, studied, and learned to a greater degree than anything else.
We get to cajole it so that it does so on our terms, in our moment, in our way. One truth remains: this is magic. It is not constrained by what we think it should be, and it is not as dramatic as we expect it to be. No matter the wellspring, Magic needs must be shaped by our will, always with the risk that it will turn back upon us. Those who use the powers of the Planes or strike bargains may be slightly less at risk than those who grab the arcane and mold it with passion, but the risk is still there.
It is notable that while all Mortal Realms have magic, not all the Mortals in those Realms can access it. The Dimension of Shades has no magic that mortals can touch or feel or use. As well, the way that magic works varies from plane to plane, dimension to dimension. Upon Yrthe, for example, there is no Mystical or Eldritch magic, and the Theorems are different.
The people of Wyrlde are used to seeing magic as something tangible that works for a certain period and then dies. It is a transient thing, short term, useful or scary in equal measure. They understand potions and wands and such, but the art of spells, in and of itself, is terrifying to most people.
To a common person, Mages scare the heck out of people. Power is said to corrupt, and the greater the power, the greater the corruption. The power to reshape reality, to change outcomes, to seemingly escape consequences: this is a power that can corrupt absolutely. Because spellcasting is rare and gives immense power in Wyrlde, it is treated as something dangerous and in need of controls or monitoring. Mages are not free to willy-nilly have their way and mess with the world; they also must deal with others who often fear that they will try to take over the world (and history shows this is a warranted fear).
There are laws against the use of distinct kinds of magic. Magic shapes or influences everything on Wyrlde, and has since the end of the God’s War, when the capacity to use magic entered the world.
It is not absolute, as the secrets of how to do something, or a particular spell, are zealously guarded; the deaths of many who sought to discern how the horseless carriages of Durango work, or how the Enjin of Dorado functions are testament to this. But there are streetlights in Lyonese and Durango that do not need to be lit, and there is a whole process for sanitation throughout the empire (controlled by the Nobles); and of course, the recognized professions of the Adventurer’s Guild are deeply affected by this.
Magic is not a technology. It is a secret that few willingly share.
The ability to use it, the Gift, is not typically passed down by family – it is something that comes to one at the moment of Quickening, the drawing of the first breath. Some have said that it means those with the gift have been chosen, and others have said they have been cursed – and that the curse is why there are people who still have the ability to store magic, but are somehow less subject to it, more immune to it.