Ethereal Magic is drawn for the 7 Trees of Power: Kyparys, Ezir, Ogosa, Bando, Askarun, Drunea, and Shioki. Each tree controls a different dominion of the natural world. Ezir, for example, governs over the aspects of Air, Illusion, and Sustenance. A mage who can channels its power can then practice control over those aspects.
The history of Ethereal Magic extends far beyond the days of written history, but legend has it that the great elvish warrior Elweard was the first to harness Ethereal Magic when he defeated the Helldrake Ngur. From him, the practice of Ethereal Magic was passed down from generation to generation, and eventually was taught to the First Men.
After humans gained a basic understanding of Ethereal Magic, a small group of dedicated mages would splinter off from society, forming the infamous Circle of the Grove, beginning the chain of events that would lead to the Great Cleanse. In the wake of the Great Cleanse and the disbanding of the Circle of the Grove, schools of magic began to form, adhering to strict rules and regulations in order to prevent a similar incident. The practice of Ethereal Magic was, and still is closely by these schools today, though some rogue mages practice on their own.
The Trees of Power Edit
The Trees of Power are still not fully understood, and those who do have deeper insights into their functioning closely guard their secrets. The trees are scattered throughout the known realm, though very few know the location of even one.
They are undoubtedly alive, according to the writings of past mages. They are capable of interacting with their environments, and affecting those around them as well. The trees seem to be a part of Armeran, the very essence that keeps it alive. Little is known scientifically about the Trees of Power, however forbidden lore among several cultures in Novgorod tells similar origin stories. A prominent deity was usually responsible for knocking a few stars from the sky, strewing them across the land. In Summterlandian mythology, a mammoth squirrel was responsible for burying his seeds across the continent.
The trees are thought to be immortal, but not invincible. Many mighty mythical warriors have supposedly fought the trees, but not one survived. In the Legend of King Faramond, it is said that King Faramond led a full out war on Shioki, the Tree of Death, Decay, and Torment. Ironically, in his quest to create a world without death, he is said to have killed 1/3 of the realms population, while also being slain himself. Countless other heroes are said to have squared off with the Trees of Power, but none were successful. They each exhibit a form of mysterious and strange phenomena specific to their species.
No one knows what will happen if a Tree of Power dies. Some say its power will simply disappear forever. Some say that the power will never fully disappear, but will instead find a new manifestation. Others say that the trees are actually invincible. They can not be killed, they will just slowly recover over time.
Using Ethereal Magic Edit
The methods of utilizing Ethereal Magic are closely guarded, although the fundamentals are not terribly hard to come by if one is willing to research, providing they can read. There are three major steps in the process of using Ethereal Magic.
In the process of drawing, the mage must somehow extract the power of the tree. There are many different ways this can be done, though it is highly dangerous, as it requires one to, at the very least, commune with the Tree of Power. Because the trees are intertwined with the being of Armeran, this can be done from anywhere, but it takes incredible amounts of practice, concentration, and understanding to do this. Powerful, or sometimes foolish mages can perform this ritual in close proximity to the respective Tree of Power. Once within a certain distance of the tree, the magic drawn will be sustantiably higher than before. This requires even more skill to control, as the magic will grow more volatile as more is drawn. It is said that some legendary mages were even able to draw magic directly from the tree.
Channeling magic is the act of applying the on an object. Many different objects are imbued with magical energy, ranging from staves and wands to talismans and clothing. Again, there are countless methods to do this, and no one way is considered to be superior (though some may seem easier). Once the magic essence is infused into an item, it can be called upon at any time, though it will deplete. After depleting, the magic will slowly replenish from the natural magics present in nature. Some places are thought to have higher magical densities than other, and are therefore thought to replenish magic faster. Legends tell of some mages who were able to completely bypass this step and directly use drawn magic without first channeling it, but the art seems to be lost to history.
In the final step, the mage must project the channeled magic outwardly in some way. There are four basic methods used by mages to cast their magic: Concentration, Verbal Incantation, Movement, and Material.
Concentration plays just how it sounds. The mage utilizes intense concentration, often mentally visualizing the effects of the magic in order to cast their spell. If a mage is to lose concentration at any point, disaster often follows.
Verbal Incantation Edit
In this method, the mage recites specific words of power in order to cast. It is thought that Elder Language holds the strongest words of power, but every language has its own, as the power is granted not by the sound itself, but the meaning behind it. There are many a horror story of mages who forgot, mispronounced, or otherwise messed up their incantations and subsequently met their ends.
Movement is a topic of debate amongst the magical community. Movements, which can be specific to any mage, are performed in order to cast the spell. They range from hand signs to poses to elaborate dances. Many mages think of Movement to be a subcategory of Concentration, and that the movements themselves are just a sort of mnemonic device used to help keep the intense focus required to use Concentration.
Material incorporates a wide range of different forms. Material Casting differs from a channeled artifact in that it takes almost no actual skill to use it. When casting from a channeled artifact, the magic from the artifact is being manipulated by the mage. With a Material Cast, it is similar to simply turning a handle and letting the magic expel in a predetermined way. This makes Material Casting almost completely one-dimensional. Examples include spell scrolls, then when opened release whatever spell was prepared inside, and enchanted weapons, which release spells when striking an enemy. While one-dimensional, they are essential to many mages, and can be a reliable safety measure when no more channeled magic is left in their artifact.