Magic is a natural aspect of the world of Tyria. It is said that the world is intricately tied to the state of magic in the world, its very survival dependent on how much there is and how it is used. But as the world could crumble with too little magic, too much magic can hold catastrophic properties that can rend landscapes inhospitable, such as when the Thaumanova Reactor exploded.
The All represents the balance of magic in the world, and connected to The All lies the Elder Dragons who have the role of keeping magic balanced. However, due to their ravenous and predatory nature, the Elder Dragons do not perform true balance, instead taking it from one extreme of too much to the other extreme of too little. As the Elder Dragons rise, they consume magic until there is little left, and as they sleep they radiate it back out until it has built up to near the breaking point.
Every living being has access to magic, especially when the levels of magic in the world are high, though whether they utilize this or not is another matter entirely.
Form and shape
Some scholars theorize that magic flows through all things, that we swim in magic as fish swim in water, or as we ourselves live in air. This magic is said to ebb and flow via currents called ley lines.
Magic infuses everything in the world. The building blocks of reality are held together by magic. With the right connectors, manipulating magical elements with the mind becomes possible.
The mind is a powerful and fragile quantity in the world equation and the Eternal Alchemy. It can move mountains or it can be shattered like glass.
My research has found a thread between magic and the mind. The two are linked. Where there is one, there must also be the other. The igniter is belief.
Naturally, magic in the environment cannot be visibly seen or easily detected. But in high enough concentration, magic begins to take visible form. Magic coalesces into channels across the world, traveling across paths of lease resistance beneath the ground in what are called ley lines. Likened to wind currents, ley lines house every spectrum of magic together, which is called ley energy.
Separated, there are many forms of magic, including chaos energy, dark energy, and light energy. Dragon energy is a term that has been used to refer to the corrupting magic that Elder Dragons exude, though more recently, individuals are believing that all magic is effectively "dragon energy". Among them, Taimi proclaims that ley energy is comparable to white light comprised of all forms of dragon energy, such as Zhaitan's death magic.
The asuran field of Maginamics attempts to investigate and describe the properties of magic. Little is known of the details of Maginamics, except that the Seventh Law of Maginamics posits that magic cannot be created or destroyed. Professor Gorr, an expert who has been monitoring global magic levels, controversially believes that his theory of draconic enchanto-consumption shows that magic is in fact a limited resource like water, ore, or timber. This theory, however, also construed that the Elder Dragons destroyed magic, rather than contain it until they slept again.
It has been discovered that not only Elder Dragons and their minions, but lesser dragons in general are capable of consuming magic. In addition to this, so are a handful of other species such as chak, skelk, and imps are able to do the same, as well as the Six Human Gods. Normal mortals, however, are incapable of absorbing magic. Should they be exposed, they become crazed by the magic, made unnaturally hostile to all others. When the Maguuma Bloodstone in Bloodstone Fen exploded, all those caught were driven mad and enraged as well, but also became dependent on the magic, needing to consume magic in order to live despite it driving them further insane. Normally this includes humans, although Kormir was able to absorb Abaddon's power upon his death; shortly before this, however, she had been given a "special gift" by the other gods, and so this may be an exceptional case.
Almost every being in Tyria has access to magic in some way or another, and there are countless ways of utilising that magic. For example, some learn magic from teachers or mentors, and others, like the Zephyrites, also utilize artifacts to channel their powers. Some even go it alone, developing their own style and relationship with magic. Most creatures are able to use magic from a very young age - humans and norn will cast their first spells in the home, under the supervision of their parents, and most charr will hone their ability in the fahrar, and magic can first manifest as a survival mechanism of even a toddler. Greater magical talent must be honed in early age because uncontrolled magic of even a novice can cause terrible destruction.
An individual's innate magical ability seems to be determined, in part at least, by their location in relation to the ley lines that channel magic around the world. In the Orrian History Scrolls, an unknown Ascalonian author expresses shock at the casual way with which magic was viewed by the citizens of Orr, which is now known to be a place of extremely high magic concentration. Magical aptitude can also be inherited from a child's parents.
Historically, magic was separated into four distinct "schools": Preservation, Aggression, Destruction, and Denial, and most magic users fell squarely into one of these. Over time, these schools came to be seen as limiting and unfashionable, and only the most ancient magic users still adhere to them. Still, it is very difficult to master more than one form of magic, and most users tend to aim to become highly specialized rather than only moderately proficient in many of the schools and the risk of magic becoming uncontrollable becomes greater the more one practices different forms of magic together. Long before the arrival of humans on the northern continent, Canthan ritualists were able to channel power from the spirits of their ancestors, which resembled true magic but was not the same thing. Ritualist tradition eventually became associated with Grenth and, after the Exodus, acquired magical components.
Unsurprisingly, it is possible to infuse objects with magical energy, and in fact much of asura society depends upon this principle. Signets are special tablets, first developed by powerful Orrian wizards, that are able to hold magical spells for use by individuals otherwise unskilled in the use of magic.
During the last rise of the Elder Dragons, the Seers, not wanting to see all the magic of the world consumed, created the first Bloodstone, sealing within it all the magical energies of the world that had yet to be corrupted. The Seers and jotun, along with the dwarves and Forgotten, were concealed by Glint, and the mursaat, who having discovered a way to leave the world, betrayed the other races and fled, keeping their magic. With the remaining magic sealed within the Bloodstone or otherwise out of reach, the world had been reduced to a state of low magic, and the Dragons returned to their slumber.
The Seers subsequently warred with the mursaat, but were outmatched. In the millenia after the sealing away of magic, the Forgotten spread across the world, settling land as far as Cantha, and the dwarves forged the nation of Deldrimor in the Shiverpeak Mountains. At some point, the Six Gods arrived at the Artesian Waters from across the Mists, drawn to the world by the Artesian Waters' magic. Sensing a different great magical energy near where they arrived, they built the City of Arah on the land that would become Orr, not realizing that the source of the magical energy was the dormant Elder Dragon Zhaitan, far below their great city. Over time, they gathered many powerful magical items together in Arah, including mursaat artifacts, the Mystic Telescope, and most importantly, the Bloodstone.
The Humans, including Canthans, were brought to Tyria by the gods in 786 BE. They are not native to Tyria and did not come with much magic of their own. Human tradition states that it was the gods that gave them magic, whereas Thrulnn the Lost claims that the jotun and norn were the favored of the gods. The reality of the situation is that the dragons had gone back to sleep, and so the gods felt it safe to "unseal" the Bloodstone, releasing magic back into to the Tyria. Over the course of hundreds of years, wars broke out. The humans, conquerors of the new land they had been brought to, found themselves surrounded by enemies who had been made as powerful as themselves. Doric, king of the human nations, brought himself before the gods and begged them to slow the flow of magic back into Tyria, and the gods granted his wish by shattering the Bloodstone into pieces and limiting their use. Abaddon, god of water and secrets, was furious, and protested strongly to his brothers and sisters, but his pleas were ignored.
One particular tribe of humans, who lived upon the Crystal Sea and worshipped Abaddon exclusively, upon hearing the news of the revocation of magic, launched an attack on the Temple of the Six Gods, a great place of worship on the northern shores of Elona. They slaughtered the priests of the other five gods, desecrated the altars, and defaced the statues and scriptures within that holy place. In response, a legion of Forgotten gathered to quell Abaddon's insolent followers, and what followed was the largest naval battle ever seen in human history.
The crude magics and technology of humanity were no match for that of the Forgotten, and the tribe's great armada was quickly annihilated. The sole human survivor desperately prayed to his god for deliverance, and for a long time, there was silence. Abaddon answered the survivor's prayers by destroying the Forgotten fleet with an abyssal tempest. No living being emerged from the endless darkness that came from beneath the waters, except for one: Jadoth. Jadoth became the first champion of Abaddon, and the first of the Margonites. Abaddon had declared war upon the other Gods.
For a while the war went in Abaddon's favor, but ultimately he was no match for the combined strength of the Five other gods. At the Gates of Heaven, Abaddon was struck down, leaving a vast Crystal Desert where there was once a sea. Unwilling or unable to destroy their brethren, the Gods imprisoned Abaddon in the newly-created Realm of Torment, along with a host of his Margonite followers. A powerful force of Forgotten was sent to safeguard Abaddon's prison-realm, and the spot where Abaddon fell became known as the Mouth of Torment. The city of Morah was established to maintain a vigil there, where the link between our world and the Mists was weakest. After the imprisonment of Abaddon, the gods left the world of Tyria.
- ^ The Way Forward
- ^ a b c [VO] Questions to Angel Leigh McCoy, Esprits d'Orr
- ^ Braham and Taimi in the Edge of the Mists.
- ^ a b c d Angel McCoy's response to comments on Esprits d'Orr interview, Official forums