Codex: Sorcery (2017)

Sorcery

Sorcery is neither good nor evil, and this applies to nearly all of its forms and uses.  Sorcery is a tool.  It is intent and aim that determines the morality of the effect.

Consider: What is the difference between the Guardian and the Ravager?  Both are users of violence, often visually indistinguishable from each other.  However, the Ravager crosses the Pale to fight for the sake of killing and destruction.  The Guardian employs violence when needed to protect others and those who cannot defend themselves, to prevent the Ravager.

Sorcery is life, and life is neither inherently good nor evil, rather how we use life is good or not.  In the past, our ancestors drew blood to call energy.  This could be positive, as in the sacrifice willingly given, or an evil things, as forcefully taken.  But the fuel itself was amoral.  Since those days, sorcery has evolved and we have, of course, found other, less corruptible, means of calling energy.  And, according to some, we lost access to other, forgotten methods.

When we say that sorcery is life, we mean that in a very literal sense.  Sorcery draws upon the energy inherent in all living beings to manipulate the six elements of existence: air, earth, fire, metal, water, and wood.  Each of these elements has its own personality, powers, and affinities, as will be discussed in detail later.  In the earliest days of sorcery, our ancestors had to draw blood of men and beasts to acquire access to the required energy, as noted above, and they needed the elements on hand to use.  Today, we train to touch the power constantly and siphon off trace amounts from every living thing around us, unconsciously.  This tiniest of drains is as noticeable as taking a single drop of water from the ocean.  Unlike our ancestors, we can also create and summon the elements, not merely manipulate them.

The practice of sorcery appears simple and easy, to the untrained eye.  A sorcerer merely waves a hand and twenty candle ignite.  The appearance of ease is both a truth and a lie.  The veneer masks hours, years, of study and practice that make the difficult second nature, instinctive, through rote training and something akin to muscle memory.  The sorcerer must draw upon his reserve of energy, collect energy from his environment, or from a storage device.  Then he must concentrate, shape the energy, and call upon the desired element.  Visualization is key here, alongside concentration.  As with all skills, the more it is practiced, the less conscious the process or action becomes.  In time, the basics become instinct while only the more complex spells require active concentration.

Although not required for sorcery, a staff or wand can be a tremendous aid for focus and concentration.  Both can also be prepared to store energy or even potentially contain pre-cast spells.  But, a staff or wand must be fashioned of formerly living material, usually wood.  Perhaps most importantly, a staff or wand becomes bound to the sorcerer and contains a piece of the sorcerer’s spirit, or soul if you will.

 

Natural Laws of Sorcery

Contrary to the beliefs of many normal humans, sorcery is not without its limits.  Observations conducted by many researchers indicate that at least six rules apply to all magics (Pinol and Ficano; Henning; Wilcox and Ashe; Aurelius; Bayfield; Michaels).

Baylor’s First Law states that dead is dead.  There is no known way to bring someone back from the dead.  Both resurrection and reincarnation are solely the province of the gods, if they are even possible for divinities.

Mullins’s Third and Fourth Laws directly concern the questions of currency and food respectively.  These laws state that neither currency nor food can be created by magic.  Fae glamour is not an exception either, since it merely creates the illusion of food or money, but does not actually create either.  Both can be transported, of course, just not made via sorcery.

Santos’s Second Law forbids the manipulation of time and traveling through time.  There is no known magic that can effect such travel or changes.  This particular law has been tested, perhaps, more than any other, but has held up over at least a thousand years, despite sorcerers’ best attempts.

Baylor’s Third Law relates to his first.  Sorcery, and presumably other magics, is incapable of creating life.  However, it is able to manipulate, guide, shape, reorganize, and change life by a variety of means.  This is the province of wood and water sorcery, primarily.

The sixth law is so universal that it has not been named for anyone.  Any form of magic—whether sorcery, witchcraft, theurgy, or non-human in nature—requires genetic talent to learn and use.  Without proper genetic alignment and make up, it is impossible for anyone to make magic work, possibly even including magical items, according to some theories.

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