When the first people entered the cave world, no one had any idea about the special phenomenon of this new world – magic. It was by chance that it was discovered. People wished for simple things, such as that a rope would not break, or that a poorly fired arrow would hit its target … and it happened that way. Or better: it happened against all expectations, although the probability that the wish would come true was practically zero.
Of course, something like that attracted attention. For some people, these „strokes of luck“ accumulated so much that they began to apply the phenomenon methodically. One „wished“ for something, and it happened – as if by magic. Some even believed they could see with a kind of „inner eye“; they claimed that when they „wished“ something changed in the „fabric of things“. Thus, the application began to evolve until the first people claimed to be downright magically gifted. They could even prove that they were capable of doing something special. Although it took centuries, and the efforts of many clever people, for this to become a serious discipline, eventually this phenomenon became a recognized science. Some people even devoted themselves to magic on the philosophical level and designed a world view in which magic had a fixed and explicable place.
The Principle of Forces
The most common and widespread model of a philosophy in which magic had a fixed place in the world view was the idea of the „principle of forces“. Here it occupied a special place in the interaction of the forces of this world and the next. The doctrine said that there were elemental forces in the cosmos, which were in eternal conflict: The forces of order, (which have their seat in this world), and the forces of disorder and chaos, (which reside in the beyond, or the „stygium“). While the forces of order always strive to create functioning structures, the forces of chaos try to dissolve and destroy everything again. That the two forces did not simply mix indiscriminately and create a complete mess was ensured by a natural boundary line called the „Trivocum“ – it was the magical boundary between the two spheres. The Trivocum, as it was imagined, was like a movable partition that passed through every place in the world at the same time and ensured that this world and the other world basically remained in their ancestral spheres.
Nevertheless, the Trivocum is not a completely rigid boundary. It is „soft“, sometimes allowing some of the conflicting energies to pass, both from this world to the stygium and in the opposite direction. According to the doctrine of the principle of forces, the Trivocum is even the reason for the existence of the universe. Namely, at its boundary the conflicting energies rub against each other, and this produces what is produced everywhere in such a case: Frictional heat.
It is this force which underlies the coming and going in the universe. Things come into being and pass away again. At the border of the Trivocum there is constant movement, an up and down, an eternal contradiction between order and chaos. Without this movement there would be only standstill, nothing would develop or decay again. Fortunately, it is in the nature of things that the world behaves in this way – all by itself, without ever letting up, and without any thinking being ever having to initiate this process.
The Third Force
It is the mind that intervenes as the third force in the play of things, for thinking beings are able by their actions to work towards one of the two elemental forces. A human being can accelerate the works of chaos or favor the emergence of structure and order by his deeds or actions. Although this idea existed before and is of captivating simplicity and great truth, it gained its true meaning only with the discovery of magic. People understood that, especially in the cave world, there was a power that enabled them to influence the boundary line of the trivocum by means of their will powers.
A person with a certain talent for magic was able to create an opening in the trivocum. Energies began to flow through this opening, and they could cause dramatic changes in the environment. Soft things became hard, cold things became warm, dark things became light, or fast things became slow. It all depended on the skill of the magician. Soon the magicians reached high skills – they managed to filter and direct the flowing energies.
However, the reason for this phenomenon, that mages could influence the Trivocum with their willpower, was unknown for thousands of years. [Spoiler 1]
Curses, Transformations and Hauntings
There are still people in the cave world who are so unenlightened in matters of magic that they think it possible to be cursed by an (evil) mage, or to be transformed into a frog, for example.
With such thoughts one insults any serious magician. Such a thing is called „sorcery“, which is a kind of swear word in magic. No mage of the cave world has ever transformed a human being into another living being, or loaded a disagreeable contemporary with imprecations – which then had real effects. Such a thing would never be possible with what is called magic in the cave world. Magic is the art to make the Trivocum – the separating element between the spheres of order and chaos – purposefully permeable, to let the „natural“ forces of these spheres flow and to direct them, and afterwards to close the Trivocum again.
A practiced magician is thus able to achieve very complex results. Some magics are clearly transparent and can be easily classified, while others are so complex that they actually look like magic. For example, it is not earth-shattering to light up a dark cave with a light magic, to warm up a cold room by summoning a glowing spheroid, or to strengthen a rotten beam with a magic that stabilizes structures. Good magicians are even able to achieve particularly tricky results with combinations of certain energies. For example, it is possible to use magic to create pressure differences in the air that cause specific air currents (or more simply: wind). If the mage sets this air current into a spiral motion and additionally lets the very own decomposing powers of stygium work, he can even grind bare rock with his destructive air vortex (as, for example, Leandra succeeded in doing under Grandmaster Jockum’s guidance in Torgard).
In pure or combined form, magical energies can also be used in a fight. However, these are frowned upon techniques, as according to the guild’s code, a mage should avoid combat with magical means if at all possible. However, sometimes combat is unavoidable, especially when another mage deliberately uses such means to gain wealth or power for himself or the lord he serves, or to pursue other, lower goals.
When it comes to combat, magics are used as lightning bolts, fire rolls, or frost rays; worse are those that are recognized as combat magics too late or not at all. You can rob your opponent of breath, bring him to his knees and crush him with the help of pressure or gravity, or even disintegrate his physical structure so that he must die a hideous death by simply disintegrating. There are downright unspeakably vile and ruthless methods of destroying an opponent. Fortunately, however, most magics do not act as suddenly as, say, a sword stroke or a striking arrow, so a mage skilled in combat often still has a brief chance to recognize the danger and take a magical countermeasure.
In nature, there is a counterforce to almost every force. Fire is countered by frost, high pressure by low pressure, and cold by heat. In this way, fortunately, there is a whole register of countermeasures for every mage, the only condition being that he quickly recognizes the magic cast upon him and acts accordingly.
A good mage does not wait in battle until he „somehow senses“ what is being directed at him, but by observing the Trivocum with his inner eye. This way he can see what his opponent is doing with the Trivocum. This starts with him recognizing the opponent’s magic form (elemental magic or raw magic, as well as some other exotic forms). Based on his gained knowledge, he can mostly recognize the „key“ with which certain energies are made to flow, and he can thus determine, and he can thus recognize which filters have been set by the opponent. With this analysis, he can gain valuable seconds to cast his own defensive magic.
As already mentioned, the mage should avoid the use of magic in battle if at all possible. The magics of a practiced master are too dangerous, and downright deadly, if his opponent – or in this case it is probably better to say his victim – does not know magic.
The Codex is a written work, a book written at a time (about 2400 years ago) when magic was feared and hated by the common people. Magicians at that time were ostracized and deeply unwelcome wherever they went. They had a reputation for using their arts at their own whim, with no regard for anyone. Rich people, landowners, and nobles who wanted to protect or increase their possessions had increasingly turned to securing the services of the most unscrupulous mage possible, of which there were plenty at the time. Because of their ostracism, many of them had found a most convenient justification for their behavior, and so a time had dawned in which law and order did not count for much, and there was hardly anyone who would have been able to enforce it.
But there were also „good“ mages – men and women with louder and more righteous intentions, and they suffered unspeakably from the hatred of the common people towards the mages. Many were murdered in their sleep or had to retreat into solitude to avoid falling victim to assassination. And no mage was any longer able to pursue his true calling, namely to serve and help. As a result, not only the righteous mages suffered in their honor and pride, but also the people who would have needed the services of a mage.
To put an end to this terrible deplorable state of affairs, some mages and the then Shabib of Greater Acrania decided to create a binding code for all mages of the cave world. Shabib Cambras sent word to the mages of his kingdom that all who would be willing to join an order and act according to a firm and righteous set of rules, the outlines of which he wanted to establish, should come to Shabib’s palace within a month.
And many came. Hundreds of magicians who had suffered from the evil conditions, and hundreds of others who had already fought against the evil men and women who, for the sake of money, fame or power, had turned away from the path of justice.
Shabib Cambras proclaimed the foundation of the Cambrian Order and had a religious house built in the city of Thoo. He commissioned the wisest and best mages to create a code that would be valid for all mages of the cave world. Those who joined the Cambrian Order would be under its protection and enjoy the respect of the people, but all others would henceforth be ostracized and have no protection for life and limb from the ruler.
Help and Serve
Henceforth, nothing but these two things were in the foreground of a Cambrian: to help and to serve. Shabib Cambras had deliberately promised his new order members nothing but duties, no fame, no money and no high offices. He wanted to have members of the order who practiced their profession out of devotion and passion, and not for the sake of profit. If a mage was good and just, fame and money came naturally, for people quickly learned to appreciate reliable help from a Cambrian and were not stingy when they had been helped. The code itself grew quickly. In the beginning, only the most important basic rules for a mage were written down, but soon it became necessary to write down special cases and extensions. After only a few years, the codex was already a thick book, kept in the Cambrian headquarters in Thoo. Later, when the seat of the guild was moved to Unifar, the codex was transferred there, and after the Dark Ages, the legendary book was stored in a specially built small tower, in the Abbey of Hegmafor. (What a mockery it was that the Brotherhood of Yoor nestled there, of all places, for endless centuries, and to this day).
Elemental Magic and the Inner Eye
According to the laws of the Codex, there was only one recognized form of magic in the cave world: elemental magic. It was considered reliable and controllable, and the most feared risk, namely that a demon would leap into this world when a magic was cast, was virtually eliminated by a special technique for opening the Trivocum by auricles. According to the method of elemental magic, a magician proceeds as follows: After a short period of concentration, it is necessary to feel the Trivocum. In the understanding of a magician it appears as a reddish veil, a veil that pervades the world, which is everywhere and nowhere at the same time, and which the magician is able to see with the help of his „Inner Eye“. The Inner Eye is an imagined organ of perception that becomes reality through a magician’s power of imagination. Through the Inner Eye, one can perceive his surroundings in a shadowy way, up to a maximum distance of about 12 steps. The silhouettes appear in reddish color, and the intensity of the red tone tells the magician something about the „liveliness“ of the object he is looking at. „Dead“ objects, such as stone, water or air appear almost in gray, while living things are visible in pale pink to strong dark red – depending on the degree of their vitality. For example, the magician sees a simple plant in soft pink, while a young person, bursting with vitality, shines in deep red. In addition, there is also the color blue in the Trivocum, in all shades, but always mixed with the typical red of the Trivocum. Blue, and especially its shade purple, indicate a certain degree of decomposition. For example, the fracture of a snapped-off plant stem appears in a distinct shade of blue, as does the wound of an injured person. The stronger stygian (decomposing) forces rage at a „diseased“ spot, the more the Trivocum there turns purple. And there is another color that has great significance: Yellow. This is the color of the edges of an auricle – the opening that a magician creates in the Trivocum with the help of his willpower to let energies flow. The larger this opening is, the more powerful the flowing energies are, and the stronger the magic cast. With the help of his Inner Eye, a mage can thus see at a glance what is happening on the magical plane in his surroundings.
The next step in casting elemental magic is to set an auricle. It makes sense for the magician to use the perception of his Inner Eye to find a place in the Trivocum that is spatially close to the place where he wants to use his powers. Once he has found this place, he speaks (in his mind, or murmuring with his lips) a so-called „Intonation“. This is a series of syllables that do not really have a magical effect. Rather, they represent a specific action that the magician performs on the mental plane. An intonation is nothing more than a proxy and an aid to concentration for a learned or practiced effort of will.
In elemental magic, the causal forces of water (e.g. cold), earth (e.g. heaviness) or sky (e.g. pressure) are invoked in a certain strength; combinations of the three are also possible (but this makes the magic more difficult). For example, the mage speaks in the spirit the intonation Ter-in-Prim, which would open an auricule of the first level of the elemental force of the earth. An intonation with the syllable sequence Aaq-Ter-co-Sec would open a combined auricle on the axis Water-Earth in the second iteration level.
The strength of a magic (or also: the size of an auricle) is measured according to so-called iteration levels. „Iteration“ is actually a term from mathematics and means ‚repetition‘ (of a process) or ‚doubling‘. In magic, it means that the next higher iteration level causes, or better: could cause, twice the amount of energies flowing through an auricle. The first iteration level of an elemental magic releases only a very small amount of energies flowing from the stygium through the auricle into this world. First iteration levels are something for novices of magic, they are mostly harmless but only very weak in effect. In the second level there is already more energy available, from the third level one can already speak of an effective magic.
Practiced mages often go up to the fifth level in everyday use (for example, to temporarily stabilize a rotten bridge so that it can withstand the passage of a carriage), or sometimes even to the sixth level (for example, to smother the fire of a burning barn). Levels seven and eight are not normally cast by ordinary village mages, as they are too difficult to master, and are reserved for guild masters.
Everything above that, levels nine, ten, and eleven, are considered „rare occurrences“ in magic, and are reserved for the real experts, the old masters. These are magical events that are cast only once in ten (level 9 or 10) or even in a hundred years (level 11). Of course, only if a mage is available who can unleash and control such magical force without killing himself with it. The twelfth iteration level is actually only known as „Conclusion“, and has not been unleashed since time immemorial. It represents the highest magical power imaginable, and is considered (by a normal mage, no matter how good) to be simply uncontrollable.
Key and Filter
As soon as an auricule is set, its opening appears in the Trivocum with strong bright yellow radiating edges, and energies begin to flow from the stygium into this world.
Although these energies already have a basic tendency (they come from a source – or a combination – of the three elemental forces of Heaven, Earth and Water), they are still very coarse and undefined. In order to cause a certain effect with the help of the energies, the magician has to do three things: he has to set one or more keys (in order to determine the nature of the flowing forces more precisely), he then has to filter the energies (in order to filter out unwanted forces from the energy stream) and finally he has to direct the energy stream to his target. Here it already becomes clear to the reader why magic is not such an easy discipline, and requires a well-founded training of many years, as well as some talent. In principle, any person born in the cave world under the influence of Wolodit can practice magic. Nevertheless, the number of actually existing magicians is rather small, because a magician needs an extremely high concentration ability, as well as the ability to dedicate different parts of his mind to different tasks.
No one succeeds out of pure talent. Every aspiring magician must practice his Intonations and Inner Eye over and over again, stubbornly memorizing and endlessly and patiently repeating certain methods. Most acts of working a magic are done by intonations – that is, the magician speaks certain syllables and formulas in his mind. Most mages murmur these syllables softly to themselves when casting magics (some also exclaim them aloud); these ritualized actions help with concentration. Therefore, it would not be the slightest problem to write down one of the syllable sequences here – even the most secret of all – because even the most skilled scholar could not do anything with them. The mere knowledge of a string of syllables is meaningless, and their simple utterance would be completely without effect. To the using of a magic belongs the „mental acting“. Everybody who wants to be a magician one day, willy-nilly has to go through the complete career from novice to master, and countless years of learning, studying and practicing stand before him.
Noricles are the counterparts of auricles in elemental magic. They reseal the auricle openings in the Trivocum, using the energies contained in the edges of the auricles (which can be seen glowing bright yellow in the Trivocum). From the point of view of the Codex, the noricles are the defining feature of Elemental magic. They are what distinguish elemental magic from other forms of magic and make it safe: the controlled locking of the auricles, which are always dangerous. A stygian node (a „demon“) could form, and jump over into this world. However, since already the auricles represent very controlled openings, which already have a filtering effect by their assignment to the elemental forces, the danger of a demon jumping over in the elemental magic is almost zero.
The Raw Magic
Over the centuries and millennia, of course, countless magicians have tried to go their own ways. Some wanted to shorten the endless years of study, others wanted to achieve more power, and still others were in the mood for results that could not be achieved with ordinary magic. For this reason, many special forms of magic came into being – and passed away again. Many were uncontrollable, others ineffective or simply too complicated.
One form of magic stood the test of time, especially because it was the oldest of all, and at the same time the most powerful: raw magic. It comes from the era when people first discovered magic, and for this reason it does not yet have some of the subtleties that were discovered later. It is true that even raw magic was also refined in later centuries, but at the time when Shabib Cambras felt compelled to found the Cambian Order to distinguish the good from the bad magicians, this was not yet the case. In those times, magic was raw and dangerous, and being a mage meant constantly putting oneself or others in danger.
The particular peculiarity of raw magic was that the mage simply tore open the Trivocum with a great effort of will, without setting an auricle. Even worse, noricles did not yet exist; one simply trusted that the Trivocum would close again by itself, which it usually did. But not always. And since the cracks in the Trivocum were so uncontrolled and sometimes huge, the worst imaginable thing could happen: a node of stygian energies jumped into this world, manifested itself in the form of a demon, and began an unspeakable work of destruction. Over time, as the mages became more powerful (and some of them greedier), this danger grew more and more, culminating in dozens of demons constantly roaming the populated lands of the cave world, wreaking untold havoc.
The Stygian Magic
This is the only other form of magic, besides raw and elemental magic, that gained importance. However, it did so in secret. For Stygian magic also contradicted what had been established by the code for all mages of the cave world.
But Stygian magic reflected that even an honorable and righteous law like the Code cannot claim omniscience and universality. Stygian magic would always have been worthy of recognition by the Codex, for it represents, in a sense, the antithesis of raw magic. It is particularly safe and reliable.
In essence, it works like elemental magic – with auricles, noricles, keys and filters – but it allows magical energies to flow not only from the stygium to this world, but also vice versa, which does not exist in elemental magic. This additionally opens a very wide field of applications. Some scholars always said that it would be dangerous to let this-worldly energies simply flow into the stygium, because no magician can ever „see“ what they do there. The stygium is, in a sense, ‚the other side‘, a place that is the antithesis of our world. But in practice, not a single case has been known to occur in the Stygium of any kind of misbalance, apart from the result the mage wanted to achieve anyway. Also, no demon ever jumped over to this side. In addition, because of its exceptionally high efficiency, Stygian magic could always work with very weak energies, which put less strain on the balance of forces, and still produce very useful magical results. However, mastering Stygian magic requires a very talented mage with great skill and dexterity.
Unfortunately, because of its non-conformity to the Code, Stygian magic has led a shadowy existence for millennia, as a quasi-outlawed form of magic. However, a number of clever and righteous mages, among them Munuel, Master Fujima, the young Roya, and even Lhotsé, the famous director of the Great Stygian Academy of Hegmafor, knew how to use Stygian magic secretly for their own purposes, without attracting much attention.