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“All things eventually break down into the mesh if they cannot maintain themselves; yet all things must maintain the cycle. Within the many demiplanes, such as the Red Forest and Astor's Vault, this creation is drawn by their respective deities - who directly pull these base breakdowns from the mesh as needed for their tasks. Yet for A'therys, our plane's creator lays in deep slumber; unable to influence it. How then, shall the plane stave from the gnawing entropy at its borders? It is through our kindred, those gifted with the art of magic. For what is magic but our own sliver of Yeor's abilities? Every spell cast draws a portion of the mesh into A'therys, allowing us for one brief moment to break down the natural laws of the mortal coil - those rules that state what man can and cannot do or produce - and allows us to achieve the impossible.”
- Archmage Ametheon Aralis, an introductory lecture on magic, c. 7C-193
In attempting to compile the many facets and wonders of A'therys, one can hardly overlook the power of magic within the world. Often feared, scorned upon, or worshiped falsely for their powers; mages guard their secrets closely for their kindred's own protection. Despite the wandwork, tinkering, experiments, and years of study that modern-day mages endure; magic is easy if one becomes aware of the proper methods of its use, so long as the talent is possessed in some form by the practitioner.
Magic is fueled primarily by the Cosmic Mesh, sometimes referred to as 'The Void', an endless expanse of entropy. It is here that the gods first existed as formless embodiments of their portfolios, and it is from here that all subsequent creation throughout history would erupt. All the known planes of existence float within the Mesh, some in anchored permanence and others always change position. It can be said that the planes and Mesh are cyclical of one another. Whereas the Cosmic Mesh is an embodiment of entropy - a force that breaks down all things into their base ideals and components; the planes embody creation.
By drawing this force of entropy into themselves, the mage acts as a link between the two planes, briefly breaking down the natural laws of the world with an intended result as they reconstruct to form a spell. The resulting magic then acts upon its intended nature to the best of its caster’s abilities, until it either expends the energy allotted to it or another spell prematurely ends the first.
Today, magic is most commonly filed within one of three Houses to classify the means of manipulation utilized to channel and cast spells. Each House - Candles, Eyes, and Harps - has its own personal philosophies and ideals towards magic, casting techniques, and distinctive spells.
The first mages were men gifted too strongly with Yeor’s creative might, creating an era of sorcerer kings and queens who founded small city-nations; dueling against the gods themselves to maintain their independence. While many of these rulers were eliminated by the First Calling, the gods remained highly skeptical of any who possessed magical ability. In 1C-749, at the height of the Sundering of the Eclipse’s battles, the nation of Ithero challenged the common perspectives on magic. Recognizing that conventional tactics were proving woefully inadequate to the task of defeating the Vrovonic legions, Commodore Alessandro Eszarrio petitioned the Admiralty for the use of some of its most powerful imprisoned mages. The negotiations were long and difficult; the Twingods were wary of using mages as a weapon and potentially losing control of them during the conflict, whilst the commodore was persistent that without the mages, the Itheri navy would not endure the war. In the end, they agreed to the commodore's request, with the addition of over a dozen restrictions and rules, the most prominent being the continuous oversight of Church and Admiral’s Council. These “doomsayers’ divisions”, as they came to be called, were an instant success; quickly decimating enemies on the battlefield and proving a greater challenge to the Vrovonic legions.
During the Sundering, the doomsayers’ divisions fought hard, constantly under threat as Vrovona soon came to realise their importance to the Itheri war effort, and set high honors for defeating an identified mage in combat. It is perhaps for this reason that the people of Vrovona culturally view mages as cowards, and it takes much difficulty for mages to attain a Vrovonic’s trust. As the Sundering came to a close in 2C-300, a majority of Itheri mages knew no other life than that of war. The few who could adjust to civilian life soon retreated from society, knowing the suspicion and fear that fell upon their kin. Those who could not were swiftly approached by the ever-watching Admiralty and offered one of two choices; be sent into war again to claim the northern isles as colonies, or be executed.
Despite marginal success among the people of Ithero, most magical knowledge was still passed on in secret from master to student. In 2C-549, an elder mage known today as Thalorus the Wise chose to publicly advertise his teachings in the Winewood. Hoping to unify the mages of A’therys under a common cause of learning, this was the first true Mages’ Guild.
With the death of Thalorus in 2C-678, his apprentice Aalorin took up his mantle. Knowing that the guild would not endure with a simple method of master and apprentice, he brought together the most skilled mages of the era - Kaherii, Syrros, Ardinil, Petrav, and Fernas - into the first Arcane Council before stepping down in 2C-689. The council chose to erect a permanent site around the Farendale Locus, so that their students would have a consistent source of magic to practice within. Mediation between House Volaradon and the goddess Thesse ran tense, but successful with the assurance that the guild was indeed a place of knowledge and study and not a kingdom of sorcerers seeking to rise against the gods.
Despite Kaherii’s betrayal against the first council, the teaching of magic continued with stability until 4C-374, when an uprising of magicians under the leadership of Aruvaan struck Port Roslund in Vrovona. Despite the honor and reputation of Fernas Tovikh, and although the uprising was put down in the spring of 4C-376; the nation of Vrovona would hereafter distrust magic and its wielders. In 4C-397, many battlecasters of the Vrovonic Legion fled following rumors that they would be "removed from service" - a rumor twisted, undeniably, by word of mouth, but close to the truth. In the early fourth century, Paragon Bayan Zhivko announced the dismissal of all mages from commanding roles in the military, placing them under strict jurisdiction and supervision, although they were not removed in the manner many feared.
Up until the sixth Cycle, the Eztalpaltli city of Haxtuitl had been home to a small, but vibrant magic community. The low-lying city had a thriving tourist industry, mainly thanks to mages wanting to experiment with components of the nation’s infamous toxic swamps. On a summer’s evening in 5C-817, disaster struck. All mages who were in Eztalpaltl at that exact moment, and who were touching the ground with their bare skin, died instantly. A total of thirty-eight local resident and visiting mages died. Nobody knows exactly what happened or what caused it, though there have been many speculations. Most believe that the occurrence had something to do with the creation of the dragon Eztliltic. Others think that it was an alchemical formula cast into the swamps by some native alchemists, as there had allegedly been some conflicts between them and the magical community. Still others think that this was a small-scale test of a magical weapon of enormous power - but they disagree on who was behind it. Whatever the case, a mass exodus of Eztalpaltli mages occurred as the sixth Cycle dawned, and few have dared return since. By the Second Calling, magic had been systematically weeded out of the eastern Alchemy nation, partially out of fear - but mostly through the High Alchemists’ enslavement of those who displayed the ability. To this day, magic is rarely seen in Eztalpaltl, the power of alchemy reigning as the supreme force of manipulation.
Meanwhile, in the western hemisphere, the Mage’s Guild continued to flourish, even though the uncertainty of the Second Calling left neighboring Aloreh in tatters. Though some Alor-born mages chose to take up arms, a majority chose to wait out the chaos, crafting new protections for their home to ensure the war would not progress beyond their doorstep. The village of Farendale became an invaluable asset to the guild during this early period of the seventh Cycle, its farmers enjoying a lucrative business of feeding the guild population and in turn remaining secluded from the war that tore apart the surrounding countryside. When the old college campus was destroyed by necromancy in 7C-241, it was Farendale that housed the dislodged mages when the rest of Aloreh evaded those involved with the magical arts.
Despite this final setback against the image of magekind, the redoubled effort towards the Cyridon Spire complex was completed in 7C-243 and the Arcane College was reopened. More than two decades after the incident, the emphasis on proper magical education has been the foreground of the guild’s efforts. With embassies in most nations, their recruiters seek to locate children who possess the gift and ensure they are trained properly in the art of magic. A continuous neutral entity, even during the War of the Eventide, they are as much a diplomatic force as an educative one.