Magic of Ados, Part 2
In the previous post I covered a little bit on the history of magic on Ados and discussed one of the two main groups of arcane spellcasters, wizards. The wizards make up the majority of the arcane spellcasters in our world, and many of them regard themselves as the pinnacle of arcane knowledge and tradition. They are seen by many people, those who do and don’t use magic, as the gatekeepers of arcane heritage. However, there is another group of arcane spellcasters on Ados that has a claim on the arcane heritage. This group is collectively known as sorcerers.
It may seem a trivial difference to an outsider, but there is a reason there are two groups, and this difference has come up in our novels. While wizards must study intricate gestures, language, and symbols to learn their magic, sorcerers are naturally able to tap into the magic of Ados and can weave the magical aether to cast their spells. The sorcerer only needs to know the intent of what they want the spell to do to be able to cast it. Whether it’s creating radiant light, causing harm with an electric shock, or moving from one location to another, the sorcerer combines the magical aether with their will to do…something.
For most spells this intent is enough, but sorcerers will often supplement their intent with either a verbal or somatic (gesture) component, or both, to focus the aether. This makes it less likely for the magic to go awry and do something unexpected. (Something that young sorcerers have a lot of experience with.)
I want to note here something about arcane magic in Ados – whether it is cast by a wizard or a sorcerer. Once a spellcaster has started to cast their spell the magical aether must be used. If the spellcaster is interrupted, disrupted, or otherwise prevented from casting the spell the aether must be consumed. This idea was codified by one of the first wizards as Ketoralac’s Laws of Magic:
Ketoralac’s 1st Law: Magic is powered by Qurna’s aether.
Ketoralac’s 2nd Law: Once pulled from Qurna, the aether must be harnessed by the caster’s spell.
Ketoralac’s 3rd Law: Unharnessed aether, or aether not consumed by a spell, will be used by the environment in unexpected ways.
Because sorcerers harness the aether directly, and use their own will to shape the magic, they do not need to create complex spells or memorize spells from a spellbook. This gives them flexibility and versatility in the spells that they can cast. If the sorcerer can visualize the spell and what they want it to do, then they can cast it, though there are some exceptions. Sorcerers are born with an affinity to specific types of magical energy found within the aether. These energies are associated with specific elements (fire, electricity, cold, etc.) as well as specific realms of magic (enchantment, summoning, teleportation, etc.). So, a sorcerer will be able to easily tap the aether for certain kinds of magic, and for this reason you will find that sorcerers specialize just as much as wizards do.
The sorcerer’s ability to tap into the aether directly to cast their magic has led to quite a bit of animosity and hatred over the millennia from wizards. Wizards look down on sorcerers as inferior, thinking that the sorcerer has done something – usually dangerous, evil, and lascivious in nature – to get their ability to use magic. The most popular rumors among wizards usually include mating with dragons and demons.
Ansee Carya, our sorcerer from the Constable Inspector Lunaria Adventure series, thinks about it this way:
“Despite his own research into his ancestry, Ansee had never learned from where his magical talent had come. But here, in these archives, Ansee thought, I might be able to do that. There were many wild theories about how sorcerers got their magic. Most of them were grossly inaccurate, since they were spread by wizards to show how inferior sorcerers were.
Most clerics and priests believed that sorcerous magic came from a demon or devil taking the form of a beautiful woman and mating with an unsuspecting wizard. A few wizards favored the theory that they were the spawn of a necromancer who mated with a virgin on the night of a blood moon. Ansee’s favorite, the one propagated the most by wizards and non-spellcasters alike, was that sorcerers were the offspring of dragons who took elven form and mated with pretty much anybody.
Ansee was sure that all the theories, especially the popular ones involving demons, dragons, and necromancy, were just plain wrong. They were too fanciful and they played upon people’s fears of these creatures. Besides, Ansee couldn’t understand why they all had to do with having sex. He thought that was more a sign that wizards needed to get out of their dusty libraries and have a little fun rather than bearing any truth in reality.”
While a sorcerer is flexible in the spells they can cast, their ability to tap into the magical aether puts a physical strain on their bodies. It is tiring to cast magic in this manner and a sorcerer that draws too much aether will become fatigued. While wizards are limited in the number of spells they can prepare in a day, the structure of the spells they create acts as a buffer, so they do not become fatigued when casting their spells. This chance of becoming fatigued makes many sorcerers limit their use of magic throughout the day so they do not pass out from casting to many spells.
On the surface sorcerers and wizards have a lot in common and non-spellcasters often can’t tell one from the other. But the little differences, coupled with long traditions and heritage, means that within the arcane community there is a large divide of bigotry and hostility.
The next group of spellcasters, those who specialize in divine magic have their own peculiarities and we’ll take a look at the in the next post.