Updated: Oct 13, 2022
Though magic and its use in the books of the Storm’s Rising series are not always at the fore, it cannot be said that the world of Cyrradon is without magic. Far from it, magic and the pursuit of power via its varied arts have plagued its lands since the Choosing. For it was then that the legendary race of Mayhara split into five separate tribes, each following after their chosen Noralieth—a god-aspect of the Father, Aralieth—and eventually became the five Elder Races: Elves, Dwarves, Humans, Tarkuurians, and Jeborrhadim. After a few short centuries of separation from one another, the differences between these five tribes grew to distrust and strife. Turning their magical abilities on each other was an inevitable outcome.
Legends and histories of Cyrradon abound with the misuse of magic and the lasting scars the most abhorrent of those events have left on the world. One event, and the circumstances leading up to it, deserves mention here: the fall of the Mysticity of Etheros. To understand how that came to be, you must first understand the magi and what magic truly is.
Ÿthir is the element of magical energy. Like air, water, stone, earth, and wood, Ÿthir is the essence from which magic is fashioned. Thus, magic in the world of Cyrradon is the ability to harness, influence, and channel Ÿthir to a specific purpose. There are many methods or ‘disciplines’ by which this might be accomplished (which we shall explore a bit later). For now what is important is that some disciplines require a specific trait or bloodline in the user, called the diluvus. For instance, the race of Tarkuurians is entirely without the diluvus, and therefore without magical potential. To such as them working magic is akin to attempting to fly or to breathe water; they are simply not designed to do so. Even among the other races, such as elves and humans, only some possess the diluvus while others do not.
Interestingly, the races of dwarves common to Cyrradon only rarely exhibit true magical potential, with the mountain-dwelling Gøtlanders more so even than their Haønite cousins. With Gøtland dwarves, Ÿthir tends to flow through the art of their craft, such that whatever article, ornament, weapon, or piece of armor a master smith might produce has a small chance of being imbued with permanent magical properties. The craftsman has no influence on the outcome: it either occurs or it does not and bears out in the item’s use through time.
Once the diluvus trait was recognized, magi of the world began to congregate so they might better benefit from one another and propagate offspring who carried the trait as well. Some came to believe those with the ability to harness the Ÿthir were not merely gifted, but in fact a separate and superior race above those without it. Among magi, those who held this belief called themselves the Diluviali. Those who believed it to be an ability only and not evidence of a superior breed of beings were called the Venerali. In very short order, this defining difference between the Diluviali and the Venerali colored every decision any mage might make, including whether communities near to Etheros should be treated as neighbors or as subjugate serfs from whom regular tributes were due. In time, this philosophical division escalated to conflict between the two factions, resulting in the utter destruction of the Mysticity of Etheros and all who dwelled within it.
But this was neither the end for magic nor for magic users. For once the sun-bright fires of this apocalypse receded and folk ventured to investigate, nothing of Etheros remained but a circular plateau of glass in the midst of the desert where the Mysticity had stood (now named the Glasgrave Sea), and a glowing orb of pulsating energy at its center. This orb was the collective Ÿthir remaining after all else had been destroyed. For Ÿthir, unlike any other element, can neither be created nor destroyed, only changed.
Though many tried and perished in their attempts, one man succeeded in compelling the Ÿthir orb to move from its place, an Archmagus named Sølmijn Aetorin. With gentle wisdom he coaxed it from that land to a new city named Alloyis, founded on the ideal that all the races were created as equals. Sølmijn acknowledged the existence of the diluvus trait, but would not dare to call another lesser than he for not possessing it. Therefore, in the city of Alloyis, Sølmijn kept the orb (which he called the Ÿthir Kiln) safe, and founded a new school for the study of magic, one that excluded no one. For in his wisdom, he knew that even when the blood trait was absent, there remained paths to channel the Ÿthir. And thus came the founding of the Tower of Aetorin.
Aetorin’s Tower stands to the current day in Cyrradon, though it has grown much over the years. The Diluviali belief system remains present as well, but are a small and secretive sect. For their belief defies the precepts on which Sølmijn Aetorin founded his school and the promise he swore to the City of Alloyis: that never again would the magi hold to the Diluvialic principles.
With that abbreviated history of magic itself now understood, we can discuss how magic actually works in the world of Cyrradon. There are five distinct disciplines of magic use, and though variants do exist, the basic concept of how the Ÿthir is harnessed and channeled does not change within a particular discipline. The disciplines are as follows:
The Tangent Arts – Those who practice this discipline use physical materials, often accompanied by carefully spoken words of power, to focus the Ÿthir. This is the most common and easiest of the arts to learn, and the primary discipine for those without the diluvus. An example of the Tangent Arts would be using a feather borne upon the breath of the mage to “teach” the Ÿthir to bear up a much heavier object and move it about in the air. Another might be to use a patch of silk or wool cloth to generate a static spark and thus compel the Ÿthir to amplify that spark to much greater output. While the Tangent Arts are the most easily learned form of magic use, they are arguably the most cumbersome. For to affect any spell, the mage must possess the proper materials, and many of these are consumed in the casting process.
The Aggregate Arts – Practitioners of this discipline must have the diluvus, for they must learn to sense the Ÿthir that is present in all things, to draw it inward from the mage’s surroundings, and then to focus it through words of arcane power. This is a challenging discipline. While it can be comprehended and used with meager success after some focused training, the greatest potential use takes often decades of study and applied practice. Without a master from whom to learn this art, even those with the most magical potential will not succeed at it. Notably, this discipline relies on the ready availability of Ÿthir in proximity to the mage. In the Tower of Aetorin, with the Ÿthir Kiln nearby, learning is accomplished much faster, and aggregate spells are spectacularly successful. In areas such as the Glasgrave Sea, where all Ÿthir has been removed, aggregate spells fail utterly.
The Congruent Arts – Those with the ability to practice the Aggregate Arts will sometimes develop the ability to not only feel the Ÿthir in their surroundings but to actually reach out and touch it. The Congruent Arts rely on this talent to inscribe sigils upon a physical surface to channel the Ÿthir toward a purpose. This surface can be parchment, skin, or leather (such as scrolls), metal, wood, or even sand, water, or air. Anything in which Ÿthir is present can become the medium within which the Congruent Arts might be practiced. This is an exceedingly difficult art to learn and master, for it requires exceptional memorization skills, as well as the ability to understand how the shapes of the sigils themselves compel the Ÿthir to action.
The Deific Arts – Practiced by persons of faith, this use of magic relies upon the granting of prayer from a willing deity, with the cleric or priest then serving as a conduit for the Ÿthir to accomplish the prayed-for purpose. Magi of other disciplines tend to look down on this as not being a “true” discipline of magic use, despite deific spells often being as potent—if not more so—than those of other disciplines. The Deific Arts are not limited to those with the diluvus trait, only by the choice of a deity to grant a faith-filled request.
The Stygian Arts – Considered by magic users and the non-magical alike as the darkest of practices, the Stygian Arts are founded on the core concept that Ÿthir is strongest when drawn from the life energy, from the blood, of living beings. This discipline is neither taught nor tolerated by the Order of Aetorin, and in fact will be cause for ex-communication from the Order and possibly being marked for death. The Stygian Arts can be exceptionally powerful, depending on the specific source of the Ÿthir (e.g., from royal elven blood). The use of this art always leaves the source weakened, and in some cases, sickened for quite some time. If too much Ÿthir is drawn from the source(s), it can result in death.
Despite the wide variety of disciplines and the long and bloody history of magic use in the lands of Cyrradon (the surface of which has only been scratched here), magic itself is seldom seen used in public. When it is, it is typically an event long remembered by those who witness it. Neither are the lands replete with scrolls containing ready-to-use spells, or artifacts imbued with magical abilities by any pedestrian commoner who happens upon them. Items such as these are truly rare and secreted away not to be spoken of by any who might obtain one. In the larger cities of the world, a shop or two may be found catering to the Tangent Arts practitioner, but places where even modestly enchanted items might be bought or sold simply do not exist. Indeed, if one were to search long and hard for any sort of collection of ensorcelled items, it might only be found in such places as the deep and well-guarded storerooms of some powerful and wealthy collector, such as King Taurez Drakken, or within the deep catacombs beneath the Tower of Aetorin itself.
Should you travel long in the cities and highways of Cyrradon, you may encounter magic in one or more of its forms along the way. If you do, traveler, know you have been in exceptional company: one either blessed or cursed with the gift to shape the Ÿthir itself, potentially to their own doom.
What incredible magic systems have you discovered in your journeys? Let us know! Feel free to post them, either in the comments beneath the blog post itself, or in whatever forum it gets posted. If you just have feedback or comments on our world-building, share them, too!
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Jason (and Rose)
Creators at Legends of Cyrradon
 Technically, the Jeborrhadim rejected any god, choosing instead the worship of elements of the world. But that is a tale for another time.  A notable and infamous variant of the Stygian Arts is the curse (or blessing as some call it) named after the potent Magus, Lord Cydon. Cydon’s curse afflicts a person such that their magic draws Ÿthir only from the blood within themselves, leaving them greatly weakened unless they replenish it. Fortunately, the curse provides a convenient remedy to this. The afflicted person can consume the Ÿthir from within another person with the hereditary ability to use magic, leaving the other person dead beyond saving. Thus the only means of survival for one afflicted with Cydon’s curse is to cease the practice of magic altogether or to become a murderer.