A Brief Overview
For over 3,000 years, the Magi have been a focal point in Gaia’s development as a realm. Whether they were fighting against each other in bloody wars or working together to stop powerful enemies from destroying their world, these heroes were the only native-born Gaians that could control a force known as “mana”, and through it, perform incredible feats of magic. Though, in modern times, the Magi are no longer the only magicians born natively to Gaia, they remain the only magicians that go through a reincarnation cycle whereupon after their death, the next child conceived in Gaia will be born a Magus.
Before the arrival of the first “realm crasher” (a hostile magician from another realm), the Magi were often used as weapons of war, usually viewed as a sign from the goddess or gods that the region worshipped that they were the chosen ones—the ones that should rule over all others. These religious wars were fought for well over a century until a Magus named Boudicca Quinn, tired of being used as a tool of war, slaughtered enemies and allies alike on the battlefield before returning and doing the same to the royalty that had sent her out fight in the first place. Afterwards, Quinn disappeared, and the warring was brought to a halt, many rulers fearing Quinn might make her return unexpectedly and turn another battlefield red with blood.
Over time, the Magi started being viewed as messengers from the Goddess, having multiple religions form around their existence. The two most successful ones were the “Disciples of Arcadia”, which believed the Magi were sent by the goddess from a utopia called Arcadia to protect the world, and “Fibers”, whose focus was less about reverence towards the Magi and more about working to aid them in any way possible. Both religions had terrible leadership issues and downfalls, but Fibers’ spread throughout Gaia has come to make it more-or-less the default religion, though it’s focus over the past several centuries has been largely secular.
In 657 ME (Magi Era), with realm crashers becoming more of a threat over time, Diana Visser, noted as being one of the most powerful Magi to ever exist, attempted to form an alliance between all the Magi, attempting to put the well-being of Gaia as a realm over loyalties to individual countries. An agreement “with no exceptions” was reached, but was broken within two years when one Magus refused to help a neighboring country they were at war with until it was in ruins. The fallout from this led to that Magus taking her life in recompense, but there appears to be much more to the story than that. Unfortunately, it appears there has been a concerted effort to remove the true effects of this occurrence, leaving many to speculate as to what may have happened.
Over two centuries later, Morgaine Fahey attempted to revive Diana Visser’s pact, and this time it stuck, though the catalyst for this call to action was a realm crasher attack that killed roughly 40,000 people. That pact has held strong over the millenia, helped by a major decline in hostilities between nations.
Roughly 500 years ago, the elder instituted a set “Years of Service” for the Magi. From the ages of 13 to 38, all Magi would be considered as “active”, meaning they were responsible for going out and engaging realm crashers. As the Magi (generally) came into their powers at the age of 10, this gave them three years to train their abilities, often with the help of an older Magus. At the age of 38, a Magus would be considered “retired” and no longer be required to encounter realm crashers unless there were no other options, such as the active Magi all being killed or engaging with a magician far more powerful than their abilities could match.
Types of Magic the Magi can Wield
(Note: Though I’m specifically talking about the Magi and their powers, it should be noted that many of these forms of magic are common amongst magicians from other realms.)
Simple and effective, casting magic is the most common type of magic, but in the right hands, it has infinite possibilities. To simplify matters, it’s easiest to discuss casting magic in its two subtypes: offensive casting and defensive casting.
Offensive Casting: Offensive casting is the act of gathering pure, unrefined mana and giving it form, often in the shape of a sphere, but it varies from magician to magician. This pure mana can be obscenely destructive, and even someone unskilled in casting can do massive damage with it. Someone with average casting abilities could easily level a building of stone and/or steel without much effort. On the higher end, a Magus with casting as their specialty is said to be able to use their magic with such precision that they could atomize their opponents.
The color of one’s casted sphere of mana is seemingly random with the exception of the Magus who specializes in it. The casting specialist’s mana is always a golden color.
Defensive Casting: On the other side of the coin, defensive casting alters mana into a sturdy, transparent barrier for protection. The strength of these barriers are equivalent to the casting ability of the user, but even weak barriers have no issue stopping weapons, including bullets (on realms that use such items). With few exceptions, the only things that can break a defensive barrier are the use of offensive casting from a magician with equal or stronger casting ability or enchanted weapons made from a very talented enchanter.
Defensive casting has more practical uses than its name suggests. Because barriers can be made in many shapes and sizes, and because the magician using it can move the barrier and reshape it with a bit of concentration, this magic can be used to transport heavy objects or even people from one area to another. Those truly talented in casting magic have been known to create makeshift tools out of these barriers.
The ability to manipulate all five senses is an incredible tool for any magician to wield. When your only limit is your imagination, anything becomes possible. You want to create a field of flowers? Easy. How about an army of undead followers? No problem. Want to grow fifty feet taller? It’s just a blink away. Sure, none of these things are actually happening, but even when facing someone with the ability to cancel out your magic, it should give them a surprise until they figure out your trick.
Illusions aren’t as simple as you’d think, however. That field of flowers you created? It’s not going to fool anyone unless you’re concentrating on every little detail. How do the flowers look? How do they smell? When the person in your illusion moves, can they feel the petals brushing against their ankles? What about their actual environment? This field of flowers might be empty, but if they trip over the bench that’s been shrouded by your magic, you need to make sure they don’t realize they just took a fall.
Illusions are some of the hardest spells to create, and those that make it look easy are simply prodigious in their abilities.
Enchantment is considered “the scholar’s specialty” when it comes to the Magi. This is because enchantments must be created through logical means. For instance, why do most people with enchantment abilities use wood as a source of flight? This is because most types of wood are porous, and therefore manipulating their density while maintaining the sturdiness of the wood itself is easy. Knowing the differences in the specific gravity of different types of wood allows for even more precise altering of their characteristics.
You see, the outcome of the enchantment must coincide with the innate characteristics of the object you wish to enchant or the spell will have no effect. This is why it is so important for an enchanter to study a broad range of topics to get the most out of their magic. While simply enchanting a sword to be stronger and more durable may have been fine at one point in history, much more is expected out of modern enchantment specialists.
In recent years, “command enchantments” have become popular. This type of magic determines an action and uses mana mixed in with a sound (such as a clap, snap, or vocal command) to connect that action with an object. An example of this would be a Magus snapping her fingers to have an item fly to her hand.
*As a side note, magicians who have both enchantment abilities and elemental abilities do not need to worry about such things when they are using their abilities in conjunction with each other (such as making charms). That skill is less of an enchantment and more of an infusion.
In the Gaian language, the word translated as bonding, “gramos”, is almost identical in nature to its English counterpart. The word can be divided into “gram”, which means “to come together as one” (in terms of either inanimate objects or connecting with someone on a deeper level) and “os”, which means “to do”. Bonding is a magic that lets a Magus share information, memories, and even feelings with someone by placing their fingers on their temples and concentrating on the information they wish to convey. This can be seen as a very intimate and person experience, which is why its name reflects that.
Bonding is an incredibly useful skill for diplomacy, allowing a Magus to share their language with someone from another realm so that they can communicate. Even those with a mediocre talent for bonding can share a large piece of their vocabulary with others, though it becomes trickier with less words available. The number of times bonding has been used to de-escalate tensions and save lives cannot be overstated.
As the name suggests, spatial magic is about altering the space between areas—more specifically, connecting them. With the use of “gates”, an oval-shaped portal outlined by a scarlet rim and filled with pitch-clack mana, one could easily travel anywhere they desire in seconds. Unfortunately, the desire to go somewhere isn’t the only prerequisite needed to be able to travel somewhere. In order to open a gate to an area, the Magus must have already been to that location before and must have spent several minutes concentrating on that location to set a waypoint or, in essence, bookmark it. Even for Magi with an affinity for spatial magic this can be a difficult task, and arriving a few miles off the mark isn’t uncommon.
Because the spatial specialist Magus is responsible for gathering the other Magi and taking them to the area where the latest realm crasher arrived, a tradition was established back in 885 ME by Morgaine Fahey, who said any young Magus with a talent for spatial magic should be guided around the world as much as possible so that they can respond to an attack anywhere at any time.
Magi who are truly gifted in using spatial magic can open up multiple gates at once and can create exits to those gates without the use of “bookmarks”, though this is generally only within their line of sight. For example, a talented spatial Magus could open up a gate where the exit is pointing at her enemy from behind for a sneak attack, even if she is unfamiliar with the area she’s fighting in. However, that same Magus would have trouble in an unfamiliar area crowded with large buildings or trees that obscure her line out sight.
Finally, the most impressive ability in this category goes to the Magus who specializes in spatial magic. This ability allows for the Magus to open gates to other realms outside of Gaia. To leave Gaia’s realm and discover new, amazing, and sometimes frightening new dimensions is the privilege that belongs solely to the spatial specialist Magus. The reason for this is due to this Magus being able to see unused, unformed mana spilling out from the cracks between Gaia and other dimensions. These cracks are said to resemble a barely noticeable mist of all different colors, though different spatial Magi have given wildly different descriptions of how they see these cracks.
Tracing is the ability to see the world in ways that normal people could never fathom. With this type of magic, seeing around corners, through walls, and even inside other people is possible. When using tracing, a Magus must allow their consciousness to connect to the mana that flows through everything—the air, the ground, inanimate objects, and even living things. By doing this, they can view the surrounding area all at once, though it is an incredible amount of information for the human brain to process. To minimize this amount of information, the Magus can filter out specific things they wish to look for, and the more information they know about what they’re searching for, the easier they can find it.
While tracing itself is rather straightforward, it’s how one uses this information that only they can see to their advantage. For instance, someone experienced in both tracing and fighting would have a distinct advantage against someone of equal or even higher skill than them because they would be able to quickly access which muscles were being tensed and extrapolate from that what attack is likely to come. Another example would be a Magus with tracing being able to see a hidden weapon being carried by an enemy and being able to warn her fellow Magi in advance.
Exponentially increasing one’s strength and speed is the core effect behind enhancement. With this magic active, blades, arrows, and even bullets (in realms that have those) are useless against anyone with even a moderate affinity for this magic. At the higher end of this spectrum, the Magus could easily crush the hardest materials on the planet to dust, and her movements would seem like teleportation to the naked eye.
Along with enhanced strength and speed, there is a small increase sight and sound and a fair amount of pain reduction. The latter of these two effects seems to grow very slightly with the Magus as their power grows over time, but never to the point where she can negate all the pain inflicted upon her.
In terms of power dynamics, enhancement specialists tend to be weak against those well-versed in casting magic. Not only are their defensive barriers too tough to break with sheer force (assuming both sides are roughly equal in their abilities), but offensive casting is far more powerful than a bullet. A direct hit from a sphere of casted mana could easily leave a hole in the enhanced Magus’ body. On the bright side, mana doesn’t travel all that fast, giving the Magus time to dodge, reposition, and reassess her situation.
Summoning is an incredibly useful ability because it allows a Magus to call forth an item, animal, or (under the right circumstances) a person to them immediately. As long as the summoner has a general idea of what she wishes to call to her and where it is, she can have it in her hands in seconds. The means with which this happens is through a summoning circle, which appears to work as a type of teleporting magic, but even with extensive studies having been done with both Gaian and other-realmer summoners, very little is known about how these summoning circles work.
Summoning, while useful for everyday purposes, might be the least effective magic for a Magus to use on the battlefield. This is because of the massive amount of mana it consumes can leave even a summoning specialist running on empty within just as few summons. Those with less talent in summoning could be left entirely drained after just one successful summon. As such, it is rarely used during fights with realm crashers, but when it is, it is done only when necessary.
Notable Magi Throughout History:
(Some information from earlier may be repeated)
Demetria Nomikos: Believed to be the first Magus ever born, her birth marks the first year in the Belmonte Calendar. Details of her exploits suggest she was a casting specialist, and her exploits in war brought down death and destruction in the countries of Belgram, Connelis, and Aspiria.
Boudicca Quinn: As stated earlier, Boudicca Quinn’s name became notorious after she was repeatedly sent out to fight by her queen, despite requesting time to rest. Eventually, she snapped and wiped out an entire battlefield of enemies and allies alike, including two other Magi. After returning home, she proceeded to kill the queen and her family, supposedly so that no one else would be able to take her place and try to send her off to fight more battles.
Where Quinn went after that is still a hotly-debated topic, but historical records show that army generals and nobles were so afraid of fighting in or near towns (for fear of disturbing Boudicca’s rest) that much of the fighting stopped altogether out of paranoia, eventually bringing an end to the era of religious wars.
Olga Fritz: Dubbed “The First True Hero of Gaia”, Fritz was a spatial specialist who saved Lostieria’s capital of Nagoima from the first recorded realm crasher in Gaia’s history. While there was already a Magus in the town where the attack first occurred, she wasn’t powerful enough to stop the attacker. Fritz, by her own admission, only came by out of curiosity after feeling a moment of panic, now known as an “alarm” that all Magi have (see below for more details). However, when she saw what was happening, she quickly disposed of the realm crasher and saved Nagoima from being demolished.
Fritz’ fast thinking and quick reaction saved hundreds of lives, and the young Magus she helped was quoted as saying, “She arrived like the light of spring.” This quote became rather popular for a time and is said to have inspired the way months in the Belmonte Calendar were named. This is why the first month of spring is named “Fritzarc”.
Diana Visser: Considered to be the most powerful Magus to ever live, Visser was a casting specialist who started using her abilities at a young age and was said to effortlessly use her casting abilities as though they were an extension of her own body.
In her early thirties, Visser attempted to have all the Magi form a pact to defend against realm crashers as their numbers were steadily growing by the year, and while it was initially agreed upon, it only held for two years.
Claudia and Luana Veiga: These twin Magi, an enchantment and casting specialist, respectively, led a twenty-year war in Eusinria against neighboring countries. Their loyalty to the queen of Eusinria was said to be unmatched by anyone. However, after the bonding specialist Magus of the time showed the two the pain their actions had been causing so many innocent people, the Veiga twins begged their queen to halt further military action.
Their worries were brushed aside, and the two were told to continue their advance into Majana’s territory. The twins reluctantly agreed, but it didn’t matter; the queen was found dead in an apparent assassination not long after. Though the Veiga twins had already left Eusinria at the time of the assassination, rumors persist, even today, that they were somehow behind her death.
Morgaine Fahey: After a devastating realm crasher attack kills tens of thousands of people, Fahey was the one who made Diana Visser’s pact become a reality. Though at times, some of the Magi have fought and complained, none have ever broken the pact. This has led the Magi to where they are today—a team of heroes working together to stop realm crashers from destroying their realm.
Fahey also started the tradition of having Magi with spatial abilities travel as much as possible so that they could set waypoints (or “bookmarks”) in as many areas as possible. Their job would be to gather everyone and take them to the area where a realm crasher was attacking when the time came.
Steren Argus: Per Morgaine Fahey’s request, Argus was the first spatial magician to be shown the world by her Magi peers, and because of this, she grew to love seeing new places, meeting new people, and learning about their cultures. With a deep curiosity for just about everything, and an eagerness to try out new things, Argus’ name recognition was high, even in the most rural areas.
The peak of Argus’ fame, however, came after she published her book “The Travelling Magus”. The book detailed her talks with people all over the world, expressing the worries and hopes of those she spoke with, as well as frequently giving her personal opinions. It explored topics such as mandatory education for children, misinformation and war propaganda, the importance of artistic expression (a topic she especially took note of when visiting Versonir), and many other subjects that would have been considered scandalous or even treasonous in certain areas had they come from anyone else. The influence of her book would be felt for centuries, even affecting what laws the first group of elders focused on during their tenures.
Arlette Sebastia: Known jokingly as “The Tactless Magus”, Sebastia’s straightforwardness and single mindedness brought about as many resolutions as they did headaches. Unquestionably, her most notable achievement was ending The Red War—both the feat itself and the rumors around it. Though not known for a fact, it’s said that Sebastia ended the conflict by gathering the leaders of the four countries in conflict in a single room and threatening to kill them if they didn’t put a stop to their fighting.
Due to Sebastia’s reputation as being tactless and the fact that The Red War had claimed over four million lives at this point, it’s entirely believable that she went to extreme measures to end the bloodshed. However, it is ultimately still a rumor.
Kishan Desai: A bonding specialist that spread goodwill and language to hundreds of thousands of people. Because of his efforts, most people attribute the fact that modern Gaians all share the same language (aside from some regional slang) to Desai.
Julia Almeida: Another person influenced heavily by Steren Argus, Almeida worked tirelessly in establishing three major treaties: “The Treaty of Versonir”, “Peace of Tennaria”, and “The Treaty of Asceticism”. There were critics at the time that argued the “Peace of Tennaria” treaty didn’t do enough, saying the annexed land should have been returned. Even so, the number of lives saved by these three treaties cannot be disputed.
(For more information about these treaties, see the History second “1460 ME – 1503 ME”).
Sorcha Flynn: The first Magus to take up residence in the Library of Magic and also the first to work full time as a retired Magus trying to decipher old grimoires collected from deceased realm crashers.
Rena Vicé: The mother of modern medical practices, Vicé is known for being instrumental in helping to end the spread of the “link virus”, the deadliest disease in Gaia’s history (excluding, of course, the rosso virus). As a spatial Magus, Vicé believed she was the one that brought the link virus into Gaia’s realm, and while this was learned to be untrue long after her death, she spent much of her life going to other realms and doing her utmost to learn how she might be able to cure the virus, thinking she had been the one to cause it. Without Vicé’s hard work, The International Committee of Disease Prevention would never have been as influential as it was.
Iolana Kahale: Considered wise and kind by most everyone she met, Kahale is the first Magus to allow other-realmers to stay in Gaia’s realm instead of killing them or sending them off to another realm (when they couldn’t return home on their own). Kahale’s decision was met with a large amount of disapproval for various reasons, not the least of which was the assumption that any magician from another realm was automatically evil, but Kahale’s reputation and her position as the eldest on the frontlines forced even the loudest critics to accede to her request.
Iris Peron: Said to be the person with the largest footprint in Gaia’s history, Peron is noted as having changed Gaian politics forever with the introduction of the elders—lawmakers whose decisions would have worldwide effects. This massive change, for better of worse, would affect labor standards, environmental regulation, taxation, and a myriad of other things.
Peron was also known for the de-escalation of tensions between North and South Haven as the age of fifteen and being a strong advocate for the reduction of non-defense-type military units.
Temitope Keita: As a spatial specialist and lover of the stars and astronomy, Keita visited several different realms and brought back as many maps of the stars as she could from each realm, curious as to how they would compare to Gaia’s. Curiously, most of the maps and charts brought back for study were very similar, but with a few minor differences. These differences become known in academic circles as “Universal Fluctuation”, which is speculated to be what shapes each realm’s differences, such as differences between plant and animal life, human physiology, and the shaping of continents.
Zuri Magoro and Maura Reid: Best friends and inseparable duo, Magoro and Reid were known as lively pranksters that loved to laugh and make others laugh. They were known to laugh the loudest when pulling pranks on world leaders and especially loved to tease the stone-faced Aspirian president, Annette Westrup, even managing to get a rare laugh out of her after they replaced her chair at a dinner party with one set to slowly sink down into itself that they had brought from another realm.
Two events marked their otherwise joyful lives: “The Holy War Incident”, which saw a realm that knew nothing of magic go to war over a simple enchanted sponge, and the creation of the legendary sword Vanhaal that was enchanted during Reid’s last stand to be able to cut through anything and never break so that it could kill a powerful immortal.
Luciana Cavallero: Another famous spatial specialist, Cavallero is credited with discovering the Psytorians, whose amazing technology (such as the wave cubes) has become some of the most treasured in Gaia. While the Psytorians were known to have a good relation with Cavallero, as a race of mind-readers, they were quick to distance themselves from many other people they met in Gaia. It is through Cavallero’s efforts that trade is still allowed with the Psytorians, but only at their discretion.
Silvana Moretti: The first Magus to be culled due to her inability to fight and her young age. While the one who did the culling, Finn Vignes, said that Moretti went out with dignity and grace, many wonder if he was simply being kind.
Elizabeth Sutton: With the rosso virus keeping Gaia’s population growth irregular, Sutton was the Magus who helped alleviate this problem the most with the introduction of fertility banks. With her hard work and the work of professionals she brought in from other realms for consultation, fertility banks not only became a reality, but also extremely popular, spreading throughout Gaia in just a few short years.
*Haru Worrell: While there have been descendants of other-realmers that had become Magi in the past, Worrell was the first Magus to be born in Gaia by a non-Gaian mother. His mother, Lisé Worrell, was visiting from the realm of Qu’peitia when she became pregnant with him. To say this caused complications would be an understatement, but Lisé reluctantly chose to stay in Gaia’s realm so that she could raise her son. For her, there was no real choice in the matter. The moment Haru was declared a Magus, she lost her right to take him home.
*At the time of this writing, Haru is still a young child.
What Separates the Magi from (Most) Magicians
Aside from being born on Gaia, are there any other differences between the Magi and magicians from other realms? The short answer is “Yes”, but there are some overlapping similarities on rare occasions. Let’s take a look at some of those differences now:
An Internal “Alarm”
The one thing that the Magi have that absolutely no other magician has (or can have) is the internal alarm that goes off when someone from another dimension enters Gaia’s realm. This alarm, described as a sudden, unsettling feeling that gives the Magus a jolt, alerts the Magus of the arrival and also where that arrival occurs. Due to the nature of Gaia being the juncture that connects all other realms, no other magician will have this power.
Something that is true for all Magi, but can also be seen (rarely) in other magicians, is power growth—the Magus becoming stronger over time. Two things seem to directly affect power growth: age and use of magic. As a Magus becomes older, both her mana capacity and the effects of her magic rise as well. Likewise, the more a Magus uses her abilities, the stronger they become., though it is believed that age is a much stronger factor than use of magic. By the time a Magus retires, she will often outclass even the strongest realm crashers due to her age and battle experience.
It is noted that certain types of magic don’t increase in strength, such as illusions and summoning. However, the greater mana capacity for these abilities means they can be used more often and made harder to disrupt.
A Last Stand
Another ability that all Magi have, but is an extreme rarity seen in other magicians, is their last stand. A last stand is a temporary boost in magical power brought on by a near-death experience or the Magus seeing that her situation will lead to an imminent death. After its activation, the Magus’ eyes will glow crimson for the duration of its use, and the power of her abilities will multiply many times over, draining her mana as a high rate. A last stand started at the very onset of a battle will usually last two minutes, but if the Magus uses more magic before its activation, that timeframe will become smaller.
Once every other generation or so, a Magus will be born that can use her last stand at will, foregoing the restriction of needing to have a near-death experience first. It is not entirely understood why this happens, but this often linked to a Magus already having a very high affinity for her specialty magic.