Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Project Report 4: Water/Stone/Light -- The Pantheon and magic


Creating the gods and magic for this setting has taken a lot of trial and error work, and will likely require fine tuning once I start the novel.  I do not want specific spells, but I do want ritual objects, each of which has to be transported in a special blessed container to avoid contamination.

Obviously, in my mind, it is the magic associated with the gods that is more important than the gods themselves, at least at this point.  I want magic tied specifically to practitioners of specific groups.

The main Gods of Tygen are grouped in three sets of four each and are linked to the title I've been using: Water/Stone/Light.

The Gods influence, but rarely control, the different forms of magic.  They are all nature gods and powerful to those who can call upon the magic linked to them.  The magics listed here are in order of easiest to hardest, which makes them (in most cases) the least powerful to the most powerful.  Someone who can do River magic must then learn Ocean magic, and so on up the list.

There is an Outer (public) magic and an Inner (temple) magic for each group.  Outer is, obviously, most often used for public purposes.  Temple magic is something more closely guarded, but still used when needed.

Each magic also has a personal an a worldly component. 

Gods of Water -- River, Ocean, Spring, Storm

These four represent the power of water. 

Outer: Many things can be done with water, from fog to rain and including diverting water to other places.  This is a popular set of Gods and priests with the farmers along the river.

Temple: The magic system is The Water of Life, and this is regarded as a creative force and can rejuvenate so some can heal wounds.  Myth says that the highest level of priest can achieve immortality.

Personal - prolong life 

Worldly -- create life

Components needed for each type of magic:

River -- a specific type and shape of river stone. 

Ocean -- a special type of shell 

Springs -- water fresh from the mother earth, untouched by anything of the world. 

Storm magic needs a storm with lightning. 

Gods of Stone -- Earth, Metal, Sand, Quakes

These four represent the power of the stone in all its forms.   

Public: This is a particularly good magic for building and is more popular in the city than out of it.  Most important buildings use this magic for the foundations, if not more.  It is also good for people working in pottery or jewelry making.  Many potters learn Earth magic, and jewelers go on to Metal magic as well.  However, there is far more to the power -- like moving stone at will, which can create walls or caverns.

Temple: This is the Stone of Strength magic.  Obviously this is physical strength but some can also call on creatures of stone?  The legends say the highest level priests are invulnerable to any form of physical attack.

Personal - strength of body 

Worldly -- control stone

Components needed for each type of magic:

Earth: Fresh ground, never tiled by man 

Metal: Any of the three prime metals, unshaped by human hands.  Copper is the weakest, then Silver, then Gold.

Sand: White sand from a special place in the far desert 

Quakes:  The practitioner must be standing on or near a fault line, making this dangerous magic to perform.

Gods of Light -- Sun, Moon, Stars, Fire

Outer: This represents the most esoteric of the magic systems.  Calling of light can have various connotations -- like the light of truth, which is a difficult and powerful magic.  The simple sun magic is good for storing light in an object for later use, while moon magic can illuminate a trail in the night.

Temple: The final magic is the Light of Knowledge.  Priests have the ability to understand anything -- foreign languages, books they merely touch, and even animals.  Some, however, go insane.  The legend for  this one says the highest priests can learn everything from the other magics, which would make the person immortal, invulnerable and all wise . . . transforming them into a god.

Personal - Understanding (like languages)

Worldly -- Visions, Prophecy

Components needed for each type of magic:

Sun:  Noon is the best time for this type of magic 

Moon: Midnight is best for this type.  Full moon is best, moonless night no magic 

Stars: a moonless night is best.   

(It is possible to combine Moon and Star magic, but far more powerful is Sun and Moon magic, created when the two are equidistant in the sky at moments of sunset and sunrise.) 
Fire is one of the easier magics to call.  All you need is something to burn.  However, you can have a fire creature if you use a piece of wood from the sacred hearth at the temple of Winds.  Since the temple was disbanded this is very difficult.

Other notes

You will notice that I haven't given the 'price' it takes from the person performing the magic.  My basic feeling is that it takes energy -- plain, human energy.  For every minute of spell performed becomes the equivalent of running a mile.  The second minute is like running a mile uphill -- and so on, taking more strength from the body.  The strength and duration of something created this way sometimes depends on how much power the person put into it.  A fog might only last a couple minutes with a quick spell, for instance. 

Obviously, this drain on the body limits the amount a person can do.  Someone in good physical shape will do better than one not.  A person who has performed magic recently is not going to have as much power left to try again.

Learning to use power comes only from schooling in the various temples.  The types of magic are not combinable in one person, though people from different temples can work together.  This doesn't happen often.

There are also lesser gods.  Every city, town and village has a local 'power' which is more a protection than something from which anyone can draw magic.  There are also spirits of special locations, like an ancient tree (rare in the southern lands), a spring, a rock formation, etc.  Sometimes a priest can call up such a spirit, depending on the magic affiliation he or she has), and the spirit might be very powerful in its own location.

Marriage is usually a civil matter, with contracts written up and filed with the proper authority (the headman of the village a magistrate in towns and cities).  Divorce is relatively simple, going before headman or magistrate who will assign property and parental rights. Decisions can be appealed to the temple, local lords, governors or traveling judges.

Only nobles and royalty are bound by sacred oaths, first at betrothal and later in final vows.  Betrothal includes a psychic link that allows the two to become aware and comfortable with each other in the long years of betrothal, which often starts when the children are ten or so.

The links are formed by Priests of Light, most often the high priest when dealing with royalty.  The betrothal bonds can be dangerous for various reasons: incompatibility, one side dies, etc.  

The 13th God

One more major god exists. This is the God of the Path who leads the dead to the next world.  No magic is associated with him.

The temples of the Gate (the 13th God), are found at every cemetery, and even a lone grave in the wastelands will often have a crude model of the temple.  They are all based on the one true temple which is near, but not in, the capital.  Located slightly to the north and near the escarpment, this temple starts with a simple (1) gate into a dirt hall, symbolic of grave.   (2)Second is water, (3) then stone, then finally the (4) light gate with the sacred hearth, where families come on the holy days and burn effigies of their loved ones to assure they're passage to the next world.

There is a 5th gate beyond the hearth.  No one knows where it goes.  None who go through ever come back, though it is rumored it leads to paradise.  Royalty found guilty of a crime, or overthrown, are often given the choice of walking through the gate or dying.  Nobles are given the choice in some cases, and entire families might go.  Anyone can go through of their own choice, no matter what their station.

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