----Stories from the Meisters----
The curiosity of humanity is a terrifying and wonderful thing. It is, on one hand, the reason that the great shielding stations protecting their cities exist and that- through magitech and spellcraft- even in the wake of catastrophe they push back against the Wildlands. On the other hand, however, it is the cause of secret laboratories and human test subjects, as well as the reason for calamitous horrors like Strategic Class spells and runaway Necromancy. Humans simply cannot leave well enough alone and have a need to understand the world they live in.
On the cutting edge of that understanding are the Meisters. Magical masters not necessarily acclaimed for their potent destructive capabilities as their incredible gifts in enhancing the body of human knowledge. No amount of training or crystals or Contribution Credits can get you a Meistership- indeed, they must be earned with equal parts hard work, talent, and pure inspiration.
These stories are less stories and more papers and analysis of the magic found in the world around them. Whether or not these hypothesis hold up as accurate over time is something that will be seen, but in the very acts of looking, testing, and learning humanity grows ever more.
---National Park Service Rangers: Alaskan Black Zone Rescue: Part I---
Magus Charles hated smoking outside, but as the highest ranked Park Ranger on site he had to set an example for the others. To make things worse, it was winter in Bettles, Alaska and that meant it was fucking cold. Negative forty-one degrees before wind chill which admittedly, as a wind transmuter, he did not have to deal with.
Actually, he did not have to deal with much at all as a Park Ranger, not up here. Bettles was on the southern edge of the fancifully named “Gates of the Arctic” National Park which was one of the equally fancifully named “Deep” Black Zones of Alaska. There were not many mages crazy enough to come this far north, and of the ones crazy enough to do so, few were able to.
Unlike the National Parks in the southern states, the mileage between the Gates and even a Tier Two city like Anchorage was daunting. It was straight Black Zones from Bettles to there, despite the best efforts of the Federal and State government to turn the area between Fairbanks and Anchorage into an Orange Zone. There was no infrastructure in place; you either hiked or flew if you wanted to reach the Gates.
And if you wanted to live, you flew.
Which meant that unlike his colleagues in Yellowstone or Redwood, Charles did not have to deal with a constant stream of idiots who thought that their dueling experience and fancy magitech meant that they could handle a Black Zone. Of course, the downside was that this station was also underfunded and understaffed as a result. Well, technically, they were fully staffed, but it was difficult to call a bunch of misfits like them a full staff with a straight face; Charles himself was a prime example of why.
Governments had all kinds of dirty little secrets; an open one at a certain strata of rank was that the numbers of Magus’ were inflated. Again, in a technical sense, the numbers were accurate, but the lie was in how they were counted as part of the numbers of Combat Mages and further that they were all powerful battlefield assets. The reality was that there were a lot of Magus like Charles who, as an Air Transmuter/Enchanter, was basically useless attacking on his own.
Almost everyone who heard his Schools thought he was a Mind Mage; few people had any idea of just how hard being a Mind Mage was. He knew a couple of low tier Mind spells- most Enchanters knew one or two on the sly- but he mostly focused on temporary Enchantments, synergising with his Transmutation to provide party-wide buffs. Honestly, what was his options besides that?
Charles was born an Air Transmuter, which sounds good on paper until you think about it for a bit. Sure, there was no better mix for flight and mobility, but what else could it do? As a rule, Air Evocations were not particularly strong until the upper mid tiers; not something you could cast without risking mana burn unless you picked up the school, and you would always be behind other elements until you hit the upper tiers, which most people wouldn’t. Casting a Tier Seven Tornado would forever be beyond most Air Evokers.
The other Schools had similar problems. Abjuration with Air was a joke unless you were a high enough tier to use something like the impressive “Eye of the Storm” spell, which modified a mage’s mana shield into a wind wall that could be many feet thick and moving at speeds that could deflect most projectiles. Conjuration was fine, but the familiars suffered from the same problems as an Air Transmuter would; all mobility, not much offensive or defensive power. Divination could enhance the effectiveness of your mobility, but couldn’t always help you put an enemy down; Illusion was basically the same. Enchanting really help Charles do anything himself, admittedly, but by buffing his team he didn’t have to.
Taking one last drag before tossing his cigarette into the ashtray, Charles went inside the station while thinking of the misfit bastards currently wiling away the hours playing cards. Britteny, their Abjurer- a Fire Abjurer- was currently winning, like usual. They played for LDM’s and she won enough off the others that she actually made a dent in their paychecks. On the other end of the gambling spectrum was Luke, another Fire mage, but a Transmuter like Charles. Luke was so depressingly poor at gambling Britteny was literally making him poor.
Arnold, the Earth Illusionist, was trying to cheat and failing miserably because their Ice Diviner, Sarah, was watching the game- not being allowed to play for obvious reasons- and revealed his illusions every time he tried. This, of course, led Brent, a Steam Evoker, to try and blast Arnold in the face. Oh, and there was Robert, an Air Diviner, in the back monitoring the emergency channels.
The only one of the group that seemed to have had a decent awakening was Brent the Steam Evoker, but that turned out to be a lot like being an Air Transmuter, a lot better on paper than in practice. Sure, it was powerful, but you basically had to be in melee range to properly use Steam because of how fast the Element dispersed. Steam also had the terrible honor of being the worst Element to make a shield from. Even Radiance was better because it had surprising utility against Necromantic monsters and Steam had all of Radiance’s problems with none of the benefits.
So Brent had to get close to be effective, but could not survive by himself to get close; practically useless.
It had been shaping up to be another boring day of not much at all, but while Charles was kicking the snow off his boots Robert came rushing out from the back with a panicked look and Charles did not need to be a Diviner to know that today was going to be less boring and more troublesome.
“Just got a call on the emergency band,” Robert shouted. “Group in the northwest corner of the Gates asking for an immediate rescue!”
Everyone was on their feet in an instant, though for half of them it was just to complain.
“You’re shitting me,” Arnold groaned. “No one’s come through here in months, who’d be idiotic enough to go there without stopping by here first?”
“Do we really have to bother?” Sarah displayed the typical coolness of an Ice Mage. “They aren’t even close to us, and the world could always do with less idiots.”
“What kind of rescue are we talking about here?” Charles asked the practical question, even though his first instinct was to agree with Sarah.
“They are under attack by monsters, and they must be well up shit creek because they are calling for help with a VIP in their party- a Magister.” Robert’s answer drew curses from around the room. Even a non-combat Magister didn’t wander into a Deep Black Zone without a capable party backing them up, so whatever they were fighting was dangerous to say the least. It also meant that regardless of distance and danger, they had to attempt a rescue; a Magister dieing in the park would come crashing down on Charles’ head like a Meteor spell.
“Fuck it,” Charles said as he pulled out another cigarette. “Gear up and get your asses outside. Remember, it’s not like we have to fight with them- just grab the fuckers and get out of there.”
Honestly, he’d have ignored the whole thing if Contingency Rings worked up here. Getting their asses kicked and being teleported to a Tower might teach the idiots some common sense. But part of the classification of a Deep Black Zone was that it was outside of Contingency range and the Gates of the Arctic met that qualification twice. Bettles was just barely in range for the Anchorage Tower and the Gates were further north still; even if you had a special Contingency spell made for increased distances, you’d still be screwed though. The Gates also boasted ambient mana that interfered with teleportation over distance. Blink and Dimension Door were fine, and a high tier Conjuror might be able to pull off a Teleport if they only tried to go a few miles, but anything more than that would fail badly.
Three minutes later, they were outside and triple checking their health and mana pots. Brent was lamenting their lack of a healer, and Charles had to agree. The nearest healer was in Fairbanks, so if someone needed medical attention they were simply out of luck.
“Mass Flight,” Charles incanted when they were ready, and the group ascended a few thousand feet before he cast the next spells. “Mass Haste, Mass Enhance Ability, Mass Protection from Elements.”
He jammed his first mana injector of the day into his arm as the coordinates of the group in need of rescue flowed into his mind courtesy of Sarah. Damn, that was far away, he thought to himself. Getting there in time was probably going to bring him to his limit in terms of mana, and then shoot his cooldowns for the rest of the day. Nothing he could do about that though.
“Mass High Speed Flight.”
Three hundred sixty miles per hour- that was how fast Charles could travel with his fellow Rangers. By himself, he could travel much faster- more than twice this speed- with the Signature Spell of Major Charles- no relation to him- E. Yeager, Supersonic Flight. However, as he had already established in his early musings, he was pretty much useless by himself.
The frozen white landscape that the team shot over was picturesque, though Charles prefered the land in the summer. It surprised people how warm it could be here in the summer months, as well as how colorful the park was when the flowers bloomed. So long as you were fine dealing with the occasional ice elemental, wolf pack, Giant Eagle, or something worse like a Tuurngait, Qallupilluit, or a band of the northern mermen Qalupalik- though they were too far inland for that last one.
Twenty minutes later, flashes of light and explosions announced they had reached their destination and when Charles saw what the haggard group was fighting, he wanted to cry. From up in the air, it looked like ants were fighting a small dog, but it was hardly as cute or silly as that mental image would make it sound because of the monster that led to the metaphor.
He had no idea what a Great Kodiak Bear was doing this far inland when they were native to an island, and also had no idea why a species of monster that was generally seventy feet tall had produced a beast that was obviously on the bad side of one hundred. That, however, was relatively unimportant; he needed to evacuate the group below asap.
“Well shit,” Britteny swore. “That is a big fucker, and it even has Elementals fighting beside it?”
Charles had not even noticed the Ice Elementals, but the woman was right. Maybe a dozen minor Elementals were dancing around the beasts feet, harassing the mages who were desperately trying to avoid the monsters gigantic paws that were bigger than they were.
“I’ll leave those to you and Arnold,” Charles shouted to Britteny. “Brent, you and I, are going to say hello to the big guy!”
He let go of his control of the flight spell and allowed the Rangers to take the reins individually. Charles was still providing them flight, as he popped another mana pot and dived with Brent, but now it was under their control instead of his own.
“I am going to try and hold it!” Charles shouted to Brent, “Get in and blast it when I do!”
“Hold Monster!” Charles cast one of the few mind magic spells he knew, banking on the fact that an increased size did not always mean increased resistance to mind magic. But the mind he connected too was not a bear’s mind.
“Angakkuq? Aaga! Utiqtiguk ammalu aullalituti!” ([very roughly] Shaman/priest? No/not/denial! [commanding] Put it back and leave now/depart immediately/you are leaving now/you are departing immediately!)
“Oh fuck me raw, this thing is a Tuurngait!” Charles screamed as he was forced to dodge an attack by the all too intelligent monster while wishing his Ioun stone could translate what it had said.
Practitioners of Western Spellcraft liked to imagine that the world would fall nicely into the categories they had set up. Magical creatures could be divided just so between the beasts, the demihumans, the undead, etc. But nature did not give a shit about categories, and Tuurngait were exhibit A for Magical Creatures that could not be defined so easily.
They shared many characteristics with ghosts and poltergeists and they appeared to be bodiless souls, but they were not undead nor alive. They were intelligent; Tuurngait could speak and even form communities, but they lacked a Core like a demihuman would have. They lacked any connection to a particular Element, but were formed from mana like an Elemental.
They just simply were, and were also simply better to not anger.
Tuurngait were not, on the whole, aggressive towards humans. A portion of them were, but many would work with Inuit Shamans and were an integral part of Traditional Inuit magic- though much had been lost when Christianity had reached these lands. Still, they were often either helpful or mildly annoying.
Until you pissed them off. Then they became terrifying.
In their normal form, they were mostly undetectable. Invisible and intangible, they could pass through shielding stations without difficulty and were not barred by walls or most spells. But they were capable of everything from breaking magitech to killing people outright. But that was not the worst of their capabilities. No, the most terrible of their abilities was their possession of people and animals.
The creature in front of them was a Great Kodiak Bear possessed by a Tuurngait; with all the power of a one hundred and some foot Kodiak wielded by an intelligent being capable of shamanistic magic- fighting the thing was a fool’s errand.
But that was what they had to do.
To be continued...
---An Analysis of Elemental Inheritance---
*A paper written by the Meister Vladerag after what some would call an obsessive study. Many of the hypothesis presented within are highly speculative due to a lack of evidence. The Meister is continuing his research in the hopes of a more accurate study in the future, however, much of the current paper is written in so much technical jargon it is hardly intelligible. The following excerpt of the summary was written as an attempt to explain the findings to readers who have not spent years of study on the subject*
Of particular interest to those who study how Elemental Affinity is passed on is the effect of location on inheritance. With the rise of magitech and the Tower system, we now have the data to confirm what folklore supposed to be true- namely, that there is definitely a link between where a mage is born and what Element they awaken to. However the reason why this occurs and how strong this effect is are questions that have yet to be answered, though our research has brought some fascinating hypothesis to light.
Currently, we have been unable to find data for all, or even most, of the Elements and their locations. Despite that, we have been able to confirm that the Water Element does occur more in coastal populations or populations near large bodies of water; that the Earth Element is most likely to occur inland; that the Air Element is more likely to occur in populations that live on mountains or at high elevations; that the Ice Element is more common near the polar regions; that the Magma Element is more common near volcanoes- especially volcanic islands- and fjords and finally, that the specific mineral manifested by Mineral mages is very often a mineral nearby their location. This accounts for roughly a third of all Elements, but the lack of data leaves us with little but speculation for the others.
However, we have developed several hypothesis for why these trends occur and hope to be traveling to various countries Towers to confirm them. Leaving the hypothesis themselves for later momentarily, we currently believe that we may be able to predict places where mages who can awaken to certain Elements, are more likely to do so.
Our current leading hypothesis is that the Element a mage will awaken to is caused by a series of factors we have dubbed “Confluence.” Confluence, for the purpose of this paper, is the specific set of factors that lead to the Element someone awakens to, some of which we believe can be manipulated. These factors are, listed in order from most to least importance: older generations Elements- particularly the parents; the presence of siblings; the Element of any siblings; demihuman ancestry; birth location and finally the location a mage is raised before awakening. The single most important factors are, surprisingly, not location. However, as we explain more it will become obvious that the deciding factor for most rare Elements is location and why that is so.
First and foremost, a mage is most likely to awaken to the Element of their same-sex parent- although sex is only slightly deterministic, our current estimate being that 55% of mages awakening to one of their parents Elements awaken to the Element of their same-sex parent. For that matter, a mage is overwhelmingly likely to awaken to one of their parents Elements or to an Element present in an ancestor with decreasing likelihood depending on the distance of relation. In other words, if everyone in a mage’s family is Magma mages, they probably will be as well.
However, with each child past the first there is an increasing chance of a different Element arising. While somewhat uncommon, it is by no means rare for siblings to be born with oppositional Elements when considering the Prime Elements. The numbers do hold for Para-Elementalists and Quasi-Elementalists, but with an important difference. While two Fire mage parents may have a Fire Element firstborn son and a Water Element daughter afterwards, two Magma Element parents with a Magma Element firstborn will almost never have an Ice Element for the second child. The second child will almost certainly, if they are born with a different Element, be born with Water or Air. With that being said, while extremely rare, it is not completely unheard of. This process has been raised as possibly being the reason Negative Elements exist at all within humans, having been born in Opposition to Positive Elements.
Third on the list for Confluence is the presence of Demihuman ancestry, and it is most self-explanatory. Demihumans may often have far higher affinities with rare Elements, and at one time the possibility was raised that the locational aspect of inheritance was due to the prevalence of demihuman blood of certain Elements within those populations.
While this has been dismissed, demihumans, especially in recent ancestry, have a strong effect on the possible Element and the affinity of that Element a mage will have. The European Aristocracy is well known for having took advantage of this and is considered to be the main reason for the preponderance of rare Elements in their bloodlines.
Finally, we come to the location a mage was born and raised. While at first, these seem to be the least of the factors involved in awakening to an Element- and they technically are- they are, in many ways, the most important. Too demonstrate, please participate in the following thought experiment.
Imagine an average mage family consisting of Fire and Earth Element mages of roughly equal number and affinity throughout the family line. Their first child awakens to the Earth Element and they are considering having another child, but before they do they are considering moving to one of two locations. Either high in Tibet among the Himalayas or to the Florida coast are the options they are considering.
Now, without demihuman ancestry present or any other factors, the second child will most likely awaken as a Fire Elemental mage. While dichotomous Elemental pairing among children occurs, if the parents have two different elements there is a strong possibility that the second child will have the element of the parent not shared with their older sibling. Otherwise, the child has, in descending order of probability, a chance to awaken to Earth, Air, Water, Magma, Ice, Smoke, or Ooze. It should be stressed, however, that the Para-Elemental possibilities, especially the last three, would be obscenely rare- bordering on one in a billion for Ooze.
If the parents were to move to Tibet, however, these chances would change. Instead, you would be looking at Fire, Air, Earth, Water, Magma, Smoke, Ice, and Ooze. Indeed, our data indicates that while Fire would be slightly more likely, it is close to an even split between the Fire or Air Element in this case and that if they were to be a Para-Elementalist they have double their previous chance to be a Smoke mage. (Although the current statistics suggest it would still be around one in one hundred million.) On the other hand, if they moved to the Florida coast, the chances would look like this: Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Magma, Ooze, Smoke, and Ice. Although its rarity would be astounding, notice that we have increased the place of Ooze on this list- it is vastly more likely to occur in these conditions than it was before, if still not very likely.
Taking this thought experiment a step further, what if, before they had any children at all, the couple had moved to Hawaii or another volcanic island? In this case, their first child is most likely to awaken as Fire, Earth, or Magma and the second child is most likely to awaken as Fire, Earth, or Water depending on their siblings Element. We can deduce this fairly easily from the data given. Hawaii, being a volcanic island, has Fire, Earth, Magma, and Water Elements in abundance. With the family bloodline as described, the first child will most likely be of the Fire or Earth Element, but now has a greatly increased chance to awaken to Magma, going from the extremely and prohibitively rare to merely uncommon. Further, if the first sibling awakens as either Fire or Magma, the tendency for Opposition to take effect combined with the natural Water Elemental Mana will almost certainly guarantee a Water Element mage.
As you can see, the effect of natural Mana on the expression of inheritance is quite significant. However, the amount of Mana necessary to cause this is unknown and experiments have shown only limited success in influencing a mage’s awakening using man-made sources of Mana. Currently, this has led us to suspect that Mana, when used by a human mage or human magitech, has subtle qualitative changes that make it distinguishable from naturally occuring Mana. Thus, as part of our study we examined many locations and the local inhabitants within them and have come up with several guidelines for how to predict natural Mana. In many cases it is fairly obvious, but not always so.
Practically speaking and to start with, Earth Elemental Mana is ubiquitous across the globe. There are no places where humans currently dwell that does not have at least some naturally occuring Earth Elemental Mana, though some areas have more or less. As you might expect, Earth Elemental Mana is denser closer to cave systems or canyons. Anything that cuts deep into the earth or pulls from it, like a volcano, will have abundant Earth Mana. However, mountainous regions generally lack Earth Elemental Mana near their peaks with the Mana gathering in the valleys below. In fact, it is easier to define the locations for Earth Elemental Mana by listing where it is not or where there is less of it. The short version is that any region with abundant Mana that is neither Earth nor Earth related will by its very nature push Earth Elemental Mana away, though never fully.
Water Elemental Mana is found most obviously on the coasts, but can be found near any large body of water including lakes and rivers. Interestingly, places with heavy rainfall also have high Water Elemental Mana. For example, Seattle being both coastal and incredibly rainy, boasts one of the highest percentage of Water mages in the world. Likewise, places with heavy snow also have abundant Water Mana as a part of Ice Mana- however, this takes less of an active effect on the process when calculating for Water itself. Swamps and Marshlands also have high Water Mana, although they also have high Earth Mana and Primary Elemental Mana, so the individual effect of Water is less potent.
Fire Elemental Mana is far less rare than common sense would initially lead one to believe. Hot desert regions typically have a fair amount of this Mana, as well as the entire equatorial band of the planet. Volcanoes and geysers also are strong sources of Fire, though as a whole it is far less common than Water or Earth Mana. Currently, it is believed that the majority of Fire Element users came from families that trace back to equatorial locations near water. With more Fire Elemental Mana around than many places, and Water Mana to help speed the awakening of Water Elemental Mages and thus, opposition, it is very likely that inheritance is one of the main ways Fire is spread.
Air is the rarest Primary Element found in humans, however our investigation has led us to believe that this is simply because not many people live in areas where there is much Air Elemental Mana. Found mostly in high altitude locations, Air Elemental Mana is abundant anywhere there are mountains. There are very few major population centers, or even minor ones, that are situated in mountains- especially high up- and very few places that have much Air Elemental Mana that are not mountains. Currently, the regions of Tibet and Switzerland, as well as the cities of Denver and Chicago, seem to be the only places where Air mages are well represented. We do believe that the Incan Empire may also have many Air users, but the current tensions have made traveling there too dangerous for most of the staff.
Ice is the single most common Para-Element to awaken in humans, and the reason is obvious. An incredible amount of people live in areas where snow occurs, and Ice Elemental Mana is very common throughout winters. However, because this is only a seasonal occurrence it is rare that a child be truly submersed in the Element. Only places with particularly vicious winters, like Minnesota, or places that have snow and ice year round are likely to produce Ice Elemental Mages. In short, the amount of this Mana increases as one approaches the polar regions.
Magma is the second most common Para-Element, and has almost no sources of natural Mana besides volcanoes. However, many population centers are close to volcanoes and perhaps most importantly, volcanoes produce a very large amount of the Magma Element- almost overwhelming other Elements in the vicinity.
The last two Para-Elements are far rare than the first two, and in fact may represent some of the rarest Elements to exist- exceeded only by Steam, Ash, and Void. Ooze, as an Element, is not particularly difficult to find in nature. Swamps and marshes often have some of this Element, however it pales in comparison to the Water, Earth, and Prime Elemental Mana those places contain. Furthermore, very few people actively live in these areas given their propensity for being spawns for Mermen and other monsters. It is our hypothesis that if a large population of Water and Earth mages were moved into one of these areas without draining or otherwise terraforming the area we would see Ooze mages within two or three generations.
The final Para-Element, Smoke, is actually fairly easy to find in nature- it just happens to be poisonous to the human constitution. Besides relatively small amounts found in Volcanoes and geothermal vents, areas with coal-seam fires are the most common places to find this Element. There are many throughout the world, some of which have been burning for hundreds of years, and they are the single greatest source of both this Elemental Mana and Spirits of that kind. It is, however, virtually impossible for Smoke mages to ever be born to humans in high amounts. These areas are violently toxic to humans.
The Primary Element itself, sometimes called “wood” or “plant” is quite common throughout the world, featuring heavily anywhere there is abundant plant life like rainforests, woods, jungles, marshes, swamps, or coral reefs. However, much like Smoke, our consensus is that it will ever be a rare Element for mages to Awaken to. A mage with a Primary Element parent is generally more likely to awaken to any of the individual Primary Elements or Para-Elements than their parents one, although this chance is greatly increased for the children of two Primary Elementalists.
Positive Energy, in its pure form, has almost no natural occurrences. In fact, during the course of our study we found that Negative Energy was far more likely to occur than Positive Energy in nature. Swamps and Marshes, as well as any place consistently used for burial or death, will have natural Negative Energy in trace amounts. This is, however, mostly academic because humans cannot naturally handle pure Negative Energy without assistance. In the course of this study we have come to firmly believe that humans are born that could awaken to this element, or rather that they are conceived. We believe all fetuses that could awaken to pure Negative Energy die prematurely due to the life draining properties.
Returning to Positive Energy, it is often found in trace amounts anywhere the Prime Element is found, as well as, surprisingly enough, around humans or other intelligent creatures of sufficient health and happiness. While the amount is minimal, it is our belief that Positive Energy mages have a chance to be born whenever the woman giving birth is both happy and healthy- though the chance is likely close to one in five hundred million.
The Quasi-Elements, much like the two Elemental Poles they come from, are rarely found in nature. That is not to say, however, that they are not found in nature at all. The most commonly found of which is Radiance, though like its parent Element it is only found in trace amounts. Sunlight itself contains Radiance Elemental Mana, and places with bright, direct, sunlight have more of it. It is, therefore, found worldwide, but mostly centered around the equator and certain desert regions.
Steam Elemental Mana and Lightning Elemental Mana are also common in nature, if somewhat restrained to certain locations in the formers case. Steam Mana can be found near geysers and hot springs, which is why the largest populations of Steam mages are likely found in Japan and Iceland as well as among the native populations near Yellowstone. Lightning, meanwhile, is found worldwide during storms- but its transient nature means that there are almost no constant sources of this mana.
Finally for Positive Energy, the Mineral Element is actually almost entirely non-existent in nature- despite being possibly the most common Quasi-Element that mages awaken to. While the minerals and metals that Mineral mages control can all be found naturally, the minerals are spiritually modified by the caster and are often stronger and more useful variants of their mundane forms. As of yet, we have not discovered any natural source of this Element.
The Negative Quasi-Elements are the most rare, aside from Mineral, types of Mana to find naturally. This is, however, stemming from a different reason. It is not that these Elements do not occur naturally, but rather that like Lightning they happen only sometimes, and far less commonly than Lightning. Just as large amounts of death or despair can cause Negative Energy to occur naturally, those two events coupled with other Mana can lead to the Negative Quasi-Elements.
Ash Mana can be found after major volcanic eruptions that kill many; Salt can be found in salt lakes or salt flats where people have died or are in despair and Dust is commonly found in deadly parts of deserts.
The single exception to this is Void, which is not naturally found anywhere on Earth- with the possible exception of a desolate part of the South Pacific Ocean, which we will be leading an expedition to eventually- but can be found outside of it. Recently, attempts made by certain corporations to put Divination satellites into orbit have revealed that outside of the atmosphere there appears to be naturally occuring Void Mana.
However, like all of the Negative Quasi-Elements, Void is too dangerous to try and replicate through Confluence- (The report continues on for several more pages…)
*This next part was found attached to the report and appears to be a personal letter from Meister Vladerag to an unnamed party he was consulting for*
Look, I get that you “Others” are basically the extreme version of the Gray Faction over in Britain and I understand that you, personally, are less interested in the ideology and more in the power and crystals. So I very much hope you have not started working on the plan you detailed to me after you read my report. Mage and NoM relations are different here in the States than in the Mageocracy- they do actual work here and get paid for it. Let’s face it, her majesty and the peerage- or whatever it is you have for a government over there- do a worse job with your NoM’s than the CCP does.
So understand that I do not think of NoM’s as useless in the first place and actually find some of them to be pretty interesting people. Surprisingly enough, more than a few do well in corporate life and I need someone to handle the paperwork while I am out in the field trying to get a Mana reading near an active coal fire while battling Smoke monsters. If you expanded your idea of what “useful” was you might find yourself richer for it, but that is neither here nor there.
The important part is that your plan will neither get you the force you want to try and cut a piece out of the Wildlands, nor will it help you in the eyes of your organisation, and in fact, you won’t even be able to turn a profit selling the gains on the black market.
Your idea of kidnapping tens of thousands of NoM women and having them raped and impregnated by mages in an area filled with natural Mana is both obscene and impractical. The only reason I am not more offended is that your plan is laughably absurd. Have you even considered how you would not only need to obtain these women without being noticed- a hard task, even if they are NoMs. One thousand people would be hard to hide, but multiple tens of thousands is ludicrous- but then safely house them away from prying eyes all while keeping them supplied and safe? The logistics of raising the children, all the while getting the women pregnant with the next generation, would be a nightmare even if you didn’t have to raise the kids for slightly over a decade before you could tell if it worked- which you would.
I am amazed that you could have the foresight to ask me the question you did- which I will come to, by the way- and yet lack the understanding to not foresee the myriad of ways this could and would fuck up. The least of which, again, is that I personally find it appalling and we both know what happens to people I don’t like.
Getting back to your actual question regarding how inheritance and Confluence would work with NoMs- it doesn’t. While I am aware that as a Magister and a Meister I am considerably more intelligent than the general rabble, surely it is obvious to everyone that magic is highly recessive? Apparently my assumption was quite wrong, so I will ask you a question to get your feeble mind thinking and then answer it for you- because God knows you can’t do it yourself.
Have you ever wondered why there are so few mages compared to NoMs? In fact, have you ever wondered how many combat mages there are compared to NoMs? Less than one percent of the human population will, within three decades of birth, reach the dizzying heights of being called a “competent combat mage.” You can’t just fuck your way to an army, no matter how amoral of a bastard you are. First off, children of mixed parents between mages and NoMs are NoMs 75% of the time roughly. Mages born from those pairings have a 25% chance of having NoM children even with a mage partner and NoMs born from those couples only have a 5% chance of having a mage child if they marry another NoM.
Right, so you screw the NoMs and now have 2500ish mage babies- what do you think their affinities will be? I’ll tell you, a third of them will be non-element generalists, which is to say basically useless for what you want. The rest will almost certainly be tier one, tier two at the max if their father had great genes and they had great luck. As for the Elements themselves, you won’t see any Para’s or Quasi’s, even if the father comes from a good bloodline. You are going to end up with the remaining two-thirds being 50% Earth mages, 30% Water mages, 15% Fire mages and 5% Air- with a small amount of variation based on location. As for the schools? Again, all low tier and probably all evokers or abjurers.
Let me tell you a little secret, almost all mage lines are inbred to one degree or another- and its intentional.
The mage populations in most cities are too small to support proper genetic diversity, and often families would rather marry “in house” rather than out just to strengthen the chances of a child having a rare Element or a high affinity or both. The genetic issues this causes, funnily enough, are why we have madmen like you, but are also why we have so many healers and powerful Maguses. Two thousand years ago both of those were basically legendary existences.
In short, you are a shit person and you had a shit idea. Even if you do it, which you shouldn’t, it won’t work and even if you don’t do it, you should feel shame, which you won’t! It would take hundreds of years to start turning out anything but spell fodder from your plan, and if you weren’t dead by then I’d kill you myself.
The only reason I haven’t killed you yet is that your organisation has been helpful to my research and I may need them again. Please sleep soundly knowing that you have pissed off a Magister capable of tying your soul to a rock and throwing you into the ocean where you will remain until the rock is eroded to sand.
---On the Uses of Necromancy---
*An excerpt from a paper by Meister Vladerag and co-authored by Magister Lee of Fudan University. Published in the United States, it is considered extremely controversial even in academic circles because the Meister himself is a Necromancer unsanctioned by the U.N.*
[...] While “Biomancy” the Evoker/Conjurer Hybrid school is considered to be the basis of Healers worldwide there have long been hypothesis, and indeed solid evidence, that healing can be achieved by other means. It is well known that any Positive Energy attuned mage is capable of healing to one degree or another and that many Primary Element mages are capable of regeneration and healing- especially as in the school of Transmutation.
However, despite millenia of attempts to spread both Positive Energy and Biomancy among the mage bloodlines it cannot be said that we have had much success. Positive Energy is less common than Air among human mages and not all Positive Energy mages awaken to Biomancy.
We are currently without the capability to meet Healing needs even in Tier One cities. Spells like Restoration cost a significant sum for low tier mages and Regeneration is almost completely unavailable to anyone but the elite. Frontier cities are in an even worse state. Where a Restoration might use components costing one to two hundred HDMs in a Tier One city, the additional costs of getting those components to the frontier can often inflate the price to anywhere between four and five hundred HDMs- making it cost prohibitive even for middle-tier mages.
Recently, the Mayo Clinic has been experimenting with Healing using multiple Elements and disciplines instead of just Positive Energy and Biomancy, and yet even there the talent required is often beyond all but the very top of mages and they are still dependent on the chance of someone Awakening to a useful Element. A cursory examination will reveal that the cost of low to mid tier healing is almost entirely bottlenecked by the number of Positive Energy casters and that the mid to high tier is restricted by the sheer cost of the materials as well as the rarity of high tier casters. What is needed is a way to reliably produce Healers that is not bound either to the whims of inheritance or the costs of materials.
Many a modern mage would not be able to see an answer to that question and would just say that the lack of Healing is simply an unfortunate fact of life for most mages- to say nothing of the complete non-existence of healing for NoMs. However, my team- aided by the wonderful Magister Michio Lee- found a different answer, Necromancy.
Necromancy- commonly misidentified as a school of magic- can be seen as a modification to existing schools more than a unique school in and of itself. The most infamous “Drain Life” spell being, at its core, an Evocation spell modified by Necromancy and the powerful “Ennervation” being from the School of Transmutation. Even the raising of Undead is the work of Conjuration and Transmutation, rather than any individual “School of Necromancy.”
This means that any mage can be a Necromancer, although those mages who are attuned to Negative Quasi-Elemental Planes or have undergone the rituals needed to channel pure Negative Energy are far superior with it, as are, oddly, Positive Energy users of all kinds.
That, by itself, would be more a cause for alarm than celebration, however this is a result of the history and stigma that Necromancy has accrued over the years. One of the oldest forms of magic, it also happens to be one of most poorly understood and perhaps the most misused- in both a moral and practical sense. While most consider the infamous and dangerous uses of Necromancy- vampirism-type spells and raising dead minions- our team found ways to apply Necromancy to healing in a practical setting.
Recently, Magister Lee alerted us to the papers being published by a Magister Wen, also of Fudan. Her studies of the Void mage Gwen Song and the discovery of “Vitae Cost,” a long suspected but previously never accurately observed, phenomena in Negative Quasi-Elements has allowed us to attempt ways of healing never before considered. Likewise, her papers on “Druidic Essence” and the Magister’s inspired use of Spell Cubes were instrumental in our discoveries.
A spell’s VC must exceed a casters Essence in order to cause damage to the body, which provides the difference in Essence. While it is unfortunate that most mages have low Essence, it is not nothing and Magister Wen’s studies indicate it may be possible to be pushed to higher levels in humans. Most interestingly, and easily confirmable by our own Meister Vladerag- a Dust mage- Negative Quasi-Elemental spells return some of the VC back to the caster- though generally far below the cost for most Schools of spells and most definitely only a small amount of the Vital Energy the target possesed.
All of this together allowed us to create a new Necromantic Signature Spell based on “Drain Life” which we dubbed “Gather Life.” “Gather Life” is a non-lethal AOE Evocation modified by Necromancy designed specifically to be used on healthy, adult, humans. Rather than attempt to drain from its targets bodies, it targets their Essence directly and is tuned to take less than the total amount the targets have. Meanwhile, the spells recipient is no longer the caster himself- but rather a spell cube or other magitech mana-storing device.
By taking less than the total Essence and forcing a conversion of a bodies health to Essence, while also having a recipient of that Essence be able to store it for later use, we can effectively gather Essence from groups- without harming them- and use it later. Any mage with an Essence Spell Cube or equivalent and the Signature Spell “Transfer Life” can heal mages quite effectively. Also, in an emergency, the Spell Cube can be expended without the spell to do much the same.
Furthermore, when applied to the monster targets of Purges, even more Vital Essence can be gathered- and without regard for the health of the target. While the average mage’s body does not store Essence above a certain maximum, the use of Spell Cubes can expand this dramatically. Purges against monsters and demihumans could result in large amounts of Essence to be provided for healing and [...]
[...] using Necromancy to fight Necromancers and the Undead is widely considered, and even more widely dismissed. Despite having versions of “Turn Undead” unique to itself, the most common method discussed is to counter hordes of Undead with other hordes of Undead. Our work indicates that Necromancy has far greater potential for facing the Undead than is currently being utilized. This failure has many reasons, perhaps the greatest of which is a failure to understand precisely what the Undead are.
At the most basic level, Undead are Negative Energy Spell Constructs of varying levels of complexity. While not specifically or technically Negative Energy Elementals, they have many similarities between themselves and Elementals as a species. Even naturally occuring Undead, insofar as any truly exist with most so called natural Undead being connected to sentient species, are the same in on the most basic level. Why this occurs naturally is up for debate as it is a phenomena rarely shared with other Elements outside of their Elemental Planes or places inundated with one type of Elemental Mana. However, it is the replication and refinement of this process that we see as Necromancer’s raising of dead minions.
Destroying these constructs, however, can be quite difficult depending on the skill of the Necromancer and the materials they have to work with. The currently most effective way to handle Undead is through liberal application of Positive Energy or Positive Quasi-Elements. Positive Energy and Negative Energy react in such a way that they mutually destroy each other and even spells like “Heal” are quite damaging to the Undead. However, as healers are in short supply and often rarely trained in fighting the Undead, it is far more often to see mages simply blast away with Evocation spells until the Undead stop moving. Considering the threat of the Xian-Beijing Undead Front and other such masses of Undead throughout the world, it would appear that current methods are woefully ineffective.
Therefore, my team turned to Necromancy itself for ways to fight the Undead that did not involve making our own. Eventually, we realised that the simplest way to destroy the Undead was to add to or modify the Spell Construct that maintained them. In much the same way that it is harder to batter through a Military Class Area Abjuration Spell than to erase one of the glyphs maintaining it, it is far easier to cast a Necromantic spell that destabilizes a Necromantic construct than it is to destroy it conventionally.
To that end, we have developed and include instructions for a new signature spell called “Dispel Undead.” Despite the names association with Abjuration, the spell itself is an Evocation and Conjuration spell, modified by Necromancy. Specifically, it creates a small Negative Energy Construct that is easily absorbed by Undead. Once the spell reaches the Undeads Construct Spell Matrix it is treated like part of the original spell, which then disrupts the flow of Negative Energy- effectively dispersing the Negative Energy and destroying the Undead [...]
Hello! I am Vladerag the author of several stories here on Royal Road! I hope you are enjoying whatever you are reading, and I hope you check out some of my stories!
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