Wilem had heard much talk among the men of magic, and startled by
his rifle and Bren Gun, many thought of him as some kind of mage or sorcerer. One night, he sat with Kaspar and asked about this.
“Kaspar, the men all speak of magic here as if it were some real force or energy. What do you know about it?”
“Me? Well I’m no Mage, but I’ve seen others with the gift. In fact, you met one up on the Eldarhorn Tower. Yes?”
“He called himself Sencha,” said Wilem. “He was a Mage?”
“Sencha the Windweaver—Oh yes, he’s an elemental,
a Mage that can manipulate some element of nature. You know the forces of nature—wind, water, fire, earth; throw in light and dark for color. There are those capable of manipulating
these elements, but don’t ask me how.”
“And this Black Prince. Is he a Mage?”
“Sonderin,” said Kaspar as if he were spitting. “He’s undead, and a bona fide Mage as well. I would think his element is shadow or darkness from all the tales, but he can also read thoughts in other minds, and put his own there—a mind Mage and summoner when he calls others to serve him and do his will. It’s been said he can break stone as well, so he might also be an earth elemental. To do such things one has to graduate well beyond medicinal arts, you know, potions, ointments, poisons and such. Those stay with the Doctors and Apothecaries. That’s all Low Magic: herbs, charms, blessings, curses, enchantments, talismans, amulets and such—Alchemy too, and all the healing arts. Then there’s High Magic, astral magic, the elementals, necromancers—a specialty of the Witch Queen—and some of these arts center on precious gemstones, which is one other reason why Starseed is so coveted. It can channel and hold a lot of power.
“Now then, the engineers are sometimes thought to dapple in
the high arts with their machinery, but it’s all clever mechanics, like the things a good clock maker can do. They make mechanical things that exhibit unexpected powers, like
those weapons of yours, or the Emperor’s Cloud Ships. But Sonderin, with his brother Luth, the two of them are far above things like that. They manipulate the flux in some
“Don’t ask me to define it, but everyone believes in it,
and feels it to some degree. It’s the way of things in the world—the flux. Throw a stone overboard and it goes plop and sinks to the bottom. But you never see the inverse
happen, stones rising from the bottom and floating into the sky, eh? Things in this world have a way about them—a way the energy flows—the flux, and some have learned
how to use it. Demonic arts like those of Sonderin reach right into it and twist it about to serve their dark intentions. Some say they turn order inherent in the flux to chaos. Others
find a way to let their minds ride its currents into the future itself, the Oracles, Prophets and Seers. The flux can take you anywhere, lad. It may be how you came here from your
Lib-eeah with that strange map of yours.