Mythology and Magic
The mythology of the Wemics in Kalerre offers hints and clues about the nature of Wemic magic. Those who wish to know how and why magic works can find pieces of answers entwined in the stories of the gods.
Legends of Beginnings
Fire and Ice
In Wemic mythology, before there were Wemics or Humans, the Fire made the world and was well pleased. But the Ice hated the Fire's work, which threatened to melt it forever. So these two Great Powers struggled for eons, and in their battles, broke the land. And ever the Fire would melt the Ice, so that water covered much of the world. The water seeped into the earth, carrying salt to the seas and dank corruption to land. The Fire used water to make rains and fish and clouds and kelp, so that life came of the great battles. But the Ice found refuge in high mountains and in cold times as snow. Even now, the Wemics say, Ice tries to conquer but is always vanquished, and the Fire uses the Ice to make its creation more splendid than before.
The Great Tainting
In that time, as Ice and Fire waged great war, all places and creatures were tainted by Ice, so that almost none remain alone the pure work of Fire unmarred by Ice. Indeed, Ice formed strange shapes of creatures and abominations, most of whom were set sleeping in the deep places of the world, or scattered to remote Lands. But Fire also set aside the fruit of its thought, to be used in other times, should Ice emerge again. And after Ice had been defeated, and its deviltry repurposed for life, not death, Fire created Humans to populate the new world. But Ice is tricky and subtle, and found secret ways to seep into the hearts of humans, so that some turned from the ways of life and coveted the powers of death. In this way black magics came into the new world, against the design of Fire.
Wemics from Fire
Seeing Humans turn to death, the Fire was saddened, and so created Wemics to counter the forces of death and Ice. Because Wemics were made after the Great Tainting, they remained pure and untouched by corruption. But the fire of life was strong in the first Wemics. Being young and unlearned and new-come to their powers, they needed much education to master their strengths and tame their natures, for vibrant life was in them, and at first Wemics were too foolish and excited and shortsighted. So the long story of Wemics is the tale of wisdom that comes with experience, and of sad tales from which spring insight and sense. Ice tried to corrupt the young Wemics, who made mistakes, so that Ice beguiled them for a time, and a some were tainted. But the Wemics soon saw through the cold lies, learned from their errors, and denied Ice. Since then, Wemics have continued to progress, and now they begin to realize the potential and purpose for which the Fire gave them the heat of life.
The Fire made Wemics strong in body and soul: strong in body to hunt the minions of Ice, strong in soul to recognize and resist corruption. Wemics who are pure can tap the strengths bestowed by Fire; those who stray from purity cannot use these gifts. Many of the epics recited around Wemic hearthfires tell the stories of Wemics who struggled to retain their purity, or who found redemption after falling from grace.
Wemics who retain the full power of purity are gifted with the the ability to perceive the spark of Fire that exists in all things. Wemics believe that everything created by Fire retains a thread of divinity; in this way, everything touched by Fire is, in a sense, alive. Wemics who are pure can sense the Fire in living things, in rivers and trees, in gnats and mountains, in aurochs and grains of sand. They have insight into the unseen connections that bind all creatures touched by Fire. They can read the truths in dreams, understand the motivations of living things, and explain the mysteries of the living world. Wemics strong in purity can also detect the works of Ice; Wemics sense the emptiness that is the absence of the spark of Fire.
The most pure Wemics, those who are closest in nature to Fire's design, are able to communicate with other living beings -- animals, plants, winds, rocks -- all beings that carry the spark of Fire's touch. Wemics contact other living things on a basic empathetic level, so that the Wemic who is strong in purity can commune, request favors, bargain, and convince. In sentient creatures, a powerful Wemic priest would be able to inspire emotions. But a Wemic cannot make anything betray its nature -- a priest cannot make grasses animate and bind a foe, because grasses can't move fast! Wemics create no "magical" effects -- no fireballs, no wonderous miracles of light and glory -- but events tend to shape themselves to the Wemic's need, in a way that in the real world Humans might call coincidence.
These Wemics, because they are among the most morally advanced, are more pure. That is, they are paragons. In fact, these most pure Wemics are known as "Paragons", a title meaning "Holy Ones" -- a little like "Paladins" in D&D -- except that D&D Paladins are warriors, and Wemic Paragons are simply holy, and can follow any occupation with any skills.
Paragons are the Blessed Ones. They exist in a state of grace, and they are blessed with the greatest degree of "magical" powers that the Fire bestows on Wemics.
There are quotes around "magical" because these powers are very unlike spell casting. The Blessing of the Fire is granted to all good Wemics to a greater or lesser degree -- most are aware of the life force that flows in all the works created by the Fire (and are therefore able to recognize things like the Undead as abominations because there is no flow of life force in them). The Blessing, in Paragons, also grants these powers:
- Awareness of "magical" evil forces and corruptions.
- Sensitivity to the motivations and natures of all living things -- like being able to detect emotions, lies, and intentions.
- Sensitivity to the larger underlying patterns of life force -- like being able to make predictions and understand the consequences of planned actions.
- Ability to ask / convince a living being to alter its motivation.
Here are a few examples of these powers in action:
- A less blessed Wemic might be able to tell that a bear is about to attack; a more blessed Wemic would be able to convince the bear to go away peacefully.
- A less blessed Wemic can sense infection and tumors within her own body; a more blessed Wemic can convince the bacteria to stop reproducing and the tumor cells to revert to normalcy.
- A less blessed Wemic might enter a canyon just before the flash flood sweeps through; a more blessed Wemic, sensitive to the underlying patterns, might sense that entering the canyon would be a bad idea.
So the most blessed Wemics tend to be the longest lived Wemics.
Note that even among Wemics, these "most blessed" Paragons are very rare indeed.