Archive for August, 2010
This week’s collective fantasy world building exercise will be a short one.
In many of my favorite fantasy novels, there are two sides to magic, there is usually a Light and Dark magic, or Positive and Subtractive, magic of Creation and magic of Destruction. High Magic and Low Magic. Our collective world has just such a system in the Low Magic used by Westley and the High Magic used by the evil Radoslav.
But in the very best ones, there are other, older and more subtle forms of magic. This works incredibly well when this other form of magic is disguised as an art form. Dancing, poetry, painting, etc. In the Sword of Truth series, there was a man who painted spells on the walls of a special cave. Terry Brooks’ Shanara had the Wishsong. I’ve seen books with sand-painting working magic, or candle magic or even magic worked through following a recipe.
In my own novel, Of Poets and Angels, I have several. Ethan uses poetry to work changes upon reality, or to command people’s thoughts. This works best when he uses Haiku, or when he speaks in the Ancient Tongue, the language of Angels. Ethan’s friend Cesar heals using Chei needles, which are based upon a knowledge system similar to the Qabalah.
Westley and Radoslav use both sides of our big, showy magic, and Sophia, our female protagonist is some kind of Seer. But to contrast this, I would like to see something else, something older and perhaps more sinister. Magic used by someone who opposes Westley.
So what kind of ancient and simple magic should we put in our world?