Magic is the magic used by those who revere nature and
is practiced by the druidic orders.
It is based on their belief in "essences" and the ability of the sentient mind
to merge with it and then to manipulate it. Learning and performing Druidic
Magic are long processes, but the results are often quite spectacular.
Prevalence. Only druids are known to practice the merging of essences. These people can be found throughout the remote areas of Southern Sarvonia and in some parts of Northern Sarvonia. However, this researcher believes that there may be some scattered communities on other continents as well.
Concept/Worldview. Druidic ideology is not laid down in scrolls and tomes as scholars are used to deal with, so that these texts can be analysed and commented on. This makes it difficult to extricate a proper magical theory, as what we know about this kind of magic is based on accounts by others, who have been in contact with the oral druidic tradition of spreading their beliefs and who were willing to share this knowledge with us. So even what we try to formulate here as the druidic magical concept is a mere interpretation of Santharians wisest scholars based on what they could gather from other sources.
Picture description. Remnants of the unique kind of magic that links an individual's spirit with the spirit inherent in nature can often be found in druidic burial grounds. Illustration drawn by Morjer.
As far as we know, druids teach that
all things in this world exist on two levels; the physical level, and the
spiritual level. What druids call an
"essence" is the spiritual side of any given object. Essences are not visible to
humans, or any other known race, but with the
proper training, it is possible to interact with them. If an essence is changed
somehow, its material counterpart changes to accommodate it. One could say - as
the great Ximaxian Xeuatán Khaelvan III. tries
to interpret druidic principles from
a Ximaxian standpoint - that for the
druids "an essence is the spiritual
make-up of its material counterpart". Essence and material counterpart form
a unity, but the key to Druidic Magic is to alter the essence towards a new
Khaelvan III. notices that druids see essences as life itself, as something that cannot be undone: According to the druidic interpretation of life, essence comes into being at the same exact time that its material counterpart comes into existence. For example, a human essence comes into being as soon as a child is conceived. However, it is rare - if not impossible - for an essence to die (theories vary here on how and when), despite whether or not its physical counterpart has died. The physical counterpart must be completely and utterly destroyed for its essence to die. Example: If a tree were to die, its essence would not die, merely change from the essence of a live tree, to the essence of a dead one. However, when a fire burns out, it is supposed to have completely gone, and thus its essence must have died. It has left its mark in the form of ashes, but it is completely dead. It is also possible for an essence to be consumed by another, such as when eaten. This could be said to destroy the "eaten" essence, but the druids believe that they just become one. An often quoted example of this is when rain droplets are absorbed by plants, the water essence disappears, consumed by the plant's essence.
Each essence is as completely unique as is its counterpart, but like its counterpart, it shares similarities as well. All essences fit into one of the seven druidic base essences, or as a Ximaxian would say: sub categories, which are: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Plant, Animal, and Sentient Being. For instance, a small rock's essence is as different from a mountain's essence as their physical manifestations are, but the essences are still Earth based. Nothing in this world has an essence that fits into two categories. It always has a dominant essence type. Sometimes this is confusing, for it seems that some objects in the world could theoretically be classified as two, but this is mainly due to confusion. For example, if one were to mix sand and water, a new essence would not be created, there would merely be two essences next to each other, water and sand, and while their physical aspects may be mixed, their essences are still quite separate.
The former Earth Mage Jerick Du'malle of Ximax, after many lengthy conversations as to the nature of Druidic Magic with the earth druid, Elgaril Viikogyim, tries to elaborate further on the "essences" his new master speaks about, which are so central in Druidic Magic. In his last work for the Academy, the "Treatise on Matter and Being", the Ximaxian mage tries to point out differences between the Academy's interpretation of magic and the druidic one: "Once in a while our scholarly researches of the magical art are challenged by the simplicity one encounters at practiconers, who have never studied magic as such," he writes. "With the ease of the legendary Weavers I have seen druids that connect with nature as they sense that they are part of it. Druids look at the heart of the matter, while a Ximaxian just happily fiddles with the surface. Even a Xeuá mage, who has left the elemental mage's obstinacy of focussing purely on the components of magic behind, still connects strings in the web of the fabric of being - but his understanding does not reach far enough as to see into the being itself. Nevertheless Ximax has borrowed the term 'cár'áll' from the elves, the 'aura' or even the 'essence' as some might also say, just as if men could copy the elven way of life and intrinsic understanding of nature and its inherent magic.
The elves have an affinity to creation however, to earth, sky, mountain, river and tree, a love for matter and being itself the druids share. Not because some scholar told them to listen to the windsong and get the feel of things, but because the desire to unite with being itself emanates from within a person. Yes, the druids have 'elements' as well if you want to call them that way, categorizations that help them to find ways to make their magic work better, to improve efficiency. But unlike the Ximaxians the druids embrace the world and have their eyes wide open. They connect with the heart of nature itself, the elements being what constitutes that heart, what allows to see into it. A Ximaxian on the other hand builds bridges between elements, and he simply manages to accomplish an effect, while a druid brings change from within, as he is the change itself." And Jerick concludes: "Upon seeing a druid working his magic, one can't help but notice: Druids live their magic as part of the life they lead, as do the elves, while the Ximaxians merely study to cast." Based on this insight, Jerick Du'malle left the Academy, and became a druid himself, who was never heard of anymore in the civilized world.
Basic Principles. Druidic magic is based on the druids’ belief in essences. The way they explain it, they merge their own essence with the essence of what they want to change (most often things of untouched nature itself like rocks and trees), and from there merely will it into changing. This of course takes time, for they have to meditate to actually complete the merger. The older the essence one is trying to merge with, the longer it will take to merge with it. For example: a coastal redwood that has been standing for over two millennia will take longer to merge with than a seedling flower. An older essence has "gotten used" to being the way it is. It is set in its ways, and thus harder to merge with. A younger essence is less set in its ways, and thus easier to merge with. It should be noted, that a changed essence is not a new essence, merely an old one that has taken on different qualities over the years.
With training, one could learn to merge one's essence with the essence of something else. If such a merging occurs, the stronger willed of the two objects will be able to influence the essence of the other object, thus changing its characteristics. If the spiritual side is changed, its physical side will follow, and vice versa. If the physical side is changed, its essence will change to accommodate it. The exceptions to this are sentient beings. Kroneth Neeth, an investigate researcher of the Ximaxian Earth School department, concludes however that Druidic Magic has its natural limits: "Every druid that has tried to go beyond objects like stones and tree, obviously notices that merging of the essences is resisted by sentient essences. Its corporeal counterpart has a vague notion of something trying to control him, but they are not sure what is actually going on. A druid can try to work his magic on sentient beings, but the success is highly dubious." Kroneth nevertheless concedes that his researches have revealed that some druids might actually be able to challenge that seemingly impossible frontier and cross that treshold: "However, if one can get past that frontier, then an experienced druid is able to merge. Lore involving the interference and immediate action of druids for essential reasons are full of such oftentimes incredible mergers. And there are accounts that are quite serious that such mergers actually do happen." It is believed that if one's essence is not as strong willed as the essence it is merging with, then one might find his own essence being manipulated, instead of vice versa.
Abilities. Once the merger is actually complete, the essences of the druid and what he wants to change are one. The actual changing is quite natural. He changes something like he would move his arms, he merely wills it to change, and it changes. Of course, the more complex or intricate the change, the more a druid must concentrate on said change, or he may wind up with unexpected results. Making a seedling grow into a full grown tree is fairly simple, for it merely "speeds up" what the seedling naturally wants to do, while making it grow into a tree of an odd shape or into a different colour or texture than what is natural, that is a bit more complicated, and requires more concentration, and more practice.
There a few factors that may reduce the amount of time needed. For instance, the greater the number of druids working towards the same goal, the faster said goal will be accomplished. This is done because the experience of all the druids is put as one, and they all merge with the object at the same time, thus the time is divided between the participating druids. Thus, if an inexperienced druid is added to the task, the task will get done faster, but not nearly as fast as if an expert druid was there, for experience is another factor. A practiced druid gets his task done much faster than one who doesn't use his gifts. Therefore, it is quite possible for a young druid who uses his abilities often to be more skilled than an elder who rarely finds need to use his skills, even though the elder has been a part of the order for a longer amount of time. The last thing that effects the time is how often a druid has merged with a particular essence; the more a druid merges with the same essence, the faster it takes every time.
Druids also have the ability to physically merge with their element:
In Green Druids, this produces the Kroi’lon, or "war dryad"; a gigantic half man, half tree being.
The Red Druids
In Red Druids this produces the phenomenon known as the firedance. The druid's body is completely turned to flame, but retains its humanoid shape.
Grey Druids can merge with an animal of their choosing. This often makes for interesting, often bizarre and horrific, transformations; such has a half-man/half-flunki, or a half woman/half-Cartashian Bear.
The Brown Druids can merge with the earth, making the Sfomm-Kereen, Thergerim for stone baby, who have bodies of movable rock, not unlike a golem. "Stone baby" is a misleading name although, for considering the Somm-kereen's size, very few of the people of Caelereth would consider it a "baby".
Similar to the Brown Druids, the Blue Druids can merge with ice, making their bodies a sort of movable ice, again, not unlike a sentient golem.
The druids all retain their sense of self, and their intelligence during these transformations. These transformations last for around three days, and they cannot revert back during those three days, for that would require changing one's own essence, which is not only tabooed, it is thought to be impossible. After these three days, the druid dies, for causes unknown not only to this Compendium but to druidic society as a whole. Because of this, these transformations are only used in a last desperate attempt to protect nature. Black and white druids do not use this ability, for White druids are too aloof to become martyrs, and Black druids do not love sentient beings enough to die for them. Considering how formidable these transformations are, the attempt often works.
Limitations, Restrictions and
Practice, However, there are limits. The main thing that must be
remembered is that the druid must
maintain his meditation while performing what he wants to perform. If his
concentration is broken, than the merger is also broken, and any control over
his element is lost. To maintain this concentration, the
druid can only merge with, or attempt
to merge with, one essence at any one time. Beyond that, the
druid's limits are few. He can change
anything about the essence, as long as it remains based on the same category.
For example: A Grey druid can do anything he wants to an animal, except give it
sentience, because that would change it from an animal based essence, to a
sentient based essence. Also, druids
may not do anything to 'create' a new essence, merely change the one they have
merged with. For example, a Green druid could not cause a branch to fall off a
tree after merging with the tree, for that would create the new essence of a
'broken branch' as opposed to just changing the essence of the whole tree.
It should be noted here that druids have placed a ban on changing one’s own essence. They have gone so far with this ban that they even teach that it is impossible to do. Not only that, one would have to be a Black druid to do it (for changing oneself would usually mean changing a sentient being essence, unless one is less than sentient), which is also banned by druidic society. There are stories of the elven Black druid, Mehán’chón, who figured out how to change his own essence. The stories say he made himself grow wings, and jumped off a cliff to learn how try them out. Unfortunately, he made the wings too small to hold his weight, and, much to Mehán’chón’s dismay, he remade acquaintanceship with the ground much sooner than he originally intended. However, for the most part, druid believe the story of Mehán’chón to be only a fairy tale.
It should be made clear that the merging process takes far too long to have any practicality whatsoever in battle. Although, if one wanted the grand effects of a "siege" style of combat, the druids are the people capable of fulfilling that role. Druids are capable of creating smaller effects; it just takes far too long to be practical in some cases. For example, a Fire druid could burn down a tree, but it would be much faster merely to chop it down with an ax.
Training. Of course, one must learn how to do all this, and to get training one must first find a druid (which is a task in and of itself - as one won't find them at the nearby marketplace looking for disciples...). If the druid decides that the hopeful has the personality and drive and love that are required, then the druid trains him. This training mainly consists of how to learn to meditate effectively which takes up a huge amount of time, and learning how to merge with an essence that is so unlike that of the druids.
It usually takes roughly fifteen years for a human to learn druidic beliefs and magic, although there are rare cases of people taking a faster or, in some cases, longer amount of time to learn it. It should be noted that if the druids cannot use Druidic Magic until after they have completely internalized the belief and completed their training.
Black druids, however, must first become a druid of one of the other six orders, and then learn by themselves how to merge with a sentient essence. They are able to do this because they already know the basics of merging with essences, even though they know not how to merge with a sentient one. Thus it takes much longer to learn to become a black druid than any other druid. Black druids are far too distrustful to take on apprentices, and the other six orders hold a taboo on black druidism. Thus, there are very few black druids in the world, if any at all.
Origins. This Compendium holds no concrete evidence on the actual origins of the magic of druids, although there are several reports, stories, and myths concerning it, and depending on which druid you ask, you will likely get a different story, assuming that the druid would be willing to tell you his stories in the first place, which is not likely unless you have proven your worth to him. Elven druids tend to tell people that Avá, and the Aeolía placed the essences, or "énh’cár'ámn" in their tongue, in to their physical "bodies". Some druids say that the first person to access an essence was an old farm lady, who managed to merge with one of her many cats, although this story is rather unlikely. Some druids say that everything started as one essence, and thus one body, and slowly split into many, until finally all the essence that exists today exists, as do all the bodies.
Another theory is that Druidic Magic, as well as the very druidic way of life, is actually an offshoot of elven magic. Some say that Druidic Magic was wrought of humans trying to mimic the elven way of life, and thus their magic, which is heavily based on the immanent magic of nature itself, not so much their outside manipulation. The largest smilarity between the two being that both the elven and Druidic Magics go directly to the heart of the element, while the Ximaxian approach manipulates in a more indirect fashion. While similarities can be seen between the two lifestyles, there has yet to be definitive proof that Druidic Magic was born this way.