In the Elder Days there were two kinds of magik, arcane magik, aka the study of the Spires, as has been written at length elsewhere, and secondly, what I’ll call ley magik. Practitioners of ley magik consisted of two types – channelers, who gathered the prayers of the Elder Races to keep One-Eye imprisoned, and Earthmages, those people with singular gifts. Both channelers and Earthmages derived abilities from Spirit’s ley lines which transversed the globe.
I’ll stipulate to a third type of magik, those inherent abilities bred into each Elder Race by dint of the Councilor’s recipes. Those few members of the Elder Races electing to stay on Sangrar after the Reckoning, and the children they bore afterward, could still exercise these gifts, though practice of them scarcely figures into the Tale of Ages during the Age of Man.
With the Reckoning of the Planes, the world was broken and remade, this time without the beneficence of Spirit’s ley lines. Without them, ley magik ceased to exist on Sangrar. Earthmages found no solace in the earth’s silent mantle, where not even the echo of the ancient earth song still murmured. Like the channelers who lost power when the Stones crumbled, they were bereft of magik.
As the world entered the Age of Man, a new magik surfaced, divine magik, which was born of the gods. Divine magik had not the structure of arcane magik, which had been studied, codified, and written into arcane law by generations of sorcerers, both those of the Elder Races and later, humanity.
Mankind paid reverence to the Elder Gods, those that existed before the Reckoning, and to the Vanara, the gods Finbardin and the Lady of Esel brought into existence to shepherd humanity. Religion in the Age of Man has been described elsewhere in these volumes. This reverence took the form of worship. Temples to various gods popped up everywhere, giving birth to the first Earth-like religions on Sangrar. Priests and priestesses led the faithful in prayer. Congregations celebrated holy days. Faith gave meaning to life and a set of values to live by.
The people prayed to their gods, just like you do on Earth. The prayers of Mankind resembled not at all the prayers of the Elder Races, which through the lens of your culture was more akin to orgy. Mankind prayed the same way you did, by singing and kneeling and chanting poetic stanzas that praised the gods.
I have read fiction from your world supposing that the ancient gods of mythology, be they Greek or Roman or Norse or Egyptian or that of any other culture, faded in the modern era because people no longer believed in them. Without belief, the people withheld their prayers and without prayers, these authors hypothesize, the gods of yore withered until aught remained but myth.
The Gods of Sangrar could not be more different than the gods suggested by these authors. They did not feed on the prayers of the people for sustenance. Their existence was woven into the very fabric of the Tale of Ages and existed independent of any underlying belief system. The Gods of Sangrar were real, tangible beings, not idealistic avatars brought to life by prayer.
The Gods of Sangrar possessed thoughts and feelings. They were creatures of emotion as much as logic and acted out of love and rage and despair. Like you or me, they were susceptible to flattery. Though they did not require prayers from the people of Sangrar, they did appreciate them. On occasion they would show this appreciation by bestowing gifts of divine magik upon worthy recipients.
As I mentioned before, divine magik was terribly unstructured when compared to arcane magik. Wizards cast spells. Spells are constructs to shape the arcane energy emanating from the Spires of Thought. These constructs are highly orchestrated rituals designed to shape the energy in a very particular way in order to bring about a very specific effect.
Divine magik works very differently. It can’t be diagrammed or flowcharted. It can’t be described precisely. If arcane magik is science, then divine magik is art. It is spontaneous and often unique. I have read accounts from Sangrarian scholars describing acts of divine magik as spells, but think they chose this word only for its familiarity. Their readers were accustomed to hearing magik described as spellwork, but from my vantage point referring to divine magik as spells creates an incorrect impression.
I prefer to think of them as miracles. Performing an act of divine magik is not a matter of following some prescribed formula. It an act of faith, an act of inspiration conceived by a supplicant and given gravity by a diety.
Though every act of divine magik is inherently singular and thus unique, it is helpful to think, in the most general of terms, of three different types of divine magik.
- Men of faith, whom the gods rewarded.
- Divine vessels, mortals through whom the gods worked.
- Demi-gods, people born of both god and mortal man
I’ll explore each of these in more detail.