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Roleplay: Useful Notes

   16 members have voted

  1. 1. Was the first article Kiryn wrote any good?

    • No, it sucked.
    • Meh.
      0
    • I suppose it was all right, but it wasn't really relevant to me.
    • Pretty good but could use some editing. (Comment on the blog and tell me what needs fixing!)
    • Yeah
  2. 2. Should there be more articles forthcoming?

    • No, Kiryn sucks.
    • No, it's just not that useful.
      0
    • Meh.
      0
    • Maybe with improvement.
      0
    • Maybe, depending on subject.
      0
    • Sure why not.

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31 posts in this topic

[b]This thread is to be a resource for players in various forum roleplays. Campaign-specific notes may be posted, or they may be posted to a separate thread. The first post will remain a table of context; general info posts will be indexed before posts for individual RPs.[/b]

I'm creating this thread as a repository of information so that our RP posts will be better and more realistic. It works a bit like a wiki: if you know something about a subject (preferably firsthand) or have done research from credible sources, make a writeup. Other members with similar knowledge may catch errors. This is mainly to get down what things do and don't work. Also, if you don't know much about a relevant subject that has not been addressed but know of a good, short article that does, by all means link to it.

The other purpose is for world-building: getting down the facts about the world of the RPs. So, say, if you're the only one dealing with a certain aspect (wyverns for example) and you want to come up with part of the mythos for that, it would go here. These articles, however, must match up with canon as defined by the GM of the RP. No changing the entire history of the continent and contradicting backstory. If we start having problems with this, you'll have to get them approved before posting them here.

[i]All[/i] articles should be understandable, with good grammar. Emoticons are not really good style here. Format's a bit more lenient; bullet-form or paragraph-form are acceptable. It might be advisable to have someone proofread a post before posting it, to avoid a bunch of useless commentary. Collaborating is fine and even a good idea, if all the collaborators know what they're talking about. For the first section, citations are welcome. Great amounts of depth aren't required; just have a minimum of "what to do/what not to do with/about (topic)" or "how thing does and does not work."

There will be two sections, one for general info and one for world-building. This post will serve as an index as articles come up. (I've got a couple under construction, will post soon.) I've also put down a number of things that I think would be very useful; these are the ones without someone listed next to them. If you plan on writing one, PM me and I'll put it up here. I'd prefer to have only articles in this thread; commentary can go to the feedback thread of the RP in question or via PM (if there is demand for a Useful Notes Feedback thread, I will make one).

[b]General Info, facts and writing tips[/b]
Axes
First Aid
[url="http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&view=findpost&p=1025705"]Horses: Riding (Kiryn)[/url]
[url="http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&view=findpost&p=1023783"]Horses: Types, health, biology, care, tack (Kiryn)[/url]
Knife fighting
Lances
Outdoor survival: Dealing with the elements
Outdoor survival: Finding food/water
Outdoor survival: Notable Plants

Outside sources:
[url=http://http//chat.shattered-realms.com/docs/rpguide/page4.html]General RPing advice, good starter guide[/url]
[url="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/FirstAidIndex/FirstAidIndex"]Assorted First Aid[/url]
[url="http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Archery"]Archery[/url]
[url="http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/UsefulNotes/Swords"]Swords[/url]
[url=http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CommonRanks]Common Military Ranks[/url]
[url="http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ptitleidkp0hmb6z6x?from=Main.LimyaaelsFantasyRants"]Limyaael's Rants[/url]: General writing advice; good reads on how to avoid cliches that cause facepalming and make characters original and believable.
[url=http://thepunchlineismachismo.com/archives/589]Coelasquid talks about what makes a Mary Sue[/url]
[url=http://www.web-writer.net/fantasy/]General Worldbuilding stuff[/url]
[url=http://www.thearma.org/essays.htm]Historical swords and fighting[/url]
[url=http://www.springhole.net/writing/marysue.htm]Mary Sue litmus test[/url]

[b]Lord of Azure Flame [i]canon[/i][/b]
[url=http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&view=findpost&p=1021539]The countries (Snowy)[/url]*
The Crimson weapons
[url=http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&view=findpost&p=1046523]The heroes (Snowy)[/url]
[url=http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&view=findpost&p=1031141]Magic (Snowy)[/url]
[url=http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&view=findpost&p=1075759]The nomads (Kiryn)[/url]
[url=http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&view=findpost&p=1056065]Pegasi (Phoenix, Kiryn)[/url]
[url=http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&view=findpost&p=1021539]Septimian reform (Snowy)[/url]*
[url=http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&view=findpost&p=1021539]T.I.S.M.E. (Snowy)[/url]*
[url=http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&view=findpost&p=1025544]Wyverns (Phoenix)[/url]
[url=http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&st=20&gopid=1887202&#entry1887202]Magic (Kiryn, with input from Phoenix)[/url]
[url=http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&view=findpost&p=2209529]Spirits, Dragons, Demons (Kiryn)[/url]

[b]Return of the Emblem [i]canon[/i][/b]
[url=http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&view=findpost&p=1472342]The Fallen (Phoenix)[/url]
[url=http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&view=findpost&p=1838684]Magic (Phoenix)[/url]

[b]Shattered Honor [i]canon[/i][/b]
[url=http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&view=findpost&p=2222112]Selarian culture[/url]
[url=http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20342&view=findpost&p=2222113]Selarian military[/url]

(In fact, I got the idea from a certain wiki's [url=http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/UsefulNotes]Useful Notes[/url] section.)

Stars indicate an item is outdated, needs elaboration, or otherwise could use an extra entry.

ALSO! I've been reading the Limyaael rants a lot lately, and remembering how useful they are. They're not always easy to apply to RPs though, so I have started to write some: http://moreopinionsthan.blogspot.com/search/label/RP%20Rants/ Vote in the poll at the top if you think it's a terrible idea/want me to try it/don't even care anyway, just vote! Edited by kdanger

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The Countries: Elyisima: Elyisima is the most powerful nation OVERALL. It is the weakest, through, in standing military might. It's power comes from T.I.S.M.E. being headquartered within it's borders, and thusly, the strongest of T.I.S.M.E. mages being, technically, Elyisian citizens and forced to defend 'their' country. Elyisima is a kingdom which shares roots with Septimus. Though Elyisima has a king, the two hero's who have taken up residence in the nation have seized enough power to act like princes. Elyisima can be a wild place at night in main cities, but calmer in towns. A RL equivalent would be: Vegas.

Septimus: Septimus is a weird, someone bizarre kingdom. It is easy to be caught up and confused by the ongoings in Septimus. It is a different place, and this has decreased it's value to all outsiders, whom tend to not want anything to do with the nation and even ignore it's existence at times. A RL equivalent would be I would say Korea, but I know full well you would equate it to Japan even though it's not meant to be like it beyond being foreign.

Halton: Possibly the strongest nation in military might, Halton is a calm, overall simple nation to live in. It is a simple nation overall, with little going on... except for a seeming thirst for more land. Currently subdued, it constantly craves smaller nations, though it doesn't always take them by force. It isn't evil, mean, or nasty about it; just desiring to constantly grow. RL equivalent: Rome

Other nations: Are scattered and in various states of disrepair or chaos. The LoAF has not been merciful, and many of them are tattered nations only surviving because they manage to fake sufficiency enough to not fall into mass disorder. Few are stable, few are even remotely strong enough to stand out, and none are well known.

Septimian reform: The current 'in' religion is Septimian Reform. It preaches more or less that the LoAF being a complete and total monster who desires to destroy the world/enslave humanity/whatnot. That aside, there are millions of dime-a-dozen sects and cults with their own beliefs that litter the land to the point of having a minor number advantage makes you the 'in' religion. Septimian reform is lacking in most of the actual religious beliefs beyond the most basics of religions in the world. It preaches that a benevolent goddess created the world for her children, and the Lord of Azure Flame grew hateful of them and rose up against her. The Goddess fought back on behalf of humanity, summoning elemental spirits to her side to fight against the Lord of Azure Flame's demons. He was quickly routed, but in a final gambit, destroyed most of the spirits before falling himself before rising up again to be defeated by the six heros.

Opposed to the reform is 'Lunaism' which believes that there is a benevolent goddess residing on the moon; watching over humanity. The priestess hero is the patron of this religion. However, it's wildly unpopular since it preaches some things like the goddess and Lord being husband and wife and both having humanities best interest at heart... just the Goddess being willing to coddle and send divine protectors while the Lord desires people to be strong and self-sustaining (Path of the open palm vs. path of the closed fist if you've played Jade Empire). Most people view it as whacked and don't even bother learning the facts about it, thusly any wild religious conjecture often gets tacked on as being part of this religion, even if it is not.

There are other religions, but these two are the most recognizable within the world.

T.I.S.M.E.

The Institute for the Study of Magical Elements is the largest mage school in the world, and widely considered the best. It focuses largely on raising up its students to become potent magical researchers to further the study of magical knowledge, often by directly immersing them in learning all they can about magic. It is rumored they may even be starting to master elements that were previously unusable, such as water, though this is only evident currently in their highest of the high end spells like Blizzard. TISME assigns rank based on a series of circles. The natural association is as follows. Circle 1-2: Trainee's. Often learning the basics of magic and lacking any over-riding direction. Circle 2 trainee's have started to specialize, but are also still perfecting the most basic bits of spellcasting. Circles 3 - 4: mages. Having started to specialize, the student now starts to focus on their chosen element, gaining affinity for it until he is confident in his skill. Higher-circles who lose rank are often demoted to these circles. Circles 5-6: sages. Mages whom have mastered their chosen elements and whom have turned their knowledge and experience outwards to mastering the other elements. Most teachers are at least circle 5's. Circle 7-8: Archsages. The true masters of magic, each boasting incredible power. A single archsage is more than enough to turn the tide of almost any battle. Circle 9: Legends. Magic users of extreme power, beyond that of mortals. No amount of training and talent can make you a circle 9. It is... something more. It is rare for there to be more than one circle 9 at any one time, and the headmaster of TISME is currently the only ninth circle in the world.

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Here we go. This will continue to update as I add more sections
[u]Horses[/u]

[i]Biology, terms, whatnot[/i]

Age: A baby horse is a foal. Notable: their legs are really long and clumsy when they're little. When they hit one year, they're yearlings; training to ride will start between 2-4, and they can be ridden seriously starting 4-6 (depending on the animal.) A young male is a colt; a young female is a filly. A horse is in its prime until 10-12; it's still quite rideable and strong in its teens, and will be getting properly old once it's in its 20s-30s. Lifespan also depends on breed.

Size: Horses are measured in hands, a unit equivalent to 4". Anything below fourteen and a half hands is technically a pony, though it really depends on body type. Average riding horse size is 15-17 hands (15 hands being 5'). More on that in the body type section.

Body type: There are several. Pony-types are short and stocky, with shorter legs; light horses are small-to-medium, with finer bones, medium is just sort of average, and heavy horses are big and brawny. Knights' chargers will be medium to heavy; if you need speed and agility (like a nomad, for example) go for a light to medium. Note that heavy does not imply slow.

Breed types: While we won't use specific breeds, here are a few breeds to illustrate body types/draw inspiration from:
-Pony: [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connemara_pony]Connemara (a bigger pony)[/url]
-Light horse: [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabian_horse]Arabian[/url]
-Medium: [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warmblood]Warmblood (about as nonspecific as a horse gets)[/url]; [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Quarter_Horse]Quarter horse[/url] is a bit chunkier and hardier
-Heavy horse: [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percheron]Percheron (for warhorses)[/url]; [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clydesdale_(horse)]Clydesdale (for farming etc)[/url]

A note about ponies: There's another difference between horses and ponies besides body type: Ponies are [i]jerks.[/i] All right, all right, PEMN and all, so I'll admit that there are some wonderful, sweet ponies out there, but they're the minority. Every single pony I've ever met has been an evil little beast.

Sex: A male horse is a stallion, a female is a mare. A neutered male horse is a gelding. Stallions are the most unmanageable, though different breeds have different temperaments, and some stallions are quite trainable. Mares are pretty manageable, though they have their moments. Geldings are really easy to handle. (Of course, any horse can have training issues, but the causes will be separate.) Story-wise, characters are most likely to have mares or geldings, especially if they're buying the horse along the way.

Color: There are [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_coat_colors]many[/url], though in the medieval Europe-type setting Fire Emblem's in, you're unlikely to see spotted/paint coats. Go see the link for the range. There are also various [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_coat_colors]markings[/url]. A couple of notes: True white is rare; most white horses are really grays (their skin is black.) Horses do lighten with age. Eyes are most commonly brown; blue, hazel, amber, and green are also possible (though blue is uncommon and others are rare). Hooves range from tan (if there's white fur above the hoof) to black.

Senses: Horses have much better hearing and sense of smell than humans. They also have the advantage of ears that can swivel towards sounds. Their eyes are on the sides of their head, which gives them almost 360 degrees of vision-- but it leaves blind spots directly behind and in front of them, and anything coming out of a blind spot may spook them. They're not entirely colorblind; science has not quite determined what colors they do see, but yellow seems to show up in high contrast for them. Green, not so much. They can see decently well in the dark.

Body language: Quick signals:
Ears back against head: Angry/afraid. Don't mess with this horse.
Teeth bared/kicking motions with back feet: Again, angry.
Tail switching: Either annoyed, or there are bugs. (Or both.)
Eyes wide, rolling: Angry/afraid again.
Ears pricked towards you: Paying attention to you.
Head down, leaving weight off one back foot: Resting. Content.

Vocalizations: Horses are actually pretty quiet, at least more than movies show. All the same, the sounds:
Nicker: Low, usually friendly.
Snort: Maybe annoyed, maybe just clearing its nose.
Neigh/whinny: Higher. Can be question, alarm, challenge, greeting, or "feed me."
Squeal: Angry. Probably fighting.

[i]Care:[/i]
There's a [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_care]lovely long article[/url] about this, but the basics: Horses need to be fed and watered daily (grazing, and grain when available.) Grooming should be done daily if possible; the saddle area at very least should be groomed to avoid problems. Hooves need cleaning, to remove dirt and rocks (picking up a bad rock may lame a horse for a while.) If you're putting a horse away after a lot of running, you'll need to walk it for a while first to cool it down.

Sleep: Horses do need it, though a lot less than humans. Horses can nap standing up, but need a couple of hours of lying-down sleep a day to stay healthy.

Special note: Shoes: Not all horses need them; it depends on the horse and what kind of work it does. Knights' horses, etc, probably will be shod; smaller breeds with harder feet may not need shoes. If a horse wears shoes, they need to be properly maintained; if a horse throws a shoe, it's useless until the shoe is replaced.

Tack: A couple of main ones: saddle and bridle. Armor may apply (go see a wiki.) Will also talk about halters here.

The saddle: Important for fighting on horseback. A saddle gives you a secure seat, and stirrups enable you to stand up in the saddle if necessary. The girth keeps the saddle on; if too tight, the horse will have trouble breathing or may just act up; too loose, and the saddle will slide around. The saddle should have a blanket underneath. Some saddles have attachments for packs behind them. Shouldn't be worn when the horse isn't being ridden.

The bridle: Provides control. The bridle fits over the horse's face and connects to reins. Control is provided either by a bit (piece of metal in the horse's mouth) or noseband, if the bridle's bitless. Keep in mind that bits are not inherently cruel, and a bitless bridle can actually be crueler if the rider is inexperienced. The bridle is not a handle to hold onto the horse, but a method of control. It isn't the only way either; one can steer with knees and weight if need be (as for horseback archery.) Bridles are generally made from leather, but can be improvised by someone who knows what they're doing. Shouldn't be worn when the horse isn't being ridden.

The halter: Generally for leading, not riding. A simple device for controlling the horse's head; no bit. Lead rope clips/ties to the bottom. Much safer for tying horses than a bridle, and allows horse to graze. May be worn when the horse isn't being ridden (probably shouldn't be on when the horse [i]is,[/i] though. Of course, if it's an emergency, you'd rather ride with a halter than nothing.)

Story-wise note: You don't need to include all this care detail in RP posts, obviously. "$CHARACTER cared for his/her horse and put it away" is all, really. But you should be aware of how much of this your character actually knows: have they been in the saddle since they were able to sit up, or have they never handled a horse in their life? If it's the former, all this will be second nature; the latter, and they're bound to make some mistakes. The mistakes don't need to be big and frequent enough to trip up the plot, but no character's infallible.

Section on gaits and riding to follow. Edited by Kiryn

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(On Cynthia's suggestion, I'm just going to paste the entire article)

The Wyvern:
The Lord of Azure Flame guide to wyverns
By Phoenix

History:
Wyverns first appeared ages ago after mortal men began trying to tame the wild and powerful dragons of old. After many generations of “dragon riding”, what came to be known as the wyverns appeared, truly awesome creatures with the bodies of dragons, but the hearts of wolves, able to be domesticated as war mounts. Throughout the centuries wyverns have been on battlefronts across the continent. As their presence has grown, that of dragons has steadily decreased. Though historians believe the dragons have merely become reclusive, most believe that wyverns have replaced the dreaded beasts known as dragons. Unlike dragons, wyverns can be broken. Having them in the place of dragons seemed to be the best of both worlds.
Wyvern prejudice tends to be very common due to the incredibly high frequency of wyvern attacks.

Biology:
Wyverns are large flying beasts with distinct features, including but not limited to: large incisors, razor sharp claws, tough scaly hides, long serrated tails, and massive wings.
Not including their tails, they are on average around twelve to fifteen feet long. Their colors can range from black to white, and from blue to red, though dark orange, brown, light and dark green, gray, and unsaturated blue are the most common hide colors.
Wyverns need their thick hides because a vital organ or artery is underneath almost every inch of their torso. They have numerous muscles and fewer weak points on their limbs, but their torsos have always been a source of extreme vulnerability, especially to piercing objects such as arrows.
Like birds, wyverns have broadly hollow bones. Contrary to popular opinion, that does not make their bones any weaker than any other large animal. Their bones are in fact nearly twenty times stronger than horse bones. Though not directly related to bone density wyverns have a preposterously low rate of blood production after adolescence, and as a side effect, wyverns often becomes inactive after serious injuries for several weeks or even months. If they lose too much blood, they can slip into a coma and die of starvation.
Wyverns that lose scales due to injury do not grow those scales back when the weapon used to cause the injury go through the flesh and into the muscle tissue. Instead, the scar tissue hardens to near rock like strength to compensate. These areas of wyvern's bodies tend to be just as tough and resistant as the scaled regions.
Also similar to birds, wyverns have lungs especially suited for flight, complete with air sacks. These air sacks gather air that has entered the lungs. When the wyvern exhales, the lungs receive the surplus. In short, like birds, wyverns also gain oxygen from exhaling.
Like many flying predators, wyverns have what is known as binocular vision. They can spot and identify other creatures from as far as a mile away.

Diet:
Wyverns tend to favor livestock animals such as cows, and pigs. In the wild they prefer the hoofed animal of their home territory. For mountain wyverns that would mean rams, goats or pegasi. Ordinarily a pegasus is too fast to catch, but a sick or injured one is an easy target for a fast diving mountain wyvern. For wyverns living on the plains, horses, sheep, deer, and bulls.
Domesticated wyverns are commonly raised on surplus livestock, such as chickens.
Wyverns can eat nearly any kind of meat, including fish, but for a healthy upbringing, it is better to give them what they would naturally be eating in the wild.
Over time wyvern domestication has slightly weakened the wyvern population’s natural resilience. Wyverns brought up on chickens and the like don’t usually grow as large as those that don’t. The biggest differences in size are about a foot or two in length, and about sixty to a hundred and eighty pounds of weight. Rarely, a difference in as much as two feet in diameter occurs.
Wyverns that go for too long without eating become delusional, and sometimes highly aggressive and even cannibalistic. Domesticated wyverns are hardly an exception though they may sometimes remain sane longer. A starved wyvern will typically lose its sanity after about two weeks and will begin attacking anything and anyone around it in search of food, including their own riders. The crazed demensia usually wears off within a couple of days once the wyvern is being fed regularly again.

Wyvern breaking:
It is even more difficult to tame a wyvern than a horse or pegasus. The wyvern is a territorial animal, and a predator in nature, often hunting down nearly human sized prey. It generally takes about a month to break a wyvern of its habits. It can take even longer if the wyvern is older. Breaking a wyvern first starts by capturing the wyvern. Most failures take place during the capture attempt. The wyvern must be subdued with ropes or placed into a steel cage. It is easier to lure them into cages by disguising them and placing an animal inside.
Next, they must be exposed to humans constantly. A total of twenty four hours a week minimum. The wyvern must not be allowed to acquire food on its own. It must be fed directly by the rider who is going to eventually mount it. When wyverns feel that they are powerless to help themselves, they’re natural instincts take a backseat to reliance, and that gives the rider a chance to gain its trust. If the rider fails to instill that trust at this stage, any further attempt to tame the wyvern will fail, and the rider could be killed.
After two to three weeks of hand feeding a wyvern, the rider should expose himself to the wyvern. This stage is critical. If the wyvern hasn’t developed any trust in the rider, it will immediately assault the rider in an attempt to escape. In most cases, by the time a rider realizes his err, it is too late. The rider must now spend the next one to two weeks in direct contact with the wyvern: touching, petting, rubbing, feeding, and cleaning it. Wrestling games are common ways that riders will use to “trick” wyverns into allowing themselves to be mounted. That speeds up the mounting process.
On average, about four in every five attempts to tame a wild wyvern ends in failure. Three in five attempts end in the wyvern’s violent escape back to the wild, and two in five attempts end in the death of the tamer and or rider.
In modern times where wyvern riders are becoming more of a necessity in war, a more popular method is to capture wyverns and breed them. Their children are born in captivity and develop bonds with humans instead of other wyverns. Wyvern breaking is left strictly to the professionals nowadays, and is considered a dangerous and stupid sport suited only to the macho, or suicidal.
Mountain wyvern breaking is considered all but impossible.
Due to the difficulty of capturing wyverns alive, they are extremely valuable, especially to militaries. Breeding wyverns are the most valuable, females remain the most highly valued wyverns.

Wyvern breeding:
Wyverns are not romantic animals by nature. They do not come into heat, or mate during a specific season, because wyvern offspring can survive any season in their natural environment. Male wyverns that are raised in the wild will try to mate with as many females as possible when its mating instinct turns on. This generally happens if the presence of other wyverns becomes too low, or the wyvern’s own scent is lacking throughout the environment. Male goals are always to overpopulate the area with its own offspring and drive competitors out. The larger the male, the easier it is for them to have offspring. Female wyverns are generally passive aggressive, relying on males for protection, and only fighting themselves when their own offspring our nearby and in danger. When females fight, they are usually more dangerous than males, partly due to their claws and teeth. Male wyverns wear down their claws and teeth against rocks and other wyverns through their lives, while females’ remain razor sharp due to noncompetitive use.
In the wild, wyvern females lay from three to ten eggs at a time. On average only one or two will survive. Most of the eggs will be destroyed by rival males attempting to get rid of all the eggs and force the female to mate with them. If a wyvern male has been able to find only one or two females, he will defend them and their nests. If he has been more successful he will leave them to fend for themselves which usually means that an entire clutch of eggs will be lost from several successful matings. This leads to the dominate males having around three children for every two females he mates with. Ironically, a wyvern that defends his mate and nest will likely have a complete clutch of children. On the downside, these children will often exhaust the parents’ ability to feed them, and even turn on them for resources when they come of age.
In captivity, wyvern mating habits change only slightly. Breeding males are generally untamed and wildly aggressive. They are often kept on short leashes metaphorically speaking, but they are usually allowed to mate with which ever females they choose.
On average all wyverns born in captivity survive.

Wyvern upbringing:
Wyvern nestlings are brought up on meat and water, generally chicken, turkey, ham, and beef. Domesticated wyverns usually develop a taste for human food in response to being allowed left overs. It is seemingly harmless. They can also drink milk, though they have to be forced to drink it initially. They must also develop a tolerance for it and any other unnatural food they receive. After developing a love for their riders, wyverns will follow them everywhere. Between the ages of one and five are the optimal time for wyverns to become familiar with human speech. Wyverns will reach adulthood after nine to ten years. They never stop growing however. Their growth slows down dramatically, but they continue to get larger throughout their lives. Even the oldest wyverns are never longer than twenty feet or so, unless they are supplied with enough food to turn them into bull wyverns before they reach adulthood. This is highly discouraged however.

Wyvern habits:
Male wyverns and female wyverns have very different behaviors that are so distinct that they can be used to determine male from female by themselves. Domesticated wyverns show the most extreme cases of these habits.
Male wyverns display the following habits:
Gnawing on random objects, clawing wooden walls, snarling randomly, twitching their wings, swallowing large rocks, tugging on another wyvern’s tail to goad them into playing, head butting, snapping, eating anything edible that they come across including large animals, excessive scratching, and roaring with other wyverns.
Female wyverns display the following habits:
Beating their tails against the ground or objects, digging broad holes and sleeping in them, swallowing small rocks, attacking smaller animals([i]automatically with no intent to feed on them[/i]), rolling onto their backs, sleeping on their backs, spreading their wings out to appear larger when afraid, and flying away from sudden loud sounds.

Wyvern abilities:
Wyverns have astonishing mental capabilities, on par with four to five year old children. They can solve problems and use creative thinking to adapt to new situations, in some cases faster than humans could. Some wyverns can understand what their riders are saying by picking up on specific words in their speech that they associate with commands. In most cases, they appear to understand human speech in its entirety when in fact, they are simply listening for cues.
Wyverns also have frightening physical capabilities, able to tear most things apart in seconds. Their raw strength is enough to overpower any other creature or warrior.

Wyvern life span:
Mountain wyverns can live from ninety to a hundred years. Domesticated ones can live fifteen years longer.
Plain dweller wyverns can live from eighty to ninety years. Domesticated ones can live twenty-five years longer.
Sea wyverns can live from forty to sixty years. Domesticated ones can live fifty years longer.
Bull wyverns can live up to one hundred and forty years. Life span limit records for captive bull wyverns have never been successfully made.

Wyvern breeds:
There are different types of wyverns.

Mountain Wyvern:
These types lack forearms and are long and slender. Their tails are much longer than that of most wyverns. Exactly 130% the length of their head and torso. Their wing spans are anywhere from twenty-six to thirty-two feet. Mountain wyverns are notorious explorer killers, and are considered some of the toughest types to domesticate. They’re environment gives them a supreme advantage making capturing them so difficult that most would dare not try. These types of wyverns tend to have the highest populations. On moon lit nights, hundreds of them can be seen swarming around above the mountain tops.
They are usually dark and dull colored in their appearance, perfect to match the mountainous backdrop that serves as their home.
Unlike most wyverns, mountain wyverns are pack minded until domesticated. They attack in large numbers, another impeding obstacle to capture. The largest attempt to capture mountain wyverns ended with one hundred and thirty of the two hundred soldiers sent dying, along with fifteen mountain wyverns. Five were captured by the end of it for domestication and breeding. When they attack, they flap violently to push their prey to the ground, and then snap persistently. If attacked from behind, they whip their tails around to swat attackers.

Plain Wyvern:
The most common type of wyvern, and the most suitable for domestication. They share the same appearance as the dragons of old, possessing thick torsos, two arms, two legs, massive wings, and a long heavily armored serrated tail. Their wingspan is anywhere from twenty-four to twenty-eight feet. In the wild plain dwelling wyverns are commonly seen swooping down onto the livestock of farmers and flying away with cows in their grasp. They can also be seen soaring over the plains searching for any number of things. Plain dwellers tend to live alone or in very small groups of three to four once they come of age, and only seek out other wyverns for mating. Siblings will often stay together for a year or two after coming of age to increase their chances of survival. Once the urge to mate comes, siblings will split up and leave each other for good.
Plain dwellers are spread throughout kilometers of land. If two males encounter each other, that means that their individual territories have connected and a fight will always ensue, with the loser losing nearly ten square miles of his land if he survives.

Bull Wyvern:
Nearly all bull wyverns are male. The only time a female bull wyvern springs up is when a regular adolescent female plain dweller or mountain wyvern is nurtured by her mate to the point of doubling in size. A bull wyvern is classified as any wyvern that is twice as large or larger than normal wyverns. Even the domesticated ones tend to be extremely violent creatures. The ones found in the wild attack on sight([i]unless alone with eggs to guard[/i]), and are the most dangerous animals in the wild. They will doggedly pursue humans until they catch and slaughter them, or until they reach the edge of their territory. They’re strength is more than double that of normal wyverns and they can claw their way through heavy armor easily. Their jaws are strong enough to bite cattle in half, and their tails can swing with enough power to swat men away with bone crushing force.
Bull wyvern wingspans vary from forty to fifty feet. They are moderately resistant to normal magic attacks, and they are considered the most dangerous wild animals anywhere. They are also outlawed in many places due to consistent incidents they cause.

Sea Wyvern:
These types of wyverns are long and slender with tiny arms, tiny legs, long necks, thin wings, and spear tipped tails. They are generally blue colored or grey. Sea wyverns always nest on cliffs by the ocean, and dive down into the water to feast on fish. The only types to feed on sea creatures. They are defensive when outnumbered but aggressive otherwise. Surprisingly, they’re scale hides are quite resistant to magic, but weak against blades, spears, and arrows. They appear to be the drake equivalent of pegasi. Despite their weaknesses, they are radically aggressive when on the verge of capture, often impaling men on their tails and flinging them into the water.
Sea Wyverns eat whenever they can, often picking beaches clean if dead fish brought about by red tides show up. If a whale were to wash up onto a beach, a local sea wyvern population would leave behind nothing but bones by nightfall. Edited by Phoenix

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[u]Horses: Riding[/u] (Separate post due to article size)

Handling horses (a few general tips): Be calm. Don't stand directly in front of or behind a horse, as they have blind spots there. Do not shout or make sudden random movements. Lead from the left side (when possible). Left side is "near" side; right is "off" side.

Spooking: Horses do this a lot, so I should cover it. When a horse is afraid, it may rear up, kick, bite, bolt, or generally try to get the heck away from whatever spooked it.

Things that will spook a horse: (humorous version)
[spoiler]Lions in trees, tigers anywhere, helicopters, large dogs with big teeth, small dogs " " ", dogs " " ", dogs that weren't there yesterday, rocks, thermonuclear devices, rogue nations, plastic bags that flap, bugs, everything else.[/spoiler]

Things that will spook a horse: (legit version)
[spoiler]-Sudden movements
-Things coming out of their blind spots (directly in front of their face and directly behind them)
-Loud noises (esp. shouting)
-Predatory animals (can include humans, depending on how they're behaving)
-Stuff blowing up (this includes magic for RP purposes)
-Things coming out of seeming nowhere (piece of paper blowing across the street, etc)
-Things that they don't know what they are
-Things that you don't even notice (I still don't know what was going on for half the falls I've had, [i]there was nothing in that corner[/i])
-Things acting in unusual ways (I've never seen my human do that bit with the kicking the guy and jumping around before... time to spook!)
-Flashes of light, thunder, etc
-Deer (wusses.)
[/spoiler]

It's possible to desensitize horses to many stimuli that would normally spook them, but an untrained horse near any of this stuff is a terrible idea.

Speaking of which: How to calm down a spooking horse: DO NOT SHOUT oh gosh do not shout. Speak in a low, calming tone. It doesn't matter what you say (so long as it's not your horse's known command word for "run like hell"), just keep talking. If you're riding, try to get the horse to halt. Don't panic. Pet them, scratch their neck, try to convince them that nothing's wrong. If you're on the ground and don't know if it's wild enough, don't act all sneaky. Keep talking (they're prey animals, and talking away proves that you know that they know you're there, which means you're not sneaking up to eat them.) Don't wave your arms or make big sudden movements.

Now, back to your scheduled programming: Leading and getting on the horse.

Leading: Hold reins or lead rope with one hand close below the horse's chin. Don't coil the rein or the lead around your other arm; that can get you dragged away. Most horses weigh at least 1,000 pounds, and are quite capable of doing so.

Mounting: Mount from the left when possible. Put one foot in stirrup, swing other over horse's back and sit in saddle. Try not to do so like a sack of potatoes. (Inexperienced riders usually do so like a sack of potatoes.) With no saddle or stirrups (or just if you've got trouble getting up) use a mounting block or, if you don't have one, tree-stump/fence/crate/whatever. Experienced riders who are good with stunts may pull off a jumping mount, or mount as the horse is moving.

Dismounting: Drop stirrups (take your feet out), swing one leg over and slide down the horse's side. Again, do this to the left when possible. Riders with some decent amount of experience should be able to dismount at any speed (there are various reasons why it may be necessary to do so, such as an out-of-control horse.)

Falling off: It happens. It's not usually as bad as the media makes it out to be (which is not to say that it's not dangerous!) The easiest thing to fall onto is your rear end. If you fall on something else (say your head), you were probably doing something ridiculous beforehand, or your horse was actively trying to get rid of you. Check yourself for broken bones, get your wind back, get back up.
Riding: Sit with your back straight, heels down, balanced. Don't stick your feet all the way into the stirrups, as they may get caught and drag you if you fall off; keep the stirrups by the balls of your feet. If you have to hold on to something, hold the saddle in front of you; if there isn't one, hold the horse's mane, but try not to yank it, they don't really like that. Reins are not safety handles, they are directional aids; do not hang on them to keep yourself on the horse.
Main issues: getting the horse to go (faster), getting the horse to slow or stop, turning.

Go (faster):
Squeeze with your knees, click your tongue. Shift your weight forward a bit. Spurs can be used; there are humane spurs and crueler spurs. Do not mindlessly kick the horse.

Slow/stop: Shift your weight back. Give vocal commands ("Whoa" is common for stop; there are a variety I've heard for "slow down.") [i]After[/i] those, pull in on the reins, [i]gently and gradually.[/i] Do not yank the reins (remember, that equates to yanking on the horse's mouth or face.)

Turn: Apply pressure from the opposite leg (if you're turning left, use your right leg, etc.) Shift your weight towards where you want to turn. Apply the rein on the side you're turning toward (again, [i]gently[/i], don't haul on it.)

Special mention: Voice commands. Some horses have been taught 'em. Some haven't. But in general, don't assume a horse knows anything besides "whoa."

Gaits: There are four of them:

Walk: Easy, comfortable. Four beats (each foot moving separately.) Speed goes from regular walk to maybe a human's slow jog. Can be sustained for a long time.

Trot: Mid-speed, like a human's run. Two beats (diagonal legs move.) Many horses are bumpy and uncomfortable at the trot; some are smoother, and a good saddle can reduce the bouncing. Can be sustained for a long time. Some horses pace instead of trot (legs on same side move) but this trait generally has to be bred for, and not good for riding.

Canter: Mid-fast. Three beats, a lot like a gallop. More controlled than a gallop. Usually pretty comfortable. Good speed for jumping. Can be sustained, but shouldn't be used for long journeys.

Gallop: Fast. Four beats. Can jump at a gallop. Speed and stamina depend on the breed: Thoroughbred racehorses have been clocked at up to 40 mph (over one mile), while Quarter Horses have hit a record of 55 mph (but only for 1/4 of a mile, hence the name.) Other breeds will obviously be slower, 20-30 mph at full tilt. Stamina will depend on the horse's condition.

Other gaits: They exist, but only in certain breeds. Not likely to be necessary for the RP. (There's this weird thing some horses do halfway between trot and canter, but that's laziness and unwillingness to go, not a real gait.)

Jumping: You do this at a canter or faster. Horses [i]can[/i] jump from other starts, but not very high or well (usually if one does so, it's because they're spooking.) They can jump pretty high (maybe four, five feet or so on average; eight's the record) and decently far (20 feet or so; 27's the record). Untrained horses, though, may balk at some obstacles. You should also mind what's on the other side of whatever you're jumping; if the ground's uneven (or lower than you expected) the horse may be injured (even breaking a leg.)

Fighting: If you're going to be swinging around a piece of metal over a horse's head, it had better be trained to be used to that, lest it spook horribly. If it's a lance, mind where you put it, so you don't hit the horse in the head. Also, horses are weapons in their own right. You're looking at a creature with five sharp ends, four of which may be enhanced with metal. The main actions are: biting, kicking with hind legs, and rearing up and striking with front legs. That last is quite risky if the horse isn't trained for it, because of balance issues (for both horse and rider). Horses likely won't fight in human-controlled battle unless trained to do so (though they'll rough each other up plenty if they get into a disagreement.) They can also run over things if trained to do so. Keep in mind that training is necessary! If you point a horse that isn't trained to fight into the middle of combat, it will likely spook and throw you.

Another important point: Riding bareback. It's possible. Hell, it's possible to ride with no tack at all (even a wuss like me can do it for a little bit.) However, whether it's wise to do so is a matter of your skill and the horse's training. For one, it's harder to fight bareback, though there are some stunts that are probably easier to pull that way. Bareback can be done with a saddle blanket or no blanket, though the former's probably wiser (sweaty horses are slippery.) If your leg muscles and balance are good enough, bareback's not that bad (though remember: horses have spines. This can make things uncomfortable.)

Which brings us, I suppose, to trick riding. I'll define that as anything ridiculous you wouldn't usually do on a horse. Standing in the saddle, riding backwards, "riding" by clinging to the horse's side, jumping out of the saddle at unexpected times, mounting/dismounting by jumping... it's all doable [i]if[/i] you and your horse have the right training. If you don't know how to do it, you're likely to fall and break things; if your horse isn't used to it, they may spook spectacularly. It's risky even if you are well trained.

Again, treat this as a list of things that your character can or can't do. Keep track of their skill level, and write accordingly. Mind that dumb luck may get you through one or two incidents, it's not match for practice, and it stops being believable after a while. And, of course, riding takes muscles; a character that isn't used to doing a lot of it will be pretty tired after a long ride. It's definitely not just sitting there. And mind that what they do is appropriate to the horse's training, or have the horse react realistically to their actions, as well.

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Magic: Magic is a hard and often difficult and potentially confusing field that is not easy to master. In fact, most mages show no true mastery of magic and, instead, are stuck casting lower-leveled spells. Allow me to begin from the very beginning though.

Magic is divided into two primary categories for starters. The magic of the supernatural (encompassing light magic and staves), and the magic of the natural (encompassing anima and dark magic). Though indistinguishable to the common person except by visual appearance and names, to a experienced mage, the two are worlds apart. Let us begin with natural magic.

All objects and beings, be they the lowest cow or the mightiest sage, possess a innate field of magic known as a 'mana network'. Conceptually, imagine it being like a wireframe of magical power that covers a being from the moment they come into existence. Though it is normally innate and passive and can not be manipulated, certain people born with innate talents are capable of altering their own mana network. This is very important and key in becoming a mage, for without the ability to manipulate their own mana network, a person can not become a mage. The reason why is simple. When casting a spell, a anima or dark magic user will manipulate their own mana field, using it and altering it to form the desired spell. If a wind mage desired to cast a wind blade type spell, before he could do anything, he would first need to be capable of manipulating his own mana network into the form of the desired blade before he could do anything.

This tenant remains true for the vast majority of anima magic. All anima spells involve forming and shaping the mana network of the mage into the form of the desired spell. Then, once the form is attained, a anima mage will utilize the air about him into the desired element. A wind mage will use his magic to accelerate it and must be capable of making his mana network so as to support the rapid air, a fire mage combusts the air and must make his mana network capable of containing the flame so it doesn't dissipate or burn out of control, and a thunder sage will ionize the air and must make his network so that it can retain the charge as well as containing and focusing it so it will not disperse. Higher level spells usually require more advanced forms of mana networking or a improved durability within the mana network.

As for dark magic, it forgoes manipulating the air about it and instead chooses to manifest magic into the physical world en-masse. This typically makes the spells more powerful, but requires a heavier tome (explained why below). Due to the nature of dark magic, it tends to be capable of altering reality in ways not meant to be altered even by the caster; though this typically requires a immense amount of magical energy to get even the slightest sort of alteration. However, it does make it the choice magic of monsters.

Additionally, a person is capable of using their own mana network to weaken the impact of a spell upon their body. This is known as resistance, and pegasus tend to have a lot of it. Innate objects, typically talismans, though purified waters can work as well, can also retain a strong innate mana network capable of warding spells upon the body.

All this manipulation of the mana network as well as the usage of either air or arcane power is not easy to control, and can be quite difficult for a person to maintain. To combat this problem, tomes were created. Tomes perform two very important tasks in spellcasting. The first is providing the words for a desired spell. In order to aid a mage in their spellcasting, certain formations or acts of manipulating the mana field are often linked to words and drilled into the pupils mind in order to teach them to subconsciously alter their own mana field into the desired form or to alter the material for the spell accordingly. Advanced students can perform all the required manipulations simply be citing a spells name, and VERY advanced students can even learn to bypass verbal requirements all together.

Secondly, tomes are typically laced with magical catalysts (usually spirit dust either ground into the ink, or into the pages) to ease the usage of mana fields. This catalyst is so important that almost no mage is capable of casting without it around to aid them as it makes the work just THAT much easier. Typically, it gets used up and wears down as the tome is used more often, but we are forgoing that here. Dark spells require heavier tomes due to longer incantations and requiring more of the magical catalyst to cast the spell.

Light magic and staff magic is what is known as 'supernatural' magic and flows directly from the goddess herself. Though still requiring the proper catalyst, the material is supernatural light, and thusly requires a strong element of faith and attunment to the supernatural world to even be feasible to cast. It tends to work well against dark magic because it can easily bypass a dark magic exterior to weaken the arcane within without trouble. Meanwhile, anima tends to simply replenish itself from the natural air while still draining light magic in its attempt. Since the goddess tends to not desire violence, light spells are usually weaker then anima or dark spells (though this does not reflect on the goddess herself at all) so as to try not to kill except in self defense.

Staffs work similarly to tomes, except they are focused upon healing and manipulations of the body. From simple things like healing cuts, to causing a persons vocal chords to malfunction and, thusly, render them technically silent (and likely unable to cast).

Enchanting a item is indeed possible, but as it involves directly altering their mana network, it is exhausting and often draining on either person, object, or both. A enchanted blade tends to be either physically weak so as to not burn itself out, or weak because the extensive amount of manipulation done to it causes it to be brittle and easy to shatter.

When a crimson weapon takes form, it usually uses the current weapon as a base, thusly making it easier on both caster and weapon (not to mention the caster can just revert if it becomes too draining). Though it can materialize without a base, it is harder and easier to lose control over for certain. Additionally, if the light magic on the tome should become too weak, gouts of blue hellfire can slip forth from the weapon. It's certainly more common when a mana network is extra taxed by needing to support the weapon as well.

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Elyisima: Harold The Swordsmaster: A promiscuous man who views women and battlefields as the same, sadly in more ways then one. Back in the day, he was a swift and agile warrior intent on killing his foes with massive and cruel blows... then Katie came along. Having a child caused Harold to falter in his ways just before the battle against the Lord of Azure Flame. He was wounded and forced to managerial duties after the war was finished. However, he never gave them up. With Katie drifting away and his focus being on his work, Harold set to making Elyisima the best he could. He wields the sword Whisper, a enchanted blade capable of silencing any foe with nary a noise; yet it has mutated a new power in the form of being able to shoot sonic blasts. CORRUPT!


Percy the Wyvern Lord: A proud warrior back in the day, since the fall of the Lord, he has grown highly vain and self-absorbed even to the point of letting his combat prowess slip way. He doesn't head the military, nor have any rank within it anymore and is content to rest upon the fear he once commanded as a proud and powerful warrior. CORRUPT!

Septimus: Kaileen the Mother: The healer of the group, Kaileen is one of two female hero's and the last to take up arms against the Lord. She has resigned herself to Lunarian worship after the Lord of Azure Flame, a religion preaching that the Lord and Goddess are not so dead-set against each other and both desire the best for humanity, just having different means of doing it. Her choice has neither helped the religion or her status and she is the most easily forgotten of the six. She is only affiliated with Septimus in that it is where she lives. It is rumored she was once in love with Berthold. Her son watches over her consistently. Uncorrupt.

Jace the Brute: The Warrior of the group and the one whom by far is the most intelligent. Jace relies mainly on daunting and outright outwitting his foes to compensate for the inaccuracy of his axe. With good reason though. One touch from the head of his axe is enough to send weaklings flying. After the war, he became a lawyer, and has won every case so far. Mostly because no one wants to stand up to a prosecutor who can smash their head in without a conscious thought. He has become greedy and desiring of wealth beyond all else and has even tried to sue the king out of his throne, only to have the case denied by 400 armed guards. CORRUPT!

Halton: Bethold the Smith: The blacksmith whom created the crimson weapons. He took up the lance to defend his wife from demons, and has since passed it on to his son (though he doesn't know it yet). While not insane, he spends a immense amount of time within his workshop, creating endless pieces of art in weapon form. Not corrupt.

Naelia the Swift: Former thief queen, rumored to have won battles by simply stealing every weapon owned by the demons, then killing them with them in their sleep, and a wild child to boot. Criminally insane, she has refused the life of civilization in favor of robbing everyone BLIND! She's stolen something from someone at some time if she was in the same town as them for more than three days. CORRUPT but adorable.

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[u]Pegasi[/u]

Biology: Pegasi are a little more than just winged horses. Their bones are hollow, like birds. (This does not necessarily mean "weak"; a good thwack from a pegasus' wing can break bones, though they do have lower weight limits for riders.) They are invariably built along slender lines, standing around 14-16 hands high. They have larger chest and shoulder muscles than ordinary horses of their size, to support their wings. Their wings are shaped for endurance, though they can certainly attain high speeds, and span about twenty feet. Fully mature pegasi develop long horns from their foreheads; the horn is not just for decoration, but is sharp, strong, and useful in combat.

Color: Pegasi are more limited in coat color than horses. "White" (really gray) is most common; uncommon, though not unheard of, are medium grays, cremello, and very light roan. Black, brown, and palomino pegasi supposedly have existed, but may just be the stuff of legend. Interestingly, pegasi may have amber or green eyes in addition to the usual equine brown or blue.

Age: Pegasi live much longer than ordinary horses. They also take a bit more time to mature; a pegasus is generally fully mature at around seven or eight years of age.

Eyesight: Pegasi have sharper eyesight than horses, but slightly worse night vision.

Intelligence: It's been claimed that pegasi are smarter on average than horses. Their heightened ability to understand their riders' intentions would certainly suggest so, but little research has been done on the matter.

Care: Much similar to that of an ordinary horse, with the addition of making sure the wings are in good condition. Notably, pegasi are rarely shod, as their hooves don't receive the stress that makes shoeing necessary.

Taming: Most pegasi are a bit harder to tame than the average horse. Once tamed, they are usually one-human animals, reacting to other people with distrust or even hostility (though a well-trained pegasus will still behave around others, and may even like a few people besides their master.) It's best to socialize pegasi to humans as soon as they're born, like any other domesticated animal.

Tack: Pegasus tack is similar to regular horse tack. The main difference is the saddle; it often is smaller to account for the wings, and is more securely strapped on. Some saddles may contain straps to keep the rider's legs secure for riskier flight maneuvers. Armor is rarely used because of weight constraints.

Riding: Pegasi require light riders; consequently, pegasus knits are predominantly female. The main difference in controlling a pegasus versus controlling a horse is altitude control. The shifts in weight that tell a horse to go faster or slower will instead tell a pegasus to go higher or lower. Voice commands are also more common.

Flight: Pegasi can fly from a running or standing start. Some will reflexively "gallop" in midair; others will pick their legs up as though jumping. Because of their relative bulk and odd center of gravity, they can't perform the rolls or stunts that other winged species may do, but they are agile enough when they need to be. It is believed that there is a magical element to pegasus flight, as the laws of physics state that given their shape and weight, they should not be able to fly. The Septimian Reform believes and preaches that the Goddess through her divine will sustains all pegasi in flight. This is hardly disputed due to the pegasus' natural resistance to all forms of magic. It is suspected that their strong mana network not only assists them in magical resistance, but in flight as well.

Habits: Pegasi like normal horses are very spookable. Nearly all of the same triggers apply, though random flying objects are less alarming. The main difference is a pegasus' wings. They will commonly flap their wings violently when afraid, and if not quickly calmed, they can cause harm to bystanders and standing objects alike. Pegasi also tend to nibble on things from time to time; this is not a unique vice, but tends to show up more than it does in horses.

Magical origin: There are two dominate theories surrounding the origin of the pegasus.
The first and more popular tale is centered around the Mother Goddess.
Long ago, the goddess looked down upon the earth viewing the world in its entirety. The animals she saw being abused by her creations was the horse. All over the world they were used for work, and war. The goddess preferred to see the numerous creatures racing across the planes in beautiful groups. Mankind's abuse of one of her treasured creations caused her to cry. In her mind, she envisioned a true horse, a free horse, a beautiful white horse with the wings of eagles. As her tears fell to the earth they became pegasi, and they scattered throughout the lands.
The Septimian Reform slightly opposes pegasus capture for domestication because of this story, but they seem to turn a blind eye to breeding them in captivity for the same purpose.

The second and darker tale involves a monster known as the gorgon. The gorgon is a snake like creature with numerous and hideous appendages, and snake heads for hair. The creature is said to be able to turn any living creature to stone.
It is said that the blood of a slain gorgon was used to create the very first pegasi. This tale is very unpopular among the religious community. The Septimian Reform especially discourages this source. Lunaism is slightly friendlier to the tale, going so far as to investigate its validity.

History: When the pegasi first appeared, they seemed to have arrived out of the ether. That gave rise to the two dominate theories regarding their origin. Pegasi were to be dealt the same hand that horses were however, as they were quickly targeted for domestication by mankind. The first pegasi were ridden by men. Over the years they slowly became unpopular mounts due to their slow speed when mounted. Archers enjoyed the sight of flailing riders atop their barely trained pegasi. The pegasus riders reached the end of their time quickly, and fell from the spotlight only to be replaced by wyverns.
A woman known to history only as Cecily was the first known woman to mount a pegasus. She took to the skies and her flight marked the beginning of the pegasus knights. Women were never popular choices as warriors, but the pegasi seemed as if they were sent from the heavens for their sake. There was nothing faster than a woman atop her pegasus, and due to this, many military powers throughout the world began to train pegasus riders once again. Through numerous innovations, the art of the pegasus knight was perfected, and they became the most popular and beautiful flying warriors on earth.

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[u]The nomads[/u]

[i]Culture: General[/i]
Nomad culture is arranged into different tribes, located mainly in the south of the continent and the plains of the different countries, largely in Halton, though smaller tribes may go pretty much anywhere. Tribes are led by one main chief and sometimes a council of elders, though everyone has a say for major decisions, and each tribe has a religious leader as well. They consider them to be outside any noble or royal jurisdiction; some tribes get on better with local government than others. Their primary living comes from herding, though some are traders or mercenaries. They're also known for their skill in breeding horses. Most tribes will split the year between several camps, based on the availability of grazing land or trading partners. While they'll camp for weeks or months in one place, they'll always be ready to leave if necessary.

[i]History:[/i]
Years ago, the nomads lived primarily in the deserts (hence the slur "sandrunner") and plains to the south of Halton, and landholding was an actual concern, with some tribes even settling in to farm. The Lord of Azure Flame changed that, rendering their lands uninhabitable and scattering them across the continent, forcing most tribes to become part of Halton or Septimus (at least on paper). Those that survived took up herding and trading to stay mobile, not wanting to settle anywhere only to be scattered again.

[i]Culture: Gender[/i]
While women are usually expected to stay nearer to the family, they are not expected to be weak; if the camp is attacked, everyone of age is expected to defend it. It's unusual, though not unheard of, for women to be warleaders or chiefs; more commonly, women can be religious leaders, usually devotees of Tani or Sunyou.

[i]Culture: Children[/i]
Because of the need for mobility, it's hard for families to get very large; three children is considered a lot. Children are thus valued. Valued does not imply pampered, though; as soon as they're old enough to help out, children are expected to do so. They usually end up helping with the sheep or with younger siblings. Children are taught horseback riding nearly before they can walk; they also learn fairly young to use a bow or a sling, to protect the flocks.

[i]Clothing:[/i]
Nomads favor simple, usually undyed tunics and breeches, acceptable for both genders, though styles tend to be segregated. For women, the long dresses favored by women outside the tribes are frowned upon; more common are knee-length dresses over breeches, which still allow for mobility. Most clothing is designed to be durable and low-maintenance. Things like dye and ornamentation are costly and thus used sparingly except for for special occasions, usually weddings, though high-level warleaders, chiefs, or religious devotees may wear colored garments regularly.

[i]Culture: Warfare[/i]
It's rare for a nomadic tribe to initiate a fight; they've got no interest in owning land, and camp spaces can usually be negotiated easily. Scouting often allows them to avoid attacks from bandits or other hostile forces ahead of time. When forced to fight, though, they favor speed and mobility. Most use bows or swords, though spears are not unheard of, and religious leaders may aid with offensive or defensive magic, depending on their patron. If possible, they'll take the fight to familiar territory, and use it to their advantage. What their horses lose in bulk and raw strength to those of knights or bandits, they make up for with speed and agility.

[i]Role of horses:[/i]
Horses are incredibly important in nomad society. One's riding horse is their most valuable possession; to kill or steal another's horse means death. Without a horse, it's impossible to keep up with the tribe. A good horse can be life or death in a fight. Immense care is taken in the breeding and training of horses. Racing is a favorite pastime, as well as horseback archery competitions.

Nomads' horses are bred for speed and stamina (think real-life Arabian horses.) They are trained for combat and trick-riding, with or without tack. Harness-training is rare, but not unheard of; merchants may have wagons. Nomad horses are never shod; their hooves are strong enough to not need shoes.

[i]Religion and views on magic:[/i]

The nomads believe in four deities, corresponding to the four classical elements: Zia the wind goddess, Tani the earth goddess, Orai the fire god, and Sunyou the water god. Each tribe has a religious leader devoted to one of the four; only the biggest tribes have more than one major devotee, though they may also have acolytes. Devotees of Tani and Sunyou are healers foremost (equivalent to troubadours/clerics/priests); occasionally they will gain light magic (equivalent to valkyries/bishops/etc), though it isn't termed such by the nomads. Zia and Orai's devotees (equivalent to wind and fire mages) use battle magic; only the most powerful of their number (equivalent to sages) possess the power to heal. Scholars from other nations generally believe that the nomadic gods are really just aspects of the Goddess or lesser spirits mistaken for gods.

Because of this, nomads have a varying set of opinions on magic. Non-devotees using fire or wind magic is frowned upon as minor sacrilege. Light magic is generally unknown, but not frowned upon; similarly, thunder magic is nearly entirely unknown. Dark or elder magic is deeply mistrusted as the work of the Dark Presence (aka the king of demons, the Lord of Azure Flame). Non-battle magic is a tricky matter. Healing is entirely trusted, but magical enhancement of the body is sometimes seen as cheating; warding spells are condoned (as a specialty of some healers), but most other applications of magic are seen as cheating. Scrying and mind-reading/mind control spells are held on par with dark magic, if not worse. Of course, it varies from person to person; some treat all magic used by non-devotees as evil, while others have no problem with any magic save elder and mind-invading magic. The distrust of elder and mind-invading magic is fairly universal, though.

Since their religion differs greatly from the Goddess-based religions of the different countries, there is an interesting relationship between religions. The Lady is usually held in reverence, and often assumed to be an aspect of Tani or Zia. A minority of nomads do believe the goddess to be a false deity, though.

[i]Folklore:[/i]
Like most cultures, the nomads have a set of stories full of wonders and terrors, made for the most part to keep children in line. The demons of these stories, though, are generally based in reality; the Dark Presence is a major player, as are its minions. Stories tell of warriors made from the bones of the dead, demons that wear whatever human face they please, and other horrors...

[i]Language:[/i]
While many nomads speak at least some Common, they have their own main language, as well as a set of hand signs used primarily for scouting. The nomad language originally didn't have a written form; later, the alphabet used for Common was borrowed for it. If I put the lexicon up, it will be a separate article.

[i]Addendum: Geographic distribution and relations with townspeople[/i]

Relations between nomads and townspeople vary by region. Nomads are viewed fairly neutrally in most parts of Elyisima and Septimus, becoming something of a rarity further north. Their trade is valued, but they are occasionally looked upon as curiosities or barbarians, especially in areas where less-trusting people have moved in and brought their opinions with them. Negative opinion is stronger in Halton, most obviously in the south, where there is an undercurrent of opinion that the nomads are thieves or invaders. Intermarriage between the two groups is generally discouraged by both sides; to the north it may be tolerated, but probably not encouraged.

The nomads generally reciprocate whatever the local opinions are; further north relations are better, while to the south townspeople are held in distrust. Trade still occurs out of necessity, but it is often made fairly clear that neither party likes the other. At the best of times there are faltering attempts at frienship, on average there is cautious tolerance and a tendency to keep at a distance, and at the worst of times there are open clashes. Relations also differ between individual tribes, often influenced by how a particular tribe's religious interpretation views the Goddess.

The majority of nomads move primarily through Halton, staying somewhat close to the region they once called home. Population tapers off further to the east and especially the north, and few tribes stay north full-time. There are no particular population centers, but friendlier or richer cities within a region become more frequent stopping points.

There is one particular location of note, but it will be detailed at a later time.

Edit 12/18/2012: Dye being too expensive for EVERYONE EVER was a stupid idea, so it's been revised. Also added a note about style differentiation for tunics, since that started happening in designs. Edited by kdanger

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If you have issues with placements on the map you can PM me (or Chat). It's crappy quality I know.

[IMG]http://i937.photobucket.com/albums/ad215/pippinsring/worldmap.png[/IMG]

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The Shoon Islands are about a Jerdon's length away from Zaftra's coast.

It's not just one island though. It's like a chain of islands...

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Let's use our imagination then because adding that would just make the map unnecessarily large.

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Where is Elysima?

Meh
Tora

Tora is a barren nation that is cut off from civilization. It snows there year long and the only villages are the ones surrounding the castle. This way, Tora has evaded invasion from Halton for many years. Most of their troops either die of the cold or retreated. Edited by Kai

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[u]Lord of Azure Flame: Map nobody can agree on[/u]

[IMG]http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll34/equinekat/mapaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.png[/IMG]

No, I haven't updated it since scribble session/flamewars in chat/other flamewars in chat/whatever. I promise I will eventually. Please take any and all criticisms of the map to the LoAF Chat (the channel isn't really good for that, people just argue more.) Edited by Kiryn

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[b]Notice notice notice![/b]

So I'm guessing that nobody's going to come have a look at this topic just because the title changed, so I'm repeating the announcement in this post:

The Useful Notes thread is now general to all RPs, because it contains articles and links that I think any RP could benefit from. Individual RPs are still allowed to submit canon content; content will be indexed by RP in the opening post.

In addition, after a binge of reading Limyaael's fantasy rants (linked in the first post) I am considering doing a series of RP writing articles. If I do them they will likely be hosted on a blog somewhere and linked to in this thread for people to read. Please vote in the poll at the top of the thread!

Comments on this change or the RP article idea should go to LoAF's chat thread for now; if the Useful Notes thread turns out to need a chat or feedback thread, I will create one, but I'm not making it until demand is demonstrated. No feedback in this thread please.

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THE FALLEN

ValSteinnandNorn.png

 

[spoiler='General Information']Fallen society is extremely archaic and barbaric by human standards, and their barter system somewhat exaggerates this appearance. Their ability to utilize their almost completely dead and depleted wasteland of a home is something other societies like Kigen don't ignore, however. Their cities dot the surface of their home region in tightly packed clusters that all ring outward from Tartarus, the capital city. An underground metropolis goes down a mile into the earth at its deepest in Tartarus city and forms roughly two thirds of the city's living space. Those living in the undercity make up the majority of the less fortunate, as well, however the undercity is also the place where Obelisk is said to dwell still. The imperial family lives in a very large tower that runs nearly the full length of Tartarus', underground all the way up hundreds of feet above the surface levels; the tallest known artificial structure ever created. It is known simply as "The Spire."

Their society is so closely packed together and restricted, that expansion isn't fueled by the powers that be so much as those living on the fringes of Fallen territory who constantly seek out newer more fertile lands to live in and pillage. To support the overwhelmingly large populace, other neighboring lands are constantly attacked and pillaged for resources by the outlying territories. The best and most useful things pilfered are brought back to Tartarus and the more important clans for use. Attempts at hoarding the best resources are prevented primarily by the Marshalls and their warriors that govern the borderlands. Marshalls are typically clan members or Fallen with close ties to clans living near or within Tartarus. Patriarchs and Matriarchs are by far the most dangerous kinds of Marshalls and typically rule their areas with an iron fist.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='History']In ancient times the Avian race lived right alongside humanity. The peace was shattered and a one-sided war erupted between the two races. The avians were nearly wiped out in the violence but those that chose to fight back managed to save them. These Avians that broke their own laws to fight the humans became known as Dark Avians. They proved to be so powerful that they were able to turn the tide of the war all on their own. However once dark magic was employed against them, they underwent a process that transformed them into what are known today as the Fallen. Though they are called 'Fallen', the actual name of their species is 'Kestrelii'. That term is almost only used by the Fallen in reference to themselves, however. By other races they are reduced to names such as hellbirds, crows, demons, and buzzards.

The Fallen began to multiply rapidly and spread throughout human territories conquering everything they could. Eventually the vasili rained down death on them. There were so few survivors that they were difficult to hunt into complete extinction, but the vasilus known as Obelisk was able to do so. Instead of wiping the rest of them out as he had been instructed to by the God of Wrath, he sheltered the survivors in what became known as Tartarus. In those times it was the ancient center of what is believed to be an meteor impact crater. From there, they rebuilt while Obelisk, their new god, launched his war on humanity and their caretakers.

After Obelisk's eventual defeat, the Fallen empire was established. Some notable incidents in Corvus' early history are the demon crisis, known to most fallen as the 'Convergence Era'; the Massacre of Night, a massive battle between the Fallen and Nyx; and the 'False Sovereign Era'.

 

During the Convergence Era, the fallen architects were creating demons that greatly resembled ordinary fallen. This led to something of an identity crisis for commoners and the nobility alike. There were pros and cons to the converging peoples. One of the pros was that fallen families consisting of one fallen and one demon as spouses would not produce any offspring and each of these families aided the country in preventing population explosions, which at the time were only addressed during civil wars in which millions of fallen were killed. One of the cons was the effect this had on the military. Once demons started receiving ranks of their own, derision among true fallen began to set in. Demons are seen as little more than animals to most fallen, and so strife quickly set in as more powerful demons began to increase in rank, some even came close to becoming marshals. The issue was partially addressed with a change to the ranking system, but it wasn't until the emperor of the time passed down a law making fallen-esque demons illegal that the strife and protests from that side began to subside. It took decades to purge all of those demons and the response from convergence supporters was firm resistance. The Convergence Era finally ended in a long and bloody civil war that crippled the imperial family and their armies.

 

The Massacre of Night came later, during a time when the empire was strong again. For reasons unknown, the minor Goddess of Night, Nyx came to Corvus. She was seen several times in Tartarus before the battle began. There was no warning whatsoever when it finally happened. Nyx rose above the city and the day became night in mere moments. Much of the city was destroyed and those who rose to challenge her were all killed. The one sided battle between Nyx and the fallen armies ensued well into the following days and close to three hundred thousand fallen were killed before she finally left. Much of Tartarus was turned into rubble saturated in dark energy. Nyx became an adversarial deity to the fallen. Two pairs of feathered wings, like the ones she sported during the massacre, are considered an ill omen to them. Three sets of wings, however, is considered a step above this ill omen and a sign of great power, though only Architect Valor sports such wings.

 

Shortly after the Massacre of Night was the False Sovereign Era. This was a period when Corvus was ruled by an illegitimate emperor. This emperor's coup was the only truly successful one in all of Corvus' history, as all other emperors who attempted the same were defeated in their lifetimes. When Emperor Willious took the throne and killed the previous emperor, he was challenged many times, but proved to be the strongest living fallen of his time. His formidable guardsmen also managed to prevent him from being assassinated where others might have been. During Willious' rule, the Devlinos family led a massive opposing force that encompassed nearly a third of Corvus and was responsible for the longest string of interconnected civil wars, ever. For approximately five hundred years, the Devlinos faction opposed the False Sovereign, Willious, and his forces. It wasn't until Emperor Willious had grown old and perished that the Devlinos family finally made a decisive comeback. They rose to power again by killing all of Willious' potential heirs mere days before the Slaughter of Siblings was to take place. The strongest (legitimate) princess at the time, Princess Idunn was responsible for most of the slayings and established herself as a fearsome aristocratic assassin and herald of the resurgent Devlinos family.

 

For nearly five thousand years the Fallen Empire has stood and it has always been a major threat to the Kigenese Empire, but only considered a fringe threat by the other two large nations Ursium, and Neviskotia. Rex-Avaz remained largely undisturbed by the Empire overall, primarily due to their harsh and barely hospitable environment. Even the Fallen wastelands are more suitable than the desert and its horrible extremes.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='Government']Corvus is ruled from the top down. The Emperor enacts new national laws while convening with all of Corvus' ruling matriarchs and patriarchs. These individuals are considered a 'high council' of sorts, and will offer whatever input they wish based on the state of the country, and their own individual objectives. The Emperor can listen or ignore these, but every Emperor throughout Corvus' history has had at least several leaders that he favors.

Below these are the Marshals; they contribute to the government by overseeing the distribution of wealth, Corvus' limited resources. Marshals chosen by the imperial family lead the imperial army. Clans also choose family members as marshals to govern their private armies and secure goods for them from the borderlands. The Marshals are also a type of law enforcement for any region overseen by a clan they are affiliated with. They are judges, jury, and executioners in a very literal sense.

The Architects are a separate class altogether, but have similar authority to the upper echelon due to having their own territories within Corvus. They must adhere to national laws laid forth by the Devlinos family, but within their territory, anything not covered by these laws comes down to their sole discretion. Even an Architect's spoken word is considered law within their territory, and so they are feared to an extreme by commoners.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='Society']Economically, the fallen have been unique in Sardius. While they make extensive use of precious metals and other materials, they do not use a standard currency, and instead rely on an outdated barter system with just enough government maintained guidelines and supervision to run 'smoothly'. The wealth of individual fallen and their families are determined by the amount of property, resources, and servants they have at their disposal. Because of this, responsible individuals and clans will keep records of their possessions and update them frequently. These deeds and other records are guarded almost as fiercely as the actual possessions themselves, as stolen property can be forcibly returned by the government with proof of ownership. Deeds without valid dates associated with them are void however, and the fallen have even taken steps to stomp out false deeds through special forging techniques. This only puts a dent in the success rates of theft crimes, but the fallen take whatever security they can get.

 

There are four aspects of Fallen society, the lives of the commoners in the major cities, the lives of the soldiers and others living in the borderlands, the lives of the noble blooded fallen who live throughout all of Corvus, and the lives of the reclusive architects.

 

Commoners:
Ordinary commoners are usually born into a poor household, and they are encouraged to grow physically and mentally strong and powerful in order to increase their family's standing in society. Very few grow up with such lofty goals as becoming a noble house, and others are too afraid to aim so high. A fallen commoner's daily life usually begins with nothing but self maintenance. A household may or may not have the luxury of breakfast depending on their current situation. The more employed family members there are, the more likely they have food surplus. There is little point in spending much time at home unless a fallen is employed by their own landlord, and so the next activity set in the morning is leaving for whatever work they must do.

Virtually all commoners live and work on another fallen's land. Whatever the landlord requires to operate and maintain their property and its assets is provided by his or her tenants, and the entire setup is similar to indentured servitude. Commoners may also seek out multiple occupations to acquire more food or goods. They never take jobs too far from their home areas, as they will often be worked to the bone by both jobs at times, and long travel times can only add to the burden.

A commoner's 'day' usually ends with a bit of rest and relaxation or some form of entertainment. Due to its cultural significance, dusk is a time period where fallen are permitted respites from their work. These can last for several hours into the night before they return to their duties. Many fallen head up to the roofs of their homes or work places to watch the sun sink below the horizon. This event evolved into cultural symbolism for the fallen, with the daylight hours representing mankind's rule over the majority of the land, and the night representing the fallen empire's eventual conquest of Sardius. Their powerful eyes played a significant role in this symbolism's birth. The daily reminder is often a great boon for soldiers in particular, and the transition from day to night can turn some of the weakest and most cowardly fallen into courageous fighters if reminded of the significance of this event. The hours following sunsets are also popular mating periods. Fallen work well into the night, as the darkness is barely a hindrance to them. When the hours approaching morning draw near, however, most work ends and fallen begin to settle down and prepare to rest, with the majority sleeping from around 3AM to 9AM.

Soldiers:
The life of a soldier is wrought with a bit more chaos and pain. Soldiers are similar to nomads and eat and sleep wherever they're told. Fallen battalions moving throughout Corvus will often stay in military strongholds when in cities. When in underdeveloped areas or those undergoing reconstruction, they will typically stay with local families as 'honored guests'. Soldiers serving under popular figures are usually preferred, but there is a deep stigma against turning down requests for shelter from military units.

Unfortunately several problems arise from house guests from the military. They are far more aggressive than normal fallen and conflicts break out regularly. There are also instances of theft and rape. While these are usually punished speedily, occurrences are still frustratingly high. Some leaders keep their soldiers in line with threats of endless torture or some other survivable form of punishment rather than death to keep them in line. A popular method of punishment among the higher class is known as 'stripping'. This is a form of torture virtually all fallen fear to the point of 'to the letter' obedience. Stripping begins by plucking out all of a fallen's wing and tail feathers, followed by all of their hair. Next, they are tied up to any sort of stake or tall object in the area and left on display. A fallen can be stripped and left up for all to see for days or even weeks if they are kept alive with rations. Perhaps the worst part of long term stripping is that fallen hair and feathers grow back at an accelerated rate before starvation begins to set in. In the first couple of weeks, a fallen will usually have newly growing feathers and hair plucked once again.

Fallen soldiers will undergo the Rite of Ascension whenever they wish to increase their rank. This is contrary to human promotion which typically only requires approval from the right people under the right circumstances. As such, an incredibly powerful fallen could be found mixed in with ordinary grunts from time to time. These types of soldiers are the sleeping giants battalion leaders are always on the lookout for, as they make excellent personal guards rather than being thrown in with the rest of the 'cannon fodder'.

A soldier's downtime is spent seeking entertainment, rest, or something useful they can do depending on where the group is stationed. Every battalion has at least a few social circles with some semblance of camaraderie, but they often act like street gangs and treat outsiders within the same battalion like rivals or even enemies. Because fallen armies have just as many females as males, there tends to be random mating from time to time as well. While males are more inclined to fight with blades and other physical weapons, females lean sharply toward ranged weaponry, especially dark magic. Because fallen females have a tendency to attack at very close range in spite of their weapons of choice, casualties for both sexes are staggeringly high in large battles and roughly even, favoring females.

Corvus has two military divisions, the Imperial Army, and the Private Sector. The former is the army that acts on behalf of Corvus as a whole, while the Private Sector consists of private armies governed by the Matriarchs and Patriarchs. There is also a private army belonging to the Imperial family which is the rough equivalent of another nation's royal guard, only massive by comparison. While most royal guard divisions consist of thousands or less, the Devlinos private army is roughly two hundred thousand strong, making the Devlinos the most defensible noble house in all of Sardius.

Nobles:
The life of a noble is not as 'carefree' as commoners and even soldiers choose to believe. Noble houses are murderously territorial and haven't an ounce of mercy for transgressors. Since a noble house typically owns a fair amount of land and resources, and often supports modest worker populations, their lives consist of managing their assets while pursuing their political goals.

Noble families are often enormous because the laws against multiple births per household are not forced on them. Because of this, noble families try to have as many children as are needed to help run and expand their territories instead of relying on their workers. They will also try to avoid having too many, lest the children end up fighting over the clan's territory. If a clan becomes too large, this becomes rampant and often destroys the clan from within. If a noble family becomes too small or weak, rival clans will often try to acquire their assets through various means. Most often this happens during civil wars where most laws are impossible to properly enforce, but during stable times, they try to do this through duels with high stakes, deceitful contracting, and proxy wars using hired commoners as the soldiers to avoid implication. Despite relying on outsourcing for their secret wars, noble families usually have a private army of their own comprised of fallen who live and work on their lands. The largest private army in Corvus belongs to the Devlinos royal family and consists of two hundred thousand troops and demons. Clan Ixion has only sixty thousand troops by comparison, but is also the second largest in the country, followed by clans Ebonian(40,000), Kurita(25,000), Odessious(19,000), and Finnian(12,000).

Noble families are free to govern their territories as they see fit within the bounds of national law. They put security procedures and a territory's customs into 'regional law', which locals and visitors alike must abide by. Nobles are encouraged to 'be good' to those living on their lands, as the strength of a noble house comes directly from their property and goods on that property; more importantly, the people who live off of and maintain all of these. A poorly ruled region usually suffers a violent shift, as rival clans will encourage massive rebellions and move in to reap whatever they can during the ensuing violence.

Architects:
The architects enjoy the most respect and fear while also suffering the most mocking and suspicion. They are the backbone of Corvian society, repurposing living material into demons for use in labor and warfare. They have similar wealth to noble houses but smaller families and they usually hire hundreds of workers to assist them in the creation of their demons. Through centuries of modernization, the Architects have created a frightening 'flesh industry' which produces demons by recycling the old and even dead fallen, human slaves, and livestock. "If someone says 'waste not', that someone probably works for an architect." is a popular saying among fallen youth.

Architects also modify their own bodies at times. The most notable self modified architects in Corvus are Architect Fury, Architect Valor, and Architect Fervor. Because this is taboo, they are no longer considered 'true kestrelii', but because the architects are so valuable to Corvus' continued survival and so many have modified their bodies throughout the ages-and for good reason at times-it is deemed acceptable on the whole. However, this also leads to superstitions and rumors about various architects. These modifications are not always superficial like in the case of Architect Fervor's modified tail and wings, but other improvements to fallen physiology have been made. One example of this is an urban legend that Architect Fervor is actually immortal, suspected because she has been around for three fallen lifetimes. Others suspect she has been replaced twice already with the title 'Fervor' passing to her successors. The same is thought of 'Fury', which is the longest standing title for an Architect in Corvus' entire history and has been around for nearly two thousand years.

Architects also rule over territories within Corvus, but they generally work underground, beneath the surface dwellings. Because the flesh industry operates primarily underground, undercity commoners can usually work for a local architect as a secondary occupation. Due to less rivalry among the architects, and even less government oversight, however, they are known to be far more cruel and unusual than powerful noble houses. There are endlessly abounding rumors of fallen workers being used in experiments against their will or killed by their overseers for the slightest offense. This does almost nothing to deter new employees as they often need their second job.

Some revolutionary achievements have come from the architects, however, such as the flying carriage, a demon that somewhat resembles a dragon, which noble houses often use to travel from territory to territory. These creatures have luxurious carriages strapped to their backs just behind the beast master's seat(or sometimes the two will be combined for convenience). Another is the Dread, a large attack animal. It is a dragon-bird cross which serves two roles in armies, one as an aerial support unit meant to attack and overwhelm individual enemies, and the other is to quickly rescue injured VIPs. Dreads are large animals capable of carrying three to four passengers, and so those trained for search and rescue are often fitted with a harness with multiple loose loops for the injured to hook themselves on for quick escapes. Yet another is the mammoth, a war mount used to counter Kigen's war elephants and haul massive amounts of supplies back into the country.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='Religion']The Fallen worship the shadow dragon known as Obelisk. Before his defeat during the Legendary Rebellion, he ruled over them in a simple autocracy,(as many vasilus rulers have). After the Legendary Rebellion came to a close, the Fallen started an empire of their own and crowned the strongest living warrior at the time as their Emperor, and his family as the 'royal bloodline'. From that point onward Obelisk kept to the shadows and deep depths of the then young city of Tartarus. Though still worshiped on the whole, the shadow dragon made seemingly little to no effort to guide the Fallen Empire down any defined path; he only demands that they continue to survive. The most important elements of Fallen religion start and end there. Their only other seemingly religious code is the Law of Conservation, which governs nearly everything the nobility does. It is summed up in a simple phrase.

"Waste not."
It's a very common phrase among Fallen and is usually said when someone is about to do something that another considers wasteful or unnecessary. The phrase means more than it seems to convey. It makes up the bulk of everything they do or rather 'everything they are supposed to do', from their eating habits to their methods of warfare. Unfortunately this saying has vastly differing interpretations among Fallen. The phrase has devolved so much over the centuries, that it means little to nothing to many fallen commoners, evidenced by their tendency to abuse new resources to the breaking point. As a result, commoners and the less fortunate receive little pity from the nobility. Most feel any additional boon given them would be immediately squandered.

Fallen also seem to have a sense of warrior's honor that may have stemmed from Obelisk. Their 'Shadow God' was known as a powerful warrior during the days of the Legendary Rebellion, and despite his eventual defeat, he was a beast of unparalleled ability and cunning. Important fallen are expected to follow his example and aspire to great physical, mental, and magical power through training, hardship and strife. Ordinary fallen are left to do whatever they please with their lives, as encouraging this sort of ambition in the entire population would eventually destabilize the nation and leave it in an overall weaker state.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='Warfare']Fallen primarily fight at night, when their human adversaries are weakest, and they are theoretically at their strongest. With their incredible eyesight, Fallen are never hindered in the darkness. When attacking, Fallen will sometimes come down from directly above in huge numbers to outmaneuver long range emplacements such as cannons, catapults, and ballistas. At other times they will simply come down from multiple directions spreading themselves out thinly but cutting off all possible means of escape and instilling the feeling of doom in unexperienced enemies.

A popular but sometimes considered 'inconvenient' saying amongst Fallen warriors is "Keep what you kill." It parallels the saying "Waste not." in that it implies to be conservative in all things. In practice it refers specifically to acquired resources. A Fallen is expected to make use of whatever he or she acquires. In warfare this refers specifically to kills made on the battlefield. When fallen soldiers slay enemies, they usually mark the corpse as their own(methods vary). When the battle is over and assuming they were victorious, the fallen will come back to their victims and gather them up to prepare for transport back to camp. The more enemies a fallen has killed, the more difficult this task can be, and in completely onesided battles, an individual fallen can find himself with up to a dozen bodies to move. Commanding officers have the authority to accept or confiscate these kills and redistribute them as necessary, but this has led to so much abuse and discarded tradition that the cultural norm is for soldiers to keep their own kills and guard them, ferociously if necessary. If a commander must beat his subordinates in combat in order to make use of their bounty, so be it. The flocks have often benefited from seeing their commanders tested by his own units constantly in attempts to reappropriate resources. "A strong commander commands a strong flock" is another saying. The commander is always expected to be the strongest, and so in a duel against any of their subordinates, they are expected to win every time.

One thing that is peculiar among Fallen is their reluctance to use fire in warfare. Fire is considered one of the most essential tools in the world and the Fallen make absolute minimal use of it, trading its molding capabilities for dark magic crafting instead. It is virtually unseen in their hands in battle. This is due to the religious saying "Waste not." Fire is seen as a great destroyer since it leaves almost nothing that is immediately useful in its wake. Fallen have grown to discourage its use in warfare entirely, though nobles and royals have mastered fire magic in order to mystify and terrify their people and maintain their superiority. Many have a benign fear of fire while some are absolutely terrified of it.

Unlike humans who use it to cook, fire is only used in cooking by Fallen who aim to keep healthy human slaves. While humans are not able to eat many things raw, Fallen can eat virtually anything raw. Fallen cities also go without light during the night making them easily defensible even if the enemy steps forth into their territory with torches lit. In an urban environment, fallen will strike from the shadows and drag their victims into the darkness, or even snipe out their torches with ranged weapons if need be.

Sometimes Fallen are forced to fight during the daylight hours. When this happens they adopt more psychologically centered tactics. One popular method of approaching a target is to swoop down from the air with claws and fangs bared. Another is to kill a human before fighting with a stronger one and to carry that human through the air with them. Sometimes this is done with live humans and other times their cargo is used as a projectile weapon being hurled at their opponent before their melee assault begins. Not all Fallen can fight like this due to how hindered flight becomes with even one average weighing hostage.

Fallen will also make use of many different types of weapons such as blades and magic. Fallen are born with innate dark magic abilities and thus don't require actual tomes, only mental conditioning and training. Fallen wield physical weapons with precision and surprising strength given their body mass, some even being capable of rending their opponents in two. Fallen do have one peculiar disadvantage in combat, however; their bodies are not particularly massive, as previously stated. On average, they weigh far less than humans. Consequently, heavyset humans can easily shrug off fallen attacks, even in a blitz. They can also quickly knock a standing fallen onto their back and kill them with one or two additional thrusts, which happens often during daylight hours. Conversely, fallen have a tendency not to throw what little weight they do have directly at the enemy. Instead, they will often target an opponent's legs and try to force them to the ground should they encounter too much armor. Once a fallen or small group of them have forced someone onto the ground, the 'fight' becomes a pitiful struggle against inevitable slaughter. Fallen can become blindly enraged during combat at times, especially right after receiving an injury, and in those instances, unarmored opponents can be torn limb from limb. Even with a battlefield littered with corpses and limbs, fallen flocks are careful not to leave anything useful behind, and within a day or two, war zones are picked clean. To prevent catastrophic counterattacks after successful battles, they will often bring in reinforcements to guard those gathering the remains of the dead and even station demon scouts for early warning.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='Demons']Utilized extensively by the Fallen Empire are demons. They are creatures created through dark magic by the Architects. Architects are fallen who have devoted their lives to understanding organic arcana. They are so completely devoted to this science that often nothing else fills their days but self sustenance, and basic hygiene. Using these dark arts, and their deep understanding of living organisms, they create what are known to humans as demons. Demons created by these Architects are kept deep underground in sanctums designed to house them. Individual demons can be summoned to a battlefield from the sanctum by fallen summoners powerful enough to control them. The sanctums are ancient areas writhe with dark magic able to be remotely activated by a fallen summoner. Once active, demons can venture out into distant lands and back again through spatial gateways.

Demons are forged from living material, usually livestock(that being enslaved humans and animals). This living material is molded by the Architects into new creatures following incredibly precise biological designs. Demons have very similar and simplistic instincts, but have specific designs meant to fit needs beyond anything found in nature. As efficient at killing as they are, they are not perfect, and only the best Architects can produce a demon that can survive more than a year of life. When a larger demon is needed, or another demon is approaching the end of its expected lifespan, it will be 'recycled'. The fallen cannot create life, so they must use already living materials to create newer demons, and this holds true for large ones as well, as multiple retired demons will often be combined to make them. The principle of preserving anything they can to make new demons often leads to farming, a massive architect run industry that capitalizes off the growth characteristic of demons. Specifically, demons become proportionally larger after consuming a large amount of 'food'. This allows them to remove organic mass from still living demons and using the material in other demons without completely recycling the demon.

Demons not designed specifically for combat are generally pets for those that can afford to have them, but are more commonly used as weapons of war. They come in many shapes and sizes for whatever purpose they're meant to serve. Demons are typically expendable shocktroops sent in first during large battles or used as scouts. Large demons also serve as transports for acquired goods, and to combat the Kigenese war elephants that normal Fallen troops fear. As stated before, many Fallen like to bring along heavy eating demons to help consume any surplus the fallen can't handle or make good use of. Demons will even consume other demons killed in battle if given the opportunity, generally once the battle ends or the threat of interruption passes.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='Gender']Beyond the Imperial family, there is no consensus on a ruling gender. That is to say that the head of a given household could be male or female, and that either are common throughout Corvus. Even in stronger clans, a male or female could become the official head of a clan. The fallen have evolved little use for gender based leadership, and the Imperial family is the last remnant of the early traditions.

Not all Fallen are strictly fighters, but all know how to fight in some way. Save for a few cultural codes, males and females are treated the same. Both males and females are expected to learn to fight and earn what is considered by many as 'their right to live.' Women are primarily differentiated from men in that they're the child bearers. This is vastly different from their closest neighbors and enemies, the Kigenese, who only send their males to battle with few exceptions. Both sides will agree that sending both men and women into battle gives the fallen a huge advantage in both numbers and versatility.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='Children']When a fallen female becomes pregnant, she will begin eating enough for several adults if able. This sudden and drastic diet change starts within just a few days of becoming pregnant. After a full month of binge eating, they produce an egg containing their offspring. The egg houses the developing child for the next eight to eight and a half months.

 
When first born, fallen strongly resemble humans but with the addition of three extra limbs that eventually develop into large wings and a tail. Fallen belly buttons are difficult to notice compared to human belly buttons. Their wings and tails also first appear with a bit of fuzz on them which becomes the foundation of their feathers. The exception to this are naked tailed fallen who are born with no fuzz on their tails. These tails also become more prehensile in nature as the fallen grows and their muscles develop.
 
Until adolescence begins, the wings remain mostly inactive and useless for prolonged flight, though fallen children are capable of very short glides. Their muscle structure also favors climbing which takes far less energy for them. Fallen children will often climb all over things when undisturbed. Fallen children will usually avoid using their wings without a good reason until their bodies become energy efficient enough to allow for ease of use.

 

A law was passed centuries ago that prohibited the birth of more than one child per pairing. This rule does not apply to the stronger clans and the royal family which are valued above and beyond the rest of society. The Emperor will usually have dozens of children until his eventual death. From there only one male child will survive the slaughter of siblings and be crowned the new Emperor. The surviving female siblings become little more than child bearers offered to honored clans as warrior brides. They also help more closely bind the Imperial family to other houses. The law has only done so much to keep the population under control, as the clans not affected by this law can sometimes number in the thousands, and commoners are still able to get around this rule and have a second child once the first has officially reached adulthood which only takes thirteen years. In the end, only Corvus' staggering mortality rate has kept its population under control.

 

Ordinary Fallen children are raised alone unless siblings are born, but by a certain age, all families have been accosted by the authorities and have had to choose one child to live while watching any others they've foolishly had die right in front of them. These lone children are taught everything from a very young age, the art of survival, fighting, the family craft, everything they'll need throughout their (likely short) lives.

Part of Fallen education includes a plethora of rites a youth must go through to appeal for what they want. A good example would be the Rite of Heresy, which must be undergone to allow an individual to study light or anima magic. There are rites for many aspects of their culture, like the Rite of Ascension which must be done every time a Fallen wishes to increase their rank within the military. All Fallen rites involve some form of violence and risk of death.

Children reach adulthood at the age of thirteen and from there are usually pushed into joining the military to give their family a chance at becoming a recognized bloodline and rising up to become a powerful clan with far easier though more heavily scrutinized lives. Even entry into the military requires surviving a Rite ceremony, though those aiming to undertake it usually do so together in large flocks. The Rite of Arms is one of the safer rites to undergo due to not fighting alone, but it is still one of the most important rites and many still die. The Rite of Arms pits new recruits together into a single flock which then tries to destroy either a horde of demons, or one massive archdemon given over to the army by an architect.

Fallen in important positions or from important families will sometimes undergo the Rite of Penance if they commit a crime they do not wish to be executed for. Very important individuals such as clan leaders, architects, and royals will more than likely be 'forced' into the Rite of Penance by those who value them too much to see them put to death, especially children and adolescents. That is not to say the Rite of Penance is an easy way out of execution. Like most rites in fallen society, the Rite of Penance is a violent trial with survival as the only goal. Many undergo the Rite of Penance, but the mortality rate is over seventy-five percent.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='Food']Fallen are said to be able to eat almost anything, and are considered tough-stomached omnivorous demons by the Kigenese. This ability to consume even raw meat from a recently deceased human, animal, or even other fallen allows them to make use of every scrap of flesh they get their hands on.

Due to Corvus' bloated population, resources are usually scarce for much of the country, and daily meals become a sort of luxury for commoners, but times of extreme famine are chaotic, and these usually lead to brief civil wars that alter the face of Corvus' ruling houses. Some houses survive while others fall and are replaced by new houses and the distribution of Corvus' food stuffs shifts quickly and mightily.

Food preparation is a slew of variance governed by little more than regional norms or clan hierarchy preference. Despite popular belief among humans, the fallen don't prefer human meat over possible alternatives such as pork, beef, or fish. Horse and deer meat are true luxury foods, however, with any kind of pork being a close second. With humans being killed in mass, their bodies are often used to feed infantrymen and demons in the form of dehydrated rations. These rations can last for a long time, but many fallen soldiers would rather feed on the horses of enemy cavalry than go to their own rations. Letting them go to waste however is frowned upon, and so many platoons will feed rations to the demons and save just enough to feed themselves in the event reliance on cavalry meat or other goods fails them.

Though completely overshadowed by other stereotypes, fallen commonly consume 'human food' if they can find it, but on the battlefield, it's rare to find anything other than rations and they will typically not eat those, as they consider their own a step up from the human variety. A properly prepared meal is usually too much for a fallen to pass up, since the variety is far healthier for them and harder to come by.

Fruits and vegetables are consumed by the fallen as well, but only if they can acquire them. Fallen scouts and explorers frequently infiltrate Kigen to gather seeds for fruit and vegetable growing plants, as well as soil samples. These are usually worth a lot, and are in very high demand following the ravaging fallen civil wars, as many crops are lost in these uprisings. While food gardens and crops are common in Corvus, the latter are usually on the smaller side, being downsized to just a dozen meters, about the space it would take to occupy a section of a building's rooftop. Fallen structures tower over the ground, and so ground level crops are discouraged due to infrequent and poor sunlight, with most farming taking place on narrow rooftops where the sun can offer the most sunlight.

Garden and crop robberies are so horribly frequent in Corvus, that many more fortunate households employ demons to attack and kill any living thing that enters the area that isn't its master. Some use more intelligent guards and hired help instead, but all with the purpose of defending their gardens, and normally a guard(and their family) is paid with a share of the produce. The 'right to protect one's property' has more or less legalized the outright murder of trespassers in fallen society, but this has in no way shape or form detoured attempts at thievery. Often the starving and less fortunate fallen will look for a more poorly guarded target.

With fire being virtually the only taboo for those without livestock to care for, anima also sees extensive use in food cultivation, preparation, and storage. Ice magic is used to preserve foods for later use, making ice heretics some of the more common anima users. Earth magic is used to help prepare the soil for sowing, and speed up harvests. Earth users are still rare due to the difficulty of mastering earth magic, and the frustratingly high mortality rates of the Rite of Heresy that must be undergone. Water magic is used by fallen in much the same way it is by humans, though with the added use of removing moisture from corpses to preserve them longer while they're brought back to a storage facility. This is usually done in lieu of an ice mage, and the bodies always require extensive processing to make them 'desirable', again, even if they're fated to become dehydrated rations.

Though they're considered an 'acquired taste' by many, demons are also suitable for consumption by the fallen. Typically fallen won't get the chance to consume a demon in the field, as other demons are likely to pounce on their dead companions at the earliest opportunity. While fallen do command their demon war pets, they rarely get between them and their meals. Demon meat is actually an amalgam of organic material from other living beings. Pork and other naturally flavorful meat is rarely used in the creation of demons, and so they are usually not that pleasant overall.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='Clothing']Fallen favor very light or flexible clothing for ease of flight and movement. This proves troublesome in ground battles where one bad injury could spell the end of a Fallen's life, but they compensate for this as best they can with extra layers of padding over vital areas when able. In general, good clothing is a luxury outside of the mega cities. Not to say some Fallen are naked, but many can be seen wearing as little as homemade tunics and nothing else. Those living in the cities near Tartarus and a small ways out are generally clad in far more expensive looking and well tailored goods.

Some Fallen prefer to wear skins. Tougher hides actually tend to make for slightly better protection as well. The use of armor in Fallen society is seen in only one of two ways. On a male the use of armor is considered cowardly and is so frowned upon that a male that would dare show up to the battlefield clad in it is often left to fight alone. Meanwhile a female may receive similar but less harsh treatment, it depends on how she acquired the armor. A female who acquires armor by her own hands is frowned upon, but a female that a wealthy Fallen wishes to court will often receive armor as a gift. When such exchanges are made public, a Fallen female is often treated with some level of respect, but is also expected to honor the one whose gift she's accepted by being given in marriage and joining their clan. Females may also wear armor to protect themselves during a pregnancy, as well, though the armor used in those scenarios is quite unique looking.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='Entertainment']Fallen can find as much joy in things as humans do, but the overwhelming majority of the population is influenced by Corvus' violent culture, and so most socially accepted pastimes are also violent. Some of these include street fighting tournaments with little supervision, armed sky racing, demonic cock fights, gladiatorial sports and demon fighting(similar to bull fighting). Often times human slaves are included in these activities. Popular demand ensures it despite the inherent value of able bodied humans in more important tasks. Gambling is so rampant that it has proven impossible to standardize using the Corvian barter system.

Fallen also enjoy less virulent activities, such as reading and other forms of study. Despite their violent culture, fallen have a drive to learn and absorb information that rivals and sometimes even surpasses that of humans. Consequently there is no shortage of scholars in any field imaginable.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='Language']The Fallen language is simplistic but stems from the Avian language which wasn't. The language is actually an over simplified Avian dialect with the only differences being some reapplied meanings, some added ones, and the exclusion of all redundant or unnecessary words. The language is never spoken in the presence of free humans or 'wild humans' as they're sometimes called, and the Fallen go to great length to keep their language from being deciphered fully. The language only has around 15,000 words. Any other meanings that need to be established or conveyed are made through sometimes complex combinations of existing words or phrases.[/spoiler]

Edited by Phoenix

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THE AVIANS

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[spoiler='General Information']
Avian society is somewhat progressive in their practices on an individual level, adopting new beliefs and methods as they are given or discovered and are ruled over by an Emperor and an Empress, however, they are wary of certain sources of knowledge, mainly humans. In contrast to humans, avians have an inherently altruistic nature when uninfluenced by other cultures and so are extremely wary of them. Avians live in seven massive cities which float blissfully over a mountainous island known as 'the Outer Sanctum' to humans, and 'Bahamut's Rift' to the avians. Aside from the infamous Cloud Legion, the avians are completely pacifistic, and almost completely isolated from the outside world. Because of their isolation, it was believed for a time that the avians were plenty willing to fight if their lands were invaded, but evidence that came in the form of dark avian exiles as well as their stories proved otherwise. Human society as a whole knows that there is but one means by which the avians make war, and that is indeed their so called 'Cloud Legion'.
 
From the stories told throughout time by the exiles, Aquila and its seven remaining cities are vast and tranquil, with wondrous innovations around every corner, and an abundance of peace and overall happiness. Despite the relative accuracy of these stories, Aquila is not overflowing with smiles and laughter as one might imagine. Instead, the nation has often seen mourning and sadness sweep throughout it as news from the outside world reaches it. The avians are a very empathetic and reactionary people, and with their long and painful history always fresh in their minds, the news of war and strife from foreign lands can have devastating effects on the nation. Because of this easily afflicted mindset, it has not always been a sad occasion when an avian is exiled, as these individuals, now no longer obligated to remain in Aquila, can venture out into the world and try to address its problems and help to bring about a better world, which is seen as a silver lining if nothing else. Aquilan exiles were also responsible for introducing the alta religion to the world, a religion that had the greatest influence in the evolution of the Order of Mercy.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler='History']
Avian culture and history is incredibly well preserved, with the most accurate accounts of the Sardian history filling their libraries. The beginning of their own recorded history dates back almost ten thousand years, during the dawn of the Redemption Era. Because that era received such a title, the avians have always believed that their true origins have been lost and that the Redemption Era is actually the second phase of their history, coming just after a horrible cataclysm of some kind.
 
According to avian history, they were a race of ministers and spiritual guides, who served a dual purpose, to accrue wisdom for all mortals and to teach it. This is similar to the God of Truth, who accrues and teaches all wisdom as well, though he is believed to do this primarily with immortals as he has only been recorded twice in all known history.
 
During this time period, the avians lived among humans and dragons. It was thought that the avian doctrines of pacifism would prevent any wars. What was not well understood at the time by the vasili ruling over them, was that the human race could be provoked into violence, no matter how insane the reasons behind it might be. This provocation came in the form of ceaseless admonishment from the avians. Despite their intentions, their strong willed nature and adamantly conservative virtues clashed with human values repeatedly until steps were taken to separate human and avian society once and for all. The goal of the human governments at the time was to prevent the situation from becoming violent by distancing themselves from their winged brethren, but the vasili ruling over the lands stopped the attempts in their tracks, stressing the need for unity, not segregation.
 
Again humanity and avians tried to live together as a unified group, but as the human leaders feared, eventually, violence broke out. The dragons took steps to quell the violence, but it had escalated so quickly and spread so far throughout the realm, that the dragons were forced to kill humans in mass to truly put an end to the fighting. From then on, the dragons had the distrust of the humans, as innocents were inevitably killed in the violence.
 
Humanity's focus left the avians for a time, and numerous organized groups began to emerge with the intent of driving the dragons, not the avians, out of the land. This was met with harsh criticism from the avians and vasili. None were able to quell the outcries, however, and eventually a war between the humans and the dragons erupted. To this day, it is not clear which side struck first in that war, and the avians are not so quick to place the blame for this war on the humans, as the dragon race had several well known troublemakers and dissenters around at the time.
 
The human-dragon war was incredibly short, as the vasili quickly moved in to pacify both sides. The avians spent most of this time trying to restore peace through diplomacy, and neither they nor the vasili had any idea of what was going on behind the scenes. The humans had entered a true war for the first time in their history and the results were secrecy and an insatiable interest in weapons development. Even when 'peace' had returned, the organized groups hoping to remove the dragons from their home continued to produce weapons in secret. Their intentions were to be able to protect themselves, but the dragons eventually learned of these new weapons the humans had constructed and took aggressive action to destroy them. This 'attack' started yet another war, but this time, the dragons were at a severe disadvantage. The human losses were not nearly so great as the first time around, and when the vasili finally stepped in to quell the fighting, the dragons had suffered numerous casualties, something unprecedented.
 
With that war, they had crossed the point of no return, humanity was now strong enough to threaten the dragons, and with tensions with the avians still growing, the vasili were forced to give in to what had now become the original demand of the human leaders. Unfortunately, the humans had claimed the land all three races occupied as their own. Since the vasili had already decided to grant the lands to the avians, another conflict began to brew. The humans had constructed massive cities in these lands in the centuries preceding the conflict, and would have to start all over again if they were to leave, and so they refused. This led to the final aggressive step to the permanent separation of all three races. The dragons had left when prompted, dejectedly, but they had left just the same. When the humans tried to force the avians out in their place, the vasili decimated their armies and forced every last human out of the avian provinces.
 
For the first time in several centuries, the avians were at peace again. This peace came at a high price, however. Separation from the other races had left them unable to truly fulfill their purpose. There was no more wisdom to be gleaned from the centuries of isolation that followed. Their pleas to reunite the races didn't fall on deaf ears, but before it could be allowed, the gods took several steps to ensure the situation would not again escalate so quickly and easily. The gods gave magic to the world. The humans were denied this gift, supposedly for their lack of need for it. With these powers granted to them, the dragons could once again mediate without direct reliance on the vasili, and the avians could use their new abilities to protect life in general.
 
It was feared this boon would fuel human hatred and aggression, but another attempt to unite the races was made. This decision came down from the gods, and even the vasili were divided on the issue, some fearing the consequences and others adamantly trusting in the divine mandate. The humans and dragons had lingering animosity that had reached into the succeeding generations, and so they would have to wait. For now, only the humans and avians would live side by side again. The times were worrisome, but with every precaution taken, the humans and avians were able to again live together in peace for a time. Just a short time before the dragons were to be reintroduced into the mix, tensions rose yet again.
 
What had helped sustain their peace was the magic the avians had been given. With it, the lives of the humans living alongside them had been made immeasurably better, but as time went on, humanity began to grow and expand. The avians were not able to keep up, and as humanity began to grossly outnumber them, the need for the avians to spread themselves more thinly throughout the realms inevitably led to debate and bickering. The humans in general were of the belief that the avians should spread themselves out and increase their numbers, while the avians believed that the humans needed to better control their own numbers and expansion. Humanity's fallback plan was to acquire magic as well. In the end, the inability to harness this power themselves and the hundreds upon thousands of failed attempts prompted even more scolding from the avians. As the renewed 'avian superiority complex' accusations gained momentum, a confrontation grew imminent. 
 
With the dragons unable to assist by any means, it fell to the vasili to resolve the issue, but they themselves were already divided on how to address the situation, and so no official action was taken until after the war began. These divided governing entities had numerous takes and solutions, but without a consensus, they wouldn't act, and the war made far more progress than they would have otherwise allowed. Because the avians would not go to war or take life and were completely pacifistic at the time, they were slaughtered in droves. In the opening days of the war, humans who sympathized with the avians, once drowned out by those in the foreground, began to emerge and fight on their behalf, but they were too heavily outnumbered to do anything more than delay the inevitable.
 
Conflicting opinions began to arise among the avians themselves as thousands of humans sacrificed themselves on their behalf, and for the first time in their history, a splinter group emerged who abandoned pacifism in the name of justice and the protection of the innocent. These avians had not only abandoned pacifism, but they had also lost something crucial to the spiritual welfare of all avians, their connection to the Goddess of Mercy, herself. Without it, they were no longer true avians and became known as dark avians. While physically identical to other avians, they had what appeared to be human nature, rather than avian nature. They paid this price willingly so that they could fight and protect the remaining avians and humans who had taken their side. Using their light magic in tandem with the technology the humans had produced, they managed to turn the conflict around. They were, however, considered no different from 'broken' avians to the anti-avian factions, and so the entire race was quickly written off as a mortal enemy. It was too late for the vasili to completely contain the situation, and having failed to reach a consensus among themselves, they too splintered, with some vasili removing themselves from the conflict to observe from a distance while others chose a side.
 
The world government fell into complete disarray during this war, and numerous vasili now considered 'evil deities', began to emerge, including the feared shadow dragon, Obelisk. The fighting managed to spread so far and so quickly that humanity's technological prowess began to emerge once again in the form of powerful new machines and weapons. With vasili on both sides, decisive victory for any faction was impossible. In addition, with humans fighting not only the avians but other humans, and some vasili contributing their knowledge, the leaps in technology that should have occurred over several centuries took place in less than one.
 
The fighting reached its peak when the unthinkable happened. The anti-avian factions found a way to utilize dark magic against the dark avians. Their victims' minds were completely shattered and they became almost feral, attacking all humans, even those on their side. Not all dark avians were corrupted, but the thousands that were began to destroy everything in their path. Some of these corrupted avians were unable to find more enemies to fight after their initial conquests, and eventually settled down in the ruins of abandoned cities. The succeeding generation of the corrupted avians came forth with tails, claws, fangs, fierce eyes, and a nature that craved conflict. As these second generation corrupted avians began to emerge in mass, the vasili began to call them 'The Fallen Ones'.
 
The war eventually shifted from fighting each other to fighting back against the fallen hordes that threatened to overwhelm them all. Only with the combined efforts of the vasili were they ultimately defeated. To the satisfaction of Obelisk, they were not wiped out, and those that survived were his charges. He was given a mandate by the God of Wrath to destroy the rest of them before they could repopulate, but he did just the opposite and sheltered them from the chaos as the world began to focus in on the original conflict once again.
 
Finally a solution for the avians was found. A vasilus of Mercy known to most as Luminous began to carve out the land, and with the help of other vasili allied with him, he created ten incomprehensibly durable platforms that would serve as the avian sanctuary until the end of the conflict. The avians arrived on these platforms in mass and were taken away far to the northeast to seek shelter from the violence. By the time the war had come to an end, numerous countries had been established while others had been utterly destroyed. The avians, rather than returning, decided to remain in their own domain atop the mountains. Luminous with the Goddess of Mercy's blessing, accepted his role as their sacred guardian without hesitation, and with that, the conflict came to an end.
 
It was finally over; never again would the avians be able to bring themselves to live alongside humanity; the previous attempt had led to a massive war, shattered the previous world government, and led to the creation of the Fallen. Knowing that these enormous platforms would serve as their home from then on, the avians began to focus on their long term living conditions, and they shut themselves off from the world.
 
What followed was the Legendary Rebellion. Obelisk returned to the world scene with a small army of humans and vasili and began to conquer nations, one by one at first, and then gradually spreading his accumulating forces over the continents. Eventually the entire world was dragged into the conflict in one way or another. Even the avians were not spared from the fighting, as Obelisk's forces came to completely destroy their home. Their sacred guardian and those closest to him fought with all of their might and nearly obliterated those Obelisk had sent to destroy them, but the fighting almost led to Luminous' death, and three of the ten platforms eventually fell. The destruction was overwhelming and the death toll was catastrophic.
 
The avians were still spared from annihilation, but their populace had been crippled by the invasion, and following the rebellion, the Goddess of Mercy took advantage of the wake of destruction left by the God of Wrath and established new doctrines that would protect the avians hence forth. With humanity now stripped of their powerful machines, the only threats to the avians were sky riders, the fallen, and vasili. The Goddess of Mercy founded the Cloud Legion, with the emperor ruling at the time as its supreme commander. This small army could deal with any threat not posed by the vasili, and with Luminous still acting as their sacred guardian and the number of vasili remaining on the earth now piddly compared to the rebellion era, the avians could now live in complete safety. This safety came at a steep price, however. With the avians now forever segregated, they had nothing else to offer to the world. Their altruistic nature and good intentions had unintentionally left them confined to their seven remaining cities up in the clouds, seven cities fiercely guarded by the Cloud Legion and the Sacred Guardian. Very little of historical significance has ever taken place since those dreaded times, and the lives of avians have become stagnant and void of meaning.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler='Government']
Aquila is ruled by an Emperor and Empress. Traditionally, the emperor has ruled Cloud Legion specifically and led them into battle against invaders while the Empress has administrated over domestic matters, though there have been times when Empresses have been generals within the Cloud Legion as well. This often happens if a new emperor joins Cloud Legion before becoming engaged. They will usually marry one of the female generals. Beneath the Empress are the 'Seven Sovereigns', each ruling over one of the seven cities of Aria. The Seven Sovereigns can be either male or female, but most have been female. Below the Sovereigns are the Governors, avians who preside over individual districts within the cities. They too are comprised mostly of females. Finally, below the Governors are the Masters. These avians are overseers and often literal masters of individual family trades, businesses, and properties, and together, manage Aria's neighborhoods, parks, markets, business sectors, and so on. They're also at the heart of the industrial complex.
 
As far as actual ruling goes, with nothing but minor laws ever being bent or broken, there is rarely any need for direct action from the powers that be and misdemeanors themselves are quite rare among older avians. Punishments for crimes among younger avians are generally disproportionate amounts of servile work or temporary deprivation of favored pleasures and pastimes. Older avians are usually ordered to the church buildings in order to meditate heavily on their actions, though these 'crimes' are extremely petty by human standards, ranging from white lies to any proven instances of apathy in everyday situations. Often older avians go to repent and meditate on their own without ever needing to receive the official order to do so. Younger avians too will sometimes willingly deprive themselves of things if what they've done or haven't done affects them enough. There are no prisons in Aria, mainly due to the unusual nature of its citizens. There is also no inherent need for them as a result of this nature. Hypothetically speaking, pending judgment, a serious offender has nowhere to run or hide where they cannot easily be found, and exile is the most appropriate sentence for any serious crime. While Aquila supports execution for certain crimes, this form of punishment only ever happens to humans who arrive in the country, as they're the only ones breaking the laws that warrant such action. From an outsider's perspective, aquilan avians seem almost draconian where the law is concerned, because of these harsh responses, but Aquilans are still quite merciful toward each other.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler='Society']
Life in Aria's seven cities is only possible through the cooperation of its special operations groups, Cloud Legion, and the Sacred Guardian. The Special Operations Groups handle the acquisition and processing of natural and artificial resources, Cloud Legion oversees external security, and the Sacred Guardian sustains the levitating disks that support the seven cities while also manipulating the local climate.
 
The Special Operations Groups:
The Special Operations Groups consist of nine individual work forces. These groups are comprised of individual families with family trades that all fall under the same category. Each provides a specific service to population.
 
The Gather Groups:
This task force mines raw minerals, hunts for food, and literally 'gathers' anything potentially useful to the cities. They also build outposts and working sites where long term operations are likely. They also take surplus resources, provided by the Distribution Groups, in order to trade with the dark avian village of Flugel in order to acquire goods that simply can't be found anywhere else in the Outer Sanctum. Flugel itself has limited contact with the human world and acquires its unique goods from them. Once they have secured a resource, the Gather Groups will deliver it to the cities where they're handled by the Distribution Groups.
 
The Distribution Groups:
There are seven Distribution Groups in Aria, one for each city. Resources acquired by the Gather Groups are delivered to the closest city disk where the local Distribution Group begins to divide up the resources as evenly as possible. In this way, they ensure that no matter how much or how little is obtained, and no matter where it goes initially, no city gains significantly more or less than the others. The Distribution Groups also take donations and surplus and allocate them to the Gather Groups for trade with Flugel village. They work closely with the Managerial Groups to determine exactly where the resources will end up going. Once distribution is handled, the remaining groups take over.
 
The Weaver Groups: 
The Weaver Groups are primarily the tailors of avian society, though they are not strictly tailors and deal in a number of different types of products, including those for recreation. This only excludes consumables and written works. They take their share of resources in order to create clothing and other items for the population. While the Weaver Groups are able to craft for training and recreation, this is moderated to prevent using up resources. Clothing isn't produced in much bulk, either, as it has proven more fruitful for them to make new outfits on request. They work with the Marketing Groups directly in order to handle most requests. The Weaver Groups also accept worn out, old, or merely donated outfits from any and all households within their respective city in order to recycle materials.
 
The Marketing Groups:
These are the collective 'merchants' of Aria who accept famial (labor vouchers) in exchange for various products. The Marketing Groups also create special items, trinkets, toys, household items and cookware, etc, with resources from the Distribution Groups, and sell them along with food, clothing, and other goods on behalf of the Cultivators and Weaver Groups. The Marketing Groups even deal in advertising. This advertising not only includes their own products but also job openings and the like.
 
The Builders:
The Building Groups handle the construction, maintenance, and demolition of all structures within Aria, as well as the equipment used in construction, maintenance, and demolition. Save for the outposts built and used by the Gather Groups and Cloud Legion outside the seven cities, the Building Groups oversee all artificial structures. They also handle specific requests for structural work when they receive them from families through the Managerial Groups. These jobs cannot be done without notifying the Managerial Groups first and usually happen when a family is hoping to make some sort of alteration to a structure within their allotted home space.
 
The Cultivators:
The fifth group, and arguably the most important, are the Cultivators. They are Aquila's farmering families and they primarily work within the city disks where it's safe. The Cultivators took on a unique challenge early in their history, as they relied entirely on the Gather Groups for their growing soil, seeds, and livestock. After several centuries, however, the Cultivators' resources, with careful management, became self sustaining. They now work with the Gather Groups in order to keep a surplus available for the population. In order to grow fruits and vegetables in the their mountainous climate, the Cultivators rely on light magic and careful life force infusions. Livestock are trickier, but they manage, with the primary challenges being the breeding of healthy and happy animals. With a limited amount of space available for ranches, the Cultivators must keep their livestock numbers to a certain size.
Other than fruits, vegetables, and livestock, there are cultivator families who handle natural hosts. These natural hosts are used to make various types of trinkets and magical devices that would normally be of little use to the avians.
 
The Ministerial Groups:
These groups actually make up two slightly different groups. The first focuses on written works as a whole and the second focuses on religion and written works relating specifically to that. The first group deals with official amendments to the avian language and the recording and preservation of history. This isn't limited to avian history, however. These historians gather any information they can from Flugel village and later compile that knowledge. The religious individuals commune with the Goddess herself and help establish up to date doctrine for the avians to follow. With their direct connection to the Goddess, they are the only mortal individuals other than the Ursian Archbishop who can communicate directly with the Goddess of Mercy on a regular basis.
 
The Talent Groups:
This is a special group of avians who make up the bulk of the entertainment industry, putting on shows, and hosting special events on a regular basis. With the aid of the Marketing Groups, they also seek out talented avians within the populace in order to serve. This is not a self promoting field like in the human world and the Talent Groups' first responsibility is to promote happiness through thrilling and thought provoking performances.
 
The Managerial Groups:
The Managerial Groups are the support structure of the cities and work directly under the governors and the sovereigns. They print and award all famial within Aria and inspect each district within the city on a monthly basis and make estimates for upkeep based on these inspections. Then, they assign tasks, both mandatory and requested, to the Distribution and Building Groups accordingly. Both groups then provide these services and goods according to the Managerial Group's recommendations in exchange for famial. They usually leave large posting boards for all open and planned projects, which allows Group members to look for jobs their Group would feel best suited for or most comfortable with at the time.
 
Cloud Legion:
Cloud Legion protects not only the seven cities from danger, but also Outer Sanctum itself. The legion normally divides up its forces to protect the Special Operations groups working outside the cities and also patrol the region. They are not hampered by communication difficulties and so will take these supposed 'risks' in spreading themselves thin where other military forces will not. Cloud Legion even protects the dark avian village Flugel from tresspassers, as it too lies within the Outer Sanctum and is an important part of the country's well being. The only time all of Cloud Legion will be mobilized simultaneously is when an expeditionary force of considerable size comes too close to the island. Even then, the legion will not face them with all members unless they have confirmed that there are no other forces taking advantage of the situation and it is truly necessary. This prevents them from being tricked by diversionary forces.
 
The Sacred Guardian:
The Sacred Guardian's role in Arian society is by far the most crucial. Not only does Luminous keep all seven cities in place, aloft above the mountains, but he also manipulates the temperature of the surrounding air to a more tolerable 50 degrees F. through the use of light magic. The actual light magic used manifests at the bottom of the city disks and stays at extreme temperatures. This causes heat to rise from the sides of each disk, keeping the areas around the disks relatively warm and the temperature stable. This intense gathering of light magic also luminates mountain tops at night creating an indescribable yet beautiful view of the surrounding region.
 
Life in Aria:
Economically, the avians live on their own brand of socialism that relies heavily on good faith between individuals, especially family members. Avian families work in specific fields that provide for the nation as a whole. From each family according to their 'ability', and to each family according to their needs. Individuals are not mentioned in this slogan because the avian brand of socialism focuses very heavily on family units.
 
Work performed, services provided, products, and property have a determined value in Aria, and this value takes the form of a voucher system called the 'Famial Wardis'. 'Famial' or 'fam' (shortened) serve as a type of labor voucher within this system and can only be used once. They are awarded and then spent; 'awarded' by the local Managerial Group, and 'spent' on consumables, services, and property. Once famial are used, they are no longer valid, which prevents circulation. New ones have to be issued by the Managerial Group. Anything purchased with famial are then owned by the buyer's family, not the just the buyer themself, however within the family itself, an individual can be recognized as the sole owner of a piece of property. The government on the other hand, only recognizes property as 'family owned' and individual property is never referenced anywhere in their legal system. Famial is also considered a family voucher and not a personal one.
 
Avian families, that is a group of avians closely related to each other, are allotted a home space. The size of this home space is initially determined by the family's role or 'family trade', the largest allotted home spaces belonging to the cultivators. In the beginning, home spaces were massive, and there weren't very many by comparison to modern times, but now they are only large enough on average to comfortably accomodate families of ten or so. Even the 'royal palace' is no larger than an Ursian manse and does not contain a barracks or defensive wall. The home spaces of the Building and Ministerial Groups are the smallest, but still not significantly smaller than those below Cultivator home spaces.
 
Because there are a limited number of home spaces available and this number never increases by very much over time, the overall size of the extremely long lived population has to be tightly controlled. Inevitably however, a home space will need to be increased or decreased in size due to a change in the family trade or number of its members. When this happens, the actual process can take up to a decade, but usually no longer. Affected families are all notified and meetings are held to make necessary arrangements long in advance. This also takes place during government sanctioned projects, though these only occur when city-wide alterations to home space allotments are made. These types of projects reduce the size of all home spaces by a few square feet each, freeing up space for dozens of new home spaces throughout the city, though the process takes up to a century to complete and changes the shape of the city ever so slightly each time it occurs. Despite the perpetually decreasing amount of available home space in Aria, avians typically have more actual living space than humans living within the same types of 'cities' (such as Kievan Rus). Avian families can sometimes be large enough to counteract any apparent benefits, however.
 
Daily life for all avians starts off with self maintenance, hygiene, food, etc. Following this, there may be school (for children) or work (for adults). Special occupations often have special schedules and so this can vary significantly. No matter what their role in society is, avians spend a great deal of time reading or writing and using magic. Both are cultural norms the avians pride themselves on while the latter is incredibly useful in emergencies. With virtually all citizens being able to serve as healers, fatalities resulting from major accidents are nearly unheard of. Light magic also serves them for non-medical purposes and the avians have advanced it several centuries beyond what humans now actively use.
 
All avian families fit into one of the nine categories and these are seen as family trades. Avians from one family may still have an occupation outside of the family trade, as often seen where the Talent Groups are concerned, but primarily, members of a certain family will follow that particular family trade. If they marry into another family, they may either focus on that family trade or continue to help with the previous, though there are benefits and problems associated with both and they vary by distance between home spaces. No individual avian, save for the eldest members of the household, are considered official practitioners of the family trade. Instead, the family trade is tied to the family name and all other members are considered to be in training. This allows for a little more freedom and exploration for younger avians considering career pursuits.
 
The weather in Aria is tolerable thanks to the rising heat from the light at the bottom of the city disks and heat vents are used to direct some of that heat toward the city itself, but it is still cold and even windy on occasion, so many avians remain indoors throughout much of the day if possible. Instead of large public parks, the city relies on the Cultivator home spaces to give citizens a place to relax outdoors, however there are public resting areas lining the edges of the city disks. These offer a fair amount of warmth and spectacular view of the mountains, especially at night, when the light from the disks illuminates the mountains under the night sky. The city disks also rotate very slowly, making a full rotation once a month, allowing for ever changing sights without causing confusion for the Gather Groups.
 
Flugel Village:
This large dark avian village is known as the 'Gateway to Aria' to the dark avians. It received this name due to it being the sole source of information about the seven avian cities, and the only line of communication between those cities and the outside world. Because of its vital importance in both the gathering of information and foreign materials, it is guarded by Cloud Legion to a certain extent. The leaders of Flugel have an agreement with the avians to cooperate with them on all matters in exchange for this protection. As such, at least several members of Cloud legion can be found in Flugel at any given time, acting as sentries. In a real emergency, larger detachments of the legion know to come and know what to expect when they do.
 
Flugel's most notable trait is that it is the place where most exiled dark avians end up. Because no dark avians are allowed to live in Aria itself, the village provides a means of staying within the relative safety of the country while also staying in touch with their families. Still, some dark avians leave and start families within human society for various reasons. There are a few humans who live in Flugel, but special arrangements are made in order for this to be allowed. 
 
Flugel also trades with nearby Neviskotian villages in order to secure various types of goods. Flugel's farmlands are vast and as a result, the village can provide not only for itself, but several other settlements. Their surplus usually goes to Aria or Neviskotian villages through trade agreements. Because of Flugel's resources, they would normally be a prime target for pirates, but on top of Cloud Legion's security, the Neviskotian navy maintains regular patrols throughout the area just south of the Outer Sanctum. This is not a fullproof defense for the town but has served as a strong deterrent, since many already know that they must not only defeat the patrols, but also Cloud Legion. In order not to provoke or antagonize Cloud Legion, the ships are never allowed to drop anchor along the coast or anywhere near Flugel, and Flugel itself maintains no harbors to accomodate large vessels.
 
Flugel has the same type of economic system that Aria does, but on a much smaller scale. They have also managed to eliminate currency from their system entirely, though this was initially sparked by political tensions between the village, the Neviskotian Empire, and the Tashtagolan Separatists. in order to prevent them from bombarding the village with precious metals such as silver and gold in exchange for their goods, none of which the village could make much use of, they abolished their old system and began only trading in raw goods based on a system of value that worked for them at the time. Silver and gold, as well as other precious metals, were included in this new system, but their value was now something that neither the Empire nor the Separatists could take advantage of and they could now only trade for what they wanted if they provided significantly more of what the locals needed. The avians welcomed this change and supported it, while the Empire and the Separatists begrudgingly accepted after a time.
 
Historically, Flugel's willingness to commune and trade with any nearby group, led to some of the attacks on the Outer Sanctum. When trade with Flugel benefitted the Separatists past a certain point, the Empire launched an attack in order to cut off trade between them (the Separatists) and the village. The most recent attacks (within the last few centuries or so) were merely blockades meant to disrupt the trade routes. Cloud Legion considered this tresspassing, however and broke the blockades with lethal force every time. The Separatists attempted the same thing, using joint fleets to block Imperials from reaching Flugel. Cloud Legion violently broke these blockades as well. In modern times, both sides have begrudgingly accepted the fact that neither can monopolize the village without being assailed and obliterated by its protectors.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler='Religion']
Alta, the avian religion is a moral code laid out and expounded upon by the Goddess of Mercy. Because the code has actually evolved over the ages, it has been written and rewritten several hundred times, with a library in each avian city chronicling its history and evolution. What humans know of the religion, they generally find bothersome and extremely limiting. The avian religion governs all avian thinking, and so it was the primary cause of tensions between the two races in the past.
 
The avian religion sets an incredibly high moral standard and divides all sentient behavior toward others into two specific categories, love and hatred. For them there is no grey area or middleground of any kind; apathy is a sin to a follower of the altan code, and one has either demonstrated love or hatred toward another with every interaction. Despite the extreme stances, the avians focus on one's intentions rather than the basic actions taken when judging something as either love or hate. This can be better explained with human-avian judgment comparisons.
 
In society, the average human is likely to judge killing someone unprovoked as outright murder, while killing someone in self defense is judged as just and reasonable. Avians and others who follow the altan code, on the other hand, judge both as a form of hatred and therefore 'murder' due specifically to the intent of saving one's life at the cost of another's. Avians believe in self sacrifice under most circumstances. This is not to say that they will lay down their life immediately if attacked, but will not respond in any way that would threaten the life or overall well being of their attacker. It is not completely unheard of for altans to enter combat. Situations where not fighting at all will result in multiple deaths are some of these. Altans will sometimes attempt to incapacitate if a situation seems ready to escalate and end in not only their death, but the deaths of others. Regardless, though, a follower of the altan code would sooner die than grievously injure or kill an aggressor.
 
The altan love-hate philosophy not only governs extreme circumstances, but every single aspect of their lives. Because they are not all knowing, avians are not able to follow this doctrine perfectly in all circumstances in their lives. Often times, they will find themselves in new situations that require new insight to handle them in 'the most correct way possible'. As they go through life, avians constantly adopt newer and more refined altan principles and put them into practice in everything they do. This is known as 'winged wisdom' (positive form) or 'altan shenanigans' (negative form) for those who are familiar with the practice. Despite the learning avians in particular must go through, virtually all of them exhibit the same basic and invariable behaviors, such as general pacifism and altruism, as these tenets are taught to each avian from birth.
 
The love and hate principle is more easily understood when coming directly from an aquilan, or rather the closest thing available.
"What you all know as neutrality or indifference is in fact hatred. 'Apathy' is not 'gray', it is a lie, the most insidious form of hatred that humans have ever allowed to creep into their minds, their logos. At the heart of every action beats either love, or hatred and there is nothing in between. I understand that it may sound ridiculous and even impossible that I would say that you hate someone just because you have said or done something inappropriate to them, or ignored them, but ask yourself, what would you have done instead toward someone else? Some you loved with all of your heart? When we pull back our eyes and ears and leave others to the whims of this world, how can we call that love? How can we not call it hatred when apathy has allowed more harm to come to individuals than direct intention? We sentients love in one moment and take hold of the deceptive roots of hatred the very next. I say again, do not be fooled by your own indifference or your reasoning for it; this kind of thinking has allowed for some of the greatest atrocities in all of history and while it may seem otherwise, apathy is simply the best foot hatred has to put forward. So many battles have been fought that never needed to be, and all because the powers that were and that be choose apathy over action, disinterest over concern, hatred over love."
Dark Avian exiled from Aquila explaining the finer points of the love-hate altan viewpoint to the Neviskotian conclave.
 
Eight of the altan tenets and explanations follow.
Violence: Intentionally causing the death of another person, be it self defense or not, is a sin for an altan, because lives have been 'unlawfully weighed' against each other. Wrath or anger itself, more importantly, is at the core of this doctrine and it is considered a sin for an altan to even be angry with another. This is one of the most difficult of all altan doctrines for humans to master. "Anger is hatred in its infancy," is the phrase that arose from this doctrine. Only altans with a divine mandate to strike down others are allowed to do so, and this is almost exclusive to members of Cloud Legion, who they themselves must undergo intense mental and physical training to avoid succumbing to bloodlust, sadism, vengefulness, or rage during battle.
Theft: To steal or dishonestly acquire another's possessions is a grave misdeed for altans. Greed is at the core of this doctrine. Altans instead strive to achieve for themselves without focusing too closely on what others have or making other dangerous comparisons.
Covetousness: Envy is not only at the core of this doctrine, it is the doctrine in its entirety. Desiring that which another possesses to the point of envy and jealousy is a sin for altans and so they instead focus on what they do possess and maintain a constant sense of gratitude.
Competition: Nonviolent competitions are lawful for altans, but they are admonished to not allow the spirit of competition, rivalry, or in worse cases, strife, to enter their thinking. Pride is at the core of this doctrine, and so altans strive never to think too highly of themselves. They are not to think too lowly of themselves, either, but the former is far more common. Both however, are dangerous to an altan's mental health and ability to learn from their mistakes. "Proud souls cannot be taught by others, they can only observe and judge, often falsely," is a very old saying started by altans.
Sex: Sexual relations are only lawful to altans in marriage, however the altan religion has made the initial act a wedding in and of itself. Therefore, the first sexual encounter an altan has (assuming no other laws are being broken) is the start of a marriage. Polygamy is prohibited and marriages are only lawful between males and females. Homosexuality and bisexuality are not sins among avians, only sexual acts driven by them. As such, these individuals, if they are altans, remain chaste for the sake of following doctrine, though they still maintain very close relationships with whomever they wish. Lust is at the core of this doctrine and it is considered a sin for an altan to even fantasize of unlawful sexual relations.
Health: Altans are to mind their health and put it as their second highest priority, right underneath the welfare of others. Gluttony is at the core of this doctrine and any form of abuse, and excess (food, drink, activity, substance abuse, etc) is considered a sin to altans. 
Neglect: Declining to help someone when a fitting request has been made or perform a duty or task that is rightfully expected of them is only a sin for an altan if the sole reason behind the choice is to avoid being (lightly) burdened. Sloth or laziness is at the core of this doctrine and so it is never good for an altan to allow those feelings to influence their decisions and actions.
Deception: The only type of lie that is not a sin for an altan is the 'lie of omission', and only when the intent is to progressively prepare someone for the 'complete truth', not to mislead them or protect one's self. Many won't even attempt a lawful lie of omission and simply decline to answer. It is a sin for altans not to strive for a right and balanced view of themselves and the world around them. To lie to others or even themselves is a detriment to everyone.
 
Many followers of the Goddess of Mercy have converted to altanism over the years, but it remains an avian and dark avian centric religion. Still, lesser versions of it have shown up among the humans and dark avians throughout the ages.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler='Warfare']
The mystical army of one thousand one hundred and eleven is known as Cloud Legion, and they are Aquila's primary defense against trespassers. The unit is comprised of exactly one thousand soldiers, one hundred officers, ten generals, and the supreme commander, the emperor of Aquila himself. Aquila's seven cities float blissfully above the mountains and so are easily defensible from all but massive aerial assaults. Cloud Legion uses this to their advantage by preemptively attacking forces preparing for assaults at the base of the mountains, primarily through barrages of arrows, light and thunder magic. Most invading forces have never so much as laid eyes on any of the cities. Cloud Legion always aims to quickly cripple invading forces in as efficient a way as possible in order to force a retreat, but are ready and willing to wipe out entire expeditions if necessary.
 
Cloud Legion is so proficient in aerial warfare that they are recognized by both the Neviskotian military and the Tashtagolan seperatists or 'skotian rebels' as the single deadliest air force in all of Sardius. The Kigenese would grant this title to the Fallen Empire, however, when objective comparisons are made between the fallen and avian forces, the avians come out ahead in all areas; they win their battles more quickly, suffer virtually no irreversible casualties, and cripple their attackers, preventing most followup operations. To date, they are the only known militant group to have accomplished this in open warfare and are legendary for it.
 
Unknown to the outside world as a whole are the exact reasons for the legion's unsurpassed combat abilities. Cloud Legion's battle prowess comes partially from their lifelong training, and partially from a spiritual connection they share with each other. In battle, members of Cloud Legion become fully aware of what's going on around them and throughout the legion. They have a constant 'knowing' of the condtion of their allies and of the overall battle and as such, they always know when and where they are most needed in relation to those around them. This does not replace the command structure of the legion, but it does allow for incredibly swift and effective maneuvers and counterattacks. The Cloud Legion is not considered invincible, but their chosen battlegrounds, centuries of training, and spiritual connection through the Goddess of Mercy has made them a flock of juggernauts that can't be matched conventionally by any existing aerial force.
 
Cloud Legion's one thousand soldiers are of the lowest ranking members, but make up the bulk of the legion's forces and each of them also have the somewhat unique privilege and duty to find and train their successor in their latter years. Higher ranks within Cloud Legion are earned differently. When an officer or general retires from the legion, they are replaced by a soldier or officer respectively and a new soldier is accepted into the legion to fill the gap. Officers and generals have often worked closely with the soldiers destined to replace them, which somewhat mirrors soldiers training new Cloud Legion recruits. The Emperor must also train a successor for the legion, though that successor must also be an heir to the throne and a male. Due to this strict requirement, the imperial couples tend to have at least several children while aiming for at least one son to take over Cloud Legion. This whole system keeps the legion's numbers to a strict one thousand one hundred and eleven, a number the avians have chosen as a symbol of martial balance and unity. Cloud Legion is also kept to a size that prevents the overwhelming majority of the Aquilan population from being affected by their activities and rumors thereof. With such a small fraction of Aquila's populace trained for combat, the nation enjoys a fuller sense of peace. Cloud Legion's activities are never stated publicly for this same reason.
 
Surprisingly, aside from Cloud Legion itself, there are no official military or security forces in Aquila. The average citizen is capable of impressive use of light magic and many can defend themselves from attack if necessary, as well as recover rapidly from otherwise life threatening injuries. A normal avian's primary objective in a fight is to end it before anyone gets hurt, often with diplomacy, but failing that, they will do everything in their power to evade, escape, or incapacitate their opponent. Under the worst circumstances, if an avian is forced to choose between maiming or killing their attackers, and laying down their own life, they invariably choose the latter, though situations like these are completely unknown in Aria, even when those involved are dark avians.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler='Sacred Guardian']
The Sacred Guaridan is another title for the ancient Dragon King, Luminous. He was originally known as Bahamut, but when the Goddess of Mercy appointed him the Sacred Guardian, she also changed his name, and unfathomable power came with that name, 'Luminous'. He alone has sustained the seven cities and kept them in place above the mountains since the time of their original construction, well over five thousand years ago, and he has done this through subconscious thought. Such overwhelming power has never been demonstrated by any other vasilus, and so as far as the avians are concerned, he is the most powerful one in existence.
 
During the Rebellion Era, it was suggested that Luminous' incredible telekinetic abilities stem from an unrestrained mind that could manipulate an almost unlimited number of psychic units at one time, indefinitely. While it was a generally accepted and solid theory, it did not detract from the sheer magnitude of such an ability. In fact, it only raised more and more questions. After the Rebellion Era came to an end, society's focus on the avians was all but gone for a time, and so the mystery that was Luminous faded into obscurity for centuries.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler='Gender']
The differences between male and female are slightly less obvious than what is usually seen in other cultures. The avians have a definite sense of masculinity and femininity, but as the race is almost completely pacifistic, as well as highly uniform, socially, there are fewer scenarios one can use to distinguish the two.
 
The most well known difference between male and female avians is that the latter develop the ability to interpret the thoughts of others naturally over time, while male avians require extensive conditioning. Despite this, 'mind reading' is not looked upon as a strictly feminine trait, at least not by the avians, themselves. Aquilan culture has actually taken advantage of this and other natural handicaps to help improve and solidify relationships. Newly married avian woman for example, often go to great lengths to train their husbands to harness this ability. For this same reason, mothers often don't teach their sons how to do this in the hopes that their brides will, though some have when pressed on the issue. Traditionally however, it is something reserved for newly weds.
 
A strictly masculine avian trait is a strong and 'adaptive' demeanor. Male avians are typically not prone to emotional outbursts but can easily cope with various kinds of social situations. This contrasts the gentler and more empathetic females who in avian society are sometimes known to grieve at the mere mention of a real tragedy, even those that wouldn't affect their life otherwise. This is also why news from the outside world is tightly controlled within Aria; hearsay of the constant feuding and death abroad being relayed on a daily basis could potentially cripple most of the populace. The mental fortitude of avian males is extremely valuable to the people when tragedies do reach public ears and so they play a strong supportive role in aquilan society.
 
One predominately feminine avian trait is long hair. While some male avians also have long hair (the ratio is even higher with dark avian males), women are best known for it in Aria. Because avian hair in general grows more quickly than human hair, more than twice as fast in fact, avians who don't keep their hair at length end up with thigh or even ankle length hair. Male avians tend to have more hands on occupations and so will usually keep their hair short enough to not get in the way or keep it securely tied or braided. Shorter haired avian females are quite rare but do exist, particularly when their vocation requires shorter hair for convenience or safety.
 
Avian females also tend to wear long and usually loose gowns or robes unless it inconveniences them for whatever reason. In order to address sexual tensions between the sexes, the females in particular tend to disguise their figures in this way. Avian males on the other hand, are very unlikely to wear anything that will completely obscure both of their legs beneath a single piece of fabric, but will gladly wear very loose robes or shirts over their upper bodies to obscure their figures. Long coats are also normal for males and females as well as belts, but females will normally only wear loose fitting ones.
 
Among dark avians, the differences between men and women are even less pronounced, though dark avian families who begin living in human settlements begin to adopt that culture's interpretation within a single generation or so.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler='Children']
When an avian woman becomes pregnant, she will increase her food intake enough to accommodate her growing child. This diet change is usually drastic and starts within a few days of becoming pregnant. They will normally start eating triple their share and within a month, the eating binge comes to an end and an egg is produced that will spend the next seven and a half to eight and a half months housing the avian offspring.
 
Once avians are actually born, they tend to strongly resemble humans but with the addition of two extra finger-less limbs that eventually develop into large wings. Avians also develop very well healed belly buttons that may sometimes be difficult to notice compared to those of a human. They are also born with a bit of hair on the very tops of their heads and soft tiny feather stems in their newborn wings.
 
Until adolescence begins, the wings remain mostly inactive and useless for actual flight, though avian children are capable of very short glides and occasionally very big leaps and bounds with the assistance of their wings and light weight bodies. Wings also use up a lot of energy, and so before they can fly proper, avian children will usually avoid using them without a good reason. As avians age, their bodies begin to become more suited to wing use and they can eventually begin to fly on a regular basis.
 
Growing up, avians are exposed to written works of all kinds constantly to help accelerate their language learning and abstract thinking. Even simple avian toys often have quotes and teachings inscribed on them, usually related to the toy's function or purpose, but anything to keep the child reading. Avian children are known to begin speaking using actual words as early as a couple of months after hatching, while taking their first steps toward learning to read as early as one year. The latter is due to their heavy exposure to written works from birth.
 
For females, the natural ability to interpret surface thoughts of nearby individuals doesn't develop until adolescence. Once it does, they may complain of slight hallucinations and voices in their heads for several months to a year. Once the ability is properly developed, the involuntary interpretations cease and thoughts can only be interpreted when an avian is focusing on them.
 
Avian children of all ages spend very little time in school buildings, several hours a day at most. The time spent at school is to formally and publicly educate in necessary topics and takes place in the early to mid morning. After formal schooling takes place, avian children, depending on their age, will go to assist with the family trade or enjoy their freetime. This varies by household. Traditionally, avian families have their children spend a good portion of their freetime in some literary pursuit in order to personalize their education. Whether parents participate in and direct these studies personally, assign another for the task, or allow the student to do this on their own, varies by household as well. In this way, avian children are, publicly schooled and schooled from home.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler='food']
Avians have very specific dos and don'ts when it comes to food consumption, doctrines born out of pure necessity. Their anatomy is unique in that a poor diet can and will kill them after just a few short years, or sooner in some instances. This contrasts heavily with humans who can endure extremely unhealthy diets for years or even decades before beginning to succumb to resulting illnesses, and fallen, who can eat virtually anything and survive. Avians typically avoid 'garbage eating' animals and scavengers but the true extent of their restraint goes well beyond that.
 
Where vegetables are concerned, there are very few avians can't stomach that the other races fare any better with, though avians are known to be able to digest almost any type of plant in the same way the fallen are known to be able to survive off of any type of meat. Avians won't risk eating things like grass or tree leaves outside of an emergency, unless it can be properly treated first. This is because they can still compromise their health in a very short length of time when consuming various bacteria present on or within these types of flora. For avians, meats are a source of far greater woes. Avians can become deathly ill from consuming significant amounts of pork or shellfish and so avoid them at all cost. Poorly prepared meats in general are bad enough for them to cause severe health problems and so many dark avians living among humans have a mostly vegetarian diet, choosing to err on the side of caution much of the time.
 
While they won't eat shellfish, scaled fish such as salmon, trout, carp, cod, and so on are all generally healthy for them and so avians and dark avians alike can incorporate them into their diet. Arians have to have fish imported by the gather groups while dark avians can get them on food markets in human society or go fishing, themselves.
 
Avians and dark avians can also eat certain kinds of fowl, like chickens, turkeys, and so on. They won't eat preying birds, however, and the average person won't go out and hunt fowl themselves unless there's no alternative. Instead, they purchase prepared cuts on the market. Arian gather groups and cultivators make this possible for citizens by gathering, breeding, and raising fowl for consumption.
 
Both avians and dark avians are able to draw significantly more nutrients from plants than humans or fallen. By incorporating certain herbs into their diet as well, they can also gain immunity (for as long as they do this) to several diseases including heart disease, and all known forms of dementia and cancer. Conversely, a complete lack of vegetables in an avian or dark avian's diet leaves them extremely prone to accelerated versions of all of these diseases. Despite their anatomy highly favoring vegetation over meat, avians are still considered omnivorous and arian society endorses an omnivorous diet as best it can.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler='Clothing']
Avians dress for occasion and weather as best they can but always mind the overall weight and ease of movement their clothing may or may not provide. Because the avians live high above the mountains of Outer Sanctum, the weather outside of the cities is extremely cold, however weather within the cities is normally tolerable due to the Sacred Guardian, Luminous', constant efforts. Still, at night, avians usually dress as if a blizzard is coming.
 
Avian women tend to wear pantaloons beneath their dresses and slender boots so that they can at least partially combat the cold if the weather takes a turn for the worst while still obscuring their figures. Because they may also fly on occasion, they will almost never wear short sleeved or sleeveless outfits so that they can avoid the blistering cold winds that assail them during flight. Avian men on the other hand tend to wear large robes or insulated longcoats that function as all weather clothing but work best in the cold. Underneath these are usually lighter shirts and pants suited to the indoors.
 
The actual acquisition of materials and creation of clothing in Aquila is handled by the Gather Groups, cultivators, and Weaver Groups as a whole, but can also involve outlying dark avian villages that the aquilans occasionally trade with. Avians have managed to get a hold of nearly as many different kinds of material as humans and so their fabrics only differ in overall quality and purpose. Avians still tend to aim for the best ratio of light weight and good insulation when gathering materials, creating, and choosing clothing to wear.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler='Entertainment']
The most common form of entertainment among arians is poetry reading. They have a very extensive vocabulary and stringing together elaborate and complicated ideas in interesting or beautiful ways has always been a popular pastime for them, as well as being highly educational. Arian readings have evolved into a full blown sport over the centuries, with avians competing using just their articulating skills. These intellectual sporting events are watched by avians of all ages and everyone tends to leave with a firmer grasp of the avian language. There are also noncompetitive public readings that take place throughout the cities. Reading in general, whether to a group or by oneself, is a popular pastime for avians, even among children. As well as poetry and variations of this, avians also enjoy stimulating puzzles, lyrical music, and sight seeing or 'tourism'.
 
Like humans, avians and dark avians can derive fun, pleasure, amusement, and so on, from virtually anything, though avians are extremely careful to steer clear of unlawful means of entertainment. Altan adherents as well, even if they find that they enjoy something unlawful, will take whatever steps they must to avoid it. Avians also live in complete moderation, which has allowed them to indulge in otherwise addictive or toxic activities such as gambling. Still, these types of activities are normally heavily supervised and most avians don't know what high stakes gambling truly is.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler='Language']
The avian language, 'quilesh' to the avians, and 'avian' or 'aquilan/arian' to everyone else, is a vast and expressive language consisting of around 850,000 basic words. Avian longevity allowed the language to expand to its current size as 'refined slang' became an official means of speech and expression over time. A given idea can be expressed in any number of ways, and avians find a bit of extra individuality in expressing the same ideas and concepts differently from each other. Despite the overwhelming size and redundancy of quilesh, arians are highly educated linguistically from an early age and so it's a rare occurrence for one avian to use words completely foreign to another's vocabulary, though the most common expressions and modern slang do vary a fair amount from city to city.
 
Dark avians also use this language to an extent, but usually in order to speak without being fully understood. The language is considered too difficult for humans to fully grasp with less than two decades of investment due to the way in which the language is used by the avians themselves. When one knows only a few ways of expressing their thoughts in quilesh, conversations with truly fluent speakers becomes a hassle on both ends; it becomes inconvenient for the fluent speaker, and the inarticulate speaker has a difficult time understanding. Fluent quilesh speakers can easily confuse inexperienced learners by simply tapping into their vaster vocabulary and saying the same thing in a slightly different way, which makes it exceedingly difficult for humans, who when attempting to learn the language, have few places to even begin. Even simple objects can be referred to directly in anywhere from several to over a couple of dozen different ways.[/spoiler]
Edited by Phoenix

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[url=http://moreopinionsthan.blogspot.com/]What is this you guys[/url]

More officially: Well, I kept muttering about writing articles. Here is one. More will follow. Stay tuned, and vote in the poll re: whether I should keep doing this. Also, feel free to comment on the blog posts! Edited by Kiryn

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The following is a detailed article about militaries in RotE. Despite the specifics, some of this can be applied elsewhere.

RotE: The Armed Forces

Overview
Every country has its own military force that is used for both the defense of the homeland, and campaigns to expand. Though each country's forces are unique in appearance, training, mannerisms, and combat style, they all share similar command structures, and basic methods of thinking.

 

[spoiler='General']Below is a small ranking guide, and a brief section about some different theories and ideas about military characters, as well as how I feel that they should not be portrayed. Below that are specifics on each nation's military ranks, their four most common base unit types, primary methods of fighting, and unique traits or special units. Note that some of this differs to varying degrees from militaries in real life partly due to the time period and lore, partly due to convenience of rping, and also due to my personal whims and not knowing everything about everything ever. With that in mind, take this as a guide to RotE, and don't bother referencing it for anything other than this rp or something built similarly to it.

Military Personel

My personal recommendations for stat levels versus actual rank:
2/1: if lower than a Captain
2/3: if lower than a Lt Colonel
3/1: if lower than a Brig. Gen.

This is meant to apply to field commanders who fight alongside their soldiers. Conversely, a high ranking officer may be lower leveled than their troops, but these are assumed to be coordinator types; strategists who avoid combat in favor of directing their troops from safety. Obviously, they shouldn't be guarded by anything less than a platoon on the battlefield.

Notes
-This doesn't apply the other way around. That means a high level character doesn't necessarily have to be a high rank in the military, and they shouldn't be unless their character and accomplishments fit the rank.
-Rough equivalents for ranks across the army and navy shouldn't be too hard to figure out.

Moving on ... I've found that just about any personality can work for a military character. The problems start when quirks or flaws are blown out of realistic proportions. I'll run a few separate section examples here.

The Ultimate One Track Mind: A soldier who likes to _____(fill in the blank) and talks about it a lot is fine, but a soldier who can only focus on that one thing even during combat lacks any kind of focus and isn't very believable. An impending death threat should always be able to override whatever someone is commonly thinking about, unless what they're commonly thinking about is directly related to it. A soldier like this shouldn't be ranked any higher than a private and even that's stretching things a bit(since any soldier is trained to both focus on orders and following them). Awareness can erode, but it shouldn't be an excuse for having the ultimate one-track mind.

No Sense of Duty: This one's vague but what I'm trying to get across here is that it's not good for a soldier to be a slacker for no reason other than lazy writing or rper convenience. There's plenty of ways to bypass vigilant guards, and well placed absentminded, corrupt, lazy, or otherwise slacking guards are not the only way to go. Patrols may get bored, but that's why militaries and other organizations take shifts, to prevent the very types of lack luster performance that sometimes gets taken advantage of. Writers should never, EVER, be obligated to state that the guards they've placed are vigilant. They're guards, and vigilance should be a default trait with these kinds of characters. Frankly, lazy, corrupt, or slacker guards should be explicitly flagged, not the other way around. Still, I've found that needing to explain just how prepared guards are for a problem is standard procedure and guards are otherwise assumed to be minimally prepared. In my opinion this is horrible writing and shouldn't ever happen. Unless there's a particular reason for it, guards should not be written with no sense of duty. This is less troublesome when it's one guard among many, but when an entire group of guards starts acting this way, it gets a little ridiculous.

Complete Hardasses:
The other side of No Sense of Duty. These are guards that would throw a kitten in the slammer for purring at them. These kinds of guards always seem to show up when someone really wants someone else punished for something, and that can be just as bad as No Sense of Duty. They generally have plenty of threats, and either the strength to counter resistance or enough back up to do the same. They also seem to be looking for any excuse to cuff a particular person(s). People should always consider that a guard making an arrest that turns out to be bogus hurts their reputation and career, and that should always be factored into how a guard behaves unless there is some reason given why it shouldn't/wouldn't. Conveniently aggressive authorities are no less bad writing than conveniently lazy ones in my opinion.

The Dumbass: There are idiots in the military, and in some cases high ranking ones, however, they shouldn't be prevalent in any fashion or form. If you're rping a soldier or officer, I feel that it would be a good time investment to really decide what type of character you have, and I don't mean basic personality, I mean overall 'intelligence'. This is important because roleplaying a genius isn't as easy as surrounding that character with morons. A character is hardly that smart if they can only make good points toward below average thinkers. It's probably best to only try rping these kinds of characters if you know what you're doing, because trying to portray a genius can sometimes backfire and lead to a character that's universally considered a 'dumbass'. Even if your character isn't a genius, an average character can end up like this if their decisions warrant the title. We can't fully immerse ourselves in the rp's world and environment, so some elements of wise decision making will be lost on us and replaced by out of character knowledge instead. With that in mind, it's important to fill in as much context and in-character thinking as you can before actually posting to avoid making an unintended yet blatantly dumb decision. Your average soldier should not be a moron, or warrant that kind of title. Cultural ignorance like sexism is another matter.

Emotional: Soldiers can be emotional and still be believable, but there's a line here. A warrior or even an officer shouldn't be crying all the time, or even half the time. And not at all if nothing tragic has happened. Next, there's a difference between over emotional behavior(too passionate) and pent up stress(purely a combination of unhappiness and anger). Military personel can often have stressful tasks and responsibilities and this can catch up to them in various ways. For a low or high ranking officer it can come out as constant scowling, firm loudness, disciplinary threats, constant rank pulling, authority abuse, complaining, or all around anger management issues. These kinds of characters can be common, and aren't mold breakers so much as hardasses(though this can be overblown; see Complete Hardasses). Over emotional characters however tend to turn everything into their own personal soap opera, and in the military, that kind of thing would never be tolerated, in fact, depending on which military it was, it might be punished in some tough or even sadistic ways.

Stone Cold: On the other side of emotion, there is a lack thereof. It's fine for soldiers to not wear their heart on their sleeves, but unless it's entirely in character, I don't feel it's a good idea for every soldier to be a completely emotionless being with none other than the basic fondness for country or paycheck. Soldiers are people, and even a highly disciplined one should be able to have their hearts pricked by something other than defeat on the battlefield. Now we can't go making internal dialog for every soldier that's on screen, but for the ones that are reoccurring, a little delving into what makes them human doesn't hurt, and it's good practice for more important characters assuming this character isn't. Longer appearing characters should be unique and interesting despite the uniform IMO.

Rank: Partly covered at the beginning of the article, but not fully. Level is one thing, but the attached personality is actually more important than stats. Again, there's nothing wrong with quirks as long as they aren't abused and pushed past believability. An officer's rank should greatly influence how they behave. A very good example would be a lecherous high ranking officer. This is actually an okay character if they remain tame, but if the character starts doing things that a person in his position would be punished for with complete disregard for the consequences, then there's a problem. People don't get promoted for hitting on their coworkers at every available opportunity and wasting time time in other silly ways. Again, quirks in a personality are fine, but should be handled responsibly, especially by said characters.

Now onto actual data ....[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='Ursium']Army Ranks: (Note: These are only how ranks apply to Ursium)
Trainee: Recently enlisted. Carries absolutely no authority of any kind.
Private: Officially recognized as soldiers in the army. They carry no authority over trainees. There are a few ranks within this one that prelude full promotion. Private 1, 2, and 3.
Private First Class: Has recognized authority over all lower ranks of soldiers serving in the same unit.
---
Sergeant: A position met with the opportunity to lead the training of new recruits. Carries authority over all ranks prior. There are a few ranks within this one that prelude full promotion. Sergeant 1, 2, and 3.
Sergeant First Class: Extended privileges.
Sergeant Major: Extended privileges including the authority to demote or promote lower ranking soldiers excluding the promotion of Sergeant FCs. This rank is also sometimes referred to as "Guard Captain" or "Captain of the Guard" in Ursium, as this rank is generally held by soldiers leading patrols.
---
Warrant Officer: Soldiers of this rank are considered officers and have numerous privileges including the ability to launch military investigations, requisition supplies, and make minor adjustments to soldier positions within their respective units. As the name suggests, they are also allowed to take charge of domestic affairs and issue arrest warrants and bounties, as well as repeal them. This rank carries three levels, WO 1, 2, and 3. Students attending military academies that graduate can enlist into the military at this rank(WO 1).
Chief Warrant Officer: Extended privileges.
---
2nd Lieutenant: A highly recognized rank with authority over all ranks prior to it. Students who graduate with top marks can enlist into the military at this rank(2nd Lt.). As a result this rank is highly scrutinized and students enlisting are watched carefully with high expectations.
1st Lieutenant: Carry many privileges including command assistant, meaning that if a commanding officer allows, Lieutenants may take up temporary command of their entire unit for whatever purpose that was intended. That is not possible before this rank. Lieutenants may also command platoons quite regularly.
---
Captain: A command position. Captains will always be on the front lines leading at least one division in a battalion, and most battalions will have at least two Captains. They have almost unscrutinized authority over their units and can demote, and promote soldiers with less strain than lesser ranks.
Major: Heavily extended privileges but officers of this rank are not as commonly seen on the battlefield. In Ursium they are usually heading small military outposts, or heading some other managerial position.
---
Lieutenant Colonel: A powerful rank that grants an officer charge of military resources, both human and material. They are often bogged down with requisition forms if they belong to a central command sector instead of a battalion. Lieutenant Colonels on the battlefield are generally personal aids to their respective Colonels in managing a battalion.
Colonel: The rank of Colonel is one of the most difficult to obtain, and also the most difficult to keep during wartime. Colonels are almost always placed at the head of battalions. Whether commanding from a makeshift headquarters tent on the battlefield, or in the thick of it with their soldiers, they are central to the success or failure of a unit. They carry absolute and unchallenged authority over all units and resources in their respective battalions, and can only be held accountable by higher ranking officers.
---
Brigadier General: The first of the General ranks. Brigadier Generals are placed in command of anywhere from two to six individual battalions, with a corresponding number of Colonels under their direct command.
Lieutenant General: The ultimate managerial rank in Ursium. These officers are the final word on matters of military resources, battalion management, and campaign management. Units enlisting fresh are generally kept from reaching this rank at high cost, due to the favoritism of academy graduates. It should also be noted that the leaders of noble houses have a rank equal to this one, however it only applies within their own territories or to their forces when not in their own territory.
Major General: The third highest rank in the Ursian military hierarchy. With it carries authority over all ranks prior, as well as the ability to take up almost any desired combat position with some exceptions. They are generally bound to sectors of the nation rather than individual forces.
General: The highest obtainable rank in Ursium's military by anyone enlisting. This rank is safeguarded so heavily, that only graduates from military academies ever reach it. Generals are nearly at the top of the hierarchy. Their responsibilities usually have them too bogged down to do little more than oversee the army. There are never more than twelve generals appointed at any time, and no one in Ursium's history has ever obtained this rank before the age of thirty-five. As the leaders of the entire military, Generals are held to the highest standards and are often replaced when new generals are appointed. It is no rule of thumb, but whenever a new general is appointed, the standing ones are often investigated by various parties and at least one of them will always be found no longer worthy of the position for whatever reason. However, instead of being demoted, when a General faces the end of his time as a general, he or she will generally retire at that rank instead of giving it up. However, retirements are never allowed in the midst of a war unless a grievous injury that forces retirement takes place.
---
Supreme Commander: The head of the entire Ursian military. This rank is actually reserved for wartime purposes and is only given to the acting King or Queen of Ursium.

Navy Ranks: (Note: These are only how ranks apply to Ursium)
Ensign: Freshly graduated cadet or enlistee, ready for active duty within the navy.
---
2nd Petty Officer: These are similar to army sergeants, and have much of the same duties, including seeing to lesser crewmen and keeping their individual groups running smoothly.
1st Petty Officer: In addition to the tasks due a regular petty officer, a 1st may also be put in charge of an entire deck if the ship is too small to warrant having a chief petty officer around. 1sts also receive far more leeway than 2nds in general but are expected to mind their rank and do it justice.
Chief Petty Officer: Chiefs are normally the ones overseeing entire decks in and out of battle. Anyone on a chief petty officer's deck answers directly to them and must go through them in order to speak to higher ranking officers.
---
2nd Lieutenant: Lieutenants manage all subordinate officers and coordinate specific actions aboard ursian ships, everything from sail movements to cannon loading and firing and even loading and unloading cargo at port. A given ship will have at least a dozens and each crew will be trained to respond only to the voice of their overseeing officer, which which makes ursian crews very efficient and responsive despite all of the noise that dominates their tasks.
1st Lieutenant: The 1st Lieutenant is always first in line to replace the Lieutenant Commander. A given ship will usually only have one 1st for this very purpose. That is the primary distinction between 1sts and 2nds aside from other miscellaneous privileges. They also serve as first mates aboard ships captained by Lieutenant commanders.
Lieutenant Commander: In ursian fleets, the term 'captain' has two meanings, both the military rank, and the head of a ship. Lieutenant commanders in ursian fleets are ranked high enough in the hierarchy to command ships of their own. These ships are always small scout ships; typically war sloops. If a lieutenant commander is not commanding their own ship, they serve as assistants to commanders aboard larger warships and help relay orders, coordinate the crew in and out of battle, and manage day to day life aboard the ship.
Commander: Commanders are second in command aboard any ship with an actual captain, and serve as medium weight warship captains otherwise.
---
Captain: At this rank, an officer may either be the captain of a very large warship, or be responsible for a patrol fleet of two to three ships. Patrol fleet captains will be the literal captains of their own ship, but have absolute authority over all the others in the patrol fleet, and these other patrol ships are usually captained by lieutenant commanders and commanders.
Rear Admiral: A Rear Admiral commands a fleet of four or more ships and generally takes one for themselves, using it as a flagship. Managerial duties tend to fall to Rear Admirals who are themselves serving under a higher ranking officer, and so they can be seen as something similar to the lieutenant generals of the army.
Admiral: Admirals command the largest fleets, anywhere from nine to twenty ships and fight in the largest battles. Barring intervention from the Fleet Admiral, regular admirals have the final say on everything they take an interest in.
Fleet Admiral: Only one Fleet Admiral serves at a given time. All matters of naval warfare go through them and they essentially command the entire ursian navy excluding the royal guard and their ships.

Most Common Army Units:
Pegasus Knights
Archers
Cavaliers
Clerics

Ursium uses pegasus knights as more of a signature than anything else, though they do serve well as aerial units, and since Ursium has the strongest presence of archers being rivaled only by Kigen, pegasus knights will generally have uncontested rule of the skies wherever Ursium archer divisions are present. Cavaliers are used for nearly everything else on the ground. They will often be used in very high numbers to overwhelm enemies and overrun enemy positions. Their speed ensures that unmounted combatants are quickly surrounded and neutralized. Clerics are extensively used throughout the Ursian military as healers and basic magic wielders to help balance their melee/ranged/magic power. While mages are used extensively, they only make up the sixth most common unit, behind armored knights. Average [Tier 1] soldiers are level 5, average [Tier 2]s are level 2, and average [Tier 3]s are level 1.

Special Units:
Recusant Battletanks: Very heavily armored rune powered vehicles mounting cannons and/or ballistas. They reinforce battalions and lead charges into the battlefield but serve other roles such as building clearers, mid to long range fire support, and mobile anti air platforms which is their most notably useful trait when dealing with Neviskotians. Recusants generally carry an extremely powerful variant of the long nine cannon that can sink shots accurately into distant targets while not exposing the tanks to any direct combat. Still, the tanks are covered in such thick and durable armor that nothing short of other cannons and things beyond that can damage to them.

Most Common Navy Units:
Pegasus Knights
Mages
Archers
Myrmidons

Ursian fleets are cautious on the water and will stay at range for as long as possible. Ursian archers and mages in the navy are taught to fight efficiently at all ranges for this reason, as boarding is often unavoidable one way or the other. As enemy ships approach, pegasus knights and mounted mages move in to pick off enemies and thin out their numbers while archers and siege mages take potshots from a distance. Once boarding occurs, Ursians will use pegasus knights to strike from above and hit enemies with as much power as they can muster. Swordsmen defend the crew from any flanking attempts. When ursians board enemy vessels, they thin out their numbers first and then send over mages and swordsmen in mass.[/spoiler]
[spoiler='Neviskotia']Army Ranks: (Note: These ranks only apply to Neviskotia)
Private: The lowest rank, gained right after completing basic training. Its only value being recognition as a part of the Neviskotian military.
Corporal: Corporals can obtain the most basic of managerial responsibilities in a unit, but beyond that are little different from privates. Pulling rank is an option for them, however.
---
Sergeant: Sergeants are considered officers of the Neviskotian military and are entitled to the most basic of officers' privileges, such as placing and repealing bounties and arrest warrants, making minor human resources adjustments, and requisitioning supplies.
Sergeant Major: They carry more privileges than Sergeants but the differences end there.
Command Sergeant Major: At this rank, officers have more extensive authority over human resource adjustments(promotion, demotion, and reassignment).
---
3rd Lieutenant: The first of the three Lieutenant ranks in the Neviskotian military. 3rds can take command of small platoons, border security, or serve directly under a colonel in a battalion. They may also serve in less violent roles or as "paper pushers" as they're sometimes called.
2nd Lieutenant: 2nds are allowed more free movement and assignment within the military but are generally found commanding forces same as the 3rds in either security details or battalions. Dragons enlisting in the military always begin their service at this rank or higher(in rare cases).
1st Lieutenant: The top of the Lieutenant hierarchy. They have similar privileges to the Ursian Captain.
---
Captain: Captains in Neviskotia lead one battalion of their own, and work through lieutenants to manage their alloted forces. Human and dragon resource adjustments within their own battalion are under their jurisdiction.
Major: High ranking officers with similar duties to Captains, but they will sometimes have more than one battalion at their beck and call. They will generally be heading security in certain territories of Neviskotia.
---
Lieutenant Colonel: Lieutenant Colonels are the second highest authority on army resources management and are charged with aiding in individual armies(in Neviskotia that would be a force consisting of two or more battalions) or helping oversee numerous armies alongside Lieutenant Generals. They are the primary keepers of rank and file with dozens of assistants.
Colonel: In Neviskotia, Colonels are the backbone of the military holding command of entire armies, though some choose to only command individual battalions in their territories.
---
Brigadier General: This rank allots thousands upon thousands of soldiers to command. Brigadier Generals will generally be in charge of anywhere from six to twelve battalions or one or two armies.
Major General: Major Generals are free roaming managerial enforcers. Similar to police, they report to Marshalls and help to keep the army strong by actively seeking out and exposing the weaker officers and having them demoted, courtmartialled, or in some cases when severe corruption is exposed, executed. Many guardians have been Major Generals within the Neviskotian army.
Lieutenant General: They are the final word on army resources, human, Dragon, and material. There generally aren't very many and so a single Lieutenant General may be overseeing nearly a sixth of the entire land military's provisions. They have other managerial officers at their side, but their responsibilities are still quite daunting.
General: Generals serve multiple purposes in the military, mainly military and domestic government. They will sometimes be more studious officers with a gift for governing and other times will be warriors with unparalleled combat prowess. Generals are usually uncontested for seats of domestic power and are most often found serving as governors of entire territories within the nation. All have leave to act as they please within the confines of military law but answer directly to the Marshalls. The leaders of noble houses share a rank equivalent to this one inside their own territories and with the troops belonging to them.
---
Marshall: Marshalls lead the Neviskotian military. They have the final word on all matters that the Grand Marshall or Commanding Guardian take no part in. As an heir to the throne, Prince Deniska Loginov carries the authority of a Marshall.
Grand Marshall: Head of the Marshalls boasting authority over all lower ranking officers. The Grand Marshall is the second highest authority in Neviskotia, being bound only by military law, and the Commanding Guardian(Emperor). There is only ever one acting Grand Marshall at a time.
Guardian: Guardian is a special title given to those chosen by the Emperor. It is not truly a military rank but a mark of duty and authority. Guardians are not bound by domestic or military law, but by a code written out over a thousand years ago. Regardless of their military rank, Guardians have unlimited action, though their military rank somewhat reflects how much authority they have over others. Even without a high rank, directives from Guardians are almost always obeyed without question for fear of unknown repercussions.
Commanding Guardian: This rank is reserved for the Emperor himself. It is above all other ranks, including Guardian. The Commanding Guardian is bound by the same code of the Guardians and is considered a type of Guardian himself.

Navy Ranks: (Note: These ranks only apply to Neviskotia)
Cadet: These are crewmen in training that the navy uses to prevent skeleton crews, as these have proven troublesome in protracted battles where injuries and casualties are high. They have no special privileges and are not considered a part of the navy officially. They merely work as extra hands aboard a given ship and many are noncombatants meant only to maintain the ship or handle rigging work.
Ensign: These are basic crewman acknowledged as a part of the navy. They have no special privileges and no authority among their peers beyond bossing around the cadets(when it's appropriate). They can also enforce a ship's rules independently if a civilian or equally ranked unit from a separate division(army private) is aboard, though disciplinary action is left to higher ranking petty officers and sub-lieutenants.
---
3rd Petty Officer: The rank of petty officer is a very long line of ascension and the duties throughout change little. Similar to army sergeants in almost every way, petty officers handle resource management on a deck or group level which means most ships have at least a dozen of them overseeing the ensigns.
2nd Petty Officer: 2nds have more freedoms and privileges but there is little else to distinguish them other than the number.
1st Petty Officer: 1sts are in line to become Chief Petty Officers and are given the same tasks to groom them for the role.
Chief Petty Officer: Chief Petty Officers serve under lieutenants and manage much of a warship, most of the ship if it's a smaller one and captained by a mid-ranked officer. They can also handle disciplinary duties and coordinate individual gun decks when desired.
Master Chief Petty Officer: Very similar to a Chief Petty Officer, but with more authority. Their duties tend to vary depending on what an individual ship requires and what it's specialty is. For example, a fire ship(a ship armed with fire cannons and lots incendiary ordnance), a Master Chief Petty Officer will closely oversee the handling of the hazardous materials in place of higher ranking officers.
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Sub-Lieutenant: Dragons joining the navy will receive this rank after their formal training is complete. Sub-Lieutenants assist higher ranking officers such as the lieutenant commander or captain whenever and wherever they're needed. They sometimes act as first mates and quartermasters depending on the ship they serve on.
3rd Lieutenant: Like sub-lieutenants, 3rds assist lieutenant commanders and captains however they can. With the official recognition of being a lieutenant however, they can assume control of the entire ship when necessary and contest orders within reason. They also carry authority over all lower ranking officers aboard the ship they serve on.
2nd Lieutenant: One step up on the pecking order with more privileges. 2nds are more likely to take over for a commanding officer than a 3rd and 2nds also tend to serve on much larger vessels.
1st Lieutenant: 1sts outrank 2nds and usually serve on the largest ships or are the second in command of a smaller ship.
Lieutenant Commander: Like in Ursium, the rank of captain has two places in the navy. Lieutenant Commanders may captain the smaller ships in the neviskotian navy, or serve under commanders aboard frigates and galleons. Because lieutenant commanders are usually in charge of their own ships, only dragons stationed on carriers ever become lieutenant commanders.
Commander: Commanders act as second in command on the larger neviskotian vessels or command medium sized ships of their own.
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Captain: Captains can also lead patrol fleets, groups of several ships meant for maintaining neviskotian influence across trade routes. Captains also sail on much larger ships than other leading officers, such as ships of the line and carriers.
Fleet Captain: Fleet Captains command not only their own ships, but small battlegroups, fleets larger than patrol fleets, but not as large as admiral led armadas. Fleet Captains respond to regional crises by sailing in with their fleets of six to twelve vessels and addressing problems with intimidation, violence, or both.
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Rear Admiral: Like in the ursian navy, rear admirals may command fleets of their own and normally end up with managerial duties. They also assist vice admirals and full fledged admirals with the upkeep of their fleets by overseeing supply distribution. Their role in supply distribution allows crucial fleets to operate at sea in specific locations for up to a year at a time(after a year, humanitarian rules go into effect) and allows enormous blockades to persist for years at a time.
Vice Admiral: Vice admirals lead the second largest fleets in the navy and where rear admirals are lacking oversee homeland defense or anti-separatist operations. They have no immediate resource managing duties, but are still similar to rear admirals in authority and available ships to utilize.
Admiral: Admirals lead the largest fleets, officially dubbed 'armadas' by the conclave. These fleets can number anywhere from twenty to forty ships or more and can overpower coastal regions and pirate fleets easily. They can operate against general threats, the separatists, or the ursians. Admirals answer to the Grand Admiral but generally act on their own without standing orders and pursue the nation's interests in their own way.
Grand Admiral: The Grand Admiral leads the entire neviskotian navy and answers only to the Conclave and the Emperor. Only one Grand Admiral serves at a time and carry absolute authority over all naval forces during times of open conflict or all out war. This rank is currently and has been held by a dragon many times.

Most Common Army Units:
Wyvern Riders
Mercenaries
Fighters
Soldiers

Neviskotian soldiers are split into a combination that completes the weapon triangle and battalions are often organized to take full advantage of this. Soldiers are generally instructed to keep themselves alive instead of relying almost exclusively on healers. Every soldier carries his own healing salve and as a result, magic users are less prevalent on the battlefield. There are many healers serving, but not enough to be considered a primary means of healing like in other nations. This has led to a booming vulnerary and elixer producing industry. Wyvern riders are used as aerial specialists filling any kind of role needed, including shock troops, scouts, defenders, and dragon escorts. Average [Tier 1] soldier level is 5, average [Tier 2] is 1, and average [Tier 3] is 1.

Special Units:
Dragons: Large elemental reptilian sentients who fight alongside the Neviskotians in limited numbers. Many get a combat role depending on their element. Earth, Wind, and Fire dragons generally serve in the army more than any other kind, Earth Dragons being front line units, Wind dragons dealing with threats from the air(and sometimes the ground), and Fire Dragons acting as mobile artillery lobbing fireballs on enemies from great distances. Dragons are very imposing, but are also very easy to target with siege weapons and are relatively easy to injure. Concerted attacks can quickly bring almost any dragon down and so they are fiercely protected.

Vanguards: Vanguards are dragons placed in very heavy armor that only they can move around in. Vanguard casings are generally giant hollow iron wagons built to house a dragon fully harnessed inside. The dragon powers the wagon with his paws moving it forward and backward. The entire casing is armored, but has two ports on either side to allow the dragon's wings to come out for faster placement. Two crew members will be operating inside the Vanguard and will close the ports when the wings aren't extended to close the armor gap. Another port at the front of the casing allows the dragon to see some of what's going on in front of them, but for blind spots, the human crew is relied upon. The front port's secondary purpose is to allow fire dragons to use their fire magic directly. Fire Vanguards as a result are basically hulking flamethrower tanks. Vanguards lack the agility of normal flight but can still get airborne to relocate, or retreat. Wind Vanguards are never hindered by the weight that they carry and so they are the easiest vanguards to deploy, but they are less powerful on offense compared to Fire Vanguards. To literally top off the Vanguard, they will generally carry two human mounted weapon placements on the very top of the wagon; a two person man cannon, and a one man forward placed fire ballista. Ground dedicated Vanguards will usually have two cannons instead of only one, and anti air Vanguards will swap the cannons for two ballistas. The total crew not including the dragon will be from five to seven. Every Vanguard that isn't flying into a hot zone will have significant protection from flanking attacks as well. Vanguards are the most feared of all Neviskotian land based weapons due to their incredible survivability and effectiveness in close quarters combat. There are only around twenty Vanguards, and so in the military they are known by name and number, but more are planned for the future.

Most Common Navy Units:
Wyvern Riders
Mages
Mercenaries
Fighters

Neviskotia has extremely aggressive naval behavior, focusing on brute force and numbers during boarding operations. Wyvern riders are sent out and covered by either siege mages or onboard mages. They harass enemies until a boarding attempt occurs on either side. Once this happens, wyvern riders and mages begin to pick off any isolated or exposed enemies while sword and axe wielders attempt to overpower the enemy. This is the neviskotian tactic on offense or defense, though on defense, the wyvern riders will usually land a few of their own in the thick of the fighting to distract, crush, or overwhelm enemies. This usually blocks enemy advances long enough for fatigued crewmen to recover and kills the enemies' momentum. As wyvern cause enemy units to clump together after a broken charge, mages launch area attacks to wipe out enemies in mass.[/spoiler]
[spoiler='Kigen']Army Ranks: (Note: Kigenese only)
Soldier: The rank of soldier extends to how many years one has been in service in the military. 1st Year, 2nd Year, 3rd Year, and so on.
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Army Lieutenant: This rank carries far more relevance in Kigen than in other nations. Army Lieutenants will be commanding entire battalions.
Local Lieutenant: Local Lieutenants handle domestic issues, issue and repeal bounties, and can recruit and train new soldiers either to serve under them or in the army.
---
Samurai: Samurai are the rough equivalents of both Captains and Colonels acting as both powerful warriors who inspire the troops following them, and commanders to their individual forces. They are usually at or near the front of their troops leading them into the fray.
Army General: Generals lead individual armies and have almost total managerial control of their people and resources.
Local General: Local Generals oversee military strongholds that have evolved into castle towns. They oversee the defense of the castle towns and raise up new armies as needed.
---
Shogun: Shoguns have lead multiple armies and govern vast territories within Kigen. They carry the highest honor in the military and with it the greatest scrutiny and envying. Only one shogun serves actively at a time, but multiple men may possess the literal rank at any given time. Those who are not the acting shogun are sometimes called 'Imperial Generals'. One of them becomes the acting shogun when the current one dies, retires, or is removed from office. As such, it is extremely difficult to gain the status of shogun through blood, and is considered impossible in most cases.

Navy Ranks: (Note: Kigenese only)
Seaman: The rank of seaman extends to how many years one has been in service in the military. 1st Year, 2nd Year, 3rd Year, and so on.
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Deck Officer: Deck officers are similar to the lieutenants of land armies and have most of the same responsibilities. In rare circumstances they can give orders for a captain but that is a job normally exclusive to higher ranks. Deck Officers are responsible for protecting their assigned area of the ship during boarding operations and coordinate attack and defense on a squad to squad basis.
Coast Officer: Also known as 'Port Officers', they are stationed at seaside forts or on coast guard ships. They organize units under their command and assist in running drills and maintaining order. In battle they often head cannon squads, relay orders, and coordinate strike teams during boarding operations.
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Lieutenant: Lieutenants are usually referred to as first mates or even quartermasters, and have the same jobs one expects to come with those. A kigenese warship usually has more than one depending on how many gun decks the ship has in order to maximize efficiency. Lieutenants can act in place of captains and even replace them on the spot if one is killed in battle which is another reason the kigenese tend to place more than one on a ship. The longest serving lieutenant aboard will replace a dead captain, and so enlistment dates are verified long in advance. In the event two lieutenants are tied for the position, one of the men must concede or risk a pointless quarrel that could cost the entire crew's lives.
---
Captain: Captains are in charge of individual ships and have nearly absolute authority during a battle. Outside of battle, their orders can be contested by their lieutenants if the captain's directives conflict with standing fleet orders issued by the ship's respective admiral. Some captains operate independently of a fleet, but all technically belong to a fleet commanded by a specific admiral and so they will always have standing orders whether or not they are currently traveling in a fleet.
Admiral: Admirals command individual fleets and have absolute authority in and out of battle. Their orders can only be contested by a shogun or the emperor himself, but neither are ever around to do so, which leaves most admirals in a position to do whatever they wish as long as they can appease their betters. Because they answer directly to the Shoguns, there is no 'ultimate admiral' to lead the rest and each commands his fleet as he sees fit with minimal guidance from the powers that be. Admirals can capture, build, or purchase new ships for their fleets as they see fit, but adhere to a few related regulations.

Most Common Army Units:
Myrmidons
Knights
Mages/Magicians
Archers

Myrmidons are Kigen's blade specialists who often wield wingslayers or killing edges. Knights serve as the defensive units who defend various locations with a multitude of different weapon types. Mages are typically used both offensively and defensively and primarily against Fallen who are susceptible to anima magic. They also serve as healers when it's needed. Archers are essential to Kigenese war tactics, and fighting Fallen who can easily remain at range and attack from afar. A significant amount of Kigenese soldiers are archers. Average [Tier 1] soldier level is 5, average [Tier 2] level is 5, and average [Tier 3] level is 5.

Special Units:
War Elephants: Kigenese War Elephants serve as versatile war mounts, helping with supplies, and in combat with Fallen. They are particularly effective at delivering crushing blows to the flying warriors and are praised for their trunks especially. It is a source of comedy and a good morale boost for some soldiers to see their unit's elephant grab a Fallen right out of the air and repeatedly bash its head into the ground until it dies. War Elephants are very powerful but often need costly protection. Archers are the primary means, but sometimes knights are stationed at a war elephant's feet to keep Fallen from going after the legs to bring them down. Because Elephants are so intelligent, they can usually be trained to respond properly to a situation without any guidance. This proves useful when a camp is asleep, and the only chance of them waking to a Fallen attack in time is if the elephant immediately calls out to them.

Thunder Tower Operators:
Thunder Towers are one hundred foot tall obelisks which house an operator, and a powerful magic infused crystal. The very top of the Thunder Tower is very similar to a city guard tower, with four well open sides to view the world from. The operator stands below the crystal, which is exposed to the elements. The crystals are designed to function as omni-directional siege range weapons. Operators use their magical senses to detect and attack fallen instead of their eyes, and the crystals along with their rigorous training make them deadly combatants against the fallen.
Thunder Towers do not only carry crystals infused with thunder magic, but they kept the name over the years, as the first weapon of this type carried a thunder crystal. Another notable use for Thunder Towers beyond zapping fallen out of the air one by one, are their ability to spark death clouds. Doing this at just the right time can lead to the immediate deaths of hundreds upon hundreds of Fallen.
Thunder Towers usually stand in place of traditional guard towers in Kigenese fortresses, and they have proven to be just as effective against small raiding forces as the fallen, though they must be heavily guarded from the ground, otherwise a high enough yield explosive can topple the tower at its base. They are considered omni-directional, however there are a few very small blind spots from which a Thunder Tower cannot normally fire from. One example being that a Thunder Tower cannot fire through its own roof supports of which there are four(so four blind spots right there). Another would be directly downward or upward. Most Thunder Towers house thunder crystals specifically to get around this problem, as Thunder Operators are trained to arc thunder spells around the blind spots and reach targets no matter where they are.
The Kigenese also went the extra mile and developed the MTT(Mobile Thunder Tower). These Thunder Towers stand on very large wagons with huge struts holding the tower in place. They require numerous mount teams to pull along, but can be positioned on any flat terrain accessible through more flat terrain. Even a minor steep incline is enough to make traversing impossible due to weight or braking issues. They're built shorter to address this problem somewhat. Every large army will typically have at least one MTT in its arsenal. It's become increasingly common for individual platoon signatures to be etched into the surface of the lower tower sections. Flags are also sometimes placed on higher sections. No 'white flags' have ever been mounted on a Thunder Tower, however.

Death Cloud Teams:
These consist of numerous wind mages and at least one fire or thunder mage, as well as a few non-magical specialists who deal with the 'cloud' substance. Death Clouds are created by propelling a tremendous amount of fine powder into the sky. This powder is so incredibly harmful to inhale, that any human unfortunate enough to do so has almost no chance of surviving beyond a few minutes. Fallen are more resilient, but usually die as well, if not from the harmful powder, then from anything that follows during the battle as a result of their weakened state. When inhaled, a fallen cannot breathe normally, and as such, they can no longer fly normally and either slow down or descend into range of Kigenese forces.
Death Clouds are so dangerous that they must be contained at all cost, or else both sides can suffer massive casualties, and usually sometimes instantly. The wind mages come into play here; after the powder is sent into the air, the mages work in unison to contain it to a pre-planned area. Usually this area is somewhere they expect the fallen to try and approach from. Fallen flocks that come into contact with Death Clouds almost always falter immediately, and so they will avoid them at all cost, even if it forces them to fight during the day, where the red haze Death Clouds produce is easier to spot.
Death Clouds are not only used to force the enemy to fight where the Kigenese want them to, but is also designed to eradicate them in mass at a crucial moment. The powder that makes up Death Clouds is so flammable, that igniting it while still in its container is like setting off a primitive thermobaric bomb. A fire or thunder mage, or even a well placed torch throw is enough to ignite a Death Cloud, and doing so while in its suspended 'cloud' state is lethal to anything within or in close proximity to the cloud. Temperatures inside a death cloud reach almost twelve thousand degrees, enough to kill any mortal being, and flash melt metals. The shockwave from these ignitions are also enough to displace entire flocks of fallen all at once, making them one of Kigen's most powerful weapons.
The powder used in Death Clouds and how it's created is one of Kigen's most well guarded secrets. It is only manufactured in Kayoyama under close supervision of the Emperor's most trusted engineers. Despite being such a well guarded secret, studying the effects of Death Cloud explosions has led some researchers to believe that the powder is made through 'hyper infusion', a process that imbues physical matter so deeply with a given type of magic, that any kind of explosive reaction will violently release all of its potential energy at once, eradicate the material it was housed in, and send the temperatures in the local area soaring.
Some common Death Cloud shapes are the 'Ring', a Death Cloud that surrounds an entire army forcing the fallen to come in from directly above, or from a much lower altitude, the 'Canopy', a Death Cloud that hangs in the air above the entire army, forcing fallen to attack from altitudes archers and siege mages are rather fond of, or from the ground, in range of everyone else, and the 'Stone Wall', a Death Cloud that is used to completely block a fallen army's advance. Should a General feel they are not going to retreat, the clouds are usually ignited, creating a spectacular display of flames that kills fallen that are too close, and humbles all the rest.
Death Clouds powder is also used by Imperial assassins, and with frightening finesse.

Most Common Navy Units:
Mages
Archers
Soldiers
Myrmidons

Some kigenese ships lack sails and so can't be slowed down by conventional means. They tend to be slower than other ship types, though, and aren't reliable for advanced combat maneuvers or on the fly directional changes. When defending from a boarding party, kigenese crews will launch ranged assaults preemptively and then move lancers to the front to block access while their swordsmen defend the noncombatants and reinforce the lancers if any gaps in the line breaks or the formation falls apart. For offense, the lancers are kept back at first and the mages bombard the ship suppressing resistance and causing extensive damage while the swordsmen cross over. Archers get to the highest parts of the ship and try to pick off individual targets at range. Once the swordsmen have a foothold, the lancers cross and begin quickly running down any targets they find. The two teams then coordinate to save momentum and press the attack. Average [Tier 1] crewman level is 4, average [Tier 2] level is 4, and average [Tier 3] level is 4.

Special Units:
pending ...[/spoiler]
[spoiler='Rex-Avaz']Army Ranks/Sancturan Army Ranks:(Note: Rexian only)
Infantryman: Ordinary soldiers serving in the Rexian army.
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Lieutenant: Officers who have authority over Infantrymen and can command small divisions of troops themselves.
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Captain: Captains command the individual battalions of the Rexian army and answer to the generals.
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General: Generals lead two or three battalions each and manage Sanctuary, functioning as a governing council.
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Commander: The head of the entire military, always and only chosen by the Goddess Aisha in the case of Sancturans. In other areas, Commanders are handpicked by leaders out of talented strategists and warriors.

Navy Ranks:(Note: Rexian only)
Recruit: crewmen in training. They have no special privileges and are not truly recognized as members of the military yet. They are used to fill out the crews of medium to large vessels when the need arises.
Crewman: These are officially recognized members of the Rexian Coalition Force.
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2nd Fleet Officer: Similar to lieutenants of the armies, Fleet officers are responsible for handling manpower and resources on a more localized level than higher ranking officers in the fleet or aboard the ship. They coordinate most combat actions and help to relay orders during battle. They can also stand in for a captain in an emergency or on orders.
1st Fleet Officer: A given ship will only have one 1st and this officer acts as a first mate to the captain. They also replace the captain in the event of their death. The 1st Officer rank is immediately assumed by the most fitting or most favored 2nd. Barring the captains themselves, 1st Fleet Officers carry the most authority on any given ship.
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Captain: Head of individual ships. Captains usually helm the ship during battle while one of their fleet officers relays their orders to the rest of the crew.
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Commander: Also known as 'admirals', 'navy commanders', 'sea kings' and even 'leviathans', the commander leads the entire fleet. Similar to other fleet admirals of other navies, they will have anywhere from two to a dozen vessels under their command and can issue 'standing orders' in the event of a long absence. The naval commanders answer only to the Rexian Coalition leaders themselves.

Most Common Army Units:
Horsemen
Myrmidons
Mages
Troubadours

Rexians will use horsemen as their primary method of combat, while Troubadours act as mobile healers. Myrmidons and mages are a simpler slower footed form of the Horsemen/Troubadour combination, but more suited to urban environments. Average [Tier 1] rexian soldiers are level 4. Average [Tier 2]s are level 4, and average [Tier 3]s are level 4.

Rex-Avaz is unique in that one of its armies is aided by a Goddess in battle. Any battle taking place on Rexian soil that the Sancturan army is involved in will see a terrible sandstorm that only the Sancturans seem able to fight to their fullest in the midst of. This allows them to take an overwhelming advantage in battle against their enemies.

Most Common Navy Units:
Archers
Mages
Fighters
Clerics

During boarding actions, rexian crews will use their archers, mages, and even swivel guns to annihilate everything on an enemy ship's main deck, and then send over scores of axe wielding brawlers to cut their way through the ship. Clerics accompany them in limited numbers to quickly heal wounds and allow the strike teams to press on. On defense, the brawlers defend the deck while the clerics treat the wounded and archers and mages target any enemies in range. Average [Tier 1] rexian crewmen are level 3. Average [Tier 2]s are level 4, and average [Tier 3]s are level 5.[/spoiler]
[spoiler='Corvus']Military Ranks: (Note: Fallen ranks)

Ke-Nestling: The equivalent of a private in other militaries. Carries no authority of any kind. The name carries with it a bit of an insult to encourage growth.
Ke-Talon: Talon's act as instructors or platoon leaders.
Ke-Raven: This rank is like that of a Lieutenant and carries similar responsibilities and privileges.
Ke-Falcon: Those with the rank of Falcon are the leaders of Fallen flocks(battalions). Similar to the rank of Captain or Colonel.
Ke-Eagle: Equivalent to a General, Eagles head entire armies. Pronounced 'Key-gehl'.
Marshall: Marshalls govern territories within Corvus and will have several generals at their beck and call.
Patriarch/Matriarch: These Fallen boast incredible power and authority, but are little more entitled than Marshalls. Their names are far more respected however and they are the second highest honored of all Fallen.
Sovereign: The rank of the Emperor.

Fallen ranks usually have a 'Ke' prefix. It comes from the Corvian language and is a very shortened word for Kestrelli attached to most of the military ranks. It survived the centuries along with much of old fallen culture. It comes from a time during a fallen new age where demons were more commonly shaped like the Fallen themselves. This led to them having very high intelligence and even being given ranks in the military. It brought about many problems, including a fallen identity crisis as well as a full blown civil war(which ancient Kigenese experienced as a calm period free of fallen influence). The traditionalist side won out, and architects were forced to adhere to specific guidelines when making demons. The laws and other effects of that time period survive to present times. Despite this, the 'Ke' is not commonly added during casual speech, and only the main rank is spoken.

Units:
Warriors: Weapon reliant
Dark Magic Users: Magic reliant
Versatiles: Fallen equally dependent on both physical and magical weapons.

Corvus though savage at its core is surprisingly well balanced in warfare covering all of their weaknesses in some way or another. Average [Tier 2] Fallen are level 4, and average [Tier 3]s are level 5. Fallen are somewhat unique in that they are one of only two countries with non-dragon warriors that use both physical and magic together in battle. Fallen have natural magical ability and so can cast without tomes once properly learned. This in no way impedes their physical prowess, and so they remain highly versatile and dangerous.

Special Units:
Demons: Fallen forge demons out of dark magic and living matter. Demons serve every other kind of role that needs filling, from surplus consumers, to transports and shocktroops. In combat they serve depending on their design. Hell Hounds are generally used as shocktroops to keep soldiers busy, hunt down archers, or try to weaken or distract war elephants. Mammoths are forged as massive transports, can combat war elephants, and are noted for having a similar appearance to them. There is no limit to the number of demon types. They are forged to fill roles and so they can take any number of forms, however a demon itself only has one form and must be reconstructed into something else(recycled) if the need arises.[/spoiler]
[spoiler='Aquila']Military Ranks: (Note: Avian ranks)
Avian ranks are largely unknown and there is little evidence of them even existing save for the obvious authority of the Emperor himself.

Units:
The only units seen in use by the Avians are those serving in Cloud Legion, most of which were wielders of both blades and light magic, save for the Emperor who has been recorded as a fire magic user. Average tier 2 Avians are [level 5], and average [Tier 3]s are level 5[/spoiler]
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Final notes:
-Promotions in rank vary a bit by nation but only posthumous promotions should ever increase more than one rank, and posthumous promotions have their own rules based on country which someone can come to me directly on.
-Demotions work the same way and should not be used in a >1 fashion.

Edited by Phoenix

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This post covers three articles; the Naval Combat System add-on (undergoing revision), the RotE Currency article, and The Guardian Corp article.

 

[spoiler='Naval Combat System (Under Revision)'][/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='Currency: Ursium, Neviskotia, Kigen, and Rex-Avaz']The first thing to note is that 'gold' as it's referred to is a pretty much universal value. That value is 1. The other coin types are just divisions that can add up to that 1 in a few combinations. As of right now, the conversation from plot gold to points is 1 --> 1. For simplicity's sake mostly, and it's not hard to justify Vulneraries costing amounts in gold rather than in silver in-world.

Ursian Currency:

Lowest Valued Coin: Copper Coin
Highest Valued Coin: Golden Coin

Value Tree:

Copper Coin = 1/100
The copper coin has the least value and is used for very simple, or small transactions.

Silver Coin = 1/10
The silver coin is used for more medium like purchases, such as inn lodgings, cab fees, or other travel expenses.

Gold Coin = 1
Used for expensive transactions such as high priced equipment or weapons. Military grade equipment is generally too high priced to make copper or silver exchange anything short of inconvenient.

Neviskotian Currency:

Lowest Valued Coin: Copper Coin
Highest Valued Coin: Golden Coin

Value Tree:
Copper Coin = 1/30
The copper coin has the least value and is used for very simple, or small transactions.

Palladium Coin = 1/3
The Palladium coin is one of the most common coins. They are simply referred to as 'Pal'. They're often used in combination with Hybrid coins as well.

Hybrid Coin = 2/3
The Hybrid coin is part gold, and part Palladium. The coins were produced specifically to hinder the counterfeiting schemes of the Tashtagol Rebels and replaced the old platinum coins which were of the same value but very large, bulky, and inconvenient. The coins themselves are somewhat fragile compared to other coins, but are extremely difficult to counterfeit, and somewhat painless to test for fakes as a counterfeit will usually snap into two halves under conditions that a real one wouldn't.

Golden Coin = 1
Used for expensive transactions such as high priced equipment or weapons. Since the value gap between Gold, Hybrid, and Pal coins isn't very much, golden coins are often used specifically within the military or as a symbol of status by nobles.

Kigenese Currency:

Lowest Valued Coin: Copper Coin
Highest Valued Coin: Golden Coin

Value Tree:

Copper Coin = 1/60
Lowest valued coin.

Silver Coin = 1/6
Medium value coin.

Golden Coin = 1
Highest valued coin.

Rexian Currency:

Sanctuary Currency:
Lowest Valued Coin: Golden Coin
Highest Valued Coin: Sun Coin

Value Tree:

Golden Coin = 1
The most common coin used in the city of Sanctuary.

Sun Coin = 10
Sun coins are actually gold coins, but significantly larger and purer. They also have a different engraving on their faces and a supposed blessing from the Goddess Aisha. The coins are ten times as valuable as gold coins and they look the part, as they have a very feint but noticeable glow to them at times.

Rexian Currency:
Lowest Valued Coin: Silver Coin
Highest Valued Coin: Sun Coin

Value Tree:

Silver Coin = 1/4
The common currency throughout most of Rex-Avaz.

Golden Coin = 1
The highest valued coin in the regions beyond Sanctuary.

Sun Coin = 10
There are two kinds of sun coins, those used in Sanctuary, and those used elsewhere. The latter are not blessed by the goddess and do not have her image on the back, but instead have engravings of the coin's namesake, the sun.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='The Guardian Corp.']The Guardian Code:
Below is the written code the Neviskotian Guardian Corp follows and is governed by. They adhere to this first and foremost, and answer only to others within the corp.
 

(Recited alone during a knighting ceremony with the Emperor.)
I the individual; shall become one with this nation
Destroy its enemies
Overcome its hardships
Secure its borders
Enforce its laws
Protect its children
Fight for its glory
Live by its ways
and die by them.
By the transcending will of my emperor, I raise shield or sword
Guard or kill
Stay my hand or reach forth
Walk or run
Surrender or perish.
With my life, I will be faithful to this code
Be courageous, even in the face of overwhelming adversity
Be vigilant, even as my senses fade from me
Be strong, even as I lay dying
Be a symbol, even though I may never be seen
With my death, I will pave the way for those to follow
Leave behind arms for others to take up
Relinquish my post to another worthy to take my place
Uphold the Guardians' code of honor
and achieve my final victory.

(Recited alongside other appointed guardians following the ceremony.)
We the people; are one with this nation
We destroy its enemies
Overcome its hardships
Secure its borders
Enforce its laws
Protect its children
Fight for its glory
Live by its ways
and die by them.
By the transcending will of our emperor, we raise shield or sword
Guard or kill
Stay our hands or reach forth
Walk or run
Surrender or perish.
With our lives, we are faithful to this code
Are courageous, even in the face of overwhelming adversity
Are vigilant, even as our senses fade from us
Are strong, even as we lay dying
Are a symbol, even though we may never be seen
With our deaths, we will pave the way for those to follow
Leave behind arms for others to take up
Relinquish our posts to others worthy to take our place
Uphold the Guardians' code of honor
And achieve our final victory.
On the blood of our Fathers; on the blood of our sons.


In case you're wondering, yes the Guardian Corp has a very serious stance about this code and what it entails, so this should reflect in Guardian characters to a noticeable degree. These laws are everything to them.

Explanations:
In the I ceremony, the first section is talking about specific duties a Guardian normally carries when not on some kind of demanding mission. The second section with the several sets of "or"s refers to a Guardian's unlimited action and places them almost solely under the rule of the Emperor(head of the Guardian Corp). It means what it says and the Emperor's will is final. Specifically, the phrase "By the transcending will of my emperor" amounts to saying that an order given from him goes over any law that otherwise restricts it. This isn't to say that a Guardian can go around breaking the law on a whim, but only that once they receive a directive, they are to carry it out by any means necessary, which supercedes the law. However, a guardian who doesn't follow an order from the emperor the minute it's given will be taken out by another Guardian before too long.

The We ceremony is an almost identical saying, but it's plural and present form meaning that instead of pledging to do or be something, one is considered to already be doing or being something along with the other current Guardians present. It's mostly an assimilation and unification speech, as Guardians are meant to be a unified fighting force.

The emperor has his own code to follow as well as the code of the Guardians, but the gist of it is that his position being the most important, also carries the most responsibility. The guardians follow the will of the emperor without question, because he follows a code more precise and important than theirs but does it with the same level of devotion they do. In the extremely rare event that an emperor is no longer able to rule for whatever reason, or has obviously become corrupted/incapacitated/insane, a Guardian can submit a plea to the Imperial Royal Family and the Guardian Corp to remove them from power and replace them with an immediate or close relative fit to rule, but whether or not this succeeds, the Guardian's life is forfeit after this, and they are expected to submit to execution. When a Guardian attempts to remove an Emperor from power, it's considered both an act of betrayal, and also fulfilling one's duty depending on why they attempt to do this. Because of the betrayal of undermining their Emperor(or trying to), the Guardian breaks the code in essence, and forfeits their life in the process, even if their reasons are just or logical. It's not generally seen as a dishonorable death, only a necessary one to honor the code, and a Guardian that successfully removes an unfit Emperor is usually satisfied with this. That hasn't happened many times but it has happened.[/spoiler]

Edited by Phoenix

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I discovered that one of my favorite webcomic authors wrote a thing on what really makes a Mary Sue/Gary Stu, or not (rather than just the traits they tend to have). Good read. http://thepunchlineismachismo.com/archives/589

(I'll be linking this in the index also.)

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Return of the Emblem: MAGIC


Reader Notes:

-This is Version Three of magic canon and only contains overviews, mechanics, technique descriptions, and other useful information for people developing mage characters, magic knowledgeable characters, or just establishing abilities and limitations.

-Any historical data from Version Two will be restored in the Timeline post. Also, there's not much separation between IC explanations and OoC explanations, so if you're not sure whether certain characters should know exactly how something works (or be able to explain it to someone else), just ask me. I really can't be bothered to format this into IC and OoC knoweldge sections, so those questions I don't much mind. I also don't recommend reading this all at once unless you're into that sort of thing. This is only meant as a reference point for canon.

-If you see '(#)' right next to a listed technique or category, that's the minimum tier a character should be if they know this technique. Otherwise, they just shouldn't know the technique. If you see a '(*)', that means that category of magic must also be their primary one(first learned/most used/most proficient) for them to be able to learn that technique. Abbreviations in parenthesis (Synthesis=Syn/Organic Arcana=OA/Tendril Magic=TM/Special Conditions=S) are any other prerequisites to learning a spell. Instances with both a '2*' and a '3' for a technique with only one element mean that either one or the other can be met to learn the spell; only one of these is required.

-To save space a new rating system has been added ranging from 0 to 10. It consists of four categories to better explain a spell; popularity, usage, difficulty, and effectiveness. Popularity rating shows how well known the spell is throughout Sardius (0 being less than a 100 people and 10 being a spell recognized by anyone who hears of it). Usage shows how many mages actually have the spell in their arsenals continent-wide (0 being less than a 100 individuals and 10 nearly all applicable mages). Difficulty shows the inherent difficulty of casting the spell regardless of experience (0 being as easy as writing a sentence for those of the listed tier and 10 requiring mental augmentation just to be feasible). Effectiveness shows a spell's performance vs targets when at neither an advantage nor disadvantage (0 being almost useless and 10 obliterating anything it touches). They’re labeled P: 0/10 U: 0/10 D: 0/10 E: 0/10

 

[spoiler='Source of Magic']Three of the four major gods are accredited with granting magic to the world, Mercy, Nature, and Truth. The exact means by which they do this isn't clear. The term 'magic' is ancient and comes from early human societies who were unable to harness or understand it. It has carried over into all human languages, but the original term for magic, recorded and preserved by the avians, was a word meaning 'manipulation' or 'control'. It should also be noted that the terms 'units' and 'energy' refer to individual psychic, light, dark, or anima particles, and masses of them respectively. These forces are not pure energy in their normal states.

 

Light, dark, and anima units exist almost everywhere; traces of them exist throughout the atmosphere, all falling toward the ground like a constant snow. Dispersed units like these are very difficult to observe, but they are always present, and they slowly enter the crust of the earth, usually binding to various ores within. Magical energy is acquired for tomes and stones (staves) by extracting them from these ores. For more on this, see the RotE Timeline.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='PSYCHIC POWER']Psychic power is the 'interface' responsible for manipulating light, dark, and anima. In short, it controls all magical spells cast by sentients. Psychic units have very large range of influence and assert direct control over the movements and phases of local magic. Psychic units also make up a magician's control field, and these control fields are usually no smaller than the radius of the magician's aura. Spells are always created inside of the control field, even if it has to be stretched to a certain location or distance. Psychic units also reflect the magician's understanding in various ways.

-A control field is the range of influence held by the magician's psychic units. Beyond this range, they have no effect.

-Psychic units can only target light/dark/anima units on the edges of or inside of the magician's control field. Psychic units can target any kind of magic even if the magician is not well versed in it yet, but the range of control is extremely limited until training progresses. The control field can be manipulated, stretched, skewed, and so on to alter the range of control when needed because it is simply the magician's collective psychic power. The amount of psychic units doesn't increase, so control field shifting has to be done with this being considered. Stretching a field too thin in favor of range sacrifices the fine control required for powerful spells while condensed fields allow for the most advanced and complex casting, but at the cost of range.

-Psychic influence does not happen on a 1:1 ratio. Instead psychic units influence all applicable units within a certain radius.

-Instances of strain magicians feel when trying to perform a spell beyond their capabilities or during fatigue are caused by psychic units failing to perform a task. When pushed beyond their (and the magician's current limits), psychic units create a positive feedback loop (strengthen the mind to strengthen themselves). This loop is cumulative and increases magic potential, but can induce intense headaches and render a magician unconscious very quickly. Fortunately the intense pain caused by higher levels of strain will often break a magician's concentration and end the spell before any lasting damage is done. In extreme cases, magicians can cast overwhelmingly powerful spells, overcoming the headaches to do so, but put themselves into comas or even die as a result. Despite the dangers, positive feedback loops are essential to magical development, in the same way muscle strain is essential to muscle growth in exercise. Positive feedback loops cause a permanent, though extremely small increase to casting potential each time they occur. This is how magicians become more powerful, through carefully pushing their limits.

-While there are limits to how far a magician can send pyshic units in order to stretch and skew their control fields, the psychic units will always return, phasing through all matter and energy in order to do so. Once a psychic unit winds up beyond the magician's range of control, it returns to the control field at tremendous speed.

-Psychic energy can give active guidance to spells or give a complete instruction depending on the magician’s level of expertise. There are advantages to both. The latter allows a magician to create a spell that will ‘continue’ outside of their control field for a very limited amount of time. This gives many siege spells more effectiveness. The former allows for ‘on the fly’ course correction, and spell inflation. The spell must remain within the magician’s control field for this method to work, however.

-Magicians cannot directly perceive their own psychic power. They can only infer its presence through psychic/magical interaction. Psychic units can also affect magic from a bit of a distance which means the exact location of these invisible and completely intangible units and their exact number are unknowable.

 

It's important to note that the psychic power of humans differs greatly from nonhumans. Born natural hosts (nonhumans) have a very limited range of control when compared to humans. The biggest example being that nonhumans have rarely been known to use tomes or staves or draw out power the way humans can. They have, however, been known to encase and infuse magical power in objects. Another example of the differences is experience. Nonhumans seem to be able to make use of their psych power from early childhood, but humans who do not become attuned to theirs will always have completely inert psychic power. With experience, psychic abilities become stronger as a whole, and more powerful abilities become available to both humans and nonhumans as a esult. Psychic energy has one other notable trait; once in contact with psychic energy, a sort of countdown begins, and at some point, any magical energy that has been influenced directly by psychic energy breaks down into natural forms of energy or simply disappears. During some stages of this decay, psychic energy cannot influence these units at all. Unsurprisingly this severely limits the recycling of some types of magic.

 

Psyhic Theory:

-Psychic units are supposedly never lost or replaced, are intangible, can move at great speeds through space, and only receive guidance from the mind of a magician. Because of this, psychic units are thought to be the 'arms and legs' or simply 'limbs' of the spirit, capable of controlling magic, energies of divine origin.

-The Unrestrained Unit Theory states that with enough training, an individual could control spells with a 1:1 psychic unit to spell ratio. That would allow a mage to cast a basic spell using less than one percent of their total estimated casting ability. While it's been deemed utterly impossible, it is still an interesting theory that has kept interested parties aiming for something relatively 'close'.

-Psychic units are thought to have some effect on the environment(natural energies, not matter), but the effect is far too small to ever be practical. Thus, psychic units remain a control interface. Still, what is seen of divine entities suggests that psychic units can have a profound effect on not only energy but matter as well, and on levels comparable to anima. How these beings achieve this is unknown, but it lends a small bit of credit to the Unrestrained Unit Theory.

-Some believe that the purpose of magical decay is to prevent an overflow of power throughout the world. It wouldn't be something to be concerned about at any point in history so far, but after another ten thousand years with no intervention at all, it's believed that the amount of magical 'build up' could create conditions that would make the world unrecognizable, and possibly even inhospitable. For this reason, the use of magic is greatly encouraged by some, even in frivolous activities.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='LIGHT']Light magic is imparted to the world through the Goddess of Mercy. Light is a peculiar magic type because it not only able to destroy materials, but also restore organic ones to an earlier arrangement or 'state'. This has significant limitations, however. Light units are the least tangible of the three types. This limits light magic's overall combat potential to diversionary and heat based attacks. Light units 'break down' after psychic energy ceases interacting with them, converting mostly into heat energy. This happens immediately though the glow of the final energy emissions can sometimes linger for several seconds.

 

Combat:

Light magic's only viable uses in combat are diversionary and heat based attacks, the former being more of a preparation tactic for the latter. High concentrations of light magic create tremendous heat, rarely on par with fire magic but still lethal. The advantage held over fire (natural and unnatural) is that light magic can generate heat directly inside of unprotected targets. This is known as the ‘Purge’ and is one of the more advanced light magic arts.

-Light units can pass through physical material, organic or inorganic with ease, but cannot pass through a barrier easily. Intangible light units, or 'phased light units' can bypass barriers, but unphasing in the middle of an enemy's aura and control field creates interference that prevents combat grade spells from forming properly. It takes precision and timing to use phased light units to set off a spell inside of the target without any interference getting in the way.

-Light units are the fastest moving units in the magic triangle and can even outpace modern projectiles. At their maximum normal phase, light units travel at five hundred meters (one thousand six hundred forty feet) per second. In their intangible phase, they seem able to move to any location instantly, but are believed to only be able to travel at the speed of natural light.

-All light techniques can be 'cast on the move' (while walking or running), which is a big advantage in combat, but this takes some practice, and concentration improves while idle.

-Light units can be infused.

-The range of normal light spells is twenty meters. Longer range attacks are forty meters, and siege range attacks can reach as far as sixty meters. Beyond these distances, accuracy begins to suffer greatly.

[Techniques]

Shine(1): P:10 U:10 D:0 E:1

Light units converge to a single point creating an intense light. It can be used as a flash attack to cause temporary blindness. Permanent blindness is also possible.

Thani(1): P:10 U:10 D:2 E:5

Light units are converged in great numbers and at great intensity to create a pocket of superheated plasma which can then be used as a projectile. It is highly effective against armor.

Purge(2): P:10 U:6 D:6 E:7

Light units are converged and phased before being moved to the inside of a target, and then unphased to cause massive damage. It is extremely effective against armor.

Luce(2-Thani): P:8 U:5 D:6 E:4

Creates numerous Thani spells and showers the target with them. Effective against multiple targets or for ranged suppression.

Aureola(3*Thani): P:10 U:2 D:8 E:10

Thani is used as a base spell, but scaled up tremendously. The light energy is funneled toward a target, creating a light particle beam. It only lasts a short time, but creates temperatures that exceed ten thousand degrees Fahrenheit. It is extremely effective against most targets and difficult to learn.

Burst(3*): P:4 U:2 D:8 E:6

Uses phased light units in mass to strike small targets, knocking them away with atmospheric pressure when unphasing while adjacent to them. They can also burn or destroy a target if powerful enough. It is effective for defense against projectiles or disarmament.

Disruption(2*/3): P:2 U:1 D:7 E:9

A stream of light units with two purposes are used, one to phase material they come into contact with, and the other to damage the target. This attack is extremely effective against non-magical defenses.

Legion(3*): P:1 U:0 D:9 E:9

This is an advanced version of Luce, which has a greater number of miniature Thani components, but also greater control over them, wielding them more freely and for longer. It is capable of attacking groups or single targets from all directions, making it effective against most targets, but difficult to learn and wield.

Life Field(S) P:0 U:1 D:9 E:2

The control field is used to actively pull in light units from the caster’s aura, tome, staff, and even the environment and draws them into the body, creating a temporary regenerative effect. Very difficult to learn.

 

Healing:

In healing, light magic heals wounds by working organic material back into a whole or normal state. It requires a bit of imagination, as the light units react to the instructive 'images' given them. While it is severely limited overall, light healing trivializes most mortal wounds and gives well-coordinated strike teams incredible staying power in a fight.

-Light magic contains traces of life energy or 'life force' directly from the Goddess of Mercy. These 'complete' a healing by reinitializing cellular metabolic processes where they're lacking. This allows for the revival of recently dead tissues.

-For healing to begin, magicians must 'attune' the energy that is to be used. This step is barely understood by either the church or the magical community, but it has been observed that light magic applied to a wound will ordinarily do nothing if not cause harm. Nonhumans versed in light healing were needed to teach 'attunement', but the effect was only ever produced successfully in healing staves. The stones used in healing are incapable of being used offensively as well. Humans rarely learn how to attune light magic and so rely exclusively on staves or healing stones as a whole, however, humans who can attune light magic are known to exist.

-The experience of the healer determines the speed at which an injury can be healed. The more experienced the healer, the faster the healing, and the more that can be healed in a single attempt. Light healings take approximately fifteen seconds (deep cuts that would otherwise require stitches or an elixir), while minor wounds only take half as long.

-Healing is not a physically taxing task for a human, but it is a mentally taxing one, and like most other spells, done too many times all at once will exhaust a magician. Average number of healings before strain sets in per tier: T1=5-8/T2=9-12/T3=13-16.

 

-Light magic heals by approximately restoring the positions of living elements and operates primarily on a cellular level.

-Light healing can ease the symptoms of various ailments but not cure diseases or 'naturally occurring' chemical imbalances in the body.

-Foreign materials cannot be removed through light healing, and so infection and other risks remain afterward. The latter can only be treated with a restore staff or natural remedies.

-Mild to moderate aches usually persist even after a subject is healed. This is temporary and shorter lived than natural recovery pain.

-Bones must be properly aligned before healing occurs; light magic is not tangible enough to force 'weighty' materials into place and will lead to an improper healing, most of which become semi-permanent deformities that can only be corrected through gruesome means.

-Reattaching limbs is possible, but takes time and careful alignment. Improperly aligning a limb can have the same consequences as improperly aligning a bone and the steps needed to correct this type of problem are just as gruesome if not more so. Minor reattachment issues are severe stiffness and inflexibility. This can persist for months or years.

-Blood can be restored if it is inside the subject's body or right on the surface of the wound. Blood beyond these areas is lost.

-Dead material can be restored, but it must occur before decomposition begins to set in (while life force can still sustain it).

-Long dead and decaying material cannot be restored or sustained.

-Hair cannot be restored by light magic; it is technically not alive.

-Severe burn wounds (or any wound that sees materials physically lost to molecular separation and dispersal) are impossible to fully heal, but overall functionality can be saved provided third and fourth degree burns (or similar forms of destruction) are kept to an bare minimum. Exterior burns often leave terrible scarring, but interior ones can still see most of the material recovered during the healing process.

-Self healing is more difficult for a magician to perform, especially in the heat of battle. Healing in general is an easy process to 'interrupt', but that is primarily due to outward stimuli. During a self-healing attempt, the slightest change in focus can potentially disrupt the healing attempt. During a battle, even a slowing or quickening heart rate can cause this. While not fully understood, there is much work underway to try and automate the healing process through staves so that self-healing is more viable, but as a whole, healers carry vulneraries with them, or rely on other healers, especially in combat. Out of combat, it is possible, but still difficult for those with little experience.

-Restore staves were created to handle nearly every task ordinary staves could not. They can enhance basic mental functions which dramatically speeds up internal recovery rates, and slightly bolsters the immune system. The effects allow the subject to shrug off stunning blows and recover from light poisonings or minor infections. Subjects can often fight with more persistence than a crippling ailment would otherwise allow. These special staves are also light based and so will impart life force, which can hasten recovery from petrification spells and treat LFD (life force dependency). They are most frequently employed by hospitals to speed up recovery from painful injuries and to treat infections, and by the military in tandem with healing staves to keep soldiers in the fight and stave off losses from attrition.

-Revival is a skill that takes on varying forms, but it works primarily by imparting the life force inherent in light units to the subject. In circumstances where a victim still hasn't suffered enough blood loss to render healing useless, imparting life force can provide a burst of energy throughout the body, strong enough even to bring someone back to consciousness. It can also delay the deaths of individuals who are dying from natural causes by revitalizing the body. Unconsciousness induced by minor to moderate blood loss can also be reversed.

 

Warp:

The Light Warp is a remarkable ability of light magic. The process works by deconstructing an individual and reassembling them elsewhere, particle by particle. This 'atomized warp' is the church's strongest evidence of the Goddess of Mercy aiding magicians directly. To this day the magical community is unable to easily refute the goddess' involvement in the light warp; their own rules of casting nearly forbid it. It is widely accepted that because conventional spells must be actively controlled by the mind to function, a mind that has been disassembled is not capable of finishing the warp instruction and therefore cannot control the rest of the warp. The only possible way would be if a complete instruction could be given in advance.  In short, anyone who attempts a light warp should normally be left as an unsorted collection of particles; dead. Instead, the body is painlessly disassembled in one location and quickly reassembled at another location. While this would have easily pointed to instruction hidden within runes, it did not explain the staff-less light warps of nonhumans. Again, the only remotely feasible explanation that excludes the Goddess of Mercy is a completed instruction given prior to the warp.

 

The actual mechanics are as follows: Light units attach to every particle in the human body and enter a fully intangible phase, bringing the attached particle with them into that phase. This phase and transport happens out of sync which causes every part of the subject's body to stop interacting with all of the others without causing physical damage. The light units race off with their own piece of the subject and exit the intangible phase in the exact positions relative to each other that they left in.

-A light warp generally requires a warp staff, a device that carries both a rune and a power source. The latter provides the light energy necessary for the warp while the former allows for automatic addition of second, third, and even more individuals in the warp.

-Glyphs are runes that determine a staff's control radius, meaning that anyone inside the glyph's projection radius will be pulled into the warp. For more details see 'Runes and Imbued Items'.

-A light warp need not take place on even terrain but it is generally safer. Warping to uneven terrain is also possible; however this can easily lead to injuries in certain circumstances. It is not possible to exit a light warp in internal contact with a structure, object, or person. Those who have attempted this have found themselves reconstructed in different positions than they left in in a compensatory manner.

-The average warp will carry the magician and their companions two to three miles in one attempt, though more experienced magicians have gone farther. It is currently not possible to warp beyond five miles in one attempt, however.

-A magician is only taxed a little during a light warp which is one reason it is the most popular warping method. Every additional passenger will only increase whatever toll is already present by about ten percent (additively).

-Warping alone, it is possible to travel up to forty-two miles in total (and warping frequently) before one must rest and recover. Most will only be able to travel thirty miles before requiring rest, however. Recovery times are on average from one to four hours for both humans and nonhumans. That’s assuming they exhausted themselves. Otherwise only fifteen minutes or so is required.

 

Light Theory:

-Light magic is considered one of the best candidates for use in cloaking magic, as it has the ability to cause individual particles to become intangible. Rather than making the magician in question intangible which would prove fatal due to gravity, the light cloaking theory suggests causing light that strikes the cloaking field to be shifted as it comes in and shifted back as it comes out. This keeps light from reflecting no matter the origin, however, the military is more concerned with causing entire projectiles to be shifted as they come into contact with the field, and so more attention has been paid to that. No practical results have yet appeared in either cloaking or projectile shifting.

-'Breaching' is a theoretical application of light magic that capitalizes on the intangibility phase. The goal is to allow subjects to pass through walls by phasing the particles within the wall. In theory this could be done with a simple warping staff, but this hasn’t worked yet because warp staves require a destination point. Some suspect this can never work due to the supposed involvement of the Goddess of Mercy in the light warping process, and how that too would be impossible without her involvement.

-'Filtration' is a primarily non-combat application of light magic in which wavelengths of natural light are shifted, interrupted or otherwise manipulated. This changes the perceived color(s) of almost anything enveloped by the filtration units.

-Some legends say that vasili of light could create new life. Light magic is also considered a very important component of creating artificial humans. While dark magic can transfer life force from one entity to another, because light magic contains life energy from the goddess, it could potentially grant life to an artificially created shell at no real cost.[/spoiler]

 

[spoiler='DARK']Dark magic is imparted to the world through the God of Consolidation, Lord Truth. It is an incredibly versatile type of magic that has been used in all sorts of ways throughout the ages. Dark magic has the strongest micro-displacement potential of all magic. That is to say that it is the most capable in altering the very structure of matter. Dark magic is also slightly intangible--able to pass through solid material at a slower pace than the open air--in its normal state. This makes its macro-displacing power very weak compared to Anima, but stronger compared to light. Dark magic also has a unique property among magic that gives it most of its versatility. This is the dark control field. Every individual unit of dark energy has a control field, and each field has three active states or phases in which it can enter, known as the in-phase, out-phase, and lock-phase. These phases grant dark magic all of its various abilities, as the in-phase pulls matter and energy in, the out-phase creates a repulsion effect that pushes matter and energy away, and the lock-phase causes the control field to immobilize or at least restrict the movement of everything within its radius. Dark units interact with each other directly and can't phase through each other, but their control fields have a lesser effect on other dark units than the environment, and absolutely no effect on psychic units. While in the inactive phase, dark units have very little effect on the environment, but can move more freely.

 

Dark units also decay or rather disappear, but the process takes a very long time, long after they have broken contact with the magician who wielded them. Because of this, traces of dark magic can be observed in various places. The 'dark taint' is what it is sometimes called, but it is simply a lingering mass of dark units and it tends to cling to physical objects. A person killed by a powerful dark magic attack will often have traces of dark energy coating their body, with the highest concentrations around their wounds. Dark units left alone for long enough (one month or so) cease to interact with psychic energy and can no longer be controlled directly (though in the case of tendrils, they can still be used to an extent). After that, the dark units remain until they eventually disappear, which happens within the space of six months.

 

Combat:

Making use of the various phases of dark units is the key to executing dark magic attacks. Dark magic is a dreaded form of attack because it has the potential to subvert healing magic. Because dark magic's primary form of attack is oscillating to force materials apart on a cellular or even sub-cellular level for those more experienced, materials needed to repair an injury can and often do go missing (literally). This prevents full and proper healings for attacks that use the oscillation method. This is similar to severe burn wounds which healing magic also has difficulty addressing. While dark magic attacks can be healed, scarring, on the surface or interior, is often unavoidable. One drawback of all dark magic techniques however is immobility, that is, a magician cannot move while casting any of these spells until very well learned, and even then, anything beyond the pace of walking will create variations in concentration strong enough to destabilize or disperse the spell. Several spells can never be cast 'on the move' by ordinary humans, however, including singularity, dark star, destruction sphere, or any stasis spell.

-Dark units can 'penetrate' matter, but not nearly as easily as light units can due in part to their large control fields, and so most dark magic attacks rely on inflicting massive superficial damage. They are also less effective against armored targets than light magic.

-Dark units are the slowest moving units in the magic triangle, and can only cross thirty meters (ninety-eight and a half feet) per second. This is negligible in close quarters combat, but requires careful consideration at siege distances.

-Dark units can disintegrate objects over time by rapidly shifting between the in and out phases. While in this state, anything they come into contact with aside from other energies is pushed and pulled apart at the cellular level. More experienced magicians can cause this to work on the molecular level, although it has been shown that the smaller the scale, the less pain there is as a result. Depending on the speed of disintegration, heat may or may not build up to dangerous levels from the friction involved.

-Dark units can be infused.

-The range of normal dark spells is ten meters. Longer range attacks are twenty meters, and siege range attacks can reach as far as thirty meters.

[Techniques]

Dark Sphere(1): P:10 U:10 D:1 E:3

Converged and compacted dark units are put into the out-phase for a repulsive effect and launched. It is most effective for defense.

Flux(1: P:10 U:8 D:5 E:5

A large mass of dark energy is thrust at the target, and then all of it is put into oscillating phases to eat away at the target. The attack is effective against targets without barriers.

Luna(1/Dark Sphere): P:10 U:4 D:6 E:6

Multiple dark sphere spells are utilized and hurled at the target, sometimes from multiple directions, causing sometimes series or even fatal injuries. This spell is effective against slow targets.

Death Sphere(1): P:9 U:6 D:4 E:6

A sphere of oscillating dark units held together by in-phased units in the core is hurled at the target, causing massive superficial, and potentially internal, damage. It is effective against a variety of targets.

Nosferatu(1*) P:8 U:4 D:7 E:7

A target is engulfed in dark units and life force is drawn out of their bodies by in-phased units before being delivered back to the caster via out-phased units. The attack causes great pain to the victim and can even render them unconscious. The technique is known as ‘nusumujutsu’ to the Kigenese and is most effective against targets with no barriers.

Dark Thunder(2*): P:2 U:2 D:7 E:8

An electrical charge is created by tearing electrons from the environment. The resulting charge is unleashed on a target to stun, incapacitate, or kill them. The attack relies on the ionized air it creates to move more freely and can be unleashed as a continuous attack. Its natural color is violet, but can also be blue or red depending on the overall phase ratio.

Dark Shot(2*): P:5 U:4 D:7 E:8

An armor/barrier piercing dark energy projectile is created, specifically tailored to the target, and thrust at them with full force, causing massive internal damage if successful. The attack is effective against all targets when done correctly.

Stasis(3*): P:3 U:3 D:8 E:5

A target is engulfed in dark units and immobilized by various combinations of dark unit phases. Forceful use of this attack can cause serious injuries or even kill targets. It is almost completely ineffective against barriers.

Singularity(3*): P:7 U:2 D:8 E:10

A magical singularity is created through the hyper compaction of numerous in-phased units. The singularity will draw in anything within its effective radius and eventually atomize it. When stability is lost, or the in-phased units are changed to another phase, the singularity will dissipate, shatter, causing an atmospheric disturbance, or explode, causing an even greater atmospheric disturbance. This attack is effective against virtually everything.

Dark Star(3*): P:4 U:2 D:9 E:10

The magical opposite of a singularity, created the same way, only with out-phased units. The dark star will repel anything within its effective radius. Dark stars can be converted to singularities, but not back again. When stability is lost, they will dissipate, shatter, creating a shockwave, or explode, creating an even bigger shockwave. They are effective when used in close proximity to a target.

Destruction Sphere(3*):  P:7 U:1 D:9 E:10

A singularity is combined with a continuous self-sustaining charge, creating a red lightning storm within the singularity’s effective radius. It is extremely effective against virtually all targets.

Dark Wave(3*/Dark Warp): P:0 U:0 D:9 E:9

This is the most advanced dark spell, performed by creating a series of warping points and sending spells through them in order to strike multiple enemies along the spell’s plotted course.  The dark star is the most effective dark magic spell to use in conjunction with the dark wave due to the oscillating shockwave it creates.

Annihilation Field(3*): P:0 U:1 D:7 E:8

The caster supplements their aura with dark units, shields themselves with a layer of lock-phased units, and puts the rest into oscillating phases, creating a field dangerous to all but the caster. The attack is effective against a variety of targets but does not do well against barriers.

 

Warp:

The Dark Warp is a method of traveling quickly from one location to another. It has been postulated that dark warping is a direct contrast to light warping; the latter relying on the Goddess of Mercy altering the magician to bring them to their location, and the former relying on the God of Truth altering the world to bring them to their location. This is because dark magicians warp themselves by forging spatial gateways between where they are and where they wish to go. They can cross incredible distances in the blink of an eye.

The spatial gateway or 'wormhole' is forged by first creating a singularity. The magician converges the dark units while they are in the out-phase. Out-phase is used to prevent the magician and anything else from immediately falling into the singularity. Next, upon creating the out-phased singularity is a spatial pierce. This act is similar to threading a needle (but easier for some) and works by sending a long line of dark units (enough to make a second singularity) directly into the singularity; they enter the singularity traveling in the direction the magician wishes to travel in or 'toward their destination'. This opens a path for the dark energy to follow through dark space. As the magician envisions the location they would like to warp to, the dark energy travels to the corresponding location within dark space and forge another singularity. Within dark space, singularities are inverted which is what allows the wormhole to form. To actually pass through the wormhole, the out-phased units at the entry point are switched to their in-phase, and the magician is pulled through instantly. The magician's entire body appears to stretch in surreal ways to fit inside though they don't seem to notice or recall this 'stretching' and so it may not be something directly experienced but rather observed from the outside. As soon as the mind enters the wormhole, the singularities and the wormhole they sustain begin a swift collapse. A needlessly sustained wormhole can and usually will draw in dangerous amounts of foreign material which are violently ejected as the wormhole closes (from the exiting end). The speed at which this collapse and warp takes place keeps foreign material to a minimum and protects the magician (ejected matter can be forced out at velocities that dwarf all modern projectile velocities). A successful dark warp, from singularity piercing to exit, is only a half second in duration on average.

-A Dark Warp staff is generally required for humans to warp via dark magic. It carries a rune and a power source. The latter provides the dark energy necessary for the warp while the former allows for automatic addition of second, third, and even more individuals in the warp. For those who do not know the singularity spell, a dark warping rune is also present, a rune that greatly aids in forging singularities.

-Glyphs are runes that determine a staff's control radius, meaning that anyone inside the glyph's projection radius will be pulled into the warp. For more details see 'Runes and Imbued Items'.

-Dark space is a type of subspace that is required for warping with dark magic. It has many titles, including 'The Elder Domain', 'The Abyss', and 'True Space', a derivative of 'Truth's Space', a realm thought to be ruled by the God of Consolidation himself.

-It is possible to warp to a location in mid-air but not in internal contact with another structure, object, or person. This still presents certain dangers, however, as one could begin exiting a wormhole in an extremely confined space and be killed with crushing force.

-Warping makes no sound of and by itself but shifts in the air can be heard and while the visible wormholes themselves are simply black, anything drawn into them appears reddish in color.

-The average warp will carry the magician and their companions one to one and a half miles in one attempt, though more experienced magicians have gone farther. It is currently not possible to warp beyond three and a half miles in one attempt.

-A magician is taxed heavily during a dark warp which is one reason it is not the most common warping method. It only increases in difficulty with extra companions (by one hundred percent per person).

-Warping by one's self, it is possible to travel up to twenty-five miles in total (and warping frequently) before one must rest and recover. Most will only be able to travel roughly eighteen miles before requiring rest. Recovery times are on average from two to eight hours for both humans and nonhumans, assuming they have exhausted themselves, otherwise only a half hour or so is required.

 

Tendril Magic: P:10 U:2 D:6 E:n/a

Tendril magic is more of a prerequisite for other forms of magic than anything else. It is a tool that aids magicians in performing more complicated feats in magic. Tendrils are made of complex weaves of in/out/lock-phased dark units woven into long tendril shapes with a repeating pattern. The two primary patterns are the mental pattern, used for mind magic, and the texture pattern, used for synthesis and organic arcana. The mental pattern combines all three phases to mimic a series of neural links and form a bridge between minds. The texture pattern is similar, but works more like a human arm, 'feeling' through objects for variations. The mind can interpret a texture tendril's feedback and this allows magicians to determine the composition of materials without breaking them open. Clever use of the latter allows magicians to replicate or improve various materials. Clever use of the former has allowed for some of the greatest subterfuge in history.

 

Tendrils are very difficult to make for one learning how to do so, but once mastered, it is as easy as knitting (it is however just as monotonous). Forging tendrils during battle is never a good idea and can be quite difficult. A learned tendril user can create anywhere from twenty-five to a hundred tendrils; they vary in width but always start off thinner than the thinnest hairs. They also take a very long time to forge, ten seconds per inch. Masters on the other hand can forge two to three inches of tendril every ten seconds, and form almost four times as many if they can manage doubling up on forge rates (doing multiple tendrils at once), however this extends the six inches per minute per tendril ratio cumulatively (two tendrils at once leads to making one inch of tendril each every twenty seconds). Most in modern times have tried to keep pre-made tendrils on hand to get around this, but they are easily dispersed by other magic and easy to lose track of.

-Tendrils are a rare form of magic known as persistent spells, and won't dissipate when focus is taken off of them. The problem is that once focus is taken off of them, they are difficult to locate again due to their miniscule size. Magicians can usually find a stray tendril by flaring them. Tendrils are just barely visible when flared and appear as fine violet lines. Forging thick tendrils also makes them easier to keep track of, but they are still invisible to the naked eye until flared (see ‘Auras’ for details on flaring).

-As previously noted, tendrils can be kept inside the body, safe from foreign influences. Synthesizers establish tendrils, streaming them from their spines, down through their arms and to the surface of their fingertips and keep them there. This is extremely useful because they can feel through objects with their fingertips and let the tendrils extend down into the item. It is the method used by virtually all synthesizers.

-Tendrils operate on the three scale-grades of material alteration, single digit micrometers, known as grade one or scale one; double digit nanometers, known as scale two or grade two; and triple digit picometers, known as scale three or grade three. Texture tendrils configured for a specific scale will react more readily to inconsistencies on that scale. This allows magicians to better interpret a compound without responding to the wrong feedback. The smaller the reaction scale, however, the more difficult it is to produce that particular type of tendril. Scale three tendrils are often made hours or days in advance.

-Tendrils become unalterable after about a month of inactivity (absence of psychic energy). After that, they become less and less responsive until the dark units composing them fade away.

 

Material Alteration:

Material alteration is a field of magic used to create or copy things by using available materials, and is divided into two categories, synthesis, and organic arcana. Synthesis is any type of alteration magic that involves inorganic material. Organic arcana is just the opposite and covers organic alterations.

 

Synthesis(*):

Synthesis works on not one but several scales divided into four grades, grade 1(single digit micrometers), grade 2(double digit nanometers), grade 3(triple digit picometers). There is also a grade 4 for things even smaller, but such crafting feats have never been performed by mere mortals. Synthesis is used to perform tasks too complex or delicate for a forge, but in modern times has become more of an early and final part of forging various weapons and products, as it can be used to purify metals more fully and can make fine adjustments to otherwise completed works. There is a balance between dark unit quantity and work quality. Using more dark units speeds up work times but decreases overall quality, while using fewer dark units provides much better quality but at the cost of time. A good example is the perfected katana of a high ranking kigenese officer. Such a sword may be carefully treated using synthesis. In the extreme case of using lots of dark energy, the refining process would be only half to standard but only take several hours, while using very few dark units would surpass the standard altogether, but take several fully committed days of work. Results are carefully reviewed with tendril magic.

For centuries it was unknown just how thoroughly dark magic could alter various compounds. The only issue seemed to be developing a genuine understanding of the process first, and that was where limitations came in. Even the most powerful magicians couldn't fix a broken glass without understanding how to 'harmonize' grade 2 and grade 2.5 elements. Removal of contaminants was also required. This was possible with the help of texture tendrils, but earlier on, light and anima magic was also utilized in tandem with dark magic(light for phasing out impurities, and anima for better displacing power and in some cases, fusion itself). Dark magic can now be used exclusively for synthesis, but requires one very well trained synthesizer or several. Some synthesizers focus on just one or two techniques and pay their way by providing services catering to each. A magician can synthesize for as long as they are physically able; this field uses dark units in a very 'minute' fashion. In short, it is simply a matter of one's own staying power.

[Techniques]

Building(*): P:6 U:1 D:9 E:n/a

New materials can be created from existing materials. Grade 2 and grade 3 texture tendrils are used to determine the composition of the desired compound as well as the ones currently at the magician's disposal. Dark units are then employed in mass to begin changing the shape of current compounds through a process called 'unification'. The magician focuses on the desired 'texture' gathered by the tendrils, and dark units move to convert all exposed substances into that texture. The process is incredibly slow and something as small as a fingernail can take hours to build. Spell inflation is used at times to speed up the process but sparingly because it is a clumsy method and never yields perfect results. Inflate forged areas must always be revisited later.

Purification(*): P:7 U:1 D:9 E:n/a

This field focuses on removing impurities from materials that need to be pure or uncontaminated. Texture tendrils are used to find undesirable variations, and then those variations are corrected through reshaping, similar to building, but in a much smaller area and very isolated. Purifying is used to remove impurities from tools and weapons that otherwise wouldn't be possible without reforging.

Fusion(*): P:6 U:1 D:9 E:n/a

Fusion addresses the 'broken glass' scenario mentioned earlier. If a broken item is placed together again, it won't fix itself. Fusion addresses this by removing the inevitably present contaminants within the broken region using purification, and reattaches the broken halves through reshaping the new surfaces to match the uniform state of the interior. When the process is finished, the breach no longer exists.

Bonding(*): P:8 U:1 D:8 E:n/a

Bonding reinforces any structure by weaving dark units throughout it in a formation favoring its structural integrity. Typically the outermost layers of the object will have out-phased units present. This makes an object more resistant to damage from the outside. The inside will be almost completely saturated in lock-phased units. Depending on how well this is done, the durability of an object can be tripled or even quadrupled. Bonded items used to be advertised as unbreakable until it became illegal to do so. Bonding is also only temporary, as dark units left in these states will fade away eventually and the object will return to its normal durability, with or without anyone noticing. Bonding is a very popular trade and those who know how to bond materials are sought after almost everywhere. Bonding times vary depending on the object in question, but the following are some common examples (these averages assume a seasoned bonder): Bullets take five to ten minutes. Arrowheads take ten to fifteen minutes. Knives and daggers range from fifteen to twenty minutes. Swords, short and long range from half an hour to an hour. Axe heads take half an hour to forty-five minutes. Entire lances and spears will generally require an hour of work. Objects larger or heavier than these will take at least an hour and a half with large scutum style shields and the like taking two to three hours to bond.

 

Organic Arcana(*):

Organic Arcana works on four scales, scale 1(triple digit micrometers), scale 2(double digit nanometers), scale 3(single digit nanometers), and scale 4(double digit picometers). This field works to do to organic materials what synthesis does to inorganic materials but is far more difficult due to the more delicate makeup of organic material. By humans, organic arcana is used to address somewhat minor difficulties, like blindness, scarring, other various complexion issues, and prosthetics.  An overwhelming amount of abuse has left most forms of organic arcana banned. Prosthesis has proven far too useful to become outright illegal, and the Neviskotian Empire in particular is quite open to the practice, though with scrutinous oversight.

The Fallen Empire on the other hand embraces organic arcana completely, or at least the architects do. In that country it is used to correct superficial issues, augment bodies, create demons, and many other things. The various forms of organic arcana are listed below, but all rely on a 'reference and replicate' methodology. That is, a material is examined on multiple scales with tendril magic, and other materials are made to match through unification, the same process used in synthesis, in which dark units rearrange structures and compounds to match others. In organic arcana, matching textures is critical, as even a slight flaw can produce a flawed material.

[Techniques]

Touching(*): P:10 U:1 D:9 E:n/a

 Touching is a very minor process akin to small scale building. Magicians who perform touching are simply making small usually superficial adjustments, legal or otherwise. Some common adjustments include removing imperfections in the skin (scrutinous oversight), changing eye or natural hair color (illegal), scar dimming or removal, realignment (largest procedure recognized as 'touching' and very illegal if done to the face).

Prosthesis(*): P:10 U:1 D:9 E:n/a

Prosthetics are a very real innovation of dark magic, one that the Fallen Empire has seemingly mastered over the centuries. The Neviskotian empire has only recently begun to catch up, and are the only human nation that has more fully legalized the use of prosthesis. Prosthesis combines organic material together and then has it reshaped to match a limb that is to be replaced. Because some elements must be exact, and others preferably inexact, it is a very complicated and lengthy process. While prosthetists typically work alone, groups of them coming together for difficult and profitable procedures can accomplish inhuman feats.

Neo-Generation(*): P:5 U:1 D:9 E:n/a

This is a relatively new method (in the human world) of creating artificial limbs. Neo-generation is a process that creates much larger prosthetics than normally possible by making them in stages. Ordinarily a part is made whole and all at once. Neo-generation mimics the growing processes of living creatures by starting with something as small as a bump on the skin. A little is done each time but no matter how much progress is made, the limb is left in a contained state (the prosthetic is completely sealed and generally looks like a deformity until it is completed. It also has a blood supply to keep the material alive and intact). In theory entire arms can be made this way, but for most of the process they would look like hideous growths. Still, magicians adept in neo-generation are much sought after.

Birthcraft(*): P:4 U:2 D:10 E:n/a

This technique or series thereof is only in use by the Fallen Empire, who use it to make their demons, and the various groups throughout history responsible for the creation of artificial humans. While in demons, memories of demonic design and the like are passed down from generation to generation and improved upon each time, artificial humans are created by copying another human down to their most basic components, and then making various improvements. In demons, multiple beasts are spliced together with fine adjustments made to both the junction points, and the mind to facilitate a lethal front line unit. Immune systems are suppressed or destroyed in order to prevent all forms of organ and limb rejection, and their digestive systems are bolstered mightily to compensate.

Healing(*): P:2 U:1 D:8 E:n/a

Organic Arcana by its very nature has healing potential, but much like the dark warp relative to the light warp, there is no outside assistance to speak of, and unification must be used carefully to treat a wound. The limitation is that this procedure is much slower than a light healing and can take anywhere from a half hour to forty-five minutes for the average wound, and so is very unreliable. It can however be used to follow up on light healings by removing scars or other imperfections, though this is the realm of 'touching', not necessarily true healing.

Organic Bonding(*): P:1 U:1 D:9 E:n/a

This is similar to the bonding technique in synthesis. Bonding organic material is extremely useful but leads to various health troubles if not supplemented with life force. Organic bonding holds organic material together but prevents the shedding of dead cells. Left unchecked this can cause a slew of problems. Organic bonding is typically only done by the fallen and usually just to the bones. If done to areas like the skin, life force is needed to prolong the life of cells and prevent an excess of dead material gathering, however this is still not recommended for a great length of time as new cells are not kept at bay, either. Organic bonded materials have the same benefits as inorganic bonded materials.

 

Mind Magic(*): P:10 U:2 D:9 E:n/a

This form of magic is one of the most feared in the entire dark domain, but it is virtually impossible to make use of in most situations. One requires a willing, completely restrained, or unconscious target to even have a chance of establishing the necessary connections to make use of this form. Assuming one has, however, the use of tendrils allows a magician to access the mind of another and directly reference their memories. The magician imposes their own memories on the subject through the tendrils (thoughts amplified and sent to the target) to invoke closely related memories. This is called 'pricking', a form of neural persuasion very similar to dark avian interrogation techniques. Dark avians would acquire information by interpreting outgoing thought waves, which the feather folk are naturally attuned to. As long as their target controlled their thoughts, they could safeguard their information, but dark avian interrogators would get around this by invoking the thoughts they wanted through sudden and surprising stimuli of varying kinds. Pricking works by invoking long term memory through short term cues, but uses a separate mind for the process. Tendrils form the bridge and conduct the signals being exchanged, but they have other uses, as well.

-Memories can be 'lifted' from a target, that is, remembered by the magician, but then forgotten by the target. Disrupting neural patterns that correspond to a specific memory will erode it almost completely, but this does nothing for the sense of deja vu that frequently arises with people affected by this type of magic. Magicians disrupt neural patterns by imposing their own thoughts on them, usually in the form of a solid and blank backdrop with no discernible sounds, sensations, or emotions. This essentially creates a blank spot in the target's memory. Of course, rarely, magicians have left 'signatures' in people's memories in various forms instead of leaving no trace of the deed.

-Memories can be 'copied' from a target naturally or unnaturally. Simply experiencing another person's memories has the potential for retention, but they can also be directly stored by repeating them over and over again. This is done several hundred times as well as impressing other related memories in order to help make sense of the information. Impressing a current thought on one's own mind is redundant but has actually proven useful with preventing memory loss and automatically turns short term memories into long term ones.

-Memories can also be suppressed (rather than erased). This is one of the greater oddities in the magical domain, as suppressed memories are actually maintained by the targets themselves. A memory is suppressed by using dark units to block neural patterns without disrupting them. They remain intact, but eventually dark units would disappear and the target's memories would return if not for this; the mind seems to safeguard itself to the point that psychic energy in the target's own mind prevent the dark units from moving (which prevents them from eroding) (a defense mechanism that ordinarily protects the mind from magic), and this preserves the suppression effect indefinitely. The psychic units are strongest when the target is conscious, however. While unconscious, a mind offers little resistance to tampering.

-Imposing memory for either pricking or disruption works by recalling a thought or concept and sending that signal to the target over and over again. Hundreds of repetitions are required to create a lasting memory with enough 'relevance' (occurrences in the mind) to be easily recalled, and it can often prove a daunting task, especially when targeting a specific memory for swapping. Imposing memory also requires a very strong and focused individual to prevent dilution and contamination(intended memories or concepts mixed with unintended memories or concepts).

-Swapping is when a magician replaces one memory with another. A memory is disrupted by the new memory being imposed. This is done hundreds of times until the old memory is completely eroded and the new one now stands in its place.

-Mind magicians usually do a lot of meditating in order to learn to control their thoughts and tune out distractions, as these stimuli can be transferred to a target along with the memory of it if they aren't discarded immediately. Mind magicians who don't will rarely do good work in this field.

-Mind magic is very taxing, both mentally and physically (modern techniques require a surprising amount of stamina in the arms) and depending on the task at hand, can take hours of dedicated work. Rarely will any single item task other than finding a memory take fewer than ten minutes.

-There are dangers with mind magic. The retention of foreign memories can erode a magician's mind if done in excess, or the condition isn't reversed with the help of another magician. In the past, mind magic was horribly abused, and magicians taking on so many memories proved to be their undoing, as very few escaped mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder).

 

Post note: Regardless of the true nature of the mind, the RotE universe assumes memories are stored in and through neural networks as 'read only' patterns. This won't change even if we find out more about the mind later on down the road (unless it fits and works better than the current description), as something needs to be established for the sake of mind magic canon.

Basically, I had to pick a 'reality' based on the method, and this was it.

 

Dark Theory:

-Warp Tracers are researchers who study dark warping. Their aim is to confirm the following theory: Dark warps work by punching holes from one point in space and time to another and allowing a person to pass harmlessly between them. Something so incredibly powerful must leave its 'mark' on space itself. Warp tracers aim to see if dark warps leave any kind of 'trail' or 'footprint' that can tell a mage if and where a warp has taken place. Being able to track warp trails would theoretically allow for safe warping networks one day, a series of left over warp trails that individuals could travel through to reach a specific destinations without any magical experience or training. The warp tracing field is not new, but has made virtually no progress.

-One theory for the fate of dark units is that they eventually cross over into dark space and become a different form of energy in doing so, the same 'energy' that expels foreign matter out of dark space. The theory gained some popularity during early research into dark warping, and has been considered by many because it provides a vaguely plausible answer and origin to the powerful force that exists throughout dark space.

-Warp Cannon: This is a theoretical dark space cannon proposed by both Hammer Industries and supposedly Neviskotia's Guardian Corp. This concept weaponizes wormholes, capitalizing on their collapse effect. Foreign objects within a wormhole are violently ejected as it collapses at speeds that put modern firearms to shame. In theory they could reach speeds that create unimaginable impact force. No such weapon has ever been deployed, but both Ursium and Neviskotia have had both ideas reach the public's ears in both the past and recent years preceding the current war, 4998-4999 A.R..[/spoiler]

Edited by Phoenix

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[spoiler=ANIMA]Anima magic is imparted to the world through the Goddess of Nature. Unlike light and dark magic, anima has seven different forms or 'phases' that can be taken; fire, wind, thunder, ice, water, earth, and neutral (the natural state of anima units). The former six each have the ability to attune to or create forces strong enough for use in battle. Anima is also the most tangible of all magic and capable of exerting incredible force on the environment. Anima units steadily transform into various forms of energy and this is one of the ways they exert their power.
 
Fire:
The Fire state is the first and one of the iconic forms of anima. When anima units enter the fire state, they allow heat based spells to be used. As fire units move closer together and/or heat up, they are converted partially into an unnatural heat that still moves and flows against natural forces as needed.
-Fire units are indiscriminate and can even harm the magician wielding them if allowed to transfer too much energy to them. Fire magicians most often form spells in front, to the side, or directly above themselves. Since even unnatural heat tends to rise in the atmosphere the same as natural heat does, overhead is usually the safest place to cast from. Flamethrowers are almost always cast from the front or side, however.
-Fire units can be infused.
Combat:
In combat, fire units must be gathered closely together for most spells whether or not they are converted into flame. Completely separate, they are ineffective. More advanced spells like forblaze use clumping to allow a greater fire spread without losing effectiveness.
-Once fire units are converted, they will only respond to the magician for a limited amount of time, ten seconds on average, fifteen at most. After that, individual units begin to disperse as natural heat.
-Tier one fire spells can be cast on the move(running), while tier two spells require a slower pace(walking) and tier three spells prohibit movement.
-The range of normal fire spells is nine meters. Longer range attacks are eighteen meters, and siege range attacks can reach as far as twenty-seven meters.
[Techniques]
Blast(1): P:10 U:10 D:2 E:6
Fire units are converged and converted to create a fiery projectile that is then hurled at targets full force. They can be used in volleys or corrected in flight to home in on targets, but only at the cost of flight speed. They are effective against unprotected targets.
Meteor(1): P:10 U:8 D:6 E:8
A massive blast spell used at long range for the greatest velocity and damage possible. It leaves intense lingering heat in its wake and is effective against armored and slow targets.
Breath of Fire/FlameThrower(1): P:10 U:6 D:6 E:9
Fire units are gathered and funneled toward a target while converting into plasma in order to execute this attack spell. It is even somewhat effective against barriers.
Forblaze(2): P:8 U:4 D:6 E:7
Fire units are spread out over one or multiple targets and all converted at once, creating a cloud of flames that damages everything nearby. This spell can be moved about remotely while it is active. It cools quickly but is effective against unprotected targets at its peak.
Combustion(2*/3): P:4 U:3 D:7 E:8
A magical grenade is set off by streaming fire units to a specific point and then flash converting them all, or converging them first, hurling them at the target, and then converting them. The explosion rivals or exceeds military grade explosives and is effective against most targets, even those with barriers.
Pyroclysm/Super Pyroclysm(3*): P:3 U:2 D:8 E:10/P:2 U:1 D:9 E:10
This spell is a large bomb, created by compacting fire units until enough power is available to create a tremendous blast, and then they are simultaneously converted and released.  The resulting explosion from a pryoclysm can cause damage to numerous targets while the explosion from a super pryoclysm can destroy entire buildings or sink ships. These spells are not advised in conventional warfare.
Cymbeline/Nova(3*): P:5 U:1 D:9 E:10
The most powerful fire spell; created by starting a pryoclysm spell and never releasing it. Eventually, the compaction creates a ‘fire core’, a type of remotely controlled magician-made star. It will incinerate anything that gets too close to it, and like a star, its surface temperature can easily exceed ten thousand degrees Fahrenheit. It is not advised in conventional warfare and must be carefully dispersed.
Burnoff(2*/3): P:0 U:1 D:8 E:8
This spell works by surrounding the caster in fire units that will resist the transfer of heat and converting all of the others while repelling them outward. The explosive reaction can kill targets that are too close, whether they have barriers or not. It is the only fire spell, that when done correctly, has no potential to harm the caster.
Firefly(3*): P:1 U:1 D:6 E:7
Numerous small scale blast spells are created and guided remotely by the magician before striking the target or targets from multiple angles. The attack is effective against most targets, even those with barriers.
 
Wind:
The Wind state is the second and one of the iconic forms of anima. When anima units enter the wind state, they each gain very large control fields that can restrain the atmosphere itself (gases). These control fields can be grouped together and changed into certain shapes to produce various effects. As the shaped fields are moved, they capture and hold onto air, resisting the intense buildup of pressure and creating somewhat solid shapes out of the ever compressing air.
-Wind unit control fields are incredibly versatile compared to others, but only seem to affect the air itself. They can expand or shrink to precisely accommodate the shape of a spell and increase their holding power to make a forged weapon even more durable.
-Wind units themselves move without experiencing wind resistance, and this allows their control fields to gather air almost completely unhindered. They can also resist the retention of new gases which can be used to shield the wind magician from certain forces.
-Wind magic requires careful timing because bringing a wind spell to speed consumes the wind units powering that motion. Once the wind shape loses speed, it can't get back up to speed again without more wind units being consumed and it takes many just to create a spell shape.
-Wind units can be infused.
Combat:
As mentioned before, pressure buildup can turn these shapes into single use weapons. That is the basis of wind magic and the various shapes that magicians can create form most underlying techniques.
-Tier one and two wind spells can be cast on the move (running) while tier three spells required slower movement (walking).
-The range of normal wind spells is eighteen meters. Longer range attacks are thirty-eight meters, and siege range attacks can reach as far as forty-eight meters.
[Techniques]
Gust(1): P:10 U:10 D:0 E:3
A strong wind is generated by swinging various wind shapes through the air to control its flow. It is ineffective against barriers but can throw targets completely off balance.
 Slam(1): P:10 U:10 D:3 E:6
The signature wind magic attack is used by creating a wind shape and striking the target directly with it. It has the potential to blow out walls, knock over vehicles, and topple entire crowds, but is ineffective against strong barriers.
Wind Blade/Wind Spear(1): P:10 U:7 D:4 E:7
An offensive technique, that works by creating wind shapes made after swords and/or spears. They can be launched in small volleys and cause damage comparable to actual blades and spears to targets. They are somewhat effective against barriers. Stronger varieties can have monomolecular edges, which can penetrate barriers and other defenses easily. These types have an effectiveness of 9 rather than 7.
Hammer(2*/3): P:7 U:5 D:4 E:6
A hammer shaped spell is created in order to deal heavy damage to armored targets. It carries more power with it than the slam spell. It is ineffective against barriers, but can devastate armored targets.
Snare(2*/3): P:2 U:1 D:8 E:8
The target is ensnared by wind units, which create a pressure bubble around them. As the target struggles, the atmosphere around them becomes thicker, eventually incapacitating or even killing them. It can be used in isolated areas for specific effects. It is almost completely ineffective against barriers.
Tornado(2*/3): P:10 U:2 D:6 E:9
The spell mimics a real tornado through the use of wind shapes in order to cause massive damage to everything around it. It is somewhat effective against barriers, but carries more than enough force to overpower them with continued exposure. Tornadoes can be combined with other magic for various effects.
Excalibur(3): P:8 U:2 D:8 E:10
This spell is a combination of the slam and wind blade spells and uses both simultaneously to overwhelm and destroy targets. It is highly effective against barriers.
Deflect(2): P:8 U:4 D:4 E:4
This is a defensive spell that blocks attacks, disarms targets, or targets individual limbs with small wind shapes to incapacitate them. It is ineffective against barriers.
Projection(2*/3): P:5 U:3 D:4 E:8
A more advanced form of shaping spell that mimics limbs or props in order to project these wind shapes at targets. It can be used offensively or defensively. It is far more efficient than other shaping spells and is effective against a variety of targets.
Cacoon(3*): P:1 U:1 D:9 E:8
The defensive version of the snare spell, it uses a dual layered wind bubble shape to repel attacks without endangering the caster. It is capable of resisting many different types of attacks.
 
Thunder:
The thunder state is the third and one of the iconic forms of anima. When anima units enter the thunder state, they gain the ability to create immense electrical charges in very short periods of time as well as quickly ionize the air within their control fields.
-Tiny arcs will sometimes appear even as thunder spells are being charged due to fine particles in the air reaching the ionized portions. This is the easily recognizable ‘sparking’ that is seen when a large thunder spell is about to be cast. Magicians have to be careful not to form spells too close to their bodies or a current can hit them as well. Using uncharged thunder units as protective layers can prevent a shock to a degree, allowing them to cast at closer distances, but makes a basic spell more taxing.
-Thunder units fade over the course of thunder spells to become electrical and heat energy.
-Thunder units can be infused.
Combat:
In combat, thunder magic is able to unleash incredible amounts of energy onto very small spaces which gives it precise lethality compared to other forms of magic. Heat distribution is pinpoint compared to fire magic and expert thunder magicians can strike an enemy's eye from siege distances, which make them the preferred 'magic-snipers' in many military units.
-Thunder spells rely heavily on 'pathing' (creating a medium for spells to travel through beyond the magician’s control field; ionized air). Pathing speed over distance never exceeds thirty-five feet per second, and so preparations for attacks must be swift or well thought out for longer range engagements. Pathing isn't necessary for all thunder spells (some can move freely within the magician’s control field) but allows for practically instantaneous contact between the spell and the target.
-A rebound in thunder magic is a thunder spell that strikes the user instead of the intended target. This happens when pathing is done improperly or the charge is released with no suitable pathway available. The force of the released charge forges its own pathway to the nearest discharge point, either the ground, or the magician. Strike poles are used for training thunder mages as these will invariably absorb a misfired charge and keep magicians from injuring themselves. Rebounds only occur when the charge in question is powerful enough to form the basic thunder spell, and so a thunder spell not fully charged won't rebound. Magicians sometimes take advantage of this by charging the spell and pathing at the same time, aiming to complete both simultaneously.
 
-Tier one thunder spells restrict fast movement(running) while tier two and three spells discourage and outright prohibit movement respectively.
-The range of normal thunder spells is fifteen meters. Longer range attacks are thirty meters, and siege range attacks can reach as far as forty-five meters.
[Techniques]
Thunder(1): P:10 U:10 D:4 E:6
A basic charge is created and then unleashed on the target once ionization spread is adequate, or sent to them from a distance, causing considerable damage. It is somewhat effective against barriers and highly effective against armor. It can rebound if released prematurely.
Lightning(1): P:10 U:9 D:5 E:6
A basic charge is wrapped in thunder units and hurled at the target, forgoing pathing, and exploding on impact, releasing a deadly charge. It is effective against barriers and armor but is noticeably inaccurate.
Bolting(1): P:10 U:5 D:6 E:8
A long range thunder spell, charged to near absolute lethality and cast at a much greater distance for maximum damage. It is less likely to hit due to its effective range, but is extremely effective against armor. Against barriers, it is only somewhat effective.
Rexbolt(2*/3): P:9 U:4 D:8 E:10
This powerful but slow charging AoE spell is capable of striking multiple targets at once, or being focused to and obliterating a single target. If it rebounds, it is lethal to the caster, and so is not advised in ordinary battle. It is effective against almost everything.
Thoron(3*): P:10 U:4 D:9 E:10
This spell is a super charged thunder spell capable of surpassing the damage of a natural lightning strike and cremating targets or causing explosions. It is effective against virtually anything.
Rising Shield(2*/3): P:2 U:1 D:8 E:9
This spell uses thunder units and electrical charges to create a spinning rising barrier capable of repelling various types of attacks. The caster can’t move while it’s active, but it is a very effective shielding spell.
ArcShot(3): P:1 U:3 D:9 E:7
Powerful charges are released in thin bursts to strike and repel smaller targets. It is a spell for pinpoint strikes that avoid collateral damage or inaccuracy, but don’t lack stopping power. Small objects struck by this spell retain some of the charge and may shock the nearest individual. The spell is ineffective against barriers but is effective against armor.
Surge(2*/3): P:1 U:2 D:9 E:9
This spell is cast by shielding the caster in thunder units and then creating numerous charges throughout the control field, focusing on newer ones as older ones are released. Charges do not escape the control field in mass, so overall power increases and a repelling shield also forms over time. Exposure can shock, burn, stun, or kill a target. It is effective against a armor, but not barriers.
Electrosphere(3*): P:1 U:1 D:9 E:10
This spell uses a temporarily self-sustaining charge to continuously generate a repulsive energy sphere. It becomes an AoE attack when detonated, causing massive damage to living targets. It is extremely effective against barriers and armor when detonated.
 
Ice:
The fourth form of anima, Ice magic is just as hazardous and as swift as wind magic. Ice units are capable of converting heat into other forms of energy and can do this very quickly. Even their own heat energy can be converted into power and used to impel the air and particles around them. It is used in many places since it has great potential in many areas.
-Ice unit control fields are the largest in the magical domain, macroscopic in radius and able to more easily affect elements beyond the magician's true control field. This gives Ice magic the most efficient operating time and distance.
-Ice units can convert heat into propulsive energy, which can be split up into various tasks throughout the control field.
-Ice units cannot easily utilize other anima units (such as converted fire or charged thunder units) when turning heat into power. Only when they outnumber other units can they fully siphon their power, in this case, when the ice magician overpowers an enemy.
-Once they cease interacting with psychic energy, ice units fade away.
-Ice units can be infused.
Combat:
In combat, ice magic siphons away heat energy and converts it into propulsive energy. This snap freezes particles and objects, and chills the air to sub-zero temperatures in a matter of seconds while providing extra power for the remainder of the spell. The more heat available, the quicker power can be gathered and the stronger the resulting spells become.
-While ice magic converts heat to 'motion', it is a relatively weak motion and a great deal of it is needed to be practical in combat. Projectiles have to be pushed or pulled toward their targets with immense force, or 'flown' there with a constant supply of propulsion.
-Tier one and two ice spells can be cast on the move (running), while tier three spells require a slower pace(walking).
-The range of normal ice spells is thirteen meters. Longer range attacks are twenty-six meters, and siege range attacks can reach as far as thirty-nine meters.
[Techniques]
Hail(1): P:10 U:9 D:4 E:4
The spell uses energy a source of water to function. Small ice projectiles are combined with strong super cooled gusts to overwhelm targets. It is not particularly effective against barriers due to reliance on continuous propulsion.
Glacier(1): P:10 U:6 D:6 E:8
A stronger version of the hail spell, it uses much larger projectiles that hit with greater force. These projectiles can be physical objects and not necessarily liquid based. It is highly effective against most targets.
Frost(1): P:6 U:4 D:7 E:8
This spell siphons heat directly from a target’s ‘skin’ in order to freeze limbs or whole targets to the bone. It is useless against strong barriers.
Blizzard(2*/3): P:10 U:4 D:9 E:9
Icy projectiles, gale force winds, and constant heat conversion form this spell and overwhelm targets. It is not particularly effective against barriers.
Blitz(2): P:4 U:2 D:7 E:9
This spell is an ice bomb that incapacitates, blinds, snap freezes, and/or kills targets with a cryogenic explosion made from hyper compaction and subsequent energy release. It is highly effective against most targets.
White Void(3*): P:1 U:1 D:9 E:10
Targets are completely overwhelmed by being engulfed in siphoning ice units and super cooled winds. It is not very effective against barriers, but lethal to unprotected targets.
Black Void(3*): P:1 U:0 D:9 E:10
This spell targets and siphons kinetic energy, which cancels inertia in moving targets. It is not very effective against strong barriers and does not convert enemy magic well.
Icesheet(2): P:0 U:0 D:0 E:5
This is a defensive spell that deflects attacks and disarms combatants with siphoned energy. It requires careful timing to work effectively.
Icearm(3*): P:2 U:1 D:7 E:7
Icearm is a powerful mid to long range projector spell, which uses large amounts of energy to propel small projectiles at extremely high speed. It has the potential to be as lethal as a physical ‘firearm’ and is effective against a variety of targets.
 
Water:
The water state is a state that allows for both power and versatility. Once in the water state, anima units can merge with liquids and alter their physical state and motion to an extreme not found anywhere else in magic. With its capabilities in agriculture and warfare, it is used in every known country.
-Water units merge with liquids and spread throughout low viscous liquids fairly quickly. Highly viscous liquids on the other take far too long to be practical in battle. Once they merge with the liquid, the magician can remotely control it as long as it remains relatively close to their control field.
-Water units cannot be infused themselves, but normal anima units can be put into the water state after being lifted from infusion.
Combat:
In combat, water magic is used by experts to quickly incapacitate or kill one target after another, and can keep opponents guessing with alternating spells and tactics.
-A target's bodily fluids cannot be manipulated under combat conditions because the water units must first merge with them. Even when this is accomplished, the effects are isolated. Eg: Merging water units with external fluids would only allow manipulation of said external fluids (sweat, saliva, tears, etc.). Internal fluids like blood remain unaffected. However, it is possible to merge with internal fluids if there is a path to them such as a gaping wound and no active barrier causing interference and preventing interaction. This is more useful for preventing a person from bleeding out than killing them, however, and only blood is effected, not fluids outside of the veins.
-Water units merged with liquids can only be influenced for a short period of time and must be kept in motion to leave a grounded point. After influence time expires, more water units must be merged, or the magician loses control. First tiers can sustain control for ten seconds per merger. Second tiers can sustain it for twenty seconds per merger. Third tiers can sustain it for thirty seconds per merger. The longer control is kept, the more water units consumed by the process, which eventually leads to unit scarcity, fatigue, and eventually strain.
-Water magicians can handle a great deal of water based on their level of training and experience. Going beyond one's capabilities induces heavy strain that if ignored for too long can leave them unconscious. Lvl 1-3=300gal, Lvl 4-6=600gal, Lvl 7-9=900gal, Lvl 10-12=1200gal, Lvl 13-15=1500gal.
-There is a trick or 'method' of controlling quantities of water beyond one's current limitations, but only works with techniques such as torrent or maelstrom. The method is to spread the water units out further in these waters. Natural and unnatural water are held together and flow together, allowing water the manipulation of far more water than is otherwise possible. This method will not work with techniques like impel, hold, shift, polarize, or hydrogrenade.
-Tier one and two water spells can be cast on the move (running), while tier three spells require a slower pace(walking).
-The range of normal water spells is nine meters. Longer range attacks are eighteen meters, and siege attacks can reach as far as twenty-seven meters.
[Techniques]
Impel(1): P:10 U:10 D:0 E:3
This is basic hydrokinesis, but is capable of being used in various ways to stun or incapacitate targets. It is highly effective against barriers, but not against armor.
Hold(1): P:10 U:8 D:1 E:5
Liquids are solidified artificially for a time in order to be used in attacks or as part of a caster’s defense. As an attack it is effective against barriers. Held masses must be used quickly, released quickly, or supported by merged liquids or will no longer be under the caster’s control.
Shift(2): P:8 U:8 D:4 E:6
Liquid masses have their temperatures altered rapidly, creating liquid ice, or superheated liquids which when released will either snap freeze or explode. Temperature shift takes place at a rate of one second for every six gallons for every one hundred degrees in increase or decrease. It isn’t particularly effective or ineffective against anything.
Polarize(2*/3): P:6 U:5 D:5 E:5
Liquids are changed chemically to give them a stronger alkaline or acidic bias. This is used in conjunction with other spells for various effects. Conversion takes one second per gallon.
Hydrogrenade(2): P:6 U:4 D:6 E:9
This spell uses a shift spell and a hold spell in conjunction to create a semi-solid super-heated grenade. They can be used in volleys or even clusters and are effective against a variety of targets.
Torrent(3): P:10 U:4 D:6 E:6
Large amounts of merged liquids are swept over multiple targets to stun or completely incapacitate them. It can be combined with other spells for various effects. It isn’t particularly effective or ineffective against anything.
Maelstrom(3*): P:10 U:2 D:8 E:7
A spell only usable near bodies of water, the maelstrom creates a large whirlpool capable of trapping and even drowning targets. It can be combined with other spells for various effects, but isn’t highly effective against anything.
Cloak(3*): P:3 U:1 D:9 E:10
Merged liquids envelope the caster’s body and become a type potential layer of armor, as well as a readily available liquid source. It can be combined with hold and shift spells to create armor, weapons, or help the caster survive in inhospitable environments.
Reave(2*/3): P:2 U:1 D:9 E:10
This is one of the deadliest water spells, and uses a stream of merged liquid to strike targets and quickly mix with their blood. Once done, targets can be bled at extremely high rates, or the spell can be combined with other spells for various effects. It is extremely effective against barriers.
Ragnarok(3*): P:1 U:0 D:9 E:10
The most powerful and most difficult water spell, it is a culmination of all applicable water spells and unleashes them in stages, or randomly at multiple targets for immense damage. The spell is effective against virtually everything due to its constantly changing spells and sheer force.
 
Earth:
The earth state allows for unparalleled displacing power. Earth units have control fields large enough to allow very heavy objects to be moved about, but do not handle liquids or soft materials as well. Objects under the influence of earth units can be impelled in various ways.
-Earth unit control fields can affect other earth units.
-Earth units fade in one of two ways. The first is natural fading where the units simply disappear shortly after being influenced by psychic energy. The second is called solidification. This occurs when earth units fade within an object. When this happens, earth units seal objects, closing gaps and fractures within and throughout it. This is what makes the deadly Fracture spell possible.
-Earth units cannot be infused, but normal anima units can be put into the earth state after being lifted from infusion.
Combat:
Earth magic is deadly in combat because almost anything that isn't bound in place or protected by a barrier can be used as a weapon. Earth magicians are still hindered by speed limitations, the weight of the objects in question, and the time required when manipulating them.
-Earth mages can handle even heavy objects based on their level of training and experience. Trying to lift beyond their current capabilities causes heavy strain that if ignored for too long can render them unconscious. Earth magic's impelling abilities vary by method used, but the following are the heaviest weights earth magicians can handle in battle. Out of combat (normal lifting) is fifty percent more than any weight listed. Lvl 1-3=100lbs, Lvl 4-6=400lbs, Lvl 7-9=900lbs, Lvl 10-12=1600lbs, Lvl 13-15=2500lbs. Multiple objects can be manipulated at once, but cannot exceed the listed 'total weights'.
-The maximum horizontal speed attainable based on projectile weight (assuming projectiles are all spherical) are as follows (in pounds=meters per second): <100lbs=36mps, <400lbs=25mps, <900lbs=16mps, <1600lbs=9mps, <2500lbs=4mps and so on. Extremely heavy objects can be moved 'down' toward a target to increase their speed using gravity.
-Earth units have control fields that can push away, pull in, or hold, surrounding material in place, and like wind units, these control fields can be used to hold masses together or pull them apart. Complex use of these control fields allows magicians to perform more advanced spells.
-Tier one earth spells prohibit fast movement (running). Tier two and three spells require a slower pace (walking).
-The range of normal earth spells is ten meters. Longer range attacks are twenty meters, and siege range attacks can reach as far as thirty meters.
[Techniques]
Impel(1): P:10 U:10 D:5 E:7
This is basic telekinesis that allows the caster to quickly manipulate objects or unprotected enemies at higher levels. It is highly ineffective against barriers.
Crush(2*/3): P:4 U:2 D:5 E:7
Objects or targets are overwhelmed by earth units converging on them. Thousands of pounds of pressure can be applied from all directions with this spell, but it is rendered impotent by strong barriers.
Burst Shot(3): P:3 U:2 D:7 E:9
The spell applies immense force to a single point, augmenting a thrown object’s speed or damaging a target. It can inflict gunshot like wounds in targets and causes a sonic boom whenever it is used. It is not effective against barriers.
Fracture(3*): P:8 U:1 D:9 E:10
This spell uses earth magic’s solidification attributes in order to solidify shapes that have been created from tearing apart the environment. This can be used to forge new shapes or environmental hazards right out of the walls or ground. It is a slow working spell, but is effective against a variety of targets.
Aegis(2*/3): P:5 U:6 D:7 E:8
This spell is defensive in nature and protects the caster from incoming attacks. Earth units push away objects but immobilize the caster in most instances. This supplementary barrier is capable of repelling a variety of attacks. It can be used to provide protection in just one small area to prevent immobilization, but is no easier to perform.
Burst Field(3*): P:4 U:1 D:9 E:10
The spell creates an extremely powerful repulse field through carefully layering earth units within their control field to repel at maximum strength without harming the caster. This spell is the strongest defensive barrier in the magical domain and deflects most attacks while it is active. It has a very short casting time, but is reliable under fire.
Shatter(2*/3): P:9 U:2 D:8 E:10
This spell destroys objects or targets by shooting earth units into them and then putting them into a repelling phase and is effective against unprotected targets. It is ineffective against barriers.
Domination(3*): P:1 U:0 D:9 E:10
Targets are rendered immobile by the caster’s earth units. Limited control of the target’s movement is possible, but extremely difficult, and this spell is impotent against barriers.
 
Neutral:
This is the state of anima in the atmosphere and when it is contained naturally. This is a relatively inactive state with modest potential. Despite this, it makes an excellent barrier component.
-Neutral anima units are one of several types that can pass through matter, though this is not a seamless phase. These have little overall combat potential.
-Neutral units can be infused, but this is only useful for creating ‘one type fits all’ tomes.
-Anima units in general can only penetrate matter by force or by entering a particular elemental state that would allow for it. Because of this, some anima states can be infused, and others can't.
-Anima units in general can travel up to fifty-two meters (one hundred seventy feet) per second.
Combat:
Neutral units can be used in battle, but their applications are extremely limited.
-Neutral units cannot form any type of elemental spell. Even those resembling earth magic lack the same potential. Converging and phasing techniques do not produce useful effects.
-Neutral spells can all be cast on the move.
-The range of normal neutral spells is five meters. Longer range attacks are fifteen meters, and siege range attacks can reach as far as twenty-five meters.
[Techniques]
Push(1): P:8 U:4 D:1 E:0
Raw anima is thrust at targets, but the effects are minimal and completely ineffectual against barriers.
Pull(2): P:7 U:4 D:2 E:0
The opposite of pushing, pulling relies on thrusting out raw anima and then pulling it backward, along with the target. It is not effective against barriers, but can more easily knock a target down at its beginning levels. It is most useful for parlor tricks.
Augment(1): P:5 U:3 D:3 E:1
This spell strengthens physical attacks by empowering them. The methods vary.
Haze(3): P:2 U:1 D:8 E:10
Large clumps of anima units are thrust into a target at full force, causing moderate superficial damage, but causing massive internal damage and bleeding. The attack is ineffective against barriers but is extremely painful and sometimes lethal to unprotected targets.
Platforming(3): P:8 U:2 D:n/a E:n/a
This is not solely a neutral spell, rather it is a series of positioning techniques that exist throughout anima, mainly to allow for rapid movement and sometimes limited flight. Each has a specific way of accomplishing it and for various purposes. A magician will normally only be able to fully master one of the elemental techniques depending on their specialty.
Red Rush(3/Fire): P:8 U:2 D:6 E:8
Fire magicians create flame jets around their limbs or torso and use the propelling force of their flames to move around, either over the ground, or through the air. Limited flight is difficult but possible, as is fall breaking and extremely high launching.
Gale Force(3/Wind): P:10 U:2 D:4 E:9
Wind magicians use powerful gusts and various wind shapes to keep themselves aloft. Some techniques, such as ‘wind wings’, allow for limited flight and gliding, but are difficult to use often. Launching is simple and fall breaking is also easily done.
Lightning Step(3/Thunder): P:4 U:2 D:8 E:6
Thunder magicians create extremely powerful charges while shielding themselves from them to create electromagnetic fields. These fields can be used to eliminate friction between them and a given surface, and glide along that surface as long as they remain close to it. Launching and fall breaking is possible, but not flight.
Cold Front(3/Ice): P:8 U:2 D:6 E:10
Ice magicians launch themselves over the ground or through the air using converted energy as a fuel source. It is extremely efficient and allows for limited high speed flight and fall breaking.
Tidal Force(3/Water): P:10 U:0 D:8 E:7
Water magicians ride on held or frozen platforms while being carried by the force of rushing waves. Flight isn’t possible, but higher jumps and fast flanking are.
Gravitas(3/Earth): P:0 U:2 D:5 E:10
Earth magicians can ride steady objects through the air or even lift themselves, but speed of motion is limited due to focusing issues.
Force Step(3/Anima): P:10 U:3 D:5 E:5
Magicians use raw anima to augment their leaps and bounds in order to cover more distance and soften hard falls, but sustained flight and gliding is impossible.
 
Anima Theory:
-Ironically called 'friendly fire' by many, the fire that doesn't harm the magician casting it or their allies is a very real and very plausible concept. In modern times, magicians are at least partially protected from their fire spells by excess fire units that resist the transfer of heat instead of helping it propagate and gather around the limbs to form a heat shield. It is believed that if fire units inside of a fire spell can be made to coordinate to completely stop heat transfer when in contact with the magician or their allies, this 'friendly' fire spell could be achieved. This would require the heat to take another form, however, which is why it is not believed that fire units alone could accomplish the feat, at least not until they are better understood.
Note: (More are pending)[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler=RESISTANCE]Resistance is one of only three defenses against magic, the others being agility and heavy obstacles. 'Barriers', are resistance at work and protect magicians by interfering with incoming spells, reducing their effectiveness, or cancelling them out altogether. This happens in various ways depending on several factors. Barriers are not automatic in the beginning; users have to be trained, maintaining them constantly until it becomes as natural as breathing and as autonomous as a heartbeat. Adequate barriers have to be built up through focus training (meditation) and experience (being attacked). The actual barrier is a result of psychic units pulling in elements of a magician's aura within the control field, and 'personally ‘interfering' with any foreign energies that enter said control field. With aura elements being moved closer together, the chances of spell collisions increases, and the amount of interference also increases. A magician's psychic units will cancel out the 'orders' of foreign psychic units while condensing aura elements, which weakens a spell as soon as it comes into the magician's control field. In close quarters where the control fields of opposing magicians overlap, their spells are collectively weakened. Whenever magicians work closely in tandem, their overlapping control fields result in significantly increased spell power.
 
For the inexperienced or the more physically inclined, barrier weapons and equipment were produced to increase the available aura elements for psychic units to control, effectively increasing resistance during condensing. Even in ordinary people, there is some magical cancellation caused by psychic interference, specifically when the victim of an attack is fully aware of the attack and hoping to avoid it. The 'natural barrier' is too weak for practical use but is still measurable and lends to physical fighters being able to achieve 'mage level barriers' with some formal training and commitment. Resistance can build up naturally in defense minded fighters, but only reaches potency with actual training.
 
The Magic Triangle:
The magic triangle is a representation of the effectiveness of one type of magic pitted against another and is represented as a literal triangle with anima at the top, light to the bottom right, and dark to the bottom left. The picture explains magical effectiveness when moving from one point to the next in a clockwise manner. Anima is effective against light. Light is effective against darkness. Darkness is effective against anima. Like magic does not have increases or decreases in effectiveness when pitted against each other. The reason some magic is more effective or less effective against others is due to how they interact with each other during high speed collisions.
 
Anima vs Light: Anima units are very large compared to light units and at high speeds, they can blast through almost anything. Light units are not able to hinder their movement of and are forced aside or dragged along thanks to their slight tangibility.
Anima vs Dark: Anima units are more easily hindered by dark units, which will literally 'stick to them', piling on extremely quickly as the anima units move through a dark barrier. This can form a very thick wall between anima units and their target as well as slow them down.
 
Light vs Dark: Light units at high speed will punch through groups of dark units with relative ease, losing little momentum with each strike or pass. Dark units do not easily assume heat under these conditions and so most of it can be transferred to the dark magician's body if the light units reach them in force.
Light vs Anima: Light units even at high speed lack the power to penetrate anima groups without quickly losing momentum. Heat from Light's offensive spells is also quickly cancelled out by the motion resistant anima units, protecting the magician.
 
Dark vs Anima: Dark units at high speeds will flow together like a torrent, reinforcing each other and providing a current for all the others to follow. This allows them to flow around the much larger anima units despite their size.
Dark vs Light: When pitted against light groups, head on collisions happen too frequently. These types of collisions can stop dark units, cold, which can create clusters of stalled dark units and interrupt the flow. When this effect propagates throughout the entire spell, the attack is effectively absorbed.
 
In actual battle, barriers can protect from more than just other magic. Certain types of barriers can protect from extremes of temperature and lightweight objects. These sorts of barriers tend to require more tangibility than most, and so physical barriers are almost always anima based.
 
In Nature:
A few oddities exist where resistance is concerned, specifically in certain animals. Pegasi for example have strong light based resistance, granting their riders a slight boon in combat. Other animals include a particular breed of sea wyvern and the aquatic wyrms used by dragoons. These creatures have strong anima based resistance. With pegasi, it's a common belief that they are blessed creatures of the Goddess of Mercy and so have natural resistance based on light. The sea wyverns and wyrms are assumed to be blessed by the Goddess of Nature in the same way, though some believe the Sea King, Leviathan, is the one who bestows this blessing.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler=Auras]The Aura:
The aura is a collection of psychic and magical 'units' that surrounds all magic users, from novices to masters. In humans, it is the direct result of the mental equivalent of muscle memory. Psychic power acts on magical forces even while a magician is at rest, unaware, or unfocused and holds down applicable roaming units, confining them to the magician's control field.
-Psychic energy holds down magical units, but exerts very little force on them, preventing magical break down from beginning immediately. It still happens within a certain amount of time, which is why auras never become extremely thick on their own. Auras are replenished via free roaming magic.
-The control field regularly goes through the basic motions of creating the most common spells the magician knows. This is called 'phantom casting' and is normally a beneficial aspect of the psyche, allowing magicians to eventually cast more advanced spells with ease. The amount of energy within an aura is relatively small, too little to cast a powerful spell, but thick enough to allow for one or two basic spells. Phantom casting goes through the motions of casting spells, but does not exert enough force to actually cast.
-Auras increase in size and 'thickness' as magicians become stronger and so often act as a reflection of a magician's overall power. The aura only truly corresponds to their gathering ability, and their barrier control, known collectively as the 'maturity' of their psychic powers.
-Auras can be 'flared', causing the aura to become visible to the naked eye. This visible light created by flaring isn't the magic within the aura, but very high concentrations of aura emissions caused by increased psychic/magic interaction (more on emissions in 'Detection'). Flaring also occurs during spells a magician is highly vested in. Many spells that would otherwise be invisible are made visible by the increased 'stress' between psychic and magic units. The color of a flare depends on the magic in use. Light magic creates white and yellow flares. Dark magic creates violet flares. Anima creates many different colors depending on the composition of the magician's aura, but some common ones are red, orange, turquoise, and green.
 
In nonhumans, auras are created by the A.E.(Abner Effect), a natural event that causes local applicable energy to contain itself within and around nonhumans. This energy like in humans never strays beyond the control field. Nonhumans can become natural hosts to any magic they learn to control and that magic will gravitate toward them, with early magic containing itself within the nonhuman, and late magic roaming through their control field. Because nonhumans are naturally poor at extracting infused energy, they must rely on containing objects to practice and learn new magic types. Only once they have the ability to control a new type of magic will the A.E. begin to slowly take hold. This had effectively restricted most nonhumans to their 'born element' throughout their lives for a long time.
 
Detection:
All auras emit a special energy, and quite a bit of it. The energy released from auras is a byproduct of all forms of control exerted over magic. That includes the very passive control that creates auras in the first place. In short, any psychic interaction with magic, whether passive or intentful, emit this energy. It goes out in all directions, slowly fading with distance, and passes through matter. This energy is unique to all others in that it reflects the magician causing it. With enough training, individuals can be identified by these emissions alone. Their 'signature' determined by the quantity and quality of the psychic/magical interactions which is unique to every magician, human and nonhuman. The emissions of each magician change as their abilities improve or decline, but to those familiar with the changes, emissions can still act as a type of signature. Magicians must train to detect this energy, relying on what can only be called 'psychic interpretation'. It's called this because only psychic units can detect this energy.
-Aura emissions fade over distance. The distance is thought to be approximately seventy miles. Beyond this, detection is simply impossible.
 
Detection grades determine the detection abilities of magicians. Grade one is the lowest detection grade, but still takes time and training to reach. Detection abilities are unique in magic because as magicians gain experience, their detection range extends in somewhat 'ever increasing intervals'. Detection ranges become enormous after a time but have notable discerning limitations. There are seven official grades and both humans and nonhumans can reach them all. It is impossible, however, to reach the suspected higher grades. These higher grades are 'suspected' because grade seven has a detection range a little under eight miles. That is around ten percent of detection's potential.
-No one training in detection for less than a year has ever achieved grade one or higher without divine intervention of some kind. Reaching grade two can take anywhere from three to five years from grade one. Grade three can be reached from grade one within three to five years. Grade four can be reached in five to eight years. Grade five can be reached in five to eight years. Grade six can be reached in eight to twelve years. Grade seven can be reached in eight to twelve years. The '(S)' is for divine intervention. Characters in these situations can be at the desired detection grade regardless of level.
-Detection Grades cannot be 'skipped' in training. They are milestones, not actual techniques.
-There is no exact measurement for each grade, only a relative distance associated with each. This means that each magician's detection range is unique to them but does not stray far from the listed distances per grade. Higher grades have broader detection but even the highest grade variations (specifically at grade 7) do not exceed one thousand meters.
-Magicians may actually fail to notice emissions even if they are within their detection range. This is called 'detection oversight' and is somewhat common in magicians with large detection range who purposely ignore insignificant detections. The difference between oversight and ignoring a detection is that in oversight, the magician completely misses the detection consciously and would not be able to recall ever having detected the 'overseen' at all. Oversight virtually never happens when a strong aura is detected, or when one is particularly close by.
-Magicians can also have false alarms or 'false detections'. These are less common than detection oversights but still happen from time to time. They are merely phantom detections based mainly in memory and typically come from lots of experience. False detections are quickly identified because they fade in seconds whereas real presences don't.
-Detection potential doesn't diminish much with age, but actual detection ability can become plagued with detection oversight or false detection as the mind withers.
[Detection Grades]
Grade One(1): Emissions can be detected from one hundred meters away (three hundred twenty-eight feet) and closer. Nothing else can be interpreted, but detection oversight is extremely rare at grade one.
Grade Two(2/S): Emissions can be detected from three hundred meters away (nine hundred eighty-four feet) and closer. Magic types can be discerned, but only up to one hundred meters. Magic subtypes can also be detected but only up to thirty three meters (one hundred eight feet).
Grade Three(2/S): Emissions can be detected from seven hundred meters away  (two thousand two hundred ninety-seven feet) and closer. Magic types can be discerned, but only up to three hundred meters. Magic subtypes can also be detected but only up to one hundred meters.
Grade Four(3/S): Emissions can be detected from one thousand five hundred meters away (four thousand nine hundred twenty-one feet) and closer. Magic types can be discerned, but only up to seven hundred meters. Magic subtypes can be discerned up to three hundred meters. Anything one hundred meters or closer is easily identified. Oversight is common. False detection is uncommon.
Grade Five(3/S): Emissions can be detected from three thousand one hundred meters away (ten thousand one hundred seventy-one feet) and closer. Magic types can be discerned up to one thousand five hundred meters while subtypes must be within seven hundred meters. Anything three hundred meters or closer is easily identified. Oversight is common. False detection is common.
Grade Six(3/S): Emissions can be detected from six thousand three hundred meters away (twenty-one thousand feet) and closer. Magic types are discernible from three thousand one hundred meters away, and subtypes from one thousand five hundred meters away. Seven hundred meters and below is an easy identification radius, but both oversight and false identification are very common.
Grade Seven(3/S): Emissions can be detected from twelve thousand seven hundred meters away(forty-two thousand feet) and closer. Magic types can be discerned from six thousand three hundred meters away while subtypes can at most be three thousand one hundred meters away. At one thousand five hundred meters and below, identification is relatively easy, but oversight and false detection can become problematic if tracking multiple targets at long range.
 
Concealment:
Being able to detect auras is a powerful skill that enables magicians to find friends and foes in almost any situation. Naturally concealment has become an even more valuable skill, but it is extraordinarily difficult for mages to achieve. There are several ways to conceal an aura, or more specifically, evade detection by other magicians.
Repression: Repression is the most difficult single form of concealment to learn. Repression attunes psychic energy to the emission energies which oddly enough can also be influenced by psychic energy (so long as it is geared to do so). Emissions can then be trapped within the control field. Trapped emissions can be dealt with in several ways but must be dealt with one way or another, otherwise the continued build up increases the temperature inside the magician's control field until it becomes either unbearable, or the discomfort disrupts the magician's concentration and releases the energy. The best way to deal with emissions is to direct them straight into the ground where they will travel down into the earth, completely undetected by other magicians. This technique is very difficult to pick up, but it can be done in as little as a year with absolute and unwavering dedication to the practice.
Stalling: Stalling is difficult, but immediately solves the problem of being detected at long range. It does this by ceasing all interaction between psychic energy and magical energy within the magician's control field. No new emissions are created, but this removes barriers and in order to remain hidden, the magician cannot cast and must maintain constant control. The technique requires true day in and day out training and dedication to learn but can be picked up in as little as a year.
Repressed Stalling: This is a combination of the previous two techniques and many never attempt this, but it is the most beneficial technique of all once mastered. Emissions that were made at the start are trapped and funneled away elsewhere while the psychic interaction with magic within the control field ceases altogether, preventing the creation of new emissions. This completely and effectively disguises a magician. This combination technique normally takes two to three years to fully master, however magicians with no focus on combat can decrease that time to a year or so.
Ejection: Ejection is a less difficult and less effective technique, but very useful in a pinch and very deceptive in an obscured battlefield. The magician purges their aura, blasting away all applicable magic and then moving to another location. The new emissions created are so miniscule that ejected auras overshadow them momentarily. Reemerging auras almost always go unnoticed or are mistaken for a magician that is much farther away than they actually are. This technique can be learned and mastered in a year or less.
 
Aura Theory:
-The emissions created by psychic interactions with magic are believed to contribute to magical decay in some way.
-The Human Abner Effect, is a state in which humans become natural hosts to their chosen form of magic. This is a very rare phenomenon whose most notable trait is allowing humans to cast without tomes or other items. Without divine intervention, only the elderly achieve the H.A.E. standard, but it is believed that even more potential lies beyond the H.A.E.. Feats nearly on par with the vasili are cited as the true potential of magicians.
-Grade Ten, is a sensing range proposed for vasili, one hundred two thousand three hundred meters, or sixty-three miles. This theory came about when it was inferred that aura emissions faded completely seventy miles out. 'Grade Ten' is the suspected relative range and though unproven remains a common teaching and nickname for talented sensors.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler="Life Force"]Life force is an energy source that exists in all living things in varying degrees. It does not directly sustain life, however. In fact, some believe it is a byproduct of some kind, despite that being somewhat counterintuitive in nature. Life force is only observable via its effect on living things in large quantities. It is also responsible for the Twisting Effect, an event that occurs in living beings when rapid molecular change takes place. The twisting effect steadily reverses these effects and seems to preserve natural life.
-Large amounts of life force can sustain organic material for a short period of time. In recently dead tissue, this reinitializes metabolic processes. In dying tissue, this keeps the metabolic process from ceasing and allows cells to function, starved or damaged. In healthy tissue, this revitalizes cells and accelerates and fuels most beneficial processes.
-Over-exposure to life force quickly creates widespread dependency. Total withdrawals from life force infusions while in this state lead to cell death throughout the body and eventually the death of the subject. To overcome dependency, subjects have to be slowly brought off of life force infusions while their food and liquid intake is increased to compensate. Withdrawal sickness and moderate to severe symptoms still occurs in virtually all cases and are characterized by fatigue, rapid fat and muscle loss, intermittent fainting, and even comas.
 
In Light Magic:
Unique to light magic is inherent life force. Put simply, light units each house a little bit of it that can be applied to the user or individuals. In such small amounts, life force is simply an organic motivator, or energizer. It provides brief sustenance to any living material it is applied to, but in higher concentrations can empower or enhance it. The latter produces results like slowed aging and other delayed degenerative effects. Too much life force will cause dependency and can prove fatal after withdrawal due to the body shutting down natural processes in favor of life force infusion. A 'cold turkey' withdrawal will kill a dependent person in days. Life force can only be imparted by light units; it cannot be taken back or transferred by them. When a light unit is converted into natural energy, the life force inside seems to be 'lost' in the process, neither being transferred to some other carrier nor bestowed to the nearest life form.
 
In Dark Magic:
Unique to dark magic is the ability to capture and transfer life force. Utilizing the in and lock phases, dark units can capture a limited amount of life energy from a living target. The most powerful technique for transferring life force was first seen in Kigen and was called 'nusumujutsu' by those who knew of or taught it. In the northern countries, it is known as 'nosferatu'. This technique is performed by saturating a target in in-phased dark units. It is not as easy as it sounds, especially in battle where active barriers can easily prevent nosferatu from even making contact, let alone siphoning a target. With a target completely saturated in in-phased units, life force begins to be drawn out by their respective control fields. When the magician feels they have procured enough, the dark units are put into a lock-phase, which prevents the life force from escaping, and called back. As they are pulled away, the lock-phased units attempt to pull away material with them. This causes both superficial and minor to severe internal damage to a target. Granting the life force acquired to a new target(even oneself) is as simple as reversing the process and using the out-phase. The magician surrounds either himself or someone of interest, and saturates them in the dark units before putting them all into the out-phase. This transfers the life force to them directly and it mixes with what is already there, but not before passing through every part of the body and revitalizing it. This also accelerates healing significantly. The technique is highly addictive and a person who receives such energy too often can become dependent on it, something that proves deadly when ceasing abruptly. Normal bodily processes often fail to adapt in time and the person will die within days without a course correction. This technique can only be done a few times before a magician exhausts themself, while masters or well learned nosferatu users can persist for longer, however this is assuming the target being reaved is a full sized adult. Children and smaller animals (dogs, cats, goats, etc) have been killed in mass and sometimes many at once with this technique. Particularly small animals can be killed by the dozens with negligible side effects and rarely does it lead to early dependency issues.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler="The Advanced Arts"]Spell Inflation:
Spell inflation empowers a spell by increasing its effects. It is the act of adding more energy into a spell than necessary, but is done at specific times during a spell's formation to get the desired effect. Examples include pouring more energy into a fire spell to increase its size and energy output, or introducing excess energy to the center of a basic dark spell during its oscillation phases to create a bloating effect. This has been used and seen limited success in synthesis, but only with larger scale alterations. Inflation is scale dependent and more commonly used in offensive magic.
-Inflations require careful timing, something very difficult in combat, but when done correctly can increase the size, range, or power of a spell. This can cause great increases in accuracy, speed, and lethality without any extra strain involved.
 
Snap Conversion:
'Snap conversion' is the term for any magical event that rapidly transforms elements around them into something 'uniform'. In many cases it is a chain reaction fueled by pent up magical energies. This is different from alchemic conversions which are more complex and create more than just a similarly shaped uniform mass. Snap conversions change elements into different ones while maintaining (to the best of the new material's ability) the original shape. The most well-known examples of this are the fabled 'petrification' spells which turn victims to 'stone'. In truth, many petrification spells are merely stasis inducing spells, but some actually convert victims at least partially into stone or a similar rock hard substance.
-The twisting effect, the result of the presence of life energy, steadily reverses snap conversions and alterations made by organic arcana. However, if life force is removed, alterations become permanent after several hours. This means that not only will new life force not act against the alterations in the future, but will actually treat them as a restore point against future alterations as if they were natural. This allows altered materials to be healed by light magic.
-Without the Twisting effect, petrification spells would be permanent.
-Snap conversions of inanimate materials can be undone by applying life force to them, oddly enough, but this is only possible within a few hours after the initial conversion takes place.
-Some snap conversions are caused by extremely powerful runes and are typically the most effective kind.
 
Advanced Spells and Techniques:
The advanced arts are legendary feats of innovation seen at various times throughout history. While the details can be viewed in RotE Timeline, the list of known feats is listed here.
Sound Casting(3): P:4 U:1 D:8 E:n/a
The spell duplicates or transfers sounds so that they seem to originate from a false source. Requires wind magic, but is suspected to be possible with other types.
Distortion(3): P:4 U:1 D:8 E:n/a
The spell alters, amplifies, or duplicates sound waves to give them a different profile. Requires wind magic.
Aura Sound(S*): P:8 U:0 D:10 E:n/a
The spell is passive and constant once learned and acts as another sense of hearing, allowing the magician to perceive sounds, with or without their ears. It normally takes decades to learn and decades more to perfect. Requires wind magic.
Aura Sight(S*): P:8 U:0 D:10 E:n/a
The spell is passive and constant once learned and acts as another sense of sight, allowing the magician to perceive the environment at a limited distance, with or without their eyes. It normally takes decades to learn and decades more to perfect. Any type of magic has the potential to work with this ability.
Stone Gaze(3*Syn/OA): P:6 U:0 D:10 E:10
A spell that petrifies targets through complex semi-autonomous spells that work in chains. Targets are not literally turned to stone, but can appear as such under various conditions. The caster is vulnerable while petrifying a target and this spell is not effective against strong barriers.
-A target will die if petrified for more than a few minutes, even if restored to normal.
-While physical durability increases when petrified, targets are shatter prone and fractures become 'cuts' when the twisting effect reverts a person to normal which can lead to grievous injuries.
-Targets suffering from complete life force depletion can only be saved from petrification with a restore staff or life force infusion.
Sleep(*TM): P:4 U:1 D:7 E:n/a
This spell renders targets unconscious through tendril magic working at the base of the spine, either through mild interference, or through induced hypoxia. Targets can be kept unconscious the same way, but the techniques involved are only known to practitioners.
Forge(2*/3): P:7 U:2 D:6 E:8
The spell combines wind magic and other types into combination wind shapes for various effects.
Dark Infusion(3): P:3 U:1 D:4 E:8
This is a mingling of dark magic with other types for combined effects, with hues that can be blue, violet, red, or black.
Heat Possession(3*): P:2 U:1 D:9 E:n/a
This spell is used to overwhelm and assume control of natural heat or abandoned magical heat sources without the use of ice magic. Requires fire magic.
Thundering Blast(2): P:5 U:1 D:8 E:10
This is a spell that uses wind and thunder magic to create a combination attack spell. The results are a loud, crackling slam spell charged with thunder magic that may explode on impact. It is effective against most targets but the caster is immobile while preparing it.
Stanch(2): P:6 U:2 D:6 E:n/a
Water units are merged with the blood in order to control its flow in that area and stop bleeding at its source. Not for amateurs.
Smite(3): P:2 U:1 D:9 E:10
This spell combines light and fire magic to unleash a deadly explosion capable of incinerating most targets. The caster shields themselves with fire units while flash converting all other magic around them to trigger the blast. It is effective against virtually everything.

Force Light(3/Aureola): P:0 U:0 D:8 E:10

This spell addresses an inherent flaw in the Aureola spell, that flaw being that those spells impart negligible kinetic force on targets. By blending a large amount of anima magic into the streams, Force Light spells are capable of blasting holes through virtually any target, relying on kinetic energy for displacing power, and the immense heat of the base spell to incinerate anything that won't yield.[/spoiler]

 

 
[spoiler="Runes and Imbued Items"]The Ancient Runes:
The runes were markings of power that had the ability to influence magical energies in the same manner that psychic power did. Some even considered them to be 'divine mandates', instructions written out by the gods themselves. These runes were presented to humanity by the vasili and covered numerous areas of magic. Each rune was a unique design that could be copied or remembered and engraved somewhere else to cause a localized spell if the magical energy was present there. Applicable free flowing magic that finds itself near an ancient rune will immediately carry out whatever spell corresponds to that particular rune if able to do so, which made these artifacts incredibly powerful. It is believed that the runes were made unnatural and counterintuitive in appearance to avoid being inadvertently created in art or nature, a phenomenon that would cause random inexplicable magical events.
-The ranges of runes or rather their range of influenced varied drastically per rune.
-A notable oddity regarding runes and magic, and something that had profound implications, was that while magic does react in a specific way to runes while near them, they will only do this when an adequate amount of magical energy is present, specifically enough to complete whatever task corresponds to that rune. It suggests that magical energy not only has a degree of awareness, but also inherent knowledge of any given spell and its requirements. Runes designed to cycle energy such as barrier runes were somewhat unique because they would work with very little energy, but excess energy would still respond to them, and they would become quite powerful over time, not seeming to have a clear limit to the amount of magic they will use for a barrier. Also unique to barrier runes was their ability to use multiple types of magic to create tri-barriers that had no susceptibility to the magic triangle.
-Opposing runes never 'compete' with each other to achieve a particular effect and instead will divide all applicable magic evenly among them which sometimes prevents any spells from being formed. Like runes will augment a given task if there isn't enough energy for two spells.
-The size of a rune directly corresponded to the size and/or power of the spell it would create, and with an increase in size and/or power came an increase in required magical energy. Without the right amount to complete the exact task the rune 'marks', nothing happens. This made runes of all sizes quite valuable.
-Because runes have energy requirements, and don't indiscriminately attempt spells haphazardly, they were extremely efficient and easy to use. Magic could be introduced to a rune whenever someone was ready to produce their desired effect. Runes and magic worked together flawlessly and indefinitely.
-Runes also had an edge over sentient casters because they were never known to trigger magical breakdown. Barrier runes that cycled magical energy could function indefinitely, having any energy lost to bypassing attempts replaced by roaming energy in the atmosphere. Such barriers were very useful because they would only require a little energy to begin erecting barriers, and would add more as time went on to become nigh impregnable, and they were used to seal off other artifacts of great importance.
-Unknown ancient runes are priceless artifacts. Known ancient runes are guarded fiercely by any powers that possess them. Memories of ancient runes are also of incredible value to those who can make use of them. Thousands of them existed but most were obscure until modern times.
-Ancient runes are extremely difficult to come by because they were almost never engraved on the surface of an artifact. Instead they were created on the inside. Tendril magic is usually a better option for identifying rune artifacts, though this can be incredibly tedious.
-An inherent limitation of runes is that they cannot be altered much to adhere to a particular surface; skewering, stretching, or wrapping a rune too far will make it useless. A collective 'bend' or 'curve' of up to thirty degrees is all that is permissible before a rune ceases functioning. They can only be stretched a tenth of their overall length or width and they cannot be skewered at all and maintain any kind of functionality. The only ways to compensate for these limitations are to produce the rune somewhere inside of the weapon to avoid the 'surface' problem, or decrease the rune's 'written size'.
 
The Modern Runes:
As previously explained, runes were originally divine codes, or markings of power. They were able to influence magic by their presence alone. This had unsettling implications about the nature of magical energy but allowed for incredible feats of engineering. They originated with the vasili and after the end of the Legendary Rebellion, were carefully guarded by the first emerging powers in the new world. The name 'rune' passed down to the man-made devices that serve the same purpose. Modern runes rely on the incomplete 'strokes' of ancient runes to influence magic and combine these with enchanted channels to compensate and create practical spells.
-Incomplete strokes are essentially a component of a complete rune's instruction, but they are complete enough in and of themselves to influence magic even without the rest of the rune being present. These strokes are still very complex and difficult to build off of, as even the slightest variation renders a written rune powerless, but they have allowed for the creation of most modern innovations.
-Glyphs are another type of rune and are critical to staff based warping magic and certain types of barrier magic. Inside of a warp staff is a glyph, a rune that automates some of the warping process by providing an energy boundary and a range of influence that allows a magician to add companions to the warp without directly focusing on them. The actual glyph that appears on the ground during a warp is merely a projection of the rune itself, created by either light or dark units and only serves to visually represent the warp's range of influence. Glyph projections are massive, but because of their size, they don't normally create even larger projections of themselves or cause cascading effects (though they would be able to attempt this in an area filled with applicable magical energy).
[Notable Runes]
Fire Rune:Also called a 'Flame Ward', fire runes are designed primarily for ships and have a dual function. They repel magical flames with a warding rune and repel physical flames with a triggered wind magic release that is sensitive to high temperature. Fire runes only cover about a ten meters and so must be placed all over a ship's surface to work properly, and regular infusions are needed to ensure they continue to repel natural flames properly, as this isn't possible without a working heat trigger and adequate wind magic.
Barrier Rune: These come in several varieties, everything from force barriers, barriers that use anima energy to block open passages, to dark reinforcers, barriers that reinforce walls, doorways, and ship hulls with dark magic. There are also tri-barriers that utilize all three magic types to nullify the magic triangle. Most barriers use directional runes engraved in a complex arrangement along with other intricate bits to produce cycles that allow these barriers to function. The oldest barriers use complete runes, but are almost impossible to duplicate because the engravings have yet to be found.
Shining Rune: This is a simple rune that causes all nearby light magic to converge on its surface, creating a small but intensely bright light. These runes can light up even the darkest corridors and are used for that purpose.
Iron Rune: This was an obscure rune that created complete triangle based pulse barriers at impact points, and each iron rune had to be tailored to the size of the person it was used by to be completely effective, though this special scaling is often ignored leading to less than perfect results per user. This rune is near legendary due to its simple yet powerful function, which not only relied on magic being present, but also incoming objects. Whenever the wielder was about to be struck, all forms of magic around the user's body would converge on the impact point, creating a 'tri-pulse' and severely limiting the damage achievable by the impact. Iron runes are now more common but require surefooted wielders in order to avoid being knocked down by the strength of the tri-pulse.
[Legendary Runes]
Cloak Rune: This rune is so obscure it's thought to not even exist at all. It was a rune pattern that would use light magic to phase and unphase natural light from all angles rendering anything within the rune's area of effect invisible to the naked eye.
Warp Rune: The warp rune is legendary, but also demonstrated on a daily basis by the fallen. The sanctums they use to house and summon their demons into battle are merely oversized warp runes. There are two kinds of warp runes. One type warps one to their desired location while remaining behind, creating a one way spatial jump, while the other enters the wormhole along with the user.
Mirage: This rune is not one, but a countless number of runes that created illusions. They are the only one known runes to cause 'tricks of the light' and use light magic to phase and reflect light. This obscured the object the rune was attached to and caused those looking at it to perceive something different. The object seen was entirely dependent on the rune's design, and only the gods and the vasili can interpret and create these types or runes.
Stasis Rune: This rune would restrain and hold down the first object to enter its radius. These used either dark or anima magic, or both, and were so powerful that only vasili or magic seals could disable them. If a magician entered its radius and tried to cast using the applicable magic, producing enough of it would cause the rune to activate and bind them instantly, making this rune a legendary trap field.
Destruction Rune: One of the most powerful runes ever known. With enough magic present, the rune would rapidly disintegrate anything within its radius using all three types of magic. It is essentially a super weapon, said to be taboo even by the vasili. It is also believed that they have worked to suppress all knowledge of this rune, its strokes, and its devastating power.
The Gestalt Order: A command of the gods that, when activated, causes fundamental changes to the behavior of any magic controlled by the closest mind. The changes vary depending on the type of magic, and the rune itself, but most often a bearer of an active Gestalt Order cannot be directly harmed by their own magic. The Gestalt Order is only referenced in certain contexts and there is no historical evidence of its existence.
 
Imbued Items:
'Imbued' is a general term for any object that has magical energy inside of it. Containment is the state of magic simply floating around inside of an object while infusion is the state of magic being closely bound to the object. Imbued items include everything from enchanted trinkets and devices to tomes and magical weapons. Containing and infusion are both difficult tasks because once psychic energy begins to interact with magic directly, it begins to break down. To avoid this, specialists must contain items by indirectly working with magic, using their own, they slowly 'push' magical energy into objects. Infusion is harder and takes longer, hours longer, mainly because forcing magic units to bind to something without manipulating them directly requires cluster by cluster work. Tomes can take multiple days to infuse. The results ensure that only psychic power extracts that bound power. Infused magic will repel any other magic infused into an object with the magic triangle deciding which energy is removed the most. Infusion of all three types of magic into a single item at once will cause a neutral clash that will destroy the object entirely within a few minutes. Miniscule amounts of magic infused into items will eventually resolve the conflict, leaving only one magic type remaining. Containing items on the other hand can house all three types of magic without conflict arising, which makes containment very useful for storage purposes.
 
Hosts: The atmosphere is filled with magical energy, but in amounts so small that their effect on the environment on the surface is negligible and difficult to prove. They fall to the soil from the heavens and slowly enter the ground. Eventually they adhere to and contain themselves inside of various ores. These ores are called natural hosts, and they are the only efficient means of gathering magical energy. Storage hosts are objects designed to contain magic until it can be appropriated.
 
Enchanted Items: There are two kinds of enchanted items, containing items, and infused items. Contained magic is in a malleable state overall, but magic that is contained is not noticeably effected by passive influences such as runes or magic seals. Infused magic won't respond to passive influences either, but can only be removed through psychic interaction.
 
Tomes: Tomes are instruction manuals infused with an astronomical amount of power. These books come in varying sizes but the size of an object does correspond to how much magical energy it can be infused with. The type of magic being infused also corresponds to how much magic can be infused. As such, light tomes have the longest infusion-span of any magic, while anima tomes have the shortest. Dark tomes rest between light and anima but also have very long infusion-span. The actual ratio is about 5:4:1. Despite the short infusion-span of anima, anima based tomes still last a considerably long time due to how effective 'simple books' have proven to be for infusion. While smaller and varying items can be infused and used in the same way tomes can, they cannot hold nearly as much energy and unlike anima tomes must be reinfused weekly, or even daily in the case of frequent combat, rather than monthly or bi-monthly as is the case with most anima tomes. Larger objects can also be infused for the same purpose, but practicality fades with scale one way or the other and infusion specialists often take advantage of uncommon infusion orders.
 
Magic Weapons: These weapons usually have rune devices built into them. They also have the applicable magical energy contained or infused into them. This allows their wielders to cast magic without necessarily having any knowledge of what they're doing. This works by hitting a trigger designed and placed somewhere on the weapon that unleashes enough magical energy to form a spell. The energy responds to the rune present within the weapon and carries out the spell automatically. The inherent limitation to rune based weapons is that each is only capable of one spell, unique or otherwise. Some weapons are designed for more complex spells, like nosferatu. This is seen in rune blades, which use the obscure life force siphoning rune to steal energy from enemies and effectively cast nosferatu for their wielder. Some magic weapons use complete ancient runes and triggers alone, while more modern designs use incomplete runes along with enchanted tubes and triggers. only the ancient runes can create life force siphoning spells, but modern designs also produced formidable weapons, such as elemental swords, weapons capable of adding elemental power to their attacks, and branded blades, weapons that can strike physically and magically.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler="Magic Seals"]Magic Seals are small 'rocks' or devices that absorb vast amounts of free flowing magical energy in a very short period of time. This effect creates a magical 'dead zone' where no spells can be created. Magic Seals are very expensive to produce and very small given their effects. These are created and used in one of two ways, by using the original ore molding method to produce the uniform 'texture' that causes the sealing effect(requiring dark magic), or by using one of the ancient dial runes. Normal seals come in various types, the complete list of which is below.
Light Seal: A magic seal tailored to absorbing light units specifically. Other magical energies are unaffected.
Dark Seal: A magic seal tailored to dark units. They are the only kinds affected by dark seals.
Force Seal: Anima absorbing seals. Light and dark units are completely unhindered by these.
Light Saver: These types of seals absorb dark and anima units while leaving light units alone.
Dark Savior: This type of seal spares only dark units. All others are absorbed, and rapidly.
Force Bearer: Force bearers allow anima units to roam freely while absorbing light and dark units.
Magic Seal: These target all forms of magic indiscriminately.
 
Light saver seals are the most popular seals in history due to their ability to shut down all but light based magic. In warfare, this would force enemies to rely on their often less potent light mages. While in effect, light healings were still possible, and so normal fighters were given a great boon in combat. Dark and anima mages would have to retreat altogether or fall back on secondary weapons such as staves and projectile weapons. The other seal types provide their own variations while full-fledged magic seals suppress magical abilities indiscriminately. Seals have a universal property that makes them extremely dangerous. Once they obtain more energy than they can effectively hold down, most of the energy is released in a spectacular explosion. The resulting explosion differs by seal type, however.
Light seals produce white colored orb shaped explosions.
Dark seals collapse into rogue dark stars ripping apart their surroundings and leaving not even the seal itself behind or intact.
Force seals create a blend of colors in their explosions and are serious fire hazards compared to some others.
Light savers unleash violent violet colored explosions.
Dark saviors unleash white and teal colored explosions.
Force Bearers create intensely bright violet colored explosions.
Magic seal explosions vary depending on what kinds of power they've absorbed but an even spread of magic will produce an enormous white blast.
-A seal's effective range or 'draw radius' is approximately five feet for every 100 grams of the seal material.
-When a seal detonates, depending on the type of seal and/or explosion, the seal will lose some of its mass as well as draw strength. Some seals, such as dark seals, are one use seals that are completely destroyed upon detonation.
-A magic seal is unable to absorb magical energy that is infused or contained in an object or tome. This does not mean that with a tome one can cast near a magic seal, however. Once removed from a safe haven, magical energy will be pulled into the magic seal immediately.
-There is no attraction limit for magic seals. All effected magic within its range will converge on it immediately. Seals do have an absorption rate, however, and this causes surface bulges that make the seal glow brightly whenever an enormous amount of magic is pulled in all at once. The glow fades once the energy is fully absorbed, however.
-Magic seals at their internal absorption limit will also glow, but the glow is semi-permanent. Once this happens, a seal is very close to detonation.
-Before a seal detonates, a long and slow sound similar to a fuze burning can be heard. The pitch begins to heighten until the seal explodes. This usually takes as little as fifteen seconds but has happened in as much as one minute, and as little as three seconds. As a general precaution, when the sound is heard, the area should be cleared out with all abandon, or the seal immediately contained or disposed of.
-Seals that survive their detonations relatively in tact begin to immediately draw in energy again, but for those durable enough to continue, there is always reduced mass and draw strength. Seals will eventually reach the super host standard and no longer be a detonation risk.
-Magic seals are created with dark magic using synthesis, but all but dark savior, light seals, and anima seals will absorb any dark magic present when successfully forged. This makes most seal forging attempts 'one shot'. If the final product isn't up to standard, it must be melted down and forgers must begin from scratch.[/spoiler]
 
[spoiler=Alchemy]Alchemy was a revolutionary tool that allowed for incredible feats without the need of extensive magical knowledge. It is an art form originally founded and inevitably preserved by the worshippers of the minor goddess Nyx, and is used to perform precise 'complex conversions' of available materials and forge new materials and objects out of them. Alchemy requires four basic things to function; a control surface, the materials, a trigger, and the alchemist performing the conversion.
 
Control Surface:
The control surface is crucial to a successful conversion and is the reason alchemy doesn't require a full-fledged magician to be present. It does require a great deal of alchemic knowledge, however. Control surfaces require numerous engravings, either on a spot chosen in advance, or on an object large enough to function as a control surface that the alchemist takes with them for convenience. These engravings guide the energy that flows during a conversion and allows an alchemist to achieve feats far beyond synthesis by effectively automating most of the work involved.
-Control surfaces are usually outlined with a circle, but some variations exist, oval outlines for example are used for creating very long objects that wouldn't fit in a conventional circle, or square outlines for objects that are perfectly squared off in design. Inside of the controlling outline are more precise guidelines that direct dark energy where it must go to properly shape the object that is to be created through conversion.
-Control outlines prevent the escape of dark energy and mark the boundary of the conversion. Any applicable elements (that the alchemist intends to utilize) inside the outline will be broken down for use during the conversion process. The radius of influence functions in three dimensions, specifically the range of influence on the vertical plane is the same as on the horizontal. In the case of oval outlines or other varying horizontal outlines, the vertical range matches the shortest horizontal range of the outline.
-Control surfaces represent an ancient code introduced by Nyx and each one is able to influence and guide dark energy passing through it without any enchantments whatsoever. They are essentially massive and complex runes with natural energy interfacing ability. Attempts to design and utilize new codes have always ended in failure, and so the preservation of Nyx's code designs was crucial for early alchemists. Nyx provided dozens of control surface designs.
 
Materials:
Alchemy requires suitable materials for conversion and doesn't work otherwise. Trying to begin a conversion without the proper materials is relatively harmless, but will not produce the desired results in any case. In general alchemists will gather materials in excess, as pound for pound measurements tend to get tedious and excessive; conversions with excess materials will see that material left out of the final product as a lacing of dust and so is considered harmless in whole products (conversions that don't produce hollow products).
-When alchemy was first introduced, alchemists adhered to the law of natural providence, but it was later partially subverted through the advanced conversions. These were sometimes referred to as 'super alchemy' and allowed the conversion of matter down to the atomic scale. Organic materials can be converted into inorganic materials and vice versa through these advanced techniques, but require advanced control surfaces, triggers, and intimate knowledge of the elements at work. Alchemy still requires basic adherence to the 'states of matter', however. Certain liquids, specifically water, cannot be turned into solids or vice versa because they rely on temperatures and atmospheric pressure, not arrangement.
-In order for living materials to be successfully converted in alchemy, they must have their life force stripped away first, or the changes will slowly reverse. In live and whole subjects, the change back to normal from a complex conversion is too slow and can often cripple or kill them depending on the nature of the conversion.
 
Trigger:
Alchemic triggers are devices that both kick start an alchemic conversion and power the whole process. These triggers are usually constructed by the alchemists themselves, a magician they are on good terms with, or passed down from their predecessors. A trigger is a device that contains enough dark energy to fuel numerous conversions and is placed at the edge of the control surface with its 'nozzle' in contact with the control outline. Once it and the materials are in place, all that remains is the alchemist.
-A trigger's nozzle is similar to a funnel in purpose, but not necessarily appearance. The nozzle releases controlled amounts of dark energy when activated. The dark energy released is initially confined to the control surface's guidelines and travels through them at high speed in preparation for the conversion. Once enough dark energy is released to fill the entire control surface's outlines, the trigger's nozzle is closed off.
-The trigger's main body is the host for the dark energy contained inside of it and must eventually be reinfused. Alchemic triggers contain enough dark energy to double as dark tomes and can generally last for a couple of dozen conversions.
-Triggers have varying activation means, everything from a single large button atop its surface, to requiring stabbing motions for those that are shaped similarly to funnels. It all depends on the alchemist.
 
Conversion:
The conversion process itself requires guidance from the alchemist. Once the guidelines are filled, the alchemist must carefully envision their intended product, from the inside out. This is made easier by possessing knowledge gathered from tendril feelings of similar or exact materials, but for those not versed in tendril magic, the knowledge must be given to them through mind magic. Nyx initially did this by granting the first alchemists an extensive understanding of the elements and the composition of products of interest. When the alchemist is ready, they begin to envision the final product, focusing on every detail possible. Once this begins, the dark energy within the control surface begins to ravage the elements and materials within the control surface's range of influence. When the materials are finished being broken down, the images in the alchemist's mind begin to take shape using those materials. The dark energy is actually guided by the alchemist's own psychic energy. Regardless of their experience with magic, the control surface, Nyx's code, allows nearly unlimited control of the dark energy contained within it. Once the conversion is complete, the control surface dies down and the dark energy settles wherever it falls.
-During a conversion, the dark energy involved will become red in color. This lasts until the materials within the control surface are broken down. The dark energy becomes violet and blue in color as the reconstruction process begins. When the conversion ends, the dark energy's glow fades.
-Conversion only lasts several seconds, but can take longer if the object being converted and created is particularly large.
-Converted objects carry a dark taint, but are otherwise completely normal if made successfully.
-Alchemy can cause significant strain on the alchemist if they try to convert an object they have particularly inaccurate or incomplete understanding of. In cases of strain, the final product can be flawed in random ways and to varying degrees. Trying to create an object one has no understanding of will fail and leave the alchemist in a completely fatigued state, with migraine level headaches, and some may even lose consciousness.
-There is no known limit to what can be converted, but when alchemists coordinate a conversion and work together, generally more can be converted and more complex products can be produced. This was particularly useful when creating objects that lacked uniform materials or had multiple components to them.[/spoiler]

Edited by Phoenix

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[b]LoAF magic system[/b]

[b]TISME itself[/b]
Not much to say here. It's organized for the most part like a university. The current headmistress is one Bridget Athenais, a stern old woman with a good sense of how to run a school. There is a small council of the highest faculty, mostly department heads, that advises her. Below those are various professors and other teaching staff. Professors sometimes take older students as teaching assistants, or as primary instructors for the lowest circles. The previous headmistress, Mana, has resigned due to mental unsoundness, but is still welcome in the school; she can occasionally be seen around, but for the immediate moment is away.

There are programs available in light magic, the three types of anima, and dark magic, though the anima program is the largest by far and the dark program is barely even funded. A mage knight program was canceled after a disastrous end, but may be restarted in years to come if the current leadership allows it.

Officially, the school is apolitical, but if its home city of Ilyphina is attacked it will rise to the defense.

[b]The nature of magic[/b]

Human mages differentiate magic into the categories of light, fire, wind, thunder, and dark. The following should serve as a primer on both how mages currently understand magic to work in the time of LoAF, and how it actually works.

[i]Sources of magic: divine and mundane[/i]

Magic comes from two preliminary sources.

[u]Divine[/u] magic is caused by favors granted by either the Goddess or, less commonly, the Lord of Azure Flame. The only laws it follows are the whims of its patron deities, though they are fairly consistent in how they manifest magic. The purifying light used by clergy to attack is granted by the Goddess, as is a portion of the magic that goes into healing, and the ability to warp from place to place. The Lord will rarely grant abilities such as mind control or the ability to drain the energy of a foe.

[u]Mundane[/u] magic stems from a wellspring of magic known as a mana network. Every sufficiently advanced system has its own mana network, namely every living thing, every ecosystem, and the planet itself. Mages access mundane magic by jumpstarting a reaction with energy from their own mana network, usually focusing it through means such as a spell phrase or a magical array, and then drawing further power from the planet's own network-- moving magical energy from mana networks and into other forms within the environment, such as heat. Such magic could theoretically be used to move energy from the environment into a mana network, but presently nobody knows how to do this. The mana networks of living things naturally replenish from energy from nutrients, while the larger networks can replenish from sources such as the sun. Anima magic is strictly mundane, and some types of magic classified as dark are mundane.

[i]The functional categories of magic: light, anima, and dark[/i]

[u]Light[/u] magic is used by clerics, troubadours, priests, and some of the nomadic holy orders (functionally equivalent to the listed classes.) It is granted only to those who devote themselves to some aspect of the Goddess (including indirect devotion, as in the case of the nomads.) Light magic falls into two categories. It can be used for offense, working especially well against demonic forces. It can also be used to heal. Healing magic has two components: the favor of the Goddess, and the mundane energy boost given to the body in order to aid healing. Currently most healers rely on the Goddess, lacking much other understanding of healing's other component, which taxes the Goddess fairly heavily while Helenos is sapping her power. It is generally less efficient to heal through mundane means, but possible; people just go for the easier option.

[u]Anima[/u] magic is primarily used offensively by mages, potentially by mage knights, and some of the nomadic holy orders, though has obvious noncombat uses. Anima divides into wind, fire, and thunder magic.

--Wind magic turns magical energy into kinetic energy: it raises winds, usually at cuttingly high speeds. It can even be used to cause tornadoes or fly, though such exploits have only been documented as being achieved by masters. Theoretically such magic could be used to move other matter, or reduce movement, but such techniques have yet to be discovered.

--Fire magic turns magical energy into heat, usually with an alchemic element in order to sustain the flames. Theoretically such magic could be used to take away heat as well, but such techniques have yet to be discovered.

--Thunder magic harnesses the power of lightning, enabling the wielder to strike with lightning at will. It can also create a sort of force field effect, though this will eventually drain the user. Theoretically, the creative application of thunder magic could enable the user to hover, though this is also draining, and nobody has managed to think of it yet. Other potential uses include any kind of electrical device, most of which have yet to be discovered (so far we have a primitive lightbulb and that’s about it.)

[u]Dark[/u] magic is generally regarded as at best dangerously unstable and at worst evil, and is the domain of shamans. This is because it is. Various bits of magic fall under the umbrella of dark. Offensive dark magic is usually just mundane magic of a less filtered form than anima: energy used to destroy, without much guidance. The mundane component of dark is not evil, but still dangerous, as it can be unpredictable and is always destructive. Other dark magic falls into the category of divine magic, as favors granted by the Lord of Azure Flame or occasionally lesser demons. Such magic can give the user the ability to control or warp another’s mind, or to take energy, up to and including life itself, from an unwilling target.

[u]Miscellany:[/u] It is a generally accepted practice for anima mages to store energy in certain types of stone. Opals work particularly well, for whatever reason-- fire opals for storing fire magic, black opals for storing thunder magic, and milk opals for wind magic. Other stones or other materials can hold magic, but are not as effective-- they have less capacity, and tend not to hold it for very long. Mundane-type dark magic could potentially be stored in stones in a similar manner, but in practice is too powerful for all but the highest quality black opals. If too much energy is stored in a stone, it becomes unstable, and may explode with energy upon a hard impact (this was used in the recent battle to take over Zaftra, with fire stones playing a key part in the fight.) Stored energy can also be returned to a mage if they need a powerup, though taking on more than their mana network can handle is also dangerous for similar reasons. It is also possible to share energy between mana networks of willing participants; a more powerful mage may deign to give a friend a small energy boost if they are tired, for example. Any mage can do this, but it is most well-known as a technique among anima mages. Energy cannot be taken from an unwilling person through normal means. Nonmages can also serve as energy sources if they are willing, but the mage taking the energy must be careful to not take too much, or they might accidentally stop their friend’s heart.

Unexplained things: Some types of magic don’t fit into any particular category, and are thus far unexplained. This includes things like the connections that allow spirit dolls to work, and basically anything that dragons do ever. It may be that dragons just have their own, lesser brand of divine magic to work with.

[b]Scientific and magical understanding as of the time of LoAF[/b]
So far, mages have a somewhat limited understanding of how things work. They have an idea of what energy is, but not how exactly it relates to magic; they know of the mana networks in living things, but not of the great network of the planet. They have begun to grasp the nature of matter; the existence of the atom has been hypothesized, but not yet proven. They are in the process of working out the laws of mechanics and thermodynamics. Calculus has been invented, but only just. As a better understanding of the laws of physics and magic is achieved and the lines between anima disciplines are blurred, the possibilities for spells and technology are endless. Edited by kdanger

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[b]LoAF Nonhumans

Overview[/b]

There are four sentient species in the setting of Lord of Azure Flame: Humans, dragons, spirits, and demons. The first two were a joint creation by the Goddess and the Lord, while spirits were created solely by the Lady, and demons by the Lord.

[b]Spirits[/b]

Created by the Goddess to watch over humanity, spirits are at worst neutral, usually good, and all have an antipathy towards the demonic. There are two overall types of spirit, light and elemental, with the latter type being divided into air, water, fire, earth, and combinations thereof. For example, a volcanic spirit combines fire and earth elementals.

Spirits all have at least some degree of shapeshifting ability, with a true form corresponding to their type that may seem monstrous or alien, a near-human form for interacting with humans, and various in-between states. They do not age past a certain point and will live forever if undisturbed, but can be killed. As the servants of a creator, spirits are capable of reproduction, but largely lack the impulse for it, so their population remains low. At different points in history certain spirits have seen fit to add their powers to human bloodlines, though, so hybrids, while rare, are not unheard of.

All spirits are possessed of great magical power. While in the case of elementals their power may superficially resemble anima, all spirit magic operates under the largely unknown rules of divine magic. Hybrids with humans will have an affinity towards magic, but often are far better at anima, with a few residual quirks of divine left over from their ancestry that set them apart from pure humans.

[b]Dragons[/b]

The Lord and Lady's first attempt at creating a sentient race, the dragons were created with a strong connection to magic, and instilled with a wonder at creation. Humans were later created because neither deity had really planned on their pets deciding to just sit around basking in their sense of their surroundings, or else just pondering how everything worked all day. Most dragons are incredibly stubborn and resistant to change, as befits the extremely long-lived. They also usually like being left alone. This leads to them sometimes being perceived as stodgy and irritable. Dragons are just as capable of great good or great evil as humans, but on the whole tend to invariably be more insufferable.

Dragons have limited shapeshifting powers, allowing them an enormous reptilian form and a humanoid form. They are not immortal, but very tough and long-lived. They bear young infrequently, and while they can interbreed with humans while in humanoid form, they have next to no interest in doing so. Dragon ancestry, while possible, is rarer than spirit ancestry.

Dragons can use either anima or divine magic; many dragons have some sort of elemental connection, but they do not have as much control as a spirit would. There are no natural light or dark dragons, though shenanigans can happen involving spirits or demons, as was the case with Helenos, an earth dragon who was corrupted to rot and undeath via a pact with the Lord.

[b]Demons[/b]

The Lord's counterpart to the spirits, created for conquest. For the most part demons are unambiguously evil, though a few range into neutral territory. Similarly to spirits, demons may be elemental, or simply dark.

Demons may take many monstrous forms, but the strongest tend to be humanoid, at least as a default. Some demons have shapeshifting abilities, allowing for several forms or freeform transformation, but the majority do not. Most demons do not age at all, and all demons will live forever if undisturbed. Obviously, though, they can be killed. As creatures created by a destroyer for the purpose of destruction, demons cannot reproduce. A few have summoning abilities, and are able to call lesser demons into being as backup, but such summons are not offspring as such, and disappear on dismissal or death of the summoner. Since demons cannot reproduce through traditional means, hybrids with humans are impossible. Similarly to spirits, demons may use magic that looks like anima, but is divine in nature. Edited by kdanger

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