Magical energy is a fundamental force of the universe which defies conventional explanation. Unlike the other fundamental forces which are known to science, magical energy operates counter to the way science describes the world. The forces of magic and its energy do not follow the laws of physics or relativity in and of themselves. They are, however, quantifiable. Scientific means can detect and quantify the effects of magical energy if not the energy itself.
Magical energy exists everywhere, there are focal points, between these focal points a network of lines which form a network of magical energy. This energy flows between points like unseen rivers of energy.
Magical energy can also be depleted in an area for a time, though it is nearly impossible to do within a magical well or inside a ley line it is still possible. When extremely large amounts of magic are used an area will be drained of its natural energy and become a null magic zone. Such areas require time for the magical energy within them to regenerate before any magic can again be used there. Similarly the opposite is possible. If an area is thrown out a balance by forcing extreme amounts of magical energy into it it can create a chaotic zone of unpredictable magic. Like in the case of a null zone, a chaotic zone will return to normal once enough time has passed for the excess magical energy to diffuse into its surroundings and balance is achieved.
Patterns of magic laid within an area of chaotic magic can be unpredictable and often violently dangerous effects on the visible world. Such areas should be avoided at all costs.
This leaves distinct sources of magical energy.
Wells are places where magical energy is in abundance and springs forth from the fabric of reality. Many ancient peoples built monuments and markers for these sites, while it was once thought that these markers were the causes of a well and that by building another similar monument one could create a well, this is not true. Wells exist, but their formation has never been witnessed and its mechanisms are unknown.
Ley lines run between wells connecting to one another. Most of the time a well is only connected to its nearest neighboring wells in a 360 degree arch around the well with a distance which is limited by the power of attraction from one well to another. The ley lines server as mediators where energy balances and passes between two wells and maintain and equilibrium of energy in the region.
There is no known method to block or otherwise alter the path of a ley line. Energy may be drained or even injected into the line, but the ley line will remain intact unless some natural process causes a disturbance in the connection between wells.
Magical energy radiates from the fabric of reality naturally, and thus it is all around us. Any given area of space has fluctuating magical energy at any given time. While a nearby ley line or well (nexus / focal point) may augment the natural magical energy present the magical energy does not come solely from such things. Ley lines and wells mediate the overall energy of a region, keeping it in balance with surrounding regions.
Magical energy can be used for a variety of purposes but only by people or things that can interact with it. While every living thing has some ability to sense and even manipulate magical energy around them it is important to note that some people, animals, or objects can do so more than others.
Animals and people who are unaware of what they are doing use magical energy out of instinct rather than purpose. The effects are usually like flashes in a pan and in line with the natural fight-or-flight response. This is not, however, the only inmate use of such energies. In people a sufficiently extreme shift in emotional and physical stress can cause the body to draw in and use magical energy, though again, this follows instinct rather than purpose.
Areas of high magical energy tend to be more fertile, plans grow better, weather seems to be more potent (for good or bad) and life seems to be attracted to such areas. Insects, animals, and people are almost always drawn to a magical well following the path of ley lines. This attraction forms roads and such along the strongest ley lines. Most cities have a well nearby - the oldest cities have a well at the very heart of the city.
Human emotion has a strong influence on magical energy. Enough people gathered around a weaker well can make that well strong just by their presence, which will then tend to draw more people until an equilibrium is found.
The purposeful usage of magical energy is difficult. Most people are unaware of its existence in all but the most subconscious sense. About 1/100 of the population has a stronger ability to sense the energy around them and become somewhat conscious of it, though the brain almost always interprets this awareness as a kind of emotional hot and cold sense when going from place to place.
Further around 1 out of every million people have some ability to become aware of the magical energy around them. These few people can learn (with great effort) to sense and use magical energy. It is a difficult process and must be an act of strong emotion - someone cannot learn to use magical energy just because someone tells them to - they have to have a driving force from inside which makes them want to learn. This kind of person can take a decade to really learn how to sense and feel the magic around them and longer to control it, manipulate it, use it.
Finally about once every other generation a handful of people are born for which this conscious awareness of magic is turned on from birth. For these people magic is always present and they often teach themselves to use it in some way when they are children. By adulthood many have pushed this away in an effort to conform to those around them. These people, however, can always learn and should such a person embrace what they can do - they can become very powerful turning the natural small uses of magic into an art form to do great things.
Emotions form the basis of control of magic. Much like science is controlled through knowledge and construction of tools, a magic user imposes patterns on magical energy through focus of emotion from their own mind. Feeling the magical energy, controlling it, and bending it. Magical energy never stops just like a person never stops feeling.
Using magic imposes order onto a naturally chaotic system. Magical energy flows of its own accord and does not lend itself easily to control. To use magical energy a person imposes a pattern onto it, so that the energy flows in specific ways, specific paths, creating a specific effect in the visible world out of those patterns. Patterns can be taught but more often they are created. No two people will ever impose a pattern the same way, for each person the experience of magic is different, the sense and perception of magic is different so... It follows that a person imposing a pattern on magical forces would need to construct that pattern in their own way.
Once a pattern is learned, it is always known, leaving an imprint on the mind of the person using it like a person might never forget their first kiss... A pattern evokes a visceral response of emotion which then servers as the foundation for laying that pattern out in magic.
Imposing patterns on magical forces is not easy. A person must always learn a way in which they can bring the flow of magic within their grasp. For some, this is done through strength. For others this is done through cunning seeking places where the flow is weak or strong and tugging at it. Still more immerse themselves in the flow of magic and direct it from within, giving in first and then imposing their will. There are as many ways to bring magical forces under control as their are people - no two people ever do so the same way, though the methods fall into a set number of categories based on the persons innate abilities.
Kinds of Control
- Forces a magical flow to bend and shape itself through sheer strength, often using complex physical forms to do it similar to those found in marital arts.
- Light and reserved touches of control to alter the flow of magic as if to convince the flow that it already should be in the pattern being sought.
- Immersing ones self in the magical flows letting them overwhelm to understand them, become one with them, and then control them.
- Disrupting a flow of magic with chaos and disorder invoking control through disruption and causing existing patterns and flows to become unclear and out of balance before invoking control upon them in the disorder.
A skilled and powerful user of magic is able to imbue an object of superior craftsmanship with a specific pattern for that item using magic. Some items can only be used by someone who can already use magic consciously but offers them the ability to use these pre-patterned abilities without knowing them first. Using such objects does not bestow these patterns upon the mind of the user but with careful study a person can learn to create a similar pattern themselves to achieve the same effect.
Most artifacts of magical power are inlaid with patterns which act as an antennae for magical energies, drawing them into patterns like water into a structure of hollow glass. This allows even someone with no awareness of magic to use these patterns. The artifact draws in magic naturally, imposes a pattern, and releases magic in that pattern.
Artifacts cannot be created without an emotional edge to them. An impression of the emotional force which inlaid the pattern. When used this force will come out and soak into the person using such an artifact. The more powerful or complex the pattern the stronger this imposition of emotion will become.
Such artifacts are classified as Mu.
There are some extraordinarily rare substances which defy these strictures. They are extremely rare and cannot be made but must be found in their raw state. The only two known substances which fit this description are the Solar Crystal and Aurora Crystal. It is possible there are others that have not been discovered.