Magic is rare. It is not a skill that can be taught. Instead, it is something that people are born with. The one notable quality magicians have that separates them from a regular person is that their irises change color to correspond to an element they have affinity for when they are a young child. The age where this occurs varies from individual to individual.
Magicians walk a tight rope in society. They have to ward off superstitious fear of their own kind
and assure the common folk that their abilities can be used for the greater good. As they are vastly outnumbered and extended use of magic greatly strains both the body and mind, magicians learn quickly during their training when the appropriate time it is to speak and talk.
Formal education for magicians begin at academies located in prominent cities. Their training are closely watched there by teachers called Maesters. These academies accept everyone regardless of their social status and they are a quasi-independent entity.
How Magic Works (Heaven)
On the subject of magic, drastically simplified for pupils who have just learned to read."
Court Magician, Evan
"Magic is the art in which a magician absorbs radient, chemical, or heat energy from outside of their body and uses it for the manipulation of the body. This means that the energy is rapidly absorbed, compressed within the body and used for another purpose. This energy is commonly known as Mana, and is naturally present in the world, although some areas have greater concentrations of the substance.
In otherwards Magicians can covert energy, to another form.
The energy is either consumed by the body for a reinforcement of tissue, hardening of muscles, or projected outwards. Because self reinforcement magic can only urge muscle to work harder, it is impossible for the magicians to enhance themselves to become stronger than their maximum current potential, although only master class mage-knights have ever reached anywhere close to that level. Also, after the magic ends, despite none of the magician's own energy was spent, the muscles will still be worn out and exhausted, needing a lengthy recovery time. Therefore, this magic is less useful than the other kinds, but become essential for moving out of range in magician's duals. The second type, hardening, is when the energy is used to rapidly compress materials to make them harder or sharper. However, if the material is warped in the process, when the magic is released it will return to being warped afterwards, damage is not visible until after release, it only builds up until the magic cracks or is released. Because of this, it is extremely dangerous to use this type on your own body. Magicians attempting to break walls with their fists, have blown their entire shoulders clean off their bodies after the hardening magic was released. The final type projection uses the energy to incite or stop natural processes. Look at a smiple frost spell. After heat energy is gathered, the magician projects the magic inside their body to internalize it, then he or she aims the spell into a certain area, uses the energy to first gather water vapor, and then rapidly uses even more energy to wick heat away from the water. Including the aiming of the spell, this takes the five steps. The incantation, to focus the spell, the gathering of heat energy for the use, Aiming the spell, gathering the vapor, and eliminating the heat of the water. Using a higher class spell, like ice lance, requires steps like shaping, wind to send the spear flying, and extreme control, but can get perks like better aim, and making it harder to predict. Generally the less steps, the faster the spell will be cast.
A beginner can take up to five minutes to cast a spell, even a simple five-step one, simply because they cannot absorb heat or internalize it well enough. However if the beginner has an affinity to a certain process such as generating electricity, then they will be faster and stronger at that type of spell casting. No magician can control their affinity.
When fighting with magic, it is important to note that one must aim before gathering vapor and eliminating heat. It is impossible to aim at a person, and expect the spell to follow that person. Also, it is not recommended to use magic in combat before the cast time of the fastest spell in the mage's arsenal is reduced to at least ten seconds. In a magician's dual, three. The fastest unaided spell in history was an ice lance spell, cast by the sage Lunus, at a speed of a whopping .12 seconds. Before trying to beat the record, it is worth mentioning that a spell in which the magic was not properly internalized can go off within the caster's body. It is fine if it is a heal spell, a spell meant to injure however, means almost certain death due to it frying several organs within the caster's body including the lungs and heart, without the most careful of healers. If an projection spell rebounds, excluding heal spells, there is only a one in a thousand chance of survival. This is why projection is the last subject taught.
The amount of energy controllable by the magician commonly depends on talent, luck, or pressure. Although it can be bolstered by magic boosters, or staves already charged with energy for use. This can shave a few precious moments by eliminating a step.
Certain objects can enhance the ability to use magic. A spell tome, helps focus and internalize magic. A stave stores the energy, and certain weapons automatically absorb the mages energy and compress. A few rare items can activate a spell by simply feeding it a precise amount of energy, (Too much can make it shatter, or even worse backfire killing the user) However, these items shatter only after a few uses and should not be used except for emergencies. This includes warp powder.
The most legendary among magic boosters was Lunus's staff, but it is now doubtful it ever existed due to its astounding property of breaking the law of conservation of energy by multiplying the power fed into it by seven. It was also noted,that Any other magic user who the staff did not choose, went insane after using the staff in any spell.
In a magician's dual, spell casters must read the flow of magic, and destroy or interrupt the casting. For example, if spell caster A cast a frost spell at B, B could either Disperse the water vapor, heat up the water preventing freezing, physically of mentally attack the spell caster disrupting the incantation, or move, getting out of the target radius. Specialized spells, such as ice lance, can chase after a moving target by first forming it, then either using pressure spells, or wind but are weaker and more prone to being dispersed. Simple spells have a very small range, and can be moved out of easily. They have no way of tracking, as even a lightning spell will always hit area aimed, despite common misconceptions. Therefore, mages in a dual must have fast reflexes, and be able to track spells, and discern what to do. Luckily after the first six months of apprenticeship they learn to "see" magic flow, allowing them to know where each spell is coming from, and what action is being done. But in the end, talent and reflexes are all the matters in the end.
Magic resistance is the body's tolerance level for magic change, and is built up naturally over time as one lives nearby mana. If one has a high enough resistance, the energy used in direct transfers will disipate instantly, giving the wielder an edge against mage-knights, who use the raw energy of mana in direct combat. Resistance causes the effects of magic to cancel out, or at the very least dissipate, a lance created by ice would weaken as the magic forming the ice is undone before impact.
Resistance also allows people to move through areas of heavy mana concentration easier, as people unaccustomed to high mana concentrations can faint or choke in the presense of mana.
Resistance can be built by living in areas with high mana concentrations, or handling it regularly. This is why people who live in the high altitudes of the frozen lands of white, often have higher resistance than people in valleys.
Mana is at its highest concentration in cold places, and in places with high altitudes.
Edited by smylez on 3/5/2013 6:47 PM PST