Friday Lore Post: Remarkable Magical Feats

Though all magic is impressive to those who don’t cheat, some acts of magic are more impressive than others. Whether it be through brilliant ingenuity, clever spellwork or simply sheer brute force, different feats of magical acumen have made history—quite literally, in some cases. What follows is a selection of arguably the most impressive magical accomplishments in Nova’s history.

The Kyainese city of Endwan is a reasonably large city of about three hundred thousand people located at the southern end of the Cyan River whose main commerce is farming. It is a relatively quiet place that sees a lot of mostly peaceful traffic from traders, but little else. It doesn’t seem like the kind of place that would star in the modern world’s largest magical fiasco, but it happened. Twelve years ago, two boys discovered a complex network of circles spread across Endwan, drawn on the sides of buildings and carved into flagstones and anchored in the city’s walls. They didn’t know who’d created the circles, but it was clear they were concentric and formed a huge spell network that spanned the whole city. The boys were Dallas and Raoul of the Red Witch Clan, twin brothers who had moved away from their clan’s centre to persue some research ideas that were considered ridiculous. They believed that magic naturally congregated in places where there were a lot of people and realized that using these circles, they could prove it. Their clan leader caught wind of what they were doing and tried to have the Grand Coven intervene, but they were too slow and by the time anyone was dispatched, Dallas and Raoul had already turned everyone in Endwan, including themselves, into cats. The spell circle they’d activated was an old protection circle someone had put on the city, but because Endwan had outgrown it and because buildings containing parts of it had been destroyed, the structure of the spell had been altered and when they activated it, a wave of shapeshifting magic spread over the town. It took the Coven weeks to turn everyone in Endwan back into humans, and the fiasco embarrassed the Red Clan and the Grand Coven, forcing some changes to how the Coven organizes itself. Dallas and Raoul still live in Endwan with their three children and eight cats, where they study the remnants of the protection spell in the hopes of understanding who wrote it and why their meddling changed it so dramatically.

At the end of the conflict now known as the Deepest Wars, which spanned Nova’s oceans and lasted over one thousand tidal years, the undersea gods known as the Deepest chose to intervene. Such an intervention by a divine entity is otherwise unprecedented, as they are known generally to wait until someone asked for intercession before deigning to do anything, but in this case no help was asked for and the Deepest, previously unknown to the merpeople and other underwater denizens, chose to reveal themselves by placing every sapient life form under the water into a three-week coma, setting up a temporary telepathic link across the ocean in which they showed the merpeople that the eventual conclusion of their war was the extinction of their people and the potential destruction of the world. To this day the Deepest have never interceded directly in this way again, but the fact that they did once do this has left an indelible mark on the cultural memories of every underwater culture, which, though it cannot claim to have been peaceful ever since, has never again fought such a cataclysmic war.

The Empire of Djyekkan was Nova’s first empire, a powerful military force that rapidly conquered its home continent under one flag before the Catechism War had ended. Over thirty-five hundred years ago, however, the empire, the continent that housed it and the sea surrounding it were all sequestered from the rest of Nova. Since then, nobody has been able to enter or leave the continent by land, air, sea or magic (with two very recent exceptions of people who were able to travel there by accidental portal). The origins of the magic sequestering the continent are a mystery even to the people living in the nations born from the Empire’s eventual collapse, but it is thorough, powerful and until very recently impenetrable. The few people who have had the resources and knowledge to study the spell have determined that it is a complex two-way barrier spell that disallows any life-from to pass through through the use of violent storms. Under the sea, the kraken seem able to traverse the region without ill effects, leading merpeople to believe they may have participated in the creation of the spell. Were these merpeople to speak with the surface experts in Djyekkan, they would find support for this in the non-Web based nature of the interior spellwork, but also challenge in the clearly surface-originating magic. The best guess of anyone who has the ability to study this spell is that it was constructed by a coalition of different species using different kinds of magic and weaving them together in an unprecedented and impossible to study way. The motivations driving this hypothetical coalition remain unknown, but imperfections have started to appear in the barrier in recent decades, suggesting that whoever they are, they are no longer maintaining it to the degree they used to be.

Throughout the violent conflict known as the Catechism War, huge magical forces clashed with each other repeatedly, and choosing just one moment or bit of spellwork from this period is a challenge. The most significant spells from this period include the spell used to kill Nathen Jerrel De’Kerken; the shattering of the Web (aligned with the destruction of the tower, the construction of which was another major historic work of magic); the spells used by the spiders to alter themselves and then to alter other things; and the various combat spells that destroyed entire cities during the war. It is hard to establish what might have been the most historically impactful spellwork in this period, but an understated piece of magic that deserves highlighting in addition to all of the magicks listed above is the construction of the Spider Company’s Citadel, which is an architectural feat in itself, but also a magical one as its materials are not actually existent on Nova. The very stone from which the Citadel was carved was created by the spiders as a composite of several other stones that has a different atomic structure from any other stone known on the planet, allowing it to be imbued with protection spells on a level otherwise impossible in any magic system on the planet. The fortress is literally impregnable (or would be if the protection spells hadn’t been allowed to decay) and cannot be damaged in any way. The spiders also have the theoretical ability to control who can teleport in or out, as well as who can access the Web or any other form of magic inside the Citadel’s walls. The Citadel is also equipped with temperature controlling spells as well as considerable surveillance magic, all of which is possible because of the mutant stone from which it is made. Unfortunately the creation of such stone is one of many formulae that were lost over the course of the war, and has not been uncovered.

The most significant magical event to ever happen on Nova was almost definitely the summoning of the mysterious alien entity by the planet’s original inhabitants. Three specially constructed ziggurats on the landmass now known as Tossec were organized in an equilateral triangle with a six-kilometre summoning circle in the centre. In the very centre of that circle was a statue that was constructed using the most powerful magic the native Novans could muster to draw in a god. They were attempting to summon a new god to replace their old ones, and instead of reaching across worlds, they reached across time and pulled in a temporally displaced alien with immense destructive power. The alien, which had appeared a number of other times across history, appeared and over a very short period of time destroyed most civilization on Nova, fundamentally altered its geography and nearly destroyed the planet itself (and did destroy its second moon) before being sealed by the construction of the obelisk (itself a major magical event) in what would later become Thunder’s Falls. The statue that was the centre of the spell is now the southern pole of Nova’s magnetic field, which was an accidental by-product of the spell itself and not the alien entity’s doing.

There are many other feats that could be included on a list such as this. Magic has many uses, and the wide variety of types of magic to which different people on Nova have access means that what can be accomplished with that power encompasses a vast spectrum of possibilities that seems infinite. There are always talented and powerful magic users in the world, so the possibility that history will, once again, be shaped by their influence and magic is very, very present.

From “The Definitive Atlas of the World, Vol. 5: Histories and Mysteries,” by Pascal Tiberius Naoton Quimbell Haeverine anNatalie, published in White Cape in DN 1997, with thanks from the author to Roberto C. Johnson for providing certain information otherwise inaccessible, and to Calvin Tanner for lending Bob out for research purposes.

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