Divine and Arcane Magic
Divine & Arcane Magic
To understand the source of both Divine and Arcane magics, one must first understand how the world was created.
History of Creation
During the dawn of the world there were only the Primodials—beings of extreme power. Their existence is difficult to fathom, but are understood to a limited degree as existing as combined elements: fire, earth, air, water, etc. They roiled upon a landscape with no clear boundaries. Yet these beings somehow gave birth to children that we know of now as the Gods. These were also beings who wielded great power, particularly the divine power of creation. This is why divine magic is often called the First Power. These Gods drew upon the primodial energy of the world and created the races and various other entities which now inhabit it. During this time the Gods themselves knew not why or how they were created, or what their ultimate purpose was to be, for the Primordials were but distant and mysterious powers. As the Gods watched their new creations attempt to survive, they gleaned more insight into themselves. The early races struggled mightily in the chaotic landscape and were often wrought asunder by the Primordials which did not seem to care for the existence of these new creatures. The Gods however cared a great deal about their children, and so banded together with the races to wage war on the Primordials. The Gods were ultimately victorious. They cast out the Primordials and bound them to the elemental planes as we know them today. Doing so gave rise to an ordered world where the elements had distinct boundaries: fire was separate from water, air separate from earth. Even more, these elements could be controlled by those who knew how.
In order to bring structure to the world, the Gods created the Weave, the source of all arcane magic. It is for this reason arcane magic is referred to as the Second Power. The Weave holds the world in place and allows those with arcane might to reach out to it to cast spells. Through predictable formulae and rituals, arcane magics allowed those who wield its power to bring about a desired change into the world. Both the Gods and their children began to experiment with this newfound power and through it created many wonders. A golden age of man followed: new towns and cities were founded; entire civilizations rose as the races spread out across the world. As this happened, many of the Gods receded from the world, content that their children would flourish and prosper.
But some of the Gods began to question what was done and felt regret at changing the world from what the Primodials had intended. Some of these Gods began to corrupt the races of men to serve their own inscrutable purposes. Over time, some practitioners of the arcane arts began to believe that theirs was the ultimate power and that through arcane might the children of the Gods might become Gods themselves. This was the folly of the Magisterium and the cataclysm that Alm helped to avert—the unseating of the First Power by the Second. In the end the First Power held true, and the selfish, greedy needs of the wielders of the Second Power were defeated.
Magic and it’s Use Today
Defeat also came at a cost. The nature of the arcane magic itself has changed, but how is not yet completely understood. The few surviving texts from the time of the Magisterium speaks of magical formulae that could predictably produce some outcome. These were known as spells. But magic functions that way no longer. Many of these spells can still be produced, but only by acts of pure will (in the case of Sorcerers) or through intense mental focus (in the case of Wizards). Some rituals still work, but not as many as once did. In addition, the attempt by the council of Magi gave rise to the Hollows in which dwell all manner of evil beasts, and these seek to spread the rise of the Second Power yet again; to have those who seek fulfillment of their own selfish needs to use arcane might to bring about chaos and destruction to the world.
Alm taught that arcane magic by itself was not inherently evil, but that anyone—good or bad—could use it. This is not so with the First Power. Divine magics can only be used by those who are good and seek to bring benefit to others above themselves. This is why the practitioners of the Second Power are so closely monitored and guarded, and why unsanctioned arcanists are hunted by the Inquistion. This is also why arcane items are rare in Scardova and why many magical effects are instead achieved through tinkering. Practices such as alchemy, artificing, metallurgy, and sygaldry are more common and are viewed as safer than arcane magic by the followers of Alm.