Enchanting Researches, Book I (book)
Enchanting Researches, Book I
by Xathvier Calvaradde, Gnomish Enchanter
It thrills me to place quill to parchment and write this treatise, enlightening mages with my researches. As a small child, my aptitudes lay with the mechanical and magical arts. I studied and experimented, always dabbling with runes and stones, and by the time I came of age I was already well known as a creator of magical devices. Yet like all youngsters, I longed for travel, and with my assistant Bhothfin, I eventually journeyed to Therengia during the Gorbesh War of 354. Here, while the fighting ravaged the lands all around, I learned from all the ancient texts that Throne City's vast libraries had to offer, and like a sponge I absorbed as much as I could. Before long, I was well known among the Moon Mage population as a skilled Enchanter. I proudly count Councilors Elvaka Kre'Domar and Erzebet Crowther among my peers.
Enchanting is a glorious art. Normally reserved for the elite in the guild, the skill has never really been taught to students. It is viewed as both a lost ability and an unknown. This writing is intended to change all of that, and I feel my talents more than qualify me as an authority on the source material.
Lesson One: The Sigils in the Skies.
Throughout the ages, enchanted objects have been held in high regard. Stories and myths abound, glorifying the existence of such strangely flawed objects like Deeder's Lockpick, the horrifying Death Mask of Tu'yuloa, or the unusual walking Pi'houmun. Every warrior wants an enchanted weapon, and every mage wants to be known as an enchanter. Not all magicians can achieve this lofty goal since most acts of enchanting are not only magically draining, but physically draining as well. Historically, and with the exception of the Elven arts of Lifesculpting and some items from pre-Imperial times, only Clerics, War Mages, and our own Guild of Moon Mages have ever managed to create any works of note.
Each of these different Guilds has used its own means to create valued magic items, which is no doubt linked to their uses of different mana types. For Moon Mages, we search the skies for our portents, and it is little different when seeking the nature of Lundar Enchantment. Enter what we term the sigil.
The keystone of Moon Mage enchantment, sigils are pictorial representations of the constellations, drawn to such precise geometric exactness that they can be used to evoke the raw power of the constellation upon which they are based. Then why cannot just anyone with a healthy dose of artistic talent copy a constellation and start evoking lunar magic? A sigil is, by far, more involved than merely a drawing.
There are a few rare members of our Guild who have developed their magical senses to such a honed level of refinement that they can sense details about our constellations and stellar bodies. A craft learned and jealously guarded since the years before the collapse of the Empire, it has been invaluable to developing enchanting. These mages have learned that the constellations are not flat, but in fact have width, height, and depth. Imagine positioning a few gems so that they float in the air, then walking around them; our constellations exist in three dimensions, as do we! Luckily, those who have been trained in the ways of Lunar Enchanting can study the constellation or celestial body to briefly memorize its sigil.
When a sigil is placed on an item, it must be re- created accurately on a smaller but precise scale, and it must be drawn in all three dimensions. Obviously, this cannot be achieved with a simple quill or pencil, which is why an Enchanter's best friend is his enchanting burin. The burin, through the gem in its tip, allows a sigil to be drawn both upon a target object as well as in the space around it. Due to this, scribing a sigil is quite a difficult thing to accomp- plish, even for those of simplest design.
The most basic sigils are called Foundation sigils and represent a single constellation. If an enchantment is made with only one sigil, naturally this type of creation is referred to as a Foun- dation Enchantment, or Foundation-based. Similar to Foundation sigils are Celestial sigils, though these types are representa- tions of heavenly bodies such as the three moons, the sun or the planets. They tend to be more difficult due to the foreign nature of such objects.
Greater sigils can be made by overlaying Foundation or Celestial sigils over one another. When two such sigils are combined, the result is called a Conjunctive sigil. Some mages like to name the combinations, though the practice is not widespread and owes more to pleasantries and politics with Clerics than anything else. For example, the constellation of the Shrew overlaid upon the sigil of the Vulture has occasionally been referred to as "the Sigil of Discord." The name actually means nothing, being derived from theology and owing nothing to the nature of the sigil itself.
Yet more powerful enchantments can be made through the creation of Trines, which are three Foundation or Celestial sigils scribed upon one another. These have historically been named for the creator, but this practice has fallen out of use in recent times. Trines are among the most powerful sigil combinations and are harnessable by only the most adept of mages, but there is an even more potent type: Grand Squares, most commonly seen in artifacts of devastating ability. The notorious sphere called the Deceiver which was capable of breaking the boundaries between the Plane of Abiding and the Plane of Probability employed no less than three Grand Squares on each of its three components. This helps explain why it took over five hundred years to create as mages capable of such feats are few and far between.
Once a sigil has been successfully scribed upon an item, it must be activated. This is done by sending a jolt of lunar magic coursing through its design. Several common spells are handy for this, including Unleash, Dazzle and Shadows. Let me warn practitioners to be fairly cautious, as the choice of spell can have a direct impact on the quality of the final enchantment.
Activated sigils must be bound to the device in question, or else they will soon fade and flicker away as the sigil loses cohesion.
Any Moon Mage who understands the principle of basic enchanting knowledge can do this easily enough in fashion similar to adjusting the power levels in a runestone.
A final note about sigils -- not every combination results in a usable enchantment, and some may even be outright detrimental! Recall the lessons learned about the Construct of Ras'Kon and how its heart of granite, while like the design of a Pi'houmun, nearly destroyed half of a village when it exploded!
Lesson Two: Sigil Scrolls.
Now that we've discussed the nature of sigils, we've reached the point where most students will quickly realize the limits to using them. One of the biggest hurdles is the one we face when observing any constellation -- the daytime! Sigils, being three dimensional and therefore so much more than mere pictures, were effectively impossible to store on parchment. Weather and timing were all-im- portant in those days, as Enchanters relied on directly viewing the skies to learn sigils. Overcoming this had always been something of an enigma until the days when the Empire was on its last legs and strife was becoming commonplace. A young Moon Mage, rather than risk the increasing attacks from the brigands and other outlaws of the time, managed to find the way that we still use today. By scribing the shadow of the three-dimensional sigil, one could, with a few mathematical conversions, store sigils on scrolls.
This opened new doors for Lunar Enchanting. Scrolls could be kept for rainy days and studied from the safety of an indoor area. Many even took to selling sigils to younger Moon Mages who were incapable of learning the sigil directly from the constellation itself. Even now, the Phelim Club occasionally meets solely to trade sigils and enchanting tips among its members.
Unfortunately, only a single Foundation or Celestial sigil can ever be scribed upon a scroll. More than one sigil simply tears the scroll apart -- a testament to the power of a sigil if even the shadow of two can destroy paper!
Lesson Three: Predictions in the Palm of Your Hand
A prime example of how sigils interact with each other is the device known commonly as a Constellation Amulet, or Constellation Jewelry.
The name is actually a misnomer, as the enchantment can manifest itself in forms other than decorative baubles. One mage I know from Muspar'i seems to enjoy making them from desert stones while another on Mer'Kresh is fond of shark teeth. This versatility proves to be a boon, since the rich often will pay more for items that are aesthetically pleasing to their varied senses of style despite the fact that a "Constellation Ring" might create the same results as a "Constellation Snail Shell."
The power of Constellation Jewelry is highly desirable. Such items are enchanted to hold a singular yet complex matrix that, when act- ivated, gives the user brief hints about the future. This is very similar to the process that occurs when a Moon Mage predicts, and such imbued devices are prized among those who do not have an astrological advisor handy.
They are also excellent tools for the Enchanter himself. I've come across numerous reports and historical debates about the afore- mentioned Construct of Ras'Kon. At the center of this heated argu- ment among scholars is whether the creator used multiple jewelries to enhance his own abilities to a level necessary for the creation of such a monstrosity, or if he was simply a natural utter genius.
The constellations of the Wren, Coyote, Phoenix and Owl are all well suited for beginning a piece of Constellation Jewelry, though scribed by themselves, they do nothing. All Constellation Jewelry is by its nature a Conjunctive sigil -- or in some cases, a Trine. Vigorously rubbing an incomplete piece of such jewelry can result in any layered sigils dissipating, which is handy for those combinations that simply don't work. If a functional Conjunctive sigil has been scribed, rubbing will activate the sigil's astro- logical magic.
Not all combinations create desirable results. Experimentation is the student's friend, and I encourage the effort necessary to learn which Conjunctive and Trine sigils do what when creating Constellation Jewelry.
And with these lessons given, I end this first book in what I hope will be an educational and promising series of research books. Enchant and reach your potential!
- Enchanter Xathvier Calvaradde