(Cracking, pt. 1)
Well, the last update was about technomagic, and I promised some more about cracking. So here it is.
Magic emanates from the shadow world, an unearthly and quicksilver plane of gray mists and deep shadows. Imagine a sandstorm, at night, dimly lit by a full moon, and you will get the idea.
When the vortexes opened up between the Beyond and Earth, they allowed magic to flood our planet (an event called the Emergence). Energies from the shadow world inundated Earth, spirits from the shadow world could enter our plane of existence, and magicians could work magic, anywhere on the surface of the planet. So long as a single vortex remains open, this remains the case.
There are five different methods of working magic: augmentation, imbuing, shadow walking, sorcery, and spellcasting. These are called “the five talents”, and each manipulates the energies of the shadow world in a different way. Most races can develop at least one of the talents, but only a few have the capacity to develop all five: the “mage” races, being alfars, faes, humans, trolls, and wisps.
For the mage races, developing a talent requires significant devotion and focus. Few develop even one talent (save among the fae), rarer still they who develop two. Those who develop all five are known as archmages, and they are personages of legendary power. There have been no archmages among the Beyonders for well over five centuries.
The talents have been known for millennia among the Beyonders, and their limits were well understood. Most believed these limits to be intrinsic to the magic itself. The Emergence proved them wrong.