Author: Nopporn Wongrassamee aka The Evil Author
Summary: The real history of the universe.
Disclaimer: The characters and settings belong to whoever owns them. I’m just too lazy to look up who they are.Book 7 – Arcana
Mysterious and many are the ways of magic and those that wield it.
wield magic like the Ancients of old. It is through training, pure concentration, and force of will that the Mystics accomplish their feats of power. Though their spells are often subtler and simpler than the others, they can show a surprising amount of force to the unwary. The Mystics’ strongholds are the monasteries of Eastern Asia and India, most notably Tibet.
also wield magic directly. But their use of magic is characterized by the use of tools to aid them, wands being the most popular. The spells of Wizards are many and sophisticated, accomplishing a great many feats that the others would find difficult. But their spells very sophistication and complexity is also their weakness, making them delicate and fragile compared to the others. The Wizards make up this deficiency by being the most coherent of the groups, living in their own societies hidden from the rest of mankind. The Wizard strongholds are in Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa.
do not wield magic directly. Instead, they use ritual and incantation to summon spirits and lesser demons to do magic for them. The rituals and incantations have nothing to do with the physics of magic, but more to do with making pacts and contracts with the entities summoned as specified by Ascended law. As they are dealing with other-worldly entities, Warlocks often have a shady and not entirely undeserved reputation among other spell casters. Warlock magic is the most powerful in its own way, but is comparatively clumsy to use. This is because other beings are doing the real work. Warlock magic also has the highest price in terms of mind and body when the spirits and demons collect their fee. Warlocks have no coherent society at all, and are often found living in the shadows of the others.
are a relatively young and new group. Initially created by dabblers in the magical arts, the art of Wicca attempts to essentially meld the arts of the other three into one discipline. However, the varying level of secrecy among the Mystics, Warlocks, and Wizards means that the Wiccans have a very incomplete and haphazard library of knowledge. This resulted in Wiccans of wildly differing levels of power, knowledge, and competence. Wiccans typically gather in social clubs they call covens, most of which can be found in North America although Wicca has spread into Europe.
manipulate magic more by instinct than by training. Their powers are often narrowly defined, but powerful within their limits. The mutants are created when latent genes from both Ancient and lesser demon forebears in the Earth human gene pool unexpectedly become manifest. Genes never meant to be in the same individual create previously unseen combinations of powers or change powers beyond recognition. Mutants are rare and scattered across the globe, but their numbers seem to be on the rise. Of late, a few individuals have begun seeking to gather together mutants for various reasons. Witch
is simply a term for a recognized female magic user used by the Wizards, the Warlocks, and to a lesser extent, the Wiccans.
It began with the Ancients, humans of power learning to use magic at the feet of the Old Ones. Over the generations, they refined their techniques, using their knowledge to improve not only their skills, but also their technology. One group of Ancients even learned to Ascend, matching and then surpassing the Old Ones.
After the mass Ascension, after Atlantis had departed, after the Great Plague had stripped Earth of its magic using humans, the lesser demons still stalked the Earth. These lesser demons were hybrids of humans and Old Ones. Some preyed on humans, and some set themselves up as petty tyrants. And being human hybrids, many breeds of lesser demons could and did have viable children with the humans. These bastard offspring would mate with humans again, and their offspring would mate with still more. Eventually thinning the demon genes enough that they no longer manifested and were forgotten.
But even forgotten, they were still there. Occasionally, inevitably, the ebb and flow of human mating would sometimes gather sufficient demon genes in one individual so that demonic traits would manifest. But more often than not, the genes were from not one, but many different breeds of demons, producing powers and physical traits that were almost unrecognizable. When the Atlantians returned, their infusion of direct magical ability into the gene pool caused such mutations to become more common.
But before the Atlantians returned, humans had begun relearning the ways of magic. Unable to use magic directly themselves, humans made pacts with demons, spirits, and other such entities. Sometimes such pacts were beneficial, sometimes not. Through trial and error, the early warlocks learned that the greater power that was asked for, the higher the price that power would cost. As such, many developed traditions that limited power to what benefited the tribes and what lines would not be crossed. But there were always those who would cross that line and knowingly or not, pay the price.
When the Atlantians returned, they found that their magical abilities cast them into the role of tribal shaman even though their powers worked differently. Although they lost much knowledge over the generations, as they had to decide what to keep and what to let go for survival’s sake, they retained enough to give them an edge over the warlocks.
Competition between the two never turned to outright warfare for several reasons. One was that neither group was big enough or enough collected in one place to form a organization sophisticated enough to prosecute a war. Another was that magic users of any kind were all together a minority, leaving enough to go around. And then there came the Goa’uld.
When the Goa’uld came. They didn’t conquer so much as awe the population of Earth into submission. The warlocks and the mystical descendants of Atlantis were also awed, but quickly realized that the self-proclaimed gods for all their might were deficient in the arts of magic. As such, they did what they always had and offered themselves to the Goa’uld as advisors and soothsayers.
They were soundly rejected.
The Goa’uld saw their magic and feared. Led and in some cases ordered by Ra, the Goa’uld viewed the spell casters not as a resource to be harnessed, but as a danger to be eliminated. A few Goa’uld such as Nirrti and Argus did not share this view, but they were minor lords incapable of swaying general policy.
In the West, a general pogrom against wielders of magic began, the first ever witch-hunt. However, true magic users were difficult to separate from the general population, and the Goa’uld were not very careful to separate them from the tide of non-magical humanity. Their heavy handedness lead to a general uprising that resulted in them abandoning Earth altogether. But the scars of this conflict was high, leaving behind a general distrust of magic users that would grow with time.
In the East however, there was no general witch-hunt. Although Lord Yu, the area’s dominant Goa’uld did not accept magical advisors in his court, neither did he hunt them down. As such, the East’s dominant magic users, the Atlantian descended mystics, continued to serve as shamans for the people, even becoming minor priests. When Yu pulled out with the other Goa’uld, there was no legacy of distrust.
After the Goa’uld had left, they left Earth with a civilization. The civilization was scattered and primitive, but it was enough. In this environment, the magic users still offered their services to the powerful, but they also began organizing themselves. Some formed guilds, others priests depending on the society they lived in.
Then came the Greeks and Greek logic. In this age of enlightenment and philosophers, the Wizard was born. Spell casters began to study their abilities, fit their magic into a logical framework from which to build even better spells. They discovered how to use various objects with magical properties to aide their spellcasting.
And from this seed the Wizards spread. When the Romans absorbed the Greeks, the Wizards were absorbed to. Romans adopted Greek ways, including the ways of magic even to the point of passing laws regulating magic. When the Roman Empire fell, Wizard society managed to salvage itself from the ashes, holding onto their magical knowledge. But the fall of the Empire left them with a rival: the Church.
The Christian Church was founded by warlocks whose patron was apparently a benign deity. However, as the Church grew in power, the succeeding generations of priestly warlocks began to see the wizards and non-priestly warlocks as competition. And from such shortsighted beginnings emerged a shadow war fought among magic users. The Catholic Inquisition used non-magical humans to do most of the work, getting them to turn in suspected witches.
In the end, all sides lost. The wizards elected to go into hiding rather than fight a never-ending battle. The Catholic warlocks also lost, their Inquisition turning on them, destroying the most talented priests and leaving behind magical rituals that are no longer understood, only practice by rote.
Oddly enough, the tail end of this sorry affair coincided with the beginnings of European expansion. Explorers ventured far and wide, colonies were founded in far away lands. And where the Europeans went, their wizards and warlocks were not far behind.
In those distant lands, the wielders of magic met their European counterparts in battle and mostly drew even. But the mystics and warlocks of these lands had not the measure of European technology. Although they could fight European wizards and warlocks, they could not battle European armies and their guns. They were helpless as their societies were cut out from under them.
At least twice, once in China, once in North America, the mystics and warlock fashioned spells to protect their warriors from European guns. But when they saw guns, they mistook them for magical implements. Their spells were mighty, even mighty enough to withstand the Wizards’ fabled Avada Kedavra death spell. But they were protecting against the wrong thing, and the results were tragic.
The shamans and warlocks of North America were confined to their reservations, their tribes almost all but wiped out. The Mystics of China and the East fared better, withdrawing to their mountain strongholds that the Europeans did not bother to conquer, but they had lost face with the remaining rulers of the East.
With magic either discredited or in hiding everywhere, the general human population slowly began to lose its belief in it. But they were still there, hiding in the shadows like the demons.
Then in the late nineteenth century, a revival began. It began with the United States. From all over the world, great tides of immigrants came. And among these immigrants came the spell casters of their nations. The United States’ tiny magical community was overwhelmed. Regulation was nigh impossible as magical styles and traditions seemed to spring up overnight. Even the non-magical community began getting involved, practicing amateurish magic that reached it’s height in the 1920s.
From this boiling melting pot came Wicca, although the term itself would not be coined until decades later. The founders – if you can call them that – were some of these amateur witches. They compiled what magical information they could get their hands on, creating a mix of real magic and complete bunk. As Wicca spread, they recruited Mystics, latent Wizards and Mystics, and mutants with a bent for practiced magic into their covens. Although Wicca wielded some power, most of the older orders traditions simply dismissed Wicca as complete nonsense.
But that was not to last.
Willow Rosenberg came to studying magic in a round-a-bout way. She had Atlantian genes that went unexpressed. While assisting Buffy Summers, Willow was introduced to magic by a Wicca teacher of the Techno-pagan variant. She studied magic with a scientific, analytical mind. In the best tradition of Wicca and the ancient Greek philosophers, Willow separated the real magic from the nonsense.
Willow has become the epitome of Wicca tradition. She is a Mystic, having learned to wield the simpler magics by willpower alone. She is Wizard, refining magic with a scientific mind. She is Warlock, summoning spirits and demons to do her will. And she is Mutant, possessing a Wraith-like ability to take magic from others to fuel her own power.
And Willow Rosenberg is very powerful. Three times has she touched godhood, and three times has this resulted in a corresponding increase of her own magic. The first was when she summoned the spirit of the Slayer to aide in defeating the demonic cyborg Adam. The second was when she touched the mind of the insane god Glory. And the third was when she activated all the potential Slayers with the Scythe, bringing her back into contact with the spirit of the Slayer again.
Among the older traditions of magic, only a few know about Willow Rosenberg. But word about her is spreading. What they hear and see about Willow Rosenberg both scares and entices them. They fear her power, but they want to make use of it too. Their biggest protection from her is her ignorance of them. But in the End of Days, Willow’s ignorance cannot last forever.
And from the Upper Planes, the Ascended look upon Willow Rosenberg… and they worry.