“Magic implies we do not understand some aspect of it, so yes, to you it may be magic, but to us… how would we wield it without understanding? It is a tool, embodied in the very fabric of reality. We speak to it and it responds, not because it is mysterious but because we know what to say and think to make it so. A combination of will and language that gives us command over the very world itself”Praxitor Taemaest
The Axial Theory of the Lingua Arcana
as proposed by Olthter of Hyperion, Scholar of Urul; text recovered by Cadlyn Grey of Selene
The gift of the Lingua Arcana has elevated humanity from mud and sorrow to greatness. The gift was a demonstration of generosity beyond all others and a symbol of the altruism and nobility of the Vox and through this gift, those with the fortitude and discipline are granted the opportunity to remake the world, themselves, and their brethren. For many it has become hard to conceive of a world without this incredible tool.
And yet, while there are many masters of the Lingua themselves, there is precious little understanding of the mechanism by which the Lingua operates on reality. There are as many theories of the fundamental nature of the Lingua Arcana as there are Linguists who wield them. Use of the Lingua requires comprehension of the use of a technology and even the rules upon which the use operates but out understanding stops well short of the fundamental principles which enable this celestial gift.
It is natural that humanity seek some understanding of such potent power and many theories have been proposed:
- Adala of Selene proposes that the Lingua are a form of access to a hidden sub-strata of reality. This ‘listening layer’ defines rules and reactions for all reality and responds to the coded language of the Arcana as such.
- Akinar of Hellioth proposes that the Lingua are not merely a gift, but a function of the Ayr, and that all arcane acts are petitions to, and enabled by, and through said Ayr.
- Xaer of Astraeos proposes that our understanding of reality itself is flawed, that there is no solid and tangible world, but instead that the Lingua are themselves formative, manipulators of a fluid and illusory reality.
- The Olth Kel eschew complexity and instead attribute to the words intrinsic power; that the shape and tone of the word itself are where the power lies.
Herein I add to the conversation by proposing my own theory. Roughly translated the term the Ayr use to refer to Humans is ‘fewer-axial-beings’. From this term and my own close study of the underlying principles of mathematics, geometry, and the Lingua Arcana I believe that the Lingua are the component of a higher axial interaction perceptible to 4-dimensional beings…
The Lingua Arcana or languages of magic in Aeldos take several forms. The most well known forms derive from the Celestial Lingua, given to humanity by the Ayr.
Shapers: use the words and formulas of creation to bend matter, forces, and elements to their will. A Shaper can unmake the bonds between atoms, quiet or enrage gravity, or transmute and transform materials.
Shifters: use the words of flesh, bone, and spirit to alter and adapt their physical form. A Shifter can take on the traits and bodies of beasts and monsters.
Singers: use the tones and harmonies of creation to inspire or quell emotion in organic life. A song sung using these tones can drive an army or quell a riot.
With the right tools any human can learn the lingua but not all can endure and control them. Learning a lingua requires either a tutor or a semantic artefact, a prodigious will, and considerable discipline of mind. Without all of these the words can corrupt, corrode, or even unmake the user. Only the brilliant or exceptional can truly utilize the Lingua.
Other forms of arcana exist, deriving from powers other than the Ayr.
The Shaping tongue grants the ability to manipulate force, energy, and matter. Attaining mastery of the Shaping Lingua is fraught with risks but a master Shaper is capable of truly terrifying feats of power, devastating entire cities and armies or raising and flattening mountains with a few words.
Also known as: Shaper, Mage, Warlock
Restricted to: Humans
Power over: Forces, Materials, Space, Time
Core Trait: Syntax
The most storied of the Lingua Arcana is also one of the hardest to master and potentially the most powerful. Shapers learn the words necessary to bend the very forces of the verse to their will. Fundamental features of the material world, such as electromagnetism, gravity, matter, energy and, at the highest levels even time. Shapers are capable of awesome feats and terrible evil, and the cost of this language is accordingly fierce. Intense discipline and a precise tongue is essential for a Shaper. An errant thought can rend ones body to paste or turn flesh to ash, or even unbind the very bonds that keep ones atoms together. Few Shapers possess the discipline of mind necessary to avoid grisly fates and those who do are frequently forced into seclusion by the fear their power invokes. A Shaper need not be heard to be dangerous but they must be masters of concentration to shape when distracted. The range of Shaper abilities is vast and potent but they are limited. Shapers cannot create materials wholesale, but they can transmute them. Equally, Shapers cannot ‘create’ energy, but they can release it from matter. A single stones energy can fuel world shifting acts in the right Shapers hands. Certain materials lend themselves better to such conversion.
The danger of Shaping is that a single stray thought or dream can undo the forces binding a Shaper, his friends and the nearby countryside together.
The Shifting tongue grants the ability to manipulate biology and alter one’s own form according to whim and will. Master Shifters are capable of slipping between different bodies as easily as others change clothing.
Also Known As: Slipskin, Werecreature, Skinthief, Therianthrope, Protean
Restricted to: Humans
Power over: Emulation, Combination, Originality, Healing
Core Trait: Morpheme
Shifters have learned the words that define their very form, and by doing so have learned how to change it. The earliest iteration of their power typically manifests as a particular affinity for, and gift at communicating with certain breeds of beast. Shifters gain forms by learning the words used to create the myriad species they mimic. In the process of shifting the way one thinks also shifts. An ever present danger lies in the potential to become so bestial in form that reverting to ones ‘original’ body becomes impossible. Shifters do not need to speak aloud to change, it is enough to merely think the quicksilver thoughts of a Shifter to change oneself. The words do need to be vocalized to have a direct effect on others, and those others must be willing for this to work. A Shifter cannot shift an unwilling subject. The duration of a shift is as long as a Shifter wishes but the longer held, the more difficult it becomes to revert to the original form. The more proficient Shifters are capable of feats beyond mimicry of the beasts; they can hybridize or combine multiple features from various sources to create specialized forms. Shifters can also be gifted healers with the ability to heal themselves and others.
The danger of Shifting is that one can fall wild and become trapped in the body and mind of a beast.
The Singing tones can induce altered emotional states on humans and beasts using their will. The singer sings, hums, whistles, recites, or channels their ability through an instrument to create the effect.
Also known as: Enchanter/Enchantress
Restricted to: Humans
Power over: Calm, Passion, Rage, Affection
Core Trait: Tone
The least recognized Lingua Arcana is Singing. A Singer uses an occult language of lyric and tone to incite the emotions of a subject or audience. Singers do not need to know the language of their subjects; their power is not in syntax or semantics but drives from a deeper source. A young Singer is largely indistinguishable from a particularly skilled mundane musician, but as they improve they become capable of truly amazing feats, bending the emotions of their subjects through song, inciting or quelling riots, or turning a single person’s emotions to whatever end they desire. To Sing requires experiencing the full gamut of emotions themselves, and the power is still limited to subjects able to hear it. This power can be ‘channeled’ into, or masked by an instrument, but the Singers concentration is always necessary. The nature of this Lingua is temporary; emotions fade, sometimes quickly depending on how contrary they are to the subject’s natural state. Regardless of brevity Singers are able to inspire love, lust, hate, rage and the whole gamut of emotions.
The danger of Singing is that a Singer may be overtaken by emotion permanently, enslaved to fits of rage, sadness, or unthinking bliss