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Amber: Ramius' Discourse on principles of Sorcery. Part II. - Ed's journal
sobrique
sobrique
Amber: Ramius' Discourse on principles of Sorcery. Part II.
Hmm, still reading? Well, I'll assume that my rather long winded introduction hasn't put you off entirely.

To begin then.



Sorcery is a rather large umbrella for a set of techniques.

It is also relatively easier in the more turbulent regions of shadow - a similar spellwork producing a greater effect.

It is also the case that in some of the more favourable regions, sorcery has been discovered by those who are not aware of the existance of shadow. A 'local' sorcery if you like. Much like technologically focussed shadows there are sorcery focussed shadows - in locations where it is relatively more difficult, there is a reduced chance of spontaneous discovery.

The important point is this though. Sorcery is all about differentials. The minute differences between proximate shadows.

When beginning to learn sorcery, one quickly realises that the simplest, yet the most exhausting spell form is an energy blast.

This is, indeed how it has often been discovered in shadow realms - A suitably pyschically keyed person, with sufficiently strong emotion causes a blast of energy.

This is sorcery at it's most basic. In order to drive the blast of energy, you are drawing upon yourself, to supply the necessary power. This form of sorcery is, at best very tiring, and at worst, potentially fatal. Should one over extend themselves, their heart may stop as they deplete their life energy.

The next stage in the learning of sorcery is in finding an alternate power source. There are relatively obvious physical limitations on how much energy one can supply oneself, so the more accomplished sorcerers in shadow learn to use local differentials to power their spellwork.
It should be noted however, that in some shadows life energy is still used as the driving force behind sorcery - these tend to involve blood sacrifice.

This is notably more complicated. In essence, by locating a 'difference' such as temperature a few thousand feet up, compared with that at ground level, one finds a source to drive a sorcerous effect.
In this simplistic example, by drawing cold air downward, one might form an 'ice blast' spell, relatively easily.

The sorceror must still use some of his own energy, but relatively much less for a given effect.

The thermal transfer might be used to drive a more unusual effect, such as a transportation effect, or some of the more subtle psyche alterations. The constraint is that the more transformations of energy one effects, the less efficiency of energy transfer is available, to a point that the more esoteric one gets with the spell design, the less effective the spell becomes.

This stage of sorcery is relatively common amongst shadow, even amongst those not aware of the nature of the alternates. Obviously the precise transfer effects are local to the shadow, and thus whilst a spellwork here may function in other shadows the effect is greatly reduced, non existent, or very different to that desired.

These complex local spellforms may take some time to prepare, and often concentration to sustain. This often leads to the sorcerer 'discovering' some means of racking the spellform - preparing it in a suitable magic container, missing only a few key words or gestures. Such a spell will deteriorate as the spellform gradually unravels - the eternal curse of entropy, but a well crafted container may hold the form sufficiently well for it to be 'recalled' and cast some time later.

Spell decay appears to be very variable, dependant both on time flow within the shadow and on relative ease of magic within the shadow - the latter meaning that a spellform may decay further and still be effective.

These local spellforms provide the basis for the more advanced 'shadow based' Sorcerous casting.
As I mentioned, sorcery is a matter of differentials. And there are numerous locations within shadow where sorcery is notably less effective - this is simply keyed to the entropy levels within the shadow itself.

A Sorcerer who is aware of the nature of shadow, is also able to draw on differentials _between_ shadows. Not only does this give a much wider range of potential energy transfers, it also notably increases the magnitude of available energy.

Thus, in much the same way, the Sorceror locates a shadow to shadow differential, and utilises it to produce the desired effect.

The Shadow aware Sorceror is also able to deal with 'local differences' when triggering the spellform - a common lynchpin of spellforms is that of 'Magic of Shadow' in which the spellform is keyed to the local conditions.

The basic components of a spell involve energy transfers. There is a limitation on available power, to drive an effect, but only in the sense that as one taps more and more power sources, the complexity of the spellform increases geometrically, and thus has constraints on time to weave, and the psyche of the Sorceror.

The effects of spell decay also provide a limiting factor on spell complexity. Given sufficient time, I'm sure one could reproduce a spellform of the magnitude of, say the Pattern. The problem being, that the effects of entropy and concentration required to maintain such a spellform would mean that critical components of the form are decaying beyond the point of usefulness even as you are still completing the form.

For example, an 'energy blast' requires the tapping of a relatively close energy differential, and merely directing in the proper direction. A spell form to create this effect may take an hour to create, although the more control one requires over the 'nature' of the energy blast at run time, the longer it takes to compile the spell form.

If one were to want to specify a target at range, the spell form requires additional complexity, to allow for target identification and seeking. There exist basic spell forms in numerous books with details of various techniques, so I will not reproduce them here. Suffice to say, that one may key a target selection based on a variety of physical properties - the more precise the specification, the more accurate the spell, however the more complex the spellform becomes.

It is possible to use multiple energy transfer sources to power the spell. But again, this makes the spell more complex, in exponential proportion to the number of transfers.

Perhaps one of the most complex of spellforms is that that involves influencing the mind. The same basic principles apply, in that you are drawing energy from one or more energy transfer points. But the manipulation one is performing is very fine, and thus requires a very complex spell form for even the most basic effect.
The mind is after all, a matter of great complexity, even amongst the more simple shadow folk and so a very basic alteration of perceptions require a very detailed understanding of the workings of the psyche, and a very careful disruption thereof.

The problem is also, that the influencing of the psyche is a very subtle thing - there is little in common with convential energy transfers, and so one must modify the power on which they are drawing extensively in order to perform such a manipulation.

The reason why Sorcery is relatively harder the nearer one gets to Amber, is quite simply because Sorcery requires differentials to power the effects. Amber is by it's very nature almost a minima of entropy, and thus there is relatively little that the Sorceror may draw upon for casting of spell forms.

Obviously all the transfer points still exist, however the Sorceror must reach further in order to utilise them, and their energy is depleted the further one has to reach.

There remains the potential for driving the spell effects from the Sorceror directly, however this remains a path that those who are fully aware of the risks involved steer well clear of.

In later sections of this text, we will cover the basic components of spellform creation and extend into methodologies for forms that we wish to work across many shadows.

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