Magic in the Cunaerai
The voice is the living echo of magic in the Cunaerai that arcane spell users hear and eventually learn to speak in order to cast spells. More fundamental than language, what is held within the calling of the voice is no less than the unbridled song of both creation and creation’s unmaking. Subtle, seeking, caressing, and dangerous, the voice typically calls to and is only heard by those who have the will and aptitude to speak it and eventually control it. Those who hear the voice but cannot speak it are called listeners. Those who come to speak using the voice are known by many different names such as wizards, sorcerers, warlocks, spellswords, and ruinguards. Whether trained or self-taught, those who speak with the voice learn over time to understand the simplest whispers of the ebb and echo of creation’s energy within them. To those without the ability to either control or shut out these whispers from the questing mind, the voice brings only madness and death.
The voice is not divine, although sages will argue that the fundamental sorcery behind miracles and wizardry flow from the same mystical wellspring. Divine miracles and spells are invoked through oaths or prayers answered by the gods and/or their servants. As a cleric is a proxy for their god, they are granted trickles of the god’s own immense store of magical power mixed and muddled with the god’s potent essence. While it is magic, it has been vastly altered by the divinity who grants the magic to their followers. Arcanists, however, carefully speak using the voice to shape the raw energy of magic into whatever effect they wish. Harnessing such power typically requires a meticulous and devoted understanding of each individual phrase, song, or whisper that manifests the desired effect. Some few channel phrases of the voice without understanding their meaning and through will alone, such as sorcerers.
According to those who speak it, the voice begins as a whisper – feeling much like a feather continually brushing against the mind. Within these whispers are the secrets to the simplest of magical effects such as cantrips. Apprentice arcanists learn first to listen. Then, with the force of will behind it, these neophytes repeat in the voice what they hear. Each living being hears and understands the whispers in the voice differently – that is why read magic and similar effects are required to decipher another’s arcane understanding. Spells such as detect magic allow one to hear the voice calling from different magical objects, other magical creatures, casters, and lingering magical effects.
In the beginning, speaking the simplest, briefest phrases of the voice to create a magical effect can be achieved only once or twice a day before leaving the neophyte arcanist physically exhausted and mentally drained. Over time, the voice speaker’s mind and fortitude adapts and strengthens, and speaking it becomes easier and more magically resonant. As the arcanist learns to speak in more intricate ways to create more powerful effects the voice itself becomes louder and more distinct. To one who listens, an arcane spell of the highest order will be heard as a roaring storm in the voice.
- The voice whispers. The voice speaks. Arcane casters can ‘hear’ the voice in magical effects, magical items. The stronger or more complicated the effect, the easier it is to hear the voice. A cantrip may only be perceptible from inches away, while an arcane ritual will be heard as a roar in the voice for miles around.
- The voice calls. Lingering and permanent magical effects call to many beings who can hear the voice. That is one reason why areas around permanent magical phenomena tend to be rife with strange, magical creatures.
- The voice caresses. Hearing the voice by those creatures who can speak it or hear it is an addictive, euphoric experience. The voice is not easily ignored by one who can hear its call.
- The voice hungers. The voice slowly feeds upon or transforms most materials it is cast upon. Precious metals, certain gems (diamonds, rubies, sapphires), and fine glass resist this. Lead deadens it. More mundane materials (wood, untreated stone, ceramics) do not. Permanent effects cast upon living creatures slowly change them, usually for the worse. Mages and other arcane casters are consumed by the voice over time, though this process can take many decades. Elves and gnomes are resistant to the corrupting effects of the voice. Powerful Cunai (Icuriana) arcane casters will typically embrace the corruption by becoming undead, which are also unaffected by the hunger of the voice.
- Generally speaking, evocations are the most violent and loudest phrases to be heard when called forth using the voice. Illusions are the quietest.