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Flux

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Image:Scroll2.png "The Flux is a safe pursuit of harmony within yourself - that is and will continue to be the army's official stance. We have no need for a soldier who's afraid of using his own weapons. Most of them will die before they can develop serious consequences, at any rate."
- Ludwig Marsh, Suvan general
Flux
Personal magic
Full nameThe Flux
AvailabilityMainly western Mizahar
Learned fromUsers, books
Key conceptChanneling power and strength through the body
UsesMelee and ranged combat, physical tasks
RisksMajor stress on involved body parts


Flux, or more commonly the Flux, is a discipline of personal magic that allows the user to channel and redirect the stream of Djed flowing in his body. This allows him to concentrate his strength, speed and toughness in a smaller portion of the body, becoming more effective in armed and especially unarmed combat, and other physical tasks. While sometimes advertised as a philosophical path of balance, it is anything but. The Flux is actually one of the more dangerous disciplines, and the incredible stress it places on the augmented body parts - way more than the body is designed to withstand - carries serious consequences both immediate and long-term.

Contents

Overview

It is generally agreed that, in the pre-Valterrian world, the Empire of Alahea was the foremost magic power on Mizahar whereas the Empire of Suvan possessed the stronger military tradition and discipline. Most magic remaining in the aftermath of the Valterrian was mostly perfected in Alahea, with a few exceptions - such as the Flux. The Flux was the most widespread discipline in Suvan, where it was applied to a number of weapon styles and martial arts. Any wizard graduating from the Martial Wizard Society in Suva had to know the Flux as well as the basics of Suvanja, the combat style designed for the military.

The Flux spread to Eastern Mizahar in the fourth century AV, though it is still more practiced in the West, especially Taldera and Kalea. Some races are ready to embrace it fully, others will most likely not touch it fearing damage to their bodies, like the Isur who hold their arms in great reverence.

The Flux is manipulation of Djed in order to increase power and speed. However, it is not about helping the body to reach its potential; it is a veritable overdrive that forces the body well past its potential. Any practitioner of the Flux knows that power is relatively easy to acquire, but surviving that power is the actual challenge. It is said that some Flux masters were capable of throwing supersonic punches, but witnessing such an act was extremely rare because it would at the very least break their hand. A true Flux master is one who strikes a balance between empowerment and safety, knowing exactly how much risk they are willing to take at any given time. As with all personal magic, there is no hard limit; the user makes his own fate.

Pathways

Nerves connect the physical body with the astral body - Djed flows through these neural pathways in order to transmit orders to the limbs. With effort, this energy powering the nerves can be harnessed and manipulated. For example, when one is about to throw a punch, he could draw strength from the unused body parts and channel it all into the arm and fist. Likewise, a parry with a weapon could be more successful with more energy focused on the arm. A skilled user can perform several redirections, one after another, flowing with a combination of attacks and blocks. Finding the right rhythm is of paramount importance, because if one puts one's entire strength into a punch which ends up falling short, the body will lack the speed and power to react to a counter-attack.

The secret to mastering the Flux is simple to understand, yet amazingly difficult to control - it is dynamics. While an amateur will simply amass energy in one point, the master will never let his Djed stand still. By the time it reaches its highest concentration, it is already flowing away to its next destination, or more likely two or three destinations (sometimes referred to as "juggling the hot potato" among Flux practitioners). This requires immense experience, foresight, and knowledge of one's body. For this reason, the Flux is considered the polar opposite of Morphing, which on the contrary makes the body a stranger to itself. Most schools of thought discourage using both at the same time because of the risks involved, though the combination is, in theory, very potent.

Major Djed pathways are found along the torso and limbs. The better the user, the finer control they can exercise. At first, they will only be able to influence muscle groups as a whole, but as they improve they can focus on smaller and smaller areas, up to and including fingertips. Djed pathways reach most internal organs, allowing an experienced Flux user to condition them and their performance; for example, slowing or quickening one's heartbeat at will. Again, the body is naturally fine-tuned to react in certain ways that are usually the most convenient, and overriding its workings should be done with great caution. Sometimes the Flux user seeks to take energy away rather than accumulate it: some masters were known to fall into self-induced comatose states, in which they could rest at a faster rate, by making energy flow out of their brain.

A particularly advanced use of the Flux is the redirection of another creature's own Djed flux through their energy-charged touch, usually for damage but possibly to temporarily boost their effectiveness. Results are usually non-lethal (and as such the practice was not widely taught in Suvan), but can quickly incapacitate lesser opponents at a relatively small price.

The Flux in combat

There is no mistake that the Flux was developed for combat; any peaceful application of the art, for labor or entertainment, was most likely an afterthought. In the right hands, the Flux is a very effective killing tool, however it was quickly noted that it led to very high casualty rates among its users, as well. Some suggest this may be due to the user losing sight of their own limits, or yielding to euphoria. The Flux, like all personal magic, can result in overgiving, which in this case is as subtle as it is nasty. Physical consequences are not felt until very late; instead, the user experiences a feeling of being invincible and a higher pain threshold as well as violent, destructive instincts sometimes unable to tell friend from foe. Because of this, many users are incapacitated or killed before the actual damage kicks in.

When this happens, it takes away the very thing the Flux user prizes most: his body. The telltale sign is a painful, electric-like spasm coursing through the limbs at random. These lumps of uncontrollable energy travel all over the body, dealing damage from the inside whenever they burst or spike. The wizard is torn apart by his own life force, which breaks flesh and bone alike. Limbs pop out of their joints, at times even the eyes are ejected from their sockets. Sometimes a master of Flux witnessing the scene can help redirect the insane Djed storm and limit the damage taken by another. Usually, though, consequences of heavy overgiving are devastating when not lethal and will give headaches even to master-level healers.

In Suvan, Flux users were told to fight in teams of two or three, so that members could keep an eye on their comrades. If they displayed signs of overgiving ("weakness of the spirit", in army jargon), they would be given a warning. If they chose to ignore the warning, their comrades were to kill them on the spot before they could turn dangerous and disrupt the rest of the squad. The saying "think alone, fight together", was popular among certain Flux schools, refers to the meditative process of learning, which is to be taken in solitude, as opposed to the actual combat, which is best entered with someone watching over you.

Progression

Novice (1-25)
The inexperienced user can redirect modest amounts of energy to relatively broad areas of the body. He will sometimes need to aid his concentration with ritualized gestures or incantations. These effects are mildly surprising to any facing the user and not knowing he has the Flux.
Competent (26-50)
Having a serious background in Flux shaping, the wizard can target single muscles as recipients of energy. He can incorporate some dynamics into his style, probably inventing new moves and techniques thanks to his new capabilities. At this stage, he may have to start limiting his own power to avoid getting hurt from his own attacks.
Expert (51-75)
The user is highly familiar with the Flux and can use it with very little conscious effort. He can concentrate Djed into several points at the same time without penalty, and coordinate complex motions that make use of that energy. He can condition his internal organs in minor ways.
Master (76-100)
A master is a formidable machine that is only limited by his own body. Djed travels almost intantaneously and at will across his body, allowing devastating (if dangerous) discharges. He has mastered control over his internal organs and even bloodflow. His touch can cause alteration or disruption of another creature's own Djed Flux.


Part of a series of articles on Magic
Concepts Magic · Magic list · Djed · Personal magic · Gnosis · World magic
Personal magic Auristics · Familiary · Flux · Hypnotism · Leeching · Morphing · Projection · Reimancy · Voiding · Shielding
Gnosis Gnosis · Gnosis list· Gnosis Marks · Religion
World magic Alchemy · Animation · Glyphing · Magecraft · Malediction · Summoning · Spiritism · Webbing
Magic in Society Magic academies · Magic factions · Famous wizards
Lost Disciplines Architectrix · Dominion · Pathfinding · Static · Sensing
Other Antimagic · Paramagic · Wizard psychology