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Treval Codex

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Treval Codex
Book
Book on magic
Full titleTreval Codex (went by many names)
AuthorQueen Avakalashi
Year published7700 BV (8220 years ago)
AvailabilityRelatively common
Average cost50 Mizas
Word count~80,000
LanguageAncient tongue, many translations exist


The Treval Codex is the first documented book on magic, composed when the written word was still young. Its author was Avakalashi, the legendary first Queen of Alahea and a daughter of Eyris. This grimoire, while badly outdated, is basically a must-read for any wizard of even a minor scholarly disposition. The book is not a strict manual on magic, but a loose collection of tales and philosophical discussion around magic as a whole. Much of the magical jargon first appeared on the Treval Codex, most notably the word Djed.

Contents

Background

Late pre-Valterrian scholars were almost unanimous in their belief that the Treval Codex is, at core, a political work. It was meant to lay the foundations for a dynasty that would rule Alahea for millennia to come. While other rulers chose to be remembered by the wars they started or the tombs they built for themselves, Avakalashi's legacy was a book that told the world who wizards are and why they should have the right to rule. While the agenda is not directly stated in the book's pages, it is easy to spot between the lines.

However, the book also served a very practical, and tremendously needed, purpose. Up to that point, there had been no "magic" to speak of, just a number of visionary miracle-workers with an innate talent for channeling such energies. Each protomage was an island, and discovered things more or less randomly and at an incredible risk to themselves and others. Some of them were very powerful, but their knowledge either died with them or was entrusted to a few apprentices in full secrecy. Each of these ancient wizards had come up with their own system that did not span beyond their individual talents, and was usually tied to a philosophical or mystical belief or cult. Avakalashi's Codex sent a very clear message: "what these people do is a facet of something greater, and I will show you what it is". Suddenly, there was method to the madness. Awareness of the dangers of magic helped curb some of its most disturbing excesses. For example, greater control exercised during spellcasting reduced the occurrence of random mutations such as those that birthed the Diverse. And Avakalashi, who understood what no other had before, was invested with absolute power and authority for herself and her lineage.

Structure

To a modern reader the Codex will likely seem strange or unusual. The book does not even have a proper title, and later came to be known as the Treval Codex after the name of the Alahean capital. At the time, it was known simply as "the book" (Tadach in the ancient tongue, meaning "that which has been reunited") since it was pretty much the only book people had heard of. It has gone by many names throughout the centuries, including the "First Grimoire", the "Source of the Many Ways", the "Queen's Legacy" and many more. Several cultures were fond of ripping off the Codex and slapping a different label on the cover, claiming authorship of the book.

The Codex was clearly written over a long period of time. Avakalashi was reported to have lived over 200 years, and she worked on the text for the majority of her life. The style is not uniform, and even the concepts seem to have undergone some amount of evolution. That said, the Codex's 358 "paragraphs" are not arranged in any chronological or even logical order. Each paragraph starts with a sentence that states its lesson, and then expands on it in some way. Some paragraphs only have the initial statement with no further exposition: these have often become famous sayings and proverbs. On the other hand, some paragraphs are several thousands of words long. Being written in the vague and speech-oriented ancient tongue, interpretation does not come easily to modern readers. Some paragraphs contain tales, others are dialogues, still others read more like essays.

Themes

Many naive readers pick up the Codex hoping it will teach them to cast fireballs, which it will not. The Codex voices a paradigm shift in the world of magic, but it offers no practical instructions. What it teaches includes, among other things:

  • the distinction, made for the very first time, between gnosis, personal magic and world magic
  • the theory and laws of Djed
  • the dangers of magic, the balance between power and control, and overgiving
  • the ancestor disciplines to the modern forms of magic and how they work
  • the philosophy of being a wizard and the responsabilities that come with it
  • the ideal world that wizards can make real
  • mythical tales of how the gods gifted mortals with magic

This material made up the first semester of education in any Alahean magical institute.

Excerpts

Paragraph 18. Believe the lie if you wish to enjoy it, believe it not if you wish to command it.

A hunchback walked from Qatla to Atadach to see the Master of the Many Ways. Upon finding him in the desert, the hunchback knelt down in front of the Master and begged him to teach him the wisdom of the ages. His eyes filled with tears, the man told the Master that he was poor and deformed and cursed with an unseemly visage. His fellow men would beat him cruelly for the sport of it, and he had to feed off the scraps of his betters. Did he not deserve to be taught the wisdom of the ages, that he might right what was wrong, and acquire the respectable form that had been denied to him at birth? But the Master of the Many Ways shook his head and spoke in a firm voice. "You would bend the wisdom, which is true and real, to the respect of your fellow men, which is a small and trivial thing. The sky belongs to those who can look up, and below there is only the lie." And the Master sent the hunchback on his way.