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Voiding

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Image:Scroll2.png "Wizard Aelobius taught us Voiding. He was a local authority in the field and widely respected by the magical community. In fact, he had no enemies around the Academy - they all tended to vanish without a trace. So did his three wives."
- Vuld Shaik, "Magic and I"
Voiding
Personal magic
Full nameVoiding
AvailabilityThroughout Mizahar
Learned fromUsers, books
Key conceptOpening portals to and from the Void
UsesGetting rid of unwanted things, storage and retrieval, limited teleportation
RisksSelf-voiding, freeing dangerous banished creatures and objects


Voiding is a discipline of personal magic that allows the wizard to open portals and blackholes to the Void, a dimension of emptiness that serves as a cosmic junkyard for magic users. Portals can generate a pull, sucking their surroundings into the other side, or simply transport whatever crosses them either way. More skilled wizards can also retrieve things from the Void, at the risk of fishing things previously Voided by another wizard. According to statistics, most things cast into the Void deserve to be there. Very powerful wizards can even link several portals, making things enter one portal and exit another, thus achieving a limited form of short-distance teleportation.

Contents

History

The origins of Voiding are lost in the mists of time, but it is thought to be one of the most ancient magic forms. Before the Valterrian, Voiding used to be part of the standard magic curriculum as a support discipline. Wizards without any training in it were considered second-rate. The reason was that many magic disciplines, such as Reimancy, do not have an explicit way of undoing a spell once it has been cast (see the laws of Djed); Voiding served as a partial replacement to make up for this lack.

Much like all other forms of magic, the Valterrian elevated it to a rare and mystical artform, even though it was originally meant to be a precaution above anything else. Today, Voiding is still practiced in some form by most organized magical communities around Mizahar.

Overview

While Voiding is a simple discipline at its core, it is capable of rather complex effects. Most Voiders are not interested in the subtleties, since they only use it for basic dispelling and anti-magic purposes, but highly creative uses are possible for the astute wizard.

The Voider will refer to the world as "This Side" (TS) and the Void as the "Other Side" (OS). Voiding can thus be broken down into three basic elements.

  • Portal. Any construct linking TS and OS. The wizard can create Portals with pure strength of will through their Djed. The Portal must be created near the user's body, typically in front of their outstretched hands. Lower-level wizards will usually accompany the effort with gestures and incantations, or runes of Glyphing painted on their palms for focus.
    Depending on the wizard's Djed, the Portal will look slightly differently, but it will resemble a swirling vortex, usually looking like a black hole of sorts. Skilled wizards may move the Portal around with their will, or even push it across large distances with Projection or other methods.
  • Pull. A Portal may or may not have Pull. A Pull is attractive or repulsive force, designed to absorb things into or eject things from the Portal. Novices will only make Pull-less or attractive Portals, and even those are somewhat risky. While it is possible to create omni-directional Pull, this is almost suicidal as the user will usually be nearby and might get sucked into their own Portal (self-voiding). Most often, Pull will have a specific direction.
    A Portal can get engulfed if it tries to pull larger objects than its own size. Particularly skilled wizards can generate selective Pull, which only attracts certain things or materials. Master-level selective Pull can literally eject metallic nails out of wooden boards across a large room.
  • Anchor. A tool for expert users, an Anchor is an item charged with the user's Djed that is sent to the OS. Later Portals can be attuned to a previous Anchor by simply willing them. This means that the Portal will not open onto a random area of the Void, but exactly where the Anchor is. A typical use is to allow for storage of items on the OS - the Anchor is some kind of container which can be accessed by a later Portal.
    A good Anchor must be able to withstand the harsh environment of the Void and any creatures able to survive in it. There are many creative uses for Anchors, but perhaps the most impressive of them all is a master Voider's ability to open several Portals using the same Anchor at the same time. In practice, this allows them to use the Void as a stepping stone to move between two Portals on the physical world. This is a highly reduced version of how the god Aquiras powered the Watchtower system.

The Void

Main article: Void

As a dimension, the Void appears to be infinite. This is not actually the case; the Void has a finite size but space folds onto itself so that a traveler moving along a straight line will eventually find himself back at the starting point. Its size is so immense that it may be considered infinite for all practical purposes, though.

At the beginning of time, the Void was pure emptiness - it contained nothing. As such, it was completely dark and cold, a black and starless sky extending in all directions. In time, when wizards discovered how to access it, the Void began to fill with a little matter taken in through Voiding Portals. This amount is still minuscule, and is mostly concentrated in occasional clusters resulting from Portals.

The Void does not contain nearly enough breathable air for a normal creature to survive unless it is inside a special container. Most beings absorbed into a Portal are going to die in a matter of minutes, though there are creatures that can easily survive for centuries and eventually find a way out. The Void is a cold place, with arctic-level temperatures, making it feasible as a storage area. There is no gravity, and things simply float or drift endlessly. There is no natural light nor sound.

Opening a Portal

Portals to the Void are, in theory, a natural occurrence. They are born when a point in the physical world becomes completely empty, even emptier than outer space. Voiding takes advantage of this fact, using the wizard's Djed to completely empty a tiny point near the caster and control the resulting Portal. Because the method is so specific to the Void, it cannot be used to reach any other place both in this reality or the Ukalas

Starting a Portal is very much like starting a fire - most of the preparation involves the first spark. The initial Portal is tiny, and may take some time to generate, but after it has been birthed, it grows steadily with the user's willpower.

If the wizard stops fueling the Portal, it will collapse after a while. The wizard can also force it shut instantly by inverting the creation process and 'filling' its core with a little matter. Portals with Pull are more taxing on the caster and collapse faster if not maintained.

Initiation

Initiation into Voiding is not as traumatic as for some other disciplines. It mostly involves the student struggling to understand the concept of absolute emptiness, and may require weeks of constant, silent meditation. The aspiring Voider is isolated from everyone else and repeats a formula in his mind over and over again, until the words are completely devoid of meaning. When he manages to make his first, tiny Portal, which will generally only last a few seconds, the student is fully initiated.

Customization

Like most disciplines of magic, Voiding can be mixed with other disciplines to accomplish better effects. A few examples include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Illusion to conceal the Portal, for example making it invisible or turning into an innocent-looking part of the scenery;
  • Glyphing to trigger Portal openings and closings, or to store Portals for later activation (though not in the Void itself, see "Risks" section below);
  • Projection to quickly and precisely move or "shoot" the Portal, or maneuver it remotely.

Risks

The first and foremost risk of Voiding is ending up trapped in the Void as a consequence of one's own spells. This is known as self-voiding, and is a highly humiliating demise for any wizard. This tends to happen if a Portal is opened during melee combat as a means of absorbing a close attacker.

Portals cannot be opened from the Void, not even through scrolls or other portable methods. Any rescuing devices must be activated from This Side, not the Other Side. There is still slim hope for the wizard, such as a Familiar opening a Portal to save them, if the wizard is carrying an Anchor. Divine intervention may also save someone falling into the Void, be it the wizard or someone else.

The second, rarer but more unsettling, risk is that of freeing something that was meant to stay in the Void. By definition, something that can survive in the Void is superior to most living creatures. Also by definition, if it was Voided, it means that the wizard doing it could not think of a better way of dealing with the creature. Beings that are most likely to emerge from the Void include the undead, Relic monsters as well as Fragments. None of these categories are prone to gratitude.

True professionals wishing to extract large things from the Void will take precautions, such as opening a very small portal first, inserting an expendable probe (such as an Animated creature) and only then enlarging the Portal.

Overgiving

Like all personal magic, Voiding may lead to overgiving. In general, Djed draining from Voiding is considered medium; higher than Auristics but lower than Reimancy. The main cases where overgiving becomes a real threat are if a Portal is too large, Pull is too intense, the Portal is maintained for too long, or several Portals at the same time. Trying to absorb a building is definitely a dangerous stretch even for a master user; one should absorb its parts and assemble them on the Other Side.

Most symptoms of overgiving are the standard ones, including euphoria, desire to cast more, a feeling of being unstoppable, Sweet Whispers, followed by physical trauma, bleeding, convulsions and a gradual loss of control over one's magic. Unique consequences of Voiding overgiving include micro-Portals opening inside the user's body, possibly Voiding parts of them and digging holes in them. Others are driven insane, thinking they are living in the Void, or getting hallucinations of being sucked into it. As usual, there are countless possibilities.

Progression

Novice (1-25)
At this level, the Voider can open small portals about as large as their hands or slightly larger. These portals are static and may only generate a weak pull; moreover, they only allow travel into the Void, not out of it. Creating a portal requires around 30 seconds of concentration and is usually aided by gestures and incantations.
Competent (26-50)
A competent Voider can open larger Portals and keep them open for longer. He will also be more comfortable with Pull, either attractive or repulsive. Portals may be moved around a little, and take around 10 seconds to be created. The user is no longer dependent on gestures and incantations, though he can still benefit from them. Portals can be almost human-sized and as such they can absorb the average person.
Expert (51-75)
Very familiar with the Void, the magic user can now charge Anchors and send them to the Other Side, expanding the craft considerably. Portals can absorb a small carriage and only require around 5 seconds to open with proper concentration.
Master (76-100)
A true lord of the Void, the wizard can open multiple Portals and even have them share the same Anchor without a problem. A master Voider can create the largest Portals, with all but the most impressive only taking two or three seconds to manifest. The wizard can push and expand the boundaries of the discipline.


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
Other Antimagic · Paramagic · Wizard psychology