Mind; for it harbors the will. Those who cannot master the Mind will be lost.
Body; for it is the conduit through which mana must flow. Those who cannot master the Body will perish.
Power; for it is our gift and birthright. Those who cannot master the Power will be consumed.
There are those who believe that magic, the power of the Astral, has a consciousness all its own. Through all the ages of men and gods it has quietly exerted its influence, shaping people and events to flow in the direction of it’s choosing.
There are those who believe that magic has a will; a means by which to shape its own future. None can say how or why; none can predict its course or decipher its ultimate goals. There are those who believe that magic and fate are one, and that he who gives himself over to its power becomes the master of his own destiny…
The mystics of Aeryn are a study in contradictions. Reserved and calm by nature, their history is riddled with conflict and destruction. Advocates of life and masters of magical reincarnation, mystics have also been responsible for an untold number of deaths. Those who recount the tales of the Magistraad and the War of Embers tell of battles fought on clouds where the rain burned everything it touched. They sing dirges about long ago days when the wild mages first appeared, when the power they unleashed brought the world to its knees.
But the Wars are over. The Magistraad was crushed and order returned to the world. The Wild Mages are no more. They have become the mystics. Quick to eschew their past, and committed to the teachings of their Messiah, they have tempered their destructive powers through meditation and the use of powerful crystals. The offensive might of the mystic remains unchallenged among the free peoples of the world, and they use that power to great effect in the struggle against the Demon Lord.
A mystic’s spells are almost purely offensive in nature. By opening himself up to the astral, a mystic allows the power of magic to flow through him. Like a lightning rod harnessing the power of a storm, the mystic becomes a pure channel for magic which is most easily released in its undiluted, destructive form. Crystals help to control the unleashing of this gathered power while also helping to keep the mystics body from being torn apart by the chaotic forces coursing through his body. A mystic can cast spells without a crystal, but doing so may damage the mystic as well as his intended target
Mystic Crystals can be stolen. They must be retrieved or the mystic will need to undergo a ritual to acquire a new one. A mystic with the appropriate higher list skill must perform this “lesser” Taishan. The bloodline is not changed at this time and the ritual simply bonds the mystic to a new crystal. Mystic crystals will resurrect with a mystic – that is it will travel with the mystic in spirit form. Without a crystal a mystic is forced to cast rank 1 and 2 spells only. Higher ranks will cost essence to cast at a rate of 1 essence for each mana. This damage is not aggravated and can be healed.
The history of the mystics begins with the rise of the wild mages. Wild magic first appeared in the world during the Age of Might – well after the establishment of magic as wielded by Elysian Mages and Ritualists. At first, only a few rare individuals exhibited this rare talent, but over time it became more and more common. The Academy mobilized in an effort to better understand the nature of these strange wizards, for wild magic worked differently from anything they had seen before.
Through communion with the Astral Realm, The Order of Elysium learned that the blood of wild mages was infused with mana. It was further discovered that these renegades were somehow imbued with the blood of fey themselves. Exactly how fey blood had been distributed amongst the mortal population is a mystery that carries on even today, but most feel that the first fey must have interbred with mortals during their time on Aeryn. The blood of these fey diluted amongst all the mortal populations randomly endowing certain individuals with the “gift” of wild magic. Whatever its origins, the threat of wild magic was very clear. Magic seemed drawn toward the wild mage without his or her willing it to do so. So collected, the accumulated mana was almost always released in destructive waves that threatened the safety of the wild mage and those around him.
The danger surrounding the use of wild magic grew to unprecedented proportions when a single wild mage destroyed the entire city of Tarlainth near the Tower of Valisphere. The wild mage was killed in the event and though his or her identity may never come to light, the “Wild Mage of Tarlainth” is nonetheless well known for sparking the even greater devastation that is known as the War of Embers
The Order of Elysium responded to Tarlainth and the desperate cries of other cities fearing a similar fate. They sent word that anyone suspected of being a wild mage should be sent immediately to the Academy in Valisphere. The motives of the Order were noble – they sincerely desired to help the wild mages learn to better control their abilities – but local governors and city officials the world over used the mandate as an excuse to hunt down and destroy wild mages wherever they could be found. None can say how many wild mages died in those first years – nor can they say how many innocent souls lost their lives to the ever increasing number of “accidents” involving wild magic.
Seeking a means to defend themselves against a world that despised them, members of eight bloodlines joined forces and struck back against their oppressors. Thus were laid the cornerstones of the Magistraad – the great Parliament of Wild Mages. The sheer, unmitigated power of the Magistraad forced the world to recognize them as a force to be reckoned with, and the Academy rescinded its mandate. For three years, a tenuous peace was forged between Valisphere and the great flying Rook of the Magistraad. But peace could not endure. For within the Rook ruled the wild mage Balagast the Cruel, of the Line Arsilium. Balagast believed that his magical blood made him superior to all other mortals. While he accepted peace with the Academy, he secretly planned its destruction. Without warning, Balagast led the Magistraad against Valisphere in an attack that destroyed the Tower and everyone within. The Magistraad seized control of many magical artifacts held by the Elysian Mages and their Ritualist allies. They asserted their dominance throughout the region and beyond.
It was not long before Balagast turned his attention on the rest of the world. Believing himself to be the herald of a new age, he opened the Rook as a safe harbor for all wild mages so long as they supported the Magistraad. Many wild mages were drawn to him, but there were those who began to question his motives. It was not without good reason that the very thought of the Rook appearing on the horizon sent many people fleeing in terror. The war it made on what Balagast considered “inferior” races was merciless and unrelenting. Cities were lost in ways that made Tarlainth seem like petty vandalism. In the black halls of the Rook people were flayed and tortured. Even wild mages – drawn to Balagast’s offer of asylum – were sentenced to cruel experiments that sought to discover the mythical Ninth Bloodline – the Line of Gloriana.
But all was not lost. Though defeated, those Ritualists and Elysian Mages who survived the devastation of Valisphere endured. Desperate for aid, they sought the assistance of the larger world. The reputation of the Magistraad made allies easy to come by. With the help of the Crusaders, Armsmen, and Reavers, the Academy built up an army of steel and magic.
But the greatest ally of the Academy was not to be found outside of the Rook, but within.
The madness of Balagast rippled throughout the Magistraad raising doubt among its members. Among them was Amergin, of the Line Eternus. Amergin saw that Balagast was doing no service to the cause of wild magic. The fear he inflicted on the world only validated its belief that wild magic was dangerous. Many times he openly defied Balagast and though he was sentenced to death in the bowels of the Rook, his arguments won the hearts and minds of several others. When the Academy appeared to make its war on the Rook, the wild mages of the lines Se’nedra and Ballantyne freed Amergin from his torture. Besieged on all fronts, Balagast was eventually defeated – the Rook crashing into the foothills of the Sanavaar in Artanna.
When they arrived at the crash site, the armies of the Academy found Amergin – near death but still able to stand and speak. He told them that the Magistraad was dead – and that he had found a new path for his kind. Amergin revealed that while being tortured, he was visited several times by the fey of Elysium. When they spoke to him, his pain vanished and he was given the strength to endure. Quietly there, the fey taught Amergin how to harness the power of his blood. They taught him how he might lead the wild mages into a new age.
Working with the Academy, Amergin began to teach other wild mages how to properly harness their great power. His principles were based on the concept of control. Control over the mind leads to control over the body leads to control over mana. That became the blazon of Amergin’s wild mages which he called mystics to better reflect their heightened understanding. In time, the mystics earned the respect of their colleagues and even the deep rooted prejudices of the War of Embers began to fade. Though fatally wounded in the final battle, Amergin continued to live for another three years. He became known as the Messiah and was the first mystic to sit on the council of mages in the rebuilt Tower of Valisphere.
When he died, Amergin took with him the power of all nine bloodlines. All traces of magical affinity were removed from the blood of all mortals. It was as though the wild mages had never been. But it was not the end. On the one year anniversary of Amergin’s death, the first pure crystal formed near the font at Valisphere.
Mystics are no longer born. They are made through the rites of the Taishan ritual. It is during the Taishan that a petitioner’s blood is “activated” and imbued with the magic of one of the ancient bloodlines. Currently – and for no reason anyone can adequately explain – only three of the nine original bloodlines have ever been activated. They are the bloodlines of Eternus, Se’nedra, and Ballantyne.
The Taishan ritual uses a pure quartz (clear) crystal to activate the blood of a new mystic. The crystal will change color to reflect the mystic’s new bloodline. The crystal is attuned to the mystic and she will bear it for the rest of her life. Through it she will channel the awesome energies that are perpetually drawn to the power within her blood.
The Line Eternus
Mystics who are awakened to the Line Eternus share the bloodline of Amergin. Their place in the structure of the mystics is the most varied of the three castes and they can be found serving the mystics in just about any capacity. They are the most neutral of the three branches of mysticism and their focus on meditation and a clear mind is the most profound. Mystics of Eternus are the most in touch with Amergin’s guiding principles of control. As a rule, Eternus mystics are contemplative, patient, and fiercely logical. They have been the unspoken rulers of the mystics since the time of Amergin. As such, they are usually natural leaders. The Triad – or Council of Three – is lead by Kaibren Eternus of the Drow. A mystic of Eternus is recognized by the clear crystal he carries – the only bloodline in which the crystal does not change its original hue; a tribute to Amergin, first of them all.
The Line Ballantyne
Ballantyne mystics are slightly more forthright than those of Eternus. Skilled diplomats and loyal servants of magic, the Ballantyne believe first and foremost in the preservation of magic at all costs. Where Eternus mystics tend to “let the universe play out” Ballantyne mystics are more likely to take an active hand in guiding the course of events. Coolly rational, the Ballantyne are usually the most vocal members of the Mystics as a whole. They are also the most active in seeking out the missing bloodlines. They serve their profession as heralds and ambassadors, couriers and negotiators. Their representative on the Triad is the human Dianora Ballantyne. Dianora also represents the mystics on the Council of Magic in the Academy. Ballantyne mystics carry a citrine crystal.
The Line Se’Nedra
Of the three castes, the Line of Se’nedra is the most mysterious. Se’nedrans tend to be aloof and guarded, watchful against all threats to the mystics. Se’nedrans have a reputation for doing whatever it takes to ensure the best interests of the mystics even if this goes against popular opinion. This has won them constant vigilance by the Academy mages. The Se’nedra are led by the gargoyle Kroandish Se’nedra. The crystal of this bloodline is an amethyst.
The Lost Line Awakens
In the year 514 a lost line has been awakened in Iargail during the frost of the Ember Season and its power has spread throughout Artanna with the cold Winter wind.