History of Magic CirclesContained within this book is the information I have discovered over the years. May the knowledge be used to protect species of all kind, rather than lead to their destruction.
Written by Harlequin
History of Circles
Stories are told in great halls and around camp fires of an age when all spells and enchantments were cast through the magic of circles. A collection of such stories may be found in the appendices of this volume. During that bygone era, little was known about about how the circles worked, nor when they worked. As a result, the circles of that time were formal spells which were crafted after a laborious process of experimentation and discovery. Wording of incantations needed to be exact, the concept of binding was understood but the foci of the spell were simply runes, this greatly limited the knowledge and advanced planning required, but also left the spells with minimal flexibility, it was often years between new creations, with more complicated spells taking an entire lifetime to craft. The truly great magics would often be the culmination of someone’s life work. Of course, once the spell was created, the knowledge of it made it simpler to perform, but the casters simply thought the ease was due to their small refinements after the initial success, As we now know, those refinements sometimes did make a difference, but the fact that the knowledge of the spell was known for even as little as two weeks before it was to be cast anew is what truly improved its effectiveness. That bit of foreknowledge, it appears, makes some changes; the spell became more potent, more likely to have an effect. It was after this realization that the great wizards of the past finally began making great strides, and things quickly fell into place afterwards.
The necessity of a Base Circle
One of the improvements stumbled upon by one of the great wizards of the past helped quicken the progress of research: the invention of what is known as a base circle, also referred to as the Circle of Discovery. Due to the fickle nature of magic, there was an issue experienced in the creation of the more complex spells which sometimes nullified circle magic for days, weeks, or months at a time. The circle devised was a very simple circle; it emits a single brief tone, no more and no less. It was so incredibly simple that it required negligible amounts of concentration from the spellcaster and could be bound with saliva, and performed at will without detriment to the spellcaster. It took the great genius Avert to discover that this was the case, it is not known if he simply discovered this, or cast a separate spell to allow this one to work, but it has since enabled and accelerated increase in the learning and devising of new rituals. No longer is there uncertainty whether a spell simply had no effect, or if magic in the area was simply weak that particular day. The bell can be replaced by any musical instrument or potent harmonic object, but is my preferred choice.
Lines of Power
The vernacular “circle” is an inaccurate term for the magic itself, for while everything occurs near, or within the confines of the lines of power, they do not necessarily form a circle, or even an enclosed space. The base circle is a clear example of this. The lines direct the power within the ritual, whether it is affecting all components within an actual geometric circle, or directing it to an item to enchant. The more power that flows through a circle, the higher quality material a line of power needs to be, or else it will lessen the quality of result. The dust of precious gems is currently the best known conductor of power, though even drawing in the dirt will direct power, and rope or chalk is the standard medium for everyday spells which do not require a greater amount of magical energy.
The Import of Foci
Foci are one of the two ways to control the effect that a circle provides, and can add more power to the ritual when appropriately selected. When this magic was first being developed, a circle only used runes as foci. This practice was successful because everyone knew what they were and meant, but as previously mentioned this greatly limited the range effects that could be achieved. You see, all objects have symbolic meaning. Any object will provide symbology based on what it is. A gargoyle protects when facing outwards, but will nullify protections when facing in. A symbol of Aurora may provide light, hope, purity, a blessing, or even condemnation from Aurora. An artifact, on the other hand will provide this symbology, as well as the power contained within the artifact itself. The artifact does not have to be inherently magical, it just needs to have been involved in something important in the past. Then the spell benefits from the power of the artifact’s history in addition to its inherent meaning. When using artifacts as foci, it is advised to know an object’s history to avoid unexpected consequences.
The Nature of Binding Circles
After the lines and foci are in place, the circle must be bound by the spellcaster. This binding creates a link between the spellcaster and the ritual, and provides the bulk of the power. The simplest binding which exists is the spellcaster’s saliva. Naturally, blood is more powerful, but also seems to carry a few more risks with it. The first risk is that the spellcasters may accidentally provide a stronger binding than intended. Should the spellcaster die, or somehow become scalped, then their life force or soul shall power the spell. The second risk is shared by all more powerful bindings: this is a direct tie to the spellcaster from the effect of the ritual. If an item was enchanted, or something else was somehow empowered, then this link is a vulnerability that could potentially be exploited by enemies to locate the spellcaster or worse. After blood, life is the next most powerful binding essence, followed by the soul. In order to bind with life or soul, the circle must be bounded with blood, and then the caster must be killed or killed and scalped, depending on the intended binding essence. Giving one’s life to a ritual weakens the body should they be raised, making their spirit more easily disassociated from the body. Similarly, should a person use their soul to power a ritual, the soul itself will be damaged and is harder to recover. The soul does heal given enough time, should it ever be recovered. While other bodily fluids have been attempted to bind circles, only one has been successful, which is tears. Tears of pure joy or the deepest sorrow are said to be as powerful as one’s own life, but seeing as i am not the best in social situations, I have not had an opportunity to test this myself. There have been rumors that true love’s tears can bind a circle more powerfully than anything else, but what a person would have to do to gather those tears are beyond my ken.
Conducting the Ritual
Unfortunately, this section is to be the most vague, for performing the ritual is where most control is to come from. A performance of some sort must be done be it verse, song, or speech. Beyond that, everything action must be done with the intent of directing the ritual to it’s eventual goal. It should be kept as short and succinct as it can, for any extraneous elements may introduce additional complications to the result. Be sure to speak precisely and act with confidence, or backlash may occur.
Risks of Backlash
All magics have inherent risk to them, and the Dreaming circle magic is no exception. Anything not planned for may cause backlash, as can a poorly designed ritual. The risk directly relate to how much power is being used. The more power, the bigger a backlash can become. The further off-course and bigger a disruption to the ritual, also leads to a bigger backlash. Having a healer on hand, safely outside of the blast radius is a common method to recover from many backlashes, although worse things that simple bodily harm have been known to occur. Creatures have been summoned without control over their manner, so to truly prepare in full for a backlash result is to be ready for any eventuality.
Below is a story that I found being told by a small nomadic tribe far in the west. They claim this is part of their history. I translated it from their language, so the flow doesn’t match as closely as I wanted it to.
Listen children, to the story I am to tell,
For it tells the history of the magiks we use.
A magik with no bounds, with no ends
But it’s beginning is our beginning.
In the days before the elves walked among us,
And the days before the City of Armont was formed.
It was an age of creatures of great size,
And power which has been lost to time.
In this era of myth and magic,
A small village, named Tali, took form
For companionship and shared protection
From the beings that roamed the land.
Tali had no King, no prince and no Lord.
What Tali did have were Parai,
The heroes that protected Tali
From creatures outside the village bounds.
Half the Parai would sleep at day,
And half would sleep at night.
And after the 10th day, they would switch
To keep their skills sharp.
During the day the Tali would go,
And gather food from all around.
The berries and fruit would feed
Most of the people there.
The Parai would keep watch,
And protect the people from harm.
With the creatures they killed,
Additional food would be made.
At night, the village slept
In huts that kept them safe.
And the Parai would start a fire
With which to guard the night.
Monsters would stand outside the ring
Of light that was cast by the pyre.
The only thing that was visible
Were the many eyes of the unknown.
The Parai stood proud and tall
With their weapons in their hands
They stayed down the eyes with no fear, no emotion
Keeping all harm away.
This life lasted for countless moons,
And it may have stayed this way
Until a fateful day when gathering food,
A child was found surrounded by monsters
The monsters snarled and gnashed their teeth
But they did not advance on the child.
The Parai, knowing they must act to save the child
Slayed the monsters, and saw what kept the child safe.
The child lay in a circle of dust, ground from the finest of gems.
A perfect circle which glowed with energy.
Inscribed around the circle were symbols
Of the Partai, as well as Tali.
With the beasts dispatched, the circle stopped glowing.
The Parai approached and took the child home.
He was given a family, a place to live
And most importantly the name Patas.
The next few years were of no import
Pata helped gather food,
And worked to become a Parai
To protect the village and his family.
The work was hard and tiring
And Pata stared down the darkness at night
And Pata’s courage was strong
But he was unable to become Parai
While he could stay strong
And overcome fear
His ability to fight and kill
Was weaker than all others.
Pata did not break at this news
But he redoubled this efforts
And tired to learn the ways
Of the spear the Parai used.
Once again, Pata did not succeed
For fighting was not his forte.
The third time he was again turned away
He left Tali to find a new way to protect.
The Tali were sad to see him leave,
And feared for Pata’s safety.
But Patas walked into the dark
With his head held high.
Pata walked past the eyes unknown
And past the monsters known.
As he ventured through the dark,
Training kept him alive.
His courage stood up to creatures,
And he fought strong with his spears.
The monsters, there were too many,
And his mind said it was time to run.
As he ran from monsters surrounding him
And as he ran through the night,
A new fight sounded nearby
Between the monsters and something else.
Pata was curious.
But knew better then to look.
He found a cave with a small opening,
And took shelter therein.
As sun broke in the morning,
Pata did not know where he was.
The cave was decorated like a hut,
And another being wa within.
A woman beautiful and tall,
Stood at the entrance to the cave.
Her eyes were bright as the sun,
And a very wry grin.
“So you found your way,
Back to where you began”
She spoke to Pata,
In the most beautiful voice ever heard.
Pata looked at her,
Confused at what she meant.
He had never been here
As long as he could remember.
“You see, the power of life came from here
As did the magic that protected you.
Only those of life and not undone
Can ever visit here.
Darkness may be outside
And darkness may threaten
But the path shall stop there
And no further it may enter
For the spark of life, the spark of thought
The spark of all imagination
And the spark of inspiration
Have found their way from here.
I have a new spark to give to you,
A new spark with which to begin
As your life was protected by it
I shall give you this spark to carry.
The spark of magic i place inside you,
Is tied to all other sparks.
Without one, others won’t work
So bring this magic to the world.”
And with that the lady touched Pata’s chest
And a great glow emanated from it.
Pata felt pleasure and pain, sorrow and happiness.
Pata felt life.
The light faded, and feelings passed,
But Pata was changed forever.
He understood the basics,
Of magics upon that day.
As Pata looked up from the glow
To thank the lady
He quickly discovered that
She and the cave were gone.
Pata was in a forest clearing
With the sun directly overhead.
More time has passed
Than Pata had realized.
Pata realized his time of safety had reached an end.
He used his knowledge to make things safer.
With his spear, he drew a circle in the dirt.
The weakest of circles that can be made.
He knew he could have done better
With more time and preparation.
But no rope, no sand, no dust of gems
Could be gained before danger struck.
The circle, while drawn in the dirt, was intricate
With many lines in and out, focusing on the center.
The symbol of the Parai, the symbol of war,
And the symbol of life were on it’s edges.
And in the center he placed his spear,
Before binding the circle with blood.
He then spoke words lost to time,
And the Spear of Pata was born.
Pata felt the magic flow around him,
And it felt expended for a time,
He grabbed the spear, and took to the west,
Where he believed his home lay.
He traveled fast, and traveled hard
And encountered several monsters.
Whenever he struck at one with his spear,
It’s death did quickly follow.
The journey took the afternoon,
And he raced the sun to his home.
He arrived only just before
The sun rested for the night.
The watching Parai acted with a start
And welcomed Pata back to Tali.
He was ushered in with open arms
And so he sat and ate with the Tali.
Over food, he told the tale
If his brief time away from home.
The Tali asked for more detail
Claiming he was gone for many moons
Pata was surprised at this
For he only saw one night.
As he looked at the night sky
He saw the moon was different.
Pata never knew where the lost time went
Or what had happened then
But he was home, with magic now
And taught it to the Tali.
He taught the basics he knew
And the symbols there were.
He taught of bindings that could be used
Fluids from one’s own self.
The dangers therein after saliva,
And how the soul has power.
He told them the lines drawn or placed
Conduct the power as desired.
The lines in dirt are worst,
Followed by rope or sand.
But for the best effect,
Like his birth gems are used.
He told the Tali of need to chant
The words of power are the best
With thought and of course
Great due Diligence.
Per Pata it is important
To only use where it is safe
For if something goes amiss
Anything can happen.
Beyond these basic,
Pata did not know.
Sometimes the magic did not work
And nobody knew why
But the Tali did practice the art
And they did flourish,
As their work was practiced
The village spread out further.
The Parai became mage knight
Knowing both spear and magic
And the village did know peace
Unlike the world around.
Time passed and Tail grew
And the village was to big,
Two villages formed from this
The Banu and the Ani.
The groups started off similar,
The only difference being location.
The Parai kept both safe,
From the known and unknowable.
The Parai still stood at night,
Keeping their face perfectly calm
Against the eyes of the unknown
And keeping the village safe.
But over the many generations
Quarrels grew between the two.
It started with hunting right,
As monsters were no longer threat.
Food was scarce in the lush valley
Between the two tribes.
While it could be found elsewhere
The valley was the most desired spot.
The Banu blamed the Ani,
While the Ani blamed the Banu.
Each refused to see their errors
And blamed the other.
After hunting it went to other foods
And water right. From those ti
Seeing the smallest slights
As being great issues.
Each tribe started the same,
Over the years they stayed the same.
The only difference was which tribe they were
And which tribe they hated.
The Parai refused to take sides in the matter,
And continued to keep the Ani and Banu safe.
And since none other than the Parai knew how to fight
An awkward truce existed.
This truce lasted until Banu developed a new use
For Pata’s circle magic.
One wizard was contemplating the eyes at night,
And a smile dawned upon him.
With the smile came an idea,
And a ritual in full.
He discovered they could catch the nighttime eyes,
And turn them into monstrosities.
The beings constructed would listen to the Banu,
And every night, the Banu woulds make more,
And keep them hidden
From both the Parai and the Ani.
Then one night, the Banu ent the monster
To kill the Ani while they slept.
The Parai with the Banu saw the Monster leave
And chased them down.
The Parai at the Ani along with the Parai from the Banu
Killed the monster that came
The Parai tried to conceal what happened
But the Ani knew the truth.
The Ani then figured out the methods the Banu used
And monster were made
And sent forth at the Banu
And the Parai defended victoriously again.
The Banu and the Ani waged war in this way
But with the secret of monster known,
The race quickly became one to make
A monster that could not be defeated.
The Parai watched as the village tried to destroy themselves.
They watched weapons being made to destroy.
Thew Parai crafted rituals and weapons
To detect and stop these creatures.
And so it continued for an unknown time,
The Banu and the Anmi crafting monsters’
and the Parai keeping the losing side safe
From the remaining monsters.
For the many moons this continued,
The war wore down the Parai morale.
Monster from all directions,
And the Parai decided it needed to end.
They worked on a ritual, a spell, a weapon
Which would end the threat for all time.
They took everything they had that was good
And forged it into a weapon.
All the Parai cast the ritual together,
To an effect well beyond what any individual could.
Each Parai gave his soul to power the weapon,
Except one whose blood to controlled ot.
At the next conflict where the unnatural monster were,
He gave the weapon a push, and it was off.
It forced them from the world
Never to be seen again.
The power of the weapon destroyed,
Huts were knocked down,
Having never known such overwhelming force,
But most true life was spared.
The Ani and Banu tired to gather new forces
But it seemed reality had been changed.
The eyes came no more at night,
And Pata’s magic caught no more.
The weapon still existed though,
And Ani and Banu each beseeched the last Parai
To use it to destroy the other side,
For the atrocities they committed.
The last parai looked at them with pity,
For they seemed to know only hate.
The weapon came across one last time,
Barely in control, but it forced the hate from them.
The villages in ruin, and now without the hate,
The Ani and Banu formed the Tali again.
Rather than stay where foods was scarce,
They wandered all over the land.
And as for the last Parai,
He decided the weapon should never be used again.
He broke it into many pieces,
And scattered them into the winds.
He kept one part with himself,
The key to it as well.
And with that he walked through the world,
Never again to be seen.
OOC: Any ritual must be checked in at least 2 weeks prior to use, and once it is checked in, It is considered Known, and does not need to be checked in again prior to future events. Any anticipated changes must be checked in for marshaling purposes, as deviations increase the risk of backlash from the ritual.
Anyone can cast a ritual spell (ability to cast a spell is not required), but a person may only cast one at an event.
The Circle of Discovery does not count as a ritual spell (or towards a character’s limit of one per event) It is an IC way to determine if the event will allow the effects of circle magic.
Unless given permission to do otherwise by the EH or MM for that event, all rituals must be performed in front of the EH/MM or an otherwise designated marshal.
Please direct rituals and any question to JanusKiltra@gmail.com
Created by Kovaks (Becky Baron) at 03-27-18 12:16 PM
Last Modified by Kovaks (Becky Baron) at 03-27-18 12:16 PM