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On the Nature of Magic

by Dathedr on Apr 20, 2015 at 05:21 PM}
Even with Faerun's ancient thaumaturges and Eberron's cutting edge artificers, our understanding of magic has a gaping hole in it. Why is there such a clear division between Arcane and Divine? They both can achieve similar effects for most occasions, the caster being the sole difference.
Shouldn't there be something that blurs that border? Something, somewhere, where arcane or divine are but technicalities, ephemeral denominations that hold no power?

Thing is, that's a dangerous topic to study. Particularly potent arcanists can stare down minor deities and get away with it. If someone found out their power isn't all that different, just imagine the impact the deities themselves, fueled by their followers' faiths would feel.

A long time ago, a certain scholar known as Ephrenne became fascinated with all magic, and would devote her life to it. In her world's churches, most deities would rather have devout followers and bless them with their own divine magic than a real scholar who would also rather study the arcane arts. Of the exceptions, two of them stood out - Boccob, known by many as the Archmage of the Gods, and Wee Jas, the Ruby Empress.

Even though Boccob was the stronger patron out of the two, he's also known as the Uncaring. For that alone, Ephrenne was attracted to the church of Wee Jas.

Stories are rarely told about your average person, and she was far from average. Quickly climbing the ranks of the church, she was crowned Mystic Theurge - That is, she was proficient with both spell sources. That itself wasn't uncommon in the Stern Lady's cult. What was uncommon about it was she became the youngest person to ever become one.

She had no intentions of ruling the church nor any interest on politics, all she did was researching and understanding more and more of the underlying aspects of magic. So huge her understanding became, along with her loyalty to the Ruby Sorceress, the goddess herself appeared to her. Afterwards, she became Ephrenne, the Chosen of Wee Jas.

Thing is, while on a small scale it's barely perceptible, magic has cause and effect. A lowly wizard evoking a fireball draw some heat away from the elemental plane of fire, while a cleric restoring health to an ally pulls that energy from the positive energy plane. But world-shattering magic has a much more noticeable impact. Or, in this case, world-mending.

From Greyhawk's inhabitants perspective, nothing happened. But in truth, a hole in reality was unraveling, threatening the whole prime material plane's stability. It would take great magic power to hold it together, something a mere mortal couldn't handle. Boccob himself was unfazed - Greyhawk is but one of the many worlds under his influence. The Witch Goddess herself wasn't so lucky.

In a desperate plea, she called out to her Chosen. The gods can't influence a crystal sphere directly, but it would take a deity's full attention to have a chance at restoring order. Her request was simple - Eph had to work as a conduit to her full divine might. That's more power than any mortal could handle, so she probably wouldn't make it.

While most would gladly sacrifice themselves for their whole world to survive, Ephrenne saw this as a blessing - Nobody ever had the chance to channel a god's true might; Even if she dies on the way, that experience alone was worth dying for.

And thus, along this process, she finally understood what blurs the arcane and divine. For most of her life, her faith had been in the Stern Lady, but for a brief moment, she and her goddess became one.

Divine magic comes from one's faith. The belief being so strong that it fuels the reality warping effects. Arcane magic comes from within - It could be said it is an effect of one's faith in himself.

And for this brief moment, Ephrenne was the source of both her powers. She blurred the distinction between arcane and divine, and that hasn't been replicated to date.

And afterwards? The unmaking was prevented, but she paid its toll - Her life was no more, and her soul should have ascended into her goddess' realm, but something different happened. Instead, her soul got split in two, but unbalanced - One half had more negative energy, and the other more positive.

Cast along the multiverse, the negative part found its home amongst the drow of Eberron, where Dathedr was born. She's become a wizard, very talented in the dark arts of necromancy.
Meanwhile, the positive part of her soul ended up in Toril, more specifically amongst the Morninglords, or Sun Elves if you'd rather. With her inclinations towards positive energy, she's become a devout of Amaunator himself, wielding divine light to smite her opponents.

And this is how these two came to be. But as fate would have it, the Spinner of Shadows incident connected the two worlds, but alas, this is a tale for another time.


Author's note - This actually's been on my mind ever since I've rolled my cleric, on the character picking screen they looked a lot like opposites, so I thought I'd just roll with it. Maybe there'll be a part two. Poor Ephrenne.


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