Ruins of Adventure

Donovan's Diary: Entry 9

14 Eleint, Year of the Maidens

Morning. Raining lightly. Very tired.

Yesterday, the kobolds were supposed to come. We waited up for them all night, but encountered only a small scouting party. While I wait for my companions to decide what to do next, I’ve been pondering the writings and teachings of Philopater Miles, who was court magician of Cormyr, c. 498 DR. Much of Philopater’s work focused on the theory of the “Celestial Science” as he called it, the study of the stars, which, I may say, I got quite a good view of while standing watch last night.

Many who practice the Art adhere to the ancient and somewhat outdated belief that the flow and flux of their potency derives from the so-called Slumbering Dragon or the Third Wyrm, or whatever appellation they wish to give it. This mistaken belief, of course, comes from the translations of old Wyrmish legend discovered in the Dragonfells, the Emberlands, and the former provinces of Synd. Whatever the Wyrms believed, their access to this mythical or fabulous “breath of the dragon” is something that we modern mages cannot hope to match. Ask any student of the Wyrmish Art—their rituals are missing key components, rely on nonsensical grammatical constructs, and are extremely taxing to the corporeal form. They are incomplete.

Whether the world is truly the shell of a slumbering dragon or not, we may dismiss the notion that human and elvish sorcerers have access to this “breath of the dragon.” It clearly is not so. If we did, our magic would necessarily more closely resemble the Art of those ancients. However, we have observed, and it is a growing consensus amongst mages and scholars of renown, that efficaciousness of magic may be tied instead to cycles observed in the Heavens. After all, is this not the very foundation of the venerable practice of Astrology, which is said to predict the alterations of the world?

Allow us to then to investigate the celestial science from its root and we will understand exactly how our own Art is affected and, in many ways, enslaved to the motion of the stars. The wellspring of mannish magic is not to be found below us, but rather above. We can trace the creation of the stars through the mystery cults of Galos the Seer, back to a time when Toril was lit only by the presence of the World-Tree Asca-Irminsul. Before the advent of the stars, perhaps, all magic was descended from the principle of the dragon’s breath (though there is an argument to be made, not in this book but perhaps in a future treatise, that even gigantine and pyskie magic does not make use of this essentially Wyrmish principle).

Indeed, the most ancient tablets recovered from the Jungles of Chult hint at a considerably different system of magical Art in which the presence of the stars was not accounted for. However, at some period removed from the time of the original Sorcerer-King, Chultine magic underwent a massive and important shift. This, I believe (and shall hence argue) represents the time when the fixed and wandering stars were introduced into the Heavens. The sea-change in magic represents a sudden freeing of available magical energy and codification of previously slapdash system into one governed by knowable laws.

The stars were created by Selune at the latter end of the Night Age. They are made of a material almost never found terrestrially. This fabled star-stone is a quintessence, a fifth element capable of influencing the other four due to its purity, its incorruptibility, and its endurance. Even during the War of the Chains when the Aelio themselves wished to remove Selune’s influence from the heavens, they could not muster the power to destroy the very stars. They are immortal and eternal.

From the stars descend the rays of magic that cause the beginnings of all events on Toril. Though they may not be co-eternal with the world, they have become inextricably bound with it. Their movement is the cause of all mannish and elvish sorcery, and stirs up the lesser more earth-bound elements of Toril into patterns that can be predicted (though never with complete accuracy). Thus, the motion of the stars is itself the source of magic. The celestial science governs the Art.


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