The magic of Autumn is the magic of influence and prosperity. Where Summer enhances the capabilities of the individual or Winter diminishes those same capabilities, the magic of Autumn spreads outwards from its targets along points of correspondence to affect large areas or large numbers of people. To a degree the magic of Autumn is the magic of scale – it is the ability to bless crops, or to blight them; to reveal mineral deposits or conceal them; to unite people or cause them to become fractious; to aid travel and movement over large distances, or to impede it. Autumn magic is subtle - its most powerful effects often come together due to synchronicity and serendipity. To an outside observer, many Autumn magic effects appear to be entirely natural and coincidental.
The magic of travel is also part of the Autumn purview. Whether it is speeding the movement of a shipping fleet or transporting four hundred warriors over great distance, the rites of Autumn play on the connections between here and there to bridge the gaps in the world. That same magic can be used to confound direction sense – there is a tale of a rite that causes all the pathways through a forest to loop back on themselves, and of an army still trapped somewhere unable to find their way out even through death.
Magic that deals with wealth, prosperity and comfort – or the appearance of the same – is also part of Autumn. It preserves food and drink, it enhances the potency of wine and the flavour of meat, it repairs broken things. Magicians who work extensively with Autumn magic often describe the experience as being mentally taxing, as if they are negotiating with a cunning opponent, persuading it to perform a task for them. Autumn magicians are often seen as arrogant or controlling because they feel they must cultivate an indomitable will if they are to work the most powerful magics.
Autumn magic is the most powerful because it harnesses some of the most potent, subtle forces in creation - not just synchronicity but the ability for mortals to work together to create wonders. Influence and wealth go hand in hand and provide potent tools for shaping the world.
Money, wealth, and the comfort that derives from it are all resonant motifs of the Autumn realm. Other realms provide ways to improve the production of resources but few can compete with Autumn and none where the outcome is purely monetary. The Autumn realm has a special love for wealth, especially precious metals of all kinds and magic that deals with the creation of wealth falls squarely within the remit of Autumn.
Some claim that Autumn magic's resonance with wealth is really only a consequence of a deeper connection - with the act of trade itself. Autumn rituals that create wealth usually do so by enhancing the trades carried out to produce the wealth, but the very idea of exchanging one good for another is fundamental to the realm of Autumn. Rituals that help satisfy desires and needs through mutual agreements and exchange are most powerful when performed using Autumn magic.
Magic that strengthens and empowers influence and authority is strongly resonant in Autumn. Where the Summer realm grants power through prowess and majesty, the Autumn realm prefers a more subtle approach based on enhancing loyalty and command. Interestingly, unlike Summer, Autumn can also weaken central authority, by creating rituals that encourage individual ambition and aid conspiracies and treachery.
Autumn magic resonates strongly in any ritual that attempts to create magical bonds between members of a band. The Realm claims mastery over all magics that involve allegiance and loyalty, especially where those rituals involve the creation of binding contracts. For the most serious agreements, the Lictors, a powerful Autumn Eternal, can be invoked to ensure that all parties are suitably bound. This resonance covers more than just pacts, however, covering any magic that connects people, through webs of influence, diplomacy, and allegiance.
Rituals that bring disparate groups together, binding them to a common cause are resonant with Autumn magic. Magic that works to empower a group, improving coordination, trust and loyalty, enhancing the strengths that flow from cooperation are all favoured by the Realm.
Autumn magic delights in complex chains and knots that bind things together. The motif of chains made of countless links and ropes woven from innumerable fibres is seen everywhere in the Autumn realm. Skilled magicians can translate this resonance into magic that literally binds the target in place. Rituals and spells that entangle the target, metaphorically or physically, are all possible using Autumn magic.
The Autumn realm claims dominion over the skill of the artisan, the act of turning raw materials into more complex, more useful items. This is especially true of metals, both base metals and precious metals, all of which are strongly favoured by the realm. Although magical items themselves are not of the realms, being made of materials found squarely within the mortal world, magic that marks them, bonds them, and affects them is common in Autumn. The realm resonates with most aspects of craftsmanship and powerful Autumn rituals allow crafters to work in a fraction of the time it would normally take them.
Travel and Communication
The idea of communication is central to the Autumn Realm, but Autumn magic also resonates strongly with anything that empowers the travel needed to support such contact. The very notion of travel, the idea of roads, and the movement of people and ideas is an often overlooked resonance within Autumn.
Autumn hates making individuals stronger. It likes to grant influence, not strength or prowess. It despises the heroic warrior king. Where Summer is about doing it yourself or empowering a champion, Autumn is about getting someone else to do it, or empowering a group. This means there are few personal enchantments in Autumn, and those that are tend to be associated with objects (such as Shadow of the Bronze Colossus).
There is very little wild vegetation in the Autumn realm. Even a garden in an Autumn city is likely to be made of cunning replicas created from metal and gems rather than actual trees or plants. There are no forests or sprawling meadows in Autumn; all vegetation in autumn is tamed. There are farms, and well-maintained gardens but most of the terrain is made up of cities and the coiling stone and metal labyrinths that connect them. While Autumn magic can enchant a farm, it is impossible to use Autumn magic to encourage wild growth.
Autumn magic does not create matter from nothing; the essence of crafting is to modify and combine materials to make something else. Autumn magic could never spin gold out of straw, or conjure a sword out of thin air. It might allow someone to work faster, or with limited tools, but it will never bypass the need to actually make something. Modifying and combining existing things is the way of Autumn.
Likewise, autumn is not creative. Inspiration and the kind of imagination that creates a brand new item are much more resonant with Night. There is an essential spark missing from Autumn magic when it comes to making new things. The Eternals of Autumn often make copies of creatures - a copper butterfly or a heart of gold - but really their power lies in manufacture, not innovation. Autumn eternals do not make art, and often fail to appreciate its more ephemeral representations. A gold ring is a solid thing, a display of wealth. A poem is just words put together in an interesting order - it isn't "real".
Autumn magic does not destroy. The magic is about accumulating and trading things of value; destroying something valuable is a dreadful crime against the realm and its magic. It may allow a team of wreckers to work with supernatural speed and instinctive co-operation to tear a boat apart quickly and efficiently but the magic itself cannot simply make the boat fall apart into its component pieces. When an Autumn magician wishes to destroy a castle, they must enchant an army to smash it apart with catapults. When it wishes to ruin someone, it encourages chance to turn against you; it doesn't destroy your money.
Autumn is great for fixing broken objects - the mend spell is very resonant with Autumn. It is useless for fixing broken people - the heal spell is dissonant. Autumn would much rather replace a crippled hand with a cunning steel replica than try to restore the damaged tissues. At its heart, there is something cold and mechanical about Autumn magic that resonates poorly with healing and health. It is almost impossible to directly heal someone with Autumn magic.
Autumn is all about being subtle, it hates booming loud things, fireballs and flashy effects. Autumn moves and influences others, and it does so with finesse. Magic that draws attention to itself creates dissonance - leave earthquakes and walking forests to Summer and Spring. The ideal Autumn magic influences and encourages, it doesn't act directly. Using a tool to overcome a problem is the essence of Autumn, but the paradox is that the magic of Autumn itself is rarely the right tool to use.