This powerful spell restores the physical vitality of a target, even one that is on the verge of death. It is equally effective at restoring a scribe who has taken a minor wound, or a hulking ogre who has been critically injured. There seems to be no limit to the ability of this spell to restore someone to full strength. The experience of being healed by magic is highly subjective; some patient describe it as a great burst of vitality that rushes through them like a flood; others as a slow trickle of sensation that begins at the magician's hands and spreads with growing speed throughout their bodies.
The power of this spell is indiscriminate; it cannot be used to partially heal someone (such as a prisoner). Further, it can heal almost anything animate, even things that might otherwise not be considered to be alive in the usual sense - it restores shambling husks and ushabti as efficiently as it restores a human or orc. On the other hand, it is unable to help things that are not animate - while a tree can be considered to be alive, the heal spell has no effect on it.
This is perhaps the most powerful source of emergency healing available in the Empire, but its abilities are strictly delineated. It will not help with a traumatic wound; someone may be fully healed but slowly dying from a ruptured spleen or fractured skull. It will not regenerate a crippled or ruined limb, nor combat poison, venom, curses, weakness or diseases. While magical methods of dealing with all these conditions exist, a magician who wishes to optimise their medicinal capabilities will need to learn additional spells such as restore limb and purify.
Magical healing requires the magician to focus their attention on the patient, and anything that disrupts that attention causes the spell to fail. More than any other regular spell, heal is likely to be cast in dangerous environments, and the magician must take care that neither they nor their target are in immediate danger of having to fight before they begin the spell. A single blow, regardless of who strikes it or is struck, can disrupt the spell forcing the magician to start again. Magicians who anticipate needing to heal allies caught in the middle of an engagement often make reparations to support repeatedly swift casting the spell - although it has a somewhat reduced effect from the regular casting. Others invest in specialist items or enchantments such as a Trollsweave Vest or the Hands of the Healer.
There are several magical items that can enhance or empower the heal spell. They range from simple tools such as Altruist's Recompense wand that lets a magician share in some of the healing they provide, all the way to objects of great power such as the Woundbinder or the Robe of Blood and Bone which can dramatically increase the number of times the spell can be cast in a day.
- Type: Regular spell
- Cost: 1 Personal mana
- The heal spell can be swift cast for 2 mana
When swift cast, the heal spell restores only 3 hits to the target rather than restoring all their hits
The following are sample vocals you can use to cast this spell if you don't want to make up your own.
- (touching the target with a blade) "The day is not done, it is not time to sleep / I charge you to awake, your courage revealed / Arise this moment, your battle oaths to keep / Stand now, and step forth for you are healed!"
- (evoking Rhyv) "You are wounded, and your blood has been spilled on the ground, but the well of life is bottomless. Blood calls to blood, my blood to yours, both of us bound by the ebb and flow of the eternal sea. Let me share my strength with you, it is like the ocean, let it flow into you. It leaves me undiminished, and fills you with life, healing your wounds."
- (sprinkling water) "Things heal. What is broken shall be mended. What is weak shall be made strong. Things now apart will come together and be made one. Drink now from the celestial chalice, drink deeply from the cup of the heavens and behold! You are healed!"
- "Life calls to life; I tell you now to let the life flow into and through you, to wash away your pains; your wounds are stripped away before the torrent of life, which always finds a way. My power fills you, in every corner of your being, filling you with life and raising you up. Live, stand, be healed!"
- Rune Magic: The rune of Blood, Rhyv, is usually invoked with healing magic and this spell is no exception. In some places, Rhyv is synonymous with healers - the Anvil Hospital bears the rune on its banners, for example. On a battlefield Verys or Tykonus, might be used especially when healing a soldier who needs the strength to return to the fray.
- Astronomancy: An astronomancer is likely to invoke the Chalice to heal someone, and may even carry an actual cup or water skin marked with the six stars of the constellation to use with this spell.
- Dramaturgy: The persona of the Witch is considered a good fit for healing magic, but the Bishop is also a reasonable choice - she restores and strengthens the spirit and the body alike. In a similar way, the boundless enthusiasm of the Mountebank can be harnessed in a way that trivialises the patient's wounds and fills them with the energy. When time is of the essence, the instrument of the Blade is evoked - there is rarely much shortage of physical blades on a battlefield; when the magician has more time, the throne of the Library is evoked with soothing words and images. Surprisingly, the Doctor is rarely used with this spell; its primal nature is seen as being at odds with the cool rationality of that persona which is more suited to cutting out infection.
- Other traditions: All traditions see value in using water or water imagery with this spell, to cleanse a wound or as a damp cloth applied to the patient. Fire is also a primal healing image, sometimes drawing on the symbolism of cauterising a wound. The herb True Vervain, even for a magical healer, has strong associations with healing and restoring strength.
- Realms: The obvious correlation of this spell is with the Spring realm. It fills a target from a bottomless reservoir of vitality and life. It also possesses resonance with the realm of Summer, however - it imbues the target with the strength to keep fighting, allowing them to shrug off even potentially fatal blows and return to the battle or escape their enemies. A few magicians, especially Varushkan spellcasters, consider the spell to have connections with Winter, preserving the target and delaying their inevitable demise for a short time.
- Further Reading: If you plan to make extensive use of this spell, you may want to read over Healing in Empire, a short article about medicine in the Empire world.