When the cities of Navarr were consumed by the vallorn, much of the Navarr magical lore was preserved by distributing it between the Steadings and Stridings. Most still have a few ancient tomes from this time, either the originals meticulously cared for, or copies that have been painstakingly written out. By themselves these books do not offer sufficient knowledge for a young Navarr to learn what is required, but they are enough that those children who become fascinated with magic can begin to learn. To ensure that they can retain a mastery of magic through the generations, the Navarr periodically trade books whenever they meet.

As a result of this approach, magic is seen as the legacy of the nation as a whole, rather than any individual Striding or Steading. Those who devote themselves to the study of magic are expected to acknowledge the gift they have been given and to seek out ways to employ their magic in the service of the Navarr. Not all choose to do this of course; there are selfish individuals in the Navarr as in any nation, but those that do are called Vates.

For the Navarr, magic is in the blood
Drefa Brackensong of Brackensong Steading


Vates are expected to make themselves known to all. Like Brands and Thorns, they usually mark their oath with a brand or tattoo. Because of the similarities with the oaths that Brands and Thorns swear, Vates who enjoy battle often become Thorns and the wisest amongst them sometimes become Brands. The work of a Vate is difficult; they are expected to use their magic carefully but to ensure that the spells they cast serve their community without charge. In return many Navarr try to ensure that they give what support they can spare to the Vates.

Guides make a habit of knowing who the Vates are, so that they can bring individuals to them who need magical help, and the Vates are often called on by the Senators to perform rituals that benefit territories, the Navarr nation or the Empire as a whole. This life of service to the Nation can be arduous and difficult, but most Vates shoulder it willingly. Their reward is the acknowledgement and respect they receive from other Navarr and the opportunity to practise their magic often.

Vates are the only Navarr who are trusted to meet with the eternals or their heralds. There is a belief that the oaths of the Vate help them resist the influence of the other Realms, and that they will use their influence with the eternals only in support of the nation and the Empire. Other magicians - including those of other nations - who have regular contact with the eternals are often viewed with a little suspicion, especially if they are not prepared to talk about their experiences.

For the Navarr, magic is in the blood. The Vates use blood-letting to draw on their power, to focus their rituals and incantations. The practice preserves the memory of the sacrifice made by Navarr and Thorn, the first Vates, who gave their life to protect the people from the threat of the vallorn. Blood is a common motif in Navarr rituals.

The Vates only ever use their own blood and the blood of willing participants when performing magic. Blood drawn from an unwilling or dead victim is useless to Navarr magic; it holds no power. Because of their use of blood-letting, it is rare to find a Vate who does not have some ability with the healing arts, either mastery of the powers of Spring or else chirurgery. Many Vates are skilled with both, able to use magic and skill alike to heal wounds and knit bones.