Urizen magical traditions Revision as of 14:12, 19 July 2012 by Harry
Something to get right: Urizen and Navarr disagree on the role of the wizard. In Navarr, they think the wizard should serve the people. In Urizen they think the wizard should rule the people, for their own good. Conflict between “magic makes you a bit odd” and “we have strong will and rationality and thus are not badly effected by magic – least of all magic that makes you think you are strong willed and rational like Day.”
When a citizen of the Empire thinks of the Urizen, it’s usually a wizard they imagine. Whether a priest, a soldier or a merchant, it is quite common for an Urizen to know an incantation or at least the fundamentals of a magical lore.
The mountains of Urizen are rich in raw magical resources but they are even more rich in lore and recorded knowledge. There are libraries here that have been collected and expanded over five hundred years, but the magicians don’t rest on their laurels they quest constantly to improve and increase their understanding of magic.
The magi of Urizen are scholars as much as they are magicians. They study magic not just for the power it grants, but so that they can understand both it and the complex laws that govern it. They know, for example, that too much magic can warp an individual’s consciousness or taint an area of land. Reliance on one Realm of magic can create imbalances with far-reaching consequences.
They also know that not only the Urizen have magical power. Individual wizards in other Nations rival or even exceed the power of the Urizen. They lack perspective, however, and this makes them dangerous. Yet at the same time these wizards are the peers and potential allies of the Urizen magi, they just need to be helped to see that truth.
A specific group of Urizen magi are the stargazers who meticulously chart the course of the heavens. These stargazers are also the principle magi interested in dealing with the Eternals. Where other Nations may find the Eternals suspect, the stargazers believe fundamentally that the Eternals are a “knowable quantity.” Their restricted nature as compared to humans means that mortals will always eventually get the better of them, provided they approach them rationally and with care not to get overconfident. The stargazers maintain that the Realms can be a positive influence on the world, but only so long as no one Realm dominates the others. All six realms possess qualities that are valuable, especially in moderation. By creating balance between the influence of the realms, by highlighting positive elements rather than negative, the stargazers believe in a state they variously call “celestial harmony” or “the omnihedron” that will help usher in a state of perfection on the mortal realm.
A common theory among the stargazers is that there is at least one more Realm – the seventh Realm that represents the unknown. This seventh Realm, if it exists, is concerned with things that humans cannot conceive of, and may be related to the process of reincarnation. Attempting to understand the seventh Realm is a complex mental exercise – how does a human mind conceive of something that is by its very nature impossible to imagine?
Another common theory held by Urizen magi is that there are probably eight Realms, although there is bitter division over what these Realsm might be. The most widespread belief is that the four “physical” Realms – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter – should be mirrored by four “spiritual and mental” Realms – that there are at least two more Realms, the counterparts to Day and Night.
The archivists of Urizen maintain libraries of lore gathered from across the Empire and beyond. Honed and refined by generations of study and discussion, these libraries rival the great libraries of Highguard. Everything can be quantified, charted and recorded and to lose or waste knowledge is an dreadful thing. Archivists do not accept mysteries, they must know how it works, why it works and all of the possible applications and will not rest until every avenue has been explored and documented.
Urizen does not limit itself to purely magical lore - recording and gathering wisdom and knowledge of the mundane world helps them to a greater understanding of how to apply their magic to the best effect. The archivists record facts, no matter how painful or unpopular those facts might be, but they also attempt to maintain a distance from the events they are recording or studying.
As a consequence, scholars spend a lot of time reading the archives and trying to create a coherent sequence of events from them. They have the facts, they simply lack the narrative that ties them together. In a way the Highguard are better historians, but a lot of what they produce is fiction masquerading as fact.
Urizen is also known for the Torchbearers. This loose society is made up of scholars who observe and discuss events as they unfold. They actively seek to report the truth to as many people as possible, so that folk are educated about what is going on in their Empire. They are motivated to stick their noses in wherever anything interesting is happening, and then tell people about it. Some live among foreigners or orcs, to learn as much about them as they can. Others dedicate themselves to certain specific forms of truth – they become war correspondents or political commentators. There is no formal torchbearer society, but those who feel strongly about truth and education often wear a badge, pin or piece of jewellery in the shape of a lit torch.