A Long History and Rich Traditions

The history of magic on Aern is as long as the history of the world itself. The creator beings, the Ordum, tapped into the source of all magic to create the world itself and maintain its continued existence. Cultures of the past, such as the Kairos, Takh'mal, Elf and Fae courts, and more recently the Vaal, have used magic extensively to build and maintain their nations and empires.

The Source and The Paths

Underlying the world, metaphorically at least, is a plane filled with the raw energy of creation. Raw pockets of elemental matter, life essence, and radiant energy fill the infinite reaches of The Source. This plane is the source of power tapped by the Ordum to create worlds, and is the origin of all magic. This energy flows from The Source, across the nebulous mirror-world known as the borderlands, and makes its way into the material world where it fuels reality and binds the world together.
Users of magic tap into this flow of energy in various ways, harnessing it to power fantastic spells and create powerful enchanted items.
As this energy enters The Borderlands in its pure form, it flows into ley lines, rivers of energy that carry it to where it is needed in the material world. The flow of magic can be seen as a circulatory system, with The Source as the beating heart and The Borderlands as the veins and arteries.

The Great Void

Theorized to be the the celestial opposite of The Source, the Void is the nothingness that exists beyond the world and between the stars. Very little is actually known about the void or what may exist within it. One entity assumed to be of the Void does appear to exist in the sky above the northern part of the continent; a rippling sphere of dark energy that is worshiped as a god of sorts by particularly nihilistic entities.
Shadow Mages, some Ordumite cultists, and even a rumored sect of Primalists tap into The Void to power their abilities.

The Spirits

As magic courses through The Borderlands, beings known as the Spirits act as guides and caretakers. Spirits are native to The Borderlands but technically exist in both worlds. Spirits are numerous; every mountain, glade, flock of birds, and pack of wolves has an attached spirit, and when these spirits cease, more appear from the mists to take their place. In addition to the spirits generally recognized and interacted with, there are many that represent more malign, malicious, or destructive aspects of the world. These spirits can grant great power to those that control them, but are dangerous to deal with.
Spirits can be captured, bound, and even destroyed by those living in the material world and often are. In fact, many cultures have a caste that specifically trains for it, know as shamans or seers.

Arcane Magic

Practitioners of the arcane arts draw power from The Source in a very controlled manner, using complex formulas of gestures, spoken words, and specially prepared materials to route small flows of energy into amazing effects. The arcane traditions divide spellcasting into a number of schools based on the type of result that the spell creates - Arcana, Destruction, Domination, Prophecy, Shadow, Trickery, and Warding.
Mages, Occultists, and Seekers use arcane magic.

Wild Magic

Those who practice wild magic call on the The Source, but instead of the intricate spellcasting of the Arcane traditions, they use sheer willpower and their connection with nature to cast spells. Wild magic users also divide their magic into domains of sorts, but only three, based on their function - Creation, Destruction, Protection, and Renewal.
Elementalists, Primalists, Shamans, and Wardens use wild magic.

Innate Magic

There are many who are able to harness magic without realizing they are doing it, usually through projecting raw emotions. These individuals are able to generate powerful, if limited, effects.
Warsong Warlords and Felblade Reavers use innate magic.

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Abomination

Discovered during some distant, dark part of the world's history, Abomination is a necromantic art. It involves the unholy fusion of corpses with worked steel, creating hybrid corpse-machine monsters that can be used to serve a number of functions. As its common name suggests, Abomination is considered a foul act, even more so than typical necromancy, because the corpses tend to retain some minute fragment of their personality.