Ask a moron how many kinds of magic there are, and he’ll probably answer one: the Dark wells of power, the greatest tool of the giants who rule this world. Everyone has heard of the Dark, the energy source that feeds the Tower of Tongues and the Undying aristocracy of the Diamond Isle, the Empire of Perfection, and elsewhere. The acid swamps of Misery Island are but one of the many, many testaments to the strength of the Dark.
Ask a fool how many kinds of magic there are, and she’ll probably answer two: the Dark wells of power and green Nature-Magic. It is the antithesis of the Dark, weaker and less easily manipulated, known throughout the Mother Countries if only because it stands in such diametric opposition to the energy that rules our world. The cumbersome nature of the powers granted by the Apples of Rrerrshbarr stand in testament to the limitations of this misliked order of magical power.
Ask a man of average intelligence how many kinds of magic there are, and perhaps he will recall a third stripe, the power of the runes. Less tractable than the Dark, less dramatically distinct than Nature-Magic, the runes nevertheless hold a power all their own. As tales of Old Habadad and the havoc wreaked during the Elder Brother Campaigns demonstrate, control of the underlying structure of spacetime is nothing to sneeze at.
Ask someone with an education how many kinds of magic there are, and she will, assuming she knows enough to discount the akashic art of the rememberers as no true magic and the powers of mage-blades as mere echoes of word and rune, she will name the fourth order, the order of witchery.
Aside from a handful of minor incidents, such as the XoXo Saltern Loss in 1215 or the unfortunate fertility of Xiphias Watercutter (705-790), witchery has not impacted the magiocultural landscape since the beginning of Living Memory. While the craft is (relatively) common in the outlying, verrik-dominated islands to the northeast, no witch has ever entered the Tower of Tongues. Iacath the Undying Stormbringer experimented with witchery early in her career before discounting it as inferior to the Dark wells of power. Its study, cloaked in mysticism and cultural imperialism, passes in and out of fashion in the salons of Ka-Rone the Eternal City. Few consider it a serious discipline.
Those who do are familiar with the art of the jettatura, the witch’s eye. With a glance the witch curses, creates unluck, skewers the victim’s soul on a kebab and twists the joy out of it. I myself suffered this curse for a period of nine days, during a tour of the Daqor Islands during my youth. For those nine days I could not stand to leave my cabin without doubling over and evacuating myself. I hallucinated that my husband was trying to poison me, and through it all I heard the mocking laughter of the poor seawitch whose proffered coral artwork I had rebuffed. Against the jettatura, there is no defense, no armor or cloak…
SEE ALSO: The Acid Swamps of Misery Island, the Apple-Yards of Rrerrshberr, the Elder Brother Campaigns, the Xoxo Saltern Loss, and Xiphias Windcutter.