The Five Elements

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five elements

In The Watchmage Chronicles, all matter in the mundane world is made of the five elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Aether (Note: although there is no knowledge of atoms or anything like that, these combinations go down to subatomic levels…work with me here). Wizards and Magelings learn how to manipulate the five elements to transform reality, with varying degrees of success. Among Dwellers, only Sidhe are able to manipulate the Five Elements. Wizards combine the elements with their Chaos Seeds for more powerful effects.

Elemental energy is within everything, even human beings. A Wizard or Mageling learns to tap the elemental energy inside of him, but this is limited. They can also draw energy from other places, such as crystals, herbs, fire, water, and premade curios and relics. Although Wizards can use these as well, their Chaos Seed makes it unnecessary.

The Elements and Their Uses

Most simple spells are performed with only one or two elements, but complex spells can involve all five. Depending on the spell pattern, different energies can be used for similar effects. In addition, talented and accomplished Wizards and Magelings can weave spells using elements outside what one would expect, making that spell harder to unweave. Elements are the threads, but the spell pattern creates the final product.

Earth: Besides the obvious like ground and stone, Earth energy is used in spells involving plants, animals (including humans), and physical attributes such as strength and durability. It’s often combined with Water and Aether for healing effects, though extreme healing requires all five elements and considerable power.

Air: Air energy is used for transport spells such as flight and appration, as well as weather control (along with Water) and sound. It can be a powerful offensive and defensive weapon when combined with other elements, creating bolts of force, telekinesis, speed, and even electrical effects.

Water: Water energy is used for weather (along with Air) and ice and steam effects. Because Water is the source of life and is everywhere, it can be very potent. Water Energy is important in healing spells, and its inverse (anything that heals can also kill). There are legends about Wizards that can pull the Water right out of a person’s body, drying them up like the desert.

Fire: Fire energy is used in the most obvious offensive spells. Fire spells are often difficult to control, because fire itself is so chaotic. If used correctly, fire is a vital tool, what set us apart from cavemen. Fire, along with Earth, can be used to increase vitality, as in “inner fire.” Fire spells are discouraged in heavily populated areas, for obvious reasons.

Aether: Aether is the most difficult of elements to understand, as it cannot be perceived. Aether represents the mind and soul, but also the cosmos. Aether is beyond most people’s understanding, and it is very difficult for a mageling to use (though Hendricks proved able to use it in The Watchmage of Old New York). Aether is used in telepathic and emotional effects, illusions, and offensive spells that involve movement, such as force and telekinesis (when combined with Air). It is the most important element in healing spells, which is why powerful healing spells are beyond the scope of almost all magelings.

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The Chaos Seed

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The Chaos Seed is what sets Wizards apart from ordinary human beings. It allows them
to summon and use Chaos energy to power their spells. Since Magic is transformation, Chaos is extremely powerful. The Chaos Seed also provides immortality to Wizards, but if the seed is drained completely, the Wizard dies.

What is it? : No one knows exactly what the Chaos Seed is, but Wizard scholars believe it to be a connection to the Dream World. They believe that the “seed” is actually a pipeline of sorts that transfers Chaos to the Wizard. The phrase “dreams to reality” is often associated with this belief.

More religious Wizards believe it to be part of the Divine. They tend to see themselves as avatars of whatever God they believe in, and act according (for good or ill).

The Chaos Seed manifests around puberty, though it’s been know to do so earlier or much later in life.

How Does It Work? : Wizards imagine the Chaos Seed as a flower. It “blooms” when the Wizard channels energy, and “withers” as that energy is drained. In reality, it functions more like a well. When a wizard uses too much Chaos, he begins to age. When it’s replenished, he returns to his normal form. If it’s completely tapped dry, the Wizard will die. This has rarely happened, as the Wizard will usually fall unconscious from exertion beforehand.

Chaos Energy does not have to be used with the five elements in a set spell. Instead, the Wizard can use it directly to strike a target. This is particularly effective against Veil Dwellers. The influx of Chaos overwhelms them and can fade them back across the Veil.

Can You Lose or Acquire One? : There are rumors of the sort, but no official records. You can be sure that if it was possible, The Star of Nine (the Wizards’ ruling body) would keep it a secret. Chaos Energy can be stored in a receptacle, and is often used in magical relics. Such items do not replenish on their own, but must be done by a Wizard.

In “The Watchmage of Old New York,” Nathaniel made a pendant filled with Chaos for his apprentice, the mageling Hendricks.

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Magic in Watchmage: An Introduction

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Magic hand

Magic is at once very simple and incredibly complicated. There are several types of magic users, and each has different effects:

Magelings: Magelings (they call themselves magicians, wizards, mages, or whatever is en vogue at the moment), can create minor reality transformations. They do this by “weaving” together the five elements (Air, Water, Earth, Fire, and Aether) into set patterns, producing the desired effect. As the human body can only produce a small amount of elemental energy, they often draw energy from other places such as crystals, herbs, and magical relics.

Wizards: Wizards–such as Nathaniel–are set apart by the Chaos Seed. This “seed” is actually a part of the Dream World, and it allows them to use Chaos energy. When combined with traditional spells, they are able to transform reality far beyond a mageling’s scope.

Wizard are immortal as long as their Chaos Seed isn’t completely drained. The Chaos Seed refreshes over time. As a wizard ages, his Chaos Seed grows more potent. This means that older Wizards–such as Nathaniel’s master, Sol–control immense power.

Dwellers: Veil Dwellers (they call themselves Shining Ones), are creatures of the Dream World that have either left their home or were pulled into the mundane world through Warp (rifts in the Veil caused by misuse of magic).

Dwellers–except for the Sidhe–cannot use magic (and even the Sidhe cannot match a Wizard). Instead they use Glamour, which can produce effects. Each Dweller race has unique Glamour abilities, though some abilities (such as their illusionary guise) are universal. Some abilities include: Apparation, Flight, Illusion, Animal Form and Control, Item Summoning, and Physical Prowess.

Dwellers are immortal, but they can be faded across the Veil, back into the Dream World. They usually return to the Realm of their origin, but this is not definite.

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Watchmage Update, or The Joy of Editing

On Saturday I got my edits back for The Watchmage of Old New York. There are cross-outs, critiques, and suggestions all over the place, and I couldn’t be happier.

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It’s been a very long time since I’ve been sensitive when critiqued. That was knocked out of me by my first writing professor 20 years ago. Since then, I’ve learned to find the most ruthless, nitpicking, evil people to edit my work. I want someone with enough heat in them to burn out all of the impurities. If your editor isn’t ruthless, the product won’t be pure.

So far, Watchmage has been edited as a short story, a serial, and now a novel (each serial story arc gets its own novel. this is the first one). I think these are the last edits…maybe.

I love editing. I love revising. I love looking back at old work and thinking “man, I can do so much better now.” It means that I’ve leveled up, and I have a new xp total to reach.

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Never fear your editor. Never get upset or discouraged by the red pen. It doesn’t mean that you’re not good, it means that you have room to get better, and this is how.

Enough with the rah rah philosophy. The update is that Watchmage is coming also smoothly, and I plan to release the first novel, The Watchmage of Old New York, this fall. Oh frabjous day, callooh callay!

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.7/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, 2014, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!

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