The Gift is the most common magic in the land which would also suggest that it has different extents. Most people's gifts aren't very powerful, ranging from barely being able to light a candle to creating amulets and protective circles. Each person usually has an area of expertise in their gift such as being able to create light, fire, protective circles, house hold charms, and minor healing. To many people having any gift at all is a shame. When the gift suddenly appears in a poor family some think that its the gods punishing them. If the Gift isn't used it can go out of control and destroy. Even the weakest power can cause damage if left unused.
Then there are those with a significant amount of magical power. These gifted humans can actually use their magic and go places in the world. Their amount of magical gift ranges from creating powerful house hold charms against theft, burning, and curses to using a word of power to change a person into an apple tree. These select human beings need proper training from mage schools so that they can use their gift for the well being of their country. Many end up being scholars while others burn themselves out from working too hard. There are very few people who can use the words of power.
Magic is, to an extent, genetic. The body chemistry, however, can amplify or expand the amount, while training can strengthen it and build it up.
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Levels of Mages
Weaker mages, as stated above, can do very little with their magic. They can light and/or snuff out candles, bring light (a.i. streams of lights, balls of light, light to objects) pregnancy charms, and minor healing.
Weak to Moderate mages (sometimes classified by yellow robes) can perform moderate protective circles were what ever was being protected would be hiden and completely safe, to charming objects and deflecting arrows and other minor spells from enemies.
Moderate to Strong Mages (sometimes classified as red robes) can perform advanced magics including summonings, temporary mind control and other such invasive spells. Red robes can use their magic to lift ships into the air or cause other mages to temporarily loose use of their Gift.
Strong to Advanced Mages (Sometimes classified as black robes) have so much magic that they have a hard time controlling little magical workings such as lighting a candle or bringing a small globe of light into existence. These mages much go big or not at all, unless they have exhausted most of their magic. Black robes are very rare but are obviously very intelligent. In order to earn the rank of black robe they must take control and master the "words of power" These spells either work or destroy the caster. The "Words of Power" change the fundamental being of an object, changing its 'self' forever. These spells take an immense amount of magic and mustn't be used carelessly.
Types of Magic
There are many magics that don't fit into a category; these gifts can go any which way and work just as well as someone's that has specific uses. Every Gift is just that, a gift and most people know how important it is to covet and cherish what the Gods gave them.
There are many different types of Gifts. Here are some of them:
A healer with weak magic must heavily depend on common remedies such as using splints for broken bones and recommending drinking a lot of fluids for common colds. They can possibly burn out infection in cuts and give immediate diagnosis but can probably do little else.
A strong healer can set broken bones, heal cuts and gouges with out a scar, and heal most colds. Although experienced healers know that healing every cold that comes along isn't healthy for a person because the more someone is exposed to healing magic the more their body becomes immune to its workings.
Also known as Battle Mages . War Mages are people with gifts more suited to causing destruction and mayhem. They can light large fires from a distance, cast assassination spells and other such things for battles. They train right along with the knights to learn the sounds of battle and the signals so that they can best serve their king. War mages must be very tough willed and willing to do anything. It is best for them to not have any families or ties to people in general since their life span is very short. They see a lot of horrors in their duty, and the death and carnage is sometimes overwhelming.
Their name pretty much sums it up. These mages are attuned to food and just love to send a great meal out to be eaten. They make up expensive and delectably wonderful dishes that can be raved about around the land. There is little practicality in work for these gifted people except to work in the kitchen.
Scholar mages crave knowledge. Sometimes they use the gift very little or only in experiments so that they don't lose control of their gift. They use their knowledge to help others and teach the masses but they don't' really like to get their hands dirty, unless they are digging up a fossil to study. They analyze the stars and plants, trying to understand the Gods will.
These are mages that have Gifts that augument their senses in similar ways that the Sight might do so. But where the Sight can hone vision and enable a person to see extraordinarily great distances, or actually alert the user to whether or not someone is telling a lie, Sensory Gifts work to enhance sight to within the expected ranges of vision, or might enhance visual perception and permit someone to more readily pick up cues that someone might be telling an untruth (however, just because the perception is enhanced, does not mean that someone is readily born with the knowledge to spot lies - this is something that is learned over time.) The abilities of this type of Gift are often very limited, with only one or two 'tricks,' and they only ever work with one sense. Most Gifts of this kind begin working of their own accord in some way, shape, or form - the saying is, if you don't use your Gift, the magic will out anyways, one way or another. To reach the full and hopefully useful potential of this Gift, one must train it. These kinds of Gifts are not uncommon, thought most people Gifted with this type of Gift go about their lives never knowing that they have magic; they might live their entire life believing that they were just born with very sensitive taste buds or a remarkably keen nose.
Colors of the Gift
The Gift come in a kaleidoscope of different colors, from midnight blue to bright purple, to blood red or pale orange. The Gift may be any color, and typically a person only ever has one color of the Gift. This is not concrete, however, as in extreme cases, a person's Gift has been known to change colors, such as is seen in Lioness Rampant in the case of Duke Roger. The Gift usually has no bearing on a person's appearance, and the color of one's Gift does not dictate eye color, or vice versa. Colors of the Gift sometimes run in families, such as the Conté family, the Trebond family, and the Queenscove family.
Examples of Colors:
- Jonathan IV of Conté - Blue
- Alanna of Pirate's Swoop and Olau - Purple
- Roger of Conté - Orange; later Blood Red
- Numair Salmalín - black
- Thom of Trebond - Purple; later Blood Red
- Nealan of Queencove - Emerald
- Baird of Queenscove -Emerald
- Roald I of Conté - Blue
- Lionel of Trebond - Purple
Additionally, Tamora Pierce has to say on colors of the Gift:
- "And since I know my own magical system and I know a lot of our world’s theories of magic and color, it’s possible what I knew seeped into my subconscious thinking as I worked. If that’s the case, there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for Onua’s Gift being red (other than that it’s her favorite color): red is also a protective color, and that’s what Onua can do best with her Gift, particularly when the protection involves concealment. I think having an abusive husband helped her hone that skill.
- I suspect that Numair’s Gift was actually something like a deep amber or gold when he was small, his mother’s family’s Gifts being in the yellow range, his father’s in the red range, but mom’s being the dominant, but in Numair’s case it was the development and expansion of his power with each year that changed his power’s color.
- I imagine Duke Gareth’s Gift was originally a dark rose in color, but as he’s aged and his heart’s gotten worse, the color has paled. He doesn’t use it any more because of the strain it would put on him, but I bet it would be light pink!"
Examples of the Gift Being Used
- "Pointing at the hearth logs, she sent her Gift out in a burst of vilet until they caught flame. With quick gestures, she shooed the flames to the branches of candles."
- "She crouched and held her palsm out to the flames, reaching for her Gift. Her fingers floawed with purple fire: she sent it into the flame suntil they matched the color of her Gift. Rispah's image took shape, and Caram draw close, his eyes riveted on her."
- "Alanna had no more time to think. Reaching for the first image in her mind, Alanna saw the Dominion Jewel. Even a vision of it was a catalyst: Alanna's Gift rushed into it and through it, swiling out over the bandit camp as a shimmering violet net."
- "Gently she brought up her Gift, filling every stitch she wore with it and binding the stable's warmth to every layer of clothing. She fixed it there with a word of command, just to be safe, and sealed it with the ritual [phrase] "So mote it be."
- "Before she closed it, she sent a bit of magic back to the sleeping boy, so he would wake in five minutes and bolt the door."