Magic flows naturally through the universe around Afloria and is there for almost anyone with the correct training or bloodline to access. Magic is a fickle thing and is neither good nor evil, as it depends on the heart of the wielder.
Some (around 0.2% of the population) are born with the natural ability to sense and tap into the natural flow of magic in the depths of universe, and tend to be the most powerful of all. Some consider this to be a curse, however, as those born with this “gift” often develop some sort of physical or mental mutation, as they generally tend to grow to abuse their power.
Those who are not born with the natural ability to sense and harness the magic around them can choose to study the magical arts. Magical colleges are the most widely accepted source of learning, as they tend to gravitate towards a more balanced and controlled direction of learning, though other forms of learning exist. One option, for example, is finding someone who has already mastered the magical arts and having them teach you. This, however, is not always the safest way, and many of these pupil/master combinations can turn out to be quite troublesome.
While training is available to anyone who wishes it (and can afford it, in some areas), it is not always possible for each individual to learn the art of magic. There are some people who are born as natural magic dampeners; someone who is impervious to magic and magical abilities. They are unable to use magic, and magic is unable to be used on or around them. This phenomenon is not an extremely common occurrence, but it is known well enough. These special people are called “Voids”, as any magic wielder who simply comes in contact with one feels the complete absence, or void, of magic until the contact is broken. Voids also tend to have an unsettling presence, and until their innate ability is fully discovered, they are seen as simply someone who you would wish to avoid because of a feeling you get around them.
Then there are those who are simply just not gifted enough to learn the magical arts. While many people wish to learn, nearly 95% of the population will never get past the very basics of the introduction classes with another 2% dropping out later in the year. There is nothing to be ashamed of in this, however, as many will walk away with some form of useful skill, like lighting a fire or mending clothes magically. This results in only 3% of the population actually graduating from the introduction classes and moving on to the next year. Even less become full-fledged magic wielders.
There is also magic that is born out of pure evil. This magic is blood magic. The user harnesses the life force of another living being, be it another sentient creature or just sucking the life out of the world around them.The process almost always leaves the source of power withered and dead.
While this magic may be more powerful than its alternative, it comes with a price; the user must make a pact with a demon or demon lord in order to continue using this type of magic. Once this pact is complete, the user is no longer able to use any other form of magic, not even magic trinkets or objects. There are workarounds for this, however these can also come with the price. These workarounds will also depend on the specific demon/demonette that the pact was made, along with the type and strength of the power received.
First and foremost, the pact must be completed entirely alone.
A pact is made by first piercing your own flesh with a dagger and using your own blood to draw the Circle of Blood rune on the floor. This rune, while complex, is not a very large rune. You then place the dagger, still fresh with blood, in the center of the rune and stating your name. A demon or demonette will appear. Your strength and potential will determine the type and power of what is summoned.
The demon will funnel their power into your body, causing immense pain, yet a sense of ultimate power. This channeling, as stated before, will rip the site of where the dagger pierced the skin open. The more powerful the demon/host combination, the larger the scar. The demon or demonette's mark will also be left on the skin of the host near the piercing site.
As soon as the ritual is completed, the new Blood Mage is left vulnerable and weak, still bleeding from the open wound. It is now common practice to maintain a slave or prisoner in a nearby room to siphon the life out of to harness their power and heal the host's body with.
The ritual was first done by piercing the flesh of the hand, as the blood was easier to access. However, once the demon channels the power into you, it opens up the wound and creates a scar that will never go away. This became a problem, as a large scar on the hand became a hindrance. Therefore, rituals started to pierce the back of the left arm.
Legality of Blood Magic
Blood magic has been outlawed in nearly every single city and town in the Kingdom of Modatha, and is considered an abomination by all but the lowest of people. Being caught using blood magic is almost always an immediate death sentence without trial on the spot.
In the Esalon Empire, however, Emperor Grave understands the “necessity” to harness whatever power he can in order to maintain his hold on his empire. Most citizens are unaware of the practice of blood magic by the Emperor’s highest officers, and it is still technically outlawed; the panic it would cause would be devastating to his iron grip. A death sentence awaits any who are caught using blood magic without the emperor’s express consent.