(Today I’ve got a guest post by one of my favorite indy fantasy authors, Christopher Kellen. He’s an amazing storyteller and has created an incredibly rich, detailed, and fun world in his tales of Eisengoth. -Mat N.)
Sorcery 101 by Christopher Kellen
The Elements of Sorcery stars Edar Moncrief, a sorcerer and scholar. He’s not a hero—he’s a tinkerer, a researcher, endlessly fascinated by problems and permutations. When Sorcerer’s Code shoves him together with an Arbiter, his whole life goes topsy-turvy and forces him to start growing out of his comfort zone.
So, as part of the run up to the release of the next installment of his unwilling adventures, I thought I’d give a breakdown about how he wields the power of the elements!
As Moncrief says in Sorcerer’s Code: “Sorcery really only has two modes; deliberate, tinkering research and apocalyptic bloodbath.” When he says this, he’s referring to the difference between evocation and enchantment, the two major methods of sorcery in Eisengoth.
All of magic in Eisengoth is fueled by manna, the life force of the world. Manna, however, is deadly to the touch. (For more on this, stay tuned for The Magic of Eisengoth, hosted by Roger Eschbacher, coming up on February 8th.) Because of this, being a sorcerer is extraordinarily dangerous!
The first thing that every sorcerer must learn is how to create a mental channel that protects their mind and body from the deadly touch of the manna, while still allowing them to use it for their own ends. This is essentially the equivalent of trying to throw hot acid with your bare hands—you’d need a pair of gloves or something, right? Evocation is like dipping your hands in that acid and trying to throw a ball of it at someone you don’t like. It’s messy, it’s dangerous, and you’re just about as likely to hurt yourself as someone else, but at least it doesn’t require any prep time!
Most sorcerers like to stick with enchantment whenever they can. It’s much safer. Continuing with the same simile, enchantment is more like building a machine and then using a couple of drops of that hot acid to power it. I like to think of enchantment as magical computer programming. Logical statements, usually written in a dead language, can be deconstructed and reconstructed into new statements that the manna is forced to flow through to achieve the desired effect.
If given enough time to prepare, a sorcerer can do just about anything he can dream of. Unfortunately, working too much power in a single place, or maintaining an effect for too long can ultimately cause the manna to corrupt, turn evil, and start killing everything around it (worse than usual, that is). Permanence is not achievable, and no one can figure out a reliable way to actually heal wounds or otherwise relieve suffering that doesn’t result in corruption (and, thus, death).
Because of these limiting factors, most sorcerers stick to short, flashy enchantments that can be powered with a spark and then let to die away. When things get really rough and they’re out of options, they’ll turn toward evocation and risk their own life to get what they want, but that’s a much more limited approach.
How do they start learning, if it’s so dangerous? Well, most fledgling sorcerers either seek out or stumble upon a grimoire containing the teachings of a master. When they do, about seventy percent of them die on their first attempt at channeling manna. The other thirty percent figure out the mental channel part and go on to be sorcerers—but since there’s no good way to tell who might survive, taking on an apprentice is a very risky proposition. If something goes wrong and your bright young pupil screws up their first attempt, they might just try to eat your face in the ensuing chaos!
For more on the world of Eisengoth, check out THE ELEMENTS OF SORCERY; enter the giveaway below or stay tuned for more at the Elements of Sorcery 2013 Blog Tour page!
Enter THE ELEMENTS OF SORCERY GIVEAWAY HERE!
Synopsis: THE ELEMENTS OF SORCERY focuses on the tale of how Edar Moncrief, a maker of love potions and wart remover (and competent sorcerer in his own right) gets tangled up with an Arbiter, and how his life gets irrevocably screwed up from that point forward. It’s swords-and-sorcery written with an urban fantasy sensibility—like if Jim Butcher (author of The Dresden Files) wrote stories based on Robert E. Howard’s Conan and Solomon Kane. SORCERER’S BLOOD picks up six months after the events of SORCERER’S CRIME, in a strange city where a war is brewing between aristocrats and sorcerers, and Moncrief is caught in the middle.
Author Bio: Christopher Kellen began his career as an independent author with the publication of ELEGY: Book One of the Arbiter Codex in July of 2011, which was shortly followed by the releases of the free short stories Dutiful Daughter and The Corpse King.
In late 2011, the release of Sorcerer’s Code marked his first book which would go on to become an Amazon.com best-seller, and he has been writing furiously ever since. 2012 saw the releases of two new novels and a novelette, following up on the series which began in 2011.
In December 2012, he began a new military science-fiction/space opera series which begins with SINS OF THE FATHER.
A proud member of the Genre Underground, his heroes of literature are those who are fearless in telling stories that truly mean something to their readers. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and monstrous black dog.