Alyssa’s Magic Notes

Author’s Note: Please be aware that this page will likely contain spoilers up to the latest chapter in the main story.

Magic. Magic is real. Shocking.

Actually, it isn’t too surprising. I mean, I’ve come across angels! Wings and halos and everything. So the idea that magic could exist isn’t that special. Tenebrael certainly hadn’t knocked me out and tossed me in the back of a Buick to get me to her world. Still, I had thought that had been a feat limited to angels.

But no. I met a boy named Aziz. Maybe boy is the wrong term. He was younger than me, but not to the point of being a child. All that is beside the point, which is: He knew magic. He couldn’t use it, but he had gone to some school for magicians, which are apparently called arcanists in this world.

I might have been able to learn more from him, but I really didn’t know him that long. He passed away. Killed himself? The situation was… uncomfortable.

But I suppose that is a topic for something else. This is supposed to be the magic section of my notebook. So I’ll try to focus on that from now on.

The biggest surprise isn’t that magic exists or even that humans of this world can use magic. It’s that I can use magic. I don’t know why, I don’t know how, but I can.

Magic comes in the form of cards. Roughly the size of your standard poker cards, except these have symbols drawn all over them. Usually some kind of geometic pattern with scrawls of runes all around. I can’t read the runes and I haven’t found anyone who can thus far save for angels, so I’ve taken to calling it angel runes. There is probably a more eloquent phrase, but I don’t know it.

The pattern and runes determine the spell that will be produced when cast. Casting a spell destroys the card as well, so it’s probably important to build up a stock of commonly used spells, such as the light or flame spell. In addition, there doesn’t seem to be a way to change the effect. A card that produces a small flame will only ever produce a small flame. It can’t be powered up to a napalm strike. Inversely, I assume that a napalm strike spell couldn’t produce just a simple flame to light a candle. I have to assume there because I haven’t actually seen a spell that mimics napalm so far.

There are ranks to spells and something called specializations. I’m not quite sure what the latter is, it apparently doesn’t apply to low ranked spells which are all I have access to at the time of writing this particular note. I’ll leave room to update it later.

As for ranks, they begin at Rank Zero. Aziz’s book had a few spells in it at a Rank Three level and there are higher ranks beyond that. I don’t know what determines what rank people can cast at just yet. As with specializations, I’ll leave some blank room to come back later. For now, I know that Rank Zero is usable by a majority of the population—though not everyone has access to the materials required to create the spell cards, which is the ink and paper. Rank One apparently excludes ninety percent of those capable of Rank Zero. Rank Two is ten percent of Rank One casters. Rank Three ten percent of Two, and so on, presumably.

As for the actual type of spells in each rank:

Rank Zero is… underwhelming to say the least. It contains spells that a little hard work could produce through more mundane means. I’ll list actual spells further down to keep this section neat.

Rank One is a bit better. Spells in this rank could easily be achieved through a moderate level of technology back on Earth.

Rank Two starts getting a little more esoteric, but could probably be replicated with modern technology on Earth.

Rank Three is where things start entering the realm of science fiction. Or fantasy? Given the lack of space ships around, probably fantasy. While the other ranks might surprise someone on Earth, they wouldn’t wow them. This rank changes that with fun things like unaided flight! I haven’t actually tried it yet, but I do want to.

Addendum #1: Specializations

There are higher ranks! All of them enter the realm of fantasy, however, so I’m not sure what kind of descriptions I would give them. However, I have discovered an alternate way of classifying higher ranked spells.


As it turns out, starting at Rank Three, spells are divided up into classifications known as Specializations, which are broad categories that group similar effects. For example an Inferno would go into the Fire specialization. Spectral Sight, a spell that lets the caster view the state of souls, goes into the Death specialization.

Because of these specializations, I’ve decided to categorize my spell list using them for any spell at or above Rank Three, though there are a few generic spells that will be left alone. Lower ranks aren’t categorized even if they fit because, so long as someone can cast a Rank Two spell, they can always cast a Rank Two spell, which is apparently not true at higher ranks. A Rank Four caster might not be able to cast spells in the Death category for example.

Apparently there is a way to specialize in a specialization, hence the name, that allows a lower ranked spell caster the ability to cast higher ranked spells of that category’s specialization. That will probably go into a second addendum as I learn more though.

Addendum #2: Potions

Potions. In Hollywood, games, and other Earth fiction, potions are typically liquids that have some kind of effect that wouldn’t be achievable through mundane means. Magic in a bottle, basically.

As far as I can tell, that is true in Lyria as well. I met a potion maker named Tzheitza. I’ve had a chance to observe both her and several potions that she has made. Most potions are stored in little glass orbs. Smaller than a baseball but larger than a golf ball. The liquid inside comes in all varieties of color which seems to be an indicator of the potion’s effect. A warm reddish-yellow potion might explode into a ball of flames while a cold blue potion will coat an area in ice. One potion turned into caustic tar that completely melted a troll to nothing but ooze.

All of the above potions release their effect when thrown and the glass breaks.

But not all potions are dangerous and not all are thrown. The city and several residences have lights around them. Not electrical lights—I haven’t seen any evidence of electricity in this world so far—but potions! I had thought they were spells, but upon further examination, the people of this world set out jars with a brightly glowing liquid inside in place of candles and other light sources. These jars of liquid light haven’t replaced every candle or even oil lamps as they are quite expensive, but they are common enough to be noteworthy. When exposed to air, the liquid rapidly releases the stored light, resulting in the lights going out.

Another potion would be the healing potion. Probably the most miraculous thing I’ve seen thus far. Just a few drops over a broken leg fixed it right up, requiring just a little assistance from Tzheitza to set her bone before mending it and sealing the flesh up. After breaking her leg, she spent less than ten minutes applying some of the healing potion and was back on her feet.

Tzheitza doesn’t label any of her orbs. Something I found quite foolish, though she told me that it was because she didn’t want someone stealing them and using them against her. If someone didn’t know a potion’s effect, they would be far less likely to use one. Well, I can’t say she is wrong about that. I can’t say that I would be too willing to use a potion if there was a fifty-fifty chance I would heal myself or melt my leg off.

I did ask her about actual potion creation. She let me observe her a number of times, but didn’t teach me all that much. Given that there is a whole school just for potion making, that might be for the best. What I did see looked like a combination between modern chemistry (or maybe archaic chemistry?) and my brother’s Dungeons and Dragons books. One potion might be crafted purely through grinding up herbs or other reagents and mixing them with a reactant over a flame. Another might involve tossing an eye of newt and toe of frog into a boiling cauldron. Some might involve a combination of the two. One potion she told me about required a drop of moonlight, which can apparently be acquired by leaving the potion out overnight, open topped, on an evening with a waning moon. As the moon shrank, it was likened to a cloth squeezing out water. How that symbolism actually managed to get into the potion wasn’t a question Tzheitza could answer.

In conclusion, I’d like to note down a bit of my own personal speculation based on my observations. A spell card can be likened to the physical manifestation of a magic’s intent. A potion would be the physical manifestation of a magic’s effect. Both are portable ways of moving magic around. Personally, I prefer spells. They’re far more stable given that the effect doesn’t actually get produced until I cast them. A potion is always in effect and the slightest crack in the glass will spread that effect whether I want it to or not.

Again, I’ll leave some space here for future note taking.

For now, I don’t think there is anything else of note. But I do want to keep a record of every spell I come across. Who knows when they might come in handy.

Here’s my list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *