The role of emotion in Aligare magicPosted: April 27, 2013
In the Stories of Aligare, each animal species has an inner center that produces elemental casting. (Casting is the noun, to cast is the verb. It’s named after the common fantasy genre act of casting a spell.) Some creatures actively use their casting energy to change their surroundings, and some don’t. Regardless, everything needs casting energy inside it to live.
It’s most relevant to the three peoplekinds. Like most sentient beings, they put more thought than necessary into their basic physical needs. Casting isn’t just casting in the same sense that eating isn’t just putting calories into their mouths and swallowing. So summoning up some casting tends to be tied to a person’s emotions. Plantcasting becomes a compassionate wish to grow or assist; firecasting becomes enthusiasm or frustration; electricasting becomes determination or fear. The emotional link comes easily to ferrin, who instinctively gather an electricasting charge when something is frightening them (e.g. a large predatory animal).
Aligare casting isn’t strictly related to complex, conscious emotions — or else insects and worms wouldn’t be able to use it. The emotion is a Pavlovian sort of trigger: it’s only related because the person perceives it to be related. Firecasting, plantcasting and all the other types are just different flavours of an energy force usable by living things. Maybe it’s a sort of bioelectricity or astral energy. Frankly, it’s not something I can fully explain, or something I’d even want to fully explain: fantasy stories need a little privacy in these matters.
At any rate, casting ends up tied to aemet, korvi and ferrin emotions. Folk use emotion-based descriptions to better understand the “moods” and “feeling” of other casting types. Understanding an element’s “mood” is an important first step to learning a new casting element.
“Plantcasting is … Verdana help me. Plantcasting grows from inside, it’s a slower-creeping element than your electricasting. Its mood is a little like brightcasting, but it moves more like the way a vine spreads itself, measure by measure.” [Rose] paused for more thought. “I’m not sure if that makes sense. You’d probably learn best by trying it.[“]
-Remedy, a story of Aligare, Chapter 14
Casting energy even gets anthropomorphized sometimes, and perceived as a conscious creature with its own desires. Plantcasting can seem like an element so bent on helping others, it becomes pushy and unruly.
“That’s enough, call it back. It can’t cure any more than this.”
The plantcasting still rifled through Vilhelm’s living weight, needing to help. Tillian pressed her own element into it, laced into the plantcasting and pulled. Telling it where to go seemed to help so she brought the quartz stone to her mind: storage, home.
No, the plantcasting felt, dragging against her. There was healing to do.
“Be firm with it.”
“Don’t mages have to do that?” Tillian’s tongue shaped weird sounds, far beyond the crackle and growth inside her. “It’s not listening to me.”
-Remedy, a story of Aligare, Chapter 14
Overall, I wanted Aligare magic to be similar to our own inner emotions. Something ordinary, yet mysterious and mercurical. Some force inside us that hampers or helps people. Something that comes bursting out of a person’s heart and can help them achieve things — if they know how to work with it. Sometimes a job requires you to get amped up and passionate to get it done right, while other types of work demand meditative calm and understanding. I figure that’s true already in our world, but it’s fun to blur the lines between metaphorical and literal.
Although magic and emotion aren’t literally the same thing in Aligare, I wanted to give that descriptive impression. And it makes sense to me that all living things in Aligare have this emotion-like magic — because if you’re not feeling anything or caring about anything, then you’re not really living, are you? Sentient peoplekinds can be incredibly versitile with their casting — learning multiple types, including types that don’t naturally get along like bright and darkcasting. Like on any world, an emotion sparked in Aligare can be the start of a powerful change.
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