“Etienne opened his mouth and Winter raised her hand. ‘We must maintain a balance among the different preternatural groups in the city.’
‘What is preternatural?’ That was a new word for him.
She tipped her head to the side. ‘Well… it’s us. You, me, vampires, therian, witches, dragons; everything else that really does go bump in the night. If it’s not human, not entirely, it’s probably one of us.’”
~ Faerie Rising
Within the fringes of our world exist many different types of preternaturals, some human-based, some once human but since changed, and some who have never dreamed human dreams. Over the next several posts we will spend some time with each species to see who walks in shadows with the taste of human flesh on their minds and who stands behind those mortals of power, playing them like puppets. Sometimes, they are one and the same.
While various species practice their own types of magic, most have one thing in common. For magic to function, it must be cast using a matrix to give it structure and focus, for example a ritual circle or glyphs and runes, or the wording of a spell and focus objects.
There are four types of human-based magic users – wizards, sorcerers, witches, and mages. Of these, wizards hold the greatest political power, ruling their own Houses from the ancient Wizards Council and are feared throughout the preternatural world for their arrogance and their willingness to use their great power to enforce their wills. The only creatures they give grudging respect to are the rare but mighty dragons, who see themselves as being above all others. Wizards are capable of truly destructive magic, and only other magic users can hope to defend themselves against them. Wizards are also as a general rule not religious, as they do not acknowledge any higher power than themselves.
Sorcerers are those who deal with and serve the greater demons. Not only do they derive vast power and wealth from their demons in exchange for the harvest of mortal souls, they interbreed with their demons, merging their bloodlines. Only a sorcerer of a demon’s line can harvest souls for them, among other needed skills, and it is this merging that forms the basis of the demonic pact. Some wizards choose to turn their families into sorcerer lines, knowing well the horrible cost, for wizards value power as the greatest of all virtues – but even so, only the most daring, the most power-hungry of wizard families have chosen this path. Once a pact has been formed, it is forever, lasting as long as the bloodline exists.
Witches are the most common of the four, and the least powerful. The word “witch” within the preternatural community is really more of a blanket term for those humans with a magical spark, who experience it on a more spiritual level or even just struggle to understand why they can see what others cannot. Those who might be called shaman or druid or fortune teller will often fall under this category, if they truly are gifted.
According to the wizards, over ten-thousand-years ago in the last Age of Man, mages ruled over all with cruel disregard for anything but their own needs. They were beings of immense power – it was said that earth and sky trembled to obey their whims, and that they did not need the structure of spell matrixes to cast magic. They simply extended their wills, and the Universe itself opened like a willing woman, giving them all they desired. They saddled and rode the proud dragons to battle, waging war against each other from within glittering towers while all below them was ground to dust and despair. It was said they even brought the Old Gods to their knees. Finally, the wizards rebelled against them, bringing them down at great cost and ending the Age even as they drove the mages to extinction.
But, ten-thousand-years is a long time, and rumors are sometimes whispered in darkened hallways…