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Essence, also called quintessence, is the energy that 'powers' most spells and varieties of magic.

Essence can be stored in a reliquary.[1]

Essence flows along ley lines, and a sufficiently powerful and talented mage, usually a mutant with a high level Wizard Trait, can directly draw ambient essence form the ley lines or even manipulate the ley lines themselves for certain effects.

Essence and Ki/Chi[]

Essence is closely related, but not identical, to Ki/Chi, the life force energy powering taoist magic and other variants of eastern magic[2] as well as higher level martial arts. For instance some powerful mages can draw essence directly from living beings, knocking them out in the process,[3] and a mutant with natural Ki control is thought to be an attractive prospect as a "power battery" for mages of all traditions, even those using essence.[4] This suggests that converting Ki to essence is relatively simple and straightforward.

Lighting Essence[]

Normal baseline humans start out with at best a negligible amount of essence. To be able to cast spells on a regular basis prospective mages must acquire a certain amount of essence, either painstakingly gathering it over a period normally spanning years, or receiving it from a mentor. This essence can then be "lit" in a ritual, allowing for a steady supply of essence thereafter. [1] The lit essence is called investment and can itself also been drawn upon, but since this implies a corresponding loss of the steady supply mages are very reluctant to do so.[5][6]

The Three Little Witches are unwilling to wait as long as they would need to gather it the normal way and seek faster ways to acquire essence so they can light it right away and finally do some "fun" magic.[1]

You have to cram enough Essence into a small enough space before you ignite the process that is the lit Well.[7]
Once you do, it can be self sustaining.

You produce a sort of 'vortex' inside the Well that pulls Essence to it.

it's why, even for baselines, the lit Well is critical to being a mage

without the lit well... not only does Essence 'leak' out as fast as it comes in... but you aren't really pulling Essence into it at all The total amount of Essence involved depends a bit on how much mental discipline you have... not only to keep it from leaking back out... but to compress it and create that initial reaction. For low ranking Wiz mutants and baseline mages, the training you get in mental discipline helps you in the sense that you have to keep hold of the Essence long enough for the process to happen... and not just lose it as soon as its done... BUT they can't light on their own That takes someone not only providing sufficient Essence but also helping to compress it. To Light the Well A baseline can 'never' light their own Well even decades of mental discipline to prevent losing essence and training... will not accumulate enough Essence or the mental force to Light thus why it is a master-apprentice system A Wiz one CAN self light... but only after months (or years) of training their mental discipline. They draw enough Essence naturally to fill a Well far enough... given months of time but not enough so to self-Light, until they can hold enough 'more' than they need and do some compression A Wiz-2 will likely self Light after about a month... IF they aren't completely foolish about mental focus (resulting in burning off Essence via unconscious casting/intent) or using it in some way. From Wiz 3 and above, the Mage will self light within days of accumulation... because even with spillage, they're accumulating so quickly that they hit a point of self-compressing in that time frame. They'll still have a very low capacity total until they get some mental discipline training. But lighting their own well is not a concern.

a Wiz 3 with training in how to do it... and doing nothing else with their Essence... could light a Well every few days. A 4 could do it daily. 5-6 throw around those levels of Essence without thinking about it.
Sidhe mages don't NEED a Well... because... they're not human mages. a Sidhe mage IS Essence in living form and their whole body serves as both storage and a conduit...

Sealing a Mage's Essence[]

A mage can also have their essence sealed. Circe has a necklace that serves that purpose.[8]

It also one of the worst traumas a student of Whateley Academy can experience.[9]

Wasting Essence[]

the boundary between creative thought and actually invoking Essence."[9]

Mrs. Chulkris took over the explanation. "If you are writing a story or having a dream, you are using your imagination with no intention of making it real. If you're daydreaming about a fantasy," she noticed the quick glance exchanged between the girls, "you might have some desire to make that fantasy real, and without strong Will, your Essence will attempt to form to fulfill your desire according to the rules and laws of magic - and you lose Essence without intending to. A student mage has to learn to keep control of those daydreams and fantasies, to strengthen his or her Will, so as to not dissipate Essence."[9]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Three Little Witches
  2. Five Elements Dancing: Book of the Earth
  3. Ayla and the Birthday Brawl: Chapter 4 - The Legend of Cambel and Triamond, or of Friendship
  4. Tea and Synergy
  5. Silver Linings: Part 1
  6. Kristin Darken on the Crystal Hall Forums
  7. Word of God from Kristin Darken on Discord via Malady
  8. The Riddle of Sappho: Canto II
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 The Riddle of Sappho: Canto III Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Riddle.3" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Riddle.3" defined multiple times with different content
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