The Winds of Magic

The Winds of Magic, called the Aethyr in Eltharin, is the name given by magic users for the invisible currents of magical energy which flow across the world. The source of all the Winds of Magic is the Realm of Chaos, and just as the emblem of Chaos has eight arrows, so does magic have eight winds. When raw chaotic magic enters the world and encounters physical material, it is refracted into the eight ‘colors’, each of which can be used to create spells which are characteristic of the elemental nature of the magic being used. Human wizards and Gnome conjurers can only use a single color of magic without being corrupted, thus each of The Empire’s Colleges of Magic are centered around the use of only one wind of magic. Elf and Slann magic users are more proficient and are able to use the full spectrum. Since all sources of magic involve playing with the essence of Chaos itself, all magic use carries with it an inherent risk.

Runic Name Color College of Magic Lore
Hysh White The Light Order Light
Chamon Yellow The Gold Order Metal
Ghyran Green The Jade Order Life
Azyr Blue The Celestial Order Heavens
Ulgu Grey The Grey Order Shadow
Shyish Purple The Amethyst Order Death
Aqshy Red The Bright Order Fire
Ghur Brown The Amber Brotherhood Beasts

Beyond the eight winds of magic, there are two more magical elements:

Runic Name Color Common Name
Qhaysh Silver/Rainbow High Magic
Dhar Black Dark Magic
A graphical representation of the Winds of Magic. Clockwise from the top: Hysh, Chamon, Ghyran, Azyr, Ulgu, Shyish, Aqshy, Ghur. Dhar is represented as the chaotic source at the centre of the diagram, while Qhaysh incorporates the whole of the diagram.
Hysh is the white wind of magic, and is associated with the Lore of Light. The wind of Hysh blows wherever there is light, so it is no surprise that the sun is the most important source of this magic. Hysh is at its most potent during the hours of daylight, and during the day it is absorbed into all solid things that are lit by the sun, from which it can be drawn at night by one skilled enough. It is only in the darkest places of the world, deep under the earth, where the Lore of Light has no power. Conversely, mountaintops therefore provide strong amounts of Hysh energy, being closest to the light of the sun.

Hysh is the magic of illumination, the abstract of high-mindedness and consciousness in its most general sense. It is intangible, diffused and all permeating, needing the total focus of will and an absolute determination of mind to make use of it. It is perhaps the most difficult of the colours to bend to one’s will.
Chamon is the yellow wind of magic, and is associated with the Lore of Metal. Chamon is the densest of the colours of magic, and is attracted to heavy metals such as gold and lead. Spells involving Chamon frequently make use of these two metals; gold as a magical conductor, lead as a magical insulator. Compared to other magics, Chamon is rooted in the physical world, and it is relatively easy to get to grips with its basic concepts, although it has deeper complexities which make it difficult to truly master.
Ghyran is the green wind of magic, used by Jade Wizards and also Druids to a lesser extent and is closely associated with the Lore of Life. Ghyran is closely tied to nature, water and the flow of the natural essence of life through the world. It is strongest near sources of water or in areas where life grows in abundance – around rivers and lakes, by springs, in forests and woods. Rainfall is known to unleash a torrent of Ghyran energy where it falls. The strength of Ghyran magic is generally affected by the seasons – it is most potent in spring and summer, and it declines during winter. Ghyran magic can be used in a wide range of spells – as well as giving vital energy and providing healing, it can be used to manipulate the natural environment and control water in all its forms.
Azyr is the blue wind of magic, and is associated with the Lore of the Heavens. The wind of Azyr is light and insubstantial, and after passing into the world from the Realm of Chaos it quickly dissipates into the upper portions of the heavens. Azyr is the Aethyr’s metaphysical drive for inspiration and that which is out of reach. It is creativity and the desire to emote. It is inherently paradoxical. Azyr gives shape to abstract concepts, seeks to find meaning within the unknowable, and provides narrative for that which has none. The Lore of Heavens is commonly associated with dreams, theory and divination.
Ulgu is the grey wind of magic, and is associated with the Lore of Shadows. Ulgu is a mysterious wind, which spreads disorientation and confusion amongst those it touches. It is spoken of as a thick grey fog, and it is drawn to still lowlands and waterways where natural mists gather at dawn. Ulgu invokes the sensation of being lost, or perplexed by something that you can’t quite put your finger on.
Shyish is the purple wind of magic, and is associated with the Lore of Death. The power of Shyish comes from the ending of things, the slow decline of the soul, and the certainty and terrible awe of death that all sentient creatures must face at some point. Shyish tells us that even though physical form must inevitably come to an end, creation is permanent, and there exist forces larger than our mortal selves that deserve respect and even reverence. Shyish is drawn to places where death must be faced, or where things are brought to an end. It blows strongly around battlefields, lingers around gallows and courts of justice, and hangs in the mournful silence around fresh graves. It is said to be strongest around times of obvious transition, when one state ends and another begins. Dawn and dusk are the most obvious examples of this, but also spring and autumn, and the equinoxes that mark the beginning of the end for winter and summer.
Aqshy is the red wind of magic, and is associated with the Lore of Fire. Aqshy blows down from the north as a hot and searing wind. Temporal heat acts as a conduit for Aqshy, and so spells involving Aqshy almost always involve fire. It collects around open flames, volcanoes and dry deserts scorched by the sun. It is also attracted to wherever there is excitement and argument, courage and vehemence, since Aqshy is the Aethyric coalescence of passion in its widest possible sense. Aqshy is wielded by the order of Bright Wizards who have their power-base in the Bright Wizard College in Altdorf.
Ghur is the Amber wind of magic, and is associated with the Lore of Beasts. Ghur is the coalescence of bestial spirit, the predator and the prey. It flows around the wild, untamed places, unchecked and free where the touch of civilization has not yet been felt. It is a savage wind, as unreasoning as it is devoid of malice. Amber wizards are often called ‘shamans’ and are rarely found in cities or other outposts of civilisation. The Amber Order is the only Order of wizards who do not have a building in Altdorf, but they are rumoured to occupy a series of caves in the Amber Hills to the west of the city. Only those foolhardy or most in need deliberately seek out the Amber Order.

High and Dark Magic

Qhaysh sometimes known as High Magic or Saphery is magic that combines seperate strands of the eight Winds of Magic and refines them further into a more advanced and pure form. By doing so, High Magic spellcasters are able to form spells of incredible power and complexity. The greatest High Magic spells ever cast have literally shifted continents and destroyed whole armies at a time. The elite High Elf Archmages are renowned for the use of this powerful form of magic, which they tend to associate closely with their gods. The Slann Mage-Priests of the Lizardmen first taught the Elves how to wield magic and are also capable of casting High Magic spells.

Humans are not capable of learning the practice of Qhaysh, as the human mind is incapable of comprehending the vast complexities of all eight Winds of Magic when they interact as a whole. They are restricted to learning only the comparative basics of each separate Lore of Magic.
Dark magic, or Dhar, is the form of magic that draws power directly from the primal energies that flow into the world from the Realm of Chaos. Because spells cast using dark magic use multiple strands of the raw, unrefined Winds of Magic, they tend to have very powerful effects. In addition, because dark magic involves “crushing” and “mashing” the winds of magic into unstable combinations, forcefully bending them to the caster’s will, these spells can be extremely destructive and tend to be associated with wildly unpredictable side-effects (mutations, insanity, etc). Spellcasters working with Dhar must possess supreme strength of mind and an almost megalomaniacal confidence in their ability to control the forces they seek to command.

Unsurprisingly, Dark Elves are the most renowned for their use of dark magic, although specialised strands of Dhar are used by Necromancers and Vampires to control the Undead. Daemons (as well as various other, lesser Dark Spirits such as Dark Sprites) are strongly drawn to Dhar, and it is inevitably involved whenever spells are used to summon them
When dark magic slows and settles, it undergoes a process of ‘aethyric stagnation’ and forms dense, heavy concentrations of magic known as True Dhar, known to be the most potent magical energy in the world. Over extremely long periods of time, these concentrations of magic can solidify into the highly volatile, mutagenic substance known as Warpstone. Since Chaos feeds on strong emotions, places where great negative emotions such as fear, hatred and horror have been felt by large numbers of people also attract Dark Magic. Since Dark Magic provides the motivating power to animate the Undead, areas where Dark Magic is strongest (whether by “aethyric stagnation” or by strong emotions) attract or spawn Undead. These areas include the Desolation of Nagash, the cursed province of Sylvania in the Empire, the Bretonnian city of Mousillon, the swamps south of Skavenblight and the Mound of Krell in the Grey Mountains, but are far from restricted to these places.

The Winds of Magic

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