2nd Journal Entry of Dr. P. Westcroft, Practicing Metaphysicist
Journal of Dr. P. Westcroft
March 5th, 2030
Today has been most exhilarating! Several days ago I requested an interview with a practicing member of the Roman Mage’s Guild so as to better educate my forthcoming description of common magical systems. Not only was my request accepted, but I was scheduled an interview with Professor Abigail White! Our interview was today, and so engaging I decided to record the transcript in lieu of my own butchered interpretations.
[Exchanges of greeting and conversational pleasantries. Quite enjoyable for me but less useful for public knowledge]
Me: Professor White, it is an absolute pleasure to have you here. I am already well acquainted with your work on the cross-temporal meta-contamination that bears your name.
White: Yes, the Cavallo-White Effect. I’m surprised you’ve studied it thoroughly; it doesn’t get much traction outside of theory papers.
M: Metaphysical theory is something of my specialty, Professor White, but I’m afraid that must wait for another time.
W: You requested a sort of introduction to magic? That’s what I was told.
M: Indeed. I am writing notes for posterity and I unfortunately lack a solid grounding in magical theory, as I do not possess the gift.
W: Well I would be happy to give what I can.
M: Excellent. Could you provide me with an…overview, as broad as you can please, to ground us somewhere.
W: Hmmmm…well worth keeping in mind is I’m only an experienced practitioner in Western Thaumaturgy. I have researched Greek Pyromancy, Runic Spellcraft, Chinese Necromancy, and Persian Summoning Magic to a limited extent as well though.
M: Western Thaumaturgy is the most common form of magic in Rome, yes?
W: Yes. At least eighty percent of Guild members are practitioners.
M: Then let us start there.
W: Excellent. Well, to get down to basics, Western Thaumaturgy uses inborn power to evoke external phenomenon. This inner power manifests as aether, or mana, a sort of metaphysical substance that permeates a mage’s body.
M: I’ve been told all humans have some capacity of mana.
W: Indeed they do! Especially after the Days of Revelation. However, the number of those with the potential necessary to perform thaumaturgy is quite low.
M: Can you quote numbers?
W: I can! Census records tell us that before the Days of Revelation magic-capable humans accounted for approximately .001% of the European population.
M: And today?
W: Today it is nearly 1% and rising each year. It is quite exciting! I used these numbers in the earlier papers on the Cavallo-White Effect.
M: And it is the duty of the Mage’s Guild to educate the growing number of magic-capable citizens.
W: One of the Guild’s functions, yes.
M: Very good, very good. Now, I wanted to move to the actual training of magic. How is a spell performed in Western Thaumaturgy?
W: Ah, of course let’s get back on track. Well, the fundamental method is to induce a brief trance-like state upon the mind, silencing the conscious ever so briefly to tap into the unconscious where mana can be manipulated. Most mages due this by using a string of words.
W: Just so. The phrase itself is meaningless so long as it puts you in the proper state of mind, though most use words related to the spells function to make it simpler.
M: And these incantations can change?
W: Yes. With practice and repetition entering the trance becomes easier. Experienced mages, combat-capable mages in particular, can enter trances that last a tenth of a second and require only one word of incantation, or no word at all.
M: Very interesting. Now, many still believe that there were, in fact, no mages before the Days of Revelation.
W: Untrue. Though quite few in number, mages have maintained a presence in human society throughout history.
M: Why the secrecy?
W: The relationship between magical and non-magical society can be…quite strained. We’ve seen plenty enough evidence of that in Sicily over the past few years, not to mention the Guild’s history here.
M: Very good points, though why lift the veil in that case?
W: Mages were ahead of the curve during the Spirit Year. We saw what was happening for what it was and began preparing. I can say that, at least in Western Europe, the move towards exposure was a controversial one on many fronts. But all you need is a minority going public to drag the rest along with them.
M: Did you support the movement?
W: Absolutely. The entire world was at risk, particularly when the first monsters started appearing. Guns didn’t work on them, a great deal of technology had stopped working and infrastructure collapsed within months. Magic could replace most of this, it would have been inhuman to keep our talents from aiding our fellow man, regardless of the consequences.
M: Was Lord Albion a supporter?
W: No comment.
M: Of course, of course. Now, does western thaumaturgy tie into divine magic at all? How does that work.
W: Not in the least, many non-mages are divinely inspired. For that, I suggest speaking to Kebechet or visiting the Shrine Complex. I’m afraid my understanding is a bit limited there.
M: Of course. Well I’m afraid our time is about up, though I would love to do this again regarding other magic systems.
W: Of course, though you might be better informed tracking down a real practitioner.
M: Of course, of course. Give your husband my regards.