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Thursday, June 26, 2014

True Origins of Astral Magic


Celestia... one of the most mysterious places in the Spiral. A once great civilization of the stars, it was attacked by Morganthe for its powerful Astral Magic. The Celestians summoned the Storm Titan to save them from destruction, but he betrayed them and sank the entire world beneath the waves, though its shattered pieces flew to many a place across the Spiral. Only huge domes protect what is left of one of the most innovative societies around... but was Astral Magic really theirs to refuse?

Note: What you're seeing above is an edit, done entirely with images from in-game. It is simply an idea of what Celestia might have looked like in its former glory. Click to view it larger... it's worth looking at.

The "Usual Theory" Crushed

It's been everyone's belief that the Celestians were either the inventors or the discoverers of Astral Magic. It makes sense - they were up there in the stars once. Astral magic was at their disposal. I believed this, too, until King Artorius was asked a question just this April about the magic. Nicholas Hawkspear asked, "How did Zafaria, Azteca, and Khrysalis know about Astral Magic when the Celestians were the ones who created it and 'never shared' it?" King Artorius had an interesting reply:

Good question. Maybe Zeke carried the knowledge with him? Or perhaps the Celestians didn't tell you the whole story.

And so I was curious - how exactly DID all these places get magic from a world so far away in space or lost and sealed beneath the sea? So you have to wonder about the where Astral Magic really comes from... or who really discovered it.

More Hints From Artorius

Immediately interested, I started looking around the rest of the answer thread for other pieces of information that might be useful. There were two in particular that seemed relevant.

Astral Magic, like all magic, can be traced back to the First World. It was a strong theme for Celestia, but was more of a lost art in Zafaria. Similarly, it wasn't such a heavy influence in Azteca as it was in Khrysalis.

Of course, that creates more questions than it answers. Was Celestia in space during the first world? How did the magic originate there? He followed with a really point that became the basis for my own theory:

Don't forget the Spiral worlds were all one a long, long, long time ago, and beyond that, Wizards are not the only beings who can move throughout the Spiral. And you are also right - they could have developed similar magic separately.


Astral Magic: My Theory

These quotes in mind, my theory is that Astral Magic was indeed developed separately by a variety of factions within the First World. That is to say, Celestians did not develop Astral Magic. They were only a part of it, not responsible for it.

When the first world split, each section was divided up, and forces that were once similar suddenly become more and more different, adapting to their environments or dying off completely. The people of Zafaria and Khrysalis had some powers of Astral Magic, but they weren't necessary for the environment those people lived in

Over time, the magics died in those areas. Perhaps even placed like Krokotopia had Astral Magic, but never used it to the point that it died off. This was certainly the case with Azteca. The Celestians, however, were living among the stars. I suspect that their world had separated from all atmosphere and land entirely. They needed their Astral Magic to survive. And naturally, it become more and more powerful.

The people of Valencia and Marleybone have disputes over who is at the center of the Spiral. And, much like each one draws their maps with their own world at the center of the Spiral, so the Celestians present themselves as the inventors and keepers of Astral Magic. Though other worlds have this magic, it's played off as irrelevant, but the undeniable fact is that other places do posses it.

The Other Theory

There is one possibility otherwise that would account for the differences. One could argue that Celestians did discover or create Astral Magic (whether or not magic is discovered or created would be a whole other interesting topic). When their world was destroyed and sunk, bits and pieces of it landed in different parts of the shattered First World. We see one in the StarFall Sea, named for the Alcazar of Radiant Judgement that was sent flying by Morganthe.

If this was the case, bits and pieces of Astral Magic and the knowledge required to use it could be scattered all over the Spiral in random arrangements. This would explain why other worlds have Astral Magic, but the Celestians are its main source.


Changing Dynamics

For the most part, we believe what we read in terms of lore to be true. Should this theory be correct, it would introduce the possibility of characters and histories that were wrong... or more accurately, falsely told. What other histories might not be entirely correct? What are your theories on Celestia and Astral Magic?

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!

6 comments:

  1. This post is absolutely magnificent. Immense in-game knowledge, paired with your deductive skills and such a compelling question have joined forces with excellent, excellent graphics to create what I think is one of the best posts I've read yet! I thought that putting the 'gist' of the theory in bold was especially clever.

    In response to your final question, I'd say that falsely-told histories are the product of the historian. Your interpretation of Astral Magic's origins are obviously different from an old, wise Celestian being, which are (by syllogism) different from Bartleby's. Transferring this idea to different concepts, this is obvious in the Malistaire arc where, from different points of view, Malistaire Drake's intentions were shown in different types of light (not just levels) depending on the source asked. Even things that are not as known, like what Marco Pollo saw on El Dorado or even the story of Captain Gunn over in the Nautical Spiral will differ between speakers.

    To quickly cover a misconception, this isn't meant to 'throw players off' and unfairly introduce plot twist - it's a circumstance that is often visited even in real life. Different interpretations have propelled our characters and will continue to, whether within the storyline or in consideration of technicalities.

    Once more, masterfully done!

    Destiny

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  2. The fact that Old Cob was also an elder being was never told in history.

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  3. Any of the mentioned histories could be incorrect. While Bartleby's eye is missing....no one will be "accurate." Even the recent Morganthe dream "history" has been tainted from her perspective.

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  4. Chrissy The BlesserJune 29, 2014 at 1:57 AM

    Yes, what she said. Exactly :D

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  5. And perhaps this explains Avalon too. While the world has no astral spells, it does have astral magic users. Furthermore, maybe astrals manifested there in such a way as to allow the creation of new spells, such as when Artorious imbues his power into a card for us.

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  6. You know, maybe there's another explanation for the magical origins of Astral Magic? You know how each Astral School on the Triangle of Magic is within a small Triangle? Well how about the vertices of the smaller Triangles form Astral Magic? For example, Moon is formed by Death, Ice, and Myth. Sun is formed by Myth, Life, and Fire. Star is formed by Storm, Death and Life. Well balance is dead center, and is formed by the Spirit Schools, which arose from the Elementals, so yeah, you could say Balance is formed from all schools. The Elementals are like the grandparents of Balance, Spirit Schools are the parents. But you do highlight some mysteries in this article. For example, why is Astral Magic so concentrated in Celestia, but not as much as other worlds? Why is it a 'lost art' sort of school of spells? Why do some worlds have it and some worlds don't? The mystery remains.

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