Magic in the world of Eärwa is the use of the sorcerer's will to forcibly influence reality. Since it is unnatural, destructive and poses a great danger, sorcery is viewed as a terrible blasphemy by the Thousand Temples and is widely condemned by faithful Inrithi. Sorcerous Schools arose in response to this pressure, creating powerful political forces apart from the oppressive religious order.
The human population of Eärwa is mostly unable to use magic. Rather, magic is an unnatural taint that surfaces only in a small amount of people known as the Few. The Schools of magic only allow male practitioners, further dwindling the number of possible sorcerers. Even though those who choose to study sorcery are granted much power, it is mostly balanced out by the forces of religious intolerance and by Chorae, spherical anti-magic objects that will destroy any sorcerer on contact.
There are two main types of magic used in the Three Seas: the Gnostic and the Anagogic. While the Gnostic art (invented by the Nonmen but mostly destroyed during the First Apocalypse) is superior, the inferior Anagogic is the most common.
It is interessting to notice that the word Gnostic refers to knowledge in Ancient Greek, while the word Anagogic refers to mystical interpretation, and Psukhe comes from soul in the same language. So knowledge is superior to mystical interpretation, which is superior to soul in Eärwa.
Schools in the Three Seas
- The Mandate is a School founded by the sorcerer Seswatha after the First Apocalypse to fight against the return of the No-God. Members of the Mandate undergo a ritual that allows them to relive Seswatha's experiences each night whenever they dream, so that they never forget the horrors of what they fight against. Alone in the Three Seas, it still uses the ancient Gnostic magic. The Quorum is the ruling body of the Mandate, which is currently headed by Nautzera.
- The Mangaecca was an ancient School, founded in the High North. They were the first to come in contact with the alien Inchoroi, leading them to adopt the Inchoroi's evil ways and their powerful non-magical science, the Tekne (which is essentially genetic engineering). Their current Grandmaster is Shaeönanra and they are now a part of the sinister Consult.
- The Mihtrûl was an ancient School. It was destroyed during the Apocalypse.
- The Sohonc was an ancient School. It was destroyed during the Apocalypse. Its last Grandmaster was Seswatha, who went on to found the Mandate.
- The Swayal Compact was founded following the foundation of Anasûrimbor Kellhus's New Empire. It is unique for being the only school of sorceresses. Its Grandmistress is Anasûrimbor Serwa .
- The Scarlet Spires is the largest School on the continent of Eärwa. Its sorcerers are the de facto rulers of High Ainon, a large southeastern nation, and the only School so powerful its has its own military. Power-hungry and ambitious, it has attempted to steal the secrets of Gnostic magic from the Mandate. Hanamanu Eleäzaras, the greatest Grandmaster of the Scarlet Spires, was one of the most powerful men in all Eärwa. During the second trilogy, Heramari Iyokus has become the Grandmaster.
- The Imperial Saik is a School from the Nansur Empire and indentured to the Emperor of Nansur. The School prides itself on loyally serving the interests of the Empire for a thousand years to this day. Cememketri was their Grandmaster in the last days of the Empire.
- The Mysunsai is a self-proclaimed "Mercenary School". Its name means "Bond of Three" in Vaparsi. Instead of serving any ruler or nation, it sells its services to any who will purchase them.
- The Vokalati is a School from the large southern nation of Nilnamesh. Its name means "sun-wailers" in Vaparsi. They have constantly attempted to steal the Gnosis in the past. By the time of the second trilogy, Carindûsû is their Grandmaster.
- The Circle of Nibel is mentioned once in Prince of Nothing as a major school, but nothing else is known of this school. Possibly, it's another name for the Vokalati.
- The Cishaurim are the blind sorcerer-priests of the Fanim. Their magic, the Psûkhe, relies on emotion and is completely different from both Gnostic and Anagogic types, as it cannot be perceived by the Few. This seemingly indicates that the magic is in accord with their God's wishes, as sorcery is usually identified by the stain it leaves on reality. The leader of the Cishaurim, known as the High Heresiarch, is Seökti.
- The Mbimayu are the primary sorcerous school of distant Zeüm. The Mbimayu serve the Satakhan in the same manner the Imperial Saik served the old Nansur and Cenei Emperors. The Mbimayu make use of the form of sorcery known as the Iswazi.