Magic exists; in today's society where men and women openly don capes, fly into the sky, murmur incantations or draw runes into their flowerbeds, it is for the most part an accepted force. Despite people knowing of and even, in some cases, recognizing magic, few actually understand it. What is magic, how is it that some people are able to control it, where does it come from, and why?
In truth, there is scarcely a simple or short answer, complete volumes of books have been published to describe magic and its complexities to both man and magician alike. The fact of the matter is, however, that magic is a very expansive subject and fully defining magic is like explaining outer space. A magician and expert from The Trimagus Council has defined magic in the crudest way possible. Many other members of this council believe that his explanation lacks many vital details and fundamentals of the practice and the ability, however, due to the oftentimes complicated aspects of magic, the average non magic practicing mortal will find the definition to be well over their head.
Magic, as it is known, is the manipulation of events, energies, or things through knowledge of occult natural laws that are not easily determinable or replicated by scientific means. Many believe that magic and science are opposites, completely different in one way or another but it can be said that magic in itself is simply another branch of science yet to be explored. It is, at times, a counter-science, as it breaks many of the natural laws that we have defined but many who practice magic point out that those laws broken are more likely laws that are incomplete. But finally magic, spellcasting, brewing, enchanting, and the like are all made possible by the energy from which the branch of magic takes its name.
Magic is an energy: "A quantity that is understood as the ability to perform work." Like any other energy, "this quantity as the contained energy can be assigned to any particle, object, or system of objects as a consequence of its physical state." Finally, any form of energy can be transformed to any other form of energy. This quality of energy is shared with all forms of energy be it thermal or gravitational which indicates that magic may not be so magical but much more rational than the average person may realize.
The History of Magic
Magic has been an intrinsic force within the world since the dawn of time. By definition, magic is the art of altering things by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws that are yet unknown to science. Cultures around the globe have notably practiced magic, and it utilizes ways of understanding, experiencing, and influencing the world while achieving results and obtaining goals. Though it is often viewed with much suspicion by the wider community, the traditions have survived the weathering of centuries, and it is still practiced today, though usually in secrecy.
Originally practiced by talented individuals, and then smaller groups, myths passed down through generations always feature some matter of mystical story that might just be unbelievable in any other light…
But we know they did actually happen.
Smaller cults have always practiced rites that would provide whatever their practitioners sought at those times. In times long lost, magic was an alteration of the forces of nature, and helped the talented survive in trying times when force of arms wasn’t enough. But as the world grew and changed, so did magic, and the long ago druidic cults that worshipped nature became more focused on societies as cities sprang up around the world, and the advent of the Renaissance brought even more sweeping changes as we started to understand this sphere we resided upon. When the Industrial Revolution brought even more changes to the way in which we worked, and our place within the world, magic too evolved - science became it’s opposition, as people grasped the things we could do with proven facts… while magic moved to the fringe, it’s followers still practicing ways to do what we could with an understanding that couldn’t be proven, only displayed.
In the time before cities ruled the landscape, mages waged war. Rather then use thousands of soldiers and spill the blood of innocents, these dedicated people instead focused their minds, and fought with only their own power. They tried to conquer each other, as humans often do, and many brilliant and wild things were unleashed upon the world. Other cultures regard these figures as myths and monsters, but all mages know the truth: the ‘Founders’ unleashed these horrible figures into the world, and when they realized the scope of what they’d done, they wept for what they had done.
From the warring clans and cults came seven powerful figures, each finally realizing that as the earth continued to grow and change, suspicions of their power would be coveted, and threats would be extinguished. These seven became the Founders of Magic, seven of the most powerful practitioners in existence. Each had known only a corner of the world, their world, but as they waged war upon each other, they realized the folly of their knowledge. There was so much more that could be done, that must be done, before they annihilated themselves in their hubris.
Kinetic energy is the energy of motion, elastic energy is the energy of changing shape and form. So what exactly is magical energy? Magical energy is a force of nature, spirit energy, that powers the living. Every living thing, every spirit, is fueled by the force of spirit energy. As such, places with high populations of people have less than average amounts of spiritual energy unless it is a place of spiritual significance like a church, cemetery, or site of power. More secluded areas are often rich with spiritual energy and many of those who use magic seek to live in these areas, hence why most magic practitioners are often viewed as hermits or nomads. Those who manipulate their spirit energy are typically called magi, who can convert their own energy into other various forms of energy to perform a number of 'unnatural' feats.
DISCLAIMER: The word magic is used to represent different things in different fictional universes. Above, I have used a very general way of explaining magic in a way that found sensible for the Academy's universe.