Magus is a legendary character and the 'protagonist' of the tale Magus Ascendant, included in the book Worlds Beyond. While this tale is the most famous early account of his adventures, most information on his life outside of his trip to the Higher Realms actually comes from his own notes on astrology and magic, mostly written in the later half of his life. He is a controversial figure, and his tale has been told in multiple forms in cultures all over the world.
Early Life Edit
Magus is believed to have been born in the Ysdræn region of Veşti in -950 Reformed. Little is known of his early life, save that he took a deep interest in understanding Sholis and Krophis, the primary gods worshiped by his people, who viewed them as the rulers of the heavens and, therefore, primary influencers of life on Khadaka. His experience with these gods, and the general practice of his region, suggests that he was likely either a farmer or an astrologer, the former being the most common professions of his culture and both being deeply invested in understanding the gods and their influence over the lives of humans. Having heard stories of others entering the Higher Realms, and believing that traveling to the realm of one of his gods would mean actually traveling to the celestial body they ruled over, he studied the means of travel beyond Khadaka for most of his early life.
Journey to the Higher Realms Edit
At the age of 23, he succeeded in traveling to the Higher Realms, going first to the realm of Krophis. Spending two years there, he was able to interact heavily with the beings that lived in the realm, study the ways the shifting face of Krophis affected the realm, and even make observations about the appearance and movement of Khadaka for the first time in history.
His most famous discovery, however, was that Krophis gave off no light of its own, but rather reflected that of Sholis. He formulated a theory that Krophis reflected not only the light of Sholis, but also that Krophis the gods reflected the power of Sholis the goddess. Over the course of his stay, he was able to study this influence enough to develop a system he believed would enable mankind to also reflect the power of Sholis, which he hoped would help them produce better and more abundant crops. Excited about this discovery, he abandoned the idea of traveling to Sholis at all, returning home to share his findings.
Discovery of Magic Edit
Upon returning, Magus set about teaching the things he'd learned to his people. While his observations on the movement and phases of Khadaka, Sholis, and Krophis were of interest to astrologers and earning him some fame and connections beyond his immediate region, most of his observations went largely ignored by his peers. The elders of his village informed him that the most interesting news he had was the notion of directly influencing the effects of Sholis on the crops, but they were doubtful of it until he could actually make his theory work.
It took another three years of refining his theory and practicing it before he actually managed to yield results, in which he managed to provide the effects of sunlight on a patch of corn during an especially overcast period of weeks. Impressed, local astrologers began studying his notes on this new art in order to help a broader area. Having already made some connections with astrologers in neighboring regions, and growing tired of his simple life after the time spent away, he decided to travel and help farmers across the continent. Upon his arrival, and to simplify their description of it, astrologers in Eluvia coined the term Magic Arts, named after Magus, which was later shortened to magic.
In -918, when he reached Neurbar, a coastal civilization which primarily lived off the sea instead of farming, they expressed concern that reflecting the power of Sholis was of significantly less concern to them than learning how to appease and negotiate with Mora, their primary deity and the goddess of the sea. After consideration, he suggested that, theoretically, his method could be used to reflect the power of any god, though perhaps with mild alteration. He worked with their navigators and priests to develop a rite for drawing marine life to the fishing boats and, having accomplished that, was given a lift across the Hasberan Sea to begin presenting his findings to the Erst Empire, which had begun asking about the rumors their traders were hearing about magic. After he left Veşti, astrologers, priests, and navigators continued spreading the magic they'd learned and begun working on new methods for accessing the powers of other gods.
Lancbog University Edit
Magus was an immediate sensation in the Erst Empire, and was brought to the court of Paladis IV Felud in -916 to present his teachings to the emperor and his mystics. Swept up in the hustle of the capital and the resources available in court, Magus and the court mystics began rapidly expanding the application of magic and established the first mage university, in Lancbog.
Magus was assigned as headmaster of Lancbog University in -910, a position he would hold for seventeen years. During that time, he had opportunity to meet with dignitaries from various cultures that interacted with the Ersti, and travel around Veşti and Prindern to recruit knowledgeable astrologers and priests, as well as build the university's library collection and encourage promising youth to study under his staff. He did most of his writing during this time, and Magus Ascendant was written by a court scribe based on his recollection of his adventure in the realm of Krophis.
Controversy and Disaster Edit
Late in his tenure, Magus learned that the land of central Prindern had been growing barren and suffering incredibly poor weather for two decades. When he traveled there to see if his magic could help them, he was met with incredible hostility and driven out after multiple attempts on his life. After extensive study, he found that they believed that the gods were angry with his study of magic and had turned against mankind in response. When he arrived and claimed to have developed magic, they blamed him for their problems, and the people of central Prindern suspected that they might be able to appease the gods if they could kill him and destroy his university. His safe return to Lancbog initiated a series of small skirmishes between the Ersti and the tribes to the empire's south, as the people of central Prindern began attempting to attack the university.
Magus was terribly shaken by the accusation and resulting conflict, and began asking for information on other mages. Some had died in mysterious circumstances, and he became paranoid that the gods were hunting him and the people he had taught. Guilt-ridden over the deaths that he blamed himself for, he began to petition the emperor to close the university and discourage the practice of magic. The emperor refused, believing Magus' fears to be unfounded and seeing magic as far too useful to the advancement of the empire. Magus was disgraced and driven out of the empire in -893. He hired a ship to return him to Veşti, where he hoped he could find some peace and begin working on a way to fix his wrong. Unfortunately, his ship vanished before reaching its destination, presumably shipwrecked, and Magus was never seen again.
As the creator of Krophin magic and the founder of Lancbog University, Magus is considered to be one of the most influential figures in world history. Mage traditions around the world trace their methods back to him, and his story is told in some form or another in nearly every culture on Khadaka. Thanks to the description popularized by Magus Ascendant, he is often portrayed as a clever rebel who tricked Krophis into revealing the secrets of magic and then barely escaping the wrath of the god to spread his ill-gotten gains to mankind. For this, Phaelism treats him as a folk hero who stood up to the gods and stole their ultimate weapon against mankind, while Agnara describes him as a villain that plunged the world into chaos and warfare that the faithful must undo. The raids that started as a desperate attempt to kill him and destroy Lancbog University were escalated under Nilarchus I to full-scale war against the Erst Empire.
Magus was eventually vindicated in his fears about the effect of magic, as mages around the world came to believe that the gods were actively hunting those who practiced magic. The spread of this belief caused many to risk the dangers of Tempest on the understanding that it was the only place safe from the gods, produced most of the restraint shown by mages across the centuries, and led to the events of the Epic of Hadral.
Less popular during his lifetime, Magus' notes on astrology and the nature of Krophis resurfaced during the early days of the University of Jektan and became the foundation of modern astronomy.