Deep We Go
The origins of the Haze, the magical field that blankets the known world and provides mages with their power, the “Taste Of Burnt Ash”, as it was often known in the Eladrin dirges, and all the beasts and creatures of the air, and people of the world, with their life and breath, is an intense point of scholarly discussion. No-one, from watchers to the priests, from mages to herbalists, can agree on what it is.
The Haze is also known as “magic”, or “the meg”, from the Prel Ud words “meg-ik”, meaning “”/wikis/Boof%20and%20Horse/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”> horse-dung". The tribes of the Feral Era were wary of the Haze, and despised those who used it. It is only in recent years that all but the most persistent prejudice has disappeared from civilised society. For most, it is the “great equaliser”; the democratic energy which any, His Prar or farmer, can wield with equal power. However, this utopian ideal is less true than some would have one believe; in the case of Wostun, the expulsion of the elves from Elad, their lack of skill in the meg is often cited. However, with their access to superior training, and a culture that embraces the meg, the Eladrin were far more socially poised to rule Elad than their null cousins. The Haze is a social divider as well as unifier.
But, in many other parts of the world, those with the talent are praised for it; the midwife in the hill village is a kind of mage, and even the Lower Spirits of the plain, running all night without tiring, draw from the Haze for their ability. And even the poor, downtrodden elves do not need maps to traverse their forest home. Each and every beest and Spirit in the Hearthlands has their link with the Haze.
Those of a superstitious bent say that it is the last remaining energy a long-forgotten, dead god, come to the world to die. Others say it is the by-product of an ancient war in the Haze Era or before, a radiation that corrupts and destroys life as we know it; these voices are often from communities that still gut and skin wizards and mages. There are even those prophets and mad recluses who maintain that the phenomenon is the result of sentient interference from other plains, of vast and unknowable beings who toy with mortals, and their powers, for mere sport.
Whatever the case, the point is moot; the origin of the thing is lost in the mists of time. All races and creeds, however, recognise it as a necessary part of life, that must be respected and used in extremely careful ways. Every civilisation has its mages, witches and wizards, individuals who seem particularly sensitive to the energy, and who can manipulate it to their own ends, enhancing their intellect, flinging the forces of nature at their foes, or summoning beings of immeasurable power and influence whose existence is barely imaginable or catalogued. This “meg”, or “magic”, as it is called in Common, is to be found in every part of the Hearthlands and in fact increases in concentration the closer one comes to the Waists, or the higher one climbs in altitude. This phenomenon has led many to see the peninsula upon which life flourishes as a bubble amongst a Haze-haunted desolation, the one portion of the wider world that can support the fragile forms of life.
With the relatively recent development of widespread industrial engineering, problems have arisen with the interaction of the Haze and machinery. Though the problems have not been completely catalogued, the frequent malfunctions of machinery in areas of high magical saturation is the only instance in which the invisible Haze is really noticed by most mortals. Certain technologies have arisen that dampen magical influence, and materials have been developed, or discovered, that are entirely null and non-magical.
This has sparked outrage amongst groups of Haze-sensitive individuals across the known races, who see their very nature threatened by superstition and misunderstanding. However, no-one can doubt that the Haze, though present to some degree in most material objects, is a dangerous ally; in areas of very high concentration, the Haze can even cause the natural world to mutate and change beyond all recognition, such as in the lands known as the Sporrus.