There are at least four distinct strains of magic and while all share an common ability to open a "third eye" to sense the "Else" (the place where the magic is drawn from) this is where their similarities end. The 3rd eye is not a literal eye in their skull but a "minds eye" that they can open their senses to.
The Else[edit | edit source]
Looking into the Else allows magic users to see if other people around them are magically gifted, of what type and how powerful. Within the Else most of the world becomes black and white with magic users and the effects of magic becoming marked with color. The intensity of the color is directly proportionate to the power of the magic or magic user. To all except the Privileged, normal people do not show up at all in the Else, only other magic users. To the Privileged normal people are very faint but can still be seen. Bo describes it as "If a Privileged is a bonfire and a Knacked is a lantern, then a regular person is a lightning bug. Their color in the Else will be so faint you might think you're imagining it"
The Four Types of Magic[edit | edit source]
The three most common types of magic are known by the following names: "The Knack", "The Privileged" and "Powder Mages". Powder Mages often go by another term of "The Marked" due to their history of persecution. To say they are "common" is a misnomer however, with the exception of the Knack, magic is still a powerful rarity within the Powder Mage verse. The final type of magic is that of the "Bone-eyes".
The Knack[edit | edit source]
The Knack is the most common type of magical ability within the Powder Mage Universe and within the Universe it is barely considered a magical ability at all. The reasons for this is two fold, one is it's frequency of occurrence within the populations and the second is the nature of the magic itself: "Knacked" Ones are exceptionally skilled in one area but are otherwise normal human beings. It is not a skill they have to practice or maintain but are simply very proficient at it with very little effort at all. Examples of "Knacked" skills would be the lack of a need to sleep (Olem) or a eidetic memory (Adamat), acute hearing over long distances, the ability to perfectly detect lies, and the ability to instinctively process complex calculations. The line between a true "Knacked" and simply somebody who is naturally talented and has refined that talent is that, like Privileged and Powder Mages, a Knacked one can see the Else and normal humans who are simply good at a certain thing cannot.
The Privileged[edit | edit source]
With the exception of the post Tamas led Coup in Adro, the Privileged are what could be called the dominant magical force within the Powder Mage universe. They are also what could be considered the most "traditional" magic users of the 4 types as well, that is, they have abilities like wielding fireballs, throwing boulders, causing massive storms and shooting lightning from their fingertips; however it is the manner in which they do it that is slightly different to most other fantasy type novels. Privileged draw their power from the Else directly with their right hand then with their left hand they manipulate it into whatever destructive form they wish to. In order to do this they wear specially designed gloves, these gloves come in a vast multitude of colors and fabrics and are considered examples of status among Privileged. Unsurprisingly, an effective way of removing a Privileged's power is to simply remove his hands.
The Privileged have been used by the rulers of the Powder Mage Universe to keep their populations in check since the time of Kresimir.
The Powder Mages (Marked)[edit | edit source]
Although they are sometimes called "Marked" the term Powder Mage is far more commonly used at least around the time that Tamas staged his coup in Adro. Powder Mages have long faced vicious persecution by Privileged who feared their abilities, especially in Kez (where they are still outlawed today), it is possible that this history is where the term "Marked" comes from. Unlike Privileged the Powder Mages do not draw their power from the Else directly. Instead, as their name suggests, they use gun powder as the source of their power. In addition to simply being able to smell it at a distance even in it's unburned form Powder Mages can consume orally or snort gun powder through their nose to enter what is called a "Powder Trance," in which their senses are heightened and they become physically stronger and faster, thus making them very dangerous on the battlefield. If a Marked stays too long in a powder trance, they run a risk of going "Powder Blind," a condition that Taniel in particular comes close to several times. The effect of gun powder also increases their healing abilities as such a Powder Mage in a powder trance is very difficult to take down.
Powder Mages also have the ability to manipulate the explosive reaction of gun powder. In practical terms and with practice a Powder Mage can redirect the power from a gun powder explosion from it's point of origin in a powder horn or in a gun barrel to another location around them. This makes attempting to fire a black powder weapon at a Powder Mage a very stupid idea as the King of Adro finds out when he pulls a pistol on Tamas. The most common application of this skill is "floating" bullets. When "floating" a bullet the powder mage fires a bullet from their rifle and then sets off powder in their powder horn (called "burning") and mentally redirects the explosion to be behind and below the bullet thus increasing it's flight time and it's accuracy. To help with accuracy Powder Mages tend not to use muskets but instead use rifles which fire a smaller bullet but is more accurate, the lighter bullet is also easier to float over distance. All Powder Mages can do this and depending on the Mage in question he or she may have other abilities. Taniel for example has the ability to keep two bullets aloft in the air at the same time hitting two separate targets (an ability which earned him the nick name "Two Shot) while Tamas at one point throws a hand full of bullets into the air and redirects the detonation of the powder in his powder to be at the center of the cluster of them thus turning a collection of bullets into a very deadly shrapnel bomb in close confines.
Powder Mages tend to avoid the mineral gold at all costs as if their blood comes into contact with it it will neutralize their powder imbued abilities as long as the gold remains in contact with their blood. A Kez way of permanently removing a Marked One's powers without killing him is to implant a gold star into a Marked One's body in such a place that it will constantly rip open his or her flesh and never fully heal.
The Bone-eyes[edit | edit source]
Not much is known about the Dynize Bone Eyes and what is known is hard to quantify as the only Bone Eye that features within the Powder Mage Universe is Ka-Poel. It is unknown if Ka-Poel is typical of Bone Eye's although given her level of power this is unlikely. They hail from the land of the Dynize; a vast empire west of Fatrasta who have isolated themselves with closed borders for decades. The inhabitants of Fatrasta are distant cousins to them and while they are similar in looks and language it is rather that they share a common ancestor than one being a splinter group of the other. "Bone-eyes" appear to use a magic system similar to voodoo with a "doll" being created from wax similar in looks to the target which the user then manipulates to cause an affect on the target. The closer in appearance to the target the doll is the more potent the effect that the magic has, for example Ka-Poel often uses scraps of clothing or hair to enhance the effectiveness of her magic. Bone-eyes can also craft "red-stripe" bullets. Taking their name from their appearance these balls have the ability to bypass the magical protection of a privileged.
Characters known to be Bone-Eyes: Ka-Poel
Other Magical Beings[edit | edit source]
Mage-Breakers: Formerly Privileged individuals who give up their magic for the ability to sever connections to the Else. The way this is achieved is by a privileged willing to become one, though this process is irreversible and usually only done by those of little power. Interestingly, this process also changs the white gloves of a privileged from white to black. They are typically found as mercenaries hired to kill rogue or unwanted Privileged sorcerers.
Characters known to be Mage Breakers: Gothen
Wardens: experiments of the Kez cabals, these individuals are former men (likely prisoners) who were exposed to and warped by unknown magic into hulking disfigured forms. Immensely strong and built to take inhuman levels of damage, they mainly serve as bodyguards but are intelligent enough to be used for assassination attempts. According to Tamas they were created in response to the rising number of Powder Mages.