Much in my writing life is changing lately. Last Word Before Dying, my online fantasy serial, is written and the last installment will appear online on July 8th. With my poetry collection, The Renaissance Cycle, published I’m now able to return my attention to my fantasy novel, Where Light Devours.
Viewing the time between now and July 8th as a unique block, I’ve decided to examine the Hartise partial’s colleges in my fantasy world, Ontyre.
But what or who are partials? The subject is only lightly addressed in the online tale, but its important to the novel.
Fortunately, I’m going to keep this brief. I have a notebook devoted to magic and the section on partials is 24 pages long (not counting the college maps, blueprints, and diagrams showing how their magic operates).
World building madness.
Anyway, humans who are partials are called such because they develop a specialized magic gift. There are five singular gifts that routinely occur (seers, healers (soothers), sylvans, seekers, and sirens) and there was a college built for each.
It was Queen Pressa who first envisioned training partials, but it was her grandson, Craus, who oversaw building the five colleges when he was king. Please note that in Hartise, unlike outside its borders, partials are often referred to as “senses” because they were viewed as extensions of the various kings and queens. A poem captured the thinking:
Seers of Vistus watch over us and their marble columns gleam.
Soothers in Meacine heal amidst the bright gardens of a dream.
Sirens in Asbray sing praise in tune with their waters cascading.
Sylvans of Horthure grow bounty from the Land of Lands surrounding.
Seekers from Lorne divide good and evil from the cliffs of Pressa.
These senses of our kings and queens serve us as they would Genessa.
This week’s college: Lorne
Year completed: 3406
Location: The Cliffs of Pressa on Long Ridge, Eastern Baris Plains, near the Rift River
Perhaps one of the more mysterious of the senses, or partials, were seekers, who could be male or female. They possessed two primary talents that were both similar and different. The first was their ability to sense evil’s presence in all living things that possessed magic. The other talent was the ability to assess a person’s character whether they possessed magic or not, but physical contact was required.
Sensing evil was a directionless gift in the sense that the seeker knew only the evil’s presence and intensity, but not its location. Thus, the talent was referred to as proximity. The flip side to the talent was that if they touched the evil with their gift the evil was then aware of their presence, thus placing the seeker at risk. Since this ability had no equivalent among nons (those without magic) it was standard practice in days of old to have a seeker in each town if possible. That practice changed when the government outlawed magic at the Ministry’s insistence.
Their second talent, the ability to assess character, worked in a manner similar to how healers assessed the ill in that the better the contact the better the image that formed in their minds. Thus, longer contact and touching with both hands meant a superior picture.
The image the seeker saw when assessing character was called the Colors of the Seeker, a color spectrum that provided a dramatic visual assessment. Along with the image came physical reactions. For instance, contact with a truly evil person could cause violent, physical illness, especially if unexpected. Seeing Red was a great fear that all seekers shared and was one reason they preferred the company of other seekers.
The College of the Seekers was set near the top of the 1,500 foot Cliffs of Pressa where there were existing caves that the engineers of the day expanded. The impressive view, which featured the nearby Rift River and the Lost Hills beyond, faced east in a symbolic acknowledgment that the Old Empire’s greatest evils were in the distant east, especially Emprensa where the capital was located.
To enter it was necessary to ride a lift that took the passenger to a massive, hollowed overhang where they disembarked. Most impressive of all was Buttress Commons that featured expansive windows that provided an inspiring view. A stunning and popular diversion were the bridges within Craus Cavern, especially where Colors Creek plummeted over Blue Falls to the valley floor far below.