So often when I talk about Ontyre it’s about geography or magic. Okay, that’s pretty cool stuff, but in truth when I write the tales of Ontyre I’m not focused on any of that. Magic is vital to some characters, but I want to talk more about people.
As a lead in, today I’m giving an overview of Partials (no, they aren’t half people), those who possess specialized magic, as opposed to wizards, witches, and the like. Next month I’ll talk about a specific Partial ability—and the trials associated with having it.
There are five different Partials. Healer magic is focused on healing the living, including animals. Seekers have the ability to sense evil from a distance and assess character with contact. Seers can, after physical contact, see through that person’s eyes for a limited time. Sirens possess the gift of song and are the only Partials with the ability to cast a temporary spell. Sylvans can heal and nurture flora.
In present day Carrdia little is known of Partial origins since they date back to the days of the Old Empire or earlier. It’s a subject of great debate. The leading theory is that a one-in-a-million (or billion) person was endowed with the original ability via residual raw magic (normally it kills).
In our world we’d think of this as having our DNA rewritten. The trait (gift) would then be handed down or skip generations. In the case of Seekers and Sylvans, the gift eventually bled over into the opposite sex.
After Carrdia became a nation, Queen Pressa, in 3346, declared that Partials should be formally trained and renamed them Senses. The first were taught at Knoss Citadel where wizards were trained. Later, in 3360, she called for the establishment of separate colleges for each Sense in a location fitting to their gift. The colleges were built, but not until after her death.
Over the centuries that followed the colleges fell into disrepair at times, but each time were refurbished. In 4113, following the overthrow of the government and the outlawing of magic, the colleges were attacked and closed down. In present day Carrdia they’re ruins and it’s illegal to visit them, though some take the risk given their remote locations.
When I first developed Ontyre, Partials were something of an afterthought, a whim that filled the desire to have partial abilities some might have that differed from the usual wizards and witches. Over time, though, they’ve captured my imagination, especially after I began exploring each ability in novels and short stories.
Partials sound like a great time, but there are numerous downsides to their gifts, especially Seekers. Too, over time I’ve learned that there are unusual, lesser known abilities tied to each of their gifts.
Keep in mind that not all Partials. There are differences in skill and natural ability. In addition, each Partial’s gift can be divided into individual talents.
Beyond the trials inherent to each gift, in present day Carrdia there’s the danger that discovery is a government death sentence. There are those who can sense the gift if they’re close enough and you’re using it. To be a Partial is to be hunted. You also want to avoid demons because they can feed off your gift, and few Partials survive that.
So, once each month over five months starting in March I’ll touch on each Partial in more depth.