I like worlds with a little explanation, a little basis in reality, not a world filled only with “just because” (even though there is a lot of that already in TeaFeathers), so I set out to explain why the Alecani have six limbs, and other animals do not! Why is there a mammal with wings, where are their closest relatives, how did they evolve? When I went down this road, I ended up explaining how magic works too, and tying it all in with Nym’s story!
Nym’s world is much like modern earth, but without humans (or at least not on her continent, though I waffle about this sometimes). There are birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, insects etc…. All the animals of the physical world we can recognize. Existing overlapped and side by side with the physical natural world there is the Spirit realm, which Alecani call “The Source of Souls”, which is divided from physical reality by a thin veil. This is a common theory for our own world, but in TeaFeathers the veil is very very thin…. Spirit energy constantly pours into the physical world, causing all kinds of really fun and scary anomalies. Spirits reside in mountains and rivers, and sometimes run free without hosts in high concentration areas. But instead of being a chaotic force that the natural world can’t deal with, it’s become normal. Life has adapted over the millennia!
The Alecani can exist because their entire species is part spirit and part physical. While all creatures in this world are composed partially of spirit, some have higher content of spirit energy than others. This tends to make them different from “normal” animals in some way. Pylura have a high spirit content, Alecani much more so. Dragons are among the most spirit based animals that have physical forms. The more spirit energy a species of composed of, the more occurrences of magic users there are within their population. About half of Alecani can use magic. 1/3rd of Pylura can as well, and all dragons can use magic. Some “normal” animals can even use magic, like deer or birds, but it’s more rare.
How Magic Works
Imagine a person and their soul, mirror images, one physical and one pure energy, walking side by side separated by a wall that divides their realms. When that person dies their physical self merges with their energetic self wholly. The energy returns to the vast source of souls, leaving the physical body devoid of spirit energy. A living person can make contact with their own soul while alive (only very briefly) and tap into that spirit energy in a direct way. This is how magic users work! The contact is not constant, otherwise the person would die. Prolonged contact causes the spirit energy in the physical body to merge with the spirit energy on the other side of the veil. They and their soul only barely brush one another for moments, transferring massive energy into the physical body which manifests in an elemental way usually, something personal for the individual.
For example, Nym’s magic shows as plants and plant-like manifestations, which is a reflection of the kind of person she is. The Shadow’s magic manifests as any number of volcanic expressions, from heat, to lava, to pyroclastic flows. The longer a person can withstand contact with their own soul, the strong their magic. The Shadow is an EXTREMELY strong magic user, he can be a majorly scary motherf*cker if he chooses… Just like the potential immense amount of power just under the earth’s crust, just under the surface The Shadow is boiling with energy and power. That is because he can withstand contact with the Source of Souls more than mere moments, like more magic users.
Drop Tea-Feathers an ask if you want anything clarified! I’m working on a species profile for the Alecani next. =) (on my free time at least)