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A to Z Challenge 2019: A is for Arcane Magic

Welcome to my A to Z Challenge 2019 posts. This year I’ll be writing about the world of Kinyal which is the setting of my epic fantasy novels and short stories. These posts offer insights into the world’s history, locations, and factions, but do not spoil any of the events or secrets from the novel.

You don’t need to read them in order, and as the challenge progresses, I’ll do my best to add links to related topics for each post.

The history of the arcane magic

Arcane Magic is considered the oldest school of magic in the world that rooted directly from the early sects and religious movements worshiping otherworldly beings called yalari. In return for human faith and devotion, yalari—by many considered to be gods at that time—granted their priests and priestesses ability to use magic. The “miracles” they performed served to strengthen the faith of their followers.

Soon enough, as always when power was involved, politics came into play with some people wondering why the priests would hold all the power. Reaching through the void that separated both realms, they soon discovered that many more yalari existed on the other plane, and they understood that yalari were not almighty gods, but simply powerful beings. As the knowledge spread and the flocks of the faithful dwindled, both yalari and humans found it a new solution: they would enter individual agreements with capable humans.

These agreements were called pacts. While human resolve and their strength of will empowered yalari in their world, the connection through the pact allowed them to act as conduits for the magic energies to flow freely, ready to use.

The people who entered the pacts became known as “arcanists”, and the new school quickly grew. Their success sparked suspicion and jealousy, and yalari were quickly dubbed “demons” by the very people who in the past worshiped them as deities. Therefore another, less flattering name for the school was coined: demonologist, and after the Cataclysm, that name became more common than the original one.


Since in this school magic the energies are channeled through the link between a human and a yalari, the outcome depends on the arcanist’s skill and focus. A beginner demonologist can alter the energy’s form producing a burst of wind or an ice spike, while the most skilled ones can freely alter the nature of the magic while channeling it as well as conjure more than one effect at the time. It gives arcanists huge flexibility when it comes to desired effects, and they are capable of altering then on the go.

The downside of this school of magic comes from the limitations of yalari. Some are weaker than others and can offer less amount of magic to be used at the time. Therefore it’s been common throughout the time for ambitious arcanists to break a pact with their current demon and search a new one, with a more powerful being.

Another application is summoning “demonlings”, the lowest beings among yalari. These vile and violent mindless creatures are one of the main reasons why the common people don’t trust arcanists, even though they don’t summon them often and not without good reason. But there are always those who seek to use such monsters for their own benefit, and their actions weigh heavily on all arcanists.
Theorists of arcane arts claim it is possible to summon more powerful yalari to Kinyal, but the only attempt of such summoning ended with Cataclysm that wiped out half of the continent of Tyorane, it became a taboo to even consider another try.

If you’d like a taste of the world, my free collection contains two of the stories from my free short story collection are set in Kinyal. The Arcanist and the Mage Killer and Scourges, Spells, and Serenades tell of the early adventures of Kamira and Veelk, the main protagonists of the upcoming novel.

You can get the collection by signing up to my newsletter.

All posts in this year’s challenge (links updated with new posts):

Arcane Magic || Barriers and Circles || The Cataclysm || Devanshari  || Essence || Free City of Kaighal || Gildya Magna || High Magic || Imbued Stones || Juamha || Kamira Altrainne || Languages || Mage Killers ||

Joanna Maciejewska

Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games. Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English. Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.

This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. Jade Li

    Very interesting. I look forward to reading more in this A2Z month.

    1. Melfka

      Thank you, Jade. I hope you’ll enjoy my posts. 🙂

  2. Lael-Heart

    Well. I had no idea! Thank you for all of this!

    1. Melfka

      It’s the setting of my novel, so no wonder ;). I’m pretty sure another writer might have another idea of what “arcane magic” is, if they have it in their setting. 🙂

      1. Lael-Heart

        🙂 I rather think the whole world operates in this manner on all the subjects,lol

        1. Melfka

          Lol, yeah, on most of them. Some are supposedly facts and non-arguable, buuut… 😉

  3. Wolf of Words

    This gave me a lot to think about. I’ve been working on my own fantasy setting so everything is inspiration these days. I love fantasy so much and any new take fills with me my own ideas. This feels like a merger between warlocks and clerics in D&D but with a different backdrop. I dig it.

    1. Melfka

      It’s a shame, but I don’t know much about D&D – I grew up playing Warhammer, but in the end, all the stories/settings will have elements of things we know (I got inspiration from existing creations in books&games for other things in my settings).
      I’m glad it’s been food for thought for your own world – hopefully you’ll have a lot of fun with it! 🙂

      1. Wolf of Words

        Totally! D&D was originally inspired by Tolkien and everybody gets inspired by everything they see, real or imagined.

        1. Melfka

          Agreed. And if we’re going that far back, my inspirations would likely come from Howard’s Conan than from Tolkien. 😉

  4. Rebekah Loper

    I love the thought you put into the evolution between the magical and religious aspects of your arcane magic!

    1. Melfka

      Thank you :). I like to speculate on the effects the existence of magic has on societies, especially when magic causes history-changing events.

  5. Clarissa

    Wow! I love this idea, and so much detail!

    1. Melfka

      Thank you! The “triple” magic system is the base of my world, so I got a bit carried away. I still felt like I barely scratched the surface.

    1. Melfka

      Thank you :). She’s the only person who uses magic so openly in the series, isn’t she?

  6. Sue Bursztynski

    Dear me, those poor yalari! Do they get anything out of those pacts?

    1. Melfka

      Yes, the human “strength of will” empowers them in their world – that’s only a few are interested in having pacts with weak-minded people.

  7. Sue Bursztynski

    I seem to be having trouble commenting. Hopefully this one will get through. Thanks for your visit! And this seeems a fascinating theme.

    1. Melfka

      Sorry, that’s on me: the first time posters are always moderated (I believe it’s the same for your blog?), and I stepped away from the computer, so I didn’t see your comment right away. Thank you for stopping by!

  8. SteampunkCow

    What a beautiful and interesting insight of your world! I want to know more about the yalari, and I´m looking forward to the next topics. 🙂

    1. Melfka

      Thank you! Yalari will be coming – at Y of course, but there will be more about them in other topics as well.

      1. SteampunkCow

        Excellent! I´ll be eagerly reading everything about your wonderful world!

        1. Melfka

          Now I’m definitely motivated to finish the challenge. 😉

  9. S. M. Saves

    It’s always interesting to see how different beliefs systems progress. First the yalari were worshiped, then cast aside; sought out by some, feared by others. I wonder how they interact with those they make pacts with.
    Looking forward to reading more.

    1. Melfka

      Thank you – that was my goal, to show things change over time instead of being the same. There will be more about yalari under Y, but other topics will relate to them as well since even if they aren’t physically present in the world, they still affect it.

  10. Renee

    Wow, another great idea for a theme. I should write these down for future events.

    I love how you’re working arcane magic into your story. I can’t wait to see more.

    1. Melfka

      Thanks! And I know what you mean: I see some themes and I’m like, “ooooh, I should do that too! *.*”
      I hope you’ll enjoy other posts.

    1. Melfka

      Thank you :). It’s a huge part of my setting since there are three ways of using magic.

  11. sjhigbee

    I fully expected a nuanced and intelligent take on your magic system and I’m not disappointed – you’re right. Given the impact magic must have upon historical events, it’s bound to be regarded with varying degrees of enthusiasm, depending how far up the food chain you are and how much access you have to the gnarly, powerful stuff… Nicely done!

    1. Melfka

      Thank you, Sarah! Since – let’s say – “the truth about magic” is the focus of the novels set in this world, I put a lot of time into developing aspects of my somewhat three-way magic system.

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