Magiology is the encompassing study dedicated to the transformation of the Fabric via Magical Functions, and all the associated mechanisms, principles and phenomena thereof. It is considered the theoretical basis of Magic as a general metascience, branching into various other dedicated subdisciplines that are restricted to certain thematic domains, as well as their own specific principles.
Magic is the transformation of the Fabric induced by the actualization of an Aetheric Interface, which requires aetheric energy derived from the liberation of metaparticles, such as Mana or Prana. More generally, Magic is executed in order to temporarily rewrite one or more parts of reality in order to achieve a purpose. These alterations modify, and integrate into the Fabric with extreme efficiency, creating phenomena that are normally impossible to realize under the physical limitations of reality. Therefore, Magic can be thought to be a means to circumvent the conventional laws of physics, by parsing metaphysical commands directly into the Fabric which are eventually corrected by its normalizing force.
This is achieved by the construction of an Aetheric Interface, an information body that contains the description of all the changes in reality that a person (hereafter, the Caster) is attempting to realize; this Interface is then actualized into objective reality using the aetheric energy resulting from the liberation or disintegration of metaparticles within the Caster's Aetheric Circuits, becoming a Magical Function. This process is called an Activation Sequence (see: Activation Sequence).
The above is a categorically modern definition of Magic. This interpretation recognizes Magic not as a process fueled exclusively by Mana (often considered to be a "classical" definition), but as a phenomenon driven by aetheric energy. As such, the terms Manalistic Magic and Non-Manalistic Magic are often to used as means to disambiguate Magic cast using Mana and Magic cast using other aethers—specifically, the subcategories Pranic or Spiritual Magic are used for Prana-driven Magic, Antimanalistic Magic for Malice-driven Magic, and so on.
The distinction between Magic and Magiology is important, especially in technical contexts. Magic is an event in which the Fabric is transformed by a Magical Function, but it is erroneous to refer to Magic as an encompassing discipline. It is technically correct, however, to use the terms "branches of magic" in respect to its subdisciplines, as they are subjective categorizations of the Magic phenomenon, predominantly based on usage. In contrast, Magiology is a science and encompassing study of Magic as a phenomenon, including its mechanisms, laws and limitations.
[WIP | Spell and Instance - A Spell is a "blueprint" or "formula" for casting Magic. It is a set of calculations and an outline of logic that is followed during the Activation Sequence, intending to produce Magic. A common misconception is that a Spell is, obligatorily, a predefined outline intended to produce a specific magical effect, but is this is false—all occurrences of Magic are produced by Spells, as a Spell by definition describes the sum of parts of all variables and components involved in an Activation Sequence. An Instance is a particular casting of a Spell, or rather, the "instance" of Magic produced by following and executing the formula of a Spell. The term Spell may also be used to refer to an Instance when the distinction is not important, although more technical contexts may differentiate between the two.]
Execution or casting of Magic is purely a mental process, and it is often compared to resolving or calculating a series of mathematical expressions or algebraic equations. The complexity of this is directly dependent on the complexity of the Aetheric Interface that is being constructed, with simple Spells requiring relatively negligible levels of mental processing, whereas complex Spells require increasingly higher levels of focus or concentration from the Caster in order to successfully resolve all of its components. Therefore, it is accurate to say that the concept of innate "magical potential" is, strictly speaking, effectively nonexistent—instead, magical ability is largely in function of the ability to perform extremely fast mental quasilogical operations and deductions. Thus, when speaking of aptitude or capability in the context of Magic, one is referring to an individual's Magical Calculation Quotient, or simply Magical Quotient (MQ), which is a measure of determining a person's ability to achieve what is denominated as Spellwork.
Spellwork is the collective term for the abstract action of "computing" or "calculating" all the internal variables and components of a Spell, performed at the moment of constructing the Aetheric Interface. Thus, when referring to requiring a certain amount of Spellwork, it refers to the concentration necessary to mentally process, and sometimes maintain, a Spell. Without exception, all instances of Magic require a measure of Spellwork, and every Spell requires the complete resolution of all of its components in order to be successfully realized as Magic. Incompletely computing a Spell can be thought to be synonymous to the Spell failing to fully describe itself into reality, leading into problems such as so-called "miscasts" (integration of an incomplete or improperly-constructed Aetheric Interface) or the premature termination of the Magic in question (an internal collapse or breakdown of the Magical Function).
Mind and Magic
Despite being fundamentally linked to the Mind Component, the biological component for Magic is unknown. More specifically, there appears to be no anatomical region in the brain that would correspond to Spellwork and the execution of Magic in general. Therefore, it is widely believed that the casting of Magic is dependent on the abstract of the Mind Component, rather than an explicit physical or biological quality.
The correlation between overall intelligence and one's Magical Calculation Quotient is unclear, but it is known that one's Magical Quotient is in fact another facet to one's mental faculties, much akin to a different "type" of intelligence. More simply, an individual's ability to achieve Spellwork is similar to that of reasoning with a different frame of mind, or with a so-called quasilogical, rather unintuitive system of thought that has no concise real-world analogy (in that sense, the aforementioned parallels to equations and mathematical expressions are simply approximations, but should not be considered as the underlying logic of Magic). Thus, mathematical ability, advanced reasoning and logical deduction—qualities that are distinctly analogous to the mental processes behind Magic—are therefore not indicators of a person's Magical Quotient; however, generally speaking, there is a linear correspondence between the intellect (as in rational thinking) and the Magical Quotient of a person.
Laws of Magic
More succinctly described with the dictum, "Magic is never eternal". The duration or continuity of a Magical Function is directly proportional to the amount of aetheric energy supplied to the system. In other words, the "lifetime" of a Spell before it terminates or decays is, invariably, a finite length of time. There exists no Magic that can continually affect the world indefinitely, as that would require an infinite amount of aetheric energy in order to sustain itself forever. This applies even to exceedingly simple processes like levitating a grain of sand; although a Spell designed to sustain this effect would be extremely simple and energy-efficient, it will eventually terminate once its corresponding Magical Function is depleted of available aetheric energy. Supplying such a Spell with the amount of Mana in the entire Manaverse may cause its duration to become arbitrarily large, but it will never truly become infinite.
Magical Entropy has vast implications on the long-term effectiveness of Magic. Autotrophic ("Self-Supplying") Magical Systems are always subject to a positive rise in Magical Entropy regardless of Mana (or equivalents) intake; this is due to the added complexity of an autotrophic component or components increasing the required amount of aetheric energy needed to sustain the Magical Function. As such, the "consumption" of a Spell will never be equal to or lower than the rate it acquires additional aetheric energy to maintain itself, and its Magical Entropy will always increase.
Magical Entropy is often confused with the Fabric's "normalizing" or "self-restorative" force. Magical Entropy merely describes the inevitability of the termination of a Magical Function, whereas the Fabric's propensity to recoil into stable states ensures that metaphysical effects produced by Magic will be corrected at some point in time. For example, a reinforcement enchantment on a piece of metal will be subject to Magical Entropy, as the Magical Function that is producing the reinforcement is bound to exhaust its available aetheric energy at some point in time. In contrast, an Aether-Elemental Spell that produces a distortion in the fabric of space will be corrected by the Fabric even after the termination of its corresponding Magical Function, as said distortion is an irregularity that the Fabric will then attempt to normalize.
- Alchemy: Specializes in the alteration, reconfiguration and transmutation of matter. The Law of Equivalent Exchange is perhaps the most widely-known principle that has surged from this discipline.
- Arcanism: Finds methods to create, optimize and utilize metaphysical constructs of magical data known as Arcana. An Arcanum is an abstract information body that Casters can access in order to borrow its functions, most frequently used as means to greatly diminish Spellwork through predefined shortcuts that offload the mental effort into the Arcanum itself. Highly difficult to learn.
- Cleisturgy: Literally "Closureworking", but also referred to as Sealing. The art of entrapping, isolating and sealing objects, entities, or even independent phenomena and events by using suppressive magical effects. It focuses on the controlled containment of targets and the diminishment or outright nullification of their influence on the world.
- Divination: Focuses on the retrieval of information through metaphysical means. Often mistakenly thought to exclusively involve scrying and other oracular methods of future-sight; in reality, it encapsulates nearly all methods used to obtain data unknown to the Caster.
- Symbology: Specializes in the study of basic symbolic units known as Signs. A rare discipline that focuses in the transmission, dissemination and representation of ideas, and how the concept of "meaning" can affect objective reality.
- Thaumaturgy: Literally "Miracleworking". It is an obscure and difficult discipline that attempts to replicate the effects of Theurgy (Miracles), and therefore attempt to surpass the fundamental limits of Magic. Not to be confused with Thaumatology.