Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Into the Tides book bonus: how magic interacts with various substances

Unfiltered Power: magic in its most dangerous state. 

Normally, magic exists under the earth, trapped in pockets in natural reservoirs. Gradually it filters up through the rock and sediment layers, diffusing and interacting with the lifeforms it encounters. By the time it reaches the surface, it's considered filtered, or ambient, magic--inert without direct influence by a creature (i.e., human) with the genes to use it. Below a certain level of density, magic spreads like gas, achieving through particle-like motion a level of equilibrium. The "particles" react to outside will only when it is focused on them, and do not react with each other without direction.

When magic is brought to the surface in its raw form, however, it stays dense enough for it to react with itself, amplifying its own reactions to thought. After higher densities it even becomes cohesive, a small pocket of concentrated chaos with liquid-like properties. This, "unfiltered" Power, is a highly reactive, highly dangerous substance. It generally maintains a density between that of air and water.

When cohesive magic moves, it permeates most materials. While moving through most types of matter changes its speed of spread (to differing degrees), it can occupy the same place as matter, and therefore few substances actually stop it. Most infused matter begins to be react as magic itself does, and the presence of magic may change (or "corrupt") the infused matter, to varying degrees.

Power cannot permeate oil-based substances such as petroleum. However, non-solid oils do not stop magic from spreading, and may be dissolved by Power; although immersion in liquid oils may protect substances if properly done. (Note: it is thought that the ambient lipids in living creatures are related to the reformation of the physical body after magic drops below cohesive levels.)

Most metals are vulnerable to the chaotic nature of Power. Copper attracts magic and conducts it efficiently, but the rate of corrosion is sped up when it copper is suffused with magic. Iron rusts quickly and also conducts Power, but far less efficiently than copper. Silver, tin, and steel are all slight conductors; gold, tungsten, and platinum neither impair nor impeded magic, and are not substantially altered by it. Lead and mercury both inhibit, but do not stop, the movement of magic.

Inert gases do not react to magic, and objects with strong bonds--such as diamonds and water--strongly resist corruption. Diamonds are also excellent insulation against the movement of magic. However, magic dissolves in water, and water with high magic concentrations becomes uninhabitable. 

Salt and other crystalline structures tend to not react to magic, and neither speed nor slow its movement. Organic materials, however, absorb it, as the instincts for life draw it, which has the effect of slowing the spread. Dead and non-living organic matter also slow the movement of magic; recently deceased organisms retain magic longer. Plant matter will absorb magic, but impact is minimal, with primary changes occurring in chloroplasts. However, animal life is highly reactive; most creatures absorb magic when it permeates them; within cohesive magic, the mind continues but the bodies dissolve entirely. Lower-order animals require densities of magic to be lower before being restored, having less self-awareness. 

Sentient creatures are strongly affected. Their awareness processes (such as may be) continue when immersed in cohesive magic, although the imprint is limited time, and will become a loop. Sapient creatures (i.e., humans) have the longest period for mind set, and the most resulting effect on the magic, which reacts to the conscious and subconscious thoughts and perceptions. 

Humans with certain genetic structures (i.e. Powers) that normally allow them to process the natural, ambient-level surface magic are also, as a consequence, capable of continuing to process thought while within magic. The thought processes, while strongly affected by magic, also affect magic; the ability to interact with others is limited but not non-existent. 

The relations between the physical body, ability to think, effects of magic on thought, and ability to move are poorly understood, and for ethical and public safety reasons, obtaining data for scientific analysis is difficult and rare.

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