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The world as we know it, '''Reality''', is but one component of the complete and endless world around us, a single piece of a complex system of interconnected parallel universes. This system is the '''Kaleidoscope''', which makes up the endless '''Dimensional Spectrum''', each color another phase, another dimension of the complete world. The Kaleidoscope’s deepest reaches are the foundation of '''Fantasy''', born from the thoughts, imaginations, dreams, emotions, and ambitions of beings across every infinity. A “space” that doesn’t exist in a comprehensible way, Fantasy exists as the desire for change and impossibility throughout all things. Reality is what is physically possible, the true, while Fantasy is the impossible, the fake.
 
The world as we know it, '''Reality''', is but one component of the complete and endless world around us, a single piece of a complex system of interconnected parallel universes. This system is the '''Kaleidoscope''', which makes up the endless '''Dimensional Spectrum''', each color another phase, another dimension of the complete world. The Kaleidoscope’s deepest reaches are the foundation of '''Fantasy''', born from the thoughts, imaginations, dreams, emotions, and ambitions of beings across every infinity. A “space” that doesn’t exist in a comprehensible way, Fantasy exists as the desire for change and impossibility throughout all things. Reality is what is physically possible, the true, while Fantasy is the impossible, the fake.
   
All the different realities across the Kaleidoscope exist at different depths, and the deeper one gets, the more the world is subject to flux, impossibility, and physical errors. In the worlds that are deeper in this spectrum, the beings can realize the Fantasy within themselves in the form of '''magic''', which allows them to manifest their will to bend the world around them. The degree of change that this magic can enact varies even more depending on the depth, though Reality rejects it no matter where it arises, fighting against and eventually undoing its effects. With sufficient power and effort, a mage can warp reality and accomplish the impossible, breaking the laws of physics and seizing control of their own fate. The potential for magic exists everywhere and within everything, and can be sought out and taken by any who can make an effort.
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All the different realities across the Kaleidoscope exist at different depths, and the deeper one gets, the more the world is subject to flux, impossibility, and physical errors. Some are completely subject to Reality, incapable of breaking free from its laws under normal circumstances, but others, deeper in Fantasy, find that they have the tools to bend physics and its rules. This is '''magic''', the process of manifesting one’s will to alter the world around them, manipulating Fantasy itself to manifest the impossible. The extent to which magic can enact change varies depending on the depth of the universe, but wherever Fantasy exists, Reality will attempt to reassert itself to erase the falsehoods, through a force known as '''reality pressure'''. In some worlds, deep inside the Kaleidoscope, however, the rules reverse themself, and Fantasy is the norm against which Reality strives.
   
As it is influenced by the emotions, beliefs, and desires of people, the ways Fantasy manifests itself within the universe are inevitably affected by how people perceive and think about the world. The world is, in many ways, not only defined, but controlled by those who perceive it, and by how they perceive it.
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With sufficient power and effort, an '''agent''' - ''one that acts or exerts power''; a user of magic - can outright break the laws of physics and seize complete control of their own fate. The potential for magic exists everywhere and within everything, and can be sought out and taken by any who can make an effort, even if some universes that tread shallower waters in the Kaleidoscope make it particularly difficult for those who aspire towards it. Magic is amplified by strong emotions, growing more powerful in response to greater need and more intense feelings. As it is influenced by the emotions, beliefs, and desires of people, the ways Fantasy manifests itself within different universes are invariably affected by how people perceive and think about the world. The world is, in many ways, not only defined, but controlled by those who perceive it, and by how they perceive it.
   
This subjective world has no overarching abstracts or concepts existing throughout it; the only concepts are those that exist within the minds and souls of all who exist. All people compartmentalize all the things they see in the world and form their own concepts over time, gradually forming their own ideas on the world. These concepts are the basis of a soul’s development, and understanding them is an important element of magic.
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The world, whether it be Reality or Fantasy, has no overarching concepts, forms, or universals. Any that seem to exist are merely imposed by another agent for their own purposes. “Concepts” are merely ideas, the categories and viewpoints individuals use to compartmentalize and understand the world around them, and they exist within only the consciousness of these observers. Magic, however, can aid in the manifestation of concepts, and these concepts, reflecting the mindset and beliefs of an agent, affect their magic and how it operates more than anything else. Through magic, one enforces their own perception, and so a battle of magic is not just a fight - it is a clash of individuals and a communication of ideals.
   
Every mage calls upon and utilizes their own concepts of the world in magic. One’s perception of the world and of themself is pivotal in their magic, affecting it more than anything else. The types of magic that a person is most suited to are determined by their thoughts on the world and the concepts they hold within, and it is by enforcing this perception on the world that magic is utilized. A battle of magic is not just a fight - it is a clash of individuals and a communication of ideals.
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== The Soul ==
   
And such is the nature of the world, a subjective world defined by those within it.
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The '''soul''' is commonly believed to be the magical manifestation of Fantasy within all things, though this may not be a particularly accurate description. The truest nature of the soul is not known, though many theories exist - some believe it is an inherent and vital part of living things, others believe the soul is parasitic in nature, and some believe that souls and living bodies came together in mutualistic symbiosis. No matter what it is, the soul is central to the usage of magic in those beings and worlds in which it exists. The exact mechanics of the soul vary from universe to universe, from planet to planet, from organism to organism, and even from individual to individual. Because of this, a knowledgeable agent could determine the origin of a soul through simple analysis, but of course, this is easier said than done.
   
== The Soul ==
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Naturally, the study of the soul is of huge interest in any civilization that has discovered their existence. This study is known as '''spiritual theory''', and its practitioners, '''spiritual theorists'''. Those who exercise their spiritual research and work on the most complex level, reaching even the inner world, are also known as '''inner world operators'''. Despite the countless years of research that many have put into the soul, there remains no complete theory or understanding, and many outstanding issues in spiritual theory. Compared to the physical world, the soul is abstract and even incomprehensible, anathema to basic physics and operating on completely different laws and ideas.
   
The '''soul''' is not only the magical manifestation of Fantasy within a person, and of their self within Fantasy. It is the embodiment of a person’s willpower and magic, and it forms within them over time. It is closely connected to a person’s mind, as it stems from their consciousness. As each soul is shaped by the many experiences and defining moments of a person’s lifespan, the structure of each individual soul is unique to that person. The mechanics of the soul differ not only from organism to organism, but individual to individual.
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=== Properties ===
   
=== Nature of the Soul ===
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In most physical beings, such as humans, the soul relies on the body for structure, without which it would dissipate, and is shaped by the consciousness of the organism and whatever acts as their nervous system. As the organism develops, the soul acts as a record for their consciousness, their thoughts, emotions, experiences, and even brainwaves. This process, known as '''spiritual feedback''', is what defines the soul, eventually shaping it to be what is, in essence, an abstract embodiment of the individual, an incorporeal record of their existence. However, for people who don’t use magic, the soul does not really do anything of use, and if one such individual underwent a brain injury that caused amnesia, disability, and/or personality changes, the spiritual feedback would damage the soul and its record.
   
Generally speaking, souls are contained within the shell that is the body - whether the body is of conventional physical matter, or something magical is irrelevant. While the vast majority of all beings have a soul, its existence is not necessary for the use of magic. It is only a vessel of Fantasy, and in its place, a being can mold and use their own body. Souls make magic much easier, however, as they possess potentially infinite room to contain concepts and energy and easily form efficient pathways.
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In agents, however, things are different. The more someone uses magic, the more they enrich their soul. The circuit that their nervous system and soul creates grows, becoming something that the agent can fully utilize, granting them a heightened, extrasensory awareness of the world and an ability to call upon increasingly high levels of magical energy. This is thanks to the soul’s connection to Fantasy, and because of the way it “completes” the nervous system, it also allows for higher levels of thought and information processing. As a result, an agent who survives a life-changing brain injury could retain their memories and original personality.
   
In most cases - without extensive magical work and a strong willpower - the existence of the soul is dependent on the body and mind for structure and guidance. Without a body to keep it together and a mind to give it direction, the soul will eventually fall apart and disperse, following them into death. A body without a soul doesn’t fare much better most of the time, as the loss of their connection results in the traumatic destruction of the body’s consciousness and loss of their identity.
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However, spiritual feedback is not a one-way road, and just as the body can change the soul, the soul can change the body. A person’s emotions, actions, and memories can be controlled through their soul, and catastrophic damage to the soul will take a heavy toll on the body. In the worst case scenario, when an individual’s soul is destroyed, they will drop dead as their nervous system is fried to a crisp, and every other vital system ceases to work as well. Though agents have to worry about this issue just like anyone else, their use of magic allows them to better protect their soul, and even if someone seizes control of their actions, an agent will retain their own consciousness and identity, to some extent.
   
Once, souls were not a natural part of life, and their functions were instead operated through a being’s own body. Souls were formed from latent Fantasy over time, condensing into barely conscious beings. Over time, these souls spread across the universe and latched onto conscious beings, forming a symbiosis. While those conscious beings would give them shape, the souls would give them an easier medium to channel magic. This symbiosis only grew deeper over time, and ultimately, bodies and souls developed the seemingly inseparable existence they possess now, with souls growing to be shaped by their hosts.
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Despite their stronger connection to their soul, most agents are still dependent on their body. Even if they can retain certain things after brain trauma, that’s only of any consequence if they survive said brain trauma. Without proper precautions and the right set of knowledge, the soul can’t do anything to save the body from a hole in the head or chest. To increase their own survivability, an agent must take the steps to become less dependent on something as flimsy as a body and instead shift their focus to the soul. With the time to expand their knowledge and ability, an agent could potentially survive without food or air and live through injuries that would instantly kill an ordinary human. This is aided through magical processes such as regeneration, along with many other methods. For example, some agents find ways to endure past the death of a body and move onto another as just their soul, seizing control.
   
A popular theory believes that the dependence on the soul is purely psychological, and the next stage of evolution after apotheosis is to transcend dependence on the soul. This theory puts forth that those who die after the destruction of their souls are falling to this psychological effect, and that someone can escape this only when they realize that they do not need their soul. Support for this theory includes the fact that severe brain damage can change the personality of an individual greatly, even when the soul is supposedly the source of emotion and identity.
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But, in the end, most agents still need their body, even if just a little. Even if they could survive having their body incinerated or annihilated, the soul needs a container, and if it goes too long without a body, it will eventually dissipate into nothing. This may take anywhere from just a few minutes to many years - but, still, the soul needs a body. However, through '''apotheosis''', an agent can rise to the level of a god, transcending their body and becoming an immortal existence that has surpassed death.
   
=== Properties ===
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These agents, which are quite rare, have no need for a container and can exist just as a soul and nothing else - though many choose to stay in their bodies, so as to not wander too far from “humanity” (or whatever analogue). The road to apotheosis is long and complex, requiring vast knowledge of the body and soul, and it is often believed that each person has a different route they must follow to reach it. It is generally thought that achieving apotheosis is necessary to fully access the power of an inner world, as that is the point at which an individual's personal reality is strong enough to stand up against the cruel weight of external Reality.
   
Souls are the foundation of a person’s self and identity, and as an individual grows and their emotions course through their soul, their soul develops alongside their body. It reaches relative maturity at about the same rate as the body. The soul, like all Fantasy, thrives on intense emotions. While they may grant a significant boost to magic, such intense emotions tax the soul, exhausting an individual, and extremely powerful or lengthy emotions may cause severe harm to the soul.
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These ideas and rules only apply to those who exist as a body and a soul - there are many who exist as a purely spiritual existence, such as stray spirits and angels. They cannot be truly said to have achieved apotheosis, as such a thing was never a concern for them anyways. Apotheosis is only relevant to mortals. In addition, souls are not an absolute necessity for life or magic, and there are beings who exist without them, though this has its own set of challenges.
   
Even after the soul recovers, it will still be somewhat tender until it is able to fully recuperate. However, such experiences only serve to strengthen a soul, straining it and making it heal stronger and faster, just as one’s body responds to exercise.
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==== Ghosts ====
   
For this reason, traumatic experiences tend to have a profound effect on one's soul, scarring it deeply. As trauma is something that can never be truly, completely overcome, a soul can never rid itself of the deep scars which it causes, but they tend to be conductive to the use of magic, providing efficient pathways to spellcasting that will be molded into one's magical array if they have one. Even still, though the scars remain, the soul will reconstruct itself stronger, regardless of whether or not the individual feels stronger.
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When an individual dies while undergoing intense emotion, they may unknowingly engrave their dying self into their soul, kicking into motion a poorly understood series of processes that will result in the soul temporarily surviving the death of the body. Their soul will become what is known as a '''ghost''', a stray existence kept together only by the intensity of their final moments and emotions.
   
=== Defense and Survival ===
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Ghosts are far rarer than one would expect, and it has been estimated that, on Earth, only one in one million deaths resulted in a ghost. However, this is likely to be wildly inaccurate, as it has been found that many ghosts only survive for a few minutes or hours after death, quickly dissipating into nothing. A few last for days, even fewer for months, and so on. Of course, some argue that the definition of a ghost should only apply to those that persist for a longer period of time.
   
The outermost layer of the soul acts as a protective layer that shields the rest of the soul from harm and attack. This is often called a '''distinction barrier''', though many other terms for it exist. A distinction barrier helps to keep a soul together, like a shell. Its strength depends on the individual’s willpower and magical strength, and it is instrumental in keeping a soul in one piece for long as possible after death.
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Unfortunately for ghosts, undeath is often a miserable existence, and many see ghosts as pests, and thus set out to put them out of their misery. Others believe these spirits should be helped, whether this means aiding them in peacefully passing on or giving them a new body to keep them together, and another shot at life. Not even this is bound to be easy for a ghost, however, due to the nature of their existence, as their dying moments will stay with them forever and are likely to have significantly damaged their souls. Future spiritual feedback would become difficult and may operate in strange, unusual ways, leading to things like physical injuries appearing for seemingly no reason.
   
While the distinction barriers of normal beings are generally far too weak to offer any notable defense against physical or magical attacks, powerful mages form very strong barriers, strong enough to protect them from magical harm and even affect the physical world to protect them from physical harm as well. In this state, a distinction barrier often becomes visible as what is often called, among many other things, an '''aura'''; it may be faint and colorless, or it may be easily visible and glowing brightly. All personal magical barriers, protection and defenses are located within the distinction barrier, making it even stronger.
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A particularly unlucky group are the ghosts of children, which rarely survive longer than a day - a child’s ghost surviving for even a year is unheard of, to the point that the idea is laughable. After all, what kind of child has not only the capacity to understand exactly what they’re going through, especially after the trauma of death, but also the willpower to stubbornly persist anyways?
   
Eventually, through enough magical work and willpower, this barrier is enhanced to such a level that it keeps out most attempts at physical or magical attack and manipulation. At this point, it is known as an '''absolute barrier'''. It protects them on every level of existence, and is akin to a magical immune system, protecting the mage from threats and adapting to future attack.
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Of course, even if a child’s ghost was able to get a second shot at life and a new body, their soul would not have undergone the complete process of spiritual feedback needed to fully develop. This is without getting into the horrible scars the spiritual trauma would leave, all of which would damage future spiritual feedback. A child’s ghost would be partially suspended in time, incapable of taking the steps to grow all the way and become whole; almost as if they are stuck in their childhood, even as their experiences bring them to adulthood.
   
One of the most important parts of a soul is willpower, and a strong concept of self. Those with strong wills recover from spiritual damage much more quickly, in addition to being considerably more capable when it comes to the use of magic. Having a stronger soul tends to be associated with becoming a stronger, more willful mage, as one's willpower is extremely important in the control of magic.
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Not that that would ever happen.
   
Together, willpower and a strong concept of self protect the soul, making the individual harder and harder to kill. This strength stretches to every part of the soul, so such mages can resist magical effects through sheer willpower, even when the rest of their defenses would be stripped away. Those mages with high willpower can maintain their souls after the death of their body, allowing them to find, or for those who have achieved apotheosis, create a new one.
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==== Grounding ====
   
When a non-mage dies while undergoing intense emotion, they will often become what is known as a ghost. Ghosts are not an existence distinct from a soul - instead, they are more of a state that a soul can exist in. Their soul and its distinction barrier are kept together by the intensity of their final emotions in conventional life, and depending on the circumstances, they may only last a couple of seconds before they let go of their emotions and let their soul drift apart. Many ghosts, however, last for much longer, often decades, if not centuries.
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'''Grounding''' is a staple technique widely used in combat between agents, one that is absolutely essential for properly handling and harming those who no longer depend on their body. It allows an agent to harm souls with their attacks, even those that are seemingly purely physical, like a punch. Advanced forms of grounding have even more applications, and on high levels of combat, agents mix up the use of many different grounding techniques. While usually meant to deal with souls, grounding is also useful against all sorts of disembodied consciousnesses, and can even reach the inner world when used properly.
   
=== Magical Arrays ===
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This is done through a variety of methods, the most simple of which is interacting with and hitting the soul simultaneously, with an attack that can reach both body and spirit. Any practiced agent can do this with some effort, but this is often complicated by various defensive measures, such as barriers, or even something so simple as retracting the soul deeper into the body and moving it to avoid attacks. As a result, grounding must be performed through a variety of different tricks and techniques, each requiring a different response. One particularly common and useful method works by reverse engineering spiritual feedback, tricking the soul into damaging itself in response to physical harm. Others just transfer the injury through the link between body and spirit, though brute force like this often fails.
   
When an individual uses magic for the first time, the action marks the entirety of their soul and brands them as a mage, a wielder of Fantasy. This mark takes the form of a complex series of pathways in their soul, through which they channel magic through their emotion and drive. This system is referred to as a magical array. No two individuals have the same '''magical array'''; each individual's magical array develops differently, similarly to and in conjunction with their soul.
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Clever, experienced, and powerful agents will almost certainly use a wide variety of grounding methods throughout a fight, making their attacks very difficult to properly defend against. If necessary, they create backdoors and connections where there were none, improvising new techniques on the spot. In the event that a target’s soul isn’t in their body, strong grounders can potentially exploit even a brief connection to reach and destroy it, or whatever information lies at the other end, from a distance. If proper precautions haven’t been taken, and as long as a link exists, a lich’s phylactery can be destroyed from a distance by attacking a manifested body, for example. It’s even possible to hit a target’s soul through someone whose mind they’re controlling, or through a clone that remains linked.
   
When a mage first manifests their array, they are typically left drained for some time afterwards, and their array is somewhat sensitive. The more a mage uses magic, the more their array develops, spreads and strengthens. A stronger magical array means faster, more powerful spellcasting is possible, and more passive spells can be easily maintained. However, one’s magical array can be burnt out and damaged by overuse of magic, which is much more likely when the user is feeling intense emotion. Disuse, on the other hand, leads to an array gradually weakening, though it will never disappear.
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==== Radar ====
   
Still, a magical array will recover from harm over time, becoming hardier and stronger. Intensely emotional mages often develop redundant pathways, allowing them to keep up the use of high-level magic even when under extreme emotional strain for long periods of time, though such a feat would almost inevitably bring them near death.
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An agent’s '''“radar”''' is a set of magical senses that are active by default, acting in order to support their sensory abilities, maintaining a constant, 360° image of their surroundings. This is projected straight into their mind for processing, acting with such greater precision that they can pick up extremely small disturbances and changes even at a great range. These magical senses are much more reliable than any conventional physical senses and won’t all for the same tricks, but novice agents still have a way to go when it comes to developing their radar. They’re still likely to depend on their physical senses, using their radar only for support.
   
=== Apotheosis ===
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The radar and all the magical senses it covers can pick up on magical phenomena and other things that would normally be invisible or otherwise undetectable. On a high level, an agent can use their radar to determine a target’s general level of power and potentially read their soul and inner world outright, things that must be protected against. Precise radars can also keep track of phenomena on an incredibly small scale, following the motion of subatomic particles and potentially even paying attention on the Planck scale across an area as vast as a galaxy.
   
'''Apotheosis''' is the elevation of an individual to the level of the gods, a process that causes them to transcend their body and become an immortal magical existence that has surpassed death. No longer will the mage be bound by their body or mortality, with no need for any container. A mage who has achieved apotheosis can easily reform their body after its destruction, and can thus only be killed by critical damage to the soul. While many mages can leave their bodies as a soul to possess others, their soul is not immortal and still needs a container; without one, it will eventually fall apart.
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==== Second Apotheosis ====
   
On Earth, apotheosis was pursued by many branches of magic, such as Alchemy and Tao Chiao, but the road to perfection is a long, arduous, and complex one. To reach apotheosis, one must have a deep understanding of not just their body and how to recreate, but on their soul and the nature of magic as a whole. Due to the abstract and complicated structure of the soul, this is incredibly difficult, and even when Earth's humans devised how to create an artificial soul apotheosis remained a distant dream.
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Many agents, for whatever reason, believe that apotheosis on its own is not enough, that an individual can perfect themselves even further and transcend their soul, too, becoming a raw conceptual being. Most often, this idea is called simply '''second apotheosis''', although other terms for it exist. Unlike apotheosis, which, while not exactly widespread, is something many individuals reach across the universe, second apotheosis remains something much more theoretical and mysterious. There are those who have transcended their souls, but the methods vary, as do the end results, while apotheosis is much more straightforward once one gets to that point.
   
It is unknown if anyone actually achieved apotheosis on Earth in the years leading up to its destruction at [[SOLSTICE]]'s hands; in the years that followed the beginning of SOLSTICE's rampage, her ex-wife, [[EQUINOX]], managed to achieve it for herself after years of research and by mixing practices and theories from many different branches of magic. Others followed, but even when the road to apotheosis is laid out it is difficult to follow; every person's journey to apotheosis is ultimately their own. Apotheosis is generally thought to be necessary to fully access the power of an inner world, as that is the point at which an individual's inner world is strong enough to stand up against the cruel weight of Reality.
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One theory that holds second apotheosis in particularly high regard is the theory that souls and other beings were not originally connected at all. Proponents of this theory believe that, as mitochondria evolved from stray bacteria to become part of eukaryotic beings, souls evolved to become integral to the existence of most beings in not just our universe, but all universes. This connection would give the physical a greater connection to Fantasy, while it would give a form and container to the spiritual, allowing them to more easily influence the physical world.
   
There are beings that naturally exist in a state similar to that of apotheosis, in which they are not dependent on any body or container at all, such as loose spirits and angels. These beings cannot be truly said to have achieved apotheosis, as such a thing was never a concern for them anyways. Apotheosis is only relevant to mortals.
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Many who subscribe to this theory thereby believe that bodies die when their souls do because of a placebo (or, more accurately, nocebo) effect; because the individual believes on a deep subconscious level that they would die if this most abstract part of their self was destroyed. This theory says that, eventually, an individual will be able to transcend this aspect of their self and realize that their soul is not necessary. After all, the brain contains all the information that makes up an individual's identity, and a person can be completely changed by driving a pole through their skull.
   
=== Internal Reality ===
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Of course, theory is theory and practice is practice. While evidence can be pulled up, it has never been anything decisive, and it remains a matter of debate. Even if it were the case, it would not be easy for someone to convince themself that they don't need their soul. Plenty have tried, often even to prove the theory, and plenty have failed. Others have succeeded, but this means nothing; this is the power of a strong will, after all. Sheer force of personality can accomplish anything, as unreasonable as it may be.
   
The soul contains everything that makes up an individual’s existence, and all of their concepts. Their soul reflects the perceptions of the world, and contains all of their ideals and their concepts of it. Applying these concepts to the world is central to the use of magic, as is working to understand one’s soul, its construction, and its concepts. Ultimately, the most important research in any mage’s life is their unending mission to understand themself and master their magic.
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Regardless, plenty of beings across the universe have managed to evolve past their souls in some form, becoming soulless beings. Many, but not all definitions of second apotheosis include such beings; the strictest definition is that second apotheosis applies only to those who have fully transcended body and soul to become purely conceptual beings, living ideas that exist only in an abstract form. Such a feat is believed by many to be impossible, but who’s to say?
   
With the use of magic, a mage defines themself as distinct from the rest of the universe, forming their own '''personal reality''', or '''complete individual concept'''. They effectively become their own contained universe, with space, time, and possibility all their own. They cease to exist in the past or future of the rest of the universe, existing in their own present. Their entire history becomes a part of their existence, separate from the space and time of the universe, while they are freed from universal history, allowing them to pursue any future they desire. Through magic, a mage can be said to have complete control of their own destiny.
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As with apotheosis, beings who came into existence without a soul cannot be said to have achieved second apotheosis. It is another matter that is simply not relevant to them.
   
Together, a mage’s personal reality and their innermost concepts form their '''inner world'''. An inner world is the ultimate manifestation of any person, even those with no magical ability. It contains their innermost desires and beliefs, and the concepts that burn strongest within their soul. When an inner world is fully activated (which usually implies bringing it into existence as a pocket dimension), its effects and potential are fully unlocked.
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==== Subconscious Thought Programs ====
   
This is very difficult to do, often taking years of work, research, and personal development. An incarnate inner world’s environment is determined by its user’s associations and values, representing them in an abstract manner. Often, it is impossible for many mages to unlock their inner world, as they have simply not had the experiences needed to acclimate their soul for such a purpose. These experiences differ based on person to person, as do the inner worlds themselves.
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Thanks to their heightened computational power, the soul of an agent can maintain a number of background processes, or '''subconscious thought programs''' (known on Earth as '''daemons''') meant to aid in data processing, spellcasting, and other tasks. These programs either run automatically or trigger after certain conditions are met, needing no active management from an agent to function properly. Any agent is bound to naturally develop a set of these, which will help maintain processes like absolute barriers, adaptation, and the effects of ego pressure, but the best example of one is an agent’s radar, which runs at all times. Other, more unique programs may arise over time as an agent’s needs demand, or thanks to their inner world, while many agents create their own daemons to help with certain issues.
   
The effects of an inner world manifest in ways that support an individual’s fighting style, inclinations, and abilities, often appearing through these abilities in some form and amplifying them. A mage needs no knowledge on their inner world to reap these unconscious rewards, but deeper introspection and eventual mastery will heighten their power and utility.
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A common sight among these assorted artificial daemons are '''mutation programs''', which subtly modify the foundation of an agent’s spells through pseudorandom algorithms. Activating in combat, the mutations produced usually start off irrelevant and inconsequential, but, over time, they’re likely to create a high number of spell variants, none of which are necessarily better. Instead, they’re just different enough to necessitate the production of new counterspells and bypass adapted defenses. Of course, they may mutate into something better after all, but they could also go the other way and get worse instead. Either way, it takes some time for most mutation programs to yield good results, and they’re no substitute for manually improving on spells. Certainly more practical in the middle of a fight, though.
   
All inner worlds reflect the nature of the external, physical world, and cannot be affected or altered so easily as the rest of the soul. Any significant change, even damage, will ultimately be rejected, just as changes to physics will eventually be reversed by Reality. This, along with the fact that the inner world is the most abstract part of a soul, makes affecting the inner world extremely difficult and is why the strongest souls, those who have unlocked the potential of their inner worlds, are such a challenge to destroy.
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However, not all these programs are beneficial, nor do agents create them only to use on their own soul. Daemons that are installed into a victim’s soul with malicious intent are known as '''curse programs''', and act as a particularly sophisticated form of curse, as implied by the name. These curses draw on a portion of their host’s intellect to maintain themselves, constantly running in the background and either continuously exerting their effects, or waiting for a certain trigger to set them off. Combined with other curse vectors, these curse programs can prove exceptionally potent and very difficult to remove.
   
This also makes modifying the inner world of others extremely difficult, much harder than simply completely destroying a soul, and even a talented Inner World Operator would struggle to make large-scale changes. They could make changes over time, slightly worsening and exploiting weaknesses, but it would take a ludicrously skilled Inner World Operator to fully rewrite another inner world. Even then, it would take, at the very least, hours of hard work, if not years, and it’s difficult to predict what kind of person would result from the new inner world. Thanks to the '''Egoist Principle''', however, it’s much easier for someone to modify and even rewrite their own inner world, but the process is still long, hard, and risky. Consensual modification from a trusted person is also easier, but not as easy as self-modification.
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==== Traumatic Spiritual Feedback ====
   
=== Combat ===
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'''Traumatic spiritual feedback''' occurs when an individual undergoes severe psychological trauma, of the sort that would result in posttraumatic stress disorder, and when the soul, following the same processes as ever, records this damage and its effects. Something that is already detrimental for the brain doesn’t exactly help the soul, either, burning the same fears, memories, and thought processes into the individual’s immortal register. As a result, even if the individual is an agent and even if their brain doesn’t matter to them, psychological trauma can still occur and persist, causing damage to the soul.
   
As many mages who participate in combat are more dependent on their soul than they are their physical body, most combat mages develop the ability to harm both the body and soul simultaneously with their magic, allowing them to kill other mages without worrying about their souls escaping. Even then, no single part of a soul, besides the inner world, is more important than any other, and the strongest, most willful mages could potentially exist as the smallest fraction, though this would cause them severe, long-lasting (if not indefinite) spiritual wounds. Similarly, mages learn to heal spiritual damage more quickly, and most magical healers heal both the body and soul.
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However, the soul is a tough thing, and will only grow stronger in the hands of agents. Just as it heals from all injury, the soul can recover from even the worst trauma. Even if the psychological issues it causes remain, the soul will grow hardier, as the strain drives it to heal stronger, the same way it responds to all harm. It is also worth noting that, though it does not fall under the blanket of ‘traumatic spiritual feedback’, the soul will also record other mental disorders, for better or worse.
   
In combat, many mages learn to make use of '''repression''', an advanced magical technique in which, through sheer force of will, the user essentially ignores their injuries, suspending the effects of their wounds. While widely-used for obvious reasons, as it allows one to keep fighting even when they should’ve collapsed, it is incredibly risky and difficult to use safely. These injuries cannot be simply ignored forever, after all, and will eventually reinstate themselves, often once the threat has passed.
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==== Willpower ====
   
This can prove fatal for even the most experienced mages, as an entire battle’s worth of severe injuries suddenly spread through their soul. Most allow the injuries to trickle down once they’re prepared to deal with them and rest so that they can properly heal. However, there are those who are too stubborn to confront their spiritual trauma, and constantly repress it, allowing the injuries to steadily accumulate, until the dam breaks and they all flood out at once. This can happen out of nowhere, or in response to more extreme stress and injuries. When the dam breaks for such a person, death is generally inevitable. Even the most powerful repression cannot stave off an attack powerful enough to be instantly and unambiguously lethal.
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An individual’s willpower is one of their most important tools when it comes to the usage of magic. It is so important that many other things pale in comparison, as, through sheer willpower alone, an agent could bend and break even the toughest laws and push through even the worst adversity. A strong will is needed to properly control magic, and can be used to call upon greater and greater levels of power and recover from damage faster. Those with strong wills tend to have strong souls, and harming them becomes harder than ever.
   
Destruction of the soul is not simply destruction. It is the erasure of everything that encompasses an individual. Their memories, experiences, beliefs, concepts, emotions, and magic. Attacking a soul is attacking everything that makes up the individual, and destroying it is the collapse of the self and everything it represents.
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An agent’s willpower manifests within their soul as '''ego pressure''', the spiritual equivalent of reality pressure. This acts as the final layer of protection for any agent, lying behind their barriers and gradually working to reverse any harm or unwanted change forced upon the soul, with this effect acting at its strongest within the soul’s deepest reaches. Thanks to ego pressure, an agent can fend off and reject harm even when all their barriers have been stripped away. Ego pressure will not kick in to the same extent in response to self-modification (something called the Egoist Principle), or to consensual changes from another, but it still makes both difficult.
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The strength of ego pressure varies depending on the individual and their force of will, and though ego pressure can theoretically gradually reverse anything but death, it’s 100% possible to kill someone before their ego pressure kicks in, with wounds that aren’t so easy to reverse. This can be aided by '''repression''', an ability that allows an agent to ignore their own injuries, suspending their wounds and their effects. While widely-used by those who can pull it off for obvious reasons, as it allows an agent to keep fighting when they would’ve collapsed, or even when they would be dead otherwise, it is extremely difficult to use safely.
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Each use of repression is a risk, as these injuries cannot be ignored forever, and it’s not like ego pressure cannot reverse suspended wounds. Even if it takes years, these wounds will eventually reinstate themselves, though this usually occurs the second the threat has passed. This can prove fatal for even agents of the highest caliber, as, suddenly, an entire fight’s worth of injuries spread through their soul all at once. Most allow the injuries to trickle down once they’re prepared to deal with them and rest so that they can properly heal. However, there are those who are too stubborn to confront their spiritual trauma, and constantly repress it, allowing the injuries to steadily accumulate, until the dam breaks and they all flood out at once.
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This can happen out of nowhere, but usually occurs in response to extreme stress and injuries. In such a situation, for such a person, death is generally inevitable, but at least it will be swift. Though repression may be a powerful tool, it cannot fend off anything and everything, and an attack that would be unambiguously and instantly fatal is not something that can be repressed.
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=== Structure ===
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Though it may be abstract and immaterial in nature, even the soul has a structure and “anatomy”, with distinct portions that can be researched and better understood. However, the soul does not have any sense of direction or location that can be understood by a normal human, so, oftentimes, a complete description on how exactly the soul comes together is more or less impossible. Still, many parts of the soul have been comprehensively studied.
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==== Barriers ====
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Formed by ego pressure, the outermost layer of the soul, the '''distinction barrier''', acts as protection for the rest and is what keeps a soul together, though it is not strong enough to do so forever once the soul is outside of a container. Its strength is dependent on the individual’s ‘power’, both magical power and willpower. For normal beings, those who don’t use magic, the distinction barrier provides negligible defense against spiritual attack, and none at all from physical attack. However, an agent is able to exert their distinction barrier to better protect their soul, and even their body, affecting the physical world.
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In this state, in the hands of an agent, a distinction barrier often causes a shimmering veil of what seems to be light to appear around them. This is called, among other things, an '''aura''', and it may be faint and colorless, or it may be glowing brightly in whatever color. Going by an aura and distinction barrier, many agents are able to tell individuals apart and recognize them, as these things are often unique and distinctive.
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All personal magical barriers are contained in the outermost layer of the soul, alongside the distinction barrier, assisting it in keeping out magical attacks and making it more powerful than ever. Eventually, through continued usage of and exposure to magic, all these barriers will evolve into an even more powerful defense, the '''absolute barrier'''. This protects the user from external manipulation and attack, on every level of existence, shielding their body, mind, and soul - their cells and atoms, the magical and physical forces keeping them together, and everything else. It is akin to a magical immune system, protecting the agent from threats and adapting to future attack.
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An absolute barrier is passively maintained at all times, even in sleep, requiring no energy to maintain, and can only be removed by another agent actively stripping it away, or by the user consciously lowering them. Punching through or removing an absolute barrier is incredibly difficult, though an agent of vastly greater strength may be able to easily punch through. Over the course of a fight between high-level agents, generally speaking, one or both absolute barriers will eventually give way, allowing the other to directly attack the soul.
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==== Personal Reality ====
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For an agent, the soul contains everything that makes them who they are. It stores all their concepts and records every little bit about how they approach and see the world. And because these concepts are central to an individual’s magic, what they are compatible with, and how it turns out, the study of one’s self can be considered the most important subject in magic. For many, self-discovery is an unending process.
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On Earth, before the planet was rendered uninhabitable, though this was something that was generally understood, the deepest structure and nature of the soul was not yet known. Many theorized on it, yes, and some even formulated correct theories on the subject. Deep within the soul of an individual is their own '''personal reality''', their '''complete individual concept''', and, with the use of magic, an agent manifests this and defines themself as distinct from the rest of the universe.
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An agent is their own contained universe, with space, time, and possibility all their own. No longer do they exist in the past or the present of the universe around them - instead, an agent exists in their own present, and their entire history becomes a part of their existence, freeing them from universal causality. It can be said that, because of this, an agent has gained complete control of their own destiny, and the ability to pursue any future they desire.
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Together, an individual’s personal reality and their innermost concepts form their '''inner world''', a representation of everything vital to their existence; their most important memories, the things they value most, their beliefs, their desires, and the way they have lived their life. An inner world has passive effects that manifest within an agent in a way that supports their inclinations and abilities, such as their fighting style, if they are a fighter. They often appear through their magical abilities in some way, amplifying them. An agent needs no knowledge on their inner world to reap these unconscious rewards, but deeper introspection and eventual mastery will heighten their power and utility.
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Eventually, if an agent does continue these things, they may gain the ability to fully activate their inner world, which usually implies bringing it into existence as a pocket dimension. This is very difficult to do, as mentioned above, often taking years of work, research, and personal development, but a fully developed inner world is an extremely meaningful and powerful boon for any agent. An incarnate inner world’s environment is determined by its user’s associations and values, representing them in an abstract manner. Often, it is impossible for many agents to unlock their inner world, as they have simply not had the experiences needed to acclimate their soul for such a purpose. These experiences differ based on person to person, as do the inner worlds themselves. Apotheosis is generally held to be necessary for the manifestation of an inner world, for example.
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All inner worlds reflect the nature of the external, physical world, and cannot be affected or altered so easily as the rest of the soul. Any significant change or harm, will ultimately be rejected by one’s ego pressure, with greater power than usual, just as changes to physics will eventually be reversed by Reality. This, along with the fact that the inner world is the most abstract aspect of one’s self, makes affecting the inner world extremely difficult. Because of this, destroying the strongest souls, those who have unlocked the potential of their inner worlds, is extremely challenging.
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This also makes modifying the inner world of others extremely difficult, much harder than simply completely destroying a soul, and even a talented Inner World Operator would struggle to make large-scale changes. They could make changes over time, slightly worsening and exploiting weaknesses, but it would take a ludicrously skilled Inner World Operator to fully rewrite another inner world. Even then, it would take, at the very least, hours of hard work, if not years, and it’s difficult to predict what kind of person would result from the new inner world. Self-modification and consensual modification are still easier, but working with inner worlds will never not be difficult and risky.
   
 
== Magic ==
 
== Magic ==
   
'''Magic''' is the science of researching, understanding, and utilizing the Fantasy within a person’s self to bend the universe to one’s will. While it may be separate from conventional science, magic is still, in the end a science, as it is built around observing and understanding the world around you, and then, applying your knowledge to change it.
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'''Magic''' is the process and science of researching, understanding, and utilizing the Fantasy within a person’s self to bend the universe to one’s will. While it may be separate from conventional science, magic is still, in the end a science, as it is built around observing and understanding the world around you, and then, applying your knowledge to change it.
   
 
In itself, magic is not a force - it is the truest expression of one’s desires and willpower through Fantasy, the world inside us as opposed to Reality, the world around us. While it’s not necessary for the use of magic, scientific knowledge and an understanding of Reality and its laws make the full use of magic easier. Although the existences of Reality and Fantasy are opposites, they are opposites that exist within each other, and magic can be used to fill in the gaps that conventional science cannot, and vice versa.
 
In itself, magic is not a force - it is the truest expression of one’s desires and willpower through Fantasy, the world inside us as opposed to Reality, the world around us. While it’s not necessary for the use of magic, scientific knowledge and an understanding of Reality and its laws make the full use of magic easier. Although the existences of Reality and Fantasy are opposites, they are opposites that exist within each other, and magic can be used to fill in the gaps that conventional science cannot, and vice versa.
   
When you better understand something, it is easier to control and manipulate, to bend it in new ways and change the world. The greater your knowledge on the world, the greater the depth and your versatility of the magic. Of course, knowledge is not absolutely necessary for magic, but it helps a lot. Without it, a mage has to rely more on forcing the world to comply with anything they want, which is considerably less efficient and versatile.
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When you better understand something, it is easier to control and manipulate, to bend it in new ways and change the world. The greater your knowledge on the world, the greater the depth and your versatility of the magic. Of course, knowledge is not absolutely necessary for magic, but it helps a lot. Without it, an agent has to rely more on forcing the world to comply with anything they want, which is considerably less efficient and versatile.
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Magic can bend the laws of the universe and decide fate in significant ways. A simple desire of “I want this person to die” can kill a target outright when put to use in magic with sufficient intent behind it, simply ending the possibility for life in all of its forms, though for less experienced agents, this is incredibly difficult and inefficient. It would be easier to induce physical death death by stopping the target’s heart or through similar means, or bending causality and probability to guide the victim’s fate towards their death.
   
Magic can bend the laws of the universe and decide fate in significant ways. A simple desire of “I want this person to die” can kill a target outright when put to use in magic with sufficient intent behind it, simply ending the possibility for life in all of its forms, though for less experienced mages, this is incredibly difficult and inefficient. It would be easier to induce physical death death by stopping the target’s heart or through similar means, or bending causality and probability to guide the victim’s fate towards their death. Similar applications can be utilized to realize nearly any goal, with the strongest of mages being able to manipulate all of the universe’s forces and toy with even the past and future.
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Similar applications can be utilized to realize nearly any goal, with the strongest of agents possessing the power to manipulate all of the universe’s forces and toy with even the past and future.
   
 
=== Systems of Magic ===
 
=== Systems of Magic ===
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In its true form, magic just ''happens''. Once one has decided how it will be used, they simply will the effects into reality. There is no magical force, unlike the fundamental physical forces - magic occurs because someone's will has made it that way. However, in this form, pure magic is incredibly hard to use, control, and direct, requiring focus and a strong will.
 
In its true form, magic just ''happens''. Once one has decided how it will be used, they simply will the effects into reality. There is no magical force, unlike the fundamental physical forces - magic occurs because someone's will has made it that way. However, in this form, pure magic is incredibly hard to use, control, and direct, requiring focus and a strong will.
   
In its place, most mages channel magic through certain systems designed to better control it. It is simply much, much easier to control magic when using gestures, incantations, rituals, and objects, which greatly aid in focusing the powerful intent behind magic. It’s not that pure magic is not useable - it certainly is, and it can be used competently during combat. It just takes a lot of energy and focus, making channeled magic easier.
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In its place, most agents channel magic through certain systems designed to better control it. It is simply much, much easier to control magic when using gestures, incantations, rituals, and objects, which greatly aid in focusing the powerful intent behind magic. It’s not that pure magic is not useable - it certainly is, and it can be used competently during combat. It just takes a lot of energy and focus, making channeled magic easier.
   
 
This type of magic is the second of four phases in the development of magic, used to measure both the progression of a society’s grasp on magic, and an individual’s.
 
This type of magic is the second of four phases in the development of magic, used to measure both the progression of a society’s grasp on magic, and an individual’s.
 
# '''Unconscious Phase:''' The first phase, when magic is used unknowingly and unintentionally. This is when people only just start discovering magic and begin using it without thinking, without meaning, just as a side-effect of their thoughts and desires. This is unpredictable and uncontrollable, entirely inconsistent in nature.
 
# '''Unconscious Phase:''' The first phase, when magic is used unknowingly and unintentionally. This is when people only just start discovering magic and begin using it without thinking, without meaning, just as a side-effect of their thoughts and desires. This is unpredictable and uncontrollable, entirely inconsistent in nature.
 
# '''Ritual Phase:''' The second phase, when knowledge of magic is present, and systems are in place to make use of it. At this stage, it’s much easier to control, and is also much more predictable, which can be a mixed bag. Incantations, rituals, and artifacts are the name of the game here, and those who use this magic have a limited pool of spells, which take time and research to expand on.
 
# '''Ritual Phase:''' The second phase, when knowledge of magic is present, and systems are in place to make use of it. At this stage, it’s much easier to control, and is also much more predictable, which can be a mixed bag. Incantations, rituals, and artifacts are the name of the game here, and those who use this magic have a limited pool of spells, which take time and research to expand on.
# '''Post-Ritual Phase:''' The third phase, sometimes considered merely an intermediary between the ritual and lucid phases. Now, while the use of rituals remains necessary in some form, the mage has reached a point when they can rely on pure magic as much or more than ritual magic. Spells can be devised on the spot and when under pressure, for example.
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# '''Post-Ritual Phase:''' The third phase, sometimes considered merely an intermediary between the ritual and lucid phases. Now, while the use of rituals remains necessary in some form, the agent has reached a point when they can rely on pure magic as much or more than ritual magic. Spells can be devised on the spot and when under pressure, for example.
# '''Lucid Phase:''' The fourth and final phase of magic development, an extreme rarity in the world, assuming it’s even possible at all. At this point, rituals are more or less unnecessary, though may remain in some vestigial form, and only pure magic is needed. With the knowledge that the world is purely subjective, the lucid mage does not any need specific, pre-established spells, only creativity and willpower.
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# '''Lucid Phase:''' The fourth and final phase of magic development, an extreme rarity in the world, assuming it’s even possible at all. At this point, rituals are more or less unnecessary, though may remain in some vestigial form, and only pure magic is needed. With the knowledge that the world is purely subjective, the lucid agent does not need specific, pre-established spells, only creativity and willpower.
   
 
There are many, many systems of magic from Earth alone, let alone from all around the world, and each can be effectively used to channel nearly any magical effects. These many systems of magic include the following:
 
There are many, many systems of magic from Earth alone, let alone from all around the world, and each can be effectively used to channel nearly any magical effects. These many systems of magic include the following:
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'''Notable Users:''' [[EQUINOX]], [[SOLSTICE]], [[Venus Kang]]
 
'''Notable Users:''' [[EQUINOX]], [[SOLSTICE]], [[Venus Kang]]
   
Alchemy is a widespread system of magic on Earth, ostensibly devoted to the study and manipulation of matter. Primarily focused through chemical equations and reactions, it has been traditionally been used to manipulate chemical processes and matter, but it is a versatile, deep system of magic. Symbols and ciphers are also often used to channel magic. Over the course of many centuries, it has greatly grown in depth and complexity, splitting into many other, more specific branches.
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Alchemy is a widespread system of magic on Earth, ostensibly devoted to the study and manipulation of matter. Primarily focused through chemical equations and reactions, it has traditionally been used to manipulate chemical processes and matter, but it is a versatile, deep system of magic. Symbols and ciphers are also often used to channel magic. Over the course of many centuries, it has greatly grown in depth and complexity, splitting into many other, more specific branches.
   
 
Throughout Earth’s history, alchemists have been notoriously secretive about the nature of their studies, but over time alchemy has only become more widespread, becoming a fairly common course in magical studies that has had most of its secrets laid bare for the world.
 
Throughout Earth’s history, alchemists have been notoriously secretive about the nature of their studies, but over time alchemy has only become more widespread, becoming a fairly common course in magical studies that has had most of its secrets laid bare for the world.
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Almagest is a magical martial art that is channeled through the motion and positioning of celestial bodies. By connecting themself to the celestial firmament of the universe, the user gains a heightened cosmic awareness that allows them to make the full use of Almagest’s techniques and call upon the magic in the universe. In Almagest, the vector used for magic are not symbols, but the motions of celestial bodies, and the movements of the user themself. Due to this, Almagest is incredibly complex and very difficult to master, with high-level techniques requiring a complicated series of movements to be executed perfectly.
 
Almagest is a magical martial art that is channeled through the motion and positioning of celestial bodies. By connecting themself to the celestial firmament of the universe, the user gains a heightened cosmic awareness that allows them to make the full use of Almagest’s techniques and call upon the magic in the universe. In Almagest, the vector used for magic are not symbols, but the motions of celestial bodies, and the movements of the user themself. Due to this, Almagest is incredibly complex and very difficult to master, with high-level techniques requiring a complicated series of movements to be executed perfectly.
   
One of the most commonly used applications of Almagest is channelling the motion and rotation of celestial bodies into attacks. Almagest can also be used to emulate flight by subtly manipulating gravitational forces. Despite its complexity, Almagest is an art that sprouts in most universes in some form, as is it is simply incredibly useful for any star spirit.
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One of the most commonly used applications of Almagest is channeling the motion and rotation of celestial bodies into attacks. Almagest can also be used to emulate flight by subtly manipulating gravitational forces. Despite its complexity, Almagest is an art that sprouts in most universes in some form, as it is simply incredibly useful for any star spirit.
   
 
<big>'''Inner World Operator'''</big>
 
<big>'''Inner World Operator'''</big>
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'''Origin:''' N/A
 
'''Origin:''' N/A
   
'''Notable Users:''' [[Ceres (Starcross)|Ceres]], [[Harahel]], [[Jophiel (Starcross)|Jophiel]], [[Observer]], [[Raziel (Starcross)|Raziel]], [[Yaldabaoth (Starcross)|Yaldabaoth]]
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'''Notable Users:''' [[Ceres (Starcross)|Ceres]], [[Harahel]], [[Jophiel (Starcross)|Jophiel]], [[Logos]], [[Observer]], [[Raziel (Starcross)|Raziel]], [[Sophia (Starcross)|Sophia]], [[Uriel (Starcross)|Uriel]]
   
 
The inversion of World Operator - rather than the magic of world programming, Inner World Operator is instead directed inwards, focusing on programming souls and, as implied by the name, inner worlds. It is a magic no less complex than World Operator, necessitating extensive knowledge of spiritual mechanics to utilize, but in turn, grants an immense amount of power over the soul.
 
The inversion of World Operator - rather than the magic of world programming, Inner World Operator is instead directed inwards, focusing on programming souls and, as implied by the name, inner worlds. It is a magic no less complex than World Operator, necessitating extensive knowledge of spiritual mechanics to utilize, but in turn, grants an immense amount of power over the soul.
   
This is an incredibly difficult magic to master and explore, one that requires extensive experimentation, typically one’s own soul or those of others. Such research is generally extremely agonizing and damaging, if not potentially fatal, and so there are few who truly understand its full applications - mastering it requires dedication, even if they know certain spells.
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This is an incredibly difficult magic to master and explore, one that requires extensive experimentation, typically one’s own soul or those of others. Such research is generally extremely agonizing and damaging, if not potentially fatal, and so there are few who truly understand its full applications - mastering it requires dedication.
 
'''Inner World Operator Spells and Techniques:'''
 
 
{{Scroll box|content=
 
{{Scroll box|content=
*'''Spiritual Profiling:''' Thanks to a familiarity with the soul, a user can come up with a detailed and generally accurate profile of another individual’s soul and its composition just by spending time around them and analyzing their actions. It’s even more effective in combat, during which the user can come to conclusions on her opponent’s inner world based on their magic, how it functions, and how it’s used. This is far from foolproof and prone to error, but any profile will be refined over time, becoming more and more accurate and laying the foundation of future analysis and attack.
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* '''Array Realignment:''' The user can perform rapid, minute changes to an opponent's soul to interfere with the flow of magical energy and emotion, making magic more difficult to use and control. With a bit more focus, they can perform more extensive modifications, surgically realigning an opponent's spiritual network to interfere with its functions as much as possible. This can make magic nearly impossible to use, and may have deadly side effects if the pathways are altered to lead to vulnerable parts of the soul.
*'''Super Phantasmagoria:''' The most powerful form of illusion, the pinnacle of all hallucinatory magic. While most illusions work by fooling or warping one’s senses or mind, Super Phantasmagoria strikes at the fundamental existence of its target, inverting its victim’s inner world. This draws them into the depths of their own consciousness, sealing them within their body and giving the user freedom to peruse their memories. While this effect is active, the victim is subject to a powerful illusion that can draw upon their memories and fears to create a virtually perfect replication of the real world. The specifics are completely up to the user - the illusions can be realistic, complex, and subtle, or abrupt, disruptive, and seemingly impossible. It’s possible to make a victim relive parts of their life, or even the entirety of it, show other possible outcomes, create false events that convince the victim they’ve defeated their opponent, or just simply put them through painful situations. The user can alter their perception of time during this illusion as well, making them experience what is just moments in reality as years upon years of falsehoods. Even if her opponent suspects or knows it’s an illusion, breaking out is an incredibly difficult task. It’s very hard to analyze and counter the spell while caught under its effects, and as the user can alter their mind, they can stomp out any such thoughts. And if their opponent does free themselves, they run the risk of being caught in another layer of the illusion, an illusion in which they escaped its effects. As these illusions are realized within the inner world of a victim, the fundamental, conceptual basis of their existence, their effects are reflected in full force on both their body and soul. While normal illusions can harm the victim through shock or suggestion, Super Phantasmagoria can do so outright, potentially even killing them. They also derive the energy needed from their victim. Besides killing or distracting an opponent, they can also be used to seal an opponent within their own consciousness and potentially control their body.
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* '''Ego Compress:''' The user can intensify the ego pressure their soul emits, allowing it to reassert their personal reality more easily, heal faster, and prevent attempts at soul manipulation. It can also more violently counter such attempts if the user suddenly ramps up the pressure just as an opponent reaches inside. This will likely sever, if not completely annihilate, a portion of the invader’s consciousness, whichever bit got cut off inside. It can potentially even destroy physical things, such as limbs and weapons, if it catches them.
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* '''Ego Stabilizer:''' The user can project a barrier into their inner world, or another person’s, to provide protection and keep it stable in a pinch. This barrier takes the shape of the subject’s personal reality and patches up any holes, allowing the subject to escape death and heal properly when in dire straits. It can also be used to block attacks, but it is best utilized for healing purposes and preventing an ego collapse.
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* '''Inner World Extraction:''' An expert Inner World Operator can neatly dissect an opponent and pull out their inner world, leaving them to die. This is always lethal, and it is possible to preserve these inner worlds for research purposes by freezing them in time.
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* '''Null Operation:''' The ability to spiritually operate on beings without souls. Such entities aren't exactly rare, but they unsurprisingly function differently, requiring any Inner World Operator to have a specialized set of knowledge and experience if they want to be able to dissect them normally.
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* '''Spiritual Profiling:''' Thanks to a familiarity with the soul, a user can come up with a detailed and generally accurate profile of another individual’s soul and its composition just by spending time around them and analyzing their actions. It’s even more effective in combat, during which the user can come to conclusions on her opponent’s inner world based on their magic, how it functions, and how it’s used. This is far from foolproof, but any profile will be refined over time, becoming more and more accurate and laying the foundation for future analysis and attack.
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* '''Paracosm Phantasmagoria:''' The pinnacle of hallucinatory magic, an illusion that inverts the inner world rather than merely fool around with any of its target’s conventional senses. This draws them into their own consciousness and traps them within, a combination of an illusion and seal, allowing the user to peruse their memories or put them out of their misery. As long as the spell is active, the victim is subject to a perfect illusion that can draw upon all their thoughts, memories, wishes, and fears to replicate the outside world.<br><br>The user has complete control of the specifics; the illusions can be complex, realistic, and subtle, acting over the course of what feels like lifetimes, or nightmarish, seemingly impossible fever dreams. They can make victims relive parts of their lives, or potentially the whole thing, show other possible outcomes, create completely false scenarios, control their actions and force them to follow an unpleasant “script”, or concoct various scenes that acknowledge their unreality but subject the victim to perfectly lifelike torture anyways. They can alter their perception of time during this illusion as well, with the greatest making them experience what is just moments in reality as years upon years of falsehoods.<br><br>Even if the victim knows it’s an illusion, breaking out without outside help is so difficult that it’s nearly impossible. Magic can be barred with ease, and the user can control any magic that they let through anyways. Analyzing the spell while under its effects is extremely challenging, and the user can stomp out such thoughts anyways. If their opponent does escape the illusion, they are likely to unknowingly be caught in another layer, of which there are many.<br><br>As these illusions are realized within the inner world of a victim, the fundamental, conceptual basis of their existence, their effects are reflected in full force on both their body and soul. While normal illusions can harm the victim through shock or suggestion, Paracosm Phantasmagoria can do so outright and can kill them with ease. All the energy needed for the illusion is derived from the victim themself, and the strain of this alone can be lethal.
 
}}
 
}}
   
 
<big>'''Logos'''</big>
 
<big>'''Logos'''</big>
   
'''Origin:''' Heaven
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'''Origin:''' [[Heaven (Starcross)|Heaven]]
   
 
'''Notable Users:''' All angels
 
'''Notable Users:''' All angels
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With this supernatural concentration and the powerful will behind it, Logos revolves around transcending physical attacks and instead relying on pure magical attacks. The user simply wills that their target is struck, and they are, by an instantaneous force with no physical component. These cannot be responded to by normal means, instead requiring magical defenses and accurate predictions to counter them. In combat, a user utilizes both physical and pure magic, so an opponent must defend themselves on both a physical and magical level at once.
 
With this supernatural concentration and the powerful will behind it, Logos revolves around transcending physical attacks and instead relying on pure magical attacks. The user simply wills that their target is struck, and they are, by an instantaneous force with no physical component. These cannot be responded to by normal means, instead requiring magical defenses and accurate predictions to counter them. In combat, a user utilizes both physical and pure magic, so an opponent must defend themselves on both a physical and magical level at once.
   
'''Logos Spells and Techniques:'''
 
 
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*'''Aeon:''' A meditation art that is incredibly difficult to master for even the greatest practitioners of Logos, and so remains an exceedingly rare sight in Heaven. Through concentration during a meditative state, it is possible for the user to cast their awareness across the universe and even into other realms. When properly utilized, they can observe events across cross-universal distances, with such precision that it is as if they were actually there. With their immense magical power, the greatest can even affect things across such distances.
+
* '''Aeon:''' A meditation art used by angelic leaders for the sake of observing and guiding large groups of angels, particularly during battles. By concentrating and entering a meditative state, the user can cast their awareness across a cosmic distance, even into other realms, observing events so accurately it’s as if they’re actually there.
*'''Augoeides:''' A secret, little known high-level Logos technique that draws upon the user’s mastery of all of their existence to project a solid image of their consciousness into the world. These projections have no will or intelligence of their own, and those who have truly mastered the technique can have their projections act in accordance with their desires without needing active direction. While most users can only project these duplicates within a fairly limited range, the greatest masters can manifest them within other universes. However, their power - which is normally on a similar scale to the original’s - is limited by such astronomical distances. At such distances, they cannot use their abilities to the same extent, though they are still very powerful.
+
* '''Eight Ends:''' A technique that focuses on disabling an opponent’s senses to leave them helpless, channeled through the user’s attacks. The senses it deactivates are not limited to the five senses of the body, and include a target’s self-awareness, memories, and even their consciousness itself. As agents rely on magical sensing and their own thoughts more than their conventional five senses, a magic limited to these things would be useless, so Eight Ends targets the foundation of things and disables them as well. The deactivation of all an opponent’s senses leads to a comatose state that leaves them incapable of acting or thinking, though agents with powerful defenses can resist these effects, and those with highly developed souls and enough power can act unconsciously in such a state, relying on muscle memory and instinct alone. Few opponents are competent like this. The true power of Eight Ends does not aim to deactivate senses, however, but to destroy them, ultimately seeking to destroy an opponent by completely erasing their consciousness and sense of self.
*'''Eight Ends:''' A technique that focuses on disabling an opponent’s senses to leave them helpless, channeled through the user’s attacks. The senses it deactivates are not limited to the five senses of the body, and include a target’s self-awareness, memories, and even their consciousness itself. As mages rely on magical sensing and their own thoughts more than their conventional five senses, a magic limited to these things would be useless, so Eight Ends targets the foundation of things and disables them as well. The deactivation of all an opponent’s senses leads to a comatose state that leaves them incapable of acting or thinking, though mages with powerful defenses can resist these effects, and those with highly developed souls and enough power can act unconsciously in such a state, relying on muscle memory and instinct alone. Few opponents are competent like this. The true power of Eight Ends does not aim to deactivate senses, however, but to destroy them, ultimately seeking to destroy an opponent by completely erasing their consciousness and sense of self.
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* '''Kinesis Circuit:''' A defensive technique popular among angels, which they can use to transmit the energy of any attack directed at them through their soul and back to the sender with 100% efficiency. Doing so requires perfect precision and subtlety, and the technique can be thrown off entirely by the slightest miscalculation, allowing damage to slip through. It is also vulnerable to more subtle and abstract forms of attack, such as Inner World Operation.
*'''Limbo:''' Through this spell, the user can phase their body in and out of existence to avoid attacks. However, this can be easily negated by powerful magic and the knowledge on how, so it is limited to being a support ability.
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* '''Natural Reasoning:''' A deep understanding of Logos’ functions and a sense for its use, developed over the course of many years of experience. Thanks to this knowledge, the practitioner can accurately predict how opponents will use it and react appropriately, even when it’s exercised on a massive scale and in huge quantities.
*'''Luminous Fist:''' The existence of those who have truly mastered Logos and reached a level that not even Yaldabaoth reached in life - the transcendence of thought and action. At this level, the user does not stand on the level of other, lesser martial artists or mages, but stands above, with a pure, thoughtless consciousness that cannot be clouded by indecision, fear, or confusion. It is not something that has to be activated and automatically comes into play once the user starts fighting. In combat, the user has no need for conscious thought or intentions as not just their body, but all of their existence, acts on their supernatural instinct. As opposed to thinking out their movements, the user subconsciously takes in all of their opponent’s actions and unconsciously reacts. This allows the user to easily intuit the perfect way to dodge every attack and how to respond. At this level, thoughts are only an accessory to martial arts, and are unnecessary to show the full extent of one’s skill. Though this state can be described as “thoughtless”, the user is still thinking while using the ability, just extremely quickly and without being disturbed by any mental defilement. They remain fully capable of analyzing opponents and their abilities, processing large amounts of information, and performing complex calculations. These things actually become even easier than before due to the user’s absolute unconscious focus. However, it does not make their consciousness superfluous, and can potentially be disturbed by a strong enough attack on the user’s mind.
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* '''Synchronize Self:''' Using Logos, the user can humbly minimize their own ego, identity, and presence to such an extreme degree that they fade from all senses. It is as if the universe itself fails to notice them as every sign of their existence vanishes, meaning that even on the smallest scale, matter simply does not react to their motions and they become completely intangible and invisible, eluding magical senses as well. In this state, the user can move around as much as they want, but attacking will blow their cover.
*'''Zero Heart:''' Existence in nonexistence. The ultimate goal of Logos, even if it wasn’t one that Yaldabaoth was aware of. Every use of Logos will slowly - very slowly - lead to this result, but it cannot be reached through the mastery of Logos alone. To transcend one’s soul and become nothing, one must discard their desires and their sense of self. Of all those who have ever used Logos, only [[Mastema]] and Raphael have ever reached this state. Through Zero Heart, the user no longer has a soul, and all the fixtures that would be a part of their soul instead exist within the nothingness that is their body. As nothingness, they become deathless, yet simultaneously transient, embodying the ultimate nature of Logos.}}
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  +
* '''Luminous Fist:''' The existence of those who have truly mastered Logos and reached a level that not even Yaldabaoth reached in life - the transcendence of thought and action. At this level, the user does not stand on the level of other, lesser martial artists or agents, but stands above, with a pure, thoughtless consciousness that cannot be clouded by indecision, fear, or confusion. It is not something that has to be activated and automatically comes into play once the user starts fighting.<br><br>In combat, the user has no need for conscious thought or intentions as not just their body, but all of their existence, acts on their supernatural instinct. As opposed to thinking out their movements, the user subconsciously takes in all of their opponent’s actions and unconsciously reacts. This allows the user to easily intuit the perfect way to dodge every attack and how to respond. At this level, thoughts are only an accessory to martial arts, and are unnecessary to show the full extent of one’s skill.<br><br>Though this state can be described as “thoughtless”, the user is still thinking while using the ability, just extremely quickly and without being disturbed by any mental defilement. They remain fully capable of analyzing opponents and their abilities, processing large amounts of information, and performing complex calculations. These things actually become even easier than before due to the user’s absolute unconscious focus. However, it does not make their consciousness superfluous, and can potentially be disturbed by a strong enough attack on the user’s mind.
  +
* '''Zero Heart:''' Existence in nonexistence. The ultimate goal of Logos, even if it wasn’t one that Yaldabaoth was aware of. Every use of Logos will slowly - very slowly - lead to this result, but it cannot be reached through the mastery of Logos alone. To transcend one’s soul and become nothing, one must discard their desires and their sense of self. Of all those who have ever used Logos, only [[Mastema]] and Raphael have ever reached this state. Through Zero Heart, the user no longer has a soul, and all the fixtures that would be a part of their soul instead exist within the nothingness that is their body. As nothingness, they become deathless, yet simultaneously transient, embodying the ultimate nature of Logos. That is, righteous self-sacrifice.}}
   
 
<big>'''Runic Magic'''</big>
 
<big>'''Runic Magic'''</big>
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'''Tao Chiao Spells and Techniques:'''
 
'''Tao Chiao Spells and Techniques:'''
*'''Shukuchi:''' A Taoist pseudo-teleportation technique that allows the user to subtly manipulate spatial relations and distance so that they can travel even great distances in a single step. While much simpler and easier to use than true teleportation, it becomes more and more imprecise the greater the distance and suffers similarly in close quarters.
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* '''Shukuchi:''' A Taoist pseudo-teleportation technique that allows the user to subtly manipulate spatial relations and distance so that they can travel even great distances in a single step. While much simpler and easier to use than true teleportation, it becomes more and more imprecise the greater the distance and suffers similarly in close quarters.
 
<big>'''Thelema'''</big>
 
 
'''Origin:''' Earth
 
 
'''Notable Users:''' [[EQUINOX]]
 
 
Developed by Aleister Crowley after his revelation in 1904, Thelema revolutionized much of Earth’s modern understanding of magic. Not just a magical system but a philosophy, Thelema states that all individuals are unique and have their own paths, and that they should follow their True Will, the overall motivation of their existence. That way, they’d be free to realize their own ambitions, and shouldn’t interfere with the paths of others. Thelema’s most important law is Love, and that all will reunite with their true self within love. Thelema also divides human history into “Aeons” named after the Egyptian gods, with the Aeon starting during the 20th Century being the Aeon of Horus.
 
 
Of course, these beliefs differ from individual to individual, as all Thelemites are encouraged to follow their own beliefs. Taking elements from many religions and other, older systems of magic, Thelemic magick is based around many complex rituals and incantations, and is meant to help its users along their path. Also greatly relevant to magic are certain sacred numbers given great magical significance.
 
   
 
<big>'''World Operator'''</big>
 
<big>'''World Operator'''</big>
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'''Origin:''' N/A
 
'''Origin:''' N/A
   
'''Notable Users:''' [[EQUINOX]], [[Harahel]], [[Jophiel (Starcross)|Jophiel]], [[Mastema]], [[Raziel (Starcross)|Raziel]], [[Uriel (Starcross)|Uriel]], [[Yaldabaoth (Starcross)|Yaldabaoth]]
+
'''Notable Users:''' [[EQUINOX]], [[Harahel]], [[Jophiel (Starcross)|Jophiel]], [[Logos]], [[Logos (Original)|Logos Prime]], [[Mastema]], [[Raziel (Starcross)|Raziel]], [[Sophia (Starcross)|Sophia]], [[Uriel (Starcross)|Uriel]], [[Yaldabaoth (Starcross)|Yaldabaoth]]
   
 
A somewhat loose system that refers to magic that exerts influence on such a scale that the fabric of the universe acts as its canvas - the magic of world programming. Magic on such a high level is extremely advanced, lying only in the hands of the most skilled and knowledgeable practitioners, who use this mastery of magic to reach into reality and bend space, time, physics, probability, quantum mechanics, and mathematics to their will.
 
A somewhat loose system that refers to magic that exerts influence on such a scale that the fabric of the universe acts as its canvas - the magic of world programming. Magic on such a high level is extremely advanced, lying only in the hands of the most skilled and knowledgeable practitioners, who use this mastery of magic to reach into reality and bend space, time, physics, probability, quantum mechanics, and mathematics to their will.
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'''World Operator Spells and Techniques:'''
 
'''World Operator Spells and Techniques:'''
*'''Akashic Record:''' With this spell, a user can repurpose unused and distant parts of the space-time continuum to backup their processing skills, effectively warping portions of space and time into supercomputers with which they can record and process information at incredibly rapid speeds. Through this technique, it is possible to compress even the largest banks of information into infinitesimally small bytes without losing any data, allowing for much, much faster processing and essentially infinite storage space.
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*'''Eternity Seal:''' The spellcaster bends space and time and engulfs their opponent within the fabric of the universe, trapping them within its “underside”, the unused parts of space and time.
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* '''Akashic Record:''' With this spell, a user can back up their processing power by connecting themself to distant portions of space and time, essentially transforming portions of the space-time continuum into supportive processing units. Through this technique, they can greatly compress even the largest banks of information without losing any data, allowing for much, much faster processing and vast storage space.
*'''Multiplicative Onslaught:''' By manipulating arithmetic, the user can literally multiply their own attacks, turning a single strike into two, or ten, or even a hundred, all of which happen simultaneously. This allows the user to push their offense further and further, while overwhelming any defenses through sheer volume of attacks. In an instant, they can create a wall of hundreds, thousands, millions, or even billions of attacks, annihilating most defenses in this same moment.
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* '''Bit Contraction / Expansion:''' The user can change the length of actions, either increasing or decreasing the amount of time it takes to perform a certain action. For example, they can make instant attacks take a quantifiable amount of time, or do the opposite to have one of their attacks occur instantly. Or they can infinitely extend the amount of time it takes for an opponent to move or think, leaving them helpless.<br><br>This can be used to extend the amount of time it would take a dying person to pass on and truly die, and the user can use it on themself in such a situation, but not to such a degree that death could be staved off through that alone. It will inevitably catch up, faster and faster, without medical attention. They could also do the opposite to ensure someone dies faster.
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* '''Dimensional Sequester:''' The operator lashes out at the universe around them with stunning precision, severing spatiotemporal bonds to separate a chunk of reality from the rest. This is all to trap an opponent and force a fight, as escape through physical means is impossible, and the user can adjust things to prevent transdimensional teleportation as well.
  +
* '''Fantasy Suppression:''' The user can replicate and even control reality pressure, the anti-magical force exerted by Reality in response to Fantasy. Doing this through magic seems paradoxical, but without Fantasy, reality pressure would not exist - it is a symptom, not a natural function. The user achieves this feat through unbelievably fast and precise usage of World Operator, quickly reasserting Reality to cancel out magic used against them with the full, crushing force of possibility.
  +
* '''History Falsification:''' The agent can insert actions into the past and future of both the universe and their own soul, even doing so with opposing inner worlds if given the chance. They typically do so to manifest successful attacks on their part, creating them in the past or future as an immutable fate, though they can also use it to retroactively prevent attacks that they can’t heal normally.
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* '''Hyper Singularity:''' Using World Operator, the agent can deform both space and time to create a black hole, an area with such great gravity that even light cannot escape. Once someone is past its event horizon, thanks to this gravity, escape is extremely difficult through any means. Space itself curves so that every path leads back to its center, the singularity, and not even time escapes its influence.<br><br>A victim can potentially escape through magical means, but it is much easier said than done, especially as a black hole’s crushing tidal forces are enough to overwhelm and cancel out magic. If one hasn’t been torn to ribbons by this, the singularity itself will almost certainly end things, exposing victims to a crushing dose of Reality and compressing them into a single, infinitely small point.
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* '''Judicator:''' The agent can manipulate physics to control and create laws, applying them over a wide area, both magical and physical laws, which they can tailor for their own benefit. Any attempt to go against these laws is impossible without using magic to twist and break them, just as it is impossible to go against the laws of physics.
  +
* '''Multiplicative Onslaught:''' By manipulating arithmetic, the user can literally multiply their own attacks, turning a single strike into two, or ten, or even a hundred, all of which happen simultaneously. This allows the user to push their offense further and further, while overwhelming any defenses through sheer volume of attacks. In an instant, they can create a wall of hundreds, thousands, millions, or even billions of attacks, annihilating most defenses in this same moment.
  +
* '''Phase Shift:''' The user operates on surrounding space to compact, introduce, and/or remove dimensions, allowing them to vastly expand their field of movement while limiting their opponents’. Through this, the user can control their own dimensional structure, taking on new dimensions to move in a variety of impossible ways and attack from many newly-formed angles at once, while shedding them to avoid retaliation. Particularly skilled users can even control temporal dimensions in this way.<br><br>This also inhibits opponents, as the user can divert their attacks to other dimensions, and they can even collapse these dimensions to shrink things down to the Planck scale. Or they could simply erase them and leave nothing behind.
  +
* '''Supertasking:''' By exploiting World Operator to manipulate time over and over, the user can carry out supertasks, executing an infinite sequence of actions in a finite period of time. Each step is executed in half the time it took to perform the last, allowing them to finish whatever task by the time the second has passed. Even when it would seem impossible and an end state would be impossible to predict, the user can reject any paradox, overriding reality pressure, and determine the result.
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  +
* '''Rationalize Heart:''' An unusual, highly complex and unique application of World Operator, used by those who can completely disregard emotions and focus only on the physical. It allows a World Operator to process souls and inner worlds as physical quantities and mathematically model them, turning them into something that can be concretely measured and visualized rather than the properly abstract objects they are.<br><br>The agent can then use World Operator to interface with and manipulate a soul as if it were the physical universe around them, applying the laws of physics to something that normally rejects them. It is an emulation of Inner World Operation, one that is far from perfect, being poorly suited to the more precise changes required in true soul surgery. Compared to a true Inner World Operator, a user’s efforts are clumsy, and bound to do more harm than good.<br><br>As useful as this ability is, it cannot perfectly translate the soul, even with vast knowledge on physics backing it up. However, due to its unusual vectors, opponents used to fighting Inner World Operators will be incapable of defending against these soul-directed attacks in the same way. This also functions on a much higher and more complex scale than simply targeting a soul with magic that affects physics - it forces the soul to comply with them.
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}}
 
[[Category:Blog posts]]
 
[[Category:Blog posts]]
 
[[Category:Promestein's Pages]]
 
[[Category:Promestein's Pages]]
[[Category:Starcross]]
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[[Category:Agency Lore|Agency]]

Revision as of 07:13, April 4, 2020

The World

The world as we know it, Reality, is but one component of the complete and endless world around us, a single piece of a complex system of interconnected parallel universes. This system is the Kaleidoscope, which makes up the endless Dimensional Spectrum, each color another phase, another dimension of the complete world. The Kaleidoscope’s deepest reaches are the foundation of Fantasy, born from the thoughts, imaginations, dreams, emotions, and ambitions of beings across every infinity. A “space” that doesn’t exist in a comprehensible way, Fantasy exists as the desire for change and impossibility throughout all things. Reality is what is physically possible, the true, while Fantasy is the impossible, the fake.

All the different realities across the Kaleidoscope exist at different depths, and the deeper one gets, the more the world is subject to flux, impossibility, and physical errors. Some are completely subject to Reality, incapable of breaking free from its laws under normal circumstances, but others, deeper in Fantasy, find that they have the tools to bend physics and its rules. This is magic, the process of manifesting one’s will to alter the world around them, manipulating Fantasy itself to manifest the impossible. The extent to which magic can enact change varies depending on the depth of the universe, but wherever Fantasy exists, Reality will attempt to reassert itself to erase the falsehoods, through a force known as reality pressure. In some worlds, deep inside the Kaleidoscope, however, the rules reverse themself, and Fantasy is the norm against which Reality strives.

With sufficient power and effort, an agent - one that acts or exerts power; a user of magic - can outright break the laws of physics and seize complete control of their own fate. The potential for magic exists everywhere and within everything, and can be sought out and taken by any who can make an effort, even if some universes that tread shallower waters in the Kaleidoscope make it particularly difficult for those who aspire towards it. Magic is amplified by strong emotions, growing more powerful in response to greater need and more intense feelings. As it is influenced by the emotions, beliefs, and desires of people, the ways Fantasy manifests itself within different universes are invariably affected by how people perceive and think about the world. The world is, in many ways, not only defined, but controlled by those who perceive it, and by how they perceive it.

The world, whether it be Reality or Fantasy, has no overarching concepts, forms, or universals. Any that seem to exist are merely imposed by another agent for their own purposes. “Concepts” are merely ideas, the categories and viewpoints individuals use to compartmentalize and understand the world around them, and they exist within only the consciousness of these observers. Magic, however, can aid in the manifestation of concepts, and these concepts, reflecting the mindset and beliefs of an agent, affect their magic and how it operates more than anything else. Through magic, one enforces their own perception, and so a battle of magic is not just a fight - it is a clash of individuals and a communication of ideals.

The Soul

The soul is commonly believed to be the magical manifestation of Fantasy within all things, though this may not be a particularly accurate description. The truest nature of the soul is not known, though many theories exist - some believe it is an inherent and vital part of living things, others believe the soul is parasitic in nature, and some believe that souls and living bodies came together in mutualistic symbiosis. No matter what it is, the soul is central to the usage of magic in those beings and worlds in which it exists. The exact mechanics of the soul vary from universe to universe, from planet to planet, from organism to organism, and even from individual to individual. Because of this, a knowledgeable agent could determine the origin of a soul through simple analysis, but of course, this is easier said than done.

Naturally, the study of the soul is of huge interest in any civilization that has discovered their existence. This study is known as spiritual theory, and its practitioners, spiritual theorists. Those who exercise their spiritual research and work on the most complex level, reaching even the inner world, are also known as inner world operators. Despite the countless years of research that many have put into the soul, there remains no complete theory or understanding, and many outstanding issues in spiritual theory. Compared to the physical world, the soul is abstract and even incomprehensible, anathema to basic physics and operating on completely different laws and ideas.

Properties

In most physical beings, such as humans, the soul relies on the body for structure, without which it would dissipate, and is shaped by the consciousness of the organism and whatever acts as their nervous system. As the organism develops, the soul acts as a record for their consciousness, their thoughts, emotions, experiences, and even brainwaves. This process, known as spiritual feedback, is what defines the soul, eventually shaping it to be what is, in essence, an abstract embodiment of the individual, an incorporeal record of their existence. However, for people who don’t use magic, the soul does not really do anything of use, and if one such individual underwent a brain injury that caused amnesia, disability, and/or personality changes, the spiritual feedback would damage the soul and its record.

In agents, however, things are different. The more someone uses magic, the more they enrich their soul. The circuit that their nervous system and soul creates grows, becoming something that the agent can fully utilize, granting them a heightened, extrasensory awareness of the world and an ability to call upon increasingly high levels of magical energy. This is thanks to the soul’s connection to Fantasy, and because of the way it “completes” the nervous system, it also allows for higher levels of thought and information processing. As a result, an agent who survives a life-changing brain injury could retain their memories and original personality.

However, spiritual feedback is not a one-way road, and just as the body can change the soul, the soul can change the body. A person’s emotions, actions, and memories can be controlled through their soul, and catastrophic damage to the soul will take a heavy toll on the body. In the worst case scenario, when an individual’s soul is destroyed, they will drop dead as their nervous system is fried to a crisp, and every other vital system ceases to work as well. Though agents have to worry about this issue just like anyone else, their use of magic allows them to better protect their soul, and even if someone seizes control of their actions, an agent will retain their own consciousness and identity, to some extent.

Despite their stronger connection to their soul, most agents are still dependent on their body. Even if they can retain certain things after brain trauma, that’s only of any consequence if they survive said brain trauma. Without proper precautions and the right set of knowledge, the soul can’t do anything to save the body from a hole in the head or chest. To increase their own survivability, an agent must take the steps to become less dependent on something as flimsy as a body and instead shift their focus to the soul. With the time to expand their knowledge and ability, an agent could potentially survive without food or air and live through injuries that would instantly kill an ordinary human. This is aided through magical processes such as regeneration, along with many other methods. For example, some agents find ways to endure past the death of a body and move onto another as just their soul, seizing control.

But, in the end, most agents still need their body, even if just a little. Even if they could survive having their body incinerated or annihilated, the soul needs a container, and if it goes too long without a body, it will eventually dissipate into nothing. This may take anywhere from just a few minutes to many years - but, still, the soul needs a body. However, through apotheosis, an agent can rise to the level of a god, transcending their body and becoming an immortal existence that has surpassed death.

These agents, which are quite rare, have no need for a container and can exist just as a soul and nothing else - though many choose to stay in their bodies, so as to not wander too far from “humanity” (or whatever analogue). The road to apotheosis is long and complex, requiring vast knowledge of the body and soul, and it is often believed that each person has a different route they must follow to reach it. It is generally thought that achieving apotheosis is necessary to fully access the power of an inner world, as that is the point at which an individual's personal reality is strong enough to stand up against the cruel weight of external Reality.

These ideas and rules only apply to those who exist as a body and a soul - there are many who exist as a purely spiritual existence, such as stray spirits and angels. They cannot be truly said to have achieved apotheosis, as such a thing was never a concern for them anyways. Apotheosis is only relevant to mortals. In addition, souls are not an absolute necessity for life or magic, and there are beings who exist without them, though this has its own set of challenges.

Ghosts

When an individual dies while undergoing intense emotion, they may unknowingly engrave their dying self into their soul, kicking into motion a poorly understood series of processes that will result in the soul temporarily surviving the death of the body. Their soul will become what is known as a ghost, a stray existence kept together only by the intensity of their final moments and emotions.

Ghosts are far rarer than one would expect, and it has been estimated that, on Earth, only one in one million deaths resulted in a ghost. However, this is likely to be wildly inaccurate, as it has been found that many ghosts only survive for a few minutes or hours after death, quickly dissipating into nothing. A few last for days, even fewer for months, and so on. Of course, some argue that the definition of a ghost should only apply to those that persist for a longer period of time.

Unfortunately for ghosts, undeath is often a miserable existence, and many see ghosts as pests, and thus set out to put them out of their misery. Others believe these spirits should be helped, whether this means aiding them in peacefully passing on or giving them a new body to keep them together, and another shot at life. Not even this is bound to be easy for a ghost, however, due to the nature of their existence, as their dying moments will stay with them forever and are likely to have significantly damaged their souls. Future spiritual feedback would become difficult and may operate in strange, unusual ways, leading to things like physical injuries appearing for seemingly no reason.

A particularly unlucky group are the ghosts of children, which rarely survive longer than a day - a child’s ghost surviving for even a year is unheard of, to the point that the idea is laughable. After all, what kind of child has not only the capacity to understand exactly what they’re going through, especially after the trauma of death, but also the willpower to stubbornly persist anyways?

Of course, even if a child’s ghost was able to get a second shot at life and a new body, their soul would not have undergone the complete process of spiritual feedback needed to fully develop. This is without getting into the horrible scars the spiritual trauma would leave, all of which would damage future spiritual feedback. A child’s ghost would be partially suspended in time, incapable of taking the steps to grow all the way and become whole; almost as if they are stuck in their childhood, even as their experiences bring them to adulthood.

Not that that would ever happen.

Grounding

Grounding is a staple technique widely used in combat between agents, one that is absolutely essential for properly handling and harming those who no longer depend on their body. It allows an agent to harm souls with their attacks, even those that are seemingly purely physical, like a punch. Advanced forms of grounding have even more applications, and on high levels of combat, agents mix up the use of many different grounding techniques. While usually meant to deal with souls, grounding is also useful against all sorts of disembodied consciousnesses, and can even reach the inner world when used properly.

This is done through a variety of methods, the most simple of which is interacting with and hitting the soul simultaneously, with an attack that can reach both body and spirit. Any practiced agent can do this with some effort, but this is often complicated by various defensive measures, such as barriers, or even something so simple as retracting the soul deeper into the body and moving it to avoid attacks. As a result, grounding must be performed through a variety of different tricks and techniques, each requiring a different response. One particularly common and useful method works by reverse engineering spiritual feedback, tricking the soul into damaging itself in response to physical harm. Others just transfer the injury through the link between body and spirit, though brute force like this often fails.

Clever, experienced, and powerful agents will almost certainly use a wide variety of grounding methods throughout a fight, making their attacks very difficult to properly defend against. If necessary, they create backdoors and connections where there were none, improvising new techniques on the spot. In the event that a target’s soul isn’t in their body, strong grounders can potentially exploit even a brief connection to reach and destroy it, or whatever information lies at the other end, from a distance. If proper precautions haven’t been taken, and as long as a link exists, a lich’s phylactery can be destroyed from a distance by attacking a manifested body, for example. It’s even possible to hit a target’s soul through someone whose mind they’re controlling, or through a clone that remains linked.

Radar

An agent’s “radar” is a set of magical senses that are active by default, acting in order to support their sensory abilities, maintaining a constant, 360° image of their surroundings. This is projected straight into their mind for processing, acting with such greater precision that they can pick up extremely small disturbances and changes even at a great range. These magical senses are much more reliable than any conventional physical senses and won’t all for the same tricks, but novice agents still have a way to go when it comes to developing their radar. They’re still likely to depend on their physical senses, using their radar only for support.

The radar and all the magical senses it covers can pick up on magical phenomena and other things that would normally be invisible or otherwise undetectable. On a high level, an agent can use their radar to determine a target’s general level of power and potentially read their soul and inner world outright, things that must be protected against. Precise radars can also keep track of phenomena on an incredibly small scale, following the motion of subatomic particles and potentially even paying attention on the Planck scale across an area as vast as a galaxy.

Second Apotheosis

Many agents, for whatever reason, believe that apotheosis on its own is not enough, that an individual can perfect themselves even further and transcend their soul, too, becoming a raw conceptual being. Most often, this idea is called simply second apotheosis, although other terms for it exist. Unlike apotheosis, which, while not exactly widespread, is something many individuals reach across the universe, second apotheosis remains something much more theoretical and mysterious. There are those who have transcended their souls, but the methods vary, as do the end results, while apotheosis is much more straightforward once one gets to that point.

One theory that holds second apotheosis in particularly high regard is the theory that souls and other beings were not originally connected at all. Proponents of this theory believe that, as mitochondria evolved from stray bacteria to become part of eukaryotic beings, souls evolved to become integral to the existence of most beings in not just our universe, but all universes. This connection would give the physical a greater connection to Fantasy, while it would give a form and container to the spiritual, allowing them to more easily influence the physical world.

Many who subscribe to this theory thereby believe that bodies die when their souls do because of a placebo (or, more accurately, nocebo) effect; because the individual believes on a deep subconscious level that they would die if this most abstract part of their self was destroyed. This theory says that, eventually, an individual will be able to transcend this aspect of their self and realize that their soul is not necessary. After all, the brain contains all the information that makes up an individual's identity, and a person can be completely changed by driving a pole through their skull.

Of course, theory is theory and practice is practice. While evidence can be pulled up, it has never been anything decisive, and it remains a matter of debate. Even if it were the case, it would not be easy for someone to convince themself that they don't need their soul. Plenty have tried, often even to prove the theory, and plenty have failed. Others have succeeded, but this means nothing; this is the power of a strong will, after all. Sheer force of personality can accomplish anything, as unreasonable as it may be.

Regardless, plenty of beings across the universe have managed to evolve past their souls in some form, becoming soulless beings. Many, but not all definitions of second apotheosis include such beings; the strictest definition is that second apotheosis applies only to those who have fully transcended body and soul to become purely conceptual beings, living ideas that exist only in an abstract form. Such a feat is believed by many to be impossible, but who’s to say?

As with apotheosis, beings who came into existence without a soul cannot be said to have achieved second apotheosis. It is another matter that is simply not relevant to them.

Subconscious Thought Programs

Thanks to their heightened computational power, the soul of an agent can maintain a number of background processes, or subconscious thought programs (known on Earth as daemons) meant to aid in data processing, spellcasting, and other tasks. These programs either run automatically or trigger after certain conditions are met, needing no active management from an agent to function properly. Any agent is bound to naturally develop a set of these, which will help maintain processes like absolute barriers, adaptation, and the effects of ego pressure, but the best example of one is an agent’s radar, which runs at all times. Other, more unique programs may arise over time as an agent’s needs demand, or thanks to their inner world, while many agents create their own daemons to help with certain issues.

A common sight among these assorted artificial daemons are mutation programs, which subtly modify the foundation of an agent’s spells through pseudorandom algorithms. Activating in combat, the mutations produced usually start off irrelevant and inconsequential, but, over time, they’re likely to create a high number of spell variants, none of which are necessarily better. Instead, they’re just different enough to necessitate the production of new counterspells and bypass adapted defenses. Of course, they may mutate into something better after all, but they could also go the other way and get worse instead. Either way, it takes some time for most mutation programs to yield good results, and they’re no substitute for manually improving on spells. Certainly more practical in the middle of a fight, though.

However, not all these programs are beneficial, nor do agents create them only to use on their own soul. Daemons that are installed into a victim’s soul with malicious intent are known as curse programs, and act as a particularly sophisticated form of curse, as implied by the name. These curses draw on a portion of their host’s intellect to maintain themselves, constantly running in the background and either continuously exerting their effects, or waiting for a certain trigger to set them off. Combined with other curse vectors, these curse programs can prove exceptionally potent and very difficult to remove.

Traumatic Spiritual Feedback

Traumatic spiritual feedback occurs when an individual undergoes severe psychological trauma, of the sort that would result in posttraumatic stress disorder, and when the soul, following the same processes as ever, records this damage and its effects. Something that is already detrimental for the brain doesn’t exactly help the soul, either, burning the same fears, memories, and thought processes into the individual’s immortal register. As a result, even if the individual is an agent and even if their brain doesn’t matter to them, psychological trauma can still occur and persist, causing damage to the soul.

However, the soul is a tough thing, and will only grow stronger in the hands of agents. Just as it heals from all injury, the soul can recover from even the worst trauma. Even if the psychological issues it causes remain, the soul will grow hardier, as the strain drives it to heal stronger, the same way it responds to all harm. It is also worth noting that, though it does not fall under the blanket of ‘traumatic spiritual feedback’, the soul will also record other mental disorders, for better or worse.

Willpower

An individual’s willpower is one of their most important tools when it comes to the usage of magic. It is so important that many other things pale in comparison, as, through sheer willpower alone, an agent could bend and break even the toughest laws and push through even the worst adversity. A strong will is needed to properly control magic, and can be used to call upon greater and greater levels of power and recover from damage faster. Those with strong wills tend to have strong souls, and harming them becomes harder than ever.

An agent’s willpower manifests within their soul as ego pressure, the spiritual equivalent of reality pressure. This acts as the final layer of protection for any agent, lying behind their barriers and gradually working to reverse any harm or unwanted change forced upon the soul, with this effect acting at its strongest within the soul’s deepest reaches. Thanks to ego pressure, an agent can fend off and reject harm even when all their barriers have been stripped away. Ego pressure will not kick in to the same extent in response to self-modification (something called the Egoist Principle), or to consensual changes from another, but it still makes both difficult.

The strength of ego pressure varies depending on the individual and their force of will, and though ego pressure can theoretically gradually reverse anything but death, it’s 100% possible to kill someone before their ego pressure kicks in, with wounds that aren’t so easy to reverse. This can be aided by repression, an ability that allows an agent to ignore their own injuries, suspending their wounds and their effects. While widely-used by those who can pull it off for obvious reasons, as it allows an agent to keep fighting when they would’ve collapsed, or even when they would be dead otherwise, it is extremely difficult to use safely.

Each use of repression is a risk, as these injuries cannot be ignored forever, and it’s not like ego pressure cannot reverse suspended wounds. Even if it takes years, these wounds will eventually reinstate themselves, though this usually occurs the second the threat has passed. This can prove fatal for even agents of the highest caliber, as, suddenly, an entire fight’s worth of injuries spread through their soul all at once. Most allow the injuries to trickle down once they’re prepared to deal with them and rest so that they can properly heal. However, there are those who are too stubborn to confront their spiritual trauma, and constantly repress it, allowing the injuries to steadily accumulate, until the dam breaks and they all flood out at once.

This can happen out of nowhere, but usually occurs in response to extreme stress and injuries. In such a situation, for such a person, death is generally inevitable, but at least it will be swift. Though repression may be a powerful tool, it cannot fend off anything and everything, and an attack that would be unambiguously and instantly fatal is not something that can be repressed.

Structure

Though it may be abstract and immaterial in nature, even the soul has a structure and “anatomy”, with distinct portions that can be researched and better understood. However, the soul does not have any sense of direction or location that can be understood by a normal human, so, oftentimes, a complete description on how exactly the soul comes together is more or less impossible. Still, many parts of the soul have been comprehensively studied.

Barriers

Formed by ego pressure, the outermost layer of the soul, the distinction barrier, acts as protection for the rest and is what keeps a soul together, though it is not strong enough to do so forever once the soul is outside of a container. Its strength is dependent on the individual’s ‘power’, both magical power and willpower. For normal beings, those who don’t use magic, the distinction barrier provides negligible defense against spiritual attack, and none at all from physical attack. However, an agent is able to exert their distinction barrier to better protect their soul, and even their body, affecting the physical world.

In this state, in the hands of an agent, a distinction barrier often causes a shimmering veil of what seems to be light to appear around them. This is called, among other things, an aura, and it may be faint and colorless, or it may be glowing brightly in whatever color. Going by an aura and distinction barrier, many agents are able to tell individuals apart and recognize them, as these things are often unique and distinctive.

All personal magical barriers are contained in the outermost layer of the soul, alongside the distinction barrier, assisting it in keeping out magical attacks and making it more powerful than ever. Eventually, through continued usage of and exposure to magic, all these barriers will evolve into an even more powerful defense, the absolute barrier. This protects the user from external manipulation and attack, on every level of existence, shielding their body, mind, and soul - their cells and atoms, the magical and physical forces keeping them together, and everything else. It is akin to a magical immune system, protecting the agent from threats and adapting to future attack.

An absolute barrier is passively maintained at all times, even in sleep, requiring no energy to maintain, and can only be removed by another agent actively stripping it away, or by the user consciously lowering them. Punching through or removing an absolute barrier is incredibly difficult, though an agent of vastly greater strength may be able to easily punch through. Over the course of a fight between high-level agents, generally speaking, one or both absolute barriers will eventually give way, allowing the other to directly attack the soul.

Personal Reality

For an agent, the soul contains everything that makes them who they are. It stores all their concepts and records every little bit about how they approach and see the world. And because these concepts are central to an individual’s magic, what they are compatible with, and how it turns out, the study of one’s self can be considered the most important subject in magic. For many, self-discovery is an unending process.

On Earth, before the planet was rendered uninhabitable, though this was something that was generally understood, the deepest structure and nature of the soul was not yet known. Many theorized on it, yes, and some even formulated correct theories on the subject. Deep within the soul of an individual is their own personal reality, their complete individual concept, and, with the use of magic, an agent manifests this and defines themself as distinct from the rest of the universe.

An agent is their own contained universe, with space, time, and possibility all their own. No longer do they exist in the past or the present of the universe around them - instead, an agent exists in their own present, and their entire history becomes a part of their existence, freeing them from universal causality. It can be said that, because of this, an agent has gained complete control of their own destiny, and the ability to pursue any future they desire.

Together, an individual’s personal reality and their innermost concepts form their inner world, a representation of everything vital to their existence; their most important memories, the things they value most, their beliefs, their desires, and the way they have lived their life. An inner world has passive effects that manifest within an agent in a way that supports their inclinations and abilities, such as their fighting style, if they are a fighter. They often appear through their magical abilities in some way, amplifying them. An agent needs no knowledge on their inner world to reap these unconscious rewards, but deeper introspection and eventual mastery will heighten their power and utility.

Eventually, if an agent does continue these things, they may gain the ability to fully activate their inner world, which usually implies bringing it into existence as a pocket dimension. This is very difficult to do, as mentioned above, often taking years of work, research, and personal development, but a fully developed inner world is an extremely meaningful and powerful boon for any agent. An incarnate inner world’s environment is determined by its user’s associations and values, representing them in an abstract manner. Often, it is impossible for many agents to unlock their inner world, as they have simply not had the experiences needed to acclimate their soul for such a purpose. These experiences differ based on person to person, as do the inner worlds themselves. Apotheosis is generally held to be necessary for the manifestation of an inner world, for example.

All inner worlds reflect the nature of the external, physical world, and cannot be affected or altered so easily as the rest of the soul. Any significant change or harm, will ultimately be rejected by one’s ego pressure, with greater power than usual, just as changes to physics will eventually be reversed by Reality. This, along with the fact that the inner world is the most abstract aspect of one’s self, makes affecting the inner world extremely difficult. Because of this, destroying the strongest souls, those who have unlocked the potential of their inner worlds, is extremely challenging.

This also makes modifying the inner world of others extremely difficult, much harder than simply completely destroying a soul, and even a talented Inner World Operator would struggle to make large-scale changes. They could make changes over time, slightly worsening and exploiting weaknesses, but it would take a ludicrously skilled Inner World Operator to fully rewrite another inner world. Even then, it would take, at the very least, hours of hard work, if not years, and it’s difficult to predict what kind of person would result from the new inner world. Self-modification and consensual modification are still easier, but working with inner worlds will never not be difficult and risky.

Magic

Magic is the process and science of researching, understanding, and utilizing the Fantasy within a person’s self to bend the universe to one’s will. While it may be separate from conventional science, magic is still, in the end a science, as it is built around observing and understanding the world around you, and then, applying your knowledge to change it.

In itself, magic is not a force - it is the truest expression of one’s desires and willpower through Fantasy, the world inside us as opposed to Reality, the world around us. While it’s not necessary for the use of magic, scientific knowledge and an understanding of Reality and its laws make the full use of magic easier. Although the existences of Reality and Fantasy are opposites, they are opposites that exist within each other, and magic can be used to fill in the gaps that conventional science cannot, and vice versa.

When you better understand something, it is easier to control and manipulate, to bend it in new ways and change the world. The greater your knowledge on the world, the greater the depth and your versatility of the magic. Of course, knowledge is not absolutely necessary for magic, but it helps a lot. Without it, an agent has to rely more on forcing the world to comply with anything they want, which is considerably less efficient and versatile.

Magic can bend the laws of the universe and decide fate in significant ways. A simple desire of “I want this person to die” can kill a target outright when put to use in magic with sufficient intent behind it, simply ending the possibility for life in all of its forms, though for less experienced agents, this is incredibly difficult and inefficient. It would be easier to induce physical death death by stopping the target’s heart or through similar means, or bending causality and probability to guide the victim’s fate towards their death.

Similar applications can be utilized to realize nearly any goal, with the strongest of agents possessing the power to manipulate all of the universe’s forces and toy with even the past and future.

Systems of Magic

In its true form, magic just happens. Once one has decided how it will be used, they simply will the effects into reality. There is no magical force, unlike the fundamental physical forces - magic occurs because someone's will has made it that way. However, in this form, pure magic is incredibly hard to use, control, and direct, requiring focus and a strong will.

In its place, most agents channel magic through certain systems designed to better control it. It is simply much, much easier to control magic when using gestures, incantations, rituals, and objects, which greatly aid in focusing the powerful intent behind magic. It’s not that pure magic is not useable - it certainly is, and it can be used competently during combat. It just takes a lot of energy and focus, making channeled magic easier.

This type of magic is the second of four phases in the development of magic, used to measure both the progression of a society’s grasp on magic, and an individual’s.

  1. Unconscious Phase: The first phase, when magic is used unknowingly and unintentionally. This is when people only just start discovering magic and begin using it without thinking, without meaning, just as a side-effect of their thoughts and desires. This is unpredictable and uncontrollable, entirely inconsistent in nature.
  2. Ritual Phase: The second phase, when knowledge of magic is present, and systems are in place to make use of it. At this stage, it’s much easier to control, and is also much more predictable, which can be a mixed bag. Incantations, rituals, and artifacts are the name of the game here, and those who use this magic have a limited pool of spells, which take time and research to expand on.
  3. Post-Ritual Phase: The third phase, sometimes considered merely an intermediary between the ritual and lucid phases. Now, while the use of rituals remains necessary in some form, the agent has reached a point when they can rely on pure magic as much or more than ritual magic. Spells can be devised on the spot and when under pressure, for example.
  4. Lucid Phase: The fourth and final phase of magic development, an extreme rarity in the world, assuming it’s even possible at all. At this point, rituals are more or less unnecessary, though may remain in some vestigial form, and only pure magic is needed. With the knowledge that the world is purely subjective, the lucid agent does not need specific, pre-established spells, only creativity and willpower.

There are many, many systems of magic from Earth alone, let alone from all around the world, and each can be effectively used to channel nearly any magical effects. These many systems of magic include the following:

Alchemy

Origin: Earth (Europe and the Middle East)

Notable Users: EQUINOX, SOLSTICE, Venus Kang

Alchemy is a widespread system of magic on Earth, ostensibly devoted to the study and manipulation of matter. Primarily focused through chemical equations and reactions, it has traditionally been used to manipulate chemical processes and matter, but it is a versatile, deep system of magic. Symbols and ciphers are also often used to channel magic. Over the course of many centuries, it has greatly grown in depth and complexity, splitting into many other, more specific branches.

Throughout Earth’s history, alchemists have been notoriously secretive about the nature of their studies, but over time alchemy has only become more widespread, becoming a fairly common course in magical studies that has had most of its secrets laid bare for the world.

In truth, classical western alchemy is the pursuit of apotheosis, the elevation of the alchemist to the level of the gods. All the talk of transmutation, metals and elixirs are only red herrings, layers upon layers of symbolism that hide the true goal of absolute personal perfection. A “true” alchemist seeks to transcend their body to become an immortal magical existence that has surpassed death, though such schools have become rarer over time, and many more modern alchemists have instead focused on the more literal side of things.

Almagest

Origin: Space

Notable Users: Kyarne, Milky Way, Shrike

Almagest is a magical martial art that is channeled through the motion and positioning of celestial bodies. By connecting themself to the celestial firmament of the universe, the user gains a heightened cosmic awareness that allows them to make the full use of Almagest’s techniques and call upon the magic in the universe. In Almagest, the vector used for magic are not symbols, but the motions of celestial bodies, and the movements of the user themself. Due to this, Almagest is incredibly complex and very difficult to master, with high-level techniques requiring a complicated series of movements to be executed perfectly.

One of the most commonly used applications of Almagest is channeling the motion and rotation of celestial bodies into attacks. Almagest can also be used to emulate flight by subtly manipulating gravitational forces. Despite its complexity, Almagest is an art that sprouts in most universes in some form, as it is simply incredibly useful for any star spirit.

Inner World Operator

Origin: N/A

Notable Users: Ceres, Harahel, Jophiel, Logos, Observer, Raziel, Sophia, Uriel

The inversion of World Operator - rather than the magic of world programming, Inner World Operator is instead directed inwards, focusing on programming souls and, as implied by the name, inner worlds. It is a magic no less complex than World Operator, necessitating extensive knowledge of spiritual mechanics to utilize, but in turn, grants an immense amount of power over the soul.

This is an incredibly difficult magic to master and explore, one that requires extensive experimentation, typically one’s own soul or those of others. Such research is generally extremely agonizing and damaging, if not potentially fatal, and so there are few who truly understand its full applications - mastering it requires dedication.

  • Array Realignment: The user can perform rapid, minute changes to an opponent's soul to interfere with the flow of magical energy and emotion, making magic more difficult to use and control. With a bit more focus, they can perform more extensive modifications, surgically realigning an opponent's spiritual network to interfere with its functions as much as possible. This can make magic nearly impossible to use, and may have deadly side effects if the pathways are altered to lead to vulnerable parts of the soul.
  • Ego Compress: The user can intensify the ego pressure their soul emits, allowing it to reassert their personal reality more easily, heal faster, and prevent attempts at soul manipulation. It can also more violently counter such attempts if the user suddenly ramps up the pressure just as an opponent reaches inside. This will likely sever, if not completely annihilate, a portion of the invader’s consciousness, whichever bit got cut off inside. It can potentially even destroy physical things, such as limbs and weapons, if it catches them.
  • Ego Stabilizer: The user can project a barrier into their inner world, or another person’s, to provide protection and keep it stable in a pinch. This barrier takes the shape of the subject’s personal reality and patches up any holes, allowing the subject to escape death and heal properly when in dire straits. It can also be used to block attacks, but it is best utilized for healing purposes and preventing an ego collapse.
  • Inner World Extraction: An expert Inner World Operator can neatly dissect an opponent and pull out their inner world, leaving them to die. This is always lethal, and it is possible to preserve these inner worlds for research purposes by freezing them in time.
  • Null Operation: The ability to spiritually operate on beings without souls. Such entities aren't exactly rare, but they unsurprisingly function differently, requiring any Inner World Operator to have a specialized set of knowledge and experience if they want to be able to dissect them normally.
  • Spiritual Profiling: Thanks to a familiarity with the soul, a user can come up with a detailed and generally accurate profile of another individual’s soul and its composition just by spending time around them and analyzing their actions. It’s even more effective in combat, during which the user can come to conclusions on her opponent’s inner world based on their magic, how it functions, and how it’s used. This is far from foolproof, but any profile will be refined over time, becoming more and more accurate and laying the foundation for future analysis and attack.
  • Paracosm Phantasmagoria: The pinnacle of hallucinatory magic, an illusion that inverts the inner world rather than merely fool around with any of its target’s conventional senses. This draws them into their own consciousness and traps them within, a combination of an illusion and seal, allowing the user to peruse their memories or put them out of their misery. As long as the spell is active, the victim is subject to a perfect illusion that can draw upon all their thoughts, memories, wishes, and fears to replicate the outside world.

    The user has complete control of the specifics; the illusions can be complex, realistic, and subtle, acting over the course of what feels like lifetimes, or nightmarish, seemingly impossible fever dreams. They can make victims relive parts of their lives, or potentially the whole thing, show other possible outcomes, create completely false scenarios, control their actions and force them to follow an unpleasant “script”, or concoct various scenes that acknowledge their unreality but subject the victim to perfectly lifelike torture anyways. They can alter their perception of time during this illusion as well, with the greatest making them experience what is just moments in reality as years upon years of falsehoods.

    Even if the victim knows it’s an illusion, breaking out without outside help is so difficult that it’s nearly impossible. Magic can be barred with ease, and the user can control any magic that they let through anyways. Analyzing the spell while under its effects is extremely challenging, and the user can stomp out such thoughts anyways. If their opponent does escape the illusion, they are likely to unknowingly be caught in another layer, of which there are many.

    As these illusions are realized within the inner world of a victim, the fundamental, conceptual basis of their existence, their effects are reflected in full force on both their body and soul. While normal illusions can harm the victim through shock or suggestion, Paracosm Phantasmagoria can do so outright and can kill them with ease. All the energy needed for the illusion is derived from the victim themself, and the strain of this alone can be lethal.

Logos

Origin: Heaven

Notable Users: All angels

Logos is a heavenly martial art, system of magic, and philosophy developed by Yaldabaoth and spread throughout Heaven. Dedicated to controlling the totality of one’s being and using it in its entirety in combat, Logos is an instinctive fallback for angels, who have its foundation programmed into them. Logos works by clearing the user’s mind, sweeping away their emotions and identity for a time so that they can better focus on combat, making it difficult for angels to form stable identities and properly process emotions. As they generally lack any strong identities or emotions by default, angels are incredibly well-suited to the use of Logos.

With this supernatural concentration and the powerful will behind it, Logos revolves around transcending physical attacks and instead relying on pure magical attacks. The user simply wills that their target is struck, and they are, by an instantaneous force with no physical component. These cannot be responded to by normal means, instead requiring magical defenses and accurate predictions to counter them. In combat, a user utilizes both physical and pure magic, so an opponent must defend themselves on both a physical and magical level at once.

  • Aeon: A meditation art used by angelic leaders for the sake of observing and guiding large groups of angels, particularly during battles. By concentrating and entering a meditative state, the user can cast their awareness across a cosmic distance, even into other realms, observing events so accurately it’s as if they’re actually there.
  • Eight Ends: A technique that focuses on disabling an opponent’s senses to leave them helpless, channeled through the user’s attacks. The senses it deactivates are not limited to the five senses of the body, and include a target’s self-awareness, memories, and even their consciousness itself. As agents rely on magical sensing and their own thoughts more than their conventional five senses, a magic limited to these things would be useless, so Eight Ends targets the foundation of things and disables them as well. The deactivation of all an opponent’s senses leads to a comatose state that leaves them incapable of acting or thinking, though agents with powerful defenses can resist these effects, and those with highly developed souls and enough power can act unconsciously in such a state, relying on muscle memory and instinct alone. Few opponents are competent like this. The true power of Eight Ends does not aim to deactivate senses, however, but to destroy them, ultimately seeking to destroy an opponent by completely erasing their consciousness and sense of self.
  • Kinesis Circuit: A defensive technique popular among angels, which they can use to transmit the energy of any attack directed at them through their soul and back to the sender with 100% efficiency. Doing so requires perfect precision and subtlety, and the technique can be thrown off entirely by the slightest miscalculation, allowing damage to slip through. It is also vulnerable to more subtle and abstract forms of attack, such as Inner World Operation.
  • Natural Reasoning: A deep understanding of Logos’ functions and a sense for its use, developed over the course of many years of experience. Thanks to this knowledge, the practitioner can accurately predict how opponents will use it and react appropriately, even when it’s exercised on a massive scale and in huge quantities.
  • Synchronize Self: Using Logos, the user can humbly minimize their own ego, identity, and presence to such an extreme degree that they fade from all senses. It is as if the universe itself fails to notice them as every sign of their existence vanishes, meaning that even on the smallest scale, matter simply does not react to their motions and they become completely intangible and invisible, eluding magical senses as well. In this state, the user can move around as much as they want, but attacking will blow their cover.
  • Luminous Fist: The existence of those who have truly mastered Logos and reached a level that not even Yaldabaoth reached in life - the transcendence of thought and action. At this level, the user does not stand on the level of other, lesser martial artists or agents, but stands above, with a pure, thoughtless consciousness that cannot be clouded by indecision, fear, or confusion. It is not something that has to be activated and automatically comes into play once the user starts fighting.

    In combat, the user has no need for conscious thought or intentions as not just their body, but all of their existence, acts on their supernatural instinct. As opposed to thinking out their movements, the user subconsciously takes in all of their opponent’s actions and unconsciously reacts. This allows the user to easily intuit the perfect way to dodge every attack and how to respond. At this level, thoughts are only an accessory to martial arts, and are unnecessary to show the full extent of one’s skill.

    Though this state can be described as “thoughtless”, the user is still thinking while using the ability, just extremely quickly and without being disturbed by any mental defilement. They remain fully capable of analyzing opponents and their abilities, processing large amounts of information, and performing complex calculations. These things actually become even easier than before due to the user’s absolute unconscious focus. However, it does not make their consciousness superfluous, and can potentially be disturbed by a strong enough attack on the user’s mind.
  • Zero Heart: Existence in nonexistence. The ultimate goal of Logos, even if it wasn’t one that Yaldabaoth was aware of. Every use of Logos will slowly - very slowly - lead to this result, but it cannot be reached through the mastery of Logos alone. To transcend one’s soul and become nothing, one must discard their desires and their sense of self. Of all those who have ever used Logos, only Mastema and Raphael have ever reached this state. Through Zero Heart, the user no longer has a soul, and all the fixtures that would be a part of their soul instead exist within the nothingness that is their body. As nothingness, they become deathless, yet simultaneously transient, embodying the ultimate nature of Logos. That is, righteous self-sacrifice.

Runic Magic

Origin: Earth (Germanic countries)

Notable Users: EQUINOX

Runic magic is one of the better known schools of magic on Earth, with the earliest forms originating in Germanic territories far in the past, for use as both an alphabet and a system of magic. It centers around the usage of runes, specific symbols with specific effects carved into a surface, prepared beforehand, to realize a number of magical effects. The usage of runic tattoos for easy, faster spellcasting or passive effects is fairly common.

Every runic alphabet functions differently, magically speaking, though some are more similar to others. This is if there’s any magical application at all, at least, as some are really just alphabets. There are many different branches of runic magic as a result, with some diverging far from others in structure. All are descended from Elder Futhark in some form or another, even if some are completely different in form and function.

Tao Chiao

Origin: Earth (China)

Notable Users: EQUINOX

Tao Chiao refers to the religious practices and rituals associated with the philosophy of Taoism (or Daoism), which very often strayed into the territory of magic. Tao / Dao refers to “the Way”, and Taoism is centered around existing in harmony with the natural flow of the universe. Often referred to as Chinese or Taoist alchemy, Tao Chiao has much in common with western alchemy, including a similar focus on individual perfection and apotheosis.

The alchemical practices of Tao Chiao are split into two main methods of practice, waidan, or external alchemy, and neidan, or internal alchemy. Waidan is the art of alchemical operations and preparations, revolving around the creation of chemical elixirs and compounds, while neidan focuses on cultivating a healthy body and soul through meditation and breathing exercises in the pursuit of immortality.

Tao Chiao Spells and Techniques:

  • Shukuchi: A Taoist pseudo-teleportation technique that allows the user to subtly manipulate spatial relations and distance so that they can travel even great distances in a single step. While much simpler and easier to use than true teleportation, it becomes more and more imprecise the greater the distance and suffers similarly in close quarters.

World Operator

Origin: N/A

Notable Users: EQUINOX, Harahel, Jophiel, Logos, Logos Prime, Mastema, Raziel, Sophia, Uriel, Yaldabaoth

A somewhat loose system that refers to magic that exerts influence on such a scale that the fabric of the universe acts as its canvas - the magic of world programming. Magic on such a high level is extremely advanced, lying only in the hands of the most skilled and knowledgeable practitioners, who use this mastery of magic to reach into reality and bend space, time, physics, probability, quantum mechanics, and mathematics to their will.

Heaven’s universal cloud of data, Yesod, was born from such a magic, and thus anyone who uses it will eventually dip into World Operator’s territory, with Yesod itself becoming just another canvas to program and reprogram the universe, an interface of sorts.

World Operator Spells and Techniques:

  • Akashic Record: With this spell, a user can back up their processing power by connecting themself to distant portions of space and time, essentially transforming portions of the space-time continuum into supportive processing units. Through this technique, they can greatly compress even the largest banks of information without losing any data, allowing for much, much faster processing and vast storage space.
  • Bit Contraction / Expansion: The user can change the length of actions, either increasing or decreasing the amount of time it takes to perform a certain action. For example, they can make instant attacks take a quantifiable amount of time, or do the opposite to have one of their attacks occur instantly. Or they can infinitely extend the amount of time it takes for an opponent to move or think, leaving them helpless.

    This can be used to extend the amount of time it would take a dying person to pass on and truly die, and the user can use it on themself in such a situation, but not to such a degree that death could be staved off through that alone. It will inevitably catch up, faster and faster, without medical attention. They could also do the opposite to ensure someone dies faster.
  • Dimensional Sequester: The operator lashes out at the universe around them with stunning precision, severing spatiotemporal bonds to separate a chunk of reality from the rest. This is all to trap an opponent and force a fight, as escape through physical means is impossible, and the user can adjust things to prevent transdimensional teleportation as well.
  • Fantasy Suppression: The user can replicate and even control reality pressure, the anti-magical force exerted by Reality in response to Fantasy. Doing this through magic seems paradoxical, but without Fantasy, reality pressure would not exist - it is a symptom, not a natural function. The user achieves this feat through unbelievably fast and precise usage of World Operator, quickly reasserting Reality to cancel out magic used against them with the full, crushing force of possibility.
  • History Falsification: The agent can insert actions into the past and future of both the universe and their own soul, even doing so with opposing inner worlds if given the chance. They typically do so to manifest successful attacks on their part, creating them in the past or future as an immutable fate, though they can also use it to retroactively prevent attacks that they can’t heal normally.
  • Hyper Singularity: Using World Operator, the agent can deform both space and time to create a black hole, an area with such great gravity that even light cannot escape. Once someone is past its event horizon, thanks to this gravity, escape is extremely difficult through any means. Space itself curves so that every path leads back to its center, the singularity, and not even time escapes its influence.

    A victim can potentially escape through magical means, but it is much easier said than done, especially as a black hole’s crushing tidal forces are enough to overwhelm and cancel out magic. If one hasn’t been torn to ribbons by this, the singularity itself will almost certainly end things, exposing victims to a crushing dose of Reality and compressing them into a single, infinitely small point.
  • Judicator: The agent can manipulate physics to control and create laws, applying them over a wide area, both magical and physical laws, which they can tailor for their own benefit. Any attempt to go against these laws is impossible without using magic to twist and break them, just as it is impossible to go against the laws of physics.
  • Multiplicative Onslaught: By manipulating arithmetic, the user can literally multiply their own attacks, turning a single strike into two, or ten, or even a hundred, all of which happen simultaneously. This allows the user to push their offense further and further, while overwhelming any defenses through sheer volume of attacks. In an instant, they can create a wall of hundreds, thousands, millions, or even billions of attacks, annihilating most defenses in this same moment.
  • Phase Shift: The user operates on surrounding space to compact, introduce, and/or remove dimensions, allowing them to vastly expand their field of movement while limiting their opponents’. Through this, the user can control their own dimensional structure, taking on new dimensions to move in a variety of impossible ways and attack from many newly-formed angles at once, while shedding them to avoid retaliation. Particularly skilled users can even control temporal dimensions in this way.

    This also inhibits opponents, as the user can divert their attacks to other dimensions, and they can even collapse these dimensions to shrink things down to the Planck scale. Or they could simply erase them and leave nothing behind.
  • Supertasking: By exploiting World Operator to manipulate time over and over, the user can carry out supertasks, executing an infinite sequence of actions in a finite period of time. Each step is executed in half the time it took to perform the last, allowing them to finish whatever task by the time the second has passed. Even when it would seem impossible and an end state would be impossible to predict, the user can reject any paradox, overriding reality pressure, and determine the result.
  • Rationalize Heart: An unusual, highly complex and unique application of World Operator, used by those who can completely disregard emotions and focus only on the physical. It allows a World Operator to process souls and inner worlds as physical quantities and mathematically model them, turning them into something that can be concretely measured and visualized rather than the properly abstract objects they are.

    The agent can then use World Operator to interface with and manipulate a soul as if it were the physical universe around them, applying the laws of physics to something that normally rejects them. It is an emulation of Inner World Operation, one that is far from perfect, being poorly suited to the more precise changes required in true soul surgery. Compared to a true Inner World Operator, a user’s efforts are clumsy, and bound to do more harm than good.

    As useful as this ability is, it cannot perfectly translate the soul, even with vast knowledge on physics backing it up. However, due to its unusual vectors, opponents used to fighting Inner World Operators will be incapable of defending against these soul-directed attacks in the same way. This also functions on a much higher and more complex scale than simply targeting a soul with magic that affects physics - it forces the soul to comply with them.
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