This type of magic is very old and powerful magic. The people of the Kkarrt Empire called it Tnu Sa Ne with means 'Soul binding'. The common name is Runic magic, from the runes often carved or etched into the items.
Very little is known about Runic magic, as the last mage practicing it died over a millenium ago. What is known is that it results in the creation of incredibly powerful magic items. Even the least powerful runic item holds vast powers. Kingdoms have been won or lost because of such things.
The magic is extinct now. No mage alive holds the knowledge of how to wield runic magic. The reason is the magic itself: with the incredible power comes incredible risks. The creation of any runic weapon or item takes years and involves an extreme risk for the mage and those around them. All mages pondering its use had to weigh the risks against the possibility of gaining great power. The wise ones would walk away. The greedy ones would press on. They generally died, usually taking their apprentices and workshop (and all its notes) with them. To give you an idea of the power involved, at least one city is thought to have been destroyed in such an accident.
This led to a gradual decline in the number and skills of runic mages until the knowledge was completely lost. Some say it was deliberately destroyed as being just too dangerous. Rumors speak of lost libraries and secret workshops hidden in some inhospitable place, but those are just legends.
There are three ages used to describe runic magic and its use:
- Golden - The Golden Age of runic mage. Items created at that time are the most powerful. Runic mages are plentiful.
- Silver - The items created in this era are powerful but not as strong as the Golden Age. A lot of the more powerful knowledge has already been lost and there are fewer people who know how to use it.
- Bronze - The last age of runic magic. Runic mages are very rare and their work mere shadows of the powerful items created in the Silver and Golden Ages. But such weapons are still VERY powerful.
- Modern - Conventional modern runic magic is not along the same lines as historic rune magic; it is more akin to Arcane magic using ritual signs and sigils marked on items; be it a floor or sword. Typically this is also referred to as Glyph magic. A mage's circle is a commonly accepted runic construct but a far cry from the ancient true rune magic. Typical modern runes are a temporary affair for the most part, as the magic they channel eventually wears through the markings (consuming them, as it were) or the items used. Nothing can make a rune construct permanent where it channels active magic. The more powerful the channeled magic the more rapidly the construct or item is consumed. To date no such items have been able to exist more than a few months or, at most, a year or so. Typically they exist hours or days. Alternately, rune structures that do not in themselves channel magic (such as a mage's ritual circle) can be fairly permanent as they're only exposed to active magic for limited periods of time. Wessex's magic is of this sort; generally used as a temporary focus for whatever magic he wished to employ. Murikeer also uses glyphs of this sort but far less so than Wessex or Jessica, with his uses even more temporary than theirs.
Recent uses of this type of magic can be seen in Loriod's weather rune, and those used to fortify Nasoj's great road attempt.
Both Glyphs and Runes have an inherent strength; they can be layered, stacked like bricks to create something far greater than any single spell. A mage employing such magic is limited only in how many glyphs they can maintain. The greater the number of bound glyphs the more difficult it becomes to activate, and control, the overall construct and, as already stated, the more rapidly it is consumed by the arcane energies invested.
Very few real Runic weapons survive and those that do are highly treasured and much sought after.
Examples of known runic weapons:
- Whisper: which is one of the Five Sisters.
- Rickkter's two blades.
- Madog, who was constructed using both Automaton and Runic magic.
Runic weapons are VERY rare. Any writer wanting to introduce one into the story universe must get the permisson of the List Controller, Christian O'kane, personally.
There are no Runic Mages alive in the Metamor Keep universe in the present era (706 CR) or the future, and there cannot be a character who is one.