Races of The Emerald Serpent #5: The Wizards
As I continue my discussions about the races involved in Tales of the Emerald Serpent, I can’t help but be drawn to the most powerful of them all, those of High Water. Tall and proud, this race is sometimes considered dour, sometimes harsh, and certainly foreboding, but like the depth of their element, there is more below the surface than can ever be perceived. They tend toward dark hair, sometimes touched with green or even more rarely violet, and their eyes are like polished emeralds. Their skin is pale like a polished cloud unless they are emotional when violet and blue washes along cheekbones, or sets into the tips of their fingers.
Power flows through them, not from the water that is inherently theirs, but instead from the connection that water brings to another plane. For this reason and powerful connection, the race of High Water are referred to as Wizards.
The Wizards, Beyond the Black Gate, Tales of the Emerald Serpent.
Wizard… the word in alone holds incredible power to the imagination, and as I’ve read fantasy novels for the bulk of my life I’ve had many experiences with this title and its incarnations. To me, as a player of Dungeons & Dragons, Wizards were about spell books, lightning bolts, an inability to use weapons, and horrifically low hit points. To me as a fan of Tolkien, Wizards were beings of incredible power that did little to nothing with it. And to me as a Robert E. Howard fan, Wizards were evil men in pyramids who made dark contracts with demons and hoped to sacrifice beautiful women to dark gods.
There were of course a hundred other feelings and notions I had toward Wizards, but as I worked on building the Nameless Realms I wanted something truly different from the bulk of wizardry I’d read. Thus, as I came up with my elemental based system, I anointed Wizards as a race instead of a profession.
In the world where Taux resides, Wizards are the race of High Water, their connection to that element allowing them access to a plane of existence beyond the elemental plane of water I call the Afterglow Sea. This ocean of unrefined energy is the source of all non-godly magic in the world, and Wizards have spent countless millennia learning ways to manipulate it.
In terms of the world, Wizards are more artists than sorcerers, the true power inside them tied to their ability to visualize and ‘paint’ pictures with the Afterglow energy they siphon through the plane of water and into the mundane world.
Certainly, there is no doubt they are powerful, but to master what they do takes countless years of exercise and dedication to their craft. Like a master of oil painting, there are too few Michelangelos or Da Vincis in the world, and so too is it with Wizards.
Still, all those of the race wield magic, can do incredible things with it, and yet it can be dangerous beyond the reckoning of mortal men. For those who strive for power to quickly, their path and bodies are often burned up by the overflow of Afterglow they try to manipulate.
As a race, Wizards seclude themselves from society in an almost monk-like existence. They are terribly introspective, and live almost exclusively in a series of Star Towers that can be found in the heart of the harbors of the world’s most ancient and populated cities. From these bastions, the Wizards study the Afterglow while surrounded by their element on all sides.
When seen outside of the Towers, Wizards are known to wear robes that are always trimmed in runes of gold embroidery. These robes are of three colors, Snow, Ash, or Ebony, and each signifies the Wizard’s dedication to a particular school of thought. Snow is bound to warding magic and the practice of all manner of Afterglow defense and abjuration. Ash is for war, the Wizards dedicated to this school finding ways to channel Afterglow into its most destructive form. And Ebony dedicates itself to the practice of mixing Afterglow with the elemental plane of shadow and the necromantic trade.
These are the rudiments of the race of Wizards, and in Tales of the Emerald Serpent, you will have a chance to discover even more about them.