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  • Writer's pictureegradcliff

Fae Magic in The Hidden King

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

The Coming of Áed book series is, though fantasy, not overly dependent on magic from a plot-resolution standpoint. However! Since it does serve its function and generally complicates things, I thought it deserved a bit of explanation.

All magic in the world of the Gut originates with the fae. The fae, inhuman creatures who live across the veil from the inhabitants of the Gut, have two very important forms of innate magic. The first is the most obvious: every one of the fae is born with the ability to summon fire to their person, and to command it with great precision. The immediately obvious use for this is immense destructive power, but it also has the potential to be life-supporting and quite beautiful. The second of the fae magics is much less flashy, and much more unnerving: their power over the human mind. In its simplest and least intrusive form, this power presents itself as the capability to read emotion very accurately, and from that derive truths such as, for example, whether the subject is speaking dishonestly, or if they feel uncertain while playing cards and therefore likely have a bad hand. In its most terrifying form, however--and fortunately the most difficult to master, even among the fae--it can manifest as the ability to induce emotion. This can be as straightforward as egging someone on to anger… or as twisted as inciting full-scale madness. Magic surrounds the fae, generated like body heat; faintly, it permeates even the human realm.

For humans, magic is never inborn. Practicing it requires a concentrated mind and a certain ability to tune into the residues of fae magic, and is therefore highly difficult, mastered only by a few. Human magic, however, is far more flexible than fae magic. While the fae are extremely powerful in two arenas, humans are limited only by their own concentration; wherever they are able to channel the magic, they can use it. After all, it isn’t theirs--a river cannot change its course, but the one who fills a bucket from it can put it to any number of uses. Due to the relative weakness of the power in human hands, magic isn’t terribly helpful as a weapon; therefore, it’s usually channeled towards tasks such as healing, or discerning truth, or encouraging crop growth.

Using fae magic, however, comes with its own dangers. Many practitioners have found themselves reaching too far, enchanted by power or headstrong enough to believe they can steal directly from the fae instead of channeling ‘body heat’ that the fae wouldn’t miss. They act without discretion, and, reaching for magic too far to grasp, they attract unwanted attention.

The fae are not known for their generosity. In some cases, vengeance for the ‘theft’ won’t come until a festival night; the unlucky offender may find their house reduced to ash with or without them inside it, or they might simply vanish in the night without a trace. In other cases, the effects are immediate. While the veil only opens on certain nights every year to allow bodily passage between the worlds, it does very little to hinder an irate faerie bent on making someone mad enough to walk off the end of a dock.

E.G. RADCLIFF IS AN INCURABLE WRITER and lifelong imaginer of worlds. An insatiable reader and researcher with a penchant for all things Celtic and a love of the mysterious and magical, she brings a knowing touch to her Young Adult fiction. She enjoys adventure, reading on the train, and dreams about flying. She is a Chicago native and is based in Illinois.

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