Four Fonts, Four Nations, Four Magicks (Excerpt from “The Third Secret”)
Excerpted from notes for an unpublished treatise by the zoologist Nanuridin Carosley. The work was recorded in neutered signmark, the Orsino stamped alphabet, without intent of ever publishing due to its controversial approach of treating the people of the Four Nations as if comparable to animals.
Anthris and the Western Font
Physickery: a deep connection to the energies of life and the essences of all beings, regardless of their nation of origin, though a physick’s knowledge of Orsino, Vulpestrian, and Merovian subtle physiology is only theoretical, as they have limited power over the peoples of the other nations. The tradition of physickery is unique among the Four Nations, as it comprises three separate disciplines, referred to as Blood, Bone, and Breath.
Guardian Dragon: Kurosma, the Despoiler of Essences. The largest of the four dragons, and perhaps the oldest, though this would imply that the four Guardians did not come into being simultaneously as is taught by all four schools of source magick. An interesting theory I have no hope of ever gathering evidence to support.
With the source magick of the Western Font so closely aligned to the vital energies of living creatures, it was easy to uncover a conclusive connection between the people of Anthris and a population of apes that still inhabits the forests in the foothills surrounding the font.
It was my great fortune to encounter an open-minded Anthrian, a Father of Blood, who allowed me to perform a detailed analysis of his essence and confirm my theory that the modern humans of each of the Four Nations share common ancestors with species that still exist and roam wild and free across the land to this day, and that the popular profanity of referring to the peoples of each nation as bears, badgers, foxes, or apes is based in fact.
Had any historical records survived the great tragedy of the First Darkness, the blinkered and elitist belief held by the peoples of each nation that their ancestors who were transfigured by the magick of their source font and elevated to sentience were in some fundamental way unique and exceptional might never have taken root and the past two thousand years of political strife and uncertainty might have been avoided.
Vulpesh and the Northern Font
Guardian Dragon: Bayelamat, the Devourer of Hope. The smallest of the four dragons, though the most active. Whereas the other three generally remain close to their Font, rarely venturing as far as the first touch of source magick of the other three nations, Bayelamat is often seen patrolling the borders of Vulpesh. There are even records dating back to the early days of the long interregnum between the First and Second Darkness of its distinctive shadow venturing as far as the Midlands.
Astrometry: Since the fall of the Third Darkness, more information has emerged about the nature of northern source magick. Vulpestrian astrometrists appear to have a connection to the very stars and their radiance and have developed fascinating technologies to harness that power.
My Anthrian friend and sometime-assistant, the Father of Blood, was able to protect me sufficiently that we were able to venture deep into Vulpesh, though not as close to the Northern Source Font as I would have liked. I was able to record several promising species of fox whose essences showed great similarity to the Vulpestrian norm, though I have yet to discover conclusive evidence of their non-sentient cousins.
Merovar and the Southern Font
Masonry: Interesting that the affinities of the source magicks of the Northern and Southern fonts lie along a celestial-terrestrial axis and have been harnessed to mold the physical world, whereas the Eastern and Western Fonts are intimately connected to life, physickery to the body and poetry the intellect. The ability of Merovian masons to draw power from the earth is breathtaking. If only it were possible for an adept of source magick to safely master the traditions of the other three without succumbing to Darkness. What glories might be uncovered!
Guardian Dragon: Binderast, the Obstacle. The most sedentary of the four Guardians. Merovian tradition asserts it has only left its lair in the crater of the Southern Font when moved to protect its power. Though smaller, by all reports, in body to Kurosma, its wingspan is the largest of the four Guardians, enabling it to be seen clearly on its perch.
Though I have not ventured beyond the Midlands into Merovar, I was able to enter an agreement with a Merovian trapper who has, over the years, brought me many promising specimens of Merovian fauna and, to my delight, the very species of badger I sought. Sad that, even with three out of four contemporary cousins found conclusively, my theories would never be accepted.
Orsin and the Eastern Font
Poetry: Had I greater intellectual rigor and creative imagination, I might have qualified for the Great Conservatory, but as is the fate of many a specialist, I found my home in the Academies. And lucky I was to be accepted into the Sixth Academy, where my lack of interest in poetic fancy and my obsession with the fauna of the Shining Continent was viewed as an eccentric quirk to be encouraged and developed, and not snuffed out under the weight of two thousand years of tradition.
Guardian Dragon: Tiantur, Eraser of Words. So much has been written about Tiantur, and most of it without a grain of truth. I was fortunate enough to see the Guardian up close with my own eyes through an illegal Vulpestrian telescope shortly after the war. Even more terrifying than the endless verses written about it would suggest.
I so rarely return to Orsin, preferring the diversity of the Midlands, but five years ago, through an improbable chain of connections, I was able to attach myself to a hunting expedition through the wilds of my homeland. With more guile than I had ever thought myself capable, I was able to convince the expedition to follow my lead, and we found, the day before we had to return, a specimen of the species of bear I sought. I let my single-mindedness get the better of me on that expedition, and I am ashamed to be the cause of so much unnecessary death. Since returning, I have dedicated myself not just to the study of the animals of the Shining Continent, but to the care and conservation of every last one of them, though my devotion is rare in this world, even among the bustling innovation of the Midlands.