Romance of the Four Elements
The Laws of Magic
Law 1 — The law of conservation of mass – energy – manna: There is a direct relationship between the make up of the natural world, and energies of magic, manna. In the natural world, scientists have postulated that there is a conservation of mass/energy. One can be exchanged for the other, and vice versa, but neither can be created or destroyed. This postulate extends as well to magic and the use of manna, which is merely a type of energy. So far the best experiments have certain quantities of manna, when used in specified manners, always produce the same measured quantities of either mass or physical energy. The factors of arbitration are will, magical currencies, and enforcement of equivalent exchange, (the next 3 laws.)
Law 2 — The law of magical currencies: All uses of magic boil down to exchanging one thing for something else according to a program or protocol, called a spell. The common currencies for all exchanges are manna, time, life essence, matter, and natural energies, (motion, heat, electricity, etc.) All other things are translated into one of these 5 items when a given spell is invoked, and their translation for the exchange is governed by the 4th law. In most cases, manna and time are the most universal of currencies, and are always inversely proportionate of each other; A spell which requires 1000 joules of fire manna in a given time period, will require less manna, if more time is spent in casting it; A spell can be cast more quickly if more energy is paid for it.
Law 3 — The law of will: Magical energy, or manna, does nothing by itself. It requires an intelligence and will to put manna to use. Manna can only be put to use via a spell, (or a special program known as a ritual,) and a spell can only be constructed by an intelligence which seeks a specific end. A rock could not construct a magical spell, but an intelligent earth elemental could. A cat can not construct a spell, but a human could. All spells are constructed according to the laws and language of magic, and all have the same basic components: tools, ingredients, instructions, and an expected outcome. The only real fly in the ointment is that sometimes, the outcome is not what is expected.
Law 4 — The law of equivalent exchange: All exchanges in magic must be of equivalent value in one of the magical currencies. The currency which is most universal and most relevant in any given case, is time.
In magic, one could exchange a ton of lead for a certain quantity of gold. How much gold? The amount whereby the value between the two is equivalent in terms of time. The gold has a certain value attached to it in a given area based on the gold’s worth in terms of the time it took to mine, smelt, and refine it, and what that same time would be worth in other pursuits. An equivalent quantity of lead, though would not have the same time value, and the difference would go into the rate of exchange between the two, with the intermediate currencies being time and manna.
One could exchange 1/2 a ton of lead for 2 ounces of gold, but this exchange itself takes time and energy. Suppose one has 8 tons of lead and wants 32 ounces of gold. If one is willing to spend more manna to do so, one could exchange the lead for the gold very quickly. Suppose the mage has limited manna capacity. The mage could still exchange the lead for the gold, but it would take longer.
Law 5 — The law of the 4 elements: Manna, (one of the magical currencies,) is composed of one of the 4 elements, Air, Fire, Earth, or Water. The type of manna used determines what kinds of magical exchanges are possible or efficient in a given situation. Some spells require earth manna, while another may require water, and another still may require balance. If a mage is not sufficiently strong with the required element, (or insufficiently balanced!) he/she will not be able to use the spell in question, (or at the very least, not efficiently or in a timely [remember the 2nd law!] manner).
Law 6 — The law of attraction: When it comes to the elements of magic, and their influence upon people and the world, it is best to remember the saying from olden times, “Likeness seeks unto is own likeness.” This has also the natural corollary, “Things which are of opposite nature abhor each other.” This relationship can be summed up as, “Opposites repel, while similarities attract.” Thus, if one desires to cast a spell which requires Earth manna, it’s best to do so at a location where Earth is the dominant element, or by a mage who is strong with the Earth element.