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Time for another information thread about the Asleep universe! However, this thread is going to be a bit different from the previous ones about the life stories and relationships between the various characters. Instead, this thread will cover the mechanics of magic, spells, and potions within the Asleep universe! It's also by no means complete - so, expect me to add more to it over the coming weeks and months :P .

There are four main types of magic within the Asleep universe: latent magic, hereditary magic, learned magic, and bottled magic. All three are explained below:

1. Latent magic ("Life force")

This is the magic contained within the heart of every living being in the universe. It is the force that binds them together, and allows their bodies to fulfil their everyday functions. Since this magic is trapped within the body, it is not possible for the possessor to wield it directly; however, it can interact with the other two types of magic (so, those who have strong latent magic will likely also have strong hereditary and learned magic).

Each individual has a different level of latent magic; however, some species generally have more of it than others. The typical hierarchy of latent magic level is as follows, from most to least:

Fairies > Elves > Merfolk > Humans > Dwarfs

It is no coincidence that this is the exact reverse of the hierarchy of technological advancement, from most to least:

Dwarfs > Humans > Merfolk > Elves > Fairies

In this universe, magic is capable of fulfilling many of our real-world technological functions. As a result, fairies don't even possess Stone Age technology: they are so magically powerful that they have never had any incentive to develop any. By contrast, dwarfs have a fully-industrialised society - as technological development is the only way in which they can keep pace with the more magically-powerful races.

2. Hereditary magic ("Abilities")

Latent magic, in and of itself, does not allow people to do anything specific or useful. However, it is not the only kind of magic that people can possess naturally.

Sometimes, people will be born with a specific magical ability, or an aptitude for a particular magical element. For example, Aliana was born with the ability to shrink objects, while Kyle was born with an affinity for Earth magic. These abilities will be inherited, usually from a parent or a grandparent, but occasionally from a distant ancestor from many generations ago.

While people are born with these abilities, they do need to be honed over the years in order to become truly effective. For example, as a small child, Aliana was entirely capable of shrinking objects - but she had no control over which object she shrank, or the degree to which she shrunk it (so her attempts to use this power often proved disastrous). However, after years of practice, she gradually gained more and more control over this ability - and now, as an adult, she is able to shrink any specific object to any desired size (at least, until she runs out of energy!)

3. Learned magic ("Spells")

Most people are only born with one magical ability (if even that) - so, they're unable to rely on hereditary magic for the bulk of their magical needs. Fortunately, if people aren't born with a magical skill, they do have the option of learning it.

Most people will learn some magic during their early childhood - either from their parents or guardians, or from spell books in their school library. If they display an aptitude for learning magic during their formative years, then they'll go on to attend the Academia Magesteria: a boarding school on an island off the continent's eastern coast.

Those with more latent magic will typically be able to master spells more quickly. As a result, the Academia Magesteria's courses tend to vary wildly in length: a typical fairy course takes under a year, but an equivalent Elvish course would take two years; and one for Merfolk will take three to five years. Human courses tend to vary between seven and ten years - but dwarfs are far and away the unluckiest of the lot: their Academia courses almost always last for 100 years or more (it's a good thing they have such long lifespans!). Consequently, fairies will master several branches of magic during their years of study, while elves and merfolk will pick two or three specialities, and humans will stick to just one (if they attend at all). However, a small percentage of people will devote their entire lives to the pursuit of magical knowledge: these magi can rival even a competent fairy, but only after many decades of study.

4. Bottled magic ("Potions")

People might have a lot of latent magic - but, they were only born with one specific ability (if even that), and unless they've decided to become a full-time mage, they're only competent with a small range of spells. So, what do they do when they need to do magic in an area that they don't know very well? In this situation, they have to resort to the fourth type of magic.

Sometimes, an accomplished wizard or with can siphon their magical energy into a receptacle or container (most commonly, a bottle). Then, this energy can be absorbed into a magically sensitive liquid (such as honeysuckle nectar), to produce a drinkable potion. Once consumed, the potion will temporarily influence the drinker's body and mind - enabling them to do things that would otherwise have been beyond their ability. They can be quite useful; however, they do cost quite a lot of money, and their overuse can bring undesirable side-effects, so it's not wise for people to be using them constantly!

Once again, those who possess higher degrees of latent magic will produce stronger potions, and will be more strongly influenced by them. For example, a typical love potion will leave a dwarf only mildly interested in its creator - but feeding the same potion to a fairy will leave them utterly obsessed, to the point where they'll be completely unable to think about anything else. For this reason, fairies have completely banned the use of potions within their own kingdoms, and they treat them with the utmost caution when travelling to other realms!

So, that's all I've got for now :P . If anybody has any questions, then I'll be happy to answer them - but, otherwise, I hope you enjoyed the read :) !