In this volume we will be discussing the ancient methods of utilizing mana, prior to the techniques used today. I’d like to start with a small review of modern casting methods and patterns so that newer readers do not feel lost when picking up this book. As we all know, to cast a spell one must release the appropriate amount of energy through a pattern. What a pattern is, and how to create one however, is what we will be discussing below.
In today’s modern way of casting we have two primary, popularized methods. The Obsidian Elf’s hand based weaving, and the Silver Elven visualization of patterns.
Obsidian Elf Casting
The Obsidian Elf hand weaving is by far the most popular method of casting, as it is the easiest to learn and to use. For simplicity's sake, it’s best compared to how a spider is able to weave its web. To use this method, the caster must release his magical energy into his palm, and then, much like a spider works it’s web, the caster uses that raw energy to draw a pattern. After he has done so, he now must simply release energy through the pattern he created and see his spell take effect. Following the creation of the circle of Magi, this method became part of any mage’s novice curriculum. Before that however, there are some old goblin texts that describe a method similar to this one, but it was the obsidian elves who popularized it.
Silver Elf Casting
The Silver Elven Visualization follows a similar concept, as it is a mix of two distinct ancient methods, that of the Silver Elven Chanting, and the Valerian Ocular Motions. Combining the best of both worlds, the Visualisation consists on a very simple concept, but one that requires incredible concentration. The caster must clear his mind of all distractions, visualize the casting pattern of the desired spell, and release his mana into it. Simple as that, it creates the spell emanating from the caster and requires no hand movements. Created by the Silver Elven Battlemages, it allowed them to cast their impressive spells while they kept their hands busy with their swords and shields.
Speaking of Silver Elven methods, I shall now start getting to the center of the subject, ancient casting. Perhaps the oldest of them all, the Silver Galdyr, is an ancient song that shapes and releases mana in various patterns, allowing the caster to cast different spells by changing the lyrics of the ancient song. A squad of ancient battlemages was truly a choir of deadly beauty. Curiously enough, this particular method is shared with Avian Lashun mages, suggesting a possible common ancestry in regards to magical knowledge.
Moving on to the Valerian methods, we start to see their military pragmatism. It's far from the beautiful songs of the silver elves, or the artistic weaved patterns of the obsidian elves, but arguably more practical, as it doesn't require visualization of any kind. They have compiled an alphabet of hand gestures and positions that symbolize patterns, runes and seals. This allows them to cast any spell without any visualization of the pattern, and simply rely on the muscle memory of their fingers, and the reflex to send mana through the pattern on their hands. Most popular are the weaved signs that use both hands, since they provide better control over the casted spells, although there are signs that can be weaved with just one hand, or none, which brings us to our next subject.
There is a sect of shinobi that first came up with this technique, but as Figment became a more widespread school, so did the famed “Diplomat” caster. The Valerian Ocular movement is extremely similar to the Silver Elven Visualization, but once more it focuses on muscle memory instead of imagination. To cast with ocular motions, the caster must move their pupils while concentrating the release of mana through them. In that way, he can draw a pattern, and use that pattern to cast a spell. As many Figment spells can be transferred not only with the release of raw mana, but also through stimulus of the senses, the “Diplomat” casters have long since used their magic in a suggestive manner, while at the same time occulting their spell with the ocular motion method. By simply closing their eyes for a brief moment, a “Diplomat” caster could put someone under their spell, and control negotiations as they see fit.
It is important to mention Elder Casters, even though the pattern and nuances of Elder Casters deserve a book of it's own. Essentially, before the discovery of the Silver Galdyr, the Obsidian hand weaving, the Valerian seals or any of those, mages needed physical objects to cast. The basic idea remains the same, to cast a spell one must focus mana through a pattern, but when one is not able to create a pattern of their own, they can always engrave it somewhere else. Of course this is a very minute page of the whole library that is Elder Magic, but the basic idea of Elder casting is to focus mana through an object that already has a pattern engraved, or native to it. It is also important to mention that this is how it was, as today elder patterns can just as easily be weaved with the above casting methods.