Fate of the True Empress
Nodes of Power
Magic travels from point to point, through ley lines. Each point is known as a Node of Power, and rituals can be used to channel the arcane energies from those Nodes. Powerful magical beings, such as liches, dragons or wizards, can draw power directly from those nodes. Organizations and non-caster Icon usually harness the magical energies from those Nodes to power their rituals.
Analogy: Nodes are lands in a game of Magic: The Gathering.
Icons and Nodes
Icons who are familiar with magic and wizardry can draw magical powers from their nodes. The Artificer has rituals where magical power from his Nodes power his constructs and his favourite city, Arkios. Others channel the energies directly into themselves – the Dragon Tyrant, the Queen in Crimson, the Fey Lady and the Wandering Wizard tends to do so.
Other icons tend do channel the powers of those nodes into rituals, or into a pool where trusted advisor or wizards would use. The Reaver and the Merchant Prince tend to use nodes this way. Kingdoms and organizations usually let their local, official Wizard’s Guild use powers from a Node as they deem fit.
The True Empress uses Nodes differently – her bloodline is the conduit where power from her Nodes flow into, and those who swear loyalty and fealty taps power from her. As such, the Empress’ Guard, a group of champions dedicated to her cause, enjoy protections and blessings from the Empress. Some speculate that the First Aegis Emperor involved himself in a ritual that bind his bloodline to the archetype of kingship, which allows his loyal followers to gain benefits from their loyalty.
Some Icons have no need of Nodes – or so people think. The Questor is a wanderer, and has no base of operations, but it is possible that he has some Nodes, maintained by a former Questor perhaps, which guarantee his longevity (and knacks of stumbling into trouble). The Beggar King is more interested in cities than Nodes of Power – but the few Nodes that he claims, he give to the warlocks in his midst. The Sword Sage’s nodes are primarily in Qitai – and not many people in the region knows how they are used in Qitai, though fengshui probably plays a big part.
Regardless of how an Icon channel the power of a Node, they are essential and important to him or her.
Claiming a Node
A ritual is usually necessary to claim a Node. However, this is just the beginning.
A cunning Icon would usually seek to hide the existence of a claimed Node. A claimed Node channels magical energies — and if all of it is diverted to an Icon, anyone who survey the ley lines (specialist mages and powerful magical beings could do that) would know a Node is claimed. Also, if a node is claimed fully, magical power would stop flowing through it. This would be problematic if there are other nodes linked to it, and make it obvious that a node has been fully claimed.
Hence, sometimes an Icon only tap a small portion of the power flowing through the nodes. Or, they could stake a claim on a fringe node – one that’s only have power flowing into it, but not out. However, such nodes are usually the weakest nodes there is.
Other ways to hide a claimed node is through obscuring rituals – such rituals are usually so powerful that even the owner has no idea where the claimed node is. Which is the case for the current True Empress, who has lost all records of their Nodes when her forebears flee from the conquest of Dragon Tyrant.
Types of Nodes
There are many different type of Nodes of Power. Here are some of them.
Font Nodes, also known as Wellspring Nodes, are the most coveted ones for they are the point where magical power enters from its source (some says it’s from the Astral Sea – none are sure). Those nodes feed other nodes via. ley lines, and their existence and locations are a closely guarded secrets, secrets worth dying and killing for.
It is not widely known where the Font Nodes of the world are. Rumours has that Lorehaven knows. But Lorehaven probably knows everything – they just have to know that they know.
Orphan Fonts are just as coveted, if not even more, than Font Nodes, for those are sources of magical power with no ley lines connected to it. Utterly useless for a ruler or a wizard-king, but very useful if you are a warlock seeking to tap into a source of magical energy which no one would notice missing.
Dead Nodes are nodes where magic wouldn’t flow through any more. This doesn’t stop people from trying to revive them.
Fringe Nodes, as mentioned, are nodes at the very end of a “network”, where magical power flows into, but doesn’t flow out to anywhere else.
Corrupted Nodes are nodes where energies coming out from it is corrupted. Usually left unclaimed.
Dormant Node are claimed Nodes but its ritual has ceased to function. It is easier for someone to claim a dormant node than an active one.