In the world of The House, there are a number of different magical disciplines. Every mage has a gift or talent that leads them to specialize in one, or more rarely two, of these disciplines. Working in a discipline outside of that speciality is very difficult and almost never worth the effort.
The most common discipline is mana, or raw magical energy. Every mage is taught the basics of this art because mana is needed to power every spell. While every mage has some skill in it, there are few specialists. Such specialists are able to distill mana and store it in objects (often crystals) for later use. Unless they posses such objects, a mage has to draw upon their own reserves of mana to power their magic. So far, the only mana specialist that has appeared in this story is Jason.
The discipline of illusion allows its practitioners to change appearances and create false images. While sight is its most obvious application, any sense can be fooled by spells from this discipline. It also allows users to conceal images, allowing for invisibility. Specialists include Sarah, her teacher The Mistress, and Madeline, another of The Mistress’s pupils.
The discipline of spirit focuses on the soul. Perhaps best known for allowing communication with the dead, this art also takes advantage of the union between body and soul to enable healing. In rare circumstances, the wielder may even be able to return the soul of the recently deceased to their body, thus resurrecting the dead. Among its specialists are Rebecca, her mentor The Elder, one of The Elder’s sons Phillip, and Bailey (though Bailey has rejected this speciality).
Closely related to spirit is the discipline of the mind. This art focuses on information rather than well-being. Comprehension of languages and texts is possible, as is communication directly between two minds. In extreme cases, it can be used to manipulate others through brainwashing and programming. One specialist of this discipline is Marie.
Charm is a hybrid discipline, combining elements of both illusion and mind. As a tool for manipulation of others, it is faster and requires less skill than mental magic. However, it is not as long-lasting, and the effects it can achieve are not as complex as that other discipline. One specialist is Madeline, who developed the skill from her studies in illusion.
Elemental magic enables the creation, control, and destruction of elemental forces such as fire, water, wind and so on. While elementalists can generally work with any element, they often focus on one or two. Matthew is elementalist focused on electricity, and David is an elementalist focused on fire.
The discipline of spatial magic is primarily used for transportation and defense. Portals can be used to instantly connect two distant points. In order to do so, the mage typically needs either to be familiar with the distant location or have something linked to it. It is also possible to open a portal to a particular person, but this is more complicated and requires a great deal of skill. Spatial magic can also be used to create barriers to defend against both physical and magical attacks. Specialists who are particularly gifted in this discipline are even able to create and manipulate spaces to suit their needs. Julia is one such specialists. Thomas also has an aptitude for the discipline, but he is not as gifted as Julia.
It should be noted that Julia, Thomas, and Rebecca managed to combine their gifts and create a portal through time. This technique is a novel invention from Thomas, and it is believed to be unknown to any other mage.
An off-shoot of spatial magic is shadow magic. While not as versatile as spatial magic, it allows for instantaneous travel between areas of shadow without requiring a portal. It is also capable of invisibility, though unlike illusion, it can only affect sight. Aisha is a specialist in shadow magic.
Time magic largely focuses on speeding up or slowing down time for objects or small areas. Crops can be grown faster and materials even caused to rot by accelerating the effects of time. Likewise, time can be slowed or stopped, preserving perishable items indefinitely and even removing people or things from the flow of time altogether. This discipline can also be used to view the past or future, though this use is discouraged, especially with respect to the future. While the future so viewed is only one possible outcome, such viewing can affect the viewer and the possible future in unpredictable ways. Both Thomas and Solomon, as well as Thomas’s teacher, are specialists in temporal magic.
The final discipline encountered in the story so far is that of chaos magic. Specialists in chaos magic are the rarest type of mage. At the most superficial level, chaos is connected to luck and probability, and specialists are able to bend chance in their favor. Beyond this, chaos magic can both create and destroy through decreasing or increasing entropy. Whereas temporal magic has to follow the arrow of time – either speeding or slowing its passage – chaos magic can, with enough skill, reverse the effects of time altogether. The extent of this discipline’s capabilities is not well understood by anyone not a specialist, and such specialists tend to be . . . eccentric. Jason is one such specialist.
This introduction should not be taken as an exhaustive list of magical disciplines, specialists, or even everything the disciplines here described are capable of. This is merely a reference indicating what our major players can do and have done. The world of magic is large and varied. New mysterious may arise at any time.