Teleportation: Premise and Praxis

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Teleportation: Premise and Praxis

Post by Infragris » Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:46 pm

Another book in the "what's teleportation all about" series. Meant to contextualize the history of teleportation, showing that it's quite a difficult magic with lots of caveats. The last book is rather short, I'd prefer to come back to this at some point to fill out some of the details. Let me know if there are any specific uses of teleportation in other books that could be referenced.

Related to this, we should keep in mind not to add too many random teleporting artifacts or items, especially not in older locations.
by Voganna Plotinus

Self-catalyzed, instantaneous teleportation was long believed to be an unattainable dream, a fancy of folktales – god-heroes riding the winds of Kyne, armies transported to distant lands, or unlucky folk vanishing into Oblivion by the will of evil spirits.

Some believe these legends indicate that our earliest ancestors had access to teleportation magic. This is far from the truth. While ancient artifacts capable of teleportation have been discovered at times, such artifice (when not simply a counterfeit) was often the work of solitary, brilliant souls, who rarely passed on their knowledge to other – such was the case for most arcane masters predating the open scholarship philosophy of Valerion.

The earliest known method of teleportation was to plot a course through Oblivion. The planes of Oblivion are connected through odd ways, and one who is knowledgeable of such connections could use them to quickly travel from one mundane location to another.

The drawbacks of this technique are self-evident: doors to Oblivion are rare, behave erratically, are difficult to open, and anyone traversing them is at the mercy of the Daedra.

Knowledge of these passages remains incredibly rare. Given that both the doors and the planes they are meant to connect are ever-changing, most of the ancient maps that have come to us from antiquity are completely outdated. Besides, most such maps are functionally useless due to their bizarre designs (murderous puzzle-boxes, mind-breaking glyphs, and elaborate verse are depressingly common). The only reliable method of traversing Oblivion is said to be by the use of a Voidguide, an exceptionally rare type of artefact which can connect its user to that which they seek to find (while still not promising any form of safe passage).

Exceptional mages of ages past boasted of the ability to open gates through their own will, coming and going to the mortal world as they pleased. Some even carved out pocket worlds in the Void, which could connect to many places at will. Of these liminal nexuses, only the heartfold of Gwylim remains in use. Others have gone dark long ago, their ties to the world severed.

Movement through the Daedric realms is no longer practical, as the barrier pacts of the late First Era have made it much more costly and difficult, whilst not diminishing the associated perils.

The first verified successes in teleportation were accomplished through elaborate engines such as the occlusion tunnels of Yatillai Direnni. These tunnels required weeks of arcane calculations as well as a veritable fortune in aetherial matter – so much so that the famous Ryan Direnni himself derided it as the slowest and most expensive method of travel imaginable.

Another example of such engines are the obscure propylotics of ancient Morrowind. The most reliable account of their functioning is that of Cir Cimius, envoy under Emperor Gorieus. Cimius theorized that the Chimer spatially entangled two monoliths so that the Aurbis regarded them as one and the same. In practice, the system could only transport one person from a set place to another, limiting its potential to that of a messenger system. As the strategic locations thus connected became irrelevant ages ago, this system is assumed to be no longer functional.

Other early Elven cultures rarely developed teleportation systems. Most of the Summerset colonists inherited the repressive worldview of the Aldmer, in which free movement of the people was undesirable, and the other colonies were considered morally or religiously suspect.

Excepting the Weir Gate network (whose functioning is regarded as a state secret) and the well-regulated portico system used by the Mages Guild, such cumbersome teleportation engines are no longer in use, replaced as they are by the ease and convenience of the Celaudine praxis which will be described in the last volume in this series.
by Voganna Plotinus

In the previous volume, we considered our ancestors' earliest forays into teleportation magic using the byways of Oblivion and various arcane machines. before we can describe the contemporary practice, we must first investigate two other methods, which saw their heyday during the late First Era and the Common Era.

Apart from passage through the Void and the use of strange engines, the third most commonly cited method of pre-Celaudine teleportation is the use of the Dawn Magics, those obscure arts that hearken back to the most primordial state of the world.

One such practitioner, the eastern mage Barilzar, was supposedly capable of easily rending the divisions between planes of existence, bypassing the various limits of other methods entirely.

Barilzar did not need to visit his destination beforehand, required no calculations other than his will and desires, and used no instruments other than arcane artifacts whose functionality could be used even by a novice. In this way, he could summon creatures and objects from even the most secure planes, and traveled wherever he wished.

Barilzar disappeared during the Second Interregnum, taking the secret of his technique with him. Other explorations into the potential of the Dawn Magics have ended in disaster, to the point that the Emperor has prohibited study in this direction.

As is usual when the Dawn Magics are mentioned, some scholars have claimed that the elven cultures of the Merethic Era had access to these arts, using them in the colonization and exploration of primordial Tamriel. The supposed wars of Altmora, and the seemingly erratic movements of the Falmer and Dwemer populations are often brought up, as are the strange mentions of Kyne-winds in early Nordic myth. It goes without saying that there is not a shred of archeological evidence to support such claims.

Quite the opposite of such unnatural means are the category of intervention spells, which are first mentioned in the First Interregnum. Cyrodiilic hagiographies of this period attribute the rescue of various imperiled saints to acts of the gods, who, by way of their awesome power, take these hapless pilgrims away from danger or imprisonment and deposit them safely in some holy place, which inevitably became a temple or place of pilgrimage.

Strangely, intervention spells appear to be completely unknown to the Alessians, but became relatively commonplace starting from the reign of Reman. They were overwhelmingfly (though not exclusively) associated with temples of the Eight Divines, which knew a large resurgence during the Interregnum.

The Divine nature of these spells is uncertain. They function much like other spells, drawing on a person's natural wellsprings of magicka. It may be that Intervention is merely a hierophants' clever obfuscation of a spell in meaningless ritual brocade -- much like modern mages such as Ondusi, who add vestigial flourishes in order to trademark and protect their licenses.

Indeed, scrolls and spells of Divine Intervention work just as well in the hands of a secular-minded caster as in those of a priest. Variants of Intervention also exist, such as the Baandari Self-Theft scrolls, spells addressing the heathen Tribunes of Morrowind, and even scroll variants for the Altmer and Direnni market invoking elven deities.

That being said, the precise effects of Intervention still have not been replicated in an entirely secular context. It is possible these spells draw on an essential part of the mortal psyche, the faith in their Gods, or their desire for the safety of a holy place.
by Voganna Plotinus

The modern method of teleportation was discovered in 2E 662 by Celaud Mabeurre, a Breton mage associated with the College of Gwylim. It is said that Celaud labored over this work his entire life, arriving at a functioning spell only months before his death.

At the time, the question of self-catalyzed teleportation had – literally – consumed Breton academia for decades, with many of Gwylim’s best and brightest falling victim to ill-conceived arcane mishaps. Gwylim's Twist Hall, with its petrified figures and fused horrors, remains a sobering reminder of the risks our predecessors took in developing spells we now take for granted.

After decades of grueling experimentation, Celaud's mark-and-recall "spiritual anchor" method finally managed a stable transportation which avoid the unfortunate and bloody results of his peers. It took another two decades after Celaud's death for his assistant to transcribe and refine the spells into a functional and practical shape.

Despite this success, it would take centuries before Celaudine teleportation became commonplace. The new form of magic agitated the anti-intellectual sentiments of which the Interregnum was rife.

Many among the common people feared that mages were stealing souls, replacing those transported with doppelgangers, or that they secretly change the destination of spells to whisk their users away to distant prisons.

Among the myopic kings of High Rock, teleportation was seen as a challenge to their rule. The nobility was alarmed by the implications of this magic, which they thought would make institutions like serfdom and prisons obsolete.

As such, early practitioners of teleportation were often persecuted, and until the re-establishment of trans-provincial scholarship under the Septimite Mages Guild renewals, it remained an obscure and suspicious practice.

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