Throughout creation there are locations which serve as nexuses of sorts; conduits between one place and another. Such are the rules of translocation that only areas that border each other can be traversed by physical or magical means. Finding such an area is no small feat and only the power sensitive witches and warlocks can truly sense the presence of a conduit. Apparently this also applies for ravens and crows and other animals, which are repulsed by them.
For common observers these areas would seem devoid of animal life. If an animal was brought into such an area, it would soon react with unease, which would get stronger as the animal got closer to the nexus. There are two kinds of nexuses: Those that have been harnessed and those who remain wild.
Maros pulled at the reins again, but Imaro, his faithful steed, would simply not budge. Exhausted the young warrior in his blood-smeared, dented breastplate removed vital items from the horse and into his backpack.
"Damn, that old fool never mentioned having to walk all the way up to the complex", he muttered under his breath.
The Ancient Gateways
A harnessed nexus requires a mosaic, usually a circle, star or a square, with a unique pattern. This mosaic serves as a mental focus for the magi as he teleports from one nexus point to another, merely by concentrating on the pattern on “the other side”. Theoretically this will allow time travel, but that requires powerful side components such as certain stellar constellations, human sacrifice or an eclipse.
There are few, if any, mages who have mastered the art of time travel though and the nexuses, or the Ancient Gateways as they are called in literature, are sometimes controlled by factions who zealously guard their portal. These factions often require something to allow the usage of their portal, among other things membership, fees and favours, and (if not controlled by the ruling authorities) they are wont to hide it's presence for fear of losing control.
The traveler needs to know the pattern of the destination he is going to travel to, or he won't get anywhere. This has led to booklets sometimes being sold (by those who control the gateway) in which artists have drawn the pattern of a handful of nexuses, thereby letting the user study the drawing while concentrating. Sometimes these drawings include a name and maybe even a description of the location, but at other times the drawing is without information or even false or flawed. Flawed and false patterns simply result in the nexus being unable to function, while the usage of an unknown pattern has led many a traveler into perilous circumstances.
Those with power sensitivity will notice currents of essence within the mosaic pattern, the mechanism which allow the patterns to be used in such a manner. Destroying parts of the pattern in any way might result in the nexus collapsing, which in turn might inflict major damage on the fabric of reality.
Some mages opt to use silver when using the Ancient Gateways. Silver, usually inlaid in runic grooves upon stones of power, is potent when shaped as runes and used in conjunction with the Ancient Gateways. Such stones can allow several men to travel even though only one concentrate on the pattern, provided everyone touch the stone. Other uses of such a stone is to translocate anyone upon the mosaic on the other side of the mosaic to the owner’s location. The power and ability of such a stone is determined by the quality of the runes, the amount and purity of silver used as well as the rune in question.
Though it had not been used in a very long time, and dust and cobwebs covered everything, it was easy to see that the hall had once been a grandiose sight. Arching windows let minute amounts of light in, the forest outside obstructing much of the sun's rays. On the floor an intricate mosaic could be vaguely seen behind the dirt, and as Maros crouched down he wiped a small area clean with his left hand. The sight was marvelous, the tiles keeping their vibrant colors and gloss in spite of the passing of the centuries.
This had been an important place once, the seat of a council of mages close to the king, but when the last of the Kings died and the kingdom rose in rebellion, Umbranth, the last High Mage of the council, uttered the council's words of sanctuary and a fey mist began to cover the land. When the bloody civil war ended a few months later, the mist gradually disappeared, and a dense, mysterious forest began to appear, growing at alarming speed. The seat of the council was lost, or so it seemed, for no one could find it anymore.
"But here it is!", Maros shouted in excitement, clapping his hands in enthusiasm as he did so. His client had paid him well for his services, and this was just what he requested.
The warrior was a skilled artist, and after an hour he had drawn the symbol on the floor on a high quality piece of parchment the client had provided him with.
Rising, Maros entered the center of the circle, and withdrew another parchment, this one depicting the strange mosaic he had been shown in the client's basement.
How was this supposed to work again?
The Wild Conduits
In some locations wild conduits can be found; untamed links to other places that have yet to be claimed. The manipulation of these conduits is far more difficult and requires hours and hours of ritualistic magic. If the other end is another wild conduit, a scrying device is required, for it is vital to physically see the other end. For a lonesome mage it is very difficult to open such a conduit all by himself / herself, but often entire cabals of sorcerers participate, in which case the exercise is routine though exhausting. If the other end is an Ancient Gateway, the operation is much easier as the presence of a focal pattern removes the need for scrying on the location.
The presence of a wild conduit is extremely rare and the Ancient Gateways are few and far between. Not nearly all major cities have a gateway and often long periods of travel is required to reach the desolate place in which some witches’ coven has claimed an Ancient Gateway. These conduits are so vital that spellcasters often wage small wars to attain control of the location, as the ritual for converting a wild conduit to an Ancient Gateway is an expensive, gruelling and time consuming task. Additionally it has to be mentioned that wild conduits and Ancient Gateways are the only locations in which a portal or gate to heaven or hell can be opened. It is also the only means through which entry to the Other Places, outside Creation, can be attained.
Seneschal let his white, cracked tongue glide along the edge of his short, sharp blade. The blood of his hireling tasted of iron, and within minutes his apprentice necromancers had removed the body; another specimen for the apprentices to play with.
It was vital that no one knew about his discovery; the gate of the Iberlander High Mage Council. Seneschal had been but an apprentice when his master first told him of the legendary council, and how its final steward, the mage known as Umbranth, had hidden the gateway from the enemies of the king.
Carefully, with the studied delicacy a collector shows the price specimens of his collection, Seneschal placed the scroll with the others.
I have five now, though two of the gateways are controlled by someone else. If only the messenger I sent to the forest would return with news of the unharnessed nexus...
Seneschal entered the mosaic, and while furrowing his brows he concentrated on his new symbol.
Short Distance Teleportation
Some creatures defy the rules of translocation and are able to teleport short distances up to thirty meters and within line of sight. These creatures are often highly magical in nature and sometimes even circumvent the laws of gravity and time. There has been no reported case of translocation beyond thirty meters without the use of a conduit.
He was so pleased! Smiling broadly, his white gums revealing missing teeth and his cracked parchment lips tearing slightly, Seneschal looked up into the domed ceiling of the hall.
There, in the center... It must be... Yeees, this is it! That is High King Ulsard Iberlander surrounded by his concubines, his generals and his councilor mages. I finally discovered the location of the Iberlander Council Gateway!
Seneschal looked around, and soon his eyes fell on a balcony above. Smiling triumphantly, the disciple of Necrotae pressed the tips of his fingers against each other and touched his forehead. There was a sucking sound of a vacuum as he ceased to exist in one place and the gush of wind as he appeared in another.
The elder mage stood upon the balcony as he began working new magic. The dust, dirt and the cobwebs simply would not do!
Summoning is quite different from other means of translocation. When something is summoned, the name of the summoned entity as well as a piece of hair or a fingernail needs to be in the summoner’s possession. Summoning always requires a long ceremony and does not always succeed, for the summoned entity must usually agree to its coming. Simple animals often wish food and shelter, while more insidious creatures require greater sacrifice to answer the summons. Additionally the presence of a wild conduit or an Ancient Gateway makes the summoning quicker. It is difficult to banish a creature once summoned and if the creature is unbound and not agreeing with the spellcaster’s demands, it will do as it pleases and might pose a threat to the summoner. Banishment requires a ritual of magic. The duration and difficulty of the ritual is dependent on the might of the summoned being.