The Art, short for the Art of Lying to the Face of God, is a general term for what can be called ‘magic’. It is often explained as the practice of lying to the universe convincingly enough that it becomes true. As such, it is explicitly vocal in nature, and heavily reliant on the practitioner’s will for things to become true.
To use the Art, the practitioner simply refines their will into a cutting edge and speaks aloud, lying about the nature of the universe. “This is not an apple,” they might say, “But a plum.” The apple then becomes a plum, of course, if that’s what they prefer. The Art is described by many sorcerers as making their own small alterations to a story as it's being told. In theory it is very simple, but learning the ways to force your will on the universe and the right way to speak could take anywhere from a single month to a thousand years. The universe is sustained by the pure flame of the Gods themselves, and it takes a powerful and confident will to change that.
Using the art[edit | edit source]
The Art is highly coveted, and its users, while not unseen, are rare and powerful individuals. Many people make use of the art at a rudimentary level, or interact with its constructs without having much skill in it. For example, a person may learn a certain word to turn a wall into a door, or use a paper messenger, without any knowledge of how these things came to be. It’s also common for people to make use of tools with magical properties (such as devil flesh or blood).
Users of the art are referred to commonly as sorcerers. The most common (and poorly regarded) types are Vattra (Marked), who gain their power most often through devil power (often through devils themselves, who are more than willing to feed people the Black Flame in exchange for contracts or debts and the repair of their masks).
The three other kinds of sorcerers are Tellans, Tongues, and Teeth.
Tellans gain their power from folk legend, storytelling hedge magic, and hearsay. Tongues engage in esoteric and solitary study and are usually ascetics. Teeth are rigorously trained to gain their ability, often for war or administration. All three tend to look down on the Marked as weak and impulsive.
Most deities seem to be knowledgeable about the Art, though some are arguably more proficient than others. In contrast, far fewer inheritors possess the ability to use the Art and those who can vary wildly in terms of relative power.
Thorn Knights, for example, demonstrate the ability to travel through space-time, but their mastery over this system pales in comparison to Jagganoth, a member of the Seven. Furthermore, use of the Art does not appear to be limited to the person who casted the magic, as Zoss has been shown transporting Allison to and from Throne, both directly and indirectly.
Illustration: King of Swords 4-37
The White Art
The White Art is the ability to change the self and one’s own perceptions. It is a very rare, powerful, and prodigious ability.
Usage of this system dates back thousands of years, as the gods are said to have used Division to transcend creation. According to 82, Vatra also study Division, so it is implied knowledge of this art has been passed down or rediscovered over the ages.
This system has varying uses, mostly based around the manipulation of space-time. Some known uses are the ability to literally cut things, divine hidden knowledge, move at imperceptible speeds, and to track beings moving through dimensions. When the White Art is used it typically manifests in a display of white lightning or streaks similar to the glint of a blade.
The White Art can also be used to warp space in order to teleport vast distances. The Magus Gates are especially potent in this regard, as they grant one the power to move instantly through various states of reality.
Teleportation: The user's divides reality and space. Their essence becomes separated from his or her body, revealing a naked, jet-black form of the person. This is known as casting a shade. If the destination is in the physical world, the user's body will reassemble in a new location. If the user attempts to enter the void, the user will instead assume control of their shade.
The Red Art
The Red Art involves changing the existing physical universe or non- animate matter. someone could use the Red Art to transfigure bare stone into gold, to warp a wall into a door, or to bend the illusion of life into inanimate objects. Equally, a practitioner could use the same principles to harm by igniting the air into bolts of fire or animating swords to fight on their own.
The nature and limitation of the Red Art is that it changes that which already exists into something else. For example, under Cio's guidance, Allison transfigures the very air into a plum. The closer the base material to the desired result, the easier the Art is. Iron into gold is far easier than water into gold, for example.
Paper soldiers: The user speaks a short chant which transforms into a red strand. The strand is then threaded through a stack of paper men which suddenly increase in size, sending enemies flying outward. The user can freely manipulate the movement of the paper, either to cleave a target to to form a defensive wall.
- SILENCE: The user issues the command / compulsion, forcing the receiver to bring their hands up to cover their mouth. The flesh of the hands then bind around the mouth - effectively preventing speech. Loabarrisleb used this upon Allison when she and Cio visited the Heretics Court. Seeker of Thrones 5-48
The Red-White Art
The Red-White Art is a mixed art, more common in many uses than the pure White, but extremely rare and difficult in its most powerful uses. It is utilized to use the Red Art to affect others (since their perception of self must also be altered), by changing their physical form or mental state.
During the great war between demiurges it was used to turn men’s skin to iron, reduce great kings to babbling idiots, or warp a warrior into a story-high monstrosity.
It has been used by the demiurge Mottom to turn a man into a tree and to destroy Gog-Agog’s head.
It's possible that Incubus' abilities to affect other people is also a form of Red-White magic... his pinkish aura suggests this, too.
Perish: The user says the word perish aloud and points at their target. The area they pointed to is hit with incredible force and explodes backwards, as if the gesture held tremendous kinetic force.
The Black Art
The Black Art is the rarest, simplest and most awe inspiring Art. It isn’t known if any practitioners still live. The Black Art has only one fundamental use, and that is to create something from nothing. It is written in the few texts that speak of its study that this ability can be used to further kindle the Flame Immortal and create life.
Techniques of unknown origin
Floating Boats: Changed through the Art to ignore natural laws, carved stone or wood boxes at the middle of a ship allow it to float. Their manufacture is extremely difficult and guild-dominated.