Canavan's Books Wiki

Magic in the Kyralia Series is based upon the manipulation of accessible life energy by a human agent, also called a magician, who releases the magic as different types of energy into the world for specific purposes. Although these may be specific purposes they are not without their extreme versatility.


Due to some unknown form of biological mutation, some people are born with a larger capacity for life energy than others, and thus tend to contain more life energy than others at any given time. People with this larger capacity are potential magicians. Capability for magic runs in bloodlines, and the strength varies depending upon the state of the bloodline. In the Kyralia series, it is established that Kyralians tend to produce stronger magicians than the people in Vin, for example. Acording to Lord Damon magicans believe magic either comes from the brain or the heart with former being more accepted than the latter.

An important point made, is that every living thing, including people, animals and plants, but excluding micro-organisms, have a natural barrier that forms across their skin. This natural barrier prevents acts of magic from being performed inside the natural barrier. Consequently, a magician cannot kill a person by stretching their magic inside a person and apply force to the persons heart to crush it, for example (though nothing prevents a magician from creating a strike of force outside a person that hurts the person when it hits, possibly with enough force to crush a persons rib-cage). The exception to the rule that no magic can be worked inside a persons natural barrier is Healing magic, which still require skin-to-skin contact between the magician and the patient, and which in most cases require the consent of the patient. Any breach in the skin of a person, like a cut, causes a breach in the natural barrier that will only disappear when the wound has healed. The natural barrier waver for a split second during sexual climax, and it has been said that a person may willingly lower the barrier if they know how. These ways to weaken the natural barrier has important implications for Black Magic.


For a person to become a magician, their minds must establish a mental connection to their internal store of magic (life energy) in order to manipulate it. This can be done with difficulty with the proper mental exercises, or more commonly and easier by the telepathic intervention by someone who is already a magician. Some people have so much inborn magic that they develop the mind-magic connection naturally without outside interference as they mature; these people were termed 'naturals' by some people in historical times.

People who establish the mind-magic connection must learn the skill of Control, the ability to connect with their magic with a moments thought and to not release any magic without their express intention even when not thinking about it. Without Control, magic energy may be unleashed without the magicians intention of doing so, most likely influenced by the wielders emotions, potentially causing damage and injury to objects and people around them. A person who does not learn Control will die sooner or later, if not during the earlier accidental releases of magic, then when their magic grow so unstable that they consume the magician in an total release of magic energy.

When a magician dies, any magic energy they have left in their body will release all at once, consuming the magicians body and causing some amount of damage to their surroundings. In the case of of old age, the magicians amount of magic tend to dwindle in their last years, so the damage is not excessive apart from the destruction of their bodies. In other cases, like murder or battle, the damage can be considerably larger, in one example leveling a city block. If a magician dies without magic in their body, their corpse remain. This may only be possible by death caused by Black Magic.


At the most basic, a magician has a form of telepathic ability, and the ability to manipulate their magic energy, sometimes using it as it is, but more often using it by shaping it and then turning the energy into either force, heat or light. How versatile a magician is depends upon the ways they realize magic can be shaped and applied during different situations. It all depends upon the magicians knowledge.

Basic energy applications[]


A magician can use magic to move and levitate objects, or even people, which probably is an application of turning magic into diffused force. The heavier the object and the further the distance the object is moved, the more magic and concentration is required. (Levitation might be an application of telekinesis.)

Heat generation[]

Magicians can turn their magic into heat energy to heat up objects until it burst into flames, evaporates, or melts. This can be done at a distance, with no physical contact needed. Magicians can also create a heat globe, a static globe of heat energy that heats whatever it comes into contact with and move wherever the magician wants it to. The heat strike is a type of strike composed of heat energy.


Magicians can turn their magic into light, in whatever shape they can concentrate on. The magician controls the intensity of the light, from enough to work in place of a torch to a dangerous, optically blinding flash of light. Magicians often create globe lights, a simple globe of light that moves wherever the magicians wants it to, useful as a convenient light source.

Illusion Casting[]

Magicians can manipulate the light they produce to form vivid illusions and images. Besides combat applications (to trick the enemy), it has been used to project images from memory for other people to see.


Magicians have a telepathic ability that can be used in different ways. Each magician have their own personal telepathic 'voice', that cannot be mistaken for any other magician.

Mind Communication[]

Magicians can send out their thought externally over long distances in a technique referred to as Mind Communication. This can be used by magicians to communicate between themselves over long distances. The magician can send thoughts or images. A magician can perceive the emotions behind sent-out thoughts, which make it harder to deceive using Mind Communication than with normal speech, even regarding minor things like finding someone laughable but trying to hide it. Mind communication is not private. The thoughts sent out is theoretically noticeable by all magicians, but to really 'hear' the thoughts sent out by a magician one must concentrate on their 'voice'.

The magicians of the Guild had a system where a magician who wished to speak telepathically to another magician first sent out their name in a thought; the other magician would then notice their name, and the 'voice' sending it, and start sending out their own thoughts in their own 'voice', which the instigating magician would listen after. From then on, it would be a two-way conversation. Other magicians could listen to the sent out thoughts if the concentrated, but it was considered good manners to ignore sent out thoughts not addressed to oneself, and without concentration, the sent out thoughts could be ignored without overhearing.

Some people who have magic potential but have not had their powers unlocked have the ability to perceive thoughts sent out in Mind Communication. The books demonstrate at least one case were this has been used to spy on magicians affairs. These examples serve as an extra warning that Mind Communication is not usually private. Normal people have no ability to perceive external sent-out thoughts, but a magician who has skin-to-skin contact with a normal person may send thoughts privately to the person in question; this form of Mind Communication can not be perceived externally by other magicians or people with telepathic potential. This private skin-to-skin telepathic communication can also be done between two magician, who then has no chance of being overheard by others..

Mind Reading[]

A magician can enter another persons mind while they are in skin-to-skin contact. Usually, this requires the persons permission, because any resistance on their part make the reading impossible for a magician. This communication often take form of mental images and mental constructs that the involved create to make the context of the mind read easier. The magicians of the Guild make use of this technique to learn out Control to new novices, because it is the only safe way to do so; even correct instructions by a teacher may involve some danger if the student has to learn through formal exercises on their own, and the teacher-less trial-and-error approach has nearly no chance of succeeding (though logically, the very first magicians in prehistory, the first 'naturals', must sooner or later have learned the basics through trial-and-error).

Sensing magic[]

Magicians can perceive if someone emanates magic without trying to hide it, even at great distances. This emanation of magic is possible in a magician who has not achieved Control, but according to magicians in the books, it is a simple exercise for a magician to hide their magic ability from other magicians perceptions behind their own natural barrier.

Life Sense[]

Not only can magician sense magic from others like stated above. They are able to sense the life force of other creatures, including insects. This particular aspect of sensing is very informative for a magician who specializes in healing.

Combat applications[]


Strikes are projections of bursts of magic energy used for attack purposes. Depending on the energy type of the strike, different effects apply. The weakest strike is the red-hued stun-strike which is designed to paralyze the target. Force-strike applies concussive force. Fire-strike and heat-strike project grades of heat energy. There also exist the mind-strike, which appear to be a burst of telepathic energy that attacks the mind of the target.


A shield seems to be a magician manipulating his own natural barrier to give it additional properties, often for defensive purposes. The shield can be reinforced to repel physical as well as magical attacks; the books depict a situation where a shield was prepared to repel physical attacks and people, but were ineffectual against a magically reinforced attack because the shield had not been formed to repel magic. The shield is usually translucent or invisible, but a magician can make it project light to make it visible if they wish. The books also gives an example of a shield made to keep warmth in and cold out, used to transverse the outside during winter. Examples are made were a magician projects a shield a distance away from themselves, sometimes used to contain something inside of the shield; this might be different from creating a shield using a magicians natural barrier as a base.

Energy Constructs[]

Magicians can release and control energy. For example a magical barrier or by creating a disc that would allow them to levitate. Although this energy will take the form of the most basic of shapes, this could be considered to be the most versatile of all the abilities. (Unaltered.)

Magical Cooperation[]

Discovered by the precursors of the magicians of the Guild, magicians who establish skin-to-skin contact with another may share their collective magical energy to perform tasks. A useful side-effect is that a shield and a strike created from collective magic in this way acts as if they were created by the same person. Usually, if one magician created a shield around them and another created a strike to attack, the strike would be stopped by the shield, but when performing magical cooperation as described, the strike would instead pass through the shield, allowing a cooperating group of magicians to make attacks against an enemy while always maintaining a shield against counter-attacks. Magical Cooperation should have applications outside of combat, too.


Healing is the techniques with which a magician can use their magic and a persons life energy to treat ailments and injuries. Skin-to-skin contact is needed between the magician and the patient to circumvent the patients natural barrier, and most often the procedure requires the patients willing consent. The magician can then use various applications of energy and magic to treat the patient. They can temporarily numb or remove a persons feeling of pain (probably though the pinching of specific nerves or neurons), realign bones or organs with applied force, force harmful substances out of the body by the application of telekinesis, encourage or force tissues to heal themselves by the application of magical energy (life energy). This is all useful to treat a patients injuries or heal damage to the body caused by sickness or symptoms of sickness. Although there are limits to what they can heal this is an amazingly powerful and versatile ability. On the other side, Healing can be used to do harm to a body if the magician wants to and the victim does not know how to counteract it.


In the course of their studies, the magicians of the Guild discovered materials that would hold magic for longer times before being naturally expelled, if infused with magic energy by a magician. This include stones that give of light as long as they contain magic energy and which expel the magic slowly before being depleted; the Guild uses these stones to light up their buildings. Notice that these materials are different from Magical Stones; they don't use magic, they just have useful physical properties when exposed to magical energy.

Magical Building[]

Many years ago, the magician architect Coren discovered how one could use magic to reshape stone, and to infuse it with magic to give it supernatural resilience and stability. With this technique, one can create elaborate buildings that possess structural stability and integrity even if they would not be able to stand their own weight if constructed without magic. Coren made many well known buildings with this technique, including some in the Guild grounds like the University, and many buildings in Imardin were constructed with the same magical techniques. The techniques for shaping stone is not limited to buildings; it is observed in The High Lord that Sonea makes a bowl using the technique.

Black Magic[]

Black Magic refers to certain techniques that has been branded as forbidden by the Guild, and techniques that may not involve the forbidden techniques of Black Magic but have became associated with Black Magic because they were only known to be practiced by known Black Magicians (and otherwise lost to history.) For further details (with spoilers), go to the article on Black Magic.

Magical Stones[]

Magical Stones refer to certain special gemstones that have been grown with magic to serve a specific magical purpose. For further details, go to the article on Magical Stones.