Sigil magic is the most common type of magic employed by Atlanteans. It involves storing spells inside special artifacts and releasing them when needed. The use of sigils has been described as the 'bedrock' of Atlantean's magical power; many magic users, including most scions, are not capable of performing magic without them.
Sigils are artifacts that have been magically altered in a way that allows them to store spells. Any artifact can be transformed into a sigil. The knowledge to make these important and specialized items disappeared sometime in the 20th century. They are therefore considered extremely precious, finite in number and "irreplaceable." Because of their magical nature, they are nearly impossible to destroy, although null threads cancel their spells and have the potential to physically warp the artifact and make it unusable.
Mass sigils are significantly more powerful than a normal example, but difficult to use for most Atlanteans.
In order to use sigils, one must have a bond with the artifact. This bond can be created, for example, by one practitioner sharing a sigil with the potent phrase "I give this sigil freely; your will is now its will." By meditating in a sanctum, magic practitioners connect the sigil and their willpower, with the result that the sigil manifests the user's magic in the form of a specific spell. Once the sigil has been filled, others usually cannot determine the nature and function of the magic. Releasing a spell requires that the person both touch the item and concentrate closely. Successfully distracting someone thus prevents them from using their stored spells.
Types of Sigils
The following are either directly described as sigil spells or can be assumed to be so. They are listed roughly in the order they first appear in the series.
- Physical disguise
- Knockout spell that causes unconsciousness; protection against it provided by a countercharm
- Psychometry, a tactile magic that allows users to access 'psychic snapshots' left on material things
- Ability to see and read in the dark
- Didactic memory
- Bless-fire, used against the undead and unconsecrated
- Spell that searches out living creatures
- Spell that manipulates the earth by drawing up water or mineral spikes