Infandus Epistolas

Understanding Portals, a Simpleton's Guide, Volume I

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Understanding Portals, a Simpleton's Guide, Volume I
An excerpt on teleportation circles, by Sechen the Mad, exiled mathematician and wizard of Frost.

Teleportation is a fairly complex magic, but the essence of it can easily be grasped even by laymen. Imagine that the world as a flat line, and that you are at one point on the line trying to get to another. It is impossible to do this instantly, as you would need to pass through every other point in between: walls, doors, and other barriers come to mind within moments of this thought exercise. Let us further imagine that the world has no such obstacles, merely the flat open path before you. To cross this distance you might employ the use of a horse, or perhaps a boat should the line between you and your destination involve the great seas. But alas! Doing so also takes time, as a horse must feed and rest and the winds can only carry you so quickly as you sail. To summarize, traveling takes time and is often difficult even in the greatest of circumstances.

Fortunately, we of the studious professions discovered long ago that it is possible to lift oneself up out of the world in which we exist by means of magical applications. While not in the world, you don't really exist, in the strictest sense, and no time passes for you. We also know that there is something else out there, where one goes during this time, but we don't know if it's another world we can't enter, or just a barrier. But what we do know is that we can use it to bounce, to reflect ourselves back down to the world, and to emerge on the other side at any other point on our desired line. If done properly, this achieves the effect known as teleportation, the concept of moving from one point on the line to anywhere else on the line in an instant.

It is in this series of books that you shall learn its secrets.

I must warn you, simple reader, before we go much further and your mind fills with the giddy pleasures of traveling instantaneously and at will! As it turns out, it is very difficult to lift oneself out of the world: achieving this manner of travel can tax even the mightiest of magical practitioners and indeed great contests of mental prowess take place to perform even minor movements of small objects across humbling distances. The tales and rumors you hear of great wisened men appearing in a plume of smoke to delivery a dread proclamation in a king's courtroom, only to whisk away a moment later without so much as a cantrip, are insincere and utterly false. Wizards and other profound individuals must get around this limitation by using what are known as teleportation circles, which I have dubbed portals for the simple man's word bank, serving as fixed platforms to launch one up and out of this reality; if you are clear of mind and know where you are going, you can direct this ricochet, as archery might call it, and end up at your proper destination without expending more than a relative pittance in magical reagents.

The other major limitation, both in using fixed portals and in teleporting oneself by sheer mastery, lies with accuracy. No wizard in living memory can teleport with better than about 95% accuracy, and while missing by 5% may not seem like much, consider this: if you teleport one league by the measurement of sailors, 1% of that is around 55.5 meters! The chances that you will end up above ground, but not so far above that you'll fall and die, are minuscule. It is also rumored that bouncing can occur from the other direction, and that you may even emerge from the great beyond trapped beneath the hells below! Perish the thought, but back to the numbers: when I speak of this to kings and countrymen alike, they always want to teleport more than a league. Sadly, the mathematical chances go down rapidly as you measure out an greater distance, as grandiose as it may be, the potential to travel across the kingdoms in the blink of an eye.

To get around this limitation of inaccurate bouncing, a second use for teleportation circles exists: they act as funnels, acting as a region that pulls travelers in and safely grounds them to their location. If you teleport somewhere close to a teleportation circle, and you can activate that circle either by memory or with the quick application of a spell or wondrous item, then the circle will pull you to it without qualm. I will go into greater detail on creating and maintaining these circles further along in the series. For the first volume, let us discuss the building blocks of portals, and common reagents you might find around the farmstead.
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