Unexpected Inspiration History: Mortise, Muse of Healing & Woodwork

Legend says that there were nine celestial beings who came down from their constellations to teach the first Concordians art and magic. This is partly true. There were beings who granted this knowledge, but they came from other worlds, not the sky.

Mortise is the oldest of the beings and isn’t technically a being at all.
Remembered as the Muse of woodworking and wood magic, it’s far more than Concordians ever knew. It began as part of the planet, as the energy that pulsated through the soil and allowed the land to flourish. Some cultures called this a god, some didn’t notice it at all. As the centuries and millennia passed, it settled itself into a tiny island to rest. There it lay dormant until a lonely artist from another world sent a message into the galaxy. The magic roused enough to answer and when the artists eventually discovered a way to create a doorway linking the worlds, they visited the island and their friend. The artists visited off and on throughout the years, never staying long, but bringing arcane understanding and appreciation that the rest of the magic’s world had long since lost.

During one of its long slumbers in between visits, new people arrived. In its half-aware state, it thought these were its artist friends, and it awoke to find humans instead. The humans were dropped there in the midst of a terrible illness; the island had been designated a plague colony. The magic claimed these people and placed part of itself inside them, which healed all who had survived long enough to reach its shore.

Every generation the magic selects people to hold its power, sharing with them the ability to heal most sicknesses or injuries. These healers use patterns painted on the patients’ skin to channel the magic given to them. Most are unaware that the soil serving as the home of their beloved plants is the source of this ability. They all share the magic’s desire to give of themselves without question and, as they’re all connected to the magic, what they hold can never run dry. Their empathy and telepathy, however, also echo that of their magic: they feel what their patients feel as they briefly take the ailment into themselves. Like the patterns are their channel for healing, they’re the channel for the sentient magic.

This magic is an entity of soil and earth– and also of trees. After the first humans recovered from their sickness, the artists did return, followed by an enemy who sought to enslave them for what they could create. When they again called out, this time for help, the magic was again the first to answer. It, along with eight other beings, placed its power into part of the population to give them strength against their enemy. Concordia remembers Mortise as the wooded grotto from which it “spoke” and granted art magic, personifying it as a tree-person. They never learned that it once gave– and continues to give– itself to the healers.

Stele | Chiaroscuro | Mortise | Pritchel | Whorl/Weft | Andante | Tessera | Scriven | Piquant



  1. I love your world building and I'm looking forward to learning more!

    1. Aww, thanks! World building has to be one of my very favorite things about writing. It's so cool coming up with history and mythology and magic! (And to think, at one point I was afraid that I'd never come up with anything interesting for the world!)


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