The Art of Black Magic wasn't the only magical discipline the Summoners of Zanarkand invented in their time. Nay - before the art of black magic, there was another art of magic , there was something that was missing from their repertoire. Thus Zanarkand; ever delighted to improve upon its forces and traditions invented White Magic, for healing purposes and for the protection of the Summoner and their allies.
White Magic, along with its twin Black Magic is one of the basest and simplest forms of Spiran Magic, its also among the oldest and most widespread forms of magic in existence, having existed since even before the conception of its much more offensively-oriented twin. Contrary to popular belief, white magic wasn't originally intended to be used on humans for the purposes of healing; but was instead meant as a way to influence and guide the dream and soul of an Aeon into ever greater power, by using white magic to bolster and strengthen it in combat - and by extension increase the military might and power of the Summoners of Zanarkand as a whole. But in time, it was discovered that the art held great potential, both for warfare and for personal use - revolutionizing the prospects of medicine and healing at its time.
The inclusion of White Magic is believed to have been much of the catalyst that served to incite further problems between the rival city-states of Bevelle and Zanarkand. For up until then Zanarkand had steered clear of its rival whenever it was possible to come to blows, because they rightly thought that Bevelle would demolish them; however, with their Summoners steadily increasing in power, Bevelle began to become increasingly suspicious of Zanarkand. For they believed that they were planning on launching an attack on them, once they had improved their arts and battle strategies enough. Paranoid of this possibility, Bevelle struck first and thus began the Machina War.
Among all the practioners of White Magic, its believed that Lady Yunalesca holds the honors of being most proficient in its use; for even after becoming an unsent she has continued to explore the boundaries of White Magic and use its powers to manipulate and empower her own wayward soul. Infact, after the war ended and the monstrosity now feared as Sin came upon Spira - it was Yunalesca herself whom passed on the secrets of White Magic to the people of Bevelle, along with its twin-art, Black Magic, as well as the secret to summoning Aeons. Now, more than a thousand years since its introduction, white magic has become the general method of healing all across Spira, relying upon the gift of magic rather than mere herbs and poultices; indeed, White Mages are very frequent, many of them choosing to heal the wounded and crippled in return for money and a warm bed.
White Magic, like Black Magic before it - remains largely associated with the Temples and priesthoods of Yevon; where its practised and researched to the greatest degree. Indeed, the masters of Yevon are frequently noted to be very proficient in the arts of white and black magic both, with a few of them even being capable Summoners in their own right. Because of its gentle nature and its ability to cure the incureable, White Magic is often considered to be magic that is inherrently good, a reward for their continued adhere to the teachings of Yevon's and willingness to atone for the crimes of their past. Therefore, in the company of others, White Mages tend to be highly respected and valued, often being allowed to rest anywhere they wish while travelling free of charge, provided that they're willing to give aid to those whom are in need of it. Furthermore, in addition to this, total strangers are often willing to take up arms to defend a white mage in their midst: driven by the belief that the mage's presence is a sign of good fortune and the fact that if they're harmed in this attempt, the mage is likely to be capable of mending their wounds.
A divine art which employs spiritualism, arcane knowledge and knowledge of pyreflies to mend, fortify, empower or even harm others, or themselves.
White Magic, unlike Black Magic deals primarily with internal factors as opposed to external ones and while Black Magi commonly unleash elemental blasts of raw magical energies, White Mages use their powers mainly for the purpose of protection. perseverance and healing. However, White Magic is by no means unsuitable for magical combat, over the centuries there's been several instances where powerful offensive spells have been created. Furthermore, White Mages may sometimes employ powerful healing spells for offensive, as by continously using healing magic on a single target beyond the targets level of tolerance is known to have severe, sometimes even lethal afftereffects.
White Magic works by blurring the line between spirit and vessel through the use of magic; its named a synergizing form of magic whose purpose is to affect the target on a spiritual level. While its said that white magic excels at healing, what they're doing isn't healing injuries as much as they rely on the subjects very essence and spirit to undo damage altogether; something White Magi accomplish by influencing the connection between vessel and spirit.
A System of magic is a term that denotes a certain way of practising, harnessing and directing magical power which, due to the particularities of each system almost invariably ends up being very different when compared to another system. With those untrained in the arts often misunderstanding two mages whom practise different systems of the same magical disciplines to be practising completely different magical arts altogether.
The First PathEdit
Bestowed, together with its Black Magic counterpart, The Old Way by Lady Yunalesca shortly following the end of the Machina War and the rise of Sin. The First Path is the original form of white magic, practised and developed by the people of Zanarkand - an art meant to embolster the recipient and the casters spirit through a medley of powerful magical effects. The First Path's original purpose was to empower the Aeons the Summoners of Zanarkand used in battle, manipulating the spiritual connection between the summoner and the Fayth to help draw out more of the Aeons latent powers for use by the summoners discretion. It wasn't believed that its powers would be of sufficient use when employed on living creatures. However, to the enlightenment of the white mages of that time, experimental use on humans proved to be highly successive as the mages found that by drawing upon the subjects spirit, they could use it as a blueprint to heal the rest of the body; because spirit and body are connected and affecting one affects the other.
The First Path offers little in way of actual offense on the mages part, being instead mostly focused on the aspect of healing, preservation, protective enchantments and personal empowerment through affecting the spirit. However, there are ways which allows a White Mage to wield their power for negative purposes; although none of them are particularily suited for direct combat they can have extreme long-terms affects if an individual is subjected to them for a very long time. This phenomena is reffered to by scholars, mages and most whom know of its existence as Overflow. An Overflow occurs when curative magics are employed on a target already fully healed, or when curative magics are performed in excess or alternatively, if the spells are performed incorrectly. When an Overflow occurs, the victims body starts to degenerate over time, to remove the excess energy from their spirit, this process is very painful and causes open wounds to slit themselves open on their own accord all over the victims body - these wounds ooze with mana and are not easily mended through the use of magic, except for Green Magic, which, rather than to affect the spirit, uses magic to accelerate natural healing processes.
While modern day white magic has improved much beyond merely being a tool for Summoners, the old teachings and methods still survive even today. Its become customary for Summoners to be well-taught in these ancient arts, both to provide relief and healing to their noble Guardians, but also to help draw out the greatest powers of Aeons through their use, allowing the Fayth to channel their powers more easily through the connection between them and the Summoner himself. In addition, practising white magic hones their mind and steels their resolve, which ultimately aids in the endeavour of receiving their Final Aeon. Beyond drawing upon the soul to cast powerful healing spells, White Magic has over time expanded to allow them to make finer adjustments to a targets aura, allowing them to imbue the aura (and thus the person it belongs to) with added properties, such as increasing the power of spells, and the safety at which they might be employed when used by the enchanted individual - to even temporarily increasing a subjects physical strength to almost superhuman degrees, with little to no backlash on the subjects part. This latter phenomenon is one which Scolars struggle with to this day, as they fail to see how there's no backlash or consequence with enchantments wrought by white magic.
That The First Path is ill-suited for direct combat is a fact few bother to contest; but even so, the centuries have left their traces in the form of a limited selection of spells that focus on attacking the opponent from within, by channeling subtle energies into their spirit and throwing it and their aura out of balance. This allows the White Mage to induce irregularities in the subjects behaviour; including muddling their conciousness to make them faint, befuddle and disorient enemies into confusing friend from foe. Particularily skilled practioners of The First Path are even known to induce murderous frenzies on friends or foes on the battlefield, making them into crazed engines of war temporarily devoid of reason, sympathy or restraint. Unlike their Black Mage counterparts, White Magi do not need to rely on somatic gestures to cast spells and therefore they're free to wear heavier armor than they, and as they neither make use of implements such as staves or rods, they often choose to wield martial weapons such as maces, shortswords or bows.
Like most other practises of magic in Spira - The First Path isgenerally associated with the Church of Yevon and its teachings. To this end, its most frequently taught at Temples of Yevon - the priests there teaching the art to anyone whom they deem to be worthy of the knowledge. Or alternatively, those whom make sizeable tributes to their wellfare and luxuries. The First Path is very commonly seen, for while it demands discipline, restraint and a cool approach - its generally easier to use, and more rewarding than its black counterpart, which has a nasty habit of incinerating foolhardy apprentices.