A Beginner’s Guide to Drucraft #3:  Sigls

Sigls and the effects they create are the ‘finished product’ of drucraft.  Essentia comes first, Wells come second, and drucrafters come third – the creation of sigls is the second-to-last link at the end of a very long chain.  When an observer sees a drucrafter use a sigl, they are witnessing the end result of years of work (if measuring the skill of the drucrafter), decades of work (if measuring the development of the sigl), or millennia of work (if measuring the evolution of drucraft itself).

Sigls look to the untrained eye like gemstones.  They are very small – about a twelfth of an inch in diameter for a D-class sigl, or between a quarter of an inch and a fifth of an inch for a class B.  Their colouration and pattern provide hints as to their branch and type:  for instance, torchlight sigls are typically translucent and a very pale blue.  They are usually set into pieces of jewellery such as rings, necklaces, or brooches, which makes them resemble gemstones even more closely.  To the uninitiated, the only clue that the sparkling stone on someone’s finger might be more than it appears is that, unlike gemstones, sigls are usually formed in the shape of a perfect sphere . . . but very few would ever notice so small a detail.

Sigls are made of aurum:  pure essentia, crystallised into material form.  It is this fact that makes sigls so small;  when shaping a sigl, a drucrafter is essentially creating mass out of pure energy, which consumes a massive amount of energy to produce a very small amount of mass.  As a result, aurum is, pound for pound, among the most valuable substances on Earth.  An A-class sigl with a diameter of one centimetre – about the width of one of your fingernails – is worth millions.

Of course, it’s not the aurum alone that makes sigls so valuable:  what makes a sigl valuable is what it can do.  When activated by the personal essentia of the drucrafter to which it is bound, a sigl pulls in power from the surrounding environment, transforming that essentia’s raw potential into a specific magical effect.  And these effects can be truly formidable.  At higher levels, a sigl can render its bearer invisible to human eyes, make them light enough to jump buildings, accelerate them to superhuman speeds, make them stronger than a bull, or even alter the flow of time.

However, while a sigl can do any of these things, it can’t do all of these things.  While resting in a Well, essentia is pure potential, capable (in theory) of anything.  But once that essentia is shaped into a sigl, its potential is actualised into a fixed form, closing off all other paths.  Sigls only channel essentia in one very specific way and for one very specific purpose, which is chosen at the moment of their creation and cannot thereafter be changed.  If the drucrafter changes their mind later on and wants the sigl to do something different . . . well, they’ll have to get a new sigl.  And if they have the wrong sigls, or no sigls at all, then their drucraft is of very little use.

What this means in practice is that the primary limit on a drucrafter’s abilities is not their level of skill, but the sigls they possess.  As such, in the drucraft world, talent and ability often come second to resources and connections.

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