Art by u/fwipsy
Scattered throughout Keratia are large, faintly glowing crystals jutting up through the landscape, known as Shards. These Shards are the source of all Arcane magic in the world, and casting while in close proximity to one is known to both enhance one’s magical prowess, and sometimes cause wild and volatile side effects. Those adept in the arcane can feel the magical energy radiating off of a Shard like one feels heat radiating out of an oven.
The number of nearby Shards determines how often the magically adept are born into a population. However, even in the villages furthest from any Shard, there is still enough ‘background’ arcane energy that rarely a mage will be born amongst the people there. This has a profound effect on the position of magic in the various societies of the world. In the core cities of The Kingdom of Bray, where the nearest Shard is more than 50km away, magic users are prized for their abilities. In the Crystal Khanate however, where the nomads regularly traverse fields full of shards large and small, a non-magical child is more rare than a magic capable one. In most of the civilized world, mages are uncommon but not a surprise.
Sorcerors are capable of tapping into the background of arcane energy that permeates the world, allowing them to do magic at will. Being near a Shard tends to make the magic of a Sorceror unstable and wild. Wizards are not attuned to this energy, and instead must pull their arcane energy directly from a Shard, typically a hand-sized Shard carried with them, commonly called a splinter due to their most common shape. Wizards find that larger shards provide them heightened abilites, but pose a great risk of total spell backfire or failure.
Incredibly well-tuned mages are able to detect Shards at great distances, to the point where they are able to navigate the oceans simply by detecting the direction of the various most powerful shards in each region. These Arcane Navigators are a prized asset amongst the sailing companies and navies of the world.