A Brief Treatise on Magical Energy and
The Practice of Eating Beasts,
Being A Primer for Elementary Students
of the College of Mages
by Sebastiano Silvercloth
(private publication of the College of Mages)
To understand the basic principle behind this practice, one need look no further than the custom of keeping Oracular Pigs, common among larger merchant households. Since such Beasts are capable of seeing only matters in its own physical future, they must be kept in places where their warnings of fire, attack, or other household disasters will involve the household, such as outside but near the kitchen, or beside outlying buildings of importance.
When the time comes that the Pigs foretells its own death (or shows signs of concealing such a prophecy), it is slaughtered and prepared for a feast in which the entire household takes part. The pig is consumed in the belief that its oracular powers may be acquired; some gamblers swear by a diet of such flesh.
Absorption of magic energy through ingestion of the flesh that held it is at the heart of many magical rituals. In truth, the roast pork and other meats are of little use to the consumers in the manner they desire. Luck is not a transferable quality. But it does advantage them in other ways: such consumption is known to increase life span dramatically, to prevent some illnesses, and cure others. The longevity of many of those able to afford the practice is augmented, while those with flatter purses lead richer lives.
Some Beasts and animals are much richer in magical energy than others, depending on their race’s characteristics. Almost every by-product and physical bit of a Dragon, for example, is highly valuable in that regard. The wings, which are typically removed from captive Dragons, are dried, while the meat is powdered and used as an ingredient in the alchemical cooking for which the Chefs of Tabat are famed. The leather is employed in the construction of aerial apparati and some armors, though the cost of such is prohibitive enough to keep them from the ordinary soldier’s wardrobe.
Dryads are similarly prized, for once they have taken on their ultimate form of a rooted tree, the wood of their bodies becomes steeped in magic over the course of season after season, and yields great quantities of energy when treated and burned in special furnaces. Such fuel supplies much of the energy that drives the city and gives its citizen the rich life we enjoy, and the trade boats are always on the look-out for Dryad groves, in order to collect the substantial bounty the city pays for their trunks.
For the most part, though, the effect created by partaking of a Beast or magical animal’s body is slight. Both Fairy blood and honey are faintly hallucinogenic in nature, but one would have to ingest vast quantities, such as the blood of two or three dozen Fairies (depending on the ingestor’s body weight and susceptibility to the drug) to experience anything appreciable. Still, the creation of dishes incorporating such substances have become an art for which Tabat is famed throughout the world. This reminds us that such knowledge may well be turned to practical purpose without suffering scorn. While pure Magicians pursue abstract knowledge, others help keep the College and city functioning through their willingness to put aside such lofty pursuits.