I got into a discussion with Andrew tonight about the pantheon of Unda Vosari, and how they related to the various sources of power that some of the inhabitants possess. I also decided I should drop a few hints and, for those familiar with the story, a teaser or two.
Magic, of course, is the study of arcane powers. Words, phrases, gestures, symbols and material components fuel magic. People use it to launch fireballs at each other. It's pretty much a given that any work in a fantasy setting is going to include magic.
Then there's mana. Where magic is commonplace, mana is much more rare. In fact, until later on in the series, mana is all but unheard of and mistakenly confused with magic simply because they look similar to the outside observer. The difference is in how the effects are created.
Magic, as stated, uses magic phrases, gestures and material components. Mana is a more primal aspect of magic, less reliant on the world around the user and more about the focus and intent of the user internally. Where magic requires you to make a gesture and say a magic word, mana simply requires you to focus your will. It may require a gesture or spoken word, but that is simply how the wielder chooses to exert his will at that moment, and unlike magic, the gestures or words will never be the same between two people.
In the middle of the spectrum is chi. A curious power related to both magic and mana, chi requires force of will, verbal and somatic components. Monasteries will teach monks how to focus their will and exert it on the physical world, but the verbal and somatic components will generally be similar (the Ur example would be the cliche "Hi-ya!" and matching foot stomp that seems to come with every open-handed karate chop). However, true masters of chi will have the focus and force of will to bypass those requirements. That said, chi still falls firmly under the domain of mana (while having a regimen similar to magic, although it is decidedly more rigid, and spiritual, than magic could ever be).
I decided that instead of one "all-powerful entity" that sort of just created everything, there'd be two, and the pantheon would be more familial than "Omnipotent being creates slightly less omnipotent beings." At the top are Avo and Avia. They gave birth to four children (Aversio, Mikhailai, Mannox and Delaine). That's actually the end of the familial aspect of the pantheon, but it is the core of it. Mikhailai created the humans, Mannox created the dwarves, Delaine created the elves and Aversio began to shape other aspects of the world (literally creating divisions between order and chaos, separating light and dark and generally forming the world). Mannox and Delaine imbued three people with some of their power and welcomed them to the pantheon (Adina, Ramius and Sini) and those three helped inhabit the rest of the world (Ramius created the giants, Sini filled the lands with plants and animals and Adina created the various monstrous humanoid races). Sini had one daughter by Mikhailai, Lori, and she was responsible for creating magic.
Meanwhile, Aversio had taken a far less familial route, simply finding humans that seemed to personify aspects of the world. Odium, Dolus and Ultio were each chosen to personify chaos, order and mana (respectively) due to their control over (or influence over) their respective fields. Odium took a bride, Ira, and with her created the Caligo. Dolus likewise took a bride named Talio and created the Tirith. Finally, Ultio took a bride that, to this day, remains a mystery, but she gave birth to one person. She had a son.
He grew up to be a man named Veln.