Magic is the power that some people have that allows them to utilize the Mana within their bodies to interact with the mana in the surrounding area to cause a supernatural phenomenon, the process being known as casting spells.
In theory, everyone should be able to cast spells for as long as they know how to. However, magic is not an easy discipline to learn, a lot of time and effort is necessary to progress through the studies, and the amount of resources one needs to consult is by no means small either. Thus, magical tutors are a very valued profession and the amount of money one needs to pay to learn spellcasting becomes absurdly huge, which leads to most belonging to the nobility or very rich families. This is not to say it is impossible for a rookie spellcaster to make it big with enough effort and luck, however, but chances are slim.
Priests in general also learn how to cast spells in the temples they learn their teachings about the gods, so most priests are also able to do magic, though theirs is mostly related to healing.
In any case, all known magic is restricted to the concepts that are associated with the specific elements of Fire, Water, Earth. Air, Metal, Nature, Thunder, Light, Darkness and Arcane.
It is also important to keep in mind that manipulating Mana does not come without a price. Whenever one wishes to manipulate the surrounding energies, they must also offer a similar amount of their own energy, scholars call that the Law of Equivalent Exchange.
Elements and their Concepts
To cast magic of a given element, one generally needs to know how to manipulate the mana within their bodies and also know about certain intricacies of the element in question.
Most mages tend to focus in one or at most two elements to study, because the way mana is handled for spells of each elements is considerably different. It's like asking a blacksmith to use his knowledge of the forge to sew a set of fine robes.
As such, learning multiple elements requires re-learning your habits on how to make spells multiple times, which leads to a very inefficient result more often than not.
Each element has different uses and can alter the environment in various different ways, depending on the concepts the element embodies.
Generally, there are two main ways in which magic takes effect:
Firstly, there is the physical manifestation, in which one directly moves or create things associated with the element in question.
For example, an earth mage could create a brick from raw soil.
Secondly, there is the conceptual manifestation, in which the one directly uses the concepts associated with the element in question.
For example, while the element of fire is primarily associated with destruction and burning, it is also associated with the concepts of spirit and warmth, so, an expert fire magician should in theory be able to create healing flames.
Of course, it a lot harder to work with the concepts than it is to use the physical properties of each element, so only masters of said element are able to do so. Not to mention that applying the concept of an element to the spell generally makes it spend a lot more mana, so even the best mages tend to mix the physical and conceptual properties to increase the spell's mana-efficiency.
The main concepts and basic uses of each element are as follows:
The Element of Fire is commonly associated, although not limited to, the following concepts:
Fire is an element mostly associated with destruction, but it has many other utilities, such as: Control heat, illuminate the surroundings, cauterize wounds and of course, create flames.
While it is of course not as good as Light magic at healing or illuminating, those uses should not be ignored by the ones that wish to study it, even if its main forte is still in terms for destruction.
Fire is also generally the second most effective element in defeating undead, topped only by Light.
The Element of Water is commonly associated, although not limited to, the following concepts:
While water magic can sculpt the forms of all liquids, pure water is the easiest to work with and what most people tend to specialize in.
It's also very good at refrigerating things, which can be very useful in battles by throwing ice spikes or making an ice barrier, and also for other day by day things such as avoiding a heatstroke in a desert, creating ice cubes, and such.
The Element of Earth is commonly associated, although not limited to, the following concepts:
Earth is the power to mold the soil and other non-metallic minerals. In combat is a very solid element, with decent power offensively in the forms of earthen projectiles and also incredibly solid barriers.
However, it also has very powerful uses in rearranging the geography and such, being able to raise large structures like bridges and buildings, while tilling the lands and uprooting trees. Most of those tasks usually require multiple mages or weeks of hard work though.
The Element of Air is commonly associated, although not limited to, the following concepts:
The most common use of air magic is to manipulate the air currents. It's an element that tends to not be as forceful as the other ones, though it's possible to create strong blasts by compressing large amounts of wind and then releasing it in one go.
Regardless, wind magic is very useful due to its versatility, being able to do things like diverting the path of projectiles, clearing mists out of the way for a better field of view or either erasing or spreading fires.
The Element of Metal is commonly associated, although not limited to, the following concepts:
Metal is the element that molds metals into different forms. While one isn't able to create metal out of pure mana, it's possible to shape the form of a metallic object into another fairly quickly, making it particularly useful for battlemages, as they can adapt their weapon as needed.
It's also very useful in mines as you can extract metal from the impure ore, though one might wonder how many people that actively visit mines also know how to use magic...
Metal magic is also unable to transform metals into completely different metals.
The Element of Nature is commonly associated, although not limited to, the following concepts:
Nature is a highly versatile power, while in theory able to manipulate all things biological, you'd actually need to know the intricacies of all those things, which is virtually impossible. Most mages focus in only one aspect of it instead, similar to how they only choose one or two elements.
Some of the common uses include accelerating the growth of plants and increasing someone's natural regeneration to let their body heal their own wounds properly, though the latter would generally consume a lot of the patient's energy, so it should be used with caution.
Nature magic is also useful for handling poisons, either for cleansing them from someone's body or to inflict it in someone else through a spiked vine or similar things.
The Element of Thunder is commonly associated, although not limited to, the following concepts:
A very powerful element in the ways of destruction, blasts of powerful energy and shock are the signature powers of the element.
Most spellcasters have no problem with projecting great outputs in short amounts of time, although sustaining such output is another hurdle.
The Element of Light is commonly associated, although not limited to, the following concepts:
Light is the element that most priests tend to study, directly associated with healing, cleansing, communicating with the divine and heat. It's a very useful element in helping others in their times of need, or in giving allied fighters a strategic blessing. It is also the most powerful element to pit against undead.
It's also possible to use it offensively by concentrating a large amount of energy, and while that is very powerful, it affects only a small area and consumes lots of mana, so it is generally more of an emergency measure than a common use of the element's powers.
The Element of Darkness is commonly associated, although not limited to, the following concepts:
Darkness is an element with multiple uses, however, the practice of the element is generally extremely frowned upon due to how terrible some of the spells that darkness element magic can make.
What is usually associated with darkness are: Curses, Necromancy, Demonic summons and control over the cold. The only ability among those that is looked kindly upon is the control over the cold, but there is hardly any point in learning Darkness Magic to do that, as Water Magic can do it better, so Darkness Element practitioners are shunned and generally conduct their activities in hiding.
Arcane is the ability to manipulate mana in its raw form. It's theoretically able to handle almost anything that the other elements can't... That's purely theoretical though, as most unusual forms of trying to use arcane magic were generally met with failure or with absurdly high mana costs that either made the spell impossible to use in any realistic scenario.
The most successful uses of Arcane magic were in solidifying raw mana into a physical form (like a shield, an arrow or a rope) or with telekinesis to move objects without actively touching them, telekinesis is also able to make one fly by moving an object the caster is holding on to through the air... This is generally not recommended though, as running out of mana mid-flight could be disastrous. Trying to make your own body fly with Arcane magic is also not recommended, as it's very hard to control a spell that is constantly affecting your own body.
Creating illusions is also something that had some moderate success with Arcane magic... It's really hard to make a believable illusion, however, as mimicking touch, appearance details, sound, and natural movements are absurdly hard, so it's not something most users of the element attempt to meddle with.
Full Article: Magical Systems and Traditions
For those that wish to dive deeply into spellcasting, it's important to note and remember the work put on by their predecessors in ironing out the workings of the magi.
While the magical systems are by no means the only possible methods of making a spell, they are the most well-researched ones and are known to be very effective in their own specialty.
Priests and Spellcasting
At first glance, one might think that priests are basically mages that pass on the teachings from the gods, but while most of them do know how to make magic, this is still very far from the truth.
While both mages and priests can reach the same end-result of a spell, the process they use to do so is completely different. While a mage carefully study how magic and the element they wish to do works, a priest constantly studies the teachings of the gods. By understanding the teachings and what are the wishes of the god they worship to this world, a priest can borrow the god's power and spent their own mana to manifest that wish into reality, in the form of a spell.
This does help priests considerably because they don't need to know much about magic in order to create the desired phenomenon, on the other hand they can only cast spells for as long as they are in line with the god's teachings, and generally limited to the god's preferred elements too, which can be a considerable restriction at times.
There is hardly any rivalry between mages and priests though, while both are casters, they understand that their goals with magic are completely different and that there is no real point in comparing what they do.
Alchemy and Enchanting
Full Article: Alchemy and Enchanting
Alchemy is a very specific way of handling magic in which you use special ingredients to create something that creates a supernatural phenomenon.
Enchanting is the act of putting a special effect on an item that would be mundane otherwise, also requires special ingredients to work, silver dust, in particular, is very essential for enchanting in general.
Some well-known spells (like teleporting, looking into the future and time travel) were not listed in the list of things the elements can do... That's on purpose.
Spatial magic is a school of magic that consumes such an absurd amount of mana that not even Dragons can handle, it's possible to make things like... A one-time use teleport circle if you gather enough reagents, but it would be absurdly expensive to get them all.
Time magic is not allowed, don't meddle with it.
While I won't say things like prophecies don't exist altogether, they should be very very veeeeeeeeeery rare things... Usually received only by things like... One oracle of X deity per generation. Or something like it. Either way, while you can involve your character in some kind of prophecy, please be very careful with it and use it wisely... You are not allowed to have your character have the power to look into the future or make prophecies.