Crows on the Skulls
The nature of Magic and The Great Wheel
To understand the nature of magic one must first comprehend the nature of the great wheel. Time is the mechanism that keeps the great wheel of The Planes turning. As time moves, things change. The relationship of time and change is measured with age. Time is a constant omnipresent force, or rather, the relationship of change to the passage of time is constant.
Nothing on the great wheel is permanent. Time changes all eventually and the breadth of time itself is inconceivable. The planes were not always as they are known now, nor will they always be. It is likely that the planes shrink and grow and merge in every possible way. It is also likely that innumerable variations of the planes will exist, and have existed.
Magic is the antithesis of time. Magic creates, magic changes, magic destroys when it can at the will of those that manipulate it. Magic should not be confused with the spark of life, light and dark, the substance of the soul, or part of the nature of good and evil. Magic is apart from all those things, and also part of all those things because just as energy and matter never disappear magic merely changes form.
Think of a rock. That rock was not always a rock. A rock is made up of other things in a different state and combination then they were before. A rock can cease to be a rock. It can crumble to dust or melt into magma but as a rock it can only be a rock. A rock will not grow into a tree but a seed can. A seed is alive and therefore designed to grow, live and die when conditions permit it. Likewise the rock only came to be when conditions permitted it to form over time and it will not change again until time passes or something changes it. This understanding of things living and not living as we know them, does not apply to magic.
Magic is a unique form of energy that exist in all things. Magic bonds everything to everything else. It is invisible and intangible and amorphic. It can be anything at anytime but it will not always exist as it was or could be. A magic rock is still a rock, and just as the rock can only exist in certain circumstances for an impermanent amount of time so will the magic in the rock.
Magic can be used in innumerable ways by anyone with knowledge of spellcraft. No being is immune to magic entirely or live apart from magic because magic is everywhere, and part of all things. The force of magic is invisible and intangible and undeniably powerful. In some ways magic is like a living force. It can grow stronger, or weaken, when other magic is added to it. Magic can be used to block other magic, absorb other magic, or change other magic.
There are some questions about magic that will probably never be answered. Does magic exist as part of something else outside the great wheel? Is magic finite like energy and matter seem to be? Will there ever be a version of the universe without magic? Only the gods may know, and it is not likely that they can comprehend everything because they are merely ascendant versions of the mortals they once were.
No being, or god, has lived long enough to watch a world form and dissapear. The origins of the planes, magic, and time itself will forever be a mystery. Most believe they intimate a design of a supreme power. However If you believe in free will, then surely those beings that think for themselves have some impact on the nature of the great wheel. Or If you believe in destiny you could say that everything that was and will be has already been anticipated by the creator and nothing you do will ever change your fate.
Regardless of its origin, the nature of magic is still largely unknown. Commonly held theories about magic in its various forms are at best quaint observations. There is no difference in arcane and divine magic other then the means to summon it. Faith and spellcraft are more or less equally daunting disciplines to master.
Magic does change form in a sense. It is believed that compressed magic, like that in magical items, is dangerously unpredictable. A magic artifact for instance will actually gain strange properties or powers it never had after enough time passes, especially those with sentient personalities. Crenshinibon is a good example of such an artifact. In truth artificial magical consciousness is barely understood and likely unwise to experiment with too much. For now sentient magical consciousness is always bound to an item, but perhaps someday these beings (if you can call them that) will break free of these bonds. What would happen then?
It is also unknown if magic will change the longer it stagnates in any one place. The bounds of control that spellcraft offers is obviously an imperfect science, and Wild Magic is just one of many awful side-effects of failed experiments.