The 8th World
Names and Naming
NAMES AND NAMING
The act of Naming is important in our world because it focuses the world’s magical forces into a Pattern. From that moment on the Named person, place, or thing is important in the world. Naming only occurs in conjunction with the interaction of magic and a person, place, or thing. Magic can be introduced deliberately, through a spell, or ritual (such as child’s coming-of-age Naming ritual), or accidentally. The use of powerful magics near a person, place, or thing might spontaneously Name something (the site of a major battle, the grove of trees where a great hero died, and so on).
For example, you may have a name for the stand of common trees behind your home such as “the grove” or “those trees out back,” but there is nothing important about those trees. The stand has its own pattern and, like everything in the world, is inherently magical. But this inherent magic is so weak you do not notice it. Most patterns in the world are like this, low in magic and effectively negligible. Named patterns, called True Patterns, are much more powerful.
Say that one terrible night, a pack of malevolent shadowhounds chases the wounded hero Samaran into that grove of trees. There, despite all the courage, bravery, and strength he can muster, Samaran is slain. The death of a great hero is a sufficiently powerful enough event to focus the forces of magic and give the nameless grove of trees a Name. The no-longer-ordinary stand of trees becomes Samaran’s Demise. It now has a Name, and therefore a True Pattern. What qualifies an ordinary thing or person for a Name?Association with magic or with some important event confers a Name upon the nameless.The following information describes those things most likely to be Named.
As intelligent, aware beings who are Name-givers, people must always have a Name. After all, how can one give a Name without having one? By definition, all Name-givers have Names. People can be Named, and re-Named, at various stages of their lives. Different cultures Name at different times. In many cultures, Naming occurs just after birth, usually as part of a spiritual ritual. Some cultures allow a child to choose a new Name for him or herself upon reaching majority,including such Naming in a coming-of-age ceremony. In other cultures, a person can choose to be re-Named at any time as a symbol of a new beginning or a new stage of life.
Naming a person forms his or her True Pattern. If that same person is re-Named, his or her True Pattern changes; the power of the magical energy focused on him alters much of what he previously was. He or she has a new Name, and has become a new person.
A place is usually named for its association with an important event or powerful magics. Many cultures have specific Named places for birth and death (usually different places, but not always) to keep from having scores of individually Named places scattered allover town serving the same purpose.
The site of a major battle might be Named, as might the place of a subsequent surrender or treaty signing. A husband and wife might Name the place where they first met. The site of weddings is often Named, for the same reasons as the places of birth and death. A place where people regularly work powerful magics is often Named. The Naming of such a place contributes to its power, making any magical workings there even stronger. A magician or shaman often names their inner sanctum or workplace for this reason. Places where powerful magics were used, even if only once, also can be Named, though they rarely are. Such a place might be the site of a great battle fought with magic or simply the spot on which a magician stood to cast a powerful spell.
A great temptation exists to Name places in honor of a powerful individual or creature. But because Naming a place for its association to a person builds an echo of that individual’s True Pattern into the True Pattern of the place, such Naming is discouraged. An item taken from that place could be used as a Pattern Item against that person. However, many places are Named posthumously after a great hero falls there.
Important items and objects are commonly Named when created. Creation of a magical item demands a Name; Naming focuses the magical forces to create the item’s True Pattern. Without its name, the legendary weapon Fireheart would be a simple broadsword, and Ork- Cleaver nothing more than a well-made dwarf axe. Non-magical items can also be Named, usually by a person who wants to link personal items more strongly to himself. For example, an ordinary person aspiring to become a Warrior might Name his weapon. This is a heroic thing to do, and the self-confidence such an act would inspire might spur the person to perform heroic deeds. This kind of minor Naming also poses a disadvantage;the item may become a Pattern Item for that individual.
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