A demigod is an individual who is granted great power as a Magi, power beyond the limits of the mortal human body and mind. A demigod who uses the magi for evil is said to perform magik. The term magik is considered taboo and not used publicly. Speaking the word in private is said to invoke the power of Dramon and is akin to blasphemy against the Holy Five. In a sense, the term is the polar opposite of Magi—a Magi harnesses the magi for good while a mage uses magik for evil. The magi itself is inherently neutral, it being a term to describe energy and faith together. It is how one uses the magi that determines his or her divine destiny, whether that is Heaven with the gods or the Endlands with Dramon and his bodiless angels of perdition.
Magik, unlike the magi, is not rooted in reality and quantifiable principles. Instead, magik exists in the realm of the supernatural, the mythical, the occult. The mere mention of the word still brings fear into the hearts of those who hear it. Unlike modern (or even ancient) Magi, magik users were known for creating horrific spells and bringing plagues upon the people around them. From raining fireballs out of the sky to turning lakes into ice, mages were evil men and women who used their profound understanding of the magi to unleash supernatural terror on the people around them.
Part of what makes the tales of the mages so frightening are that they require an individual to be imbued with power from the gods, a power that should not be available to mortal beings. Common belief holds that there is a functional limit to what mortal humans can achieve in using the magi. Since the body and mind are the tools for changing and manipulating energy it is impossible to create, change, or destroy more than the sum total of a human being. In order to use the magi a person must have understand the scientific principles governing the action they wish to take and results they hope to achieve while simultaneously having the faith to know that their actions will produce a given result. A human mind can only comprehend so much and the body contains a finite amount of matter, which itself is used as the catalyst for change. But tales of mages are tales of people overcoming the limits of mortality and performing acts that rival what the gods are capable of. According to the Writ of the Five, it isn’t until a good and righteous person dies and they return to Heaven that their bodies are perfected and the veil of mortal ignorance removed that they are able to reach beyond their mortal limitations and perform acts of unlimited scope and power. Speaking of mages and magik is to profane Velwin and the other gods, to rise to the status of Demigod, and to overstep the natural order of life and death itself. The word magik is inherently evil; there is no good magik as any magik is blasphemy against the gods. In traditional folklore a mage becomes a Demigod, or an individual with the powers of a deity who has not yet died or inherited them in the afterlife. Because the term magik is so taboo, the term mage is also taboo. And given that the word Demigod appears in the Writ of the Five as a way of describing Dramon’s angels of perdition, Demigod is used now to describe both an evil person who has died (an angel of perdition) and a living person using magik (a mage).
Speaking of mages and magik is not prohibited in Atla but it is considered taboo. The words instill fear and terror when spoken and are sometimes considered to summon the very Demigods themselves. Only foolish children and those with sinister motives will ever invoke the name of the Demigods. But as with any myth, the stories of mages wielding their unholy power are simply that—stories with not verifiable or quantifiable truth. Despite the incorporeal nature of the stories, many still adamantly believe in the power and existence of mages throughout the world. Some go so far as to blame mages and Demigods for the Half World Effect.