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I'm writing a fantasy set in our world but an alternate timeline where a magical force has 'leaked' into our world from an alien one. The magic is based on science in that the magic is simply energy that can be harnessed to effect known forces that exist.

Certain humans are able to harness the magic by 'conducting' it through their bodies (as long as their feet are on the ground). Rather than being tedious about the detailed types of magic I've built, I'll get on to the crux of my problem. In my original outline, I imagined a type of mage more exponentially powerful than other mages who is able to create black holes (usually resulting in suicide) and destroy cities and armies. I have called this magic deathlight and it can be countered by something I call starlight. As I've written it, the deathlight looks like a void that can expand until it reaches its pinnacle, pulling all nearby matter into its heart before disintegrating. The starlight 'feeds off' the deathlight, pulling its energy away. When these two energies clash, the more powerful mage prevails.

Obviously this is magic so I can do what I want. But I would prefer my magic to at least resemble known universal phenomena.

I have a scene where the beloved Sultan is meeting with some emissaries from a foreign Empire. One of the foreigners is a traitor with bad intentions. The Sultan knows this for (plot reasons) and confronts him. However, it turns out the traitor is actually an assassin ready to take out the Sultan then and there. MC is the Sultan's guard and when the cornered villain casts the deathlight she attempts to counter it with starlight but she doesn't have sufficient knowledge to cast a large enough counter, she only manages to hold the deathlight off long enough for (other characters) to shield her and themselves before the deathlight explodes, taking dear old Sultan and mr. baddy with it. When's all over they are surrounded by a crater, except for the tiles and rugs where they were standing under the shield.

Can this make any sense using our world physics, assuming there are no limits of energy or mass as we know them? What would make this scenario more realistic without simple ignoring the issue of radiation?

Do you have a better idea? :) Thanks for reading.

I originally tagged this as science-based because my magic does have limitations based on the natural laws of our world (up until I get to the black hole goes boom scene). I really want my world to be consistent and grounded. I'm ready to throw the black hole out but I just haven't thought of anything better. To anyone interested here's a brief summary of my magic system: Worcraft- of manipulating plant life Orecraft- of combining molecules and elements Shapecraft- of transfiguring the form of object (without changing their material) Bindcraft- tethering or severing the consciousness's connection to an object Ligtcraft- of manipulating or creating light Leechcraft- cleansing or staunching blood flow Soughcraft- of the augmentation or reduction of sound Toolcraft- the manipulation of gravity Ondyng- the manipulation of scent

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    $\begingroup$ Hi @Jessica Freeland, Welcome to Worldbuilding! Usually, "magic" and "science-based" tags do not coexist well together. If you want your magic system to be "scientific", you need to set specific limitations and expectations, like which rules will be broken and to which extent. What you described in your question is "pure magic". $\endgroup$ – Alexander Oct 28 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ Hey there. I don't have a good answer (others beat me to it) but I wanted to pipe up on something. Kudos to you for wanting a magic system that is logical and has very solid rules. $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Oct 29 at 12:55
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Deathlight is a tear in reality: starlight is thread

Rather than having deathlight be a black hole, which involves all sorts of unpleasant side effects, instead, have deathlight be a tear in reality —or rather, many, many little tears.

In certain theories, reality, or our dimension, is already swiss cheese: there are gaps in it through which gravitons, the hypothetical particle that causes gravity, can slip into. It only works for gravitons because they’re so tiny, but what Deathlight does is widen those gaps, so that regular matter can also vanish into them. The area in which it happens spreads from the origin, and the only way to counter it is to use ‘starlight’, which acts like thread around a tear, pulling the gaps closed. Of course, if the tears spread faster than you can stitch, everything gets eaten up.

As for the explosion at the end: when the mage wielding Deathlight dies, their hold on the spell fails, and the world reverts back to normal. Of course, the dimensions which are big enough to contain gravitons certainly aren’t big enough to contain real matter, and everything that vanished is spit back into the real world, with catastrophic results.

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  • $\begingroup$ It seems like both you David and Vogen Poet have hit on a very exciting solutions to my problem. Deathlight and Starlight will definitely need new names. And I apologize for including ''discussion'' fodder in my OP. I wasn't sure how exactly to phrase my question. $\endgroup$ – M.J.F Oct 28 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ @jessica freeland I love the green check mark as much as the next stacker, but could you hold off on accepting an answer until 24 hours have passed to give others a chance to suggest better ideas? $\endgroup$ – Daniel B Oct 28 at 20:13
  • $\begingroup$ certainly. I'm still learning the ropes here. $\endgroup$ – M.J.F Oct 28 at 21:17
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Antimatter is a better solution than black holes

From the description you've given of the Sultan scenario, considering that black holes don't really explode, this sounds more like antimatter to me. Antimatter, of course, reacts violently with matter. To the point where a gram of antimatter reacting to a gram of matter is equivalent to ~43 kilotons of TNT. Obviously, that too much, your characters would most likely use a fraction of that, maybe even as little as a trillionth of a gram, though you don't have to go into specifications. In other words - deathlight = antimatter.

Starlight is the process needed to transmute the matter into antimatter. The way it's created on Earth uses particle accelerators, but a mage wouldn't need to do that - just snap your fingers, and the protons and electrons suddenly swap to positrons and p-bars (that is, anti-electrons and anti-protons). And to keep summoned deathlight from exploding, you can use starlight to overcome it and turn it back, or you can use magentic magic to isolate it and keep it from interacting with normal matter. You may wish to call it twilight - the light that separates light and dark.

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  • $\begingroup$ Blackholes can "explode" - a microscopic BH will almost instantly evaporate completely into Hawking radiation, converting it's entire mass into energy in the process. Nitpick aside, I think one mage converting matter into antimatter while the other mage attempts to neutralize it by converting it back as fast as possible makes for good tug-of-war scenario. $\endgroup$ – Gene Oct 28 at 22:42
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I think this question is unavoidably opinion based because controlling black holes is never going to be science-based, nor is anything which can feed off them. See the Heroes character Stephen Canfield who can summon black holes at Will, like your mage.

But your very final question has an answer.

What would make this scenario more realistic without simple ignoring the issue of radiation?

The answer is nothing, because radiation will never leave the black hole in real life. You will have to rely very heavily on your magic to suspend disbelief in this story. What your magic does is tunnel the energy falling into the black hole somewhere else (like a wormhole). That someplace else has to be outside our universe. Lucky for you, that place already exists! So the “Starlight” weapon tunnels the energy back into this universe.

Basically your magic goes around the event horizon by connecting the two realities “leaking” over each other.

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  • $\begingroup$ "radiation will never leave the black hole in real life" - not quite true. Whatever falls on black hole would indeed never leave it, but accretion process is very messy and can be worse than a nuclear explosion. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Oct 28 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ But is anything going to be orbiting these tiny black holes to undergo accretion? $\endgroup$ – Vogon Poet Oct 28 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. As a rule of thumb, sizeable portion of material drawn to a black hole would escape it in a form of radiation. What Would Happen if a Small Black Hole Hit the Earth? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Oct 28 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ Nevermind accretion, a tiny black hole emits enormous amounts of Hawking radiation - the smaller it is, the more it emits. $\endgroup$ – Gene Oct 28 at 22:46
  • $\begingroup$ Well the theoretical Hawking radiation is predicted by the field equations, but we’ve never actually seen any. So, either it’s very low energy, or just a theory. $\endgroup$ – Vogon Poet Oct 28 at 22:48
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small black holes evaporate. The smaller the hole the faster they evaporate. So the rate at which matter can be conjured into the black hole is critical if a massive enough amount can't be added quickly enough there will be a big explosion.

You might find the answer to this question of interest: Would it be possible to have a small black hole dissipate as it 'sinks' into the earth?

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