"Special Magecraft" was a euphemism for the horrific practice of Algarvian, Unkerlanter, and Gyongyosian armies in the Derlavaian War of performing mass executions of human beings and channeling the life energy released from them into destructive energy targeted at enemy forces.
The Precedent of an Earlier, Similar PracticeEdit
During many previous wars, there was a practice among soldiers - if their sticks ran out if energy and there was no ley line nearby - to kill captured enemy soldiers and use their life energy to recharge the sticks. For example, in the early stages of the Derlavaian War the Jelgavan soldier Talsu is known to have taken such an act towards captured Algarvian soldiers. When the prisoners pleaded for their lives Talsu said "If the situation was reversed you would have done the same, you know it" and then proceeded to cut their throats so that a military mage could use their life energy.
This kind of brutal act was known to be undertaken on occasion by soldiers of all armies, and tacitly tolerated by their commanders. However, never before the Derlavaian War was it done on a large scale, against non-combatants, in an organized way, or officially planned and approved by a country's leadership on the highest level.
Development of the "Special Magecraft" Edit
It was King Mezentio, determined to avenge Algarve's humiliation in the Six Years' War and win dominance of Derlavai, who took the initiative for this kind of barbarous conduct of a war, expecting to have an invincible "secret weapon" and at the same time settle accounts with the hated Kaunians.
Algarvian mages first committed this kind of atrocity in Unkerlant, where they used Forthwegian Kaunians; this brutal act was what brought in Kuusamo into the war on the Lagoan-Unkerlanter side. They would later employ the tactic against Kuusaman and Lagoan armies in eastern Algarve, and also used it against the Kuusaman capital city of Yliharma. (However, the killing of Kaunians transported to The Land of the Ice People backfired badly, angered that land's strange powers and caused the destruction of the Algarvian force itself).
King Swemmel of Unkerlant ordered Adanz, his reluctant archmage, to reverse-engineer the Algarvian spells and respond in kind using condemned prisoners and Unkerlanter peasants who were limited in their ability to contribute to the war effort. Though the tactic was anathema to the Gyongyosian warrior spirit, Gyongyos was forced to adapt it out of desperation. Gyongyosian victims were taken from among soldiers who had volunteered for the duty. Gyongyosian prisoners of war used "special magecraft" to destroy a Kuusaman prisoner of war camp from within.
Kuusamo and Lagoas were never forced to resort to "special magecraft," as they were able to follow the cleaner and more promising possibilities for weapons development offered by uniting the Law of Similarity with the Law of Contagion.