Since they play such an important role in the story, I thought I’d explain a little about how magic users work in the Tales From Undersea series.
Magic exists. Where does it come from? Nobody knows. What is it made of? It isn’t clear. Who can use it? Technically anyone if they’re willing to put the time and effort into studying it. There are some who are naturally gifted with skills such as foresight and find it much easier to use magic. But anybody in the world of Undersea can technically use magic to some extent.
Magic generally requires some kind of energy sacrifice to work. Minor spells don’t take much energy, but a more difficult or complex spell such as locating an individual’s exact location will require several days in an almost trance-like state to work.
Since they have been persecuted for so long on the surface, witches (a general term for magic users, although they can be male or female) moved Undersea once technology allowed them to. They found the free society a much more fertile ground for studying and developing magic. Once the factions began to emerge, witches naturally gravitated towards the Arthurian faction, inspired by the stories of the wizard Merlin. Other factions do use witches, but not nearly as often.
A magic school and society were also built in the Arthurian capital of Camelot. The purpose of both is to regulate the use of magic so it can’t be used for dangerous means. But there will always be some who do so, such as Elizabet Szekely (who is based upon the ‘Blood Countess’ Elizabeth Báthory). She was expelled from the Arthurian faction by King Stefan due to her dangerous actions, which only pushed her into joining an even more dangerous villain (I won’t say any more of that to avoid spoilers, but read Outcasts’ Alliance to find out more!).
After technology developed and humans started building cities in the skies as well as Undersea, magic as instrumental. Many cities are kept afloat through the use of magic crystals which can only be found and powered by witches. Despite this development, after the Empire took over many of the sky cities, magic users reverted to using their skills in secret to avoid detection. Whilst the days of witch hunts were long since over, witchcraft was still feared in the Empire, or else viewed as nothing more than superstitious nonsense.
By the 1920s (the timeline in the upcoming Tales From the Skies series), most witches are merely sideshow attractions playing up the ‘magic gypsy’ image to sell tarot card readings or pry money from gullible or desperate people. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still some genuine magic students in the skies, or that they aren’t using their skills for good.