Imbuing is one of the most pervasive forms of magic, yet also one of the last respected. It is, at its heart, the art of making things better: crafting objects that carry out their intended functions more effectively than their non-imbued counterparts.
Unlike the more overtly mystical effects of pattern and numinatria, imbuing is generally subtle in its effect. An imbued blade cuts more effectively, and its metal resists rusting, dulling, or chipping. An imbued cloak is warmer, more waterproof, and (possibly) more concealing. Imbuing is limited in what it can achieve: while imbued boots could assist the wearer in walking more quietly or cushion the landing of a jump, they cannot be made to glow or play music, because those functions are nowhere in anyone’s concept of what a boot is meant to do. Imbuing also speeds up the process of creation.
Part of the reason imbuing receives less respect is that there are no formal techniques for it, no clear steps an instructor can impart to a student. When a crafter achieves a state of “flow,” where they are fully absorbed in their work, then they are able to imbue the material in their hands. Indeed, sometimes they do this without intending to — which can be dangerous, as imbuing draws energy from the worker. Skilled crafters are generally able to achieve the flow state more easily, and are able to create the desired effects with less energy, but even an unskilled person can sometimes luck into success.
It is also theoretically possible to imbue a performance instead of a non-physical object. Because this is inherently ephemeral, scholars debate the reality of it, though those who have experienced it swear it’s true. Such incidents are most often said to occur during fights, but a speaker whose voice seems to carry farther than it should or a desperate rescuer lifting a heavy object off an injured person may have briefly achieved an imbued effect.
Because imbuing is primarily connected to the various crafts, it falls under the control of the guilds in Nadežra, and therefore the Prasinet seat in the Cinquerat, which oversees the city’s economic affairs.