Misuse of primary, secondary, and tertiary wards during the more complex incantations found within the Grande Magistratum, the four great books of magic bound to this world by Magus Yevgeny Solovyov, account for more than half of the dimension rupturing disasters from the last four-thousand years. In recent years, sophistication in astral reverberation mage tracking systems has allowed us to discover an alarming trend in these accidents. Fully two-thirds of these sanity shattering twists in the very fabric of reality are caused by mages less than five years out of apprenticeship. Whether the blame lies with master mages who rely too heavily on crystalline recorded projections of their netherselves to do much of the hands-on teaching to their apprentices or simply youthful exuberance in casting spells such as the Vyrstuuk Astral Folding Ceremony is beyond the scope of this paper. The focus of this paper is to merely comment to the greater arcane community about the misuse of containment wards during the Elder Shintok Ascension Incantation or other Shintok-style dimensional breaches.
History of Breaches
While most attempts at calling up dark visitors to tell of future events with either catastrophic or merely dire outcomes has resulted in little more than interesting stories to tell at parties, rampant use of this method of temporal abatement has caused notable kinks in the fabric of spacetime. The well known exploits of Dr. Heronimous Brown some three-thousand years prior to the publication of this paper are fine examples of why proper containment wards should always be in place before opening the world between worlds for the purposes of calling forth a flaming R'Yet to spice up a particularly dull faculty party. The resulting shockwave of negative or "dark" particles is well known to have caused Dr. Brown's immutable soul to be shattered into glistening shards and distributed about the cosmos for inscrutable reasons only understandable by the R'Yet's dark master, Ammalgolonon. The event also garnered no applause from attending guests.
Such soul shattering repercussions are not the only outcome from dabbling in the white plane that holds all existence together, of course. Twenty-five hundred years ago, during the reign of Holy Sorcerer Julian Darkbane, a young mage illegally betrothed to the High Templar's illegitimate daughter made the mistake of promising to win her father's favor by opening a path to the Arktuuran treasure world. Although the young mage's trip into the Akrtuuran mother vault or Shkimta'ah, translated loosely as "curséd is he who removes the accumulation of our fathers", appeared to be uneventful, the trip back across the undulating landscape that lies where no man should tread was less successful. In his haste to prove himself to the High Templar, the most high lord of light who carries the sigil of Targariod and staff that will silence doom during the final moments of the Berethion Cycle, the young mage improperly drew the four dimensional symbol of Origin on the seventh circle of Magtherimar's shielding spell. Upon crossing the barrier to deliver his stolen treasure, a statue of the five-faced god whose name I will omit due to its nature of driving those with weaker wills forever insane, the substance that the treasure was made out of, what appeared to be hardened shadows, absorbed the mage, creating an infinitely tall pillar of darkness from which can be heard the sound that erupted from the mage in his final living moment. The surrounding three miles of landscape has been largely abandoned due to the continuous wall of sound known locally as Love's Folly or, more commonly, The Everscream.
Still more recently, Gerard Dolan, a nature-wielder from the southern kingdom Djudoon, attempted to fulfill a Rahtek blood rite to open a path through the Timean Wastes to gather soul lotuses, an act forbidden by the Earthmother. Due to improper use of the fifteenth chevron in the complex Shadowthorn Binding Ritual, Dolan was drawn through the newly formed shade portal into the lost kingdom of the Underdwellers, the four fingered race of artisans and engineers driven mad by their attempt to rebuild the extra-dimensional tower of Tk'chknss. Few reports exist about Dolan's final fate, but it is believed by the Blind Brotherhood of Haradeem, the last remaining brotherhood of hereditary seers, that Dolan was carried by the Underdwellers into the depths of their kingdom by command of the ancient god C'Tz'Hakar, lord of blood, to be forever consumed by the Deepworms residing there.
While most misuses of containment wards result in the complete or nearly complete destruction of one's sanity or soul, some cases, such as the seemingly recent yet inconceivably distant case of Gregory Gottschalk, result in what many have striven for over the centuries. Gottschalk's attempt to open a portal in the Hall of Inquisitors to the Golden Palace of the Endless Serpent, ensuring that the arcane knowledge kept within the Hall would become unchangeable for the all of the eternities, backfired tremendously due to the seemingly minor oversight of setting the Ward of the Infinitely Sounding Gong just outside of hallowed ground. The explosion of holy energies was directed into Gottschalk himself, causing his body to become a closed circuit of endlessly unchangeable spacetime, the very fate he wished for the Hall. Since his accident, Gottschalk has spent most of his time traveling around schools of magic and towers of masters known to contain particularly powerful apprentices to preach the dangers of performing breach incantations while not adequately protected. While many students seem to absorb this information with the appropriate solemnity, talk often turns to Gottschalk's age. Although the accident technically only happened roughly five hundred years ago, Gottschalk remarks that the event, in fact, occurred some seventeen-thousand time cycles ago. When asked to state his age, Gottschalk reports that, since normal progression from moment to moment is now meaningless to him, he has had to invent a new form of measure to accurately track his movement across the ever flowing face of time. Gottschalk has named his new unit of time measurement a chronospan, of which he claims to be nine and a half.
It should come as no surprise that the movement to reinforce ward education has been gaining traction for some time. The organization MAEUCDW or Mothers Against Erroneous Use of Containment and Dispersion Wards has submitted many proposals to the Divine Maegister, He Who Walks in Both Shadow and Light, calling for an increase in ward education at public magical institutions. In spite of such fervor toward resolving this issue, His Holy Magnificence, The Blade That Binds, has only responded with what sounded like a chiming bell infinitely distant. MAEUCDW has taken this response as a sign of progress as previous members to scale the heights of the crystal tower and approach the Golden Sorcerer returned with a shining visage and spoke only the word "forever" before spontaneously bursting into flames, leaving no trace that they were ever there.
Experts in the field of breach research have warned that teaching fundamental containment ward use should be the first and most important lesson to any apprentice mage looking to open an unholy rift between the disparate and infinite worlds. Dr. Klaus Wolfgang Emersonn, a senior faculty member at the Schule des Blitzs und Donners, refuses to teach young mages anything other than wards for their entire first year of study. Only in their third year, after passing a section of Intermediate Protections Against the Blasted Lord of Fire, does Dr. Emersonn begin instructing students on what he calls "the big guns", which include revealing the true meaning of the ever-skittering text held within the Tanzinketch Book of the Dead and the binding of Baelthenzon the Soulcaller. It should be noted that Dr. Emersonn was the victim of ward misuse himself which left him trapped inside of the heart of a star only able to communicate through psychically sensitive Bovlarian sounding crystals that have been set up around the campus.
One of the greatest threats to what is left of reality is known as the Elder Shintok Ascension Incantation and derivations thereof. Discovered by now deceased or possibly alive in one of the more distant netherhells Magus Martin Vargas, this powerful incantation, when delivered correctly, propels the user's astral body into greater and greater heights of consciousness until the ties that bind one to their mortal host snap and allow the user to walk among the Golden Fields of Arathor until they eventually return when either the sand is depleted from their Moravian hourglass or the runestones used at the heart of the incantation crumble into dust, whichever comes first. This incantation and derivations of it can be studied by even the lowliest magic user in Vargas' book of magic Malleus Tempestas or Hammer of the Tempest, which is held in most magical libraries and home collections. The spells are especially dangerous as Vargas included no mention of the appropriate containment or dispersion wards needed to remove the influence of the constantly churning blackness that lies between this world and that of Arathor. Such openness of information with such a lack of guidelines have lead to the greatest number of sanity searing accidents in recent years, including that of Magus Vargas himself. During one of his daily trips to the Golden Fields in which he would feast upon the fruit of Cinda'ae plant, known for its addicting and mind-expanding narcotic powers by most transdimensional beings, Vargas apparently placed two of his wards out of order. The resulting shockwave of pure hate emanating from the endless black ocean that separates this realm from the High Heavens propelled Vargas' soul, body, and roughly two square miles of his estate into a realm only conceivable in the collective nightmares of those touched by the Dark One himself. Such an effect has become well known as the dabblings of inexperienced magic users have caused another pit into inconceivable darkness to pop up every few years.
It is logically clear that reinforcement of warding needs to be instrumental in the educational process from early on in a mage's career. One may only look around to see the effect that misuse of such wards can reap upon the world. From the crack that runs through what is now the Andren Desert, formerly the Andren Sea, to the Dark Forest that lies just outside of the magical wall of fire put in place to stop its spreading, the destruction that such inexpert use of breach incantations can make is monstrous. It is easy to look down from this floating island with its endless supply of every pleasure imaginable with scorn at the world beneath our magically suspended fortress, but no longer should we remain outside of the influence of the accidents that tear apart the fabric of the world, lest our own wards be dislodged by a blast of necrotic energies from one of the dungeon dimensions and we are drawn into the void with the crumbling pieces of reality.