Hearts and Colors

Each person in World of Hearts is born with a coloured heart, which gives them access to magic. The colours themselves, ranked across the rainbow's spectrum, indicate an innate level of natural endurance. Ergo, the closer to violet one is, the longer it takes for them to expend their magical energy, called spirit, and be unable to do any more magic. There is, to some extent, some discrimination known across Kardia against those with a purportedly "weaker" heart colour, however, these endurance limitations, with some time and effort, can be overcome to some extent. Those with "weaker" hearts can push their limits higher than they are by default with practice and experience.

One's heart can be affected in several ways, and heart holders can be cut off from natural magic, either by Heart Hunters, a profession that exists solely to drain the heart energy from someone's heart for profit, or by the Blight, a mysterious, centuries-old disease that slowly corrodes away a heart's capability to tap into the natural magical world.

Hearts themselves are metaphysical objects, and one can remove a heart from someone else relatively easily, as well as put it back relatively easily. Removal does not have any notable, negative side-effects, unless the heart is then damaged in some way, as the heart will continue to remain tied through energy to the entity that it belongs to, and continue to circulate spirit through them.

Color Spectrum

As stated, the heart colours, from "weakest" to "strongest," goes as follows:
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet.

There is a seventh heart colour, this one magenta. Magenta is a wildcard, as it both is and is not a colour, and where exactly it falls on the spectrum as far as innate endurance is concerned is seemingly very random. Magenta heart-holders may be able to continue using magic for as long as a blue, or even a violet, or they may tire out faster than a red. Most often, they either fall before red, or before violet, but they have never proven stronger than violet.

Blight

The Blight is a disease, contracted by unknown means, that has been randomly spreading across Kardia for centuries. None know how it spreads, if it spreads, the criteria for contracting it, nor how to prevent or stop it. Those that contract the disease find their heart's energy slowly draining away, and their heart's capacity for spirit containment dwindling to nothing, until finally, they're left with a Null heart, and no ability to hold spirit, nor access magic at all. Most commonly, those that become Blighted find their spells and magical abilities have weakened, and weaken further over time, but in some cases, it is more of a sudden inability to use magic at all.

Blight can, in some cases, kill, but this is not always the outcome. Blight is not contagious, but as no one knows this, many in Kardia fear that it might be, and will often take (unnecessary) steps to prevent its spread. When the Blight takes hold of a heart, its colour steadily begins turning black.

Heart Damage

Hearts can be damaged, and eventually Nulled, through means other than the Blight. The most common is in an instance wherein a heart will break. This is caused by too little spirit circulation, too much spirit circulation, severe emotional trauma, and similar. Those whose heart has broken will find that, while they can still sense and use magic, it is much weaker than normal, with none of the oomph behind it that it had before, its colour may fade, and they will likely have some trouble with emotional expression and personal bonding.

Not everyone will end up with a broken heart, even if they go through extremely life-changing, terrible hardships. It is something of a roll of the die, whether it will break or not, and each individual heart's capability to remain whole and not break varies. A small number will break quite easily, while others never seem to break at all, even though they logically should.

Removing a heart from someone, and then damaging it with magic, will most often cause breakage, at least cracking.

Null Hearts

A Null heart is what is left over when a person's coloured heart is drained of its energy, either by Blight, or by Heart Hunters. Those with Null hearts cannot access magic in any capacity any longer, and are cut off from the magical pulse of Kardia. In some, this has rather intense, damaging effects; some lose their minds for the lack of connection to the natural world. Others seem to take it better, and while they do not go insane, necessarily, they may be afflicted with a dampening of empathetic capacity.

Those with Null hearts have often been called the Living Dead, as they often become detached from the world and people around them, and have a difficult time forging strong emotional bonds with others. While this is not true for all Nulls, it is common enough the epithet persists.

Mechanical Hearts

Those whom have begun to lose, or have lost, their coloured heart to Blight or Hunters, have another option. Rather than leaving their heart Null, they can commission a Heart Crafter to create for them a Mechanical heart. Like all machines, Mechanical hearts require repairs and maintenance to continue operating at peak efficiency, and if they are not well-taken care of, they can kill by severely malfunctioning.

Unlike Null hearts, Mechanical hearts can access a specialised type of magic known as synthetic magic. This magic is mechanical in nature, dealing in the manipulation of things that are man-made, or are otherwise not living, natural things in their own right, though the ability level of a Mechanical heart is dependent upon the skill of the crafter who created it. Some crafters are skilled enough to weave their own magic into the hearts they create, which gives the heart some of their life force in exchange for making the Mechanical heart more stable, and stronger, than is typical. A particularly well-crafted heart, an extreme rarity, could sustain someone's life for a very, very long time, but those of less dazzling craftsmanship are known to, at times, extend natural lifespans.

As Mechanical hearts can also be used to slow the Blight's progression down, they may replace only Blight-damaged areas of a heart, or replace the entire heart outright.

Shimmer Hearts

All living things, human or not, possess within them a heart of their own. Even plants have a small heart that pulsates in time with the natural rhythm of Kardia, and animals and plants are often most in-tune with the changes in Kardia's rhythm. However, animals and plants do not hold coloured hearts, but they are not null. Kardian researchers in recent times have taken to calling their hearts 'shimmer' hearts. This is because, when removed, they are often an almost completely transparent colourless, and yet, shimmer with the colours of the human spectrum within their cores.

These hearts catch the colours of the typical human colour spectrum, but often just as quickly release them. They hold spirit, but a very small, nearly negligible amount at any given time, and cycle through spirit a bit faster than humans (that is, they store, and then expel, the same cluster of spirit, at a faster rate than humans). Animals and on a smaller scale, plants, can thus use magic, but nothing particularly impressive. Their magic is the magic of instinct, angled to make their lives easier, catch prey, or protect themselves from predators. Thereby, one may find animals doing small amounts of magic at some point, but these are mostly just flash-bang effects, nothing particularly damaging. Many animals also augment their natural senses, and they and plants often boost their own regeneration speeds.

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