It is a common belief that magic comes from the gods. They are the source of magical energy (Chra or Mana) whether it is given to the faithful (Priests) or directly tapped into (wizards). How the priests actually receive their energy has long been questioned, but it has always been assumed that the obelisks are the key.
Obelisks are stone structures anywhere from five to fifty feet in height that are dedicated to one of the gods. They are altars and worship sites, but they are much more that this, they are mana conduits.
Vitae Laenum Nem I, whose source is unknown and veracity unquestioned, explains that mana is a life energy that inhabits every living thing. This energy is life’s source and it can be given or taken with significant consequences. If taken away, the living will die. When given in great quantities manipulation of reality and meta-physical laws is possible. Every object has a finite amount of frequency that which is in a small flower or stone is extremely small, even compared to the life force of a young child’s mortal soul. Creatures from other worlds (outer planar beings) have an “excess” of this energy and can bestow it to another without being harmed. Thus most other-planar beings can provide some of this energy, but the mana-energy from the gods is incomprehensible, and they radiate it outward from the heavens to the worldly plane below. This is not magic but the energy used to cast spells Mortals can sense this energy most often through their hearing, seeming to be a soft heavenly chorus of humming known as the frequency, and is the most recognized telltale sign of magic.
Spellcasters tap into the frequency to cast spells, manipulating this energy via various means to take form appearing as bright but barely seen swirling mists of colour surrounding the caster and spell. For non-spellcasters they describe an overwhelming, multiscopic multi-sensory feast of absolute awe.
The gods, wanting to help their followers, wanted to send some of this energy to the mortal plane, but because they were heavenly beings unable to directly enter the mortal planes. Instead they sent this energy via the astral and taught them how to use obelisks. On the astral, the frequency is in massive amounts, swirling in currents and eddies of chra.
Obelisks are conduits tapping into the astral and release the energy in the mortal plane as a small outward invisible stream. Priests can at any time access this flow and through careful recitation, enact a magical prayer when they are in contact with a holy symbol. Interestingly even though obelisks are dedicated to one power, all priests regardless of the god worshipped can gather the energy through any obelisk. Every obelisk is an altar, a source of the faithful and of spiritual energy. Many are virtual temples with hundreds or thousands of faithful coming daily or weekly to give praise and sacrifices to the power they worship. Some do not have resident priests and may be visited only once or twice in a year. Obelisks are always outside, though they may have buildings near it. As well, many are located in cities and are within site of other obelisks dedicated to other gods.
Obelisks can be created various ways, the most practical is to carve one out of stone, then have a priest bless it. These are the most common and are often great works of art, sculpted over a long time and financed by the faithful. They often have pictures of the gods or their forms on one side as well as the “common” located on another. Over time they become great sources of both faith and of the frequency. Others appear due to wondrous acts of faith, appearing overnight as a sign of favour from the god in question. Lastly they can be created through spell for high-level priests who wish to spread their religion or begin a monastery.
Yet, as important spiritually as they are, an obelisk does have a physical form and it can be destroyed. It will not happen by magical or natural means. Lightning will not strike it and spells cast to harm it merely reabsorbs the energy used to cast the spell itself. But deliberate acts of violence by mortals can destroy the obelisk as if it were a mere stone monument. Most have the faithful as well as other guardians protecting them and it is only after a long protracted struggle could most obelisks be left vulnerable to such attacks.