Magia is an old, collapsed, manufacted religion based on a soul gem called magicite.
The priests of the faith, called magi (precursor to the term ‘mages’; singular mage), taught the masses of their need to come to terms with death and willingly sacrifice themselves in order to be saved from it, and live on after death within magicite. The magi were very effective in preaching this sacrifice, and a great many of the believers would, on the verge of death, come to terms with their fate and die a peaceful death, killed shortly before their natural death under the watchful aegis of the magi, who stabbed them with sapphire. In this manner, the magi accumulated millions of carats of magicite - millions of souls. The magicite would often be used as jewelry for their family members, who would wear them.
The faith further held that souls trapped within magicite could communicate with their relatives and close friends, and sometimes even enter the dreams of those who wore the magicite jewelry.
Power and History
The magi used the power of magicite to work their spells and greatly expand their sect’s domain, as a result popularizing the term so that people knew of “mage” and “magic” throughout much of the world. The magi worked their spells via incantations, drawing upon the spiritual power of the souls within the magicite. The main advantage of magicite is the belief that the stone carries the soul of someone who had believed so strongly in the faith that they would sacrifice their lives - and that that soul would provide magical aid to the wielder. However, relatively few could become magi, especially as the amount of magicite in Magia culture increased and the gemstone became less exotic. Ultimately, Magia was brought down by the rise of the College of Tracers, who used the mages’ own magicite against them and whose spelltracing approach allowed far more people to become capable of working magic, even if it took far longer and required more learning.
Sapphire Way and Relics
The religion of Magia came to have a nigh-unsatiable demand for blue gems. While Magia was extant it was the end point of the sapphire trade, buying up blue gems from throughout the world; the network of sapphire-transporting roads and shipping was collectively called the Sapphire Way. The main paths of the Sapphire Way were interspersed with “mana wells” with magicite in them, that would replenish the mana of travelers coming upon them, and allowing the true believers of the religion to better defend against any threats by those who would intercept the sapphire trade. The coastlines had light towers powered by magicite, to light the way to the heartlands of Magia territory and warn against coastal dangers. With the fall of Magia, the sapphire trade came to an end, but these relics remained, many of them remaining operational.