Essence is the most precious natural resource in Majeria. It is quite literally the life-blood of this world. Much like we can drill for oil, so too can the people of Majeria (or at least certain people) harness the raw Essence that flows beneath the surface of the land.
Essence is magic in its purest form. Wizards, sorcerers and other spell-casting classes call forth upon magical energy to shape it into specific spells. Unshaped, raw magic exists as Essence. The only Majerians capable of affecting Essence are Mages; they may wield it in the same fashion wizards cast spells.
While not sentient (though this idea has been contested of late), Essence does exert influence over its surrounding environment depending on its type. Veins of Essence can be found in three varieties: good, neutral and evil. Good veins appear as a silvery, sparkling and somewhat airy liquid. Evil veins appear as black, viscous liquid similar to crude oil. Neutral veins are considered one of Majeria’s greatest beauties; they appear as a brilliant, swirling rainbow of colors. Majerians credit their connection to the world to the fact Essence exists in these distinct variations. Certain schools of magic are tied to specific alignments of Essence. On a broader scale, whole nations reflect the “attitude” of whichever veins are most prominent in that area.
At several points across the face of Majeria the major veins of each type of Essence converge into a pool of incredible (and unstable) magical energy. Revered by some, feared by others and universally regarded by all as areas of untold power the masses have dubbed the phenomena The Pillars. The presence of all three Essence varieties together in one spot is so intense the combined entity bursts forth from the ground shooting skyward as far as the eye can see. The result is a perfect column covering a wide area of square footage. Ancient Majerians surmised these “pillars” held up the sky and should they ever fall the world would crash upon itself. In modern times all sorts of theories abound. What all agree upon is these areas are to be avoided. Prolonged exposure within a certain radius subjects one to a sort of magical radiation. At best, the short-term effect causes weird anomalies that range from annoying to extremely harmful. At worst, a person takes gravely ill. The latter outcome is a forgone conclusion with long-term exposure eventually resulting in death. Many have foolishly tried to tap into the power of The Pillars. None escaped major tragedy by undertaking the venture.
Majerian cities are often built around or directly on top of veins of Essence. The more potent the vein, the more elaborate the city tends to be (though this depends on the ability of the resident Mages ). While city-building generally always involves assistance from Mages, Essence will occasionally erupt (similar to a geyser) with varying degrees of positive or negative effects on the area. Majerians have settled around these sites to reap the benefits of favorable eruptions.
The emergence of The Gods (and introduction of divine magic) in Majeria has shook the foundation of theories regarding Essence. Scholars debate whether or not Essence fuels this magic or is in direct contention with it. Many have taken note of strange behaviors in the land they feel are linked to Essence. Some even believe the Essence is rebelling against the “foreign” magics but there is little to substantiate these claims.