These patterns are what define, and are defined by, magic. Essentially, magic is the art of understanding and manipulating the Patterns of the world. By studying an object's or creature's Pattern, one can understand that object or creature, and affect it through magic.
Every object or creature has a pattern that defines its place and behavior in the universe. Objects or creatures who possess Names have stronger patterns, called True Patterns, which can affect the universe and magic more strongly. This is why the Name-giving races are special. By giving objects and creatures Names, we strengthen their Patterns, and change the universe.
In order to hold power, and create a True Pattern, the Name given to something must be unique. A cat does not possess a True Pattern, even though the species as a whole possesses a name, because that name is not unique. However, if a Name-giver were to Name his cat something unique, then the cat would have the potential for possessing a True Pattern. The Pattern would still be only a potential, unless something extraordinary occured to the cat, but the potential would be there.
The constant use of magic by adepts does not come free. As has been mentioned before, we affect the magic, but the magic also affects us. Because Adepts are closer to the magic than most Name-givers, we more often find ourselves in those situations where we need the abilities the magic gives us. An Adept who does not use his abilities where they are needed will find that they become less effective, and will eventually lose them all.
However, Blood magic has its darker side. Because it uses the potent energy of personal sacrifice, Blood magic can be very powerful, and can be used to enhance many magical effects, as well as to power spells long beyond their durations. It exacts a price, however, causing damage that cannot be healed until the Blood magic ends in some way. It is also felt by many to have a corrupting effect, different from that of the Horrors, but not by enough to sooth the fears of many. The Corruption of Blood Wood, for example, was a Blood magic ritual, and the scars it inflicted upon the bodies and psyches of the Elven Court send shudders through even the most hardened of Name-givers. Rumors abound, as well, of the uses of Blood magic within the Theran Empire, with tales of slaves being slaughtered so that their life energies might power the greatest magical works of the Theran spellcasters .
Astral space seems to consist entirely of magical energy. Unfortunately, this makes it the natural home of many Horrors, and also made it extremely susceptible to the warping effects of the Horrors' presence. This has resulted in Astral space becoming polluted and extremely dangerous when experienced or touched directly. Many Horrors can sense when an Adept draws power from the Astral plane to cast a spell, and can often Mark those who do so without resorting to careful protections.