Arcane magic is dangerous and uncommon. Without taking special care by using the technique of “preserving” — an arcane spellcaster can defile the immediate surroundings by casting a spell. Fundamental vitality is leeched away: Plants wither, animals and people suffer crippling pain, and the soil at the site of the casting is drained such that nothing will grow in that spot again. Because of this harm done to the world, those who use arcane magic are hated and persecuted across Athas. They must practice their arts in secret or seek the patronage of a sorcerer-king and gain the ruler’s sanction for their spell-casting.