Worldbuilding the Ruon magic system, part 2

Well, it’s about time I post this, don’t you think! Here is the link to the first part of the more in-depth look at the Ruon magic system.

Okay, so — the magic system of The Ruon Chronicles are set in needlework and weaving, with nith or magic woven or worked into a specific design.

The main charms of the Ruon are worked in embroidery, for example, this is a healing charm meant for pain and fever. It is also made up of a pain charm and a fever charm that has been “locked” together. (Designed and embroidered by me.)

Ruon nith, however is used in all kinds of needlework, and this work can be divided roughly into:

  • Embroidery
  • Tapestries
  • Weaving
  • Knitting
  • Crochet
  • Tatting and lacemaking

For embroidery, tapestry, weaving, and knitting, you can read part 1 of this series. This part will be looking at crochet, tatting and lacemaking.

Those who follow my blog will know that I’m an avid crocheter (mostly addicted to shawls and doilies. Yes. I make doilies and actually like using them). However, the idea of crochet also being part of the magic system only came in later in my worldbuilding — at first it was only tapestry and embroidery. But then I thought, hey, what about all the other crafts? And a whole new world of magic opened up…


The crochet that is imbued with nith is made from fine thread and usually has a very lace-like appearance. The stitches and different motifs contain different kinds of charms or guarding magic.

Here is a video by Olga Poltava showing how crochet — and specifically crocheting with thread — looks:

The crocheted nith usually takes longer to make than the embroidered charms, although crocheted motifs can also be healing charms.

(As an aside for other crocheters – I usually use number 5 thread for all my thread crocheting as other sizes can be tricky to come by where I live. My favourite patterns for doilies are usually Japanese and Russian, while my favourite shawl designer is Jasmin Räsänen.)

The finest of crocheted motifs imbued with nith are made with thread no thicker than sewing thread. This technique, however, is highly specialised because of the delicacy and fineness of the work.

These crocheted motifs can be either worn on the outside of clothing where they are visible, or on the inside of a garment where they are not visible and where they may give someone the upper hand when they need to use nith in a fight.

A shirt may be made of these lace-like motifs and, if it contains enough nith, it can be as hard as… well… mithril.

The first time this kind of nith comes into its own, is in book two of the planned Ruon Chronicles series when Ruenna wears some of the motifs at the beginning of the book.

Right, now on to tatting and lace making.

Tatting and Lace Making

Tatting, which you can see being done in the video below, is not only a craft that I still want to try, but also another type of needlework that can be imbued with nith.
Very fine work — almost as fine as the lace which I will discuss next, the motifs are made up of a series of “knots” so to speak.

Tatted motifs are used as part of guarding magic and those making this kind of lace are held in high esteem because they are quite few and far between.

Here is the video showing how a small motif is made:

Lastly we come to the type of needlework which is most scarce among the Ruon. It is important to again emphasize that not all lace makers are Ruon and that not all lace are imbued with nith.

However, the lace of the Ruon are the finest lace that is available in all of Airtha-Eyrassa. Those practicing the art can only be taught at a few of the Sanctuaries because there are so few lace makers.

Used only for guarding, the lace that the Ruon make is extremely strong with a lot of “concentrated” nith contained in the different stitches of the work.

That said, the lace which I have in mind as being the nith-imbued kind, is bobbin lace, which you can see being done in this short video:

And some more in this documentary on Vologda lace and lace making:

By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.

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