The word "Seal", traditionally, had two means, one meaning to seal, which is to bind something together or hold it closed, typically with an adhesive of some sort. The other meaning of Seal, is a form of insignia or signet, usually used as a form of identification; while not quite accurate in the instance of Magic, this is closest to our needs, and the name has been used for centuries, so it will continue to be used.
A Seal is a series of shapes arranged in a specific pattern to act as a Magical focus, that is, depending on the shapes and pattern used in the Seal, it will produce a verity of effects using Magic. An Example of a Seal is the one shown in Chapter V, a Seal used to Summon and Bind a Familiar.
How Seals Function
At this point, a question raised by many people is why a Seal is capable of doing what it does when it is simply a set of lines, which is a valid question considering since at this point, everything said has had a Scientific, testable explanation. The reason Seals function is due to Ziel Particles once again.
Ziel Particles, for a reason not yet discernible to us, are drawn to certain shapes, seemingly as if on a basic mechanical function. A similarity is that the Electron Shells of an Atom will always attempt to form into sets of 2, 8, 8, so on and so forth, it is a Mechanic present in the nature of the particle itself.
As a "shape" (henceforth referred to as a Seal Component) becomes saturated with Ziel Particles, depending on the Component, the Ziel Particles in question act to complete a different function, as defined by the combination of Components, which effectively acts as a Magical computer; each Component being a single line of code giving a different command.
Over several thousand years, The Magi have refined the use of each component and it's processes to the Degree where Seal Crafting has become a fine art, well documented and highly respected, Seals themselves being a cornerstone of the structure of Magi Society, from transportation to lighting.
Learning Seal Craft
Due to the theoretically limitless amount of possibilities presented by Seal Craft and the prevalence of their use in Magi society, it is highly advised that any who are studying Magic at least learn the basics of how to create and operate Seals(1).
However, as with any form of Magic there is warnings to be heeded. While unlike "normal" Magic, using Seals won't draw energy from yourself or strain you (unless the Seal is designed to do so) they do come with the drawback that they are a mechanical system, they operate and complete the task they are assigned to, and you can't stop that if it goes wrong.
Therefore, while most basic Seals are entirely safe, one must take care to make sure that the Seal is done properly, lest a mistake cause it to destroy itself, though on Basic Seals, even if there is a mistake, they will normally be too simple to cause any real damage, however, to minimise this effect four things should be done:
1. Firstly, extreme caution should be practised when using Seals, as for the stated reasons, just make sure you take your time.
2. Secondly, to practice simply using paper and pen against a non-flammable surface, so if the Seal does malfunction the paper will simple burn apart harmlessly.
3. Thirdly, if attempting a Seal that has a result you're unsure of, research it and check that it isn't dangerous and is even possible as, at this point, most functioning Seals have been well researched and documented.
4. Finally, never attempt to design your own seals without either:
A. Being a certified Arcane Master Sealist (A.M.S).
B. Having a certified Arcane Master Sealist (A.M.S)or Grand Arcane Master Sealist (G.A.M.S) present (depending on complexity).
Failure to adhere to the final law can have extremely deadly consequences, ranging for slight burns, to having your soul telefragged into a star.
Basic Seal Components
With the warnings issued, now begins the first step to learning seals; the components. As with most areas of study seals have levels. Here, the most basic level of seals will be explored, with the familiar summoning seal being one of the most advanced of this level. The goal of the next two sections will be for yourself to understand the nature of seal components and how to connect them correctly.
We begin with the simplest of seal and, in the eyes of most Seal masters, the most important. The Energy Transfer component, henceforth known as the Line, is a straight line of seal-dependent length; smaller seals have shorter lines, larger seals have longer lines. Due to the nature of energy dispersal over distance, shorter lines are preferable in every circumstance.
The second component is slightly more complicated. The stability component, represented by a circle, is used when a combination of seal components could cause instability when Ziel particles are in transit across them. The stability component forces the Ziel particles to flow in a more regular pattern; for a seal such as the grenade seal this is unnecessary, as the seal has not nearly enough uncooperative components to warrant it.
Next is the Activation component, represented by an isosceles triangle. This is the most common component along with the Line, it is used in every seal without fail. This seal is used to activate other seal components. When Ziel particles pass into the side of unequal length, the component connected to the opposite vertex either directly or through a Line shall use the Ziel particles provided to perform their purpose.
The trigram (commonly 3 point star) represents the inverse of the isosceles triangle, it is the deactivator. When Ziel particles pass into one point any seal within is deactivated, allowing safe removal or additions. However there are ways to stop this using looping activators; though this is more advanced.
The seal for a magical capacitor is the pentagon. This simply stores magical energy for use later; identically to an electrical capacitor, but magic.
The inverse of the magical capacitor is the expulsion seal. This seal releases a burst of magical energy depending on how many activators are pointing into it. It is used in nearly all magical explosives. The seal's effect can be stacked if activators are placed within the points of the pentagram and another pentagram placed inside; this potentially squares the seal's maximum magical release.
Heptagons represent the resetter, which is used to return a seal contained within to the state it was in when the resetter was activated, this allows for seals to retain a repeatable function if inner components are damaged. This is useless if in the process the resetter is damaged as well.
Heptagrams represent preserver seals. A seal within a preserver seal with retain it's state as long as the preserver is undamaged, even if it is contained within a resetter seal. This allows for seals with a long term function to stay active for longer.
The destructor seal, represented by an octagon, will reduce any object contained within a certain volume to magical energy when activated. This includes the air contained within this volume. The volume is an octagonal prism with a height away from the seal equal to the distance from the centre of the seal to one of the vertices. Caution: This seal can be potentially fatal for any of the unobservant.
The creator seal, represented by an octagram, will create an object when the equivalent mass-energy in magic is applied to it. The seal will take data from objects reduced by destructors connected to it to produce an item based on the user's intent. It is the only seal that requires the application of a user's own magic.
These are the basics of sealing, once the use and theory of such seals is mastered a student of sealing will be classed as a Arcane Novice Sealist.
This chapter will be followed later by more complex chapters on sealing, along with a chapter dedicated to explaining the connection between Magical Resistivities and the mass number of atoms.
(1) By "highly advised", I mean that if you attempt to interact with the non-Human community or even just attempt to learn Magic without at least some knowledge of Seals, then you should just burn this book right now and go back to being an Accountant, because you're either stupid or going to get yourself killed. Probably both.