(A manuscript fragment from the Great Library of the Clayr)

When the Charter was made, most of the Free magic within the Kingdom was taken up and used in that creation. Many powers, entities and forces were unraveled and refashioned in part or whole into the Charter, some willingly, but many simply because they could not resist the strength of the Seven.

However, not all Free magic was constrained and used in the making of the Charter. Much of the inchoate power existed outside the bounds established by the Seven, and later intruded; some entities were strong or cunning enough to remain at liberty and keep themselves separate; and there were cases of only partial surrender to the Charter, with some relict remaining. In addition, Death itself is a realm of Free magic, both a repository of power and a place of refuge where many Free magic entities hid from the making of the Charter.

In the immediate aftermath of the making of the Charter there were tens of thousands of remnant powers, entities and artifacts of Free magic still within the Kingdom. Over the next three or four hundred years the majority of these were destroyed, transformed, subsumed, banished or imprisoned by the descendants of the Seven who bore some part of their powers: the Wallmakers (whose Charter stones had a primary role to play), the Abhorsens, the Royal family and the Clayr.

However, despite all efforts, much Free magic remained and has been constantly reinforced by both entities and unformed power coming in from Death, and creatures and artifacts from the Great Rift to the north. It has been estimated there are still thousands of entities and other Free magic things within the Kingdom, the self-willed and self-aware ones in particular biding their time, waiting their opportunity to assert themselves.

For one characteristic all Free magic entities share with the primal nature of the magic itself is to resist any constraint or direction, unless it be overpoweringly strong. Only the truly strong-willed can wield Free magic, because Free magic entities constantly seek to be in command of their own destinies, rather than be commanded.

Free magic thus can only be used at great risk. The raw stuff of Free magic will always turn against anyone who seeks to use it, and the Free magic entities that often have to be enlisted as intermediaries to access that power are in a state of constant near-rebellion, seeking some loophole to escape their bonds and overcome their master or mistress.
Paradoxically, the most successful long-term users of Free magic are often Charter mages, and in particular the Abhorsens. While the two magics are antithetical, Free magic always seeking to escape the Charter, and the Charter always seeking to bind Free magic, it is possible to find a balance where both can be used, though Charter magic must be in the position of greater strength. The Abhorsens, strong in Charter magic, use it to trammel and hedge some small amount of Free magic so that it can be more safely used. This is essential to their arts, Death being a place where Free magic holds greater sway than Charter magic, which is strongest in Life.

To many others, Free magic has a great attraction because it does not require devotion and surrender to the Charter, and the dedicated learning and discipline that wielding Charter magic requires. If a source of Free Magic can be found -- either in an entity or some other repository of power -- and successfully bent to the sorcerer's will, then the sorcerer can do almost anything by simply commanding the magic to carry out their desires.

Unfortunately for human sorcerers, not only is there a constant struggle to master the Free magic, the very nature of it is also detrimental to human flesh, blood and bone. However, even this does not typically dissuade the most power-hungry. If their will is strong enough, they can fashion a new body composed of Free magic, construct a body of some more impervious substance, or take over and inhabit someone else's body, though this too will corrode in time.
Among the more famous examples of a Free magic sorcerer being overtaken by a creature they sought to use is the case of the man or woman known as the Great Shaman, who came from the far north in the reign of –

(The manuscript ends here. Annotated with "This appears to be by the same author as our incomplete edition of "Reflections of a Retired Spice Merchant and Sometime Mage", held in the open biographical collection of the second spiral. Cross-referenced in Finds should more turn up.")