HistoryThe Witchgates were originally created by what the historians would call Malanari Sorcerers, also called the "Witchborne". The truth of the matter reveals much about the origins of the Malanari people and their divergence from their Sylvanari cousins.
The Malanari, at this time, were still called the Solonari - the Shining Ones. They practically glowed with the amount of arcane energy that they had at their disposal. Their Pathwalkers - those skilled in tracking the flow of arcane energy in the world, located a large source of mana, a crossing of not just two paths but of four. In an area that will become known as the Briarwood, the Solonari built their shining, Silver City of Lights; Solandyl.
Since Solandyl was so far away from the elven homelands of the Brightwood Forest, the Solanari began exploring how they could use their newly found power, arcane energy, to travel two and from their ancestral homeland more quickly.
The Malanari originally began constructing Path stones as physical signs to mark the flow of various paths and their relative strengths. Eventually they discovered that spells, arcane spells, cast at various points along those paths (where the energy was strongest - like a Nexus or Node) were infinately more powerful than cast elsewhere. It was easier to call forth the mana needed to cast the spell since they were, essentially, tapping into a near-inexhaustable source.
When they combined the power of the Pathways and their growing knowledge of planar manipulation they were able to teleport much farther than the spell allowed through conventional means. The Gnomes of Tor Gizad, having limited contact with other races, discovered the Solanari experiments in teleportation when one of the elven wizards ended up on the coast of their island kingdom. The problem with channeling so much energy into the teleportation spell was that one tended to be 'flung' in any direction along the path and could end up hundreds of miles off course. The Gnomes realized the problem with the Solonari's magic and offered to help for full disclosure of their knowledge of the Pathways.
The Solonari agreed and the Gizaryl showed them how to construct large, permanently enchanted structures to both harness the arcane energy needed to direct the spell as well as an added focus so that the user wasn't flung around as though tossed from an arcane catapult but rather shunted down a long tube created between two gates. With the assistance of the Gizaryl artificers the Solonari created the first gate between their city of Solandyl and the Gizaryl capital of Tor Gizad. It was an enormous success. Elf and Gnome could cross thousands of miles as easily as walking down a hallway. The gateways, which history calls Witchgates, were created in -3852 KR .
Once the basic construction of the first gate had been finalized and alliances forged between the two peoples, gates were being constructed whereever there was enough mana to support their use. The Pathwalkers were sent in almost every direction to locate Nodes and Nexi for the Gnomish gate-builders to use. The continued expansion of their magic and their relations with the Gnomes caused a rift to begin forming between the Solonari and the Crysanari with the Sylvanari between the two. Eventually this rift lead to the War of Tears.
After the War of Tears , the Solonari continued to expand their knowledge of the Pathways and Arcane magic. The Sylvanari refused to allow the Solonari to construct a Gate within any of their cities and so the two elven nations slowly began to drift apart.
See also: Witchgate Wars
The Witchgates were revived by the Gizerath.
When the gate is activated and contact with the destination is made, the passage is only open for a total of thirteen minutes. At the end of that time the connection is severed and the portal becomes dormant once more.
Witch gates can teleport any who walk through them. The only limitation is that humans, being not original to this planet, are ill-equipped to handle the strains placed upon their body while being teleported by arcane energy. Elves, Dwarves, Halflings and Gnomes can travel up to a thousand miles in an instant.
Humans are forced to restrict their travel to jumps of one-hunred miles within a day. Though the journey may last only a moment, the strain will render them incaptable of travel until they have had time to rest and recover their strength. Half-Dwarves and Half-Elves are capable of teleporting without any limitation.
Humans who are trained to channel arcane magic may, through the use of a magical armor spell, surround themselves with a protective bubble of magic for the journey and not suffer the effects of the 'Gate Sickness'.