Magic is learned - anybody can learn magic but only a few manage to acquire the spark that is needed to wield it.
Magic can be used to control the forces of nature. As such, magic users are able to use the elements (water, earth, vegetation, fire, air and animal) for various outcomes. Application is only limited to imagination.
Magic cannot be used to create items out of thin air. The magic will depend on the element used, and must draw power from something specific. Having a lack of source will limit the magic users ability greatly unless a method of storing is available.
Only bards can use magic. While anybody can learn to become a bard, not everybody is able to gain the spark from within that is necessary to wield the magic. As such, there is generally a musical or storytelling element to magic. There are multiple ways to tap into magic though, so even though music and storytelling are the most popular and accepted practices, these are not the only ones. In addition, to be a successful bard, you must have the spark that ables you to use magic. The spark is derived from passion or love of the craft you focus on. If you enjoy singing, then the bard who uses magic through song will be incredibly powerful. Additionally, if you sing about something you love, the magic will be even more powerful. Alternatively, if you try to use magic through song but do not enjoy singing or music, then you will not succeed. As such, there is a strong emotional connection to the use of magic.
Magic requires a lot of practice and study. While magic is really only limited to the individual's imagination, most people have to learn to become a bard first. The quality of the magic is then determined by the quality of the bard. For instance, if one is more musically inclined, then the bard who has a very adept understanding and practice of music will be more successful whereas the bard who is tone deaf will not - either not succeeding in using magic at all or using it with disastrous or humorous effects.
Magic is limited mostly to what elements you have nearby. To this end, magic is almost unlimited. However, just like any major resource, it can disappear. As such, the magic supply could potentially be exhausted. For example, if one were to rely heavily on vegetation to draw power from, a burnt down forest would be useless to the magic user.
Consequences of short term magic use are negligible as long as one understands what they are doing (as described previously).
Consequences of long term magic use will have a physical impact on the magic user. Over time, the magic users skin will change in colour. Most humans who experience this do not go through a drastic change - their skin merely develops a soft glow. Others, like the Vaelyn, who have been using magic abundantly have had their skin turn shades of light purple. This effect also seems carry over hereditarily. The actual long term effects are unknown as magic has only been in use for a few centuries.
There are no standard rules in society about the use of magic. To those in Nadorah, it is usually the upper class and elite that use magic. While magic users are not in short supply, the most successful bards in Nadorah flourish and rise through the ranks of society. To the Vaelyn, everybody uses magic and become bards - it is expected in some capacity and they use it as a learning, collaborative and shared cultural experience.
In Nadorah, magic users are both respected and feared. While Nadorah is ruled by magic users, the common folk both worship and shun them as outside of normal society. This has created a class difference within Nadorah of several levels. To the Vaelyn, magic users are revered and the more successful you are as a magic user, the more you are expected to teach. The Kife do not use magic at all so while they are interested in trade with the people of Nadorah, they keep generally avoid entanglements with magic users and are not entirely trusting of them. Each society in this world has a different view on what magic is and how it works into their culture and society. There is no world standard.
When someone casts a spell, there are the obvious signs such as the song, visual or audile component. The less obvious is a sense of ionisation and a light hue in the air.
As a result of the method, it is fairly clear when a magic user is casting a spell. It is extremely uncommon for there to be no visible signs during a casting. To some, managing to cast a spell while showing no signs is the ultimate goal is become a master magic user.
While its presence has largely been acknowledged in world history, it’s use for practical application has only been around for a few centuries. Likewise, the bards have only really been in existence for a short span of time and the history and organisations they belong to are still largely in development. Magic in this world is still seen as a lot of trial and error and a history still being written.
Magic and religion does not always see eye to eye. In Nadorah, there is a large basis for religion but it is fairly uncommon for one who is religious to become a bard. The governing body of Nadorah is usually at odds with the religious sects in the city but must tread carefully and deal with them diplomatically in order to maintain the peace. The Kife follow many of the same religious practices as the Nadoran people, but as they do not use magic at all, thus religion is more widespread amongst their people.