What do gifted senses feel like? Variable. That’s the overly short description. Though most people share a significant overlap. As described elsewhere the brains of gifted have adapted to interpret what they feel. Nerve signals, and sensations from external sources, moving along existing pathways, and through evolved structures. Yet given the variability, I will focus on the average, common experience.
People, and animals. They feel warm, not just when in contact with them, but up to several feet away depending on the gifts of both parties. Anything more complex, or nuanced than this sense of warmth implies more than life, but rather gift. Some argue gift and life are effectively the same thing, and there is plenty of evidence to support the claim. An excess then in this hypothesis begins to open doors, possibilities, an ability to reach out with that gift and touch forces outside of the self.
One of the problems however with satisfying this common hypothesis into a theory is testability. Ambient variations in the energies found in gift, and living things are variable. Gifted people like living on ley lines, and nexuses, not simply because it benefits them in practice, but more subtly because it subdues everything else.
Magic feels either hot, or cold. Depending on the balance of aether uptake, or entropic backlash present in the spell. Most spells feel cold, because they work with ambient energy, and avoid significant aether uptake. A pure aether spell does not simply feel hot, but unnerving, unstable, with a strong entropic aura around it as energy levels try to normalize.
Plants feel delicate. Like webs of warmth around inert mater. Dryads and shaped plant life tend to have thicker tendrils of warmth running through them, often deep into the heart of even a mighty tree that would normally be entirely inert feeling on the inside.
Stone, and other dense mater. Feels like a pressure near by. Gifted can sense the outline of their environment, even the inert parts of it, if they are dense enough. Being blind, or a lack of light would only marginally impact a gifted individuals ability to navigate.
Wood and cloth. Dead organic mater has a lingering texture, not generally unpleasant, but more noticeable even than stone. Pure synthetic fabrics that have not been created through a magical process can be felt more by how they disrupt the air. Almost noisy, and rough. Synthetic fabrics formed by magic tend to feel smooth, cool, and oddly enticing. Enchanted clothing is actually a sensual satin like feeling. This pleasantness is in part why Clarions do not like to wear enchanted clothing near the skin. Direct exposure to entropic effects is however the most commonly expressed reason.
Auras are not seen. This may seem contrary, and most gifted when first told this may be bewildered, but it is easily demonstrated to them. Just have them close their eyes. A strong gift still sees their world even through closed eyes. This is due to the synesthesia applying to multiple parts of their cognition at the same time. While they feel in an extension of their skin the presence, the fine, and complex detail of the world also hijacks the visual centers of the brain.
To a gifted their sight extends beyond the peripheries of physical vision. They catch things “out of the corner of their eye,” that are actually behind them, and to the side. That being said gifted have a blind spot directly at the back, and any more than a foot away. This is literally a shadow cast by their skeletal structure. At best they can get a sense of there, or not there, but it is very hard to say more. This flaw however is countered quite effectively by defensive spells extending their perceptions, but it is still at best, their worst area of perception. Reduced to an abstract collection of lumps.
Casting a spell comes with a lot more sensations than simply being in the presence of it, and varies by the method used. Most new spell work is done by hand. Repetitive motions forming the basis for mnemonic association, physical skill helping to build structure. When casting in this way one feels sensations flowing along the skin in the direction of applied energy, often a cool sensation like a breeze.
The more gestural a spell becomes, the more of a rush is typically felt through the hand, or limb casting it. Some times electric sensations, particularly when working with electric charges, or rushes of tingling, cold, warmth, all depending on what is being cast.
Runes, and traditional patterns of magic are not strictly required. There are physical laws governing the underlying behavior of spells, traditional magic is just a single, highly robust set of patterns that work. There are others. Battle mages work to obscure their patterns, and change the structures they use to protect themselves from other mages dismantling their work. They retrain the meaning of runes, and do other things to effectively encrypt their protections.
Well practiced spells, particularly ones centered on the caster give the same sensation as hand work, but distributed over the body. One can feel a web of spell lines forming off of the skin, and in some cases even a vague abstraction of self. As though the caster is becoming the magic. While maintaining a spell, particularly a defensive array of spells, a caster has extended, and exaggerated senses through their work. If they release the spell however it will begin to decay, and they will lose most or all awareness of it. It may even feel less present than the work of other casters, since it still has a harmony derived from their own presence.
“Living Magic,” aka living energy is warm. Different living things require different frequencies of applied energy to heal, enhance, or shape. Healing your own kind is easiest, animals, and plants are harder, as you must attuned to them. Generally speaking all living energy is compatible, but the wrong type will feel odd, even unpleasant, and most often be less effective. Clarion healing practices tend to be “close” but the healer is extolled to remain in their own personal frequency, and not attune to the one they are healing. This makes the process much less pleasant for the healed, and even if the healer tries, makes them far less able to subdue pain in the patient. Clarion healing can actually even feel cold and hot at the same time.
Lycian healers practice attunement with the healed, this creates feedback loops between the nervous systems of the two parties. They go beyond merely trying to subdue any pain, or discomfort, but to impart pleasant sensations that they will feel mirrored in the point of contact. With deep enough attunement full Mirroring may begin to occur. In which they feel phantom sensations of what they are doing in the same part of their own body. Such mirroring is rare except among lovers, who when using such practices to impart pleasure may begin to feel a sense of the other persons physical sensations.
Healed, or otherwise imbued tissue is more sensitive, and aware. This can significantly exaggerate sensation. Sore tired muscles can be restored to a less tired state. Strained tendons mended. Bone fractures repaired. This does not just apply to soldiers, and lovers, but also to pack animals. Druids, who are more practiced in attuning to non-human energies will often tend to pack animals on long, arduous caravan trips. The best caravans travel with at least one mage, one druid, and one conventional healer. Though some times generalists will do, occupying two or more of these roles. Some caravan masters swear by two generalists instead, particularly when traveling through safer lands. Most however prefer the reliability of a full compliment on retainer.
Healing an animal is different than healing a person. Animals will panic if the healer does not attune, and attuning makes the healer (usually druid) feel a bit more animal like. Often hungry, and absent minded, wanting a nap, or detached. Clarions generally will not perform such services under any circumstances.