For millennial, magic has existed in small quantities, never growing strong enough to allow for a strong magician or sorcerer to come to power. Minor trade-magic was about the extent of what was around: rituals that would allow a blade to be made more quickly, or more durable; Potions which would allow a person to stay awake and active far longer than usual; Enchanted Boxes which could convey spoken words onto a sheet of parchment.
85 years ago, something happened that changed all this. An event called The Shattering. No one so far has been able to find out what happened to cause it, but a ripple passed through all of the lands nearby, causing those who had not ever used magic to suddenly have incredible powers at their disposal, and driving some creatures, specifically those who used trade-magics most heavily, permanently insane.
Since then, People have been learning the extent of their powers, and learning how to tune them to creative, or in some cases, destructive, uses.