Saturday Snippet – Del Talks Magic

On Saturdays or Sundays, you can check out a snippet from my latest writing efforts.  All snippets are copyrighted.  These excerpts from my writing are first draft, unedited words, and may not appear in the final work.

I just passed the 50,000 word mark with the following bits:

The younger girl’s interest eventually turned back to magic, so Del called upon another of Lady Effande’s lectures.

“A magical working requires a focus and an intent to work upon some object,” Lady Effande explained to her class.  “Depending on the complexity of the casting and the skill of the magic user, the focus may be as simple as looking at the object or making a small hand motion, or it may be a crystal, a wand, or a replica of the object being magicked.”

Arna interrupted Del before she could share another line from her mother’s lecture.  “So what kind of focus do you use?”

Del cracked a weak smile.  “I have a collection of crystals that I left back in my chamber in the palace.  I’m limited right now to what little I can manifest without a physical focus, and that’s not much right now, with the Goddess Moon still waxing.

“My mother can perform a cloaking charm, like the one I used yester-morn to hide in the cart, by mumbling the word ‘hide,’ but I need to look at the area where I want to hide, put both my hands on it, and use a full sentence to word my cast.  She knows better how to channel her magic and has better control of her intent than I do.  I have to make an effort to think of all the things I want to hide, like my clothes, my weapons, my person, and I have to hold to that thought until I finish casting the magic.  If I suddenly start thinking of the next meal while trying to cast my hiding spell, I might accidentally make the bread vanish.  And the consequences of the spell will still affect me, even though I didn’t achieve the end I wanted.  Unfortunately I’m not a very powerful caster, but I do have a few casts I’ve mastered over the years, mostly to hide or disguise myself.  These types of spells help protect me from others with more powerful magic, so it’s skill well worth knowing.”

“Do other mages know when someone possesses magic or is casting it?” Arna asked, an odd pained expression crossing her face.

“Usually, the answer to the first part of your question is no, and the second, yes,” Del replied.  “An untrained mage, like a very young child, may perform magic without knowing it or perform it sloppily, leaving extra residue about.”

“Residue?” Arna echoed.  She raised her hand and rubbed her fingers together with questions in her eyes.  “What do you mean?”

Del shook her head.  “Not like that.  While performing magic, and for a very short time after, the casting and the mage both emit a glow the color of the mage’s magic.  This is impossible to hide.”  Well, her mother and brother had proven it was possible to perform magic within an undetectable shield, but their research was still a secret, and one that wasn’t Del’s to share.

She thought about the rest of her response before speaking again.  “Generally untrained mages are found quickly and provided with training, so they don’t cause themselves or others any permanent harm.  In families knowledgeable about magic, they watch for children to demonstrate their powers, and in families without magic, they are often so frightened of the manifestation of the child’s talent they can’t find a teacher fast enough.  Aside from having crystals or other obvious magical artifacts about, someone having magical skill won’t be apparent to anyone else.  Mages usually try to detect one another based on the types of protections they have surrounding themselves.”

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