Episode 21 – Spellcrafting
“What are you doing?”
Elaru abruptly stopped what she was doing and brought her eyes up to look at Kiel. It took her a few seconds to process what he had asked before answering: “Spellcrafting.”
Spellcrafting is a process of creating new spells and spell patterns or customizing existing ones.
What is a spell? The books defined it as “a reality altering phenomena”. But people usually disregarded definitions and went by their intuitive understanding. For them, a spell was the extension of themselves in the form of a moving pattern of light.
Both were right.
It was only when talking about spellcrafting that people made a distinction between a spell and a spell pattern. A spell pattern could be drawn on paper or anywhere else, but only if it was drawn with a dense enough mana would that spell pattern turn into a spell.
The spell pattern was the key to everything, the core of the spell. It defined and described the spell. Magic itself was a language defined by a large number of intricate rules and mysterious principles. And that spell pattern was a sentence written in that mysterious language.
That sentence was written with words – multiple spell fragments weaved together in a meaningful way to create a valid sentence. There existed words that could be used alone to form a sentence, and then there were others that held meaning only when combined with other words. One had to understand every word, grammar and rules of the language to form meaningful sentences.
Those words, those spell fragments, were the basic building blocks of magic.
Legends say that the first spell fragments were discovered by ancients by studying and dissecting the innate abilities of magical creatures and magic cast by the gods. It is said that mortals weave their mana into spells, but mana of the gods weaves itself. The gods possessed a divine will that caused spells to form by themselves and could cast all types of magic. It was actually quite rare for them to resort to using divine magic since most of the things could be accomplished by using the other three types of magic.
Gods didn’t need to understand magic to do whatever they wished. Mortals, on the other hand, needed to know the rules, to have a detailed understanding of different aspects of many spell fragments, and even possess a large degree of creativity (if you know the language, it doesn’t mean you can write heart touching poetry with it).
Mortals needed to spellcraft.
However, while there were many great mages that could spellcraft to a certain degree, master spellcrafters were as rare as phoenix feathers and qilin horns.
When Elaru declared that she was spellcrafting, Kiel felt naturally skeptical about it. He raised his eyebrow. “You can spellcraft?”
Elaru nodded leisurely as if it was not a big deal. “Yeah.”
The corner of Kiel’s mouth twitched. “How good are you?” I mean, how good can a person who received no education be?
She stroked her chin in thought before replying. “I’ve never met anyone better at it than me.”
Kiel’s skeptical look didn’t lessen one bit. Did that mean that she was really good, or did that mean she didn’t have the opportunity to meet anyone who was really good at it?
He could accept her being a wielder of Aethernea of Sight. He didn’t really know what Aetherneal gifts were exactly or what it meant to be a wielder of an Aethernea, but he was clear that it was something one was born with, not something they had to work for to obtain. He could accept her being a great tracker because it was granted to her by her eyes. However, talent could not turn one into a spellcrafter. No amount of talent could compensate the lack of a deep and comprehensive understanding of magic.
Kiel didn’t understand Elaru at all. Isn’t she supposed to be a tracker? Spellcrafting has nothing to do with tracking. Even if she did know some things about it, why was she spellcrafting right now? Wasn’t she supposed to prepare for the exams? Will this spell she was attempting to make help her in the exams if successful?
Kiel’s straight face masked his thoughts completely. “What kind of spell are you crafting? Is it for the exams?”
Elaru grinned widely. “It’s a secret. But yes, it will be quite helpful for the exams.”
A secret, huh? Of course it is…Everything about her was a secret. I guess there is nothing left to do but wait and see whether she can make something usable with her spellcrafting.
Seeing is believing. No point in dwelling on it.
Kiel motioned towards her book and inquired: “Is that your…workbook?” He couldn’t blatantly ask if it was her diary, could he now?
Elaru’s eyes flashed with an emotion so quick Kiel didn’t catch it. “You could say that. It is a compendium of my research.”
Not a diary? That did nothing to dampen his curiosity. “Research on what?” Spellcrafting?
Elaru smirked, her eyes glittering mischievously. “Magic.”
And here she goes again with the vague answers…what did he expect? A straight and complete answer? From Elaru? Fat chance. Kiel pinched the bridge of his nose and walked away to tend to his own matters.
He couldn’t do anything about it. Considering how the first thing she did was cast a trigger spell on the book, even if he got his hands on it, it would be useless without knowing the trigger spell. The book was locked and needed a key – a trigger spell, to unlock it. Well…unless he could break the spell locking it. However, his knowledge didn’t cover spell breaking.
After somewhat sating his curiosity, or to be more precise, being unable to find out anything much, Kiel stopped bothering with Elaru and concentrated on his own matters. He tried out his spellcasting, checking to see if there were any anomalies with it. He didn’t have the time to inspect his limits before and the Aetherneal bond might have changed them.
He tried out weaving spells as flawlessly as he could. Soon he realized that he couldn’t really test out his mana weaving ability like this. His weaving was flawless to begin with; how do you improve something that is perfect?
The only way that he could check whether his weaving improved was to try weaving it faster. If he could weave spells faster than before while still retaining his flawless weaving, that would mean that his weaving improved.
He continuously sped up his casting until he couldn’t weave flawlessly anymore. Then he stopped trying to weave flawlessly and instead concentrated on weaving as fast as possible.
He weaved faster and faster, trying to go to the limit of his abilities. His concentration caused beads of sweat to appear on his forehead.
After reaching the point in which he couldn’t go any faster, he realized that he was breathing hard. At some point, his breathing became affected by his weaving. He would pause his breathing while weaving as to not let any movement disrupt his mana control.
He took a short moment to stabilize his breathing, before moving on to test out the degree of his spell control.
After his testing, he was thrilled to find out that his casting speed, mana weaving, and spell control had all improved slightly. It wasn’t a large increase, but the better you were at something, harder it was to improve. This increase could already be considered incredible.
Effects of Aetherneal bond were fate-defying! He had to admit that he couldn’t understand Aetherneal magic at all. It was one of the things on his “to look up in Muni library” list.
After confirming that the three specs hadn’t decreased, it was the time for him to test out multicasting. This was something that he was never able to practice because he didn’t have enough mana to cast a lot of simultaneous spells.
He used the leaves as his spellcasting targets and cast a lot of acceleration spells on them, causing the leaves to fly around in various ways.
After 12 years of constant practice, magic weaving and spell control came naturally to him, without much effort. He kept adding more and more leaves to the whirlwind of leaves. It wasn’t hard for him to simultaneously weave a lot of acceleration spells. He decided to add a weight shifting spell into the mix.
The practice became exponentially more difficult with the addition of a new spell. It felt as if he was trying to write one thing with his left hand and completely another with his right.
It felt strange, unnatural. Still, with an hour or two of practice, he should be able to do it easily.
His spell control worked in a similar way to his weaving. Higher the amount of leaves, harder it was to control them. However, it posed no problem to him if he was controlling them to move in the same way. The problem arose if he wished to move them differently from each other.
He needed to be able to visualize their paths and control all of them at the same time. He estimated he would need a few hours to get used to the sensation of controlling so many different “limbs”. It needed multitasking, coordination, and precision.
It would take him several more hours to make his multicasting reach the pinnacle. If it was someone else, it would be impossible to reach such a high standard of multicasting in a single day. But he had all the basics, he just needed to put them into practice.
He was like an artist possessing flawless wrist and finger control, and complete understanding of art, that had never actually drawn before. He knew what to do, any only needed to actually experience doing it.
Like that, he spent the remainder of the day practicing his multicasting. He took several breaks to rest his mind and prepare for his next session of multicasting.
While resting, he’d look at what Elaru was doing. Unlike him, she never stopped to rest. Once again, he was faced with her “machine-like” way of doing things. She didn’t get distracted, she just weaved and scribbled for the entire day. The spell she was crafting became more and more complex like she was weaving a ball of yarn. The number of spell fragments increased exponentially turning into a web of patterns.
He was surprised to find out that he didn’t recognize the majority of fragments. However, his years of studying enchanting weren’t in vain as they allowed him to recognize that the spell she was crafting was an enchantment. It was not meant to be used by mages in everyday life. It was meant to be placed on an object to turn it into a magical artifact.
Since using artifacts was an important part of the daily life, knowing enchanter basics was useful, even for Kiel, who could never become an enchanter as a non-mage. Knowing about it would make him able to recognize the purpose of the artifacts and how to use them.
In the early afternoon, Kiel and Elaru made a small break and returned to the city to get something to eat. Kiel was the one to suggest this, since Elaru showed no signs of being hungry. It was a quick and uneventful meal, and they soon returned to the same clearing to continue their work.
Kiel thought it was surprising how no one approached them. Both of them were the finest quality eye candy. It would be natural for people to want to approach them, associate with them, talk to them. If they were in Beyd, people would congregate around them like snowflakes and not let them have any privacy.
In Ashar, however, people only ogled them from afar and never approached them. Was it because they thought them to be nobles and naturally, didn’t feel like they had the qualifications to approach them? Almost all noble families had estates in Ashar. Seeing nobles in Ashar wasn’t considered rare. So perhaps everyone had an unspoken rule to not antagonize beautiful people?
Or was it because no one knew them? Were they avoiding them because they were mages? Were they giving off “do not disturb” vibes? Was it because they assumed the two of them were a couple and didn’t want to butt in?
Usually, Kiel would shiver because of that last thought, but at this point, the satisfaction of not having to associate with people outweighed his displeasure of being grouped with Elaru.
As the sun was approaching the horizon, Kiel finally decided to end his multicasting practice for the day. His concentration was falling rapidly; he did his very best the entire day. He needed to rest.
He was pretty satisfied with his results. He was a genius mage after all. Even his multicast was of a high standard.
After the multicast, the only three things he was yet to test out were his mana pool size, mana regeneration, and mana flow speed. Elaru had claimed that she had a monstrous mana pool size and regeneration, but he should at least try to confirm that.
Even though he was tired, testing out these three wouldn’t put a huge mental strain on him, so he should use this time in which he could no longer effectively practice other things to test out the performance of their soul.
It was a logical conclusion and would have been a great decision. If that wasn’t exactly what she was waiting for.
He didn’t know it then, in fact, he didn’t figure it out later either, but Elaru’s plans depended on this very decision.