While William now knew two spells, he wanted to know more. Specifically, things like fireballs and lightning bolts. His parents knew a variety of spells that were useful for farming, but nothing for combat. That said, they did know a spell for lighting fires. Though William was a responsible six year old, they decided he should wait until he was older to learn it… so he just listened in from a distance one time.
After they finished cleaning up after the storm, William only had a few chores left to do, and was left with more free time. During that time, he practiced magic. “O’ flame, heed my call. Create a spark, a mote of flame.” Indeed, William created a spark… but that was rather boring. Because he was responsible, there was nothing flammable nearby- no trees, leaves, or twigs, just dirt and rocks. William felt he could do better than a spark. Surely, the same spell could at least create a bigger spark.
William tried again, and successfully created a large spark, perhaps more a wisp of flame the size of this thumb. He tried again, aiming for the size of his palm. Then his entire hand. Certainly, he was well beyond anything that could be called a spark, yet the spell still worked. William’s mind tingled, as if he was about to remember something. William jumped up a step, attempting to create a fireball. Nothing as big as the ones he had seen in battle, but certainly something more than just a burst of flame.
He repeated the spell, but as he finished the chant, no fire appeared. Then William saw the mana in front of him spin out of control, and in a panic he tried keep it away from himself… as well as instinctively protecting himself with ki. The result was merely a singed face in the resulting explosion. He knew as a gevai he was tough enough that he would have been fine… but it was frightening. More importantly, he wasn’t supposed to be able to use fire magic, so being singed was already bad. William was disappointed that the spell couldn’t create a real fireball… but then he recalled the situation that had resulted. Magical backlash. That was the sign of trying to use a spell that a wizard didn’t have sufficient power or talent for… except that wasn’t exactly right. William remembered that lack of control certainly played a part, but one of the more probable causes was actually an incomplete spell. That could come from stumbling in the chant, or insufficient mana gathered during the chant.
William’s head was swimming. He knew all of these things, and yet they seemed slightly wrong still. In theory, if the chant was longer, he might have gathered enough mana to complete the spell. Or, if he had pictured a smaller fireball, that could have worked as well. The problem was the disconnect between the chant, mana, and image of the spell. William tried again, drawing out the words in the chant… and actually made the fireball he had pictured… more or less. Good! He could do a fireball… but the spell clearly wasn’t for a fireball. It was a spell for a spark… it shouldn’t be able to produce a fireball.
Then, William remembered. He would have smacked himself in the forehead, but he had learned not to do that shortly after having horns grow in. Of course it could create a fireball. Anything could create a fireball. That was why the chants for light worked in both languages, and why he could manipulate what dirt he moved and the size of the fire. The words didn’t matter… just the image of the spell, and the confidence in it working. The words were merely there to help with concentration, since repeating rote words was easier than thinking up new things to say for every spell. However, speaking was necessary, because it allowed the wizard to control mana better.
William tested that part, just to verify. He tried to move mana without speaking… and it mostly just fluttered about as it normally did. He only influenced a small part of it. Then, he spoke. He wasn’t particularly trying to do magic… his only goal was to move mana as he willed it. The results were immediately clear- as he was speaking, the mana would generally follow his whims, at least a part of it. However, enough of it clearly followed his whims, as he moved it back and forth, even turning it into a ball or a spiral. However, he didn’t form it into any specific thing. Still, William was confident that he could do any magic he wanted… at least, as long as it was actually possible and within the limits of the mana he had available. He no longer needed to learn spells… though he should generally avoid using magic without a specific chant. He remembered that was a secret.
William considered sharing that secret with his parents anyway… but he wasn’t sure how it would benefit them. They already knew ‘spells’ for every use they had around the farm. Freeform style magic wouldn’t help them. At worst, it would make them a target for people who coveted that knowledge, and William didn’t want that. Personally, though, he found it very useful. Especially since he was now probably a wizard. He had theoretical knowledge to back it up, though he was still lacking in practical experience. He could certainly grow stronger on his own… but William remembered someone who could help him grow stronger more quickly. More importantly, he wouldn’t have to hide his freeform magic from her. The only reason it had taken this long to remember her was because he had considered that everyone he knew from previous lives was dead. While this was almost completely true, Lorelei should still be alive. The only problem would be finding her… and it was still possible she had died in the two hundred years since he’d last seen her, just not of old age.