Sanguis looked at the magical array on the wall. He looked over the patterns and shapes that made it up, then he nodded. “Yeah. I have no idea how this works.”
Valerie frowned. “Didn’t you set up a ward on your own room?”
“Sure, but I had a book. Besides, I used blood magic.” He looked at the symbols carved into the surface. “This is… non-blood magic. It’s different.”
Valerie opened the book (which, incidentally, was hers) to a random page. “What does this one do?” She covered up all of the text and only let the drawing of the array be seen.
“Umm… that one looks like it drains all the blood out of something and then turns it into… crystals or something? I think they could be used as a power source. Maybe.”
Valerie sighed. “How is it that you can tell that from just looking but have no idea what this one does? It keeps the room cold, by the way.”
“I did read the entire book you know. Besides, like I said, that one’s not blood magic.”
“You may have read the entire book but I know you didn’t just memorize every array, you actually know how they work.” Valerie points to the array on the wall. “They’re pretty much the same as this kind! Look, these symbols are all the same! The only difference between this and blood magic is this one receives thermal energy from its surroundings! It’s not that different.”
“Is that so? Hmm… but, it’s much harder to understand. Anyway, it’s not like I’ve been studying magic for long. Cut me some slack.”
“I would but you understand the blood magic just fine already, and they’re basically the same! You learn blood magic fast, so it’s frustrating that you don’t get this.”
“They’re not the same. Look.” Sanguis pricked his finger and started forming a magical array, though one much smaller than the one already on the wall. “See? This one makes it a nice thirty degrees and powers itself with the heat it draws in. It’s completely different.”
Valerie looked at Sanguis’ new circle for a while. “Wow, that’s umm… Something has to be missing… Hmm… This… actually works?”
“Of course it does.”
“It seems… somehow… you’re just better at understanding when it’s made out of blood? The principles and most of the symbols are still the same though…”
Sanguis shrugged. “I guess so.”
Although the vampire clan had a few magical arrays around the hideout, magic still wasn’t extremely common. For example, they only had a single one of the antimagic rooms that had held Sanguis. They had paid for someone outside of the clan to set up the room. In addition to restricting magic, it would also restrict the use of most other supernatural abilities. Its main purpose had been holding the few violent criminals, or suspected criminals, before trials.
The only other magical arrays they had were things like the freezer. Though it could be done with electricity, it was better to use a minimal amount if trying to maintain a secret hideout. Likewise, they didn’t have much lighting, but they still had dim lighting available throughout. Though they could see without light, some activities such as reading were not possible without any light. Obviously, though, there was no natural light anywhere to be seen.
Since the clan didn’t have many members who had learned to do magic of any kind, this made Valerie, who dabbled in blood magic and other magical arrays, one of the top few magic users in the clan. That said, there were really only two members who could use magic to any real degree, and then a very large gap after which Valerie and a few others sat.
Sanguis, however, after only a few weeks of study, somehow became the top expert of blood magic. Though, this was also only due to lack of competition. He did hear that his skills were impressive for the amount of time he’d been studying blood magic though. He didn’t have very much practical experience, since he’d only actually created a few arrays. The first, to allow him to control his blood. Then, the barrier for his room, as well as a few others as tests. There were many that he didn’t want to even try, not because he thought they wouldn’t work, but because he thought they would. Like the one that crystallized people’s blood.
Thus it was that Michael came to him with a request to build a barrier like the one he had for his own room.
“I can make one, sure, but there are a few weaknesses. It only has a certain amount of strength, so it’s not like it can keep out absolutely everything.”
“Well, it doesn’t have to stop everything. About how strong is it?”
“I’m not sure without testing. Well, it’s at least good enough to stop casual intrusion. Oh, it doesn’t stop bullets or anything, just people. Humans, vampires… werewolves… ghosts. It might not stop anything mechanical, but the book was definitely written before those existed, so it might be able to. I’d have to test that. Oh, it also mentioned golems and magical constructs. They should be stopped, unless they can break it of course.”
“Well, it’s just additional security anyway. Any other weaknesses?”
“It’s really easy to destroy from the inside, since you just have to slightly scratch the array. Since people have to be invited in… either I set it up so a few people have that privilege, and it’s inconvenient, or that anyone who is invited in can invite others, which makes it less secure.”
“We’ll have to think about that then. About the scratching…”
“It’s easy to do, but it has to be pretty intentional. Bugs running over it wouldn’t be a problem, but if it got wet it could be a problem. Though, I can just remake it.”
“Can you set it up to keep certain kinds of people out?”
“Like, vampires, humans, and werewolves, or… short people?”
“…Can you keep out short people?”
“I have no idea. About either, actually. By default, it covers everything. I’d have to put some more time into thinking about how it works to do anything besides that.”
“Well, Sanguis, I look forward to your work. I think this fits well within the area of ‘doing magic’ that you wanted. I’m sure most of us will be very happy to have you here.”
“No problem.” Sanguis didn’t mention the final weakness of his arrays. Specifically, they couldn’t stop him. He could create a barrier that he could walk through, but since it would be formed by a magical array made out of his blood, he could always destroy it. He’d determined that blood was still “his blood” even after it had long dried. Well, if they asked him to protect an area he wasn’t allowed into, he might bring up that point, for the sake of trust. He’d rather get along with his new neighbors. After all, they most likely had access to more magic books. Plus, Valerie was one of them, and she was his friend. Michael was too, but he was old so he only counted for about half a friend.