Nico Nervetti sat at a desk, “Come watch.” He took a cup and poured some of the blood into it, then held up a thin-tipped paintbrush. “Blood magic can be separated into two categories, blood manipulation and circle magic. Circle magic is required for more complicated magic, and the two can overlap. For example, my niece has demonstrated returning blood to another’s body. It is more difficult to control another’s blood, and safely returning it to their body requires a bit more than just moving it around. It requires careful flow, so that no blood vessels burst, as well as cleansing. After all, blood that has been all over the floor isn’t exactly safe even in the cleanest places.”
Erkan nodded, “That makes sense.”
“A demonstration of blood control won’t do you much good at the moment. You can practice that on your own.” He dipped the paintbrush into the blood then smoothly drew a circle in front of him. “For today, we will try something practical. You may not draw a functional circle the first time, but you cannot have a second or third attempt without a first.” Nico’s hand flipped almost casually as the brush dipped down, leaving behind strange runes. However, though it was drawn in blood the runes retained sharp edges and clarity. “Draw from one side to the other, except the circle itself. That is necessary as a guide for everything else.” Nico’s hand moved continuously as he talked. He did as he said, starting with a single rune in the far left of the circle, then moving over to another column. “In this way you do not risk ruining an earlier part.” Nico moved his brush over to the empty right half of the circle and pressed down. Blood spilled out in roughly a circle. “If you make a mistake, as long as it doesn’t affect anything else it’s easy to fix…” He swirled around the brush, and the blood was sucked up into it, “With some practice.” He went back to working on the circle. Then he stopped when his hand reached the right side, putting down the brush. He pulled out his phone and took a picture. Then he waved his hand over the circle, and it shimmered. The runes squirmed inward and shrank, along with the outer ring growing thinner. Then, it was gone in a puff of red smoke. “Now it’s your turn.”
“Right…” Erkan looked at the desk, “What exactly did that do?”
“Nothing. Or… nothing much. Blood is the source of energy, so it is naturally used up. In this case, it was used to vaporize the remains. There is less chance of catastrophic failure than many other simple seeming spells. Now, sit.” He stood up and gestured to the desk, placing his phone on the protected side with the image up. “You saw me draw it. Start with the circle, slowly.”
Erkan sat and picked up the brush, dipping it into the cup of blood. He apparently dipped too deep, since he ended up with a fat glob of blood where he started his stroke that tapered off to a small point at the end.
“Don’t worry about mistakes at this point. Focus on the shape of the circle. Brush lightly.”
Erkan dipped the brush several more times, trying to find the right pressure to get an even thickness. In the end, he had a wobbly ellipse.
“Now start from the left, one rune at a time. The exact size of each rune is unimportant, but their positions around the circle and their shapes are. “
Erkan did his best. He wasn’t exactly a painter, and he didn’t even do much hand writing. He took his time working from the picture, trying to get what he could. His memory of Nico’s writing was hazy, as it was too quick to follow. After about ten minutes he found the twenty or so runes complete… such as they were. He looked at Nico.
“Now, will it to activate. Proximity helps with that, thus the hand. It will take a tiny spark of energy from you to get going.”
Erkan tried to get it to activate. He thought hard about it, waved his hand back and forth slowly. Nothing happened, but he kept at it. He concentrated on remembering the feeling of Nico activating it. There was that slight bit of magic just before it started. Then, he felt it.
The circle started to move, to wriggle… some of it pulled in and clumped and shone and then it stopped. Erkan was slightly disappointed, but more surprised that it had actually done anything.
“You’ll need some practice writing, obviously. Too slowly and it can dry up, and most of the energy fades. Work on precision is also necessary. However… a successful activation on the first attempt shows you have some affinity, even if it merely used up energy failing to do anything.” Nico smiled while avoiding showing his teeth, “It shows you have the potential for more than just sensing magic. That means any failures from now on can be blamed on a lack of practice.”
When Erkan went home to sleep, he dreamed of circles. They danced and swirled through his vision, breaking apart and reforming as they flowed about. There were runes, too, dancing in and among the circles, but the circles themselves were the most prominent members of the dream. When he woke up, he remembered that, but wasn’t sure if there was any more to the dream. Probably not.
Erkan thought about his agenda for the day. It was the weekend now- which is why Nico was free- and that meant going to church. That was a strange thought. He didn’t not want to go. In fact, he needed to. Now that he knew about the supernatural world, it broke church out of being a routine thing. Unfortunately he hadn’t been answered on whether or not they were right… but maybe a new perspective on that would help. First, though, he would have to shower. He probably should have showered the night before, but he’d scrubbed of the bits of blood he got on him and gone to bed. Trying to draw precisely was exhausting.