There was something special about drawing runes by hand. Erkan took the brush and carefully placed each stroke. He avoided doing any regular writing by hand if at all possible, but runes were a special thing. They couldn’t just be printed out by a machine.
Erkan’s hand stopped momentarily. They could, couldn’t they? It was certainly possible to get measured and precise amounts out of a machine. Of course, he didn’t have the technical prowess to build one, and he certainly didn’t want to have to maintain pipes that pumped blood. It was just a passing thought, but there was nothing technically magical until the activation of the runes.
He continued drawing after a short pause. He was working on a new area of blood magic today. Specifically, one that would open up whole new realms of possibility. So far, all of his blood magic had been powered by blood, and directly related to the manipulation of blood. It was very useful, but also very limited. There was so much more that could be done, and they were necessary for things like most of the defenses on Nico’s condo.
Affecting blood could work against most people- but dryads didn’t have blood, and there were certainly others. It was also quite limited. While he could probably use free blood to wrap around someone’s hand and stop himself from being stabbed, if they had a gun and he didn’t disarm them of it before they pulled the trigger, there would be a bullet flying at him. There was a way to deal with that now, if he was prepared. He wouldn’t have the time to do it after the gun had been shot, but if he was ready beforehand he could cause a section of blood to ‘harden’ and stop much or all of the momentum of a bullet.
The problem with that was that it required having made the shield beforehand, and it took energy to maintain. More importantly, it wasted energy. The magic moved the blood and hardened it which then stopped the momentum of the bullet, but it could be more direct. With blood magic, blood wasn’t just the easiest medium to affect but also the power source. It was still magic after all.
Erkan finished the runes, took a few moments to check over them, then activated the magical formation. The lead ball in the center of the circle floated into the air and hung there… until the blood in the circle ran out. Then it dropped back down with a great thud.
Erkan breathed out slowly. It had taken a larger number of runes to achieve that simple task than anything he had done so far. After all, he now had to include more precise instructions for what the magic was doing within the runes. Unlike when controlling blood, he had no connection to the controlled object, and so he could only minimally change how things worked with his will. That would improve with practice, but it would always be easier to change up a spell targeting blood than something else.
Erkan looked up to Nico, who was watching nearby. “Is it possible to do this,” he waved at the lead ball, “Without the circle?”
“Depends on whether you like being alive. If you don’t care, it is technically possible.” Nico shook his head, “At least, for some people. For example, I probably could move it, but it would take far too much of my blood to be worth it. Runes are there to increase efficiency. For directly controlling your own blood out of the body, it might just be double, but generally it could be ten to a hundred times as efficient to use runes.”
“Do the runes have to be drawn in blood? Do they have to be drawn by hand? Could you… stamp them?”
Nico scratched his chin, “Interesting questions. The runes do have to be in blood- though there are other systems of magic that obviously require something different. There’s not really a practical way to not draw them by hand… but a stamp might work. Obviously it wouldn’t be tailored to the situation… the biggest problem would be the size of the stamp, and how much blood it used- or didn’t use.” Nico did some measuring in the air with his hands, “Obviously you wouldn’t want a small stamp. An inch would be far too small, but at five inches or so you couldn’t really keep one in your pocket. You’d also have to have a medium to load the stamp with blood, which would be the same size. Even then, you’d only get a thin layer of blood- or it would flow off to the sides and ruin the runes.”
“Right. That’s not super useful, then.” Most circles that did anything of significance started at about a foot in diameter. “I still have a lot of things I want to try, but of course I need your supervision. I have another idea though. What about a stencil? You could fold something like that and direct the blood into it. Or what about inverted runes? If you fill the entire area but the shape of runes with blood, does it work?”
Nico shook his head, “Well, kid, I don’t have all the answers. Not yet, anyway. However, by next week you will. Because there’s still a big commotion about Vittore’s death, and it’s not safe for you to leave. So you get to spend all week figuring out if any of those ideas work.”
“Oh. Great!” Erkan frowned, “I hope it’s safe to go out soon… I’m not sure how much more work I can miss, and my parents are crazy about wanting to see me… though that second thing isn’t new.”
“We’ll see how things go,” Nico shrugged. “I’ll buy you some materials to put some things together, just don’t try any actual magic without me or Savina present. You’re certainly capable of reproducing effects on your own safely- and you know how to avoid using your own blood- but experiments are risky. I can say there’s some potential there. After all, many of my wards are carved and blood is poured in. They’re not exactly portable, though.”
Erkan nodded. He would have a lot of things to distract him in the coming week. They had just been ideas, but now he was motivated to try to make some of them work.