(Patreon) Unspoken Words of Magic Chapter 31

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Over the next few months, Douglas had a few close calls. Raymond Tatham and the other wizard weren’t the only ones to go deeper into the library- one or two others did as well… and sometimes Librarian Reed. It was times like that that Douglas was glad he had an invisibility spell, and while it wasn’t perfect it worked fairly well in areas without much light- only whatever wizards brought with them.

Once Douglas didn’t notice until he saw light come around a corner, and he barely managed to drop his own light spell and turn invisible in panic. He didn’t know their name, but it was the other wizard with a staff- on top of which was his light spell. Douglas would have accepted that it was just to make the light spell easier to maintain except once or twice he’d seen the two war wizards, or whatever they were, come back with injuries. However, they always went much deeper into the underground than Douglas did… so he figured he should be safe. Just in case, he resolved to add a combat spell or two to his repertoire, though that meant he had to memorize the spell as well. It was one more thing to stuff in his head.

—–

There were so many books to look through… and while Douglas was sure they all had some value, their actual usefulness to him specifically varied. He wasn’t sure why he picked up “A Comprehensive Guide to Magic”. The title was so generic, but something about it made him want to look at it. He began to read, finding a somewhat familiar introduction.

“As the reader will likely know, magic is formed of words, the image of the spell, and magical power. Yet I know that magic could be formed in the absence of any single part of the three, at least from certain viewpoints.

Take, for example, the sorcerer. They perform magic by nature, speaking the words and gathering the power… yet they know not what magic they will perform. At least, not during their first utterance. Even so their magic appears if not perfectly formed at least adequately shaped. Why is this? Because they know, at least on some level, that they can do magic. Such magic will generally manifest under stressful circumstances- if they need to attack or defend, that is all they will be thinking about… and the magic flows out of them. They don’t think about the words, though they speak them, and they don’t consider what the magic will look like… at least not at first. For this reason, disrupting a sorcerer’s concentration don’t result in the complete failure of a spell like it might for a wizard. By wizardly definitions, imagining an attack or defense in the vague way that they might is not an image at all- but it can function as so.”

Douglas hadn’t really thought about that before. He had assumed that Sorcerers were just like wizards that only knew one or two spells… but that really couldn’t be the case, could it? He continued reading.

“What then about power? Surely one cannot make something from nothing. Indeed, that is so, but I tell you that I have seen those without a drop of magic in the blood use magic. That said, it is of course not entirely without a source of power- that must come from elsewhere. Even so, if a mage channels their magical energy into another, they will be able to use magic… though of course, they still need the rest of a spell to actually cast anything. Only those with significant time to spare would bother with such experiments, but I have seen them. Likewise, magical items can be activated without magic of their own, even those considered to be exclusive to magic users… as long as sufficient study takes place, made rather more difficult by not possessing their own magic. Thus, power is still required… but not in the same way as one normally considers it.

But wait… one might notice that I have skipped over the first point. Magic is intrinsically tied to the spoken word. I cannot deny that… entirely. But of course, it is all a matter of perspective. For example, I could say I have spoken many words about magic in these few paragraphs… but that would simply be untrue. I have written many words, but most of the time as I write I do not speak such words. The same is true with magic. The runes that make up magic are just as much words when they are written as spoken… or even solely in the mind of the mage. There are spells to silence an area, which stops magic from being used… for the most part. Indeed, I could not even cast a simple light spell in an area of silence… but there are other ways to do so.”

The rest of the book had various ways to actually do what was said… and Douglas started by looking over how to do magic without speaking. In the end, it was much like the system he had devised himself… but not entirely. For example, writing or carving runes in real time was an acceptable substitute- slower than any other form of magic, because the writing had to be precise, but any regular spell could be done using that method. Douglas understood that because he’d cast from already written text, but it was different to write it in real time from memorization… and very inefficient. Still, it gave an interesting perspective on what was possible. What was more interesting was the different ways they went about combining words and images into specifically crafted spells. Douglas wished he dared to bring the book out with him, because writing notes on nearby shelves or the ground was not particularly optimal.

Casting spells without an image was interesting, but seemed to be effectively limited to sorcerers- and even then, their practice and eventually forming a proper image made the more powerful. Still, the idea made him think about what particular bits were really important for a spell… and he could easily spend years thinking about it. So he did… that, and many other things.

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