Perfect silence was a rarity in a city. Even in the Endless Library, there were faint sounds to be heard. However, Douglas currently heard no sound at all. It was rather peaceful, but that was not the purpose at all. Instead, this was the best way to fight another wizard. Did he need to do so? Not at the moment… but he could at any time need to. He wasn’t planning to get attacked again, but even his most optimal projections said that he would fight another wizard eventually. For example, Scoubar had many mages, sons of the king, at their disposal. If Douglas thought that he would never come into conflict with them, that would mean he resigned himself to a life of cowardice. Even if he didn’t plan to fight them for personal revenge- which he certainly might- he at least wanted to help protect someone against Scoubar. He wasn’t going to delude himself into thinking he could fight an entire army alone, but he could fight in an army. He wasn’t sure if that would be the most effective use of his abilities… and of course it would mean letting people know he could do magic. Then again, if he was fighting against Scoubar the danger to himself wouldn’t increase much even if that information was known.
As for why silence was the best way to fight another wizard… it was quite simple. He could still use magic- and they could not. While any contingent spells they had set up beforehand would still be active, it was unlikely they had any spells memorized to cast without words, even if they knew the method. At the very least, Douglas was confident that they would not have the entirety of their spells like he did. Maybe one or two.
It didn’t take much magical energy at all to reduce the noise to nothing- but that didn’t mean it was easy. Stopping sound had a lot of things in play. First was the basics- picking an area. The larger the area, the more you had to deal with. Coupled with distance also being an issue, it might not be useful on a battlefield… but in the space of a single room, he could do something. The energy… wasn’t an issue. It took more energy to use a light spell. The problem was the complexity of stopping all the vibrations of sound above an audible threshold. Attempting to stop every tiny bit of sound resulted in quickly running out of energy. Perhaps then he hadn’t created absolute silence, but just the impression of it. However, if nobody could tell the difference, did it matter?
There was one point that was almost a fatal flaw in the design of the spell. Using magic inside of people was extremely difficult. Words began inside someone, so they could speak the words even if nobody could hear them. Speech that couldn’t be heard didn’t matter, but for magic it did matter. Fortunately, the words of magic had to actually leave the person speaking them. It didn’t matter if they shouted either- as long as he put any real effort into the spell, it would hold up against anything reasonable. Though that was another reason it might not work on a battlefield- one person shouting was one thing, but a thousand people or ten thousand shouting could actually be an issue… though most of them would also be further away and therefore less audible to begin with.
Regardless, Douglas confirmed with Librarian Reed that a silence spell would stop magic… in most cases. Sometimes there would be a partial effect depending on the spell and the magical defenses of the person involved, but he would be able to sense those defenses.
It couldn’t be said to be a perfect defense against magic… but it was the best one for Douglas. That was because he would still be at full effectiveness inside an area of silence, while anyone else would be severely hampered at best. It would more than make up for him having to prepare and use another spell.
Douglas had so many spells he wanted to prepare, but only limited room in his head… but as he stuffed his head full of magic every day, he could do a little bit more every time. Once, just preparing a light spell or two had pushed his limits- now he could have dozens of them if he wasn’t interested in anything actually important. Not that light wasn’t important… but having more than a day’s worth of light spells prepared was entirely pointless.
Librarian Oswald came through a few times, and Douglas took note of what he looked like. Douglas also looked over his staff… but while Douglas had a good eye for magical runes, he couldn’t figure out the staff unless he had time to sit down with it- and that wasn’t going to happen. Even if the staff was left unattended, he wouldn’t dare to touch it. Librarian Oswald was just as strong as Librarian Reed- and now that he was officially Librarian Reed’s apprentice, he knew something of what that meant. Maybe not everything, but enough to know he wanted to avoid conflict if at all possible.
Speaking of staves… Douglas had started carving his own. He couldn’t exactly carry a staff in and out of the Endless Library without raising suspicions he would really be better off without. He would use the staff to help him maintain a silence spell… and support some offensive magic.
Fire was forbidden in the library- and wouldn’t do much more than make armored soldiers uncomfortable in most cases. With practice it could be concentrated properly to do real damage, but Douglas felt that would be a waste. He was rather partial to telekinetic magic- the sort that the Mage Hand spell was. However, it could be more than just a convenient way to move books from high shelves. It was a way to impart force to objects… and could be used to make anything solid a dangerous weapon. Douglas wanted to carry around something sharp to use, but he didn’t want to be carrying weapons and couldn’t afford more than a single good knife anyway. Rocks worked for practice- rocks were basically free, and didn’t require proper alignment to hurt something. The downside was that he had to carry them around. However, telekinetic magic could be used to push an enemy as well- though it would usually be a different arrangement of the spell. After all, if he was throwing a rock he would do it differently from pushing a person away from him- with magic or his hands.
On top of that, he practiced useful ways to use spells he would already have memorized… like light. Suddenly putting light in someone’s eyes would be enough to momentarily blind them- maybe for just a few seconds at the amount of power he usually reserved for a light spell, but that could be a critical difference. It wouldn’t be much on its own, but it was nice to have the option. As Douglas kept thinking of more things he could learn, he wondered if he was just delaying. Was he afraid of encountering danger? Yes. That was sensible enough, wasn’t it? Librarian Reed would be a good judge of when he was actually ready. Then he would have to go down to the lower levels- or choose to give up on avenging himself or his family, helping others in any significant way, or doing much more than locking himself up with books.