Strips of clay fell to the floor one at a time as they were carved off of the hunk that Douglas had. He was still waiting for red ink- which was expensive, so he couldn’t use too much of it. Clay was cheaper. Besides, this method was useful not only for Lucy and his father, but for the more complicated spells. Currently, he was carving a cylinder into a combination of flames and runes, with the distinction between one and the other being up to interpretation.
Douglas would have preferred to stay where he was forever, learning new magic and eventually using it to pay for more resources so he could study more. That was what he wanted, but there was talk about moving away. It wasn’t clear how they would accomplish that- the tower couldn’t just grow legs and move. At least, not with the level of magic any of its residents could produce. That meant if they left they had to leave behind most of their books.
As for why they would suddenly leave… Scoubar was at war with Dalgare. Douglas didn’t exactly understand why that would matter- they lived in Bryria after all. That meant there was most of a country between them and war. Then again, Douglas didn’t really understand how people worked. He understood not wanting to be near war, at least. Was it something about Scoubar in particular? He probably should have paid more attention during the lessons.
Xavier looked over the carvings that Douglas had made, admiring them. His son was a little genius… though Xavier avoided giving him too much praise for it. Douglas already had a tendency to think he was better than others. Maybe he was, but it was best that Douglas didn’t point it out to people.
Technically, Lucy performed more advanced spells at the same age as Douglas. However, when she was twelve years old she hadn’t made any new spells. At most, she had changed around some parts to suit her. More importantly, Xavier had spent effort teaching Lucy magic- Douglas learned on his own and from Lucy until he actually managed to do magic.
That was the important part. While one could say that Douglas’ magic wasn’t technically a different spell, nobody else Xavier had ever known had used sculptures as a form of spellbook. Douglas also used two colors of inks to denote the front and back of spells in written form. The important thing was he needed the spells to be like that, instead of just being a sequence of runes. The spells worked, too.
Even with all of his experience, Xavier had trouble wrapping his head around how it was done. He’d used a few spells here or there, but it wasn’t practical for him. It was easier to memorize the spells the normal way and speak the runes aloud. Even so, they were a good way to expand his mind. Memorizing and practicing the new style of spells gave him a sort of mental agility he had lost as he aged… or perhaps as he stopped seriously trying to learn. After Adeline died giving birth to Douglas, Xavier had lost much motivation to do more than support the family.
The new form of the spells were less effective- even Douglas who practiced silent spells exclusively performed below the standards of other spells. It was the additional concentration required- speaking the words of magic effectively released them from the wizard’s mind and took some of the pressure away. Meanwhile, remembering a whole spell, every single word all at the same time was obviously much more difficult. Even so, Douglas kept producing more silent versions of ever more complicated spells. He even had a version for repairing tools- several, actually. That said, there weren’t enough damaged tools in town to need more than just Xavier doing that work.
Fire swirled around and over the rock in front of Douglas, emanating from his mouth as he breathed it out. Not that the fire was ever really inside him. Fire spells came with protections for the caster so the origin point- usually the palms or the mouth- didn’t get damaged as the spell went off. Frankly, Douglas didn’t see any point in using the mouth. The blowing motion was just there for the sake of making the motion of the flame easier. It was a trick to the caster’s mind. However, Douglas could picture the proper motion just as well without, and then his lungs didn’t get tired for no reason.
Soon Theo would be coming here to practice. He had actual practical reasons to use fire. Though there were basically no reasons to have a huge gout of flame, lighting the fire in an oven or controlling its heat were both very useful for bakers. Since Theo was learning magic, maybe he wouldn’t stay a baker. Douglas supposed there was nothing wrong with being a Baker. At least they had all learned to read and calculate.
Nobody expected the soldiers to arrive when they did. It had only been a few months since Scoubar began the war with Dalgare. Word had not yet reached them of Dalgare’s defeat, and nobody expected Bryria to be attacked immediately thereafter.
As nervous as the people of Pendle were, the soldiers were nowhere as bad as they had heard. They marched into town and declared it part of the Scoubar empire… but other than that they caused little trouble to the townsfolk. There was quite a fuss as they went around asking about magic users, but as long as people cooperated everything went smoothly.
All of their questioning soon lead the soldiers to the baker’s, and of course to the tower outside of Pendle. There were no other wizards around of any sort, and it was already something special that a town of their size had a wizard at all.
The first sign of hostility from the soldiers was when the baker’s son was dragged out into the street where his tongue was cut off. Soldiers stormed into the baker’s house and came out with a few papers and books. Meanwhile, over a dozen of them were heading up the hill at the edge of town, towards the tower of the local wizard.