Magical Enchantments- Apprentice Level

Road of Leaves coverRoad of Water cover2In the Ways of Camelot fantasy series, numerous magical enchantments are mentioned. Magic in this series is something that is crafted, using elements distilled from magical plants and animals. (Those into the Dark Arts will also distill elements from magical beings that have been killed.)

Magic is a skill that can be taught to almost anyone, as long as they have an ear for hearing the rhythmic sounds of the various elements. However, it is not something that is learned easily. Most magicians go through decades of training before they even reach the journeyman level and most do not attain master magician (wizard) status before old age creeps up on them.

Below, is a list of apprentice-level enchantments, including brief quotes from the novel(s) they are mentioned in:

Apprentice Level Enchantments

1. Whisper of Warning– Sets a magical boundary that, when violated, will warn the magician. Advantage is that it is a weak enchantment often unnoticed by other magicians.

Quotes from ROAD OF LEAVES:

He took some dried and pulverized ear of a Bearded Night Hare to recreate the impressive hearing of those extraordinary rabbits. He also took some powdered tongue of Western Tufted Martlet, for that magical bird was well known to whistle in warning whenever an intruder entered its territory. The final element was crushed leaves of a Whispering Elm to give the magic a softer sound. Next, he took out some of the mundane elements he needed to add to the mix: lodestone shavings, powdered glass, and a tad amount of silver dust.

* * *

Thom mixed it all in the wooden bowl and then spat into it numerous times, tuning the magic to himself. A magician always added something of himself when crafting an enchantment, using spit or tears or sweat or even urine. He once read of using blood, but his master had told him blood was a dangerous thing to work with.

He then added water until the mixture reached a soupy consistency. His inner ear picked up the change in sounds as the different elements intermingled. He was crafting an enchantment known as the Whisper of Warning. He listened to his work as it came together, making sure all remained in careful rhythm. Although he had crafted this particular magic often enough, it being one of the few enchantments taught an apprentice, he still wanted to make sure he designed the magic correctly.

When satisfied with the concoction, he dabbed some on his ears and then took the bowl in hand and walked a small circle around his blanket, dribbling the mixture on the grass. He listened to make sure the magic’s rhythm didn’t alter or weaken as he set it in place. Once the circle was completed, it gave off a beat so faint that most magicians wouldn’t even hear it. Should anyone or anything pass through the circle, Thom would awaken.

2. Wizard Light– Provides a sphere of light that can be sent to hover over a distant object. More accomplished magicians can handle multiple lights at the same time, sending them in different directions.

Quotes from ROAD OF WATERS:

He opened his magician’s box and quickly pulled out the vials he needed: powdered Azure Fireflies, powdered Meadow Dragon wings, and dried and crushed Glow Berries.

* * *

Thom snatched vials of powdered Azure Fireflies, powdered Meadow Dragon wings, and dried and crushed Glow Berries. He quickly mixed the elements and added his spit. He formed small balls of the resulting paste, balls that started glowing as he worked them. They were Wizard Lights, which would provide a soft light but no heat. Touch them and your finger might tingle, but they certainly caused no harm.


3. Fire Starter– A spark or small flames, used to light campfires, lamps, or other combustible objects

Quote from ROAD OF LEAVES:

He hastily pulled out his magician’s box and pulled out three elements and then shut and shoved the box back into his knapsack. Not worrying about the waste, he dumped the contents into his palm, mixing it with his other hand. His hand tingled and warmed as the elements mixed into the Fire Starter enchantment. Before it could do more than blister his hand, he flung the powdered mix at the small fire burning around the fallen torch. The fire surged in size, green grass shriveling and then bursting into flames.


4. Teasing of Air– a small windstorm that a magician can guide somewhat, much like an enhanced exhaling of air.

Quote from ROAD OF LEAVES:

If done right, the Teasing of Air would be able to send the smoke at the riders, but Thom was uncertain he remembered the whole enchantment. Fumbling in the dark, he opened his magician’s box and selected the elements by their sound. Having no time to dig a mixing bowl from his pack, he cupped his left hand and poured the elements into it, stirring the powder with his right index finger and adding his spit to attune the magic… Thom touched some of the moist powders to his lips and then threw the rest at the smoke. He made a sweeping motion with his arm and blew toward the charging knights. Surprisingly a wind stirred, sweeping up the smoke and enveloping the knights in its billows.

Quote from ROAD OF WATERS:

The sorcerer crafted a simple Teasing of Air and gave the other craft a push. The burning galley floated down the canal and seemed to linger for a breath, but then the Road of Waters caught it and whipped it away.



Road of Leaves coverRoad of Water cover2Click a book cover to learn more about the Ways of Camelot fantasy series.






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Fantasy Fantasy Fridays Magic

The Cost of Magic

In most fantasy tales, magic plays an integral part.  Magic can be wondrous or frightening. Characters use magic to defend the right and to ravage the countryside. Often, magic becomes one of the characters in the story. In Road of Leaves, the shifting Road seems to develop its own personality and has an integral role at the tale’s climax. In Lord of the Rings, the rings, especially the One, have something of a will of their own.

Many of us love fantasy stories, because a good tale will transport us into a new, wondrous, and dangerous land. Stories about magic feed our imagination and remind of us of our childhood dreams. But, it should be costly for someone to acquire any magical powers.

What must you SACRIFICE to gain magic?

It would be boring if magic was easy to learn and unlimited in its power.  I agree with Author David Farland on this: magic must cost the person something.  In his Runelords books, magic is acquired by “borrowing” the powers from dozens or hundreds of other people. The lords sometimes took the powers of others with force, but they dared not kill them- the person needed to survive or the lord would lose that newly-gained enhancement.

In my CIRIAN WAR SAGA novels, the characters have to submit to supernatural forces to gain power. The heroes are empowered by their prayer devotion to El, while the villains find magical powers through demon possession and human sacrifice. Neither way to power is cheap or easy.

In my WAYS OF CAMELOT (WoC) novels, the characters must study for decades to learn how to recognize and use magical elements. They sacrifice their youth, many of them never getting the chance to marry or have a family.

In the WoC novels, elements are rendered from magical plants, insects, and animals. It takes skill and time to be a magician, but more importantly it requires crushing magical things into powders. Something or someone dies to release the power needed to craft an enchantment. Then the darker truth comes out: some magicians are killing magical people to get their properties too.

What LIMITS magic?

If magic has no limits, then a magician becomes a god-like. How can anyone oppose him? I found some super hero tales boring for just that reason. The “hero” wasn’t anyone I could relate to because he had no flaws or restrictions on his power.

In a good fantasy, the magic has parameters. Either there are some things that magic cannot do or the magician is limited. In Lord of the Rings, Frodo struggles with his sword, trying to master its magic. He also contends with the ring, which often is working against him. If either had provided him unlimited powers without conditions, then the story would have failed.

In the WAYS OF CAMELOT novels, I purposely don’t use the terms “spell” or “casting” because the magic is something that is crafted, using a combination of magical elements, mundane elements, and usually some spit that attunes the enchantment to the magician. It takes time, although some enchantments can be prepared in advance. In this world, you can’t just shout out a phrase or think a thought. There is work involved in creating magic. Real, physical labor.

In the Cirian War Saga novels, the powers of El are gained through a life of devotion. It requires the discipline of prayer, hence the Attuls are known as Prayer Warriors. Should they falter in their faith, then El’s power will weaken in their life.

For the villains, they need a steady supply of victims to sacrifice to create their blood magic. They also need the cooperation of the demon within.

What are the ETHICS of magic?

Another aspect of magic is the ethics involved.  Is magic good, bad, or amoral? In most fantasy stories, magic is used by both sides.  So what makes magic either good or evil? Magic’s goodness or evilness can be determined by the practitioner, by how it is used, or by its inherent nature.

For my WoC novels, the issue of ethics became more pressing because the stories are set in King Arthur’s times and include Christian characters. For a Christian, there are Biblical injunctions against the practice of witchcraft and sorcery, which is why I differentiate between those “dark arts” and the natural magic in the Ways of Camelot novels. I also have the magicians craft enchantments, much like a smith or carpenter or weaver. It is work that one learns to master like any other profession; you just happen to be working with magical elements.

So what is the COST of magic?

Magic, because it overrules natural law, is a dangerous thing. So magic should also be hard to learn and difficult to practice. The answer differs by the story, but there should be a significant cost of some type.  Magic is powerful, so it should never be an easy or simple thing to do.


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