… are important when one is writing fantasy. Or so I hear. A world does have to have internal rules, and should abide by those rules.
For example, the magic in Untitled Ghost Bear Project is largely one that involves the binding of certain kinds of spirits. The Oathbound Guard bind themselves to the spirits of animals. This gives them certain advantages – improved sight, strength. It also gives them a spirit companion – one that can scout areas, serve as a companion and guide, and participate in combat. However, the spirit often has a will of its own, and it takes time and training for the Guardsman and spirit to come to an understanding and become effective partners.
There’s a scene in the book where our protagonist, Bran, enters a city for the first time after binding to his own spirit – a massive ghost bear named Broadpaw. Suddenly, Bran’s nose is filled with the most intoxicating scent he’s ever found, and he goes running off after it. The bear actually manifests in the middle of a crowded bazaar – next to a very startled honey vendor. Hilarity ensues.
But in the Aethelian Age stories I’ve been writing (the shared universe Scott Roche and I occasionally work in), we haven’t codified the magic system yet. I’m putting together some thoughts for a potential Norris Tilney book, and part of that involves the magic system. What I’m coming up with involves an interaction between the natural elements and the mage’s own spirit, channeling magical energy through himself and through various focuses to result in the desired effect. Evocation, ritual, and spirit magic are the three I’ve come up with so far, and I’m up in the air as to whether healing magic is its own form of ritual / spirit magic or if it’s in a sphere all its own.
But occasionally I come up with something a little lighter. From tonight’s brainstorming…
Because the Fae have developed means of re-routing a human mage’s spiritual energy to the point where it may block his access to magic (usually a temporary effect, though some rare cases have turned out to be quite long-lasting), or reroute him so that his magic has unintended or disastrous effects, like blowing up in the mage’s face, human mages usually maintain a certain frosty coolness when dealing with the Fae. In the one and only war between the Fae and human mages, human mages suffered massive casualties when their own mages became corrupted by Fae influence. This entailed a re-writing of their magic pathways when they “captured” a cache of Fae wine and victuals. The wine and vittles were actually a carefully calculated trap. Those whose spiritual energy was low enough not to be magical weren’t strongly affected, but the day after the store was captured, there was a surprise attack. The mages who attempted to cast fire found themselves unable to release the energy through the normal pathways, and found themselves burning internally.
One survived when he discovered (accidentally) that the pathways had been re-routed to exit via the anus. This natural expulsion point also served to magnify the effect of the fire magic thus directed. Thus, the surviving mage – Finn the Flatulent – became honored ever after as Finn the Fiery or Finn the Fierce. (Though no surviving staute exists of Finn’s heroic barrage that blunted the fairies attack.)
Ah. The joys of writing…