Honestly, allow me to begin by stating that I am extremely nervous about writing this article. However, Danielle ended up with a terrible case of Writer’s Block in terms of blog material this week and begged me to fill in for her.
“Well, you are the team’s Smart Guy,” she said, looking at me with that darn sad puppy look on her face. “I’m sure that you can think up something to share with the readers in my world. Pleeeeease, Inferno?”
I attempted to decline, but then she began tearing up and, well…I don’t do well with crying women. So, it seems as if I have been roped into this entire endeavor with no hope of escape. I will attempt to make the best of it, however, and take the time to impart you all with some magical knowledge which is just a little bit more advanced and in-depth than Danielle’s own two-part magic lesson a few months back.
A Bit of Background: Complimentary Elements
As you all learned in the piece on elemental magic, all people have a certain fixed elemental alignment. Mine happens to be fire. As such, I am most adept with fire spells and least adept with water spells. But, in order to strengthen my fire magic, improving my skills with water magic is required. This elemental yin-yang balancing act may seem tedious and roundabout, but it is actually the easiest and most efficient method by which a mage may grow in power and achieve greater magical skill.
The study of magic in one’s element and its direct opposite can only get one so far, however. In order to master elemental magic as a whole, one must also study what are called Complimentary Elements. A Complimentary element is an element which accompanies or mixes well with another element. Earth and Herb are complimentary elements, as are Heart and Spirit, Water and Air, and Fire and Light.
The Complimentary Element to one’s own elemental alignment is always the second easiest element to learn to wield. In order to achieve greater skill and power with that element, however, one must also study its Opposing Element. If one truly wishes to fully master elemental magic, then one must enter into a cycle of studying multiple Opposing and Complimentary Elements in conjunction with each other. This method of study is referred to as “The Web of Knowledge” and is used and recommended by all of the greatest wizards and sorcerers in the world.
I, myself, have been using this method for the past ten years and it has allowed me to excel to the point where I am now able to cast several advanced spells within my own element. This includes the powerful Incindia Greivosa and Helio-Flash spells. They take quite a bit out of me to cast at current, but it’s still quite an achievement for a human to be able to wield such power as early as his late teens.
My studies have also led me in the direction of higher level Light spells—and with them, higher level Darkness spells. Because Light and Darkness are two of the most complex elements to master, I still have much to learn. However, I do know just enough to teach you about the different types of spells that each element is capable of being channeled into.
Types of Light Spells: Illumination, Illusion, Hard, and Gummy
Light magic is split into four categories of spells: Illumination, Illusion, Hard Light, and Gummy Light. Each spell type has its own properties and uses.
Illumination spells utilize light in its natural state. Most Illumination spells do nothing more than alter the color of light in a room, allow one to see things only visible under certain wavelengths of light (warning: not to be used in inn rooms or public restrooms), or conjure up a light source to brighten up a dark space. There are also weaponized spells of this type, however. These range from a simple flash-bomb spell to the devastating Lumina Cannon—a spell which shoots a beam of light so concentrated that it can burn through solid stone. Because these spells only require one to conjure up light or perform minor wavelength manipulations, they are actually the easiest to learn.
Illusion spells are the next most complex. Illusion spells fool the eye into seeing solid-seeming objects that are not actually there. Because doing so requires a strong knowledge of how light behaves and how different wavelengths of light reflect off of different surfaces and substances to create color, highlights, and shadows, they require a lot of practice to pull off properly. Not only do high-level illusionists have a solid knowledge of optics, but they also possess an artist’s eye for detail, a decent amount of acting skill, and strong enough powers of concentration to manipulate multiple illusions at once. Conversely, you can tell a mediocre illusionist by the fact that their illusions never look or move quite right…usually to the point of being unsettling and creepy. (Case in point: mine.)
Hard Light spells create solid objects out of pure light, such as blades, shields, and spears. This is done by concentrating and compressing the light until it is dense enough to behave exactly as a solid substance would. These spells are quite difficult to master, but also quite useful. My personal favorite is Hard Light Spell Number Seven, a.k.a. “The Happy Fun Ball.” It is a variable power spell which relentlessly pummels its target until either the target is destroyed or the spell times out. Unfortunately, I cannot yet cast this spell at non-lethal strength unless my magic has already been sufficiently depleted…but, I’m working on it.
Gummy Light is technically a sub-set of Hard Light which creates flexible objects such as whips, rope, et cetera from pure light. These spells are the most advanced simply because creating flexible objects from light requires much more finesse and a steadier mind than creating hard light objects. In order to master Gummy Light spells, one must thoroughly understand the very essence of light itself…which, of course, means gaining a deep understanding of darkness.
Types of Darkness Spells: Shroud, Bind, Pierce, and Crush
Like Light magic, Darkness magic is also divided into four types: Shroud, Bind, Pierce, and Crush. Unlike with light—where creating flexible objects is the most difficult thing to master—it is the spells which generate solid shadows which are the hardest to become proficient with.
Shroud spells are the easiest Darkness spells to master. These spells allow one to envelop oneself in a shroud of shadows or generate a smokescreen of pure darkness to beat a hasty retreat or impede a foe’s accuracy. Shroud spells can also be used to envelop one’s opponent in darkness, blinding him and making it easy to take him by surprise or escape the battle. Ninjas are masters of Shroud-type spells, and many of the best ones were actually developed by them.
Bind spells are the next step up. By concentrating shadows into a semi-solid state, Bind spells allow one to ensnare an opponent with the surrounding shadows…or his own. One excellent example is the Shadow Trap spell, in which the caster first attaches the target’s solidified shadow to its feet, then pins the shadow to the floor or ground with a dagger. Then there is the Shadow Hold, a spell which allows the caster to pin their target to a floor, wall, ceiling, et cetera, using either the target’s shadow or any shadows which may exist within the surrounding environment. The latter spell is extremely useful when doing battle in dark or dimly-lit environments.
Pierce spells allow the caster to generate spears or blades of darkness to cut or impale their target. Despite the brittle nature of these solid shadows, they are flung at the target with such force as to be just as painful and potentially deadly as icicles or broken glass. Some pierce spells, such as the Shatter Box and Obsidian Grenade, are even built upon the concept of breaking into multiple shards of razor-sharp shrapnel which are sent forth at high velocity and lacerate and/or impale the target. Very useful for taking out or disabling large enemy groups…if I could only stop casting duds!
Last, but not least, there are the Crush spells. Crush spells work by generating objects of super-concentrated shadows so dense that having them dropped on, flung at, or swung at you would easily break a bone…possibly all of them. Among these is a spell called “Anvil of the Abyss,” which generates a giant anvil of pure shadow so dense that any man hit with it dead-on from above will be smashed into a puddle of shattered bone and mashed flesh in one blow. Needless to say, I have not yet reached the level where I can even cast a simple crush spell, let alone that one.
I hope that you’ve found this brief run-down of the types of Light and Darkness spells enlightening and possibly entertaining. Danielle will be back next week with a Monster Manual article detailing the biology and habits of the wingfish. Until then, I recommend that you spend a bit of time here reading up on other magical subjects, follow me on Twitter at @InfernoBendis (and Danielle too, since she’s around more often), and make an effort to read up on these strange misadventures that I have been dragged into in The Star-Runner Chronicles. The books are available now at the online store Amazon.com, and will be in stock at the Smashwords shop on Augusta 26th. I’ve been told to remind you that you can pre-order or purchase on release week from Smashwords using the promotional code SL69V for The Rebirth and Awakening of Wolfie Star-Runner or BN33W for Wolfie Star-Runner Plays with Hellfire to receive the books at half price.
Oh! And don’t forget to review! And make a TVTropes page! And a Wiki! And fan art! And a mountain of fan fiction where I defeat the likes of Harry Potter, Harry Dresden, Ghaleon, Lina Inverse, and that Natsu guy from Fairytail in an all-out magic battle royal! And make sure that I get a cool one-liner when I defeat them. You know, something like, “According to my calculations, you’re finished.” That would be awesome…
(Note: Inferno’s ramblings about wikis and fan fics do not reflect the author’s actual opinions. Please remember that he is a nerdy seventeen-year-old boy and, like many nerdy seventeen-year-olds, is prone to getting carried away with himself. See you next week!)