Charles had given Kyle the spell Kyle planned to use, and he’d said it would be easy to work with. Kyle was beginning to realize ‘easy’ was relative. The spell in question was one of those with an effect that happened wherever the magic fueling it was. As such, Kyle needed to lay the magic out like a ring of gunpowder, and light off the spell. All of the magic would be consumed instantly and a magic charge free zone would last like a ring of heat would have lasted if he’d actually been using combustibles. Oh, and he had to do it with a magical matrix controlled using little flecks of light. Simple!
Sighing, he cracked open a leather bound grimoire that read distressingly like a basic electronics textbook where all the technical terminology had been replaced with chunks of esoteric Greek, and anything about electricity had been replaced with magical metaphysics that wasn’t quite accurate. He began to read, “To achieve rudimentary command of the thaumaturgical influence, the magi should first utilize technicos lux to form a luminous aether…”
Beside him, Merv flopped to the ground and stretched out getting comfortable. He really was a smart cat.
* * *
Five hours later Kyle cast blackness at the base of Merv’s tail for the five millionth time. The objective number might have been lower, but it felt like 5 million. He’d even gone ahead and bound a specific darkness effect to a trigger of “Tenebrescere Cattus” or “darken cat”. Charles, he thought, would approve of the Latin. Well, at least he would if it was right; Kyle wasn’t completely certain it was all from the same period and grammatically correct. He’d let his language lessons slip a little while playing secret agent.
At first, Merv had been a little uncomfortable with a cloud of swirling blackness engulfing his tail, but some kitty treats and a few repetitions had gotten him past that.
So, in the kitty shading department, Kyle had made a lot of progress. Less trivially, he’d also managed to make a magical circuit that flashed the pattern of light which triggered Charles’s magical negation effect. But that was where he was stalled.
The trigger for the spell was basically an electrical circuit jumper. Kyle had a line of energy in his magical matrix that wouldn’t quite transmit power under ordinary light conditions. When he wanted the spell on he tossed a flare of light into it and a connection was made. He’d tried to update that to a spoken command, the grimoire he was using had a whole section on how to do that, but it had proven too complex. The section in the grimoire, not the actual connecting procedure.
The grimoire was a fine example of dark ages learning and it was really hard to use. Unlike a modern electronics textbook it didn’t contain any standardised language for its concepts. So instead of just saying “resistor” it had to describe a circuit that would produce a mild dimming effect which could be overcome through intense application of lux, but not inadvertent light leak, or always on low level signaling. It then gave that circuit a proper name, in greek of course, and referred to it everywhere else by that name. As a consequence the book couldn’t be used like a modern reference text but rather you had to read it cover to cover and make certain you memorized all the names.
It had taken Kyle an hour to figure the resistor thing out out. He wasn’t far enough in his reading to even know for certain if the voice control circuit was entirely non-spell magic, or if it would require a spell to somehow convert his voice to light. Of course, he couldn’t look anything up on the internet.
After he’d gotten frustrated with that bit of the work, he’d focused on shaping the magic denial spell. He’d hit mundane problems there. Because all of the magical computer’s input was in light he’d set the magical denial spell up to produce a light effect with lux before doing the magical denial. From there it wasn’t that hard to direct the light to a hollow sphere with a simple magical circuit, charge the sphere with magic, and then fuel magical denial on that sphere of energy thus shaping it. The problem was the light had to be really bright, or ambient sources would interfere with his control circuit. He was sure there was a way to refine the control circuit, but again the language of the grimoire was just too confusing. As such he had a spell that first blinded anyone who hadn’t shut their eyes then protected its user from magic. Not all bad, perhaps, but it scared the crap out of the cat.
Well he could deal with that by pushing more power into Tenebrescere Cattus.
Even once it was all working, the magical protection spell wouldn’t be perfect. First, it would pull Kyle’s magic out of him just as readily as it would disarm an attacker, so he had to be inside it when it went off. It would also limit how quickly he could draw in new magic. He could get some through the spell, but he couldn’t pull it fast enough that a “concentration” built up in the spell affected area. He wasn’t sure just what that meant yet.
Finally, the magical denial field wasn’t regular. For obvious reasons, it had to be flattened anywhere it encountered something translucent. The floor was translucent, so the spell always ended up crossing through his shoes. For most offensive spells that wouldn’t be a huge weakness in his defences, but he could easily imagine magical effects sufficiently aggressive that they’d just melt him from the feet up.
That particular image was horrifying enough that Kyle’s next task was going to be adjusting the frequency of his control light to something in the radio spectrum.
All in all, he was kind of relieved when Jessie walked in and offered up a distraction, “We’ve got a bite.”