The Ingredients of Spell InkThe ingredients of spell ink are silverlight, cobalt water, soul ash, molotovin, and powdered ardenstone.
Silverlight is a glinting shaving of brass that is imbued with wind magic in a secret alchemical process, and, in fact, all processes behind the creation of the ingredients of spell ink are kept top secret according to Middlish Law so that the substances act as severe incentives to keep the peace up and the trading between the five cities fair. Cobalt water is the base liquid of spell ink and made in Aquaris using water magic. Soul ash is created in the charcoal burner huts of Lumina Aka, and molotovin is a magic electrolyte that is dripped into the final solution, manufactured in Fulgrath. It was named after Rudolph Molotov, the inventor of the Molotov tower1
The Application Stages of Spell InkFirst, the spell ink has to be acquired or created; then it is applied to a surface. After the application, a magus performs a single feat of magic into the ink. The usual effect will be completely absorbed and will instead cause the ink to spread out in the form of a mandala. Once the mandala has been created, touching it will activate the feat of magic initially cast into the ink. The mandala is not used up in this process but remains until it has been damaged too badly. Anyone can activate a spell ink mandala regardless of magical prowess and personal soul power. However, because the mandalas just start channeling soul power indiscriminately when touched, the advent of spell ink has also led to a steep increase in spellblight. The final application for spell ink is the creation of a magic engine. Magic engines are created by layering mandalas and casting them upon new forms with very specialized applications that even surpass the limitations of the elements they were initially created with to a certain extent by means of sheer complexity.
Spell Ink MandalasTwo mandalas are rarely alike. Because spell ink mandalas are keyed to the soul of the creator, two mandalas of the same spell can have completely different shapes but the same exact effect. This does not mean that the soul of the creator is activated or resonated with any time a mandala that was created with it is activated, it simply means that there is a very personal signature to the magic of every person. The records of the Middle Lands Magic Research Consortium show that the first mandala ever created was a regular soft breeze made from wind magic, put onto a scroll of parchment to which spell ink had been applied. The parchment burned up, but produced the intended effect.
Mandala ScrollsScrolls were an early application of spell ink that came into fashion before the advent of magic engines. The problem with mandala scrolls was that they would burn up on use. This was due to the mandalas heating up whenever soul power2
HistorySpell ink was invented by a cross-academic working group called the Middle Lands Magic Research Consortium in 820 GE. The MLMRC was founded by Augustus Leeuw during the annual Tower Symposium in 811 GE, when several mages of the five Magus Academies of the Middle Lands supported his proposal to create an impartial think tank containing magus scholars of all five elements. Additional support and sponsorship was offered by the Five Keepers, and the Tower of Five was named as the neutral and central location best suited for the activities of the MLMRC.
The Magic Industrial RevolutionIn the 950s GE, the widespread proliferation of magic engines on an industrial level began in the Middle Lands. Certain labor and time intensive jobs were replaced by magic engines and new manufacturing processes invented, which utilized the new technology. This lead to a boom of growth and production and created, for example, the completely novel aluminum industry in Fulgrath, which built great aluminum smelters and forges out of magic engines. Of course, high-level magic technology already predates the inception of spell ink by a few hundred years in Fulgrath, as can be seen in the example of Molotov towers.
Warning: this is an excerpt from Aqualon, Rise of the Broken
Severlin's Stellite Daggers“I can’t believe you actually came! Hiding that face ought to be a crime against nature, though.” Clumsy. He was still very young, but of noble ilk, blessed with a hefty though not fattened jaw, silky, raven black hair that fell to his shoulders in gentle waves, and the first signs of a well-groomed beard – if you could call it that – were about his chin. Gwenawel tugged at her cowl absentmindedly. “I had a few hours to spare. And you mentioned an armory?” “Aha, thought that might catch your fancy! Yes, not as fine as the one back at the mansion, but if you only have a few hours that would be a bit too far off. Shall we go?” He held up his arm to escort her. Underneath the cowl, she rolled her eyes then placed hers in it like a good lady. “Lead the way.” They strolled across the moonlit pavement, the distant roar of a storm rolling over the city as Frederick Severlin steered the two of them towards a large fortified mansion with a six foot stone wall surrounding its premises and round towers on each. The pale glow of a paper lantern rose to meet them as they arrived at a wrought duralumin gate with artfully twirled pikes. “Who goes there?” sounded the voice of an old man. He wore an open helmet made from the same alloy, though its differing coloring suggested that it had been wrought from different component ratios. Gwenawel had once visited the smelters and smithies of the Aerialis metal workers guild, asking about the processes with which aluminum was worked: it arrived in its pure form from the lightning smelters of Fulgrath and was melted again in magic engine furnaces here in Aerialis, powered by fire magic spell ink mandalas. Abysmally expensive, but well worth the investment, as they could utilize soul power to create measures of heat beyond what was possible with current technology. Not even Angel smiths had such fire at their disposal. What they did have, however, was a steady supply of steel, a far more practical material to use for weapons and armor. The brittle and light aluminum had to be forged into new, more durable alloys, such as duralumin, before it could be properly utilized, and for that several kinds of magic engines as well as copper, magnesium, and manganese were required. The copper came from Arkatrash and was also used for making aluminum bronze. “Don’t you know the son of your own master, Finley?” Frederick inquired with a smirk. The old man looked more closely, apparently having trouble seeing well in the lantern’s twilight. “Pardon me, sir Severlin, oi thought ye were in already.” His eyes twitched over to Gwenawel. “Brought some company, eh? In you come, sir, in you come…” He lowered the lantern and opened the gate, shakily wielding an old, green, copper key. Well, well, this was a surprise. She wasn’t the first one little Frederick had brought home. Not so green after all. They stepped past the gate and heard it clank behind them as old Finley closed it up again. “The armory is connected to the main building,” Frederick explained, “but it is attached to the left side over there, so we can just go in from the outside if we have a key.” He withdrew a small, silvery key from his pockets and winked. “The private armory of house Severlin, eh? I’m sure this will be interesting.” She let him lead her to the smaller addition to the building – all set with protective bars before its windows – and gently reclaimed her arm as he fiddled with the lock. It was relatively dark, but he produced a small metal object, opened its hinged cap and touched the apparatus inside, which then lit up in a bluish pattern, producing a tiny flame. He used it to light several oil lamps that were hung strategically around the room, dousing it in a warm light. Here, Gwenawel could behold many mannequins equipped with shining armor made from duralumin, bronze, and one even from steel. Numerous racks were stacked with swords, both of straight, double-edged and of curved Yamato style, finely wrought estocs, daggers of varying sizes, beautifully carved wooden staffs, some of the weapon variety, some of the magic variety, different sorts of bows, crossbows, sophisticated slings, and mounted on wall pods: spears and lances, beautifully arranged in a way that put the longest near the floors, and the shorter ones ever higher, creating a sort of pyramid of spears. What a fine collection indeed. “Magnificent!” she exclaimed, slowly stepping about, inspecting this and that more closely. From the corner of her eye, she could see that Frederick looked quite pleased with himself. “Oh, it’s nothing, there are many armories like this to the name of my family, and of course the armory of the White Lancers is more impressive still. I am glad you like it though,” he said courtly. “Yes, I noticed a sore absence of terebras. Shame.” She now fondly hefted one of the larger spears. “Nice reach… I am going to need something that can maintain a good distance.” Still, she put it back onto its wall pods for the moment. “Hmm, terebras are very heavily regulated by the city. I have my own, of course. It’s up in my chambers,” he sounded hopeful. Gwenawel smirked. “Perhaps there will be time to inspect it. We’ll see. Though I think I’d like to see you use it in battle first. You are going to fight, yes?” She could see how he puffed up his chest. Adorable. “Of course! The instant my sister told me what transpired in the council chambers, I knew what I had to do. I’ll be there, and I would think that some of my best men will join me as well, once I tell them.” What was this, some honest to gods valor? She brushed down the cowl and let her hair free. Some charm would serve her well now, though little more seemed to be required, seeing how he had approached her all buttered up already. Her eye stuck to a rack of fine daggers. She took one and inspected the hilt: it was covered in fine leather and inlaid with gold. The pommel was a tear-drop shaped sapphire. She drew it from its black leather sheath, which had a loop-segment at its back to fit on a belt, and made a soft gasp as she moved the back of her hand over the side of the strangely reflective blade. “This blade… it’s stellite, isn’t it? Made with Aquaris cobalt, I presume?” “Well, yes. And the alloy was made in Aquaris, though the blade was forged by Aerialian smiths. They were commissioned by the previous margrave in his youth as a present to my grandfather Jonas Severlin.” Frederick stepped to her side and withdrew two identical daggers from the rack, thoughtfully weighing them against each other. “There are a total of eight daggers, all forged by the great master smith Pavel Weidenwald and wrought with powerful mandalas by his brother, the wind magus Zachariah Weidenwald.” Gwenawel tested the dagger’s balance. It was somewhat front-heavy. “They are made for throwing,” she noted. “Very perceptive of you. You won’t find more magnificent throwing daggers in all the Great Land.” “And what sort of mandala is wrought into them? The dagger doesn’t seem to react to my soul inertly.” To test it a little, she tossed it up, let it rotate once or twice, and caught it, repeating the motion a few times, just enjoying the balance and beautiful sheen of the masterfully crafted blade. From behind the rack, Frederick produced a marvelously carved, black, small wooden box with tiny brass hinges in the back and a brass clasp at the front. He opened that clasp carefully, lifting the lid to reveal a red velvet interior with a hand full of black rings inside, each with white patterns inked onto it. “The spell ink is spread over three parts: the dagger, the sheath, and a corresponding ring,” he explained. “Of course… eight daggers, and eight rings, one for each finger… and their power is called forth when the rings are worn.” The black, brushed metal of the rings and their white markings looked enticing, and she wanted to try one on, see what it would do. “Yes!” He slipped one of the rings on, turned it two times on his finger, inspecting it carefully, then, picking up one of the daggers, he drew it, and threw it at a nearby practice target in one fluid motion that was quite impressive for his age. He then pulled the ringed hand back in an odd withdrawing motion, and the dagger, shaking itself loose, flew back into his hand. But that was not all of it: as it shook, the tear-drop sapphire loosed itself from the hilt, and as it moved towards him, a tiny, dome shaped cloth expanded beneath it, tethered to the inside of the hilt with wire. It actually was a strong jet of wind that moved the dagger back. As Frederick’s hand closed around the hilt, after he skillfully moved it to avoid the cloth, the sapphire snapped back into place, stuffing the cloth into the hilt. “As you can see, it returns to its wielder, when called.” She clapped in delight. “Extraordinary! Like Mjölnir and Járngreipr! Thor’s hammer that always returns to the iron gauntlet.” Frederick nodded approvingly. “Indeed, it is said that Pavel and Zachariah took their inspiration from the old war stories of the Age of Heroes.” “Good. I want them. All eight.” She looked him straight in the eye. This was a tricky one, but a few circumstances were working in her favor. For one, he wanted to gift her something to win her affections. Also, he clearly wanted to have her. That was a big plus. But the real motive behind his approach, beyond affection, beyond adoration, yes the true desire behind his dark, brown eyes was power, influence. He thought of her as a powerful potential ally. And she very well might be if he played his cards right. “All eight.” His face briefly lost its color. “My father wouldn’t miss them too much, but only because they were given to me as a gift. They are a dear memento to my late grandfather!” “Hmm. Pretty please?” she said, fixing him with her eyes. There was a glint in his she could identify all too well: the glint of someone about to make a wager. “Well. I suppose, I could part with half of them. Call it a… shared set. Between two allies; two who appreciate true beauty. But I would be sorry to see them go into unworthy hands. So how about you and I have a little contest? Eight throws with four daggers each, no picking them up by hand. The most hits closest to the center of the target wins.” He grinned now, handing four rings to Gwenawel. “You are of a quite reputable house, are you not?” he added casually. She grinned. “Why yes I am: the house of Sleipnir, nobles in my homeland, and mage smiths of great renown.” She carefully placed the rings over her left and right index and middle fingers, then took the daggers Frederick had pointed out. As she inspected the rings, she could see Middlish numbers engraved on all four, each corresponding to a number worked into the gold inlays of the dagger hilts. She opened her belt and strung the four dagger sheaths onto it. “And that sounds like a fair game. Fair and enjoyable.” Her voice remained friendly and casual as she said it. “And a most generous offer indeed.” It was quite clear to her that he was planning on wiping the floor with her, then graciously giving her one or two of the daggers in defeat. A smart move; very political. He would make an excellent head of house at some point, and indeed a valuable ally. “Well, you should know that I got those daggers as a young lad and have been tossing them every time I got a chance. They are untraditional for White Lancers, but I have grown quite fond of them,” he said in a generous, apologetic tone. She quite enjoyed the grandstanding, especially considering what she was about to do. In a fluent, gracious movement, her arms swung about her in a flurry, like many snakes striking a target in front of them. The daggers flew, each hitting the mark close to or directly in the center and then returning as if she had used the ring’s mandala a thousand times before. Frederick barely had time to see her hit her eight bulls-eyes. He closed his mouth. “So, how are we on that whole me showing you my terebra business?” he asked, with a clearly dry mouth. She laughed brightly. “I am warming up to the idea. Though, I usually like to see a man’s prowess in battle before taking a look at his lance. How about you show me those much advertised skills, and I’ll use my imagination to fill in the rest.” His face now had a visible red tint, and he eagerly fastened the daggers about his waist. Unlike her, he took some time to ready himself, taking a proper stance, measuring his target. Then he carefully tossed one dagger after the other. Two hitting the mark, one the second, and one the third ring of five. He drew all daggers back at the same time, catching two with each hand, then tossing them again, this time hitting the mark three times, but bunting off once. He retrieved the daggers once again and sheathed them, shamefully avoiding to look her way. She smiled: “Seven out of eight, and five bulls-eyes, quite formidable.” “You ought to tell me how you did that continuous-like motion. The daggers never stopped flying in your hands. I think you deserve those four quite a bit more than I do mine.” Glib again. He had some excellent teachers or a good taste in books. “Well, how about we go to your chambers to have a look at that terebra and I’ll tell you about the principles of throwing multiple weapons in rapid succession.” This time, she took his arm and lead him on. “That… uh… yes, certainly!” he said, his cracked confidence quickly mending. “Good, good. The secret lies in creating a chain of motion, as you toss one weapon, you must be drawing the next with the opposing arm, your hands will be parallel when half-throwing and half-withdrawing…”