Finally talked Draconis van Von into letting me leave his service. The time, pain, and nausea was well worth what he taught me, but I've got new plans now and it's time to move on. That Meiyerditch woman who's taking my place as his slave is probably in a better position than she was in the ghettos, though it doesn't really matter to me. Guess it depends on how good she is at rolling over for her master.
I hope I never see another papaya again.
Made it out of Morytania with less trouble than I expected. Maybe all of the vampyres were just used to me being van Von's property, which had its perks. Either way, I've been thinking hard about what it is I want to turn this idea into, and I've come up with a few points.
- No magical ability required
- Can be contained indefinitely in a magic tablet
- Can be created and sold for profit
- Inexpensive/elegant enough to be affordable in bulk for the upper class
May come up with more points later.
Heading to the Wizard's Tower. If history is any indication, working as a cook for whichever noble family happens to be hiring in East Falador isn't going to be enough to fund this project. It fit the bill when all I needed out of life was a steady flow of rune essence, bread, cheese, and Mind Bombs, but this is different, of course.
I've been looking into the creation of magic tablets, and it seems to require the use of a special kind of lectern. This spell I'm going to make will require no less than mahogany-quality wood to bind into a tablet, and if experience has told me anything, it's that perfecting brand new spells takes a lot of trial and error unless you just get lucky (and hey, I might).
Hopefully the Wizard's Tower will be able to support me as an independant wizard or something like that. They'll probably want some of the credit when I finally create a successful telepath tablet, but I don't mind. Less paranoia and more people using telepathy will make my life a lot more convenient.
That reminds me...
- Only audio-visual telepathy
Sometimes good things can come of using contact magic offensively, but it's really not what I'm going for. This mission is about communication, not fighting. Besides, what fun is a fight if nobody can spectate? And there's no better reason to fight than for the pure fun of it. Plus, that would make the spell useful for normal mages, as well. If a mage knows he's being reached by a pure communication spell, he's much less likely to be so paranoid about a stranger's telepathy.
So much for the Wizard's Tower - that is, the Arcane College. I arrived, only to find that it has some kind of magical barrier protecting it. I've noticed that some wizards pass through it seamlessly, and they all seem to have... I guess I would call them membership badges. I managed to stop a few students and ask about it, but none of them were very helpful. No one seems to know a way to gain admission without enrolling in the College.
Been staying in Draynor for a week now, visiting the College every day. I haven't made any new progress getting in to talk to someone since my last entry. Would see if I could break in, but that probably wouldn't help my odds of recieving a grant. Starting to consider looking for other options.
In the mean time, I've been thinking about what some of the hurdles I'm going to have to jump during this research process, and one stands out as probably the largest and most important challenge I'll face, at least in the beginning: how to direct the spell. It comes to me so naturally now that I almost didn't even think about it. The thing is, every telepath I know has the magic training to consciously direct where and to whom his contact spells go. Normally, I would just make a spell that's bottled nicely for the mage to release and direct as normal, but if I'm to make a tablet that can be sold to perfect magical novices, I have to assume that customers have absolutely no knowledge of how to direct even the simplest magic, never mind complex astral-based spells.
On my way to Varrock. I heard about a new institution opening while having a drink in Falador one evening called the Geilinor Academy. It's not a magical school or guild, but the curriculum includes magical studies. Might have to take a real role among the faculty, but going to try to see if I can milk a grant out of the headmistress.
Interviewed with the headmistress, it went well. I have to get on board as some runecrafting teacher, but when I finish my reseach I'll just quit. She said a grant was definitely in my cards.
I'm wondering if I can use totems to direct the magic spell to a target? A personal possession, a lock of hair...
- A series of arcane symbols have been sketched at the bottom of this entry. They seem to be brainstorming for patterns of magical energy that could attach a physical item to the target of a spell.
Bad news. The Gielinor Academy went under before it even opened, so still no grant. I'll go back to Falador to see if I can hear about any more choices. There's an Arcane Research Institute out in the desert, but from what I hear, it's very small. That doesn't bode well for available funding.
Was starting to think my plan was hitting a brick wall, but good news again! Somebody who was in charge of the Wizard's Tower and the Arcane College died off recently only for the Tower to be completely taken over by a new trio of very driven magical organizations. Heading back. I have a good feeling.
Success! After getting into the Tower and looking through the library, I noticed a man who handled himself as if he were important. I think he called himself Chris Aren. I spoke to him about the availablity for research financing and the nature of my research goals, and I was rewarded with a guarantee of monetary support and Tower knowledge. The only catch was that I have to give the Tower credit for my invention at the end, and I could hardly care less about that. Now the fun starts.
Ordered my first supplies. Some mahogany wood should be showing up for me soon. I found a thick textbook on Telepathic Theory - the one by Cervil Polaris, of course - and have started reading through it. It's not an easy read, but there are definitely intelligent and informative things in it that I can tell are going to help me pick out the bugs in my spell.
- In addition to a typical entry, this page has a slip of papyrus folded into it that lists all of the supplies she ordered and the sum total cost of those supplies.
You would think this library would have more librarians. On the bright side, I've never once been shushed, haha!
Finally found what I was looking for: blueprint instructions for constructing the kind of lectern I need. The mahogany wood should be arriving within the next few days, so I was thinking that I should get constructing the first lectern out of the way before I worry about fitting spells into it. I'm very optimistic about this!
In other news, I've made it about a third of the way through Polaris's textbook.
Construction is harder than it looks.
It took me three tries, but I managed to build a quality lectern with no critical flaws like cracks in the tablet shells or spelling cavities. Luckily, once I made a good stand, I was able to keep using it for my next two tries, so that saved me a little time. I'm going to try to make a tablet with the generic, wizard-grade contact spell that's been tried and true for years. Hopefully that will give me a good feel for it.
- In addition to a typical entry, this page has a slip of papyrus folded into it with blueprints for constructing a lectern traced from the previously mentioned textbook. In addition, there are personalized notes about tricks to use or mistakes to avoid written in various places around the diagram.
Need to build a new lectern! Something funny happened today. Earlier, I didn't have any problems putting the generic contact spell into a clay tablet. Shortly after, I lucked into noticing a book on body magic that had a section on material from a creature recognizing itself, and a spell that could detect matching material within a limited area.
I threw together a messy, beta-stage spell that could use human hair and return an identifying magical signal from the person it came from, instead of making the "matching material" emit glowing light. (Originally the spell was for locating something or someone in the dark.) Then I took that magical signal and used it to direct my contact spell at its target. It worked when I cast it by hand, so that was definitely a success.
Naturally, I was eager, so I thought I would do a couple more beta tests, but this time do them with tablets out of the lectern. Unfortunately, when I pushed the messy spell's runic energy through the spelling cavity to infuse the clay tablet, the lectern blew up! I don't mean there was fire or really any danger, but the energy from the unrefined spell must have been too manic for the device to handle, so the wood gave up, splintered, and flew into a hundred pieces around the (fortunately empty) workroom.
More success today. Got a decent lectern built in only two tries this time, so I must getting better. Took the same spell and worked on it for a few days, tweaking what amounts of which runes I put into the spell to see what was the most stable and controlled without losing efficiency. It turns out that adding in extra body and cosmic energy helps to allow the spell to hesitate and check that it's at the right person before completing, instead of charging confidently forward in the traditional way. Fortunately, this refined and more stable incarnation of the spell was accepted by my new lectern.
I have found that I can put a pinprick hole in the side of a soft clay tablet before spelling it with the lectern that a hair could be inserted into before breaking the tablet and releasing its spell.
Think I'm going to have to abandon this "hair" approach to directing the spell. It has too many glaring shortcomings. Not only does it require the spell's target to have hair (a concern for me, though maybe not for most people), it also requires the person with a tablet to have that person's hair in advance. If this invention were to grow in popularity, I'm imagining professionals gathering entire filing cabinets of locks of hair. Or, for personal use, the awkward conversation wherein one person asks, "Excuse me, can I have a couple of your hairs?" I wouldn't mind asking, but I think most people would be hesitant about these things.
More important than the social consequences, though, is the spatial limitation. I've discovered that the matter-comparison I'm making with the body spell I wrote about in previous entries becomes exponentially more chaotic and difficult to control when the radius it has to check for matching hair matter grows broader. I managed to use a strengthened version of it to find a matching target across the town of Draynor, but at that distance the spell was only effective about fifty percent of the time because the target was on the hazy edges of the spell's reach. Any stronger spells become troublesomely messy and inefficient.
Hopefully reading more from Polaris's textbook will inspire me with a direction that has fewer limitations. I got distracted from reading it after discovering the body magic locator spell. Also planning to announce my project at the upcoming Mage's Conclave. Raising awareness might spark the attention of someone who has helpful ideas.
Disappointed by the Conclave. Most of the presentations were interesting enough, multiple speakers talked about necromancy, but I guess few others thought so because the audience was nonexistant by the time the first speaker left the open floor. My plan to
- This entry has no further writing, as if the author was suddenly distracted or forgot to finish the entry.
Roadblock. Every alternative trick I've come up with for allowing a nonmage to direct the tablet spell has been a dead end. They're all either so complicated and expensive that it wouldn't be worth the money (one of my requirements from the start was that the solution had to be elegant and inexpensive) or too unstable to be reliable.
I'm still hoping that something I've missed in the Polaris textbook will help me figure this out; none of the mages I've asked in the tower have been able to offer much of a helping hand. Their telepathic abilities mostly seem to be brute force. Not much nuance or intelligent thought behind it because the head-first methods have always worked so well for their purposes, I figure.
Been a long time since I made any entries, mostly because I haven't made any remarkable progress. Today, though, I might have found something. Was combing back through a chapter in the Polaris textbook when I came across a point that reminded me to think about this in a new way. Something the tutor I had when I was 13 tried to tell me was that you can learn everything you want about magic out of a mountain of textbooks, but knowing the little tricks usually doesn't matter that much unless you're up into master-level work. Draconis van Von seemed to feel similarly, though he never said so directly.
Magic sometimes has a very close relationship with intention, and that's at its most true when the spells are heavily under the influence of a mage's conscious direction. What I've been trying to do is make a spell that can direct itself completely on its own, but now I'm realizing that must not be the answer. What I need to do is make a spell that can be directed by anyone without anyone actually having to perform the spell. I have an idea.
Met with success today! I managed to come up with a rudimentary spell that can harness someone's conscious thought as a directing tool - the trick was a specific application of extra astral and mind magic. The spell I have right now is still very raw, but it's also very promising. A test run this evening proved me right, and I managed to make a telepathic connection with one of the students in the tower without giving the spell any supernatural guidance.
Have a lot of work left to do, but this was an important step and I'm pleased. I need to work on stabilizing the spell so that the magical energy isn't shocking when it enters the body - right now it feels similar to static and leaves me rather bristled (exhilarating but not the goal). I also noticed during my testing that the spell in its current state is prone to spontaneously dropping out or cutting off and dissappating. I expect stabilizing things may fix this without any extra effort, but if it doesn't, I'll have to work on that, too.
It's been a good day.
Entry Twenty-Two through Twenty-Six
There are several pages ripped out of the journal. No explanation as to where they are or why they were ripped out is given anywhere in the journal's contents. However, based on the numbering of other entries, it can be deduced that these pages contained entries 22 - 26.
Been two months since I made an entry. Has also been two months since I made any interesting progress. With all the battles going on around Misthalin and Asgarnia, the Wizard's Tower as I've known it shut down and reopened under different management. That means that my research grant funds were cut off. I couldn't submit a new request or reach any of the new tower heads because of logistics and some technicalities, so I gathered my possessions, what was left of my supplies and money, and a couple of textbooks that weren't, strictly speaking, mine, and got out of there. I stored everything in a bank, and decided to try my hand at this divination stuff. I don't intend to master it, but it might turn out to be useful. Anyway, I'm going to need to find a new source of money if I'm going to ever finish my tablets.
The date on this journal entry is a few months after the date on the 27th entry.
Didn't manage to get in contact with my family. Very hard to find lately. I got a lot of leads when I was looking around but I didn't ever manage to follow any of them fast enough to catch other Vekon before they were either gone or dead. I decided just to wait a while. I figure soon enough one of them will pop up into the public eye and then I'll be able to catch him. In the mean time, I've been looking into this divination thing; I think it might be the key to the trouble I've been having.
I was putting all of my effort into coming up with a spell that was both magically stable and cost effective on its own, but that might not be the answer after all. The more I hear about it, the more it sounds like divine weaving will be the key. The wizards who have been practicing divination have figured out how to use it to stabilize very unnatural nodes of resources. They're creating "pocket" fishing spots that exist temporarily in their own bubbles; microecosystems. They're doing the same with ore-veined rocks and vegetation growth. They call them "divine locations." They've also managed to condense the nutritious properties of food into something called a "portent," packing significant and very physical value into a small, controlled tablet for later use. If this can be done with a sandwich, it can be done with my magic.
Tried divination a few times when I was still at the Tower. I got the gist of it then, but it wasn't until this last week that I practiced with any determination.
I can tell already that these faint wisps of energy aren't going to be any use, but even they are hard for me to get a grip on. Clearly I'm going to have to improve.
Took effort and I went at least a few nights sleepless while I've been here, but these pale wisps are finally bending to my will. I think I'm prepared to move on to brighter energy. I should look into eating something, first...
Someone who comes across this research journal in the present day would find it in the following condition:
- It has a snakeskin cover holding it together. The cover is still in very healthy shape.
- All pages are relatively fresh, crisp, and clean, except for the very first, which has been stained by green swamp water.
- The text within is easily legible cursive script done with a formal, feminine hand. It appears to have been written with black ink and quill.
- There are a number of blank pages at the end, suggesting that the author has not finished writing her entries.