After reading the messages and the combat-log I had some understanding on what happened. My overcharged Chilling Bolt had send the wolf into an hypothermic shock by chilling it's core in a way that would normally be impossible. Then I had used my own blood to cast a blood magical curse, more or less a magical parasite, into it's blood, killing it before the shock wore off, or maybe prolonging the shock. So now my normal connection to the Astral was disturbed because of the soul-injury, that would have been the excruciating pain I had felt.
For now, I had a not yet fully frozen wolf, so I started cutting into it trying to do better than before. As a bonus, the curse had quite literally devoured most of the wolfs blood, making the skinning and meat-extraction easier. Then I moved into the cave that was now mine by right of battle. It wasn't too deep, maybe 30 feet into the hill and narrow, burrowed into the earth. Luckily I was small so I was able to walk upright, taller beings would have to crouch. But it was now empty and it was mine. I placed the fur-scraps on the ground and walked back out. With a spell of pure Ice I was able to close the opening into a narrow gap that I could only traverse sideways without my backpack. Then I closed most of that gap with a second piece of ice that I could later target with a shatter-rune to get rid of it.
After a little search, I found a dead fall close by and collected quite a bit dry wood for a fire, collected it and went back to my cave. When I focused on the block of Ice I wanted to shatter, as I drew the first Ice-Rune onto it, I felt a connection and got a prompt.

Skill gained
You gained the Skill: Ice Magic
Those who have a strong affinity with an element can do basic manipulations of that element without the need of spells. The extent of those manipulations depends on the skill-level.

With that I was able to float the chunk out of the way and re-entered my dwelling. It took quite a bit APP to do so but I don't think shattering it and recreating it would have been cheaper. I went into the cave with my firewood and after I left the starlight behind, I was surprised that there was still a little, silver glow. After looking around I realised that the silvery glow was coming from my hair, and upon closer investigation, small, silvery specks were scattered within my hair, like stars in a night-sky. I could almost watch them light up further and further down as my Astral Power-bar filled up. So that was the magic hair, well, in the middle ages they identified witches by their hair, I guess that's were they got the idea. But it looks awesome and I like it, even if it makes me a tad conspicuous.

Then I got a fire going and made myself a, well, the best description is probably, nest out of the various fur-scraps I had gathered, I got a prompt.

You created a shelter.
One of the core-needs of any sentient life is the need for shelter. You have created yourself adequate shelter were there was none before.
As long as the shelter is claimed and not destroyed, no lifeforms hostile to the claimant will spawn inside.
Do you want to claim this shelter for yourself?
Yes No

I selected Yes and got another prompt.

You claimed a shelter in the Area: Northern Wilderness
As there is no political entity that claims ownership of the Northern Wilderness, anyone can claim a part of it and it's up to them to defend themselves. You do not have to pay to claim land and there are no taxes but you are also not part of any country that would defend you.

You can respawn in this shelter.
Trait gained
You gained the Trait: Survivor
You can survive even in the harshest conditions, striking out for yourself to establish the basics of survival.

Reduced need for food, reduced need for water, reduced penalties from environmental effects.

I felt myself relax for the first time in Mundus. Now, I had a couple of things on my agenda, find out the limits of my Ice-Magic, find out how to make spells, try to infer new runes, try to understand the rules under which Rune Magic operates and then look for an adventure.

With that plan in mind, I first created another chunk of ice with three Ice-Runes and realized that while casting the runes into the air, the first rune took the least APP, the second twice that and the third three times. Then I let the newly created chunk of ice float up and watched my Astral Power as I let it float hither and thither. I came to the following conclusions after using all my Astral Power into the experiments.

First of all, the further the target is away from me, the higher the cost.

second, I need to constantly use power to keep it aloft, which concurs with -

third, to accelerate it, I need to apply power in relation to velocity and rate of acceleration and finally,

forth, the bigger the manipulated piece, the higher the cost.

All in all, very logical rules, bigger distance means higher leverage effect, gravity applies constant acceleration downwards that I need to counteract, acceleration need energy and higher velocity means higher air-resistance. Next, I'll have to check out the effect of streamlined forms and try to get data on the relation of skill-growth to power-usage and vice versa.

Skill increased
You increased your skill: Ice Magic [3/100]

As I was completely out of Astral Power, I used Spell Crafting, interested in the process. I got a prompt, telling me that to craft my own spells, I'd have to first use the Spell Crafting-Ability to start 'recording' then I'd have to cast the spell a sufficient number of times, depending on spell complexity, to formalize it. Then it would become a fixed spell and I'd be able to teach it to others. So I'd need my Astral Power back before crafting spells.
I had noticed that my Astral Power was returning faster if I immersed myself in meditation so I did just that, first emptying my mind, then feeling out the reverse of the sensation I had when using Astral Power, that feeling of something flowing out. I believed that if something came flowing out, it had to somehow flow back in. I found it and it was a trickle but steady. Trying to follow it back, out of my body, gave me a sudden sensation of vertigo and a cold feeling in my stomach, a feeling that seemed to yell “DANGER!” at me. That feeling jolted me so bad that I lost my calm and opened my eyes, with a deep, drawn in breath.


Skill gained.
You gained a skill: Astral Meditation 1/100
Those who use Astral Power are aware that meditating helps to recover it. Those who know the secrets of Astral Meditation are able to align their meditation with the flow of the Astral River, strengthening the connection and thus increasing the recovery speed even further.

At some point during my meditation, the debuff from the Soul-injury must have faded as it was gone now.
I wanted to at least formalize one spell, so I kept on recording my first spell, the shattering icicle and after three cycles of using up my Astral Power to do so, I finally got the prompt that said,

Spell created
You created a spell, please name it.

Now I had to laugh as a holographic keyboard, made from electric-blue light came into being before me. Still, I typed in 'Shattering Icicle' and confirmed.

Spell gained
You gained a spell: Shattering Icicle
This spell uses a combination of Runes and Intent to create an Icicle out of Elemental Ice then fires it and shattering it shortly after impact.
Title gained
You gained the title: Magic Pioneer
For being the first of the travellers to create a new spell, you will be known as someone who's willing to push the limits on magic. Those who try to push the magical knowledge boundaries will view you with favour, those who prefer the status quo or dislike magic in general will dislike you.
Skill increased
You increased your skill: Ice Rune-Mastery [10/100]

Nice, a title. Sadly it will do little to help me out here but having it is probably better than not.
But the process of creating the spell had given me a huge boost to my Ice Rune-Mastery, I guess because I made a spell solely made from Ice-Runes. Next on my agenda was, again, trying if I could find meaning in more runes. As I had worked with Ice quite a bit just now, I was feeling it and went into my trance, letting the Ice-Runes I knew fill my mind and letting my mind flow freely. The first thing that my mind latched on, was the image of breath, clouding into mist from the cold. I was happy that I didn't get the terrible headache I had before. It took time, no way of measuring how long in the timeless state of meditation, but my mind went through images of Icy mist, until the mists finally seemed to condense into a rune and I knew the meaning obviously, Mist. Then I got the headache again, I guess that's it with rune-inferring for now.

Of course I wanted to try the new rune instantly and went with something simple, Ice – Mist – Chill and got an small explosion of mist, filling my cave and almost dousing my fire. Rats.
Even I felt cold in the magical mist and I was not happy about the flashy way it presented itself, if I wanted to use the mist to conceal something it was utterly useless as every semi-intelligent tomato would be able to guess that something was up if sudden mist exploded somewhere. So, slower release with a duration?
I made the runes again but held the image of mist, slowly creeping out of the formation at the front of my mind.

Special Ability gained.
You gained a Special Ability: Spell Channelling
Sometimes, it's not the instant release of magical power to accomplish something that you seek, for example when healing a strong instant shock could destroy the patient before being able to heal him. Those who are able to channel spells can release their power over a period of time, making their effect gentler and less jarring.

The new ability gave me a nice smile, more tools in my toolbox were something good.


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