I had to blink a few times, after seeing the attributes of my new weapon. Or rather, casting tool, it wasn’t quite as useful as an actual weapon, just like my Athame. There had been small losses to the original Whacking Stick, it had lost a small amount of damage, it had lost the damage-amplification when used as a weapon from the back of a mount but that was it. I was quite sure those losses were the result of the reduced physical stability the weapon had, thanks to the setting for the crystal and the various rune-channels Lenore and I had carved into it. Not that I actually planned to hit people with the staff, even before it had changed from a One-Handed Polearm into a Staff, I had merely used it as a perch for Lenore. I wondered about that change but chalked it up to staves being classified as the tools of magicians and polearms as weapons, the one- or two-handed classification based on their weight. In addition to that, the rarity of the staff had gone up from Uncommon to Rare, most likely because we had used a rare gem in its creation.
But those were the minor effects of the crafting-process Lenore and I had gone through, the real effects were the two new special abilities, one seemed to be an active effect the other a passive amplification-effect targeting Ice- and Wind-Magic.
Other than the window telling me about the new staff, I noticed more blue windows, telling me about skill-advancements. The big one was that my enchantment-skill, something I hadn’t used in months, had shot up by multiple levels, bringing it up to ten. In addition to that, my Blood Magic had gained another point, maybe due to the attempt at aligning the formation carved for Lenore with Wind-magic using her Blood. It was something new, so getting a skill-point was to be expected.
With a smile, and filled with curiosity, I channelled a bit of Astral Power into our new staff, instantly feeling two ways to use that power. I could either use it as normal, to produce some sort of spell-effect, or I could simply draw upon the staff itself to guide it, creating that wind-barrier mentioned. I tried to create that wind-barrier and instantly realised that it was very similar to the effect of my Tempestuous Dancer-Title, only that the title only had effect while I was using Dance to control a magical ritual, the staff could be used at any time, at my discretion. Feeling the air swirl around me, I tested just how far I actually could control the wind-barrier produced by the staff and was a little disappointed when the only options I had were turning it on and off. But it made sense, I had no actual skill in Wind Magic, so no control for me.
Dismissing the barrier with a thought, I focused on the other effect, channelling my magic through the staff. That required a bit of mental re-alignment as it added a sort of buffer between me and the actual magical effect, making it similar to a magical ritual instead of the pure free-form casting I had been doing. When I realised that it wasn’t just a matter of mentally realigning myself but that there was a small delay, almost like a transmission-lag, between my mental casting and the magic taking effect, I started to frown. The delay was small, merely a split-second, but it was something I wasn’t used to.
Lenore watched me test around a little before joining in on the fun. To proficiently wield her Wind-Magic we either needed to be separated, with her outside of her Hallow or we needed to be joined in our Avatar-state. Our normal state of linked, yet separate mind was just not enough to allow her to cast her spells through my body. Maybe in the future, if our link deepened further, but for now, it just wasn’t in the cards. Or maybe I would be able to create my own Hallow within her body, allowing me to use the fact that I was able to channel spells through her to cast from the inside of my Hallow.
But those ideas were for the future, for now, she left her Hallow and took her place on the top of the staff, just sitting there for a moment.
“Let me cast on my own for now, please.” she asked, using our mental connection. I obliged, withdrawing my power from the staff, but keeping my focus on it. There was still a bit of mental feedback from the staff, maybe thanks to the fact that it was created by me, using my Astral Power and in this instance, I was able to watch Lenore’s Astral Power be transmitted into the spell-formations we had carved into the head of the staff, smoothly flowing downwards, into the crystal that was the core of the staff’s power. From there, I lost sight of it but was able to see the effect it had on the real world, as the air swirled around us for a moment before starting to form into directed gusts, strong enough to stagger an unprepared human. It wasn’t serious combat-magic but I knew that Lenore was merely testing what she could do using with the staff’s supporting effect.
In turn, I focused on the magical formations, watching them for signs of deterioration. I had tried something similar using magically charged blood and Darkness Magic but back then, the result had been utter failure. Since then, I had learned a lot more about magic, allowing me to create a stronger base-material and use my Blood Magic to prime the channels that would guide the foreign magic. And it looked like what we had in mind was working, there was a slight deterioration but it would take days of focused spell-casting to cause serious harm to the base-substance.
“Could you test out how much you can actually push through the formation at once?” I asked, curious if that would increase the deterioration-effect I was observing. Lenore cawed an agreement and the gusts of wind turned into rather serious air-blasts, strong enough to knock an unprepared foe down and, at least at a guess, causing rather painful impacts. For aerial foes, those would be seriously lethal, knocking them from the sky and breaking their bones with ease. The amount of power I felt flowing through the staff was surprisingly low, reminding me that Lenore wasn’t a power-magician, she needed some time to work her magic. Maybe that was why she had an affinity for mind-magic, or it was something related to her ability to handle souls.
Pushing those thoughts from my mind, I kept close watch on the spell-formation. While the deterioration was worse than before, it wasn’t problematic, she’d cause damage to the staff if she kept casting at full power for about two days, which put a limit on that. Curious, I tried to restore the Hard Ice as she was casting spells but I instantly felt a resistance, making it obvious that, if I tried, I’d put serious strain on the material, causing more damage than I’d be able to repair. I had a feeling that it would introduce a negative feedback-loop in which I’d cause more damage by fixing the damage done by her, forcing me to fix the damage I had caused, which would cause even more damage. That meant, I’d have to try it again but without Lenore’s magic in the mix.
“Thank you, stop please.” I told her, waiting for the magic to subside. After a moment, I started to push my own magic into the staff, careful not using the channels of the enchantment but the ice itself, quickly finding the small imperfections, the damage caused by channelling Wind-magic through the magical formation. This time, I was able to repair the damage quickly and without problems, something I was grateful for. It meant that we’d be able to use the staff regularly, without having to worry about deterioration, as long as I repaired it every so often.
“Good, that works. Now, Let’s see what we can do together.” I told Lenore and she agreed with a caw.
“I think Wind-Magic is better to lead, carrying freezing cold with it. So, I’ll supply power, you form and direct it.” I continued. She thought about it for a second before agreeing. While we still had our mental connection, the distance introduced a bit of, well, distance, even in the mental realm. Trying to form our spells in unison as we normally did wouldn’t quite work, so we’d have to improvise.
I let my Astral Power flow into the staff, as if I wanted to cast Ice-Magic using it as a focus but I didn’t supply the mental imagery for it, simply letting it sit there. At the same time, I was able to feel Lenore channel her own power into the staff and both pools of power came together in the formation around the Crystal of Northern Wind, causing it to become alight in a silvery-teal glow, mixing the colours of our magic. Moments later, she resumed the previous air-blasts, only this time, they were clearly stronger, causing not only snow to fly but actual depressions to form in the dirt below, which instantly iced over.
“I’d call this a successful test.” Lenore announced proudly. Both of us knew that, if she had used those blasts against anything less durable than the ground, she’d have caused trees to fall over or, if used against creatures of our size, caused them to get blasted through the air.
“Yes, I agree. Let’s see what we can do with it in our ritual.” I told her, looking forward to combining the effects of Ritual Magic, the new staff and the natural storm that had caused the wind around us to slowly pick up during our experiments.