Three hours later, and the group assembled in the drawing room once more. Haneul had with her two rather large books, Percival was carrying several pages of hand-written notes, and Blake appeared dejected and was empty-handed. Amalric and Lavinia’s own set of notes was substantial, but vague.

Blake: I’ll get it over with now; the search was a bitter disappointment. Makes sense, I guess, given that magic wasn’t as widely understand at the time, but all I’ve really come away with was what we already knew; they used the Philosopher’s Stone as a central catalyst to cast spells across the city. Not really a technique we’re going to be able to copy.

Hanuel: That’s kind of what these two are discussing too, actually. The biggest issue with wide-scale magic is finding a strong enough source in the first place. There are a few different theories about what might bring together enough energy to cast across a city, but a whole country? We’d need Hectaythe herself. We’d be better off going down the other route of casting smaller spells at greater frequency, and trying to join up their effects.

Lavinia: That sounds like a promising idea. We shall have to look into that one. How about you, Percival? What do you have for us?

Percival: I’m afraid this is also something of a puzzle. There hasn’t been much need of purely magical defences, so it looks like we’re going to have to do some spellcrafting of our own, but I’ve put together a list of some of the smaller, augmentative spells that we might be able to use as a starting point.

Blake: Oh, like Guardian’s shields and stuff, right? Good thinking.

Percival: Thank you. It isn’t much, but it should at least give us a better understanding of which components would have the desired effects.

Hanuel: Well, if nothing else, we can convince the king to build a really big wall, and augment it beyond recognition.

Amalric: If we were to imbed such a wall with catalyst stones, it could also serve to heighten the effects of any spell cast within it…

Haneul: I hadn’t actually been serious about a wall…

Lavinia: It’s a good idea though. Naturally, walling off the whole of Esperant would be foolish as well as impossible, but Eruvene is a small city of greater height than width. It just might be possible.

Blake: And it at least gives us a defence people can be working on while we try to find something more effective. Going to take a bit more than a couple of weeks though…

Haneul: Hmmm, not necessarily. The Dean’s an Earth-elemented Sorceress; with a bit of help from her students, she could probably have a wall up around Eruvene in a matter of days. We’d just have to bring her the catalyst stones. Where would we get something like that?

Lavinia: For the sort of scale we’re proposing, I think we’d have to make them, Haneul.

Hanuel: Ah…

Percival: … … … I might be able to help with that. My father was an orbsmith; I was able to learn a little of the craft from his notes. It’s enough at least to be able to source the materials we’d need, even if it might take a more experienced hand to finalise it.

Lavinia: Thank you, Percival, that’s wonderful news. In that case, I think we’re ready to start drawing up our first plan.

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