Osterley and Beckton looked at each other for a moment. Something passed between them: not intimate, as such - functional, practical. She took a step back, while Beckton made ready his weapon. There were no theatrics, no heartfelt exchanges. The people who made those kinds of gestures were no longer around.
Newkirk nodded, muttering the last words of the spell. His wand glowed red with heat; lava dripped from the end to fall, smoking, on the floor. Beckton took his cue, taking a position behind a brick flowerbed, where he popped up to -
Both agents felt a gut-deep tug, the power of magic pulling the normal world out of shape. Further down the road, a massive fireball erupted.
As it did, Osterley had a thought. She had seen a good number of these cast, and fancied that they looked subtly different to real explosions - as if they were shaped by the mental image of an explosion rather than physics and reality.
This said something about magic, she reflected, but she wasn't sure exactly what.
Comments (4 so far!)
The author suggests that whether such wartime Romantics are physically dead, or have just changed into different people, is a matter of interpretation for the reader.
Newkirk has cast Fireball from a 4th-level spell slot rather than a 3rd, using stronger magic than usual. This manifests itself both in the slight overspill of arcane fire even before he's able to release the spell, and also in an additional 3.5 (average) damage per target. As Newkirk has previously implied that Moritz and Yorck are unable to use 5th-level spells, a 4th-level Fireball is equivalent to the most potent firepower that he expects his opponents could respond with.
Special mention of the following webpage, which has adopted a similar approach to magic as I have!
I don't believe in quite such a dramatic interpretation of Fireball's power, but my estimate is that it is still an incredibly powerful spell - equivalent to heavy cannons of the WW2 period.
- #3904 Posted 22 days ago
Awesome, both in the old school definition and the modern at once. I like Osterly's reflection, it's sort of the thing I was talking about before, giving the characters character. And I really like the nauseating pull that people (maybe only other arcane magic users?) can feel. That helps sell magic as this other force in a pretty real way, and possibly implies that the forces are so great that perhaps man wasn't meant to harness them which is a good parallel to a story that references nuclear technology. I don't think you'd go this way unless you were borrowing from Dark Sun but I almost wish that magic had a radioactive quality to it. Love the work still.
- #3905 Posted 18 days ago
Hey, wait a second I feel like I'm missing the Parvane annotation in the comments.
- #3906 Posted 18 days ago
Aha! Thanks, @RQ. Forgot!
Operation Paravane was a Royal Air Force operation to destroy the German battleship Tirpitz. Lancaster heavy bombers with elite crews dropped Tallboy heavy bombs - the most effective and heavy-duty bombs in the RAF arsenal on an extremely long-range mission that required the use of Russian airfields.
Smoke cover, anti-aircraft fire and the fact Tirpitz was sheltering near a cliff made bombing very difficult, and only one hit was scored - but this single hit did catastrophic damage, rendering the mighty battleship unfit for combat. Unable to retreat her to a repair yard, Tirpitz never saw action on the seas again and was destroyed by the Royal Air Force in a subsequent air raid.
- #3907 Posted 18 days ago
Inspired by (sequel to):
In the entrance hall of the building, Beckton stayed as flat as possible against the wall and risked…Postmaster
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