Shielding Winds is an advanced defensive Wind spell, similar to but more powerful and versatile than the simpler Insubstantial Shield spell. Its main purpose is likewise to deflect ranged attacks, mundane or magical. However, instead of defending against attacks from all directions as Insubstantial Shield does, its effects are typically focused in a small region, creating a much stronger defense from attacks coming from that direction, capable of turning away any projectiles that one might reasonably expect to be aimed at a mage in battle. However, it does have the disadvantage of leaving the mage open to potential attacks from elsewhere. Magi who are more powerful would be able to cover a larger area with the spell without weakening its effect, literally erecting a wall of Wind between themselves and their attackers. With enough skill, it is even possible to extend the affected region such that it completely surrounds oneself, negating the main disadvantage of this spell compared to Insubstantial Shield.

Shielding Winds in Action
View picture in full size Image description. A Wind mage using the basic form of Shielding Winds to deflect a Fire attack. Picture from the game Mystical Empire™, used with permission. Illustration by Quellion.

Spell Effect. An object's cár'áll is not separate from its surroundings, and thus is influenced by the elements in its surroundings. A projectile in flight is completely surrounded by air, which consists mainly of Wind ounía, thus allowing a Wind mage some measure of control over it.

The spell draws Wind ounía into the target region from the surrounding area, creating a region of air where the influence of Wind is much greater than usual. This is further enhanced by the caster, who will also emphasize the influence of Wind's property of movement, as well as define a direction of movement. A projectile entering the target region will come under unusually strong Wind influence, especially with regard to its movement. This causes it to be deflected off its original course and into one which, assuming the caster is relatively competent, should miss the caster. - Simply put, the spell generates a region of strong Wind that knocks aside projectiles entering it. Return to the top

Casting Procedure. In an actual combat situation, one would most likely have very little time to react to a ranged attack of the nature the spell is meant to defend against. Thus, the usual procedure is to first set the air in the target region into motion, by increasing the influence of Wind and the property of movement in particular. This is not very different from casting Conjure Wind, though in this case most magi prefer to have the Wind take a circular path, like with Insubstantial Shield. The time required to do so should be almost negligible, and while the winds conjured at this stage is not as strong as they will be when the casting is done, they do provide some defense. Then, while sustaining the effect, the mage draws Wind ounía from the surroundings into the target region as quickly as possible, boosting its strength.

The more risky way, which some favour, is basically the reverse of what is outlined above. Wind ounía is first drawn into the target region, which, due to the increased Wind influence, could also result in Wind being generated. The mage then strengthens the Wind, or conjures it in the unlikely event of there being no Wind present, and takes control of it.

One should also make sure the spell is ended properly. If the spell is simply 'released', it will result in an explosion of Wind that might injure the caster. Fortunately, in most cases the mage is merely stunned for a few moments, though in battle even this can be quite dangerous. The correct way to end the spell is to disperse the excess ounía in the target region, away from the caster. Return to the top

Magical Formula. Not yet defined. Return to the top

Focus/Target. The target is a region of air between the mage and the projectile or projectiles the mage is to be defended against. Initially, a mage would normally learn to affect a more or less circular region about two peds across. As one grows stronger, one would be able to affect a larger region, and with enough skill, regions of different shapes, which might be more useful in some situations. Completely surrounding oneself with the spell effect, as previously mentioned, is one such possibility. Return to the top

Reagents. Reagents are typically not used for this spell, except when one is still learning it, in order to minimise casting time. When they are, willow leaves are usually preferred. Tareptail seeds are also used sometimes, scattered into the air while casting the spell.  Return to the top

Spell Class. Wind School, Physical Representation of Sphere III. Return to the top

Range. It is not inconceivable for a mage to be able to create the effect a great distance away, assuming he or she is sufficiently powerful. Usually though, there is no reason for it to be cast any more than an arm's length away from the mage. Return to the top

Casting Time. The effect should manifest almost instantly once the mage commences the casting of the spell. It will take a few blinks to reach full strength however. Ending the spell should take no more than a blink. Return to the top

Duration. Despite being a Sphere III spell, Shielding Winds is largely based on Sphere I principles, and has the similar limitation of having to be constantly sustained by the caster. The duration is thus however as long as the caster can sustain it, which for a mage at Level VII should be a minute or two, or much longer if one does not mind complete exhaustion. It is however not necessary to sustain the spell for more than a few blinks in most cases. Return to the top

Counter Measures/Enhancing Measures. It is generally advisable to not be in a situation where one has to use this spell in the first place. If one nonetheless ends up in such a situation, there are a few things one can do to improve one's chances of survival.

First, if one expects to have to use this spell, one could have the reagent in hand and ready for use whenever it might be needed. The use of a reagent of course helps the mage to cast better. It can be quite troublesome to hold the reagent for too long however. Learning to react very quickly is helpful too, and not only for this spell. With regard to the use of this spell though, a quick reaction means being a lot more likely to have the spell up before the projectile reaches the target. The alternative would be to cast the spell first, then wait for the attack, which requires rather more energy. And, of course, the further away one is from the attacker, the more time there will be to react, so one should endeavour to be as far away from the attacker as possible, if not, as mentioned earlier, in an unassailable position.

To get around such a defense without the use of magic, attacking from several directions simultaneously has a relatively good chance of working. For magi who cast the spell in anticipation of an attack, withholding the attack is a good tactic if one is in no hurry. Trying to catch the mage off-guard could also work. In addition, if one could somehow cause the mage to lose control of the spell, there might be a small window during which the mage might be more vulnerable.

For magi, the above also applies, but there are many other possibilities as well, depending on one's element. Spells could be used to distract the mage and prevent him or her from getting the spell up in time, or to break the caster's concentration and end the spell, hopefully at the right time to let an attack through. There are also spells that can directly injure the target instead of producing a projectile to do so. Return to the top

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