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  • Writer's pictureKristina Elyse Butke


A closeup of multicolored teal sequins - Son of the Siren and Magic!
Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

Today's post comes from the #MarchMagic Worldbuilding Prompts! I've done a few of these worldbuilding prompt memes all for Son of the Siren, and today's theme is all about magic and magic systems. There's plenty of magic in Son of the Siren--spells upon spells! Curses upon curses! Let's take a closer look, shall we?

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Does your magic system have any consequences for use?

Humans can't do magic unless they use a tool or object imbued with it, although that usually backfires. One of the most coveted magical objects is a havoc stone, which grants the wish of its user. However, havoc stones (made from the hearts of tricksters) are agents of chaos, so while the wish may be granted, there's usually an absurd cost or trick to it that doesn't always get you exactly what you want.

Are there any laws surrounding your magic system?

Because humans can't do magic, there aren't any real regulations in place. One exception would be for the sacred sword Alibrandr. Forged by the elf Terinelle in the mountains of Glynna, it's strong enough to rend the heavens and cut the air to pieces. Only elves can "wake" the sword up to realize its full potential, but humans covet the sword anyway. The royal family of Ardeth stole the sword and locked it in the treasury for "safekeeping."

How are magic users viewed by those in power?

Magical creatures, the only beings who have innate magic in them, are usually avoided if possible because the magic might be dangerous. It's not that humans don't interact with magical creatures, it's just that they are not exactly sought out by people. Most magical beings are feared and left alone to their locations--sirens in the sea, the fae in Elythia, etc.

Is magic innate or learned?

In the world of Son of the Siren, magic is innate only to magical beings. Humans can't do magic and they can't learn it.

How dangerous is the magic?

Siren magic is lethal to anyone who hears it. The siren song seduces its listener, who falls in love with the siren, only to be swept away and eaten by them. The magic of the fae varies; sometimes it is little more than the whims of a faery, and other times, it can be harmful. Havoc stones, coming from tricksters, are quite dangerous.

Hard or soft?

I employ a soft magic system in the book. If you're curious as to what a soft magic system is, check out this simple definition:

A “soft magic” system is one in which the “rules” of using magic aren’t entirely known to the reader. There’s an air of mysticism, and it leaves a lot of room for the imagination. [...] There are indeed rules, and as readers we might know some of them. But what makes it soft magic is that a ton of information about the way it works is left mostly to the reader’s imagination."

Source: Publisher's Weekly, Katrina Schroeder

In other words, I have a lot of magic but most of it goes unexplained, and I hope the reader accepts its presence just as the characters in my book do.

Is there a weakness to the magic system or its users?

If a curse is enacted, there is almost always a way to break it. Otherwise, the magic is strong and it, along with its users, have no weakness.

Are most magic users good or bad?

Most magic users are morally gray.

What is the name of the magic?

My magic has no specific name in the book.

What is the name of the magic users?

I don't have names for magic users. Nobody is called a wizard or sorceress, for example.

Is the magic static or dynamic?

I had to look this up, I'm embarrassed to say, and I still don't quite get it when it comes to magic. But I think my magic is static, or fixed. Magical creatures have the power they are born with, and while they may learn how to use it, it's mostly fixed to them with little change. For example, a siren can't suddenly learn how to heal people.

Does the MC have magic?

Lirien is the MC in Son of the Siren, and this is a little tricky. He is a siren, so he has the siren power to seduce with their specific song, only he doesn't know that he can do this until it's too late. But he is also humans, and humans can't do magic, so there's an element of backfiring or the magic not doing exactly what he wants.

Does the MV have magic?

I'm assuming MV is main villain? My antagonist, Queen Aurinda, is human, so she can't do magic, but she relies on a havoc stone to try to force Lirien to love her. That magic comes at a great cost.

Is magic rare or common?

Magic is common if you associate with magical creatures at all.

Favorite part of your magic system?

I like the gilt flowers that grow in Elythia. Elythia is a wandering forest where the fae and other magical creatures live, and it can't be mapped because it shows up wherever it feels like it. Inside Elythia are gilt flowers whose pollen interferes with the flow of time. It can make time pass slowly inside Elythia if it so desires.

Does your magic system have an escalation arc?

I tried to look this up and I have no idea what this is talking about. I guess the magic of havoc stones escalate things to a certain degree because of the price of using such dangerous magic...things go from normal to worse, even when the spell is granted.

What is the biggest danger to using magic?

When it comes to magical curses, people can die.

How does using magic feel?

There's usually a current or hum in the body as warmth flows through the veins and limbs of the person using it.

Would you want your world's magic?

I would like Lord Iesin and Lady Ariana's ability to heal people, but other than that, no.

How hard is the magic to control?

Innate magic users can control things very well. Havoc stones can't really be controlled at all.

What is the magic's source?

I don't really go into this in the novel. Whoever or whatever created all the living creatures in the world gave magic to very specific ones...and I just don't talk about it in the book because it's not a part of the story.

Do you like writing magic?

Yes, very much. There's plenty of it in Son of the Siren but also in my upcoming trilogy that I'm working on right now. Because I write fantasy, magic seems to be a key component to the genre.

Are there any magic-less creatures or characters?

Humans don't have magic.

How does magic affect the world?

It kind of makes things unfair, having some people and creatures innately born with it, and some without. Magic can be used positively or negatively, and there's not really any sort of body that regulates it, meaning it can go unchecked. So there's a power imbalance there to a certain degree.

What would your MC do if they lost/gained magic?

My MC, Lirien, has a teeny bit of magic on account of his siren heritage. Once he knows what that magic does, though, he wants nothing to do with it.

In what way is magic most used?

Magic is used the most in the wandering forest of Elythia. It is used to regulate the flow of time inside the woods. In terms of the magical creatures that dwell within Elythia, magic is used on a whim, most often to make things a bit trickier for humans.

Does magic have a price?

A havoc stone, for example, exacts a strong price. When Queen Aurinda uses it, it turns her children into wild animals and whisks them away into the woods.

Do more or less people have magic?

I'd say slightly less people have magic because I picture the majority of people living in my world to be human.

What is your least favorite part of your magic system?

I like that I employ soft magic, but sometimes I worry that I haven't flushed it out enough/explained the rules I think those fears are probably the least favorite part of my magic in the book.

What does your magic system do?

Makes life easier or harder.

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If you want to participate on your own blog or social media, here's what I used. Have fun with it!

March Magic World Building prompts
Image from Twitter

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Son of the Siren is now available for pre-order on Amazon and will also be a part of Kindle Unlimited, where you can read it for free with a KU subscription. It's eBook only at the time of posting, but paperback will be available soon, not just from Amazon, but Barnes & Noble and Bookshop, too, among other places.

The book releases July 2, 2024.

Pre-orders really help! Get the book here. I'm also running a pre-order campaign where you can get three 4x6 character art cards from the incredibly talented artist Juhaihai. All you have to do is upload your receipt here.

Thank you for your support!


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