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Elemental: Ricochet by deslea Elemental: Ricochet by deslea
Another illustration from the fic Elemental. Tom uses the Prewett twins to teach Bella the art of ricochetting spells. I debated a fair bit about how to do this scene - whether to show the bodies, and how much to show, basically - and I decided to show them, but really downplay them using colour and shadow. The idea was to acknowledge the very casual and thoughtless horror Bella and Tom inflicted in the course of their war, while also nodding to the fact that for them, the violence wasn't actually a big deal - it was really a background part of their world. The thing they would remember this moment for - rightly or wrongly - was their interaction, rather than these two deaths.

Specs and credits: Hexagon 2.5, Daz Studio 4.6 Pro, 3Delight.

Link: My Credit & Re-Use Policy

Excerpt:

Tom dropped his hand to Bella's waist and squired her over to where Fabian and Gideon Prewett lay on the floor, deathly still, but eyes wide and aware. The Petrificus Totalis, then. Rather more merciful than was usual for Bella, or Rodolphus either. He slid into Fabian's mind and identified the caster as Lucius.

He glanced over at Lucius with more than a shade of contempt. He might be obsessed with Bella to an almost embarrassing degree, but no one could say he'd lost his edge. Lucius would have to be toughened up, and fast. If he hadn't already promised Bella the privilege, he'd have made Lucius do it, and the bloodier, the better.

Next time.

"Hard things penetrate, and soft things bounce. So if you want to avoid a ricochet - say, you have friendlies near your target - then cast in a solid stream. If you want to ricochet and hit two targets at once, you need to cast a dissipating stream - the sort of dramatic colourful nonsense cast by Dumbledore. It looks impressive, but usually it indicates an undisciplined mind."

The others had followed them; now, Lucius nodded. "Yes, my Lord," said hastily. The others made murmurs of agreement.

Bella did not. Her eyes were already darting between Fabian and Gideon. Trying to figure out how to influence the direction of the bounce.

His respect for her lifted a couple of notches. If he had to fall prey to this most wretched foolishness of men, he had at least chosen a worthy object for his weakness.

"What you can see is almost irrelevant for aim. The human eye, as an organ, is quite a poor one. Much of our perception is blanks filled in by our brains, and that draws on past experience. There is no substitute for practice. It is not a talent that one is born with. And you should be aware that in this area, age will almost always be an advantage. An otherwise elderly and doddering wizard can surprise you with his aim. So you must work doubly hard to equip yourselves for an older opponent."

This time, Bella did nod.

"The biggest variable in the angle of bounce is the softness of what is being bounced. So you must strive for a consistent level of dissipation every time you cast. That gives you the greatest chance of successfully predicting the angle the ricochet will take." He wondered if Bella was aware of her own advantage in this area. Her spellwork was fairly consistent.

"May I?"

He inclined his head. "Please."

Bella took aim, and said meditatively, "Avada Kedavra."

The power left her, in a somewhat blurry stream of green light, and hit Fabian squarely in the chest. It glanced off him and hit Gideon, too. Not cleanly - a little haphazardly on the right shoulder - but it hit.

He let out a low whistle. "Not bad."

"But not clean, either. What did I do wrong?"

"It's an awkward angle. You're casting from above, down to ground level, and then flicking sideways. Your depth perception gets skewed. Again, a matter of practice." Out the corner of his eye, he noted that Lucius looked a little pale.

Honestly. You'd think they'd never seen a pair of dead bodies before. Did it really matter whether they were eighteen, or thirty?
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April 6, 2014
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