The Second Great War and other stories
But perhaps the strangest and least-explicable element of arcane magic is the mage crystal. For the uninitiated, a mage crystal contains the remains of a mage’s power when he dies, in a format suitable for powering strong artifacts and augmenting certain spells. They are, however, finite in power, being essentially a natural version of a ring of spell storing, save that charging them up again is highly impractical and dangerous.
While its power is dependent on the mage’s power, remaining spells for the day, and manner of death wholly consistent with Skerry’s Law, its placement can be reliably predicted by no known theory. The Lonson study, below, showed that crystals formed naturally were about two hundred percent more likely than magically-formed ones to incorporate the dead mage’s essence. The Loehmann study, also below, showed the exact opposite, with magically-formed crystals almost twelve times more likely to become mage crystals. Similar studies have shown similarly contradictory results about the location of the dead mage, distance to the dead mage, age of the dead mage, facing direction of the crystals, and even the purity of the crystals.
The only point that remains consistent is that the mage crystal does not emanate magic for at least three weeks after it is formed, with more powerful ones taking more time to mature. Unfortunately, their power means that buying crystals for experimentation is rarely cost-effective and results in the least powerful crystals being the most available for study. While the defense of the land is surely the most important use of such crystals, one must wonder whether the convenience of powering lights or the proposed “mage-train” (from Avadi to Home to Vilarys) are more worthy than study of the world around us.
—Sophitia Vargen, On the Mage Crystal