Note: In this series, we look at the different types of magic found in the Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog universe, talk about the limits and bounding effects for them, then figure out the most efficient ways to use those to kill. A lot of books tend to just let magic be magic, but it appeals to my engineering brain to apply some actual rules to it.
In the Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog universe, Sentics is the magic of mind reading and pushing. Sometimes it’s called “sentistry” but that sounds a little too close to “dentistry” in my opinion, and since it’s my universe, we’ll call it “sentics.”
Just like the previous entry in this series on kinetics, the sentics in LFBD follow normal power rules like other electromagnetic phenomenon. In this case, I’m treating them like radio waves. The closer you get, the better it’s going to work. A stronger source of “mental energy” will be discernible at a great distance. Tightly focused equipment (i.e. a well-crafted spell) will be able to detect things at a greater distance or push a focused message further.
The sentics in LFBD are very personal. Much like the healing magic (vulnistry), it must be carefully directed and tightly controlled by the user. Everyone’s psychology is different, so things are going to be stored at different logical locales in your brain. Digging around with a magical mind probe requires skill and thought.
So what’s the best way to kill someone with sentics? It depends on what you think of as “best” I supposed. In Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog, Dan kills an opponent in a really gruesome fashion, mind controlling her so that her muscles spasm and contract hard enough to break her own bones. It’s not nice. As you can see from this, sentics aren’t just “mind reading” powers or the ability to make someone act like a dog. Although they can do that too.
Done well, it can drive the brain to manipulate things that are below the conscious level of thought.
To me, this makes the ultimate method of killing someone else as someone well versed in sentics pretty obvious. The right spell, wielded by the right spell caster, could simply shut down another person’s brain. Cut off all activity. The person drops like an abandoned marionette. So what’s to prevent that from happening, like, all the time? Why don’t sentists rule the world?
We need some balance.
Let’s make it that sentics require intelligence to be effective. You can’t just broadcast a “brain blast” and take out everyone around you. The spell caster must use the magic to feel out the other mind, dig around, figure it out, and only then can they have an effect. This means that you could craft a spell (or just sling enough power) to get you entry, and then you have to do a lot of work and need time to have your effect. You can see this when Dan is wiping memories and digging around for the location of his stolen jacket. He needs time and close contact to make it work.
However, if you had prep time and were a clever spell caster/writer, you could craft something that had a bit on intelligence to it. It would let you get at what you’re after much more quickly, doing the “heavy lifting” for you. This is how Dan is able to take control of his opponent so quickly in the bone-spanning scenario. It’s a pre-hung spell that’s built to specifically quickly figure out how to provide that kind of control.
So if an assassin who was well versed in sentics really wanted you dead, they would have to hang around you for a little while, subtly picking your brain to get to know it. Then, they could pretty easily craft a spell specific to your brain’s structure, get close enough to you and let it fly.
It’s a good guess that anyone in the magic-using Praecant community who makes enemies has some kind of standing defense against this type of attack.
If you find the idea of fictional magic systems that try (ha) to follow some kind of rules appealing, check out Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog on Amazon!Buy Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog on Amazon.com right now, or get the first half for free right here if you're still on the fence (.epub download to read in iBooks, Google Play Books, etc.)