What is a gift in The Common Kingdoms?
A gift is a magic spell in the blood of someone that gestated (grew in the womb) almost or completely on Giften soil. It’s caused by magic pollution in the soil, though Giftens haven’t figured this out yet for sure, nor have they realised yet that it applies to every single person born on their soil. There are a few that are classed as common, such as the Common Gift of Ice or the Common Gift of Fire.
What’s the difference between a gift and a blood-gift?
A gift is a spell unique to the individual (unless it’s a Common gift), whereas a blood-gift is passed down through the family lines, though these can sometimes change each time they are inherited.
The Common Classes of Gifts
“Fire generally blows people up, ice shatters bones outwards, air suffocates, earth buries them alive.” – Raneth Bayre, speaking about the ways the Common Classed Gifts can kill when provoked for the first few times (Shotput of Power).
The Common Gift of Fire
“Most common way to die in Giften is gift provocation. Fire combined with sneezing is the Common Gift of Fire. He’s going to do serious damage if he doesn’t stop trying to catch Jules… We have to get him to stop.” – Raneth Bayre (Threat)
The Common Gift of Fire allows a Giften to imagine being able to do anything with fire, including summoning it (seemingly) out of thin air. It has often led to many messy explosive deaths, when on its first being provoked, the affected hasn’t calmed down.
Characters with The Common Gift of Fire include:
- Thane Frey (first seen in The Royal Gift)
- Royal Official Enos Malay (first seen in Antis)
- Brethren Dashiell Jaxon (Antis)
The Common Gift of Ice
When mastered, the Common Gift of Ice is arguably the most useful of the Common Classed Gifts, though most start off using icicles, the Common Gift of Ice also allows the affected to “myst”, which is to create a fine or thick white mist, and can be combined with the use of icicles and other such abilities imagined by the individual. Mysting allows the affected to also “see” with it, though using it in this way can be dangerous, even to those that have mastered the gift.
Characters with The Common Gift of Ice include:
- Royal Official Raneth Bayre (first seen in The Royal Gift)
The Common Gift of Air
Possibly the worst named gift of all times (fart jokes galore here), the Common Gift of Air can be handy in many situations, although it has been used many times over the centuries by kids in schools, playing pranks on one another. Invisible to the naked eye, this ability can be used to do little things like lifting up girl’s shirts all the way to causing tornadoes or suffocation (for those that have mastered it). Though many have tried, nobody with the gift has ever been able to regulate the warmth of the breezes and winds they can create.
Characters with The Common Gift of Air include:
- Morgan Pendlebury (first seen in Antis)
The Common Gift of Earth
Fun fact, this Common Gift was renamed from The Common Gift of Sod, due to the word sod starting to be used as a way of name-calling in the 1200s in Giften’s past. At one time, the Common Gift of Earth was revered as it could be used to easily create houses before bricks were a regular product in Giften. Those affected by this gift have the ability to not only use and move the earth, but to encourage the growth of plants, leading to many having a career as successful gardeners and park caretakers.
Characters with The Common Gift of Earth
- None yet in the official series.
Gifts are often provoked for the first time by strong emotion, such as trying to save someone you love or fear. Afterwards, they can be called upon by the affected individual by imagining how they will use it. It takes several years of hard practise to master a gift, with some being easier to master than others. This is when giftologists sometimes get called in.
In Giften, there are men and women who specialise in provoking, managing and fixing gifts, as well as curing gift-colds and gift-diseases as best they can. Their services often cost a small fortune, so many Giftens instead will try once or twice on their end, before thinking they do not have a gift. Giftologists have heavy degrees in biology and chemistry, as well as human science.
Gift-colds and gift-diseases
With gifts and blood-gifts running rampant in their blood, Giftens can often become ill directly related to their gifts and blood-gift abilities. For example, someone with the Common Gift of Ice who gets a gift-cold, may find that they are constantly creating a fine white mist (myst) from their palms, and are unable to stop creating it, resulting in a dangerous and vicious cycle that can leave them worn down to the point of collapsing from exhaustion, and sometimes resulting in death.
Gift-diseases are a set of illnesses that a person inherits with the blood-gift that are caused by their family’s ability and which can affect their control over their blood-gift. The Bayre family, have eleven known blood-gift diseases, once of which is, “Bayre Disease Four.” For this one, the blood-gifted Bayre will wake to find that all of his scars are sore, and they are usually irritable too. Within the next twenty-four hours, they will need to form and stay in form for two whole days to stop it. In the event that they don’t form, they develop a high fever, their scars will start to reopen and they may also lose control of their blood-gift and end up forming in part of full without any control. This one usually kills unless they do form.
Shadow-gifts and MIR
In almost all cases, Gitens will only have one gift, and depending on their family, one blood-gift. Very few people in the kingdom will have more than one of each type, but it does happen. In the event that they have more than one gift or have inherited more than one blood-gift, the secondary gift or blood-gift becomes recognised as a shadow-gift. This can have serious health implications, as the body often tries to reject the additional gift or blood-gift. (In the event it’s two blood-gifts, the one that has been carried down the family line less will be stronger than the other and considered the primary blood-gift.)
Anyone with a shadow-gift develops MIR – magic interference resistance. MIR makes them allergic to any magic that isn’t a gift or blood-gift, but it’s also been spotted that magic artefacts that are at least two hundred years older than the person with MIR won’t affect them, no matter how powerful those artefacts are. This includes spells from sorcerers whose lifespan has already passed two hundred years due to the effects casting magic has on their bodies.
If their allergy to magic doesn’t do them in, the shadow-gift has another way to kill the affected: their body tries to reject the shadow-gift, which can result in fits when using the gift or when being affected by it. It can result in veins bursting under the skin, brains swelling, suffocation through veins becoming too clogged (due to what happens at the molecular structure when a shadow-gift is active in the blood) and the lungs seizing.
With careful living, those affected by MIR due to shadow-gifts can live a relatively normal life for a Giften.
One notable character with a shadow-gift and MIR is Raneth. As the main male protagonist of the series, we see in the first book, The Royal Gift, that he has partially inherited his father’s gift. When they are in a watchtower, Raneth is asleep and starts to have a fit as a gift-dream grips him and makes him unable to wake until it has past. His shadow-gift was given the name of Gift-dreams of Possible Dangers and Outcomes, so though incredibly useful for a law enforcer, it’s also a little temperamental, only sometimes appearing in the published adventures and without any control of when it comes and goes.