Deadened Senses is a form of ‘invisibility’ for the Earth School. Through manipulation of a person’s willingness to react to changes in their environment, an Earth Mage can move around without the target ever realizing they are there, even if the mage is moving right in front of them.
Deadened Senses does exactly as the
title says. By increasing the influence of the Earth property of
permanency in the target’s mind in regards to vision and hearing, a target’s
senses can become unwilling to actually perceive information. Similar to how
someone who is distracted or tired might not notice something happening in front
of them, this increased stubbornness in perception causes the mind to willingly
remember the environment as they were already viewing it. Any new changes, such
as the mage moving right in front of them or making a loud noise, will be
ignored by the mind, as it does not wish to disturb its original perception of
In addition, when the spell wears off, the information does not suddenly rush back to the target. This spell is not about slowing the target’s reflexes. The mind actually is receiving the information as it happens, it just chooses to ignore it and throw it away rather than commit it to active perception and memory. When the spell wears off, the target will likely react to the new information (for instance if some objects were moved out of their original places), but they will be unable to determine what actually caused the disturbance. Essentially, while the target is under the control of the spell, it would be like them holding a picture in front of their face of the locale as it currently is. The caster (or any other person or development) works behind this picture, unseen by the mind. When the spell wears off, it is as if they were to lower the picture. The real environment behind this picture might have changed from whatever prying, but the target will have been blinded to what might have actually happened.
Casting Procedure. The mage must concentrate on the target’s mind, particularly ounía in relation to perception and memory. Once he has managed to focus on these ounía (visual sight to the target is generally necessary), he must work on increasing the influence of the Earth property of permanency. This, in essence, ‘locks’ the target’s current perception in their mind, essentially putting them in a daze.
In order for the spell to have full effect while the caster moves or works in front of the target, he must concentrate continuously on maintaining the spell - if his concentration breaks even slightly, the target will regain full control of their senses.
Magical Formula. Not defined yet.
Focus/Target. The focus of this spell is the target or targets’ minds. The more minds, the more difficult the spell is to cast successfully. Even the most advanced magi have little hope of controlling beyond 2 or 3 minds at once, however. They do this by 'jumping' from casting to casting, applying the spell to a target, then shifting focus to another target and applying it, and then reapplying the spell on the first target before the effect has worn off. This capitalizes on Earth's resistance to change, as the glaze of permanence causes the spells to last for some moments even without being focused on before finally fading. A mage must be very quick and maintain a disciplined concentration while doing this, so most pre-graduation magi can only hope to maintain, at best, 2 targets, though most magi can rarely handle more than 1.
Reagents. A slab of heavily stained or fogged glass can help with the more arcane aspects of the spell. A mirror or similar contraption to see the target from around corners might be useful for visual confirmation of the target if the caster does not wish to be seen by the target before using the spell.
Spell Class. Sphere I, Obstinacy (Spiritual Representation of the Earth School).
Range. Only 3 to 5 peds at lower levels, but at higher levels this spell can be cast mostly at much further distances provided the caster can sense the target in some way, such as from across a street or even a full courtyard.
Casting Time. Deadened Senses takes only several blinks to cast on a single target.
Duration. The spell lasts as long as the mage maintains concentration. Due to having to work against the target’s will, however, this spell can rarely last longer than a half hour, even on a single person, with intense focus. In addition, the greater the disturbances (such as moving around quickly or disturbing many objects) or the more individuals being affected, the more likely the caster will be unable to maintain the spell for longer than only a few minutes. Once the mage stops concentrating, the spell takes several blinks to wear off rather than an instantaneous drop.
Counter Measures/Enhancing Measures. One method of enhancing the spell is in combining it with other spells that target the person’s mind. For instance, even if the caster is spotted, manipulating the target’s memory to forget their presence and then recasting Deadened Senses can allow the caster to continue his work as if he had not been seen.
Deadened Senses cannot be countered once cast in general, as the caster will usually have used it on those who would have sought to counter it. Therefore, the best defense against the spell is preparatory. Opposing Earth Magi can maintain a strict hold over their own ounía, decreasing the influence of the caster and the ability for their mind to be manipulated, while Wind Magi might use spells to increase their clarity, allowing them to be more receptive of information and thus negating the spell’s effect even if it has taken hold. As a last line of defense, simple will and focus can resist the spell - a mind that is prepared and alert will be much harder for the caster to affect than one that is distracted or tired. Magi in general are usually much more resistant to this spell, due to their more focused and trained wills.