Firebolt is another version of Fireball, using an alternative casting procedure that conjures faster, more agile, but smaller projectiles of fire. While they need to be guided directly to the target and are not as powerful in a single blast as Fireball, Firebolts are still a very useful weapon for battlemagi who need a near-instant projectile.
Firebolt creates a ball of fire about
the maximum effective size of the mage's fist (larger is also possible, but at
such sizes it becomes practically impossible to move forwards at worthwhile
speeds). This ball is created extremely fast even for the low level
practitioner, making it a useful combat spell even for the early mage.
The trick behind the spell is its method of creation. While Fireball takes time to build a large ball through circulation of energies over and over again (similar to how spinning around in circles while holding a large object will build up the amount of force it will have when you throw it), Firebolt gathers energy at a single point, igniting it, then thrusting it straight out, using Sphere II to guide and hurl the projectile to its target. As such, it is also more accurate than Fireball, which is merely released in the direction of the target with little further control from the caster.
Unfortunately, the manual directing of the ball which makes it more accurate and is central to its movement is also its undoing and the reason why the spell is not as widely useful as Fireball. Against other magi the spell may be easily countered and dissolved before it reaches its target.
Casting Procedure. The mage must concentrate on a location in air nearby. Usually, this location is near the mage’s hand though this is not necessary. Then, the mage gathers stray Fire ounía he can find from the nearby air, and uses Sphere II to gather them immediately to the focus location. As the ounía gather, they ignite into a flaming sphere. The caster then uses Sphere II to hurl and guide the bolt to his ultimate target.
If his concentration is broken, the spell will likely dissipate, though the chances for a catastrophic fizzle are much lower than with Fireball and the results of such much less dangerous. However, concentration is still used during the flight of the bolt, unlike Fireball, so the mage can be potentially disrupted at any point up to actually impacting his target.
Magical Formula. Not defined yet.
Focus/Target. The focus is initially a point in the air nearby, usually next to an outstretched hand to help the mage visualize the location, though not necessary. Once the Firebolt is generated, the mage then switches to the target location and guides the bolt to it.
Reagents. A reagent commonly used to aid the spell are Burning Stones - sometimes in creative ways as the mage throws the stone to the ground to ignite it then building on its ignition and hurling the bolt created.
Spell Class. Sphere II, Pyrokinesis (Spiritual Representation of the Fire School).
Range. Due to the difficulty in manipulating ounía far away from the caster, the spell should usually be generated fairly close to the caster and then thrown outwards. The range of the hurled projectile is limited, however, and generally will not hold together beyond a few peds, around 10 peds max for a fairly experienced mage.
Casting Time. Even at the lowest level, Firebolt takes only a few blinks to cast. It takes much longer for the bolt to travel to its target than it does to form at the caster’s location.
Duration. Firebolt lasts until it impacts with its target, and thus its lifespan is rarely longer than a minute, or even half-minute. While it can be held in reserve for some time and then released at a later time, it is generally pointless to do so due to the speed it takes to simply conjure up another one.
Counter Measures/Enhancing Measures. Opposing Fire Magi can often dissipate the spell even as it is being created by taking firm hold of the ounía himself, or sometimes even take control of the spell and turn it back on its opponent after it is in flight. Due to the fragility of the bolt, however, such battles for control will usually result in the dissipation of the projectile rather than a successful turnaround.
The environment can also strengthen or weaken this spell. Greater heat in the air will help the bolt remain ignited, while, due to the thin layer of concentration holding the Firebolt together, excessively strong winds or cold environments could make it harder for the caster to keep the ball focused, and it may be blown apart or dissipate if the caster's concentrate wanes.