A Lesson on Magical Shielding
Erwyn is getting an individual lesson from Xenograg. With a sword in her right hand, Erwyn holds a round shield at the ready with her left arm. Its wooden front is marked by many small burn spots. The spots are old, though. Erwyn blocks another of Xenograg’s small eldritch bolts, its impact making her magic shield visible for a moment.
"Good," judges Xenograg, indicating the end of this lesson’s phase. Erwyn dispels her shield and relaxes. Xenograg walks over to her. "You are proficient with using a physical shield as the focus for your sorcerous one. The similarity make a shield an easy focusing object."
"Yes, though I am not trying to belittle your progress," he reassures her. "You have a foundation you can build upon. A shield is a natural first focus here, but it has limitations as one. Have you noticed any?"
"The shield only covers the left side of my body. It is also bulky." she postulates. Xenograg nods at each point.
"Well said. A focusing object—a wand or shield—is needed at the early stages of evocation. With sufficient training, a sorcerer can dispense with such a prop entirely. Like this…." Xenograg brings his empty left hand up and conjures a visible magic shield of his own. At such close range, Erwyn can sense the disc as well as see it. "I can even switch which hand it follows," Xenograg says while simultaneously demonstrating the action. He also rapidly moves the shield left and right, up and down, with only tiny movements of his wrist. Now done, he lowers his arm and the field dissipates.
"A shield is not the only focusing item for a ward. You could use a wand, a staff…, or a sword." Xenograg draws Nartelemna from its sheath and brings it into a ready position. A moment later, Erwyn again senses the magic shield pop into existence. She also realizes it is not circular but oval—befitting the rod-like shape of the focus object.
"Must it be oval?" she asks. Xenograg smiles.
"No, but oval is its base shape in this case."
"How do you maintain a magic shield while attacking with a sword?"
"I cannot," is his honest answer. "This directional type of sorcerous shield requires concentration that cannot be sustained amid physical combat. Even casting other spells can imperil us."
"What do you do?"
"There are other forms of eldritch defense," he says in a tone that invites Erwyn to answer her own question.
"Oh! An aura shield?"
"Indeed. It is a weaker defense but easy to maintain; and omni-directional, too."
"Better than nothing."
"Can a sorcerer’s shield block a physical weapon?"
"Yes, at great cost. Usually done at a last resort." Xenograg sheathes his sword.
"If you have the strength left."
"Right. Now, back to your lesson. Do you think you can raise a shield with a sword in your hands?"
"One way to find out," says Erwyn with a smile and a tone of confidence.