Ancient Language VocabularyEdit
Magicians were always hunting down new words from the Ancient Language. It was the fastest way to increase one's power and ability to control magic. Even Galbatorix understood the power one could gain by learning a "true name" or a new word. This was one reason why Compendiums were so valuable.
Creativity in SpellcastingEdit
When a magician was limited in his/her vocabulary, they could make up for the weakness by bending the will of the spell, or find a way to make it work with what you have. Eragon excelled at this in his initial training with Brom. Carn was also a very creative spellcaster.
Spell creativity was the art of wording spells in such a way to accomplish the will of the magician. It was an essential skill for spellcasters, especially those who had a limited vocabulary in the Ancient Language. It was one of the limitations to magic along with raw energy reserves, magic skills and vocabulary of the Ancient Language.
A master of spell creativity could do incredible things with a limited vocabulary, and accomplish things entirely unrelated to the effect they were trying to have on the world around them. The example given by Brom was that a master could say Adurna (water) and produce a diamond. While it might seem improbable to some, the creative magician could clearly see the relationship between water and the diamond and use that as the focal point for the spell's intent.
Examples of spell creativityEdit
Selena was able to use the word for "heal" to kill people, despite the polar opposites of the definitions. She healed them of their desires to fight and kill, rendering them placid. She would then slay them by hand. Morzan was so impressed by this that he took her on as his black hand.
When Eragon was being tested by the Twins, he realized that they were attempting to use him to learn the words that Brom taught him, so he used his creativity to use as few words as possible in order to deny them their objective.
Brom was able to kill many of the Forsworn and their dragons, including the powerful Morzan. In the memory he left for Eragon through Saphira, he made a point to inform Eragon how he did this so that Eragon could use the same tactic against Galbatorix. Brom said that he won all his battles (except one because he was still young at the time) by thinking differently. He learned how his opponent viewed the world and then he could create an effective counter attack, and eventually defeat his opponent.
Some believe Murtagh to possess this skill. However, this is debated by fans because he has performed relatively few acts of magic, and those that he did could have either been done solely with sheer amounts of raw energy learned from Galbatorix, who was famed for his creativity. Some examples of Murtagh using creative magic are lifting Saphira into the air using only one word (Eragon used two or three to lift even small stones), and creating an air bomb by saying "compress the air." He also placed healing spells in objects for quick use.
Spellcasters with creativityEdit
Casting a spell without the audible ancient language was considered to be very dangerous. Few did it, and with respect to their own situation (all except for Tenga). When Eragon battled Vanir, when Queen Islanzadí summoned a fall of flowers out of the sky, or when Oromis summoned a flame inaudibly, they were all disciplined enough to control the spell.
Tenga on the other hand, seemed to throw caution in the wind just to light a fire. Although we know he was Angela's mentor/teacher, little else is known about him at this time.
One very important skill all magicians should have mastered was attacking with one's mind while defending your own. At this point, Eragon was adept at defending and also could attack, however we have not yet had him to both at the same time. Carn was very good at a wizard's duel mainly because of his creativity and willpower.
The biggest factor in deciding the winner of the duel was how the opponent's mind worked. This was Brom's advice to Eragon (from the memory that he planted in Saphira). He wanted Eragon to discover how their mind worked, and then use that against them. Brom had defeated all of his enemies (except one due to his youth at the time) because of this method. It was interesting that Brom decided to give this advice to Eragon as his most important knowledge in the upcoming battle with Galbatorix.
The art of magical combat was a complicated skill used by highly trained magicians.
If a magician could kill the guarding enemy magician, it would leave the enemy warriors vulnerable. The magician could then wipe out the enemy units or use his/her mind.
Defending Your MindEdit
To keep yourself safe from invading minds, and possibly taken control of, one needed to shield their mind from their opponent. Murtagh was excellent in his mental defenses. He was attacked by The Twins to glean information for their benefit, yet because of his ability to defend his mind, they were unsuccessful. Roran was also very skillful because he was able to concentrate fully on his love for Katrina. The surest way to build a defense around your mind was to concentrate on one thing to the exclusion of all others. Eragon tried this when he felt Oromis' mind probe his own by concentrating on his big toe. Blagden's mind was also well defended against attack.
Master of the ElementsEdit
When a magician learned a true name of a person or object, they would gain total control over them. In "Eragon", Arya showed that she had the ability by exclaiming "Arget" and controlling the ball of silver in her hand. Galbatorix had control over Murtagh and Thorn by learning their true names. Eragon deciphered Sloan's true name and consequently sent him to live in Ellesméra.
Magical skill was a measure of how well attuned to magic a magician was. It affected how easily that magician could touch and use magic. It was one of the four limiting factors on a magician's strength, along with Raw energy, Spell creativity, and vocabulary of the Ancient Language.
Benefits of high magical skillEdit
Magicians had to first touch the magic hidden behind the barriers in their mind before they could use it. Inexperienced magicians with minimal skill took a long time just to touch the magic, while more skilled users could summon their magic in a split second.
The ease or difficulty of casting a spell was determined by the skill of the caster. The more complex the spell, the more skill was needed to wield it without difficulty. Weaker magicians struggled with more advanced spells, while more skilled users had no trouble.
Those with very high magical skill could also learn to use magic without the Ancient Language, thus reducing the need for spell creativity and a good vocabulary of ancient words. However, this technique was risky and made the spellcaster prone to accidents. Less risky was the art of casting a spell using only one's mind, but still relying upon the structure of the Ancient Language.