Dylan couldn't believe it.

He knew his mother had been a powerful mystic, that their family gift ran through the maternal line and was actually quite strong…that had all been revealed to him when he inherited her journal on his 16th birthday, along with her '85 Jeep. She had invested all of her power in the journal when she learned her brain tumor was inoperable, making it a talisman Dylan could use to fuel his castings, that would awaken his abilities and the skill to use them when he was old enough. Claudia had also filled the journal with paranormal lore, so that Dylan would know about the things he might end up facing, the paranormal forces and creatures that were drawn to Signal Lakes, because it was the western point of the Bermuda Triangle.

What it
hadn't told him was why he had never met his grandmother. He'd known that she had died before he was born, but the journal had neglected to inform him that it was because their clan had mystic enemies in the form of a rival clan. A rival clan whose gifted members tended to face off with his clan in mystic contests of one-upmanship that usually ended up lethal.

Claudia had apparently dodged that fate by marrying a homicide detective in Signal Lakes, but Dylan was starting to wonder. John had taught his son that once was an occurrence, twice was a coincidence, and three times was a pattern — someone had stolen Claudia's journal, which was the main source of Dylan's power, and they had led him on a merry chase tracking down information to reveal the history of their clans to him. Had Claudia's death been the first of three points in a pattern, or were they trying to make Dylan the third point?

They hadn't counted on Dylan inheriting John's deductive skills along with Claudia's mystic Spark, and that he was willing to abuse his Adderall to research all night and figure things out.

 Dylan was going to break the cycle and send his rival packing,
without freaking killing them.

   —He just needed to recover his mom's journal, first.

There are an enormous number of different legends of magic, and many different ways to go about pursuing mystic power. Some are more challenging than others, and some are more dangerous. Certain methods provide a great deal of power very quickly, at horrible prices no reasonable being would be willing to pay. (Somehow, that doesn't seem to stop people from trying them.) The important things for a budding Caster to know are that the mystic power for a casting has to come from somewhere, it has to have a connection to something to do anything, and power will always affect something and return to a state of balance. It also goes without saying: magic is difficult.

Casters are otherwise-ordinary human beings who were born with a little something extra, a spark of mystic power that enables them to manipulate paranormal forces for a variety of effects. Every culture across the globe has their own methodology and traditions for casting magic spells, and every Caster develops their own personal techniques and applications of their craft. Castings require mystic power to fuel them, and there are any number of ways for that power to be gathered and utilized. Although there is no one "true" or "right" way to perform castings, that does not make certain reprehensible acts like sacrificing innocents any less evil, even if the power gathered were to be used for a noble purpose. All castings require a connection to their target, and magical power always returns to a state of balance in the end. The various ways in which power is gathered, directed, and restored to balance form the basis of all of the different styles of casting, each with a different focus for that particular craft.