In my opinion animus magic kinda breaks or has the potential to break the entire story a little like what happened in book 10 except it actually worked out for the main characters. It is a big issue but this whole thread is more about the effect of animus magic or how it works basically. Based on what happened to Albatross and other animus dragons we know that if it is used too much it can turn them insane and possibly murderous. Personally, I don't think it is necessarily a limit to the number of spells one can cast but rather on how much of themself they put into the spell. For instance, Turtle was relatively sane but still used his magic somewhat but in little ways that didn't require much effort but when he took the scroll from Chameleon, he purposely hurt him, leading to his frequent spasms where he saw himself hurting Chameleon. Similarly, Albatross seemed pretty unaffected by his magic (minus that one incident where he disfigured his sister or something which obviously set him off a little towards the bad side to start with) up until the Summer Palace where he started to become more involved in it and pouring more of himself into his creation which led to him going insane and massacring some dragons which is why Fathom remained very sane beforehand even though he did use his magic. Darkstalker had relatively the same experience, casting spells with seemingly no effect on his soul until he began doing more selfish things, ie Clearsight's earrings, Catching whoever sent the assassin, Killing his father, etc.It's sort of like if an artist were to spend a bunch of time and effort on a particular painting, putting more and more of themselves on the canvas making the paintings they didn't care too much about/ had no strong feelings toward affect them less. This is just based on what I know and have read so it's likely i'm wrong just based on the information that we have not being sufficient but anyway, it's just a theory.

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Very well explained, my friend.

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Wow, that is ... like, a really good explanation for animus magic, which makes a lot of sense but is very clearly explained. This is great!

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I think it was confirmed that animi don't descend into madness until they start using their spells to hurt dragons. Basically what you said, but a little different. But I'm not positive about it - so don't quote me. Very well thought through, though!

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good theory, i like it. one thing, though: i'd guess that turtle was just going through regular ol' nonmagical guilt.

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I think that you don't lose your soul, but all your bad emotions are...amplified?

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I kind of agree that animus magic is kind of an unwieldy plot device because there are no rules on it. Even the whole losing your soul thing seems kind of sketchy. I think it’s not so much losing your soul so much as it’s that power making dragons feel superior when they’re not. I mean what’s that quote? Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

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yeah Stormbringer that makes sense; if you look at Darkstalker in the Darkstalker book (I don't know what it's called) he's a lot like himself in the second arc personality-wise, just all the bad things he did were worse and more frequent. Also, with Anemone, before she started using her magic so much, she considered herself slightly better because she was a princess, but as the animus effects grew, she became more infatuated with treasure and was like, a total princess brat who thought she was more important than everyone else.

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