Compared to conventional artillery, wizard artillery had both major benefits and major drawbacks.

On the one hand, it was much more powerful and versatile, capable of everything from summoning swarms of biting and stinging insects to feast on enemy rations to full-strength lightning bolts that struck with pinpoint accuracy. As long as the wizard artillery crew’s stamina held out, ammunition was not a concern. And it goes without saying that, on occasions when they were forced to defend themselves at close range, wizard artillery crews were more than capable of doing so.

However, the study of magic was expensive and intensely time-consuming. Even in places like Valois, which had an established system of identifying and training gifted magi from a young age, it could take ten to twenty years for a student to be ready for combat. Training accidents tended to be costly, especially given the need for large focusing crystals to give spells the range and power to be useful as artillery. The crystals themselves were delicate but heavy, requiring horse transport, and they were known to explode with arcane energy as well.

For every triumph like that at Murtagh, where massed wizard artillery devastated a force ten times its size, there was a defeat like the one at Edxix, where heavy cavalry charged and broke a wizard artillery battery before turning its focusing crystals on their former users. One veteran was find of saying: “A wizard is worth 100 cavalrymen, but it only takes one cavalryman to kill a wizard. And cavalry is a lot cheaper.”

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