A bit of backstory
The Slaughter Chronicles takes place in a fictional universe where there is the “everyday world” (which 21st Century humans on Earth are familiar) and then there is another reality underneath that called, by some, the Void where giant creatures and celestial monsters float around in “space.”
The bigger creatures are home to Void-Born humans and smaller creatures. Sometimes these smaller creatures exist in a symbiotic relationship with the larger ones, other times it is a parasitic relationship. The largest of these is a giant snail-like creature the Void-Born who live atop it have named Dark Home (because of the shell…there’s no light inside the shell and the snail’s home is the shell…accept my giant space snail!).
The magic system
In the Void, Magic is the actual manifestation of one’s intent. Depending on the intentions, everything will have a different outcome based on what type of catalyst you are using and what strain of contamination you have.
The most efficient magic users are, of course, Mages. Two mages casting the same intention will never have the same result because of their Void Creature strain. Life experience influence the intentions which influence the results of the magic.
Mages can generate energy internally or externally, depending on their strain.
Internally, the energy for the magic comes from within the Mage themselves. Externally, the Mage must draw on the energy of the thing/person they are trying to effect.
Mages can use catalysts instead of their internal or external resources, however, catalysts are not preferred because the intent of the catalyst can influence the results of the magic. If the catalyst is a living organism, that organism will influence the magic. If the catalyst in not living (a magical item) it has to at least be organic, be organic. Anything like metal or synthetic cannot be a catalyst.
The non-living item carries the intent of the living thing it was made from. Sometimes they carry the feelings from the day that they died and using them can be pretty traumatic.
Practice and intense training can force false intentions or intentions contrary to the Mage’s or the catalyst’s personality/character. But these efforts always yield mixed results.
Magic for non-mages
For the Void-Born werewolves and vampires, using magic takes years of training and grueling effort. Because their Void Creature strains are not innate (not born with Void Creature blood) non-Mages have a harder time successfully manifesting their intent. Instincts gained from the experience of contamination can affect the vampire or werewolf’s intent in negative ways. Sometimes a non-Mage user dies if they try.
But it can be done.
A general warning
When ego warps intention, there are disastrous consequences.
Magical items and non-Mage magic users can employ special symbols to focus and manifest their intent. Their internal/external energy fuels their intent and their intent psychically activates the symbols of their everyday language and can turn their words into tools or weapons.