A Survey Of Standard Spells, Vol I
The Softening Charm is a convenient spell for the beginning witch or wizard. The spell is used to make a targeted area or object softened. The target area or object should become rubbery or bouncy to the touch. This charm is generally used as a safety measure to soften the landing of a falling person or object.
The Softening Charm was developed by Arlo Rincewind in the early 1600s prior to even the first writings on the effects of gravity. Rincewind was a hobbyist when it came to developing offensive spells but he had a clumsy nature that led to the damage of valuables and other fragile items he kept around his home. He set out to develop a magical solution to protect his belongings from hard surfaces. Inspired by the spongy quality of the soft ground outside his home, Rincewind was able to develop a spell to temporarily alter the resistance of the surfaces of his home, thus protecting his belongings from additional damage while working on other spells. Any object that fell over a surface on which this spell was conducted would safely bounce to a stop without being broken. While Rincewind had developed the spell primarily for the protection of objects, others had quickly found that the spell proved effective in protecting a person or other creatures as well. It was then that the defensive nature of the spell was tested. People who were falling from a great distance would simply bounce to safety when landing on a softened area. It could be used to protect others or oneself, if a person has enough focus to cast the spell on the ground below them before they reach it.
The incantation and wand movement for this particular spell are generally considered among the easiest to perfect and are at a low difficulty appropriate for first year students. The incantation for the softening spell, Spongify, is based upon the spongy quality of the affected area. The proper pronunciation broken down to simple syllables is “SPUHN-jee-fye.” Adverse effects to mispronunciation have not been recorded as of yet, but an error in pronunciation would render the spell ineffective.
The wand movement for the charm calls for a simple fluid motion of the wand. The caster should start by identifying and concentrating on the area or object that he or she intends to soften. The wand should start pointed at the intended area and then, moving the wrist in a snake-like motion, follow a pattern similar to the letter S. When the pattern has been completed, if done correctly, a pink light should gather at the tip of the wand and the caster should push the spell toward the target. If one turn of the wrist is left off or added loops are made, the spell may be ineffective; however, negative effects due to improper wand motion have not been noted.
When the spell is done properly, the pink light should manifest at the tip of the wand and when propelled toward the target should envelop the area in a pink tinted mist. The mist will fade after a moment and the area it had covered should then be softened. The texture of the area or object would not be soft in a feathery or cushioned manner, but rather rubbery or bouncy in nature. The effect of the charm is temporary and the charm would have to be recast to prolong the effects. The length of time that the affected area stays softened depends on the strength of the casting, but on average it lasts about five minutes. The more power behind the charm, the longer the effects will last. A weak casting could result in the effects wearing off quicker.
The Softening Charm is related to the Cushioning Charm but differs in results and usages. The Cushioning Charm creates a softening effect meant for comfort rather than protection. It is important that the differences between the two charms are understood in order to avoid the misuse of either.