This is an overview regarding the system of magic known as the "pactio" (Latin “pactiō”, the action of making a “pactum” "agreement"). This section will go into the set-up of the pactio as the variation known as the “neo-pactio” or “battle-pactio”, as well as explain the various "pactio" abilities.
|The Magic circle relating to Pactios|
The “pactio” system, which is commonly used among Western Mages, has two components comprising it: The “Magister Magi” and the “Minister Magi” (or “Magistra Magi” and “Ministra Magi” if female). “Magister” is the original Latin form of "master", and “minister” is Latin for "servant"; “magi” is the plural form of “magus” “magician”, since you need both a Magister and a Minister to form a “pactio” of Magi. The traditional purpose to this system is to give the Magister a kind of support during battle. Normally, the Ministra's duty is to protect the Magister with physical abilities and his/her artifact, while the Magister is given time and space to cast offensive and defensive spells. One might compare the Ministra like infantry, while the Magister is like the long-range artillery. The Magister fighting alongside the Ministra with combat spells and physical attacks is another version of this system. In this case, the Magister is also referred to as a Combat Mage or “'Magic Swordsman”'. Negi had decided to be the latter.
The “pactio” enables the magician casting the spell, the Magister, to transfer some of his/her magic power to the other person involved in the “pactio”, the Ministra, improving the Ministra's natural capabilities, by an average of up to ten times their normal capacity. Another advantage included in having a “pactio” is the ability for the Ministra to summon a "magic artifact". Each magic artifact reflects the Ministra summoning it, and as such, the vast majority of magic artifacts will be quite different. There is no real way of determining just what kind of artifact is given to each new Ministra, but one can assume that the artifact will reflect an aspect of the Ministra's personality.
When a “pactio” is established, a card is created as proof of the contract. Copies can be made (the Magister keeps hold over the originals), and these cards allow for telepathic communication between the Magister and Ministra. It also allows the Magister to summon the Ministra at any time.
If the Ministra should be left to his/her own wits, he/she can use the copy of the “pactio” card to borrow magical energy from the Magister, or to summon his/her artifacts. To summon forth the artifact, the Ministra invokes the phrase “Adeat”, meaning to “bring forth” in Latin. This causes the copy card to transform into the artifact. To return the artifact to its card form, the phrase “Abeat” is used. The Magister can also make the artifact to appear by using the Master Copy.
A Ministra may also "upload" different types of outfit onto their Pactio cards and wear them when activating the power of the cards. Whether this ability has any benefit for the Ministra is yet to be shown.
Due to the importance the Western Mages places on having the Ministra Magi, it should come as no surprise that there is a spell designed specifically for forming partnerships. Kissing usually forms the “pactio”, also known as "contract". However, the “pactio” can be done in more ways than just kissing. The "blood swap" scenario can be considered as a possible alternative to make a “pactio”.
If the Magister in a “pactio” dies, then the “pactio” can be considered as cancelled or invalid. The Ministra would no longer have mystically-boosted abilities nor an artifact, because logically the source of his/her powers is gone.
It should be noted that there are also at least three "levels" of contracts: "Mistake", "Temporary", and "Permanent".
|Mistake (or Botched) Pactio|
The weakest level, the Mistake Pactio cards, tend to be badly drawn and are extremely specific, providing little real information. The titles given are blunt and not very flattering. They are also known as Botched Cards. Mistake Pactio cards in turn allow for little to no magical effects - there is the possibility of empowering the Ministra with magic much like a normal pactio card, but requiring a great deal of magic power for the Magister. Mistake Pactio cards, as implied by the name, are formed via mistakes in the pactio ceremony's completion, such as an improper kiss, blood swap, or other mishaps such as alterations of the spells.
A few of the causes of a “mistake pactio” can be:
- a kiss on the cheek
- kissing magic copies or summons
- misuse of a magic circle
- alteration of the magic circle
- incorrect process of the “blood swap”
- not enough mana transfer to the Ministra
Temporary Pactio, as the name indicates, are equivalent to Permanent Pactio in many ways, but only last until a permanent contract is formed. They are also known as Probationary Contracts. From what has been indicated, a Magister can have an infinite amount of Temporary Contracts, but the number of Permanent Contracts depends on the power of the mage in question (most mages can only form one permanent contract). Furthermore, it has been said that the mage has to be a certain age to form a Permanent Pactio. Presumably, it is also impossible to form a Temporary Contract once a Permanent Contract has been formed, however this depends on the mana level of the Magister. Temporary Pactio cards are written almost entirely in Latin - including the name of the Ministra. Information provided on the Temporary Pactio cards includes the name of the Ministra, the Ministra's specialization, astrology sign (by planet), virtue, direction, and color. Occasionally, it may provide other information. Another point to note is the possibility that a Ministra could make a pactio with more than one Magister, or make a Pactio with their own Ministra.
Whenever the familiar draws up a circle and a proper Temporary Pactio is made, he receives a brokerage fee of 50,000 of their personal currency. Mistake and Temporary Pactio have considerable leeway as to how they are formed. In these cases, they can be made without the consent, and sometimes knowledge, of those involved.
Permanent Pactio are the strongest style of the classic pactio, and can only be preformed once by the Magister. It is commonly said that this pactio is only used between couples, whether married or simply deeply involved, and avoided by most younger or less experienced mages due to the profound connection between the Magister and the Ministra Magi. The card itself appears to be much older than that of a temporary pactio, and allows transfer of powers and energies between both the participants, instead of the Magister to the Ministra only.
Like Temporary Pactios, Permanent Pactios allow the Ministra Magi to access a powerful weapon gifted by the Magister. It also gifts a strong mental connection, not unlike a private telepathic link between them. The Ministra can access the Magister’s personal abilities as well, giving them the ability to stay close if needed.
Process and Other Facts
The process for both Mistake and Temporary Pactios is as follows:
- A mediator for the contract (usually a familiar, however it has been proven that it cannot be the Magius or Ministra, or else a “mistake pactio” is created) draws up a magic circle.
- Both participants of the contract must be within the circle. Normally, the circle is only meant for two people at a time, but it has been proven that one can create circles large enough to encompass a building.
- A ritual or vow is made to seal the contract, normally a kiss on the lips between the two involved, or blood exchanging, for those who are uncomfortable with such things. It is at this point that a mistake causes a Botched Card to be formed.
- A Pactio Card is magically drawn up to signify the completion of the process. The Mage keeps this Master Copy, but a Copy Card can be created for the partner to use.
- A person is able to be ministra magi for several different mages, but only one permanent pactio can be formed per ministra.
- If the Magius is killed, the pactio card becomes “dead”, and comes in the possession of the ministra. While it has no powers, it can be seen as a keepsake.
|A Neo-Pactio Armor Card|
An alternate version of the pactio process was created, aimed more towards use in battle than simple close connections, and has a similar but slightly different style to the Pactio. Known as Neo-Pactio or Battle-Pactio, it follows the similar rules applied in the classic pactio process, with some differences.
A contract is created between a mage and a potential Pactio, usually through a kiss. The familiar is once again the mediator, but unlike the classic pactio process, the mediator must summon the circle instead of drawing it. The mediator gains 50,000 of their personal currency for each Neo-Pactio done.
Upon creation, 3 card types are created for Pactio Invokation:
- Suka: Similar to the botched card, this card ends up turning the Magistra into a super deformed character in an animal costume, where they can do little or nothing to assist the mage. In many cases, the animal they become expresses a certain attribute or connection regarding that student. This form also mentally regresses the Magistra into a child for the duration of the transformation.
- Cosplay: The Magistra gains a special costume and ability for assistance. While not the most powerful of cards, there are skill advantages in this transformation.
- Armor: Equated to the Temporary Pactio of the manga, the Magistra gains a special costume and weapon or ability that enhances them and allows for battle.
The mage invokes the Pactio when needed from his Magistra. During invokation, the mage draws one of the 3 Pactio cards from the Magistra. The card is randomly drawn, but usually he has two out of three chances of drawing something that assists him in battle.
|Neo-Pactio Process, done with Sakurazaki Setsuna|
The process for activating the pactio is as follows:
- The Magius must invoke the pactio with an incantation.
- The partner or partners in question must be within close proximity with the Magius. In the case of one partner, they begin to levitate before the Magius while a globe appears, normally around the abdominal area.
- The Magius reaches within the globe, and pulls out the contract card. This is purely a random selection, in which a Suka, Cosplay or Armor card is selected.
- Once selected, the partner will take on the appearance and powers of the image shown on the card.
- It is within the realm of possibility that a mistake in the process, such as the Ministra accidentally injuring the Magius, can cause the Magius to select the Suka card.
When summoning multiple pactios, the mage can simultaneously invoke a summon in one incantation. Likewise, cards are also drawn simultaneously, with one orb representing all invoked. However. the probability for drawing the one of three cards for each pactio summon is independent of each other. Thus, a combination of card types is possible.
While the Neo-Pactio drawn is always luck of the draw, it only lasts as long as the Magistra has energy (usually seen as food in their stomach) to power their ability. As a result, the duration of each card, (Armor, Cosplay and Suka), varies from person to person. Predictably, the Magistra is usually very hungry afterwards. Likewise, a meal is shown to be sufficient enough to restore that energy. Furthermore, in some cases, extreme emotional duress can cause the Magistra to use up her energy quickly.
While the Suka, Cosplay and Armor cards each have different abilities for each Ministra, they assigned a different "power level" as depicted on each card. Power levels for all three cards can be found around the bottom right hand side of each card. It is raised in the case of armor cards. The power levels for each form vary so that one girl may be more powerful or useful in one form over another.
The statistics of a Neo-Pactio transformation changes from card to card, with some Cosplay cards being even more powerful than Armor cards. Similarly, the abilities and personal abilities already possessed by the Ministra may come into play in the power and use of a Neo-Pactio ability.
- It is possible to have a pactio with yourself, though how this is done is unknown.
- A pactio weapon cannot be changed or altered once the pactio is made. So one cannot say "I don't like this weapon, I want a new one."