Animus magic is magic wielded by animus dragons allowing them to enchant inanimate objects, plants, animals, and other dragons. Animus dragons have been recorded in five of the seven Pyrrhian tribes, and none of the Pantalan tribes. IceWings, SeaWings, NightWings, SandWings, and SkyWings have all previously had animus dragons.
Animus magic is almost limitless, but rumored to be unable to bring back the dead. It may take animus dragons some time to discover their powers.
A list of all known animus enchantments may be seen here.
As of The Poison Jungle, animus dragons cannot cast new spells. Previously enchanted objects still work.
It was thought that using any animus magic could cause insanity, though it has been heavily implied in both Darkstalker and Talons of Power that this only happens if an animus dragon uses their magic for evil. Turtle once mentioned that animus magic also hurts an animus dragons' soul if it is used for personal gain. In The Brightest Night, Stonemover states "I turned the magic on itself. The curse appears in my scales now instead of taking my soul." Both Darkstalker and Anemone attempted to prevent this through enchantments, but this did not seem to have any bearing on their later actions or the deterioration of their souls. Darkstalker had also tried this two thousand years ago with his Talisman. However, no effects were physically showing.
IceWings developed a system for using their magic to prevent dragons from being driven mad by the power. Each animus would cast one spell, for the good of the entire tribe, known as their gift. The IceWing animus would cast this spell on their seventh hatching day.
Known Animus Dragons
Albatross: A former prince of the SeaWing tribe. Albatross made several enchantments over the course of a decade — including building the Summer Palace — before going insane and attempting to kill everyone, including his family. This event was known as the Royal SeaWing Massacre.
Anemone: A daughter of Coral. Anemone used her magic for a variety of 'practice' spells under Whirlpool's instruction. Spells cast of her own volition included a spear to find Whirlpool (after he attacked Tsunami), a spell on Auklet's harness, and the weather bracelets Qibli used during Darkness of Dragons. She was enchanted to be an animus dragon by her brother Turtle at the Talons of Power ceremony, and thus is not a born animus.
Arctic:Darkstalker's father was Prince Arctic, an IceWing prince that fell in love with Foeslayer. He knew he could never be with her unless he ran away from his tribe. He used his animus power to enchant an earring that would keep Foeslayer warm in cold climates and safe from danger as long as she wore it. A few days before his "Gifting Ceremony", Foeslayer and Arctic slipped out of the Ice Kingdom together. He used his power again to help Foeslayer escape with him. The two ran away to the Night Kingdom, and later had two eggs: Darkstalker and Whiteout. Darkstalker claims that his father used his power behind the backs of the other IceWings and was already insane. He also claims he had no choice but to kill him.
Darkstalker: Darkstalker was a half NightWing, half IceWing animus, born with strong powers of mind-reading and foresight. He put all of his animus power in his talisman (a scroll), created the three dreamvisitors, and eventually became obsessed with power and attempted to become king of the NightWings. He killed his father, Arctic, by enchanting him to follow his commands and then ordered him to disembowel himself. His beloved, Clearsight, and his best friend, Fathom, tricked him with an animus-touched bracelet that put him to sleep for 2,000 years. He later awoke, buried underground, when the earthquakes caused the bracelet to break. In Moon Rising, he attempted to show Moonwatcher that he wasn't evil as everyone else thought. In Talons of Power, he regained his power, proceeding to give many NightWings superpowers. In Darkness of Dragons, he tried to revive Clearsight by enchanting Fierceteeth. He also made Vulture's emotions change, horrifying Qibli during Darkstalker's offer of animus magic.
Diamond: A former queen of the IceWings. Diamond's gift to the IceWings the gift of healing, five narwhal horn spears that, if touched to a frostbreath injury, would heal it. She was also the only known IceWing animus (other than Arctic) to break the one-gift tradition and use her magic more than once, imprisoning Foeslayer in the Diamond Caves and creating the Diamond Trial. This was undone 2,000 years later by Winter.
Fathom: A SeaWing animus, best friend of Darkstalker until he tricked him into an enchanted sleep. He swore to his sister, Pearl, never to use his powers after the Royal SeaWing Massacre. However, he used his powers twice — once to stop Darkstalker, and the other to save his other best friend, Indigo. He was deeply afraid of turning out like his grandfather, Albatross.
Frostbite: An IceWing princess who created the Moon Globe Tree, the Gift of Light. According to Winter, she painstakingly carved the tree with her claws instead of enchanting it to grow that way and often left the Ice Kingdom to study trees.
Jerboa: Jerboa, a SandWing from the time of Darkstalker, was the first known SandWing animus. She ran away after she was sentenced to death by Queen Scorpion due to the lack of knowledge of animus dragons. She enchanted her daughter to be immune to any sort of harm. It is implied that she created the Eye of Onyx.
Jerboa II: The daughter of the original Jerboa, she appears in the epilogue of Darkness of Dragons, Talons of Power, The Lost Continent, and is a POV in The Poison Jungle's epilogue. Her mother enchanted her so nothing could ever harm her. This seems to have defeated death, as well, making her the second dragon shown in the series to be immortal.
Orca: An animus SeaWing, she had enchanted one of her sculptures of herself to kill other female dragons in her bloodline so she could rule forever. She was killed challenging her mother, Queen Coral, for the throne. Queen Coral had put her enchanted statue in the underwater Royal Hatchery, where it proceeded to smash the Queen's female eggs. Orca had kept her animus powers a secret, so Queen Coral did not learn of the statue until the end of The Lost Heir.
Penguin: An animus IceWing who created the Gift of Diplomacy, a dome that possessed a warm climate on the inside for foreign guests, as well as the set of three bracelets that kept the guests warm and safe from the Great Ice Cliff.
Stonemover: A NightWing animus. Stonemover figured out a way to transfer his soul loss to his scales, gradually turning them into stone. He described it as "turning the magic upon itself". However, he was already weak from creating tunnels that lead to the Kingdom of Sand and the Rainforest Kingdom. Stonemover enchanted a fox named Dinner to bring him the food he needed. He may have created the Obsidian Mirror and later did something to it to hinder its functionality.
Turtle: A SeaWing animus who kept his powers a secret like his deceased sister, Orca, he claimed he only enchanted small things, like a river stone he enchanted to heal flesh and muscle wounds in Escaping Peril. However, he concealed the fact that he also enchanted Anemone, his sister, to become an animus in the Talons of Power ceremony so he could conceal his own ability. In Talons of Power, Darkstalker takes away Turtle's animus power, claiming that he was too clever to have animus magic. He has his powers restored when he put on a duplicate of Qibli's earring, enchanted to protect the wearer from Darkstalker's spells.
Twin IceWings: Animus IceWing twins that enchanted/made the IceWing’s palace. The enchantment made the palace strong enough to never crack, or be melted by fire.
Tui has stated that there was no first animus dragon; the powers originated from multiple dragons.
The actual definition of the word animus is motivation to do something, a hostile or ill-feeling. The term animus is also Latin for mind or heart or soul.
Animus power can be sensed and felt by a faint tingling in the claws.
Princess Sunset confirmed that SkyWings had animus dragons in the past, but they tended to be killed as soon as they were discovered.
Animus genes formerly ran in the IceWing royal family. The tribe purposely bred their animus into the royal family in order to gain power.
SeaWing animus dragons can enchant objects using Aquatic.
In an interview at the Rochester Children's Book Festival, when Tui was asked for the inspiration for animus magic, she replied: "So with animus magic, it started with thinking, I needed some kind of magic in this world, but I didn't want it to be like anyone can have any magic at any time, I wanted it to be sort of specific, and have it be pretty rare. And then, especially with Book Two, the more I started thinking about what I could do with it, and how it could fit into the murder mystery, that's how sorta started developing like, the backstory of what it does to you and all of that."
Tui has stated that if two animus dragons cast two spells directly in conflict with each other, the one who is older, more powerful, more practiced and experienced, and focused is likely to win, and what exactly was enchanted would have an effect as well.