Playing with an old idea, lets go the Companion Animal route, only this time have them be just animals. No talking, no sentient behaviors, just good old everyday fuzzballs.
So why have them? Err, they channel magic maybe? So humans that can use magic can’t use it in the ‘raw’ form, but can use the refined stuff they leach off their furry sidekicks.
Ooo, and the bigger the animal the more power they channel. Only that means that the really powerful mages would all live outside of cities. Or work at the Zoo or something.
Would make a good argument for nomadic/prehistoric magic fading as things got more industrial. But it can’t just be that bigger is more powerful, otherwise everyone would be trying to domesticate whales… hmm.
Maybe they can only channel the ‘useful’ magics. So rabbits would be good at hiding, and horses would be good at running, and bears would be good at smelling, that sort of stuff. Could be fun to go run around and see what totem animals are supposed to do/mean. Might be an easy way to figure out what they channel. Then again, might not. Would be hard to figure out a useful channel match to some descriptions. *ponders*
So, that’s good an all, but what use is it to the story?
Well I have much love for YA, and YA Urban Fantasy just sounds like fun, so how about a set of fraternal twins happens to figure out what’s going on. One twin can do magic and the other can’t, or at least not very well. Maybe gets some residual magical ability from being fraternal? Hrm.
Anywho, I have complete lack of knowledge of the current ‘youth’ out running around today, so I shall be silly and use my own youth-like days as a base. Which means we’re stuck in Northern Virginia suburbia… with magic animals! Woot!
Okay, maybe not literally my kidhood…