Kanimir is, as he often is, sitting in his library enjoying a book on magic and pondering theoretical innovation. He has an idea; he writes it down. It probably won't pan out, most of them don't, but it might.
"What kinds of moving parts does it have?"
"Which elements are in use and what you're trying to do with them and... how much capacity you have? And if you're a human you can borrow capacity from a - helpful elemental."
"Is doing magic a mental or physical action?"
"Mental. Is there some reason you're so curious about this in particular -"
"Because it's magic? If I'm asking the wrong questions to understand your magic do enlighten me."
"They're... not bad questions, just not what I was expecting to discuss immediately with whoever we landed on."
"Most people have priorities not involving magic, for some reason," he allows.
"You clearly already have some, what do you do with it? Besides... translate for skylight-breaking visitors."
"Protect my sister and I from being killed and learn more magic, mostly."
"Are people trying to kill you?"
"Not as much the last few hundred years."
"...are you a human?"
"I don't know what that is. I think we only have humans and elementals. Elementals are immortal but humans don't live very long."
"I used to be human, but then I stopped."
"Vampires are similar to humans but immortal and sustained by blood. And with a few other alterations."
"...so like not very immortal the way elementals are."
"Oh. No. I wouldn't need to put as much effort into wards if I were very immortal. Elementals are truly immortal?"
"I think so."
"Yeah. Why were people trying to kill you?"
"Because I was a vampire, because I was a 'witch,' because I was a threat to my half-siblings' inheritance..."
"People don't like vampires? Or - people with magic?"
"Most people these days don't understand that they're real. Most people a few centuries ago did, but knew very little that was accurate and quite a bit that was wrong and abhorrent."