One thing I dislike, is how common magic is in some works of fantasy. Magic should be more than a bad latin phrase and a wave of a magic wand. In my Kingdom of Arion, there are swords of great power known as High and Noble Blades. They come from only one place and that place is kept in great secrecy.
The village of Corda is the only place these blades come from. It is deep in the mountains and all passes are guarded by the King's troops. There are two reasons for this. The first is of course to protect the supply of such powerful weapons. The second, though, is to keep the secret of their creation from the general populance. The people of Arion who follow the One Great God whould be aghast that the village of Corda follows a cult and deals with pagan spirits.
It is like this: There are two villages. There is Corda and deep in the mountain there is Adroc. Adroc is filled with spirits of creation known as Forge Fathers. They are burning spirits of great power whom the folk of Corda know how to deal with. Mostly the Forge Fathers teach the men of Corda how to forge metals. The Forge Fathers can do other magics either to repay a favor or for a price, but this is rare. Generally the two villages keep their distance from each other.
Once every six years, though, the fires of the Forge Fathers dim. The Forge Fathers then seek human company. Female human company. The village of Corda let some of their women go to Adroc. It is a great but terrible honor. Those who sleep with the Forge Fathers can never have human children. Those women who go are forever known as Sword Mothers.
After laying with the Forge Fathers the Sword Mothers almost always have their children. Indeed, those rare few who do not conceive are considered cursed and chased from the village. The Sword Mothers do not grow big, and only are pregnant for 6 months. It is, however, not easy. The Sword Mothers suffer great fevers and often dream into the spirit realms. Some do not survive or go mad. The men of Corda do what they can for the Sword Mothers and also spend their time crafting swords of great beauty.
At the right time the men bring the swords to the Mothers. The Mothers then give birth to the spirit within them. If the spirit is male it flies past the men to Adroc where it is raised as a new Forge Father. That Forge Father will always be in debt to that Sword Mother and she will become very powerful in the village of Corda. If the spirit is female it flies into the sword. It is then given to the Mother who names it and raises it on her own blood for another six weeks.
Most of these blades are High Blades. The cannot be broken by any normal force. They are sharper than razors and lighter than the wind. Once in a generation there is a Sword Mother who can give birth to Noble Blades. They have the power of High Blades and then each has their own enchantment. The King's blade, Esmeria is such a blade. If plunged into the ground it causes earthquakes that can destroy and wall.
This is just example of course, but I think you can see how one can use magic to be more than a flashy special effect. The village of Corda's life revolves around magic but its not an easy life.