Embers in the Wind
The Rules Of Magic And The Planes
Excerpt: Advice for Young Magicians, Solarii, H.
Chapter 2: The Rules Of Magic And The Planes
Before one can really appreciate the power that one wields as a mage, there are a number of cardinal rules that one must observe. The first and most important is not to be a complete idiot. Now I imagine many of you who are reading this have already decided that you are not a complete idiot, but I am rudely going to tear away that illusion by pointing out one simple fact. If you decided to learn magic and you don’t know what I am about to tell you, you are a complete idiot.
Of course, if you are a sorcerer then I am very very sorry. If you are planning to use your gift, and are a sorcerer, then you are also an idiot. Though I remain very very sorry.
If the insults haven’t put you off by now, then presumably you can’t read. Barring that though, I may as well get on. A question that very few people bother to ask is what magic is, and this is because most people don’t ask questions but also because it is an extraordinarily hard to answer question. Thus the answer they mostly get is superstition, gibberish and religion. The combination of this trifecta is poison to your brain. When an ordinary person views a magical effect they cannot explain it so they hide from it. This is true of authority as well, but the way authority hides is behind bluster and dogma. Thus, accurate information is extremely hard to come by.
What I am going to tell you now is generally agreed upon by the majority of powerful magi to be the truth. Since the majority of powerful magi are usually old to venerable this could just be the gibbering of a bunch of senile old idiots. However seeing as these senile old idiots have lived to be both senile and old whilst wielding power that can turn you inside out if you get it wrong, they may have some capacity to tell you something useful, so I would recommend you listen.
To those who have already put this book down and turned yourselves inside out, good luck. I don’t have a cure for that one.
To reiterate the question because you’ve probably forgotten, what is magic? Magic is a process by which those with the capacity to draw energy, matter and other forces from outside of the universe shape it into a pattern and then apply it to the physical world, or to the mental world in the case of enchantment or illusion. Now I am expecting some of you to say ‘well what was so hard about saying that?’ If that’s your response then I’m sorry, I don’t have a cure for the brain worms either.
Your immediate questions should be ‘From where do these things come?’ and ‘How do they get here?’ Now to the best of our knowledge I will try and tell you. The world we live in is one of many, and I don’t just mean the globe we are all stuck to. I mean the space that that globe is pinned in, the time it occupies, and everything else in that space. So what is in these other spaces? From what we have found these other places contain the raw components of our reality, in a purer and less stable form. Often too, a much more powerful form. To use a truly horrible analogy, if our world is like cider, these places are like wine. Which is to say, wonderful in small quantities, destructive in large (I should know, to deal with one class I tend to have to drink a barrel. I call this a small, helpful quantity.)
The next part of the question was how does it get here? And this part you must pay attention to because in many ways it is more important than what has come before. Generally, it is accepted that there are three known ways for magic to enter the world. The first is through a direct link to a particular creature. This is an innate ability, you are born with it. The second is through actions of a native to these other planes – a God, a demon, another entity, often far more abstract than any of those beings. And the final method, and the method you are probably hoping to employ if you are reading this book and are not a sorcerer, is through the soul of a mortal being.
Let me reiterate. Your only choices for accessing this power are happening to have the right, or wrong, parents, making a deal with a being that will not think like you, will not act like you, and probably doesn’t care about you as an individual, or gambling with your very existence.
So why ever do it? Is the obvious next question (I am still assuming at this point you are sane) because, student, when wielded with wisdom, clarity, precision, patience, and above all not blinding stupidity you can achieve more in an hour with magic than you could in a day without it. And, you can achieve more in a life time with knowledge, not just magic, than you could a million years without it.
If you’ve gotten this far and not either turned inside out, gone mad from the revelation, stabbed yourself, put this book down and taken up a career in needlework, or run away screaming into the night, then you might just be mad enough to keep going in this line of work. A friend of mine used to say that ’You’d be safer marching across Ascar coated in condiments and screaming at the top of your lungs ‘Look at me, I’m crunchy and taste good with ketchup!’ (If you’re reading this Kri-Kri, you are an intellectual midget and I miss you terribly.) However if you take it slowly, carefully, and avoid the ketchup, you should manage. Just about.