Insanity’s End: Stanley Miller

August 21, 2007

“Magic,” said Rowen, “is forcing one’s will, one’s desire, upon the universe. No more, no less!”

The god – whom Stanley knew the true name of, but saw no reason not to abide by the being’s desire to retain the name of its host – had been arguing the point for the better part of an hour. It was growing agitated, and it was growing angry, and neither are wise states to provoke in a god.

But Stanley held knowledge, not wisdom. He did not hold with what he should do, but what he must do, and so he said, “Those words are true, but they could be equally said of any task, from lifting a rock to speaking a word. Magic is like any other activity – a simple application of force that carries out a precise result. It is built into the fabric of the world, and if the energy is there to fuel it, the appropriate consequences will result from the appropriate actions.”

Rowen glowered, and the pout looked out of place on her strong and sharp features. The god had bathed in pools of magic, had felt the power of magic flow through its veins when its world was young. It could feel, even now, the weave of energy that yet filled this world, as yet unravelled by the Great Beast.

But it could not see magic as Stanley could. It did not have eyes that could break down the sight of magic into a thousand myriad particles, analyzing and understanding each one. It was a creature of instinct, and all the wonders it could work with its power came through instinct alone. A bird could build a fine nest of sticks and straw, but that did not make the act of carpentry something outside the natural order of the world. Magic was no different.

Their discussion was in many ways a purposeless one, for they could do no workings of magic. Rowen could ferry them along the winds, and bring them to their destination in minutes, rather than days. With his newfound understanding, perhaps Stanley could do the same – but they did not dare to do so. It would alert their enemy, warn him of their coming. When they were upon him, perhaps then they could unleash their power – but for now, surprise was the greater asset.

They had the rituals of the god, at least, to feed them and provide fire to warm the nights. This, too, was magic – but it was a quiet sort of magic. Rowen had said that magic was forcing one’s will upon the world, and this might have been a fair description for the great acts of magic, summoning spells to shake armies or hexes to level cities… but the god’s rituals were more a form of asking the world to provide. To Stanley, who saw things differently, they were the difference between letting sand drift through one’s fingers versus hurling a boulder from the top of a mountain – or hurling the mountain itself.

But the important part was that they went unnoticed by their foe.

And with less than two day’s travel to their destination, that was an important thing indeed.

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