Failure! Another blasted failure! But I think I'm onto something! There are always 2 versions of the the written spells: one that's normal, and one that I THOUGHT was in some other language. But it's not! On the last page there's a crazy punctuation system or something that's used in the weird versions. Like pronunciation keys, but confusing and deeper. It's trying to explain something about the spells to me. Something that I think makes them work! I don't know yet. It's all kinds of babel. This must be what my brother Jameson feels like when he tries to read something! The moron!
End of Story Sixteen.
WHERE THE FLOOR IS MADE OF LAVA
Oisin stood before the enormous whiteboard he had pulled out of the shed, and absentmindedly tossed an orange marker between his hands as he stared at the symbols inscribed in the bark of the fig tree.
"Magic" he said "magic magic magic…. I know a lot about magic! For a mortal anyhow… I've given lectures about alchemical theories at the University of Alexandria. I do business with Dragons and Elves! But the last person I ever taught magic to - from scratch that is - was myself. So, yeah, I'm takin' suggestions. Where do I start, Lass?"
Petra had to take a moment for this.
"W-well, you kinda explained that ""Magical Principles"" are different from math and stuff. I got a good enough handle on math, so maybe you can start with that." She pulled her chair a bit closer and hung her purse on the back of it.
Oisin clicked his tounge and clapped his hands together as he began to speak. "Aye, Lass. Yes now, that's prob'ly right! Start from the very basics. Hmm… Well, things aren't real! That's one way to put it. Ye see, under mathematical principles, ye'r used to looking at reality through the lens of physical things. But magic is different. Through magic, what's really real are concepts! Ideas of things are what really have power! And how you focus different concepts is how you make things happen with magic! Go on with ye'r questions now, if ye have 'em."
Petra tried her best to follow along this reasoning. Building a very faint image of what the old man was trying to convey. "How do you do that then? How do you control and idea?"
Oisin started drawing on the board. "Just like how you control a dog really. With a good leash! You need something that the idea can be binded to. Something like one of these." He gestured to the two symbols he had drawn on the board. He pointed his marker at the one on the far left. A simple triangle. "This here is an old alchemical symbol. It represents fire. This" Now pointing to the second symbol. Which looked like a bunch of tridents in a circle pattern with their teeth pointed out. "you can thank the Vikings for. It's called the Helm of Awe, and it represents invincibility! Ha, though ""invincibility"" is rather a relative thing! We'd need to go over Change Differentials to understand that… Oy, later day, Lass. That's for a later day. Anyhow now, these kinds of symbols are collectively referred to as Runes in modern speak. Addin' them to a ritual structure, or just writing them on an object in some form, and activating it can evoke their respective concepts. Questions? Or... how about a demonstration?"
"Questions? Too many! But first, what exactly does 'invoking their concepts' mean?" Said Petra, now standing by Oisin in front of the board.
"Well" said Oisin "if my little triangle here means fire. Then in a magical sense it is fire! So, if I just sorta turn it on then, well… just watch!" Oisin put his fingers to the fire rune, and for a moment seemed to be at once distant, yet focused. Something -though exactly what Petra couldn't say- changed about the symbol, and suddenly an intense flame spread from it and engulfed the board before almost imediatly dying. The eruption shocked Petra into falling down onto the floor, though Oisin simply winced and started sucking the tips of his fingers.
Oisin was the first to speak. "Alright there, lass? Didn't mean to spook ye!" He reached out his hand to help Petra up and she reluctantly accepted, praying she didn't have the same experience as the whiteboard. "What the hell was that!?" She said. "You made fire! You. Made. Fire! From a damn triangle!" She sat back down and cupped her face in her hands. "I just don't understand. Wh-what makes you think that I have whatever's so special about you, that you can… do magic? There's no way I can be like that!
Oisin gave her a chuckle as he kneeled down in front of her, using his old staff as support. "Lass! Ye don't need to be special to do magic! It's about as ordinary as it gets."
"Then" Petra said. "How? What is it that makes it work?"
Oisin took her hand and they both stood up. She followed him over to the circle on the ground, but this time they stayed outside of it.
"Now, before" Oisin said. "I called this a Magic Circle. But, it isn't the Magic Circle. Much as the runes are symbols of concepts, so a circle like this is a concept. The real Magic Circle is a place I'm sure you've already been in… though, it may have been awhile. Ye see, children always know how to get inside it! Think of it... Well, my friend once described it as, ahem, ""the place where a hand, can be a gun. Where are stick, can be sword. Where: snowballs are grenades, trees are fortresses, and where the floor is always made of lava."" Gettin' me, Lass?"
Petra smiled and started pacing around the circumference of the circle. Breakthrough. "Actually, yes! That sort of made sense! Let me see if I got it. Um, okay! So you're talking about imagination. Like, how kids can- well, I guess how anyone can look at things, and see them as being something else? And to themselves make it real! Right?"
Oisin applauded her and was imediatly excited to continue. "Yes! Lass! That's the basic bit of it! Ye basically need to think like a kid again! But not entirely."
"Oh?" Petra said.
Oisin looked at his board, completely unharmed. He was glad he activated the other rune as well. "Ye got the one part of it right! A child's imagination allows ye to make yerself believe in power of the rune, but it takes the force of a matured mind and nurtured intellect to truly evoke Magical Principles! Ye need to push ye'r vision onto the Objective Reality! The singular and multiple consciousness of the universe! Hahaha! Hahaha! Ha..haha." He looked at now somewhat worried girl, and did his best to put away the spark of madness that made him great.
"Ermm, sorry about that, Lass. That one rather got away from me. But that nonsense was fully accurate, if not a touch beyond ye'r level. In simpler terms, ye need to see it as being real, and then command it to be real! To breath life into magic, ye fight back against math! Now!" Oisin hit the board with the head of his staff. Another wave of fire - this time a shade of blue similar to Not Blue of his vest - washed over it from the fire rune.
"It's ye'r turn, Lass!"
End of Story Seventeen.
A MAN NAMED...
The man in black didn't say a word as he took a seat at the bar of the run down saloon, so the bar tender just poured him a shot of cheap whiskey and watched to see what he'd do. A toe headed fool by name of Benjamin, Benny; as they called him, took up seat next to him. If he'd had half a brain or, maybe just half as much of that same whiskey in his blood, maybe he would have just kept his rotting tooth filled mouth shut. But, rarely ever met one of these requirements, and so he started talking.
"Well! Now that's a face only blind mother could love! What's gotchya so grim?"
The man turned slowly to face the drunk, he wore anger as easily as an old preacher wears a polite smile.
He spoke in the voice of a warrior angel with a cold. "Be quiet, or I'll stab you in the hand. Your choice."
But being the idiot that he is, Benny never really knew what was good for him. "Now where do get off.. ah! I getchya! Should've none from your complexion, Savage! You just some savage halfbreed bastAAGHH! GOD!"
The bar tender was just shocked for a moment. Only when Benny tried to pull it out did he finally notice the foot long silver plated spike going through his costumer's palm on the bar.
Less than five seconds and all thirty-seven guns in the saloon were pointed at the now enraged man's head. Including the shiny revolver of Sheriff Mason Smith. Older and slightly out of shape officer took a few cautious towards his target. "What's you're name, Son?"
His rage was as strong as ever, but he controlled himself.
"Sue Hanson" Sue Hanson said. His fist clenched as he heard a few chuckles in the room.
"Alright then, Sue. Now, Sue, I don't reckon I know where you're from, but there's law in this town. Benny there" He said, glancing at the now unconscious man nailed to bar "might be the most annoying fool I'd ever met. But you don't go around impaling folks! Anyway, I'd rather not kill you withouta fair trial, so… how about you just come quietly, eh?"
Sue met eyes with the holder of every gun pointed at him. Came to two conclusions. One, that he didn't want to go to war full of bullet holes tonight. And two, killing all these folks would make being here rather pointless. So, though still boiling inside, Sue put his hands out for the sheriff.
"Just one thing, Sheriff." Said Sue "tonight, when everyone starts gettin' torn to shreds. Just remember to let me out while there's still someone for me to save!"
End of Story Eighteen.