Machine and Magic

A few days after the meeting between Maric and Vedis, I found myself in the tavern, taking my ease from an afternoon of tackling the castle accounts. There I found Lucis, who had somehow managed to escape the castle while we were occupied with Vedis. Not that we had any reason to detain her after what we learned of her release from possession.

I ordered drinks for both of us and we had a pleasant discussion about various matters. She told me a little about what it had been like during her possession. She described it as being almost like a kind of paralysis – aware, but unable to exert any control, and also like a very dark nightmare. She was aware enough to remember the various meetings that Umbra had had with various people about the island, including, apparently being banned from the Seelie sithen by Blaise. This was perhaps unfortunate as, now she was free of her shadow’s influence; it was the Seelie court that she favoured. I told her that I was willing to intervene on her behalf, adding the caveat that Blaise and I did not always see eye to eye.

I learned that she was fae in nature herself, an elf, but had lived among humans for a long time, in a land where the humans had almost exterminated the non-humans, and where magic was rare. I told her that I was still very human in my outlook, despite the fact that I would possibly be considered something other than human, but since my change, had come to learn that there was more than the non-magical world I had previously inhabited. Where she came from, mankind was overwhelming others with their machines and weapons, which, in a way, were their own kind of magic. That, I found, was an interesting thought. In the sense that magic was a means of achieving things that were not otherwise possible for the unaided hand, arm, leg or back, then machinery might well be considered magic, for with a machine, a man could lift a weight he would otherwise be unable to shift, or he could travel faster than any mortal man could run. Perhaps, I opined, the machine was more powerful in the mind of man, for it could be understood and predicted. With the right knowledge and mathematics, then a man could sit down and work out how to make a machine achieve what was desired.

That said, now that I sit down and write these words, I suppose the same could be said of magic. Paasheeluu taught me a few things I could do with magic, such as shifting a chair and making a crystal glow, but she did not teach me HOW it was done. Perhaps there are similar rules and principles in magic too- A different sort of mathematics from that which an engineer would use to calculate a lever or pulleys or a steam engine, but one that allows the design of a form of magic to achieve the same ends. After all, it can’t be a case of waving your hands, muttering some syllables and hoping that you can make the bunch of flowers vanish rather than turning the chair into a toad. I wonder if that was one of the things Dee was trying to work out. If Paasheeluu were here, I could ask her about the underlying principles, but I am not sure she could explain it. I don’t know who else I could ask.

 

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