A Magical Primer
Magic and magical encoutners are part of the very fabric of our universe. Without it Daventry itself would not be, could not be. It was to preserve Magic, mystique, wonder, and enchantment--the nonrational aspects of existence--that Daventry withdrew from the greater multiverse. Indeed, it was only through Magic itself that we were even able to withdraw. And it is only through the continued practice and use of the arcane arts that we are able to preserve and protect our very being. From the simplest charms and trivial spells, the plucking of a four-leafed clover or the knocking of wood, to the cosmos shattering invocations of the most fearsome paradimensional deities, Magic is not just part but the very fabrice of our reality.
What is Magic? Pick a grain of sand from the palm-kissed beaches of Kolyma and pray that it answers the question. Then query the next grain, then the next, and again the next, and when all the sand on the all the beaches in all the realms of Daventry have answered you with their different answers then know that there are as many different explanations as their are "Once in a lifetime offers" in the Other World. In that light, here is my explanation.
Magic is that which actually binds the universe together. It encompasses not just the connections all things have with each other, but includes the aether through which these relationships flow. Magic is the essence, belief is the glue; all is connected each to the other. These connections may not always be clear to the mundane senses of sight, smell, and the like, but that does not mean they are less real. Cause and effect, action and interaction--all occur through the correspondence of nature. In conjunction with the elements of air, fire, earth and water, all act to produce a desired result. The great principles are "As above, so below," and "Nothing is as it appears." The minute is attached to the mighty. The flame of the candle and the flame of love are one, and they too are one with the flame of life. We can learn the principles of these connections and how they are joined together. Then, by use of the proper words or actions or magical tools, the relationships implicit in the aether are made explicit. Together the essence, the elements, and the principle both create and control our reality.
It is through the art of Magic that we know, understand, and manipulate these connections. Through the studies of the practitioners of the magic arts--the wizards, witches, warlocks, sorcerers, seers, alchemists, necromancers, mages, and others--these relationships have been traced and to some degree understood. It must be admitted that these practitioners do come in the flavors of good and evil, and the shades of black and white. They also are known to follow the Left-Hand as well as the Right-Hand paths. However it is through their use of the various magics that Daventry continues to exist at all. Evil follows good as night follows day and goats follow carrots. We suspect if the Magic were to go away, so would Daventry. To be as if we never were--that would be the greatest of evils.
With this said, let us concentrate on matters of a more practical nature. The practice of Magic is both an art and a craft. To practice Magic at all is to practice it exactly and correctly. It is perhaps too facile to say there are really only two kinds of magicians: magicians and dead magicians. however, it takes little more than a casual stroll through any of the realms to find odd statuary, pillars of salt, mounds of dust, or half-human half-insect abominations that were once users of the arcane arts who made a simple mistake, ones who did not follow their craft to the last letter. If my personal nemesis, the wizard Manannan, taught me anything between punishments during my years of ignorant captivity, it was to "follow the instructions exactly, boy!" At the time I thought he merely meant how many carrots, potatoes , and how much salt he preferred in his stew. It was only during the last part of my servitude, after I had stumbled upon Manannan's secret laboratory and began studying his hidden grimoire, his spell book, that the true import of his words became evident. For the art of Magic to work, the craft of Magic must be carried out with no substitutions, exceptions, or shortcuts. Nothing must be taken for granted and no factors may be fudged. On that fateful day in the wizard's laboratory it could very easily have been myself that was turned into a fluffy furry. I still tremble when I recall the awesome forces and formulae that I manipulated in that dungeon. If I were any less ignorant, I would have fled that place in terror and gladly accepted whatever fate the evil wizard planned for me. As it turned out, I'm glad I didn't.
Now, because the craft must be practiced with concentration and precision, it is in the obvious best interests of the individual wizards and their ilk to record in some manner the proper route to the completion of the various mystical processes. To this end there arose over the eons a fabulous library of magical books--books that collected and explicated the great spells and conjurations devised and duplicated throughout the ages by the greatest of sorcerers. As a result, many general provisioners stock on their shelves a myriad of manuscript titles covering all areas of the mystical arts, snug against viles of generic toad spittle, eye of newt, beetle juice, and the like. Today hobbyists, apprentices, and even graduates of the various academies of Magic can find all they need to know and all their basic supplies in virtually any town.
However, so powerful are the contents of other certain volumes that they have remained secret even to the majority of serious magicians. These books themselves are often magical in their own right and are so rare that their very existence is doubted by the very few who have even heard of them in whispered fable. Indeed some, such as the near-legendary Al Azif, more commonly known as the Necronomicon, penned by the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, contains knowledge so terrible that a mere glance at the illustrations and illuminations in the text drives many to madness. Perhaps it is just as well that few, if any, copies of such works as the Necronomicon, The Key of Solomon, The Book of Dyzan, The Principia Discorida, and The Book of the Damned remain, or even exist at all. The Good Housekepper's Book of Common Spells and Potions, A Field Guide to Enchanted Gems and Minerals, Understanding the Undead, and Housebreaking Dragons in 7 Days are all inexpensive guides that have been on the bestseller charts for ages. They cover more magic than most will ever need and carry no possibility of apocalyptic catastrophe.
The Sorcery of Old was once considered one of the lost and legendary books of terrible power. Within its gold trimmed covers of leather ghastly to the touch were said to be compiled many old and powerful spells. It was whispered that many of these formulae were written in languages unknown since before the ascent of humanity. These stories have turned out to be true, with one exception. The Sorcery of Old is neither lost nor legend. In my fright I made scant note of it at the time, and it has only been since I made sufficient progress in my own studies that I have come to fully realize just what that spell book was in the secret room beneath Manannan's study. The book was obviously old, the pages brittle to my shakey touch. The ink may have been made of blood and was so faint upon the yellow pages that it could scarcely be read. Of the scant pages legible in that copy of The Sorcery of Oldmost were written in symbols and languages that still have not been deciphered. A few pages, though were scribed in my own tongue, and because of that I was able to escape the clutches of my captor, rid Llewdor of his tender little mercies, and after perils, pirates, and predicaments of every kind, return to the family, home, and kingdom I had never known.
Here then are my transcriptions of the spells I found in The Sorcery of Old. I publish them for inclusion in the court chronicles and for the general knowledge of all who inhabit Daventry. Used properly they will not shake the cosmos and should prove as useful for others as they did for me. As with all Magic, use these spells wisely. Again, note well: It cannot be stated too often that the practice of the craft of Magic demands precision, exactitude, concentration, and the negation of distraction. Compose yourself, even if you are rushed. Do what is necessary to ensure your focus is upon the task at hand, lest a misspelled step or an unclear word becomes your final mistake. Often I was forced to deliver the swift boot to an underfoot cat at a critical moment. It was no act of needless cruelty, but necessary for my own survival. Mark my words: Once you have opened a book of Magic to the proper page, do naught else but that which is prescribed. There are some things that are worse than death!
Fragments from The Sorcery of Old (Author Unknown)
- The first note concerns safety issues surrounding spell casting.
- Page XXV: Transforming Another into a Cat and notes.
- Page VII: Teleportation at Random and notes.
- Page II: Understanding the Language of Creatures and notes.
- Page IV: Flying Like an Eagle or a Fly and notes.
- Page CLXIX: Becoming Invisible and notes.
- Page XIV: Causing a Deep Sleep and notes.
- Page LXXXIV: Brewing a Storm and notes.