Author: DJ

On the Nature of Magic

Many things have been called magic over the aeons, some of them even were. Many things that were magic were mislabeled as ‘acts of god’, ‘acts of nature’, or explained away as hallucinations, ignorance or gullibility. It is, therefore, very difficult to judge the truth of magic by looking at what has and has not been labeled as magic in the past. It has been said that, to the ignorant, any sufficiently advanced technology will be indistinguishable from magic and this is probably true but really does little to explain the great number of varying acts, rituals and objects that have been labeled as magic through the ages. Science keeps trying to find explanations for the miraculous, putting forward theories on every topic that either makes magic out to be something commonplace or a fantasy, but unable really to explain anything satisfactorily and even knowing how it was done doesn’t make it any less miraculous. Neither advanced technology nor scientific theory are capable of explaining away magic. Countless definitions, expositions and depositions have been given in regards to magic, take your pick, but none of them do the subject justice. magic is an amorphous shadow, given definition only by the belief and the Will of the practitioner. Still, one more definition of magic that takes its amorphous nature into account cannot hurt and will afford the reader some idea of what I base my ideas upon. Magic is the changing of what is into what one wills to be. The…

On The Occult Disciplines

Ge’thyrimancy relies almost wholly upon Talent with lore coming an important second and ritual coming an almost inconsequential third. A’thyrimancy, like Ge’thyrimancy, depends mostly on Talent and lore, though ritual, as an aid to concentration and focus is important. Chi’thyrimancy, on the other hand, depends fairly equally upon ritual and Talent with lore taking a secondary by very important place. In Malythrimancy ritual and lore share the place of primary importance with Talent bringing up a helpful third place. Sorcery, where the flows of power in the world are directed, redirected or tapped to supply the Magician with power with which to perform those acts that are called magic. Sorcery is generally considered to be one of the higher occult sciences (along with most aspects of Healing). Sorcery is also called True Magic for it is with Sorcery that we most associate those things that are called Magic rather than conjuring. Both Witchcraft and Necromancy involve memorisation of spells and summonses and the use of charms and magic signs and words of command. Sorcery, however, requires the mage Talent and years of practice in its use but does not require the performance of those things that are commonly called spells, nor does it require charms, signs of summoning and warding for its performance. Many Sorcerers do use wards, and perform concentration exercises that are sometimes, erroneously, called spells. Sorcery is, quite properly, sometimes called Mind Magic, in that the whole structure and direction of the magic comes from the mind…

Reaper Hawk: Story Elements

Telepathy Telepathy allows the telepath or spellcaster to read a person’s surface thoughts with relative ease. The limits to this is that it only gives them what the target is thinking at the moment of contact and maintaining contact for long periods is very difficult. Magic takes energy, and it is almost impossible to maintain telepathic contact with an unwilling subject and carry on physical maintenance. There is also the fact that a person with sufficient training, either in magic, or in spying, can control their surface thoughts almost indefinitely so that the magical snooper won’t get anything useful unless stimulus is applied to the subject. It is possible to ‘Deep Read’ a person, but that, in effect, scrapes out the subject’s mind, turning the person into an empty vessel, which often results in the subject’s demise. In a deep read, the subject’s memories, thoughts, feelings, and emotions are taken and encapsulated within the ‘reader’. The mage has to be careful that they can control the process carefully or they will become two people in one body, both vying for control. To cope with this, various techniques of compartmentalising the mind have been developed. The mage creates a partitioned section within their mind into which everything scraped from the subject is inserted and compartmentalised. A truly great magician can then at a later date reinsert this mind, suitably modified, back into the subject, leaving them with no memory of what has been done to them in the meantime. The drawbacks…

The Battle Pit

Reiver Two Swords stood alone on the sands of the Battle Pit of Dnur.  About him lay the bodies of forty-nine fighters, many of their spirits sent to the feast in Dath's hall by Reiver's hand.  Yet Reiver still stood, blades in hand.  After two years of captivity he had grown accomplished at waiting patiently for something new to be thrown against him. Dnur's citizens filled the stands that encircled the Pit with their chanting of his name.  The barbarian in the Pit raised his eyes to the Imperial Box and the sweating form of the corpulent wearer of the Ivory Crown.  Reiver's eyes lingered long upon the barely concealed curves of the girl clad in slave silk who held the Emperor's cup.  He had already decided she would be his.  She looked upon him with both contempt and admiration, contempt for a man fallen slave, admiration for a man who still stood after a Bout of Fifty. Reiver's eyes didn't miss the flash of anger that crossed the Emperor's face, nor the command that caused the slave-girl to blanche.  Minutes later the Beast-gate creaked open and the crowd fell silent.  Nothing stirred in the darkness behind the gate for several long seconds and Reiver stood, silent and poised, waiting.  Then, with a roar that elicited screams, both startled and excited, from many in the crowd, a giant mountain grinyt charged onto the sands, straight for the lone warrior. Reiver dove to the side as the grinyt landed on the…

Book of the Heavens

Note attached to the outside of the original manuscript It is with a heavy heart that I put pen to paper in order to write this account. The heaviness is not due to any reluctance in the telling, for I believe that this account should have been shared long ago, but rather it stems from the knowledge that the time that was foretold before the first dawn is fast approaching and will come upon us sooner than any of us would have wished. The time is rushing upon us when we needs must put aside our guardianship and give over responsibility for all of Elolel’s other children into their own hands that they might undertake the tasks that Elolel has decreed for them. Fear not, however, for though we must depart, that does not mean that we have abandoned you, for we will remain, until the end of days, as stewards to Elolel’s creation. I write this account so that ye who remain may know the truth concerning us and not fall into false beliefs. We are not divine. The universe did not originate with us. We are the Taleael, the eldest children of Elolel, the self-originator and author of all. We are the stewards and guardians of that which was created. I leave you now with this account of the beginning of all things that you might understand not only our part in Elolel’s plan, but your own. The Book of the Heavens In the beginning was Elolel who…

Interview With Pin Wei

The inside of the tavern was low, dark, and smelled faintly of apples and hard liquor. There was an unexpectedly pleasant aroma of roasting duck coming from the kitchen. There was a fire burning in the hearth, but it was mostly coals and produced barely enough warmth to keep the flagstone floor from frosting over. It wasn’t at all the sort of place I expected a bard of Pin Wei’s fame and standing to frequent. I’d been sitting by the coals for an hour drinking mulled apple cider when a young man came and sat in the chair next to mine. I gave him a glare that was intended to send him on his way, but he ignored me, ordering a drink I didn’t catch the name of. “Excuse me,” I said in my most obnoxious tone. “That seat is reserved.” “Oh? Who are you expecting?” He responded in flawless High-Lugenese and I gave him my full attention, examining his face in the dim light. I soon see my mistake. The lack of facial hair that I had at first thought was due to youth, was actually due to my guest being a woman. Her eyes have the cast and dark colour of a Lugenese woman. Her long hair, worked into a multitude of barbaric braids and bound in a tail at the back, is as black as pitch. “Master Pin Wei?” She nods then turns to accept the drink the waitress has just brought. It was in a large…

The Fall

I was sitting in a tavern at a corner table, a pot of tea at my elbow, writing up my notes from my interview with the new royal family of Sehm. No one there knew who I was, or so I had assumed, but someone, somewhere, knew me, and knew where I was, because the young man didn’t even hesitate at the door. I was watching it when he came in, not that I was looking for anyone, I just happened to be looking in that direction, gathering my thoughts, when it opened. I noticed him immediately, and not just because he didn’t wait for his eyes to adjust to the dimness of the room before moving towards me. No, what I noticed was the smoothness of his walk, almost as though he was gliding over the floor. It was a poorly copied and over-exaggerated version of Reaper’s walk. On him it looked entirely natural, and not as though he were doing anything special, on the kid, it came off as an arrogant demand for attention, like a gun-slinger flinging back his jacket to clear the butt of his gun. That was the second thing that caught my eye. The first was his clothing. It wasn’t a uniform, but it was certainly worth a lot more than anyone else’s in that tavern, and was stain-free, which none of ours were. The young man stopped at my table and I blinked up at him in surprise. “Can I help you?” “My…

Interview with Ysmelda

Sehm is much as Reaper described it, an insignificant city trying too hard to appear important. There appear to have been a few changes since the regime change though, for one thing, the poor-quarter has shrunk to a few back alleys populated only by drunks. The old shop where Var’s temple appeared is gone, replaced by a new establishment selling scented candles that ward off the night-midges, and are thus very popular amongst the women of Astarte’s temple. The palace, with the frequent comings and goings of citizens and merchants, looks more like a guild-hall than the abode of a king, but a popular guildhall. Most of the people look happy, and even those who aren’t, don’t look fearful, just irritated. I wandered around freely until I heard the guards calling the hour, then I presented myself at the only guarded door in the palace, that leading into the royal apartments. The guard there asked my name politely, then sent a page boy inside with news of my arrival. He waited outside, studying me, not as though he saw me as a threat, but as though he was curious about something but too polite to ask. The page-boy returned and the guard let me into the apartment. I looked around quickly, and was immediately struck by how spartan everything was. The furniture was simple, comfortable, well-used but well-cared for. The room looked lived in, as though it was the sitting room in any house in the city. There were probably…

Dorthund’s ‘On Magical Artefacts’

ON MAGICAL ARTEFACTS1 Translator’s Note: This text, though incomplete and containing many lacunae, is still of immense interest. From what remains, and the hints we can garner from what was vandalised, we are able to determine a great deal about the state of, and attitude towards, magical objects in Dorthund’s world, and thus a great deal about what should be possible in our own. There are several distinct types of magical artefact, those common objects bespelled to perform specific functions, objects of power, and possessed objects. Many of you will already have assumptions about the nature, use, and construction of magical artefacts, but few, if any, of those assumptions will be accurate, and those that are, are of only limited validity. [Unknown number of paragraphs, or even pages, missing.]2 A magical artefact is any object that has been bespelled or enchanted to perform a particular task, whatever the task, whatever the form. From this, we see that all Objects of Power, and all Possessed Objects, along with every form of common tool carrying a ‘never dull’ or ‘fly true’ enchantment, falls within the category of magical artefact. The extreme inclusiveness of this definition has caused many scholars to attempt the creation of subdivisions within it, the most common of which use the distinction between possessed artefacts and magical artefacts, that is, between those objects that contain a governing awareness and those that do not. This is disingenuous. There are objects that have awareness that are not possessed and possessed objects…

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Two and a half years as an Indie

Just posted an entry on my blog over at Scribblers-jp. Click the link to read the rest.   It’s been a couple of years since I last posted here but I haven’t been idle. Most of my efforts have been dedicated to getting new books out and to developing the BSB site. At present, I have four books for sale on Amazon. There are a number of others on my hard drive awaiting edits. There was a fifth book available, The Cult, which has been unpublished. Read on to find out why. It has been an amazing couple of years. So much has happened. So much has changed. In 2014 I was desperate for a change. I was dealing with some things at work that made me really hate my job. At the same time, I was discovering this whole new thing called indie publishing and realising that here was a way for me to finally achieve my dream. People were using Amazon to sell their self-published ebooks and were making a living doing it. I wanted to be part of that. ... Read the rest Here.