Magic in Terminus

I should have noted yesterday that the 700 mark cruised past 1000 Days somewhere in the Texas Panhandle between San Jon, NM and Amarillo, TX. The 70s era Chevy still mounted the original engine but donned a new paint job. And, while it took a bit to get up to speed, it eventually out paced us and shrunk over a hill-assisted horizon. Yes, West Texas has hills.

I haven’t given much thought to the magic of Terminus—nor the size. I think it’s time to get serious about that oversight.

What I know: magic helped to swap the indigenous people with folks from Earth [I need a story suitable reference for that], that there are still some magicians remaining in Terminus, and that the way the boats hover and fly may be some branch of that magic if not directly that magic. I feel as though magic should be diminished in this place. Maybe the only way to get big magic is to have lots of people gathered and focus their energies, or maybe the skip event used up loads of magic that can’t be gotten back or need to be refreshed over a long time.

Minimal Magic Requiring Groups – gives some built in restrictions on magic use so that you can’t just run out and conjure a unicorn if you need a ride to town. I like that collective magic imposes a need for charismatic leaders or despots able to gather folks into a crowd, or that a crowd needs to have it’s own collective purpose. This supports my thinking that Terminus needs to have factions and cultures and societies all at each other throats. Assuming I keep the practitioners at a low headcount or that I keep the full headcount in seperate factions conflict will arise in many forms. SOme groups will try to recruit members, some will try to enslave them, some will try to eradicate their foes, other will try to convert them. If any one group attempts to do magic more substantial than it’s numbers allow they’ll be punished with wearriness and become vulnerable.

Post-Skip Diminished Magic – would set a slow pace to the rise of powerful magicians in Terminus. It would help focus efforts on more mechanical endeavors because people wouldn’t be able to rely on their handy poof-unicorns to get them around. GAH, I JUST GOT SCREWED BY MY KEYBOARD LOCKING UP AND REPEATING A BACKSPACE KEY STRIKE. But I’ll press on instead of trying to recreate those thoughts. An entirely different tack might be that use of magic is highly sanctioned so that they might bring it back to full power, thus only a few special people in power are able to weild it and all others are punished. Somethign like this might take generations and by the time there was enough magic, the use of it would have changed significantly.

Conversion of Magic into Other Resources – I left the title vague, but I specifically am thinking magic might end up in these flight rods I’ve not put much thought into. Before the skip magic was more ethereal and available to all who desired it’s use; after the skip magic has been concentrated in the form of a mineral-like substance that can be forged into these flight rods. In a very tangible physical form, magic would be easy to fight over and hard to obtain without a foe knowing. Plus it would be easy to regulate and might even be easy to forget it was formerly magic. Depending on the circumstances of the conversion ‘miners’ might not even be aware the substance was converted magic—they might just think it was some artifact of the skip.

615 words on day 702

A Sorceress and A Witch

Rhoda conjured another daemon like a juggler practicing his knives. Her coalesce became a dancer in flame. The unused vapor swirled for a moment like a silk scarf then tore away in gust. Her black and gray-lavendar hair threatened the same.

The edge of the Viyi alter was too high to sit on comfortably, but she did so anyway. Her unsheathed dagger completed the sacrilige.

“You look like Viy’s Cunt sitting there, girl. Get up,” Wendel said.

Rhoda raised her chin and tightened her grip on the dagger but nothing else.

The Black Kite on Wendel’s shoulder spread it’s wings and arrowed it’s beak at Rhoda.

117 words on day 583

Into the Bowels of Crainstock Ltd

Kera had never imbued an [engine ring] before.

“How many is your most?” the hurried MPM asked. She swung open the next door and held it for Kera while encouraging her to walk faster with the clipboard her other hand.

“Nine of us blessed a sword with accuracy and ever-sharp in school,” Kera said.

“OK. This’ll be three times that.” The door shut behind Kera like a prison gate.

Kera frowned to the MPM despite her excitement.

“It’s a much bigger ring than our usual.”

“Oh,” Kera said. “Dana, right?”

“Donna.” Anything else the Magical Project Manager might have said was lost in her attention to the contents of the folder attached to her clipboard.

“Donna, what happened?” Kera didn’t need the late night rush down unfamiliar hallways to tell her something had gone wrong if she were being snagged off her own project to imbue a ring with twenty-six—twenty-six!—other other mages. If she’d applied for one of the infrequent junior mage roles, did two layers of interviews, waited 90 days, and then was accepted to imbue a standard [engine ring] she’d have been astonished.

“That son-of-a-bitch Ajit…sorry, Mr. Balasubramanyan…threw up all over my…the, the [engine ring] during tuning. I guess he’d gotten the flu or something but didn’t want to recuse himself.” Donna stopped short. “You’re not sick are you?”

Kera considered the question, even pushing her thoughts out to her extremities like a mental MRI feeling for everything from sniffles to cancer. All she found was excitement.

“Maybe I ought to be?” Kera joked.

The MPM whispered as if she gripped Kera by the collar and jerked her face to face. “Don’t fuck with me. Is there any reason—any at all—you can’t do this?”

“None.” Kera swallowed as silently as possible. “Did you say during the tuning?”

“Kera, do I seem like the kind of person who enjoys walking fast?”

“Why didn’t you mention that earlier?” Kera skipped to a backward jog further down the corridor expecting Donna to match pace at least some. The MPM pushed her face to a flat grin, pointed at the featureless wall with her clipboard, and stepped into it’s surface.

367 words on day 579