Corm had not had the sort of apprenticeship where his Master would’ve walked into the room and said, “Here, now: if you get good enough, one of these days, some murder of crows wearing outmoded overcoats and giving ’emselves ridiculous names will ask you to do something to change the basic nature of the Universe, and you should turns ’em down, because even if they’re nutters, even if they’re well-paying nutters, they’ll probably kill you at the end, and I didn’t waste all this educationality on creating a highly-trained corpse.”

Corm’s apprenticeship had consisted, much more specifically, on sparse explanations of various technical points—”Ye can’t pin a piece of Something to another piece of Something if you don’t grab ahold of the right places, you don’t use the right materials, and you don’t drive hard enough. Do any of those things, and you’ll just end up with something torn, broken, or failed, and there’s a good bit o’ chance it’ll be you, and you’ll deserve it, too.”

It was more the sort of, “‘ere’s a clout on the ‘ead to focus your attention, ‘ere’s a clout on the ‘ead to make you forget about the first one, and ‘ere’s a third clout purely for good luck, because I likes ya.”

It was all properly horrifying and probably terrible, and the fact that Corm grew up well-adjusted, focused, and very, very good at his chosen profession was probably in spite of the brutality of his training.

Corm wouldn’t have put it that way. Were he given to long flights of rhetorical fancy (which, at this time in his life, he was not), he would have pointed out that peg-hammering is neither an easy nor a safe profession. He might have suggested, if he were mindful of history or saw a need to back up what he did through academic theory (Corm had a healthy respect for academia; if you know a little about good metal, you know it happens neither by accident, nor by sheer physical skill; the wisest, brawniest smith in the world can’t turn bronze into iron by hitting it harder or more precisely. But Corm hit things correctly, to join and unjoin pieces of things intended to be used by hundreds or thousands of people; it’s not that he saw book-learning as without value, it’s that he measured every hour of book-learning against another hour considering the right angle at which to swing. And books seldom came out ahead, in that equation.)

It would be helpful to take from this a serious understanding of Corm, and thence, of the Forces (forgive us; they insist on being capitalized, and either English or an unreliable narrator insists we capitalize them as if they were Gods/Angels/far better than Gods) – that he resists/assists/doesn’t flippin’ bother with.

But this is Corm’s little piece of Zen (not, dear friends, to be mistaken with his Bushido:

If the Peg need be struck, strike the peg.

If you read metaphor in that, you’re right, but still damned. If you read it as a simple statement above, you share the same fate, but you have a moment more to smirk before being thrown into the hypothetical Pit.

These are the Tent-Pegs. Did you think you could fuck with them without consequence? You’ve lived too long behind screens, friend; you’ve not realized that a real screen, a technomagical screen, outmoded and outclassed and forgotten by all thinking peoples’, can reach straight through silicon and grab you by the throat.

And that’s where we’ll leave you. Breath, would you? Unless you’ve already bought the tome, in which case, it really matters a lot less to us, to be honest.

There’s more..if you really must read more. But recon you oughtn’t. I hear there’s good stuff about Muggle Wizards out there; what more do  you need?

Jeff Mach Written by:

Jeff Mach is an author, playwright, event creator, and certified Villain. You can always pick up his bestselling first novel, "There and NEVER, EVER BACK AGAIN"—or, indeed, his increasingly large selection of other peculiar books. If you'd like to talk more to Jeff, or if you're simply a Monstrous Creature yourself, stop by @darklordjournal on Twitter, or The Dark Lord Journal on Facebook.

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