A Potion Vignette

(In this standalone little precursor to our protagonist’s analysis of the assorted benefits of sorcery, he ponders a few of his favorite things. All right, none of his favorite things, actually.)

He’d once felt, for potions and their ilk, that utter contempt which is the particular province of those who seek truth through the faraway visions of telescopes, never considering that there might be something simple and worthwhile in the everyday life they led. He’d assumed they were part of the magical structure he knew best and found most meaningful, and only began to change that when his colleagues were turned into hands, fleas, rocks, fleas infesting rocks, and giant smears of mud and blood. Something in the back of his head whispered, gently, “WRONG, YOU IDIOT!”

This is when he began to pay attention.

An alienist or other brain-chirurge would have asked why he was so obsessed with the deep imperfections of his own metaphysics, but ffbelieved them fundamentally sound, while he hated the mysticisms of most others, would have led him shout “BECAUSE I’M BASICALLY HUMAN, YOU NINCOMPOOP!”—an answer which would have likely annoyed them both.

This is when he began to pay attention.

It takes a true wise man to know that he is a fool, a true fool that he is wise, and a nitwit to believe that he is likely to make an accurate self-assessment of either quality. But spotting generally terrible belief systems is not incredibly difficult, so long as you don’t start off with the inherently terrible belief system that you’re right.

One of the leading points of poor predictive models is magical thinking about things which do not involve magic. That is, one’s belief in faerie tales ought to be modified, at least somewhat, by whether or not one has a room in the basement dedicated to the carefully-taxidermified remains of malevolent elves. Otherwise, magical thinking is mainly a way of digging yourself a narrow grave with your own words and hopes.

In this wide Multiverse, Magic obeys precisely one being conclusively, appreciatively, to the letter, and without consequences resulting from irony or a complete lack of caring. And if you ever figure out who that being is, RUN!

It’s a long and difficult road, but in the end, almost nobody finds it rewarding. Because Magic may be suspicious and capricious, but it definitely finds your soul Magically Delicious.

Be warned.

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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