Better Chains

Once upon a time, there was a great Mage. Perhaps she was pleased by this, but did not consider her achievements quite so extraordinary as others might, because sometimes extraordinary sorcery is a combination of intense work, deep study, the good fortune of being found by a few of the right books of Names, deep passion, and a slightly fanatical rejection of most of the pleasures and safeties of life; and most people really don’t want the last part. And in that way, perhaps most people are smarter than Mages.

There is a longer tale to tell, of the spells she built, of the enchantments she wrought, of the ways it was sometimes easier for her to be cryptic than speak directly, because sometimes, knowing certain secrets might give you the ability to do things which can’t be found by those who lack those understandings, but any attempt to speak clearly about what you do ends up sounding incomprehensible.

Many Mages fall in love with this; they delight in telling pieces of a larger whole, feeling that since they know a bigger thing than what most listeners have experienced, it means the Mage is greater.

Perhaps it does. If you find something which has the ultimate authority to keep score and rate on being against another, perhaps you could ask it.

This particular Mage had never had such an interest, not because she was unambitious or modest, but because she figured that if she could see some vast scorekeeping God that others do not know, the score might only be useful to things the size of that God, and to believe that you’ve found the best force because you’ve found something bigger means forgetting that somewhere, or everywhere, there might be some other thing much more vast that you’ll never know, because you’ve decided your search has ended.

I only know a little of her story. So forgive me if not every piece of it is told as an epic. She loves epics; I do, myself. But she never did like talking about her life that way unless it was a performance. Sometimes, deciding that you are the star of some vast and important Saga can motivate you, and propel that tale into existence; but sometimes, it’s just a trap.

To be a Mage, you need to be released from many kinds of fetters – of soul, of body, of nature – perhaps not entirely, but enough to make you a bit less human.

You need to free yourself from the traps of the mind if you want true Power.

And also, the greatest trap of the mind is true Power.

That’s not a riddle. That’s a problem.

I don’t know what your solution is.

I know what hers is, because it’s mine as well.

Start every day in the trap of being human. Fight your way out. Build another piece of the biggest spell you can.

Then reforge the trap, and step back inside. If tomorrow’s spell is to be stronger, then you need to find the mad intensity to defeat what you have woven before.

Every day, bind yourself in stronger chains. Then fight them until you are strong enough to break them. Then build another piece of the World.

Repeat it until you die, or until you’ve built the World you want.

I can’t tell you which happens first. I’m not there yet.

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.