A little place to tell YOUR tale, yes yours, about how you discovered maqic for the first time. It could be your first spell used or a story of how when you kissed a girl for the first time, you got so nervous you threw up purple sparkles.
With the late afternoon sun filtering in some faux-antique looking windows, it was a quiet Thursday at a trendy speakeasy bar when the door swung open and two men headed on in: a tall, middle aged man with a shaved head and beard and a teenager wearing a scarf.
“A bird, huh? That must have been pretty wild… and you did it accidentally. That’s some talent,” the older man chatted as they made their way over to the bar. They sat side by side on some bar stools. The teen looked around with slight awe - he’d been in plenty of restaurants, but only rarely ever sat at the bar itself. “You know, I wasn’t always a Gossmere. When I was your age, I’m pretty sure the guide would have put me in Balimora. Gimme a sec.”
The older man closed is eyes and breathed sharply in through his nose. If you weren’t watching his face, you’d never have seen it. At that very moment, the bartender broke off conversation with another pair of happy-hour-goers at the other side of the bar and came to take the bearded man’s order. “Hendrick’s and tonic for me, Coke with a lime for the kid.”
“How did you…?” the teenager eyed the older man, astonished, questions running across his face.
“Call the bartender over, or know your drink order? It’s one in the same, really. It’s how I first discovered magiq. I’ve done it so often for so long, it’s almost instinctual now. No words, no gestures. It’s the big benefit of being in your 30’s - you get years of practice in.”
“But… that’s…” the teen stammered.
“Telemancy? Telepathy? Yeah, I know. I like to think of it as a flavor of our communion magics. I just commune harder and with a bigger variety of people.” The older of the two gave a weary smile and thanked the bartender for the drinks. He’d leave a generous tip. He always did.
“When was the first time it happened?” the younger man asked.
"To be honest, I couldn’t tell you. It’s been happening all along. I remember a few specific instances: Walking behind one of the popular kids in high school and thinking a comment about his hair or clothes, then overhearing him repeat the comment to the person standing next to him not even a minute later; thinking someone was mumbling to themselves when I was actually picking up their surface thoughts… That sort of thing.
The thing is… my three year old’s started doing it, too. I was thinking about something odd while putting him to bed the other night, and he started asking me about it. I hadn’t said a word. Maybe I was that young when I started, maybe later. I don’t think it matters. It’s a gift and a curse. It’s just part of who I am." The older man took a sip of his gin and tonic, then did the same little trick again to call the bartender over. “Can I see a food menu? Thanks. Want anything, Oracle?”
“No thanks. I’m not hungry.” The boy looked vaguely uneasy.
“Suit yourself. I’ll have the habanero wings. Wait, is that a dry rub? It is? Okay, yeah. I’ll have those, thanks.” The man flashed a winning smile at the bartender, who returned it.
“Augustus, do you ever…”
“Abuse it? No.” the older man cut the teen off mid-sentence. “I do tend to do that a lot though… interrupt. I know it’s annoying, and I have to work on it. I’ve never made anyone do anything against their will, though. I’m not sure I even could, really, because that would be against my core values. Like the Unforgivable Curses in Harry Potter: you have to really mean them for them to work. I don’t think I could ever bring myself to actually dominate someone. It just feels… wrong. I don’t know if I could live with myself after that.” With that, the teen looked slightly relieved. He ran a hand through a mess of thick black hair.
“Does it ever get overwhelming? The surface thoughts? Do you hear emotions?” The teenager asked as Augustus’ wings arrived. Augustus pushed the plate over to him, but Oracle shook his head. “Thanks, though.” Augustus quietly finished a couple drumsticks, thinking over how he’d answer the question.
“Yes and no,” he admitted, “music helps. Not to drown out the thoughts and emotions. My brain filters that out. There’s a phenomenon in healthcare, it happens all the time to nurses… ‘alarm fatigue.’ If an IV beeps the same way for long enough, you stop hearing it beep. I guess that’s how I feel. If I pay attention I can hear it, or if it’s particularly quiet around, or if the ‘sound’ is loud enough, I’ll catch it, but not most stuff. Music helps me focus it, though. Especially the…uh… ‘out-going’ messages. Especially if it’s music that I like. I think that’s another Gossmere thing.”
He finished the wings, wiped his hands and mouth with the requisite moist towelette, and paid the check. “Thanks for hanging out Oracle. I don’t talk about this much, people get creeped out. It’s nice to get it off my chest.”
“No problem,” the teenager clapped the older man on the shoulder. They walked out in to the cooler temperatures of the early evening, back to the think tank of other Mountaineers trying to assemble four fragments into a key, without a lock on the Book of Briars to fit it in.
I loved this conversation, that was such a fun night sighs
For as long as I can remember, I’ve gone through back and forth between unshakeable faith that the fantastical could be real, and cynical irritation with myself for relying so heavily on fairy stories to deal with reality. To the endless disappointment of my younger self, I became practical somewhere in my teen years; I started being more and more certain that my fascination with certain rules of the universe, the colors that didn’t seem to belong in certain places, the way words or cloth or puzzle pieces fit together, was simply something I imagined, a crutch of wonder to help me limp through the flat, shallow reality I felt so stuck in.
And then I held fire.
I was at an end of semester bonfire-not an uncommon method of entertainment when you go to school in the rural midwest. One of the campus groups I was associated with had made a tradition of getting together at the end of each semester to burn old syllabi, class notes, tests you wanted to forget, et cetera. As the party was winding down and I sat wrapped up in a blanket by the bonfire while a few friends started to clean up, I caught sight of what looked like a map piece in the flames in front of me.
I can’t say why I thought picking it up was a good idea. I see ideas in maps sometimes, the way I see ideas in the edges of puzzle pieces or in boxes of crayons, and maybe something about this piece of map was scratching at an itch in the back of my brain. Maybe I thought it would help resolve a nagging question I hadn’t been able to answer about European geography earlier that day. Maybe I was just sleep deprived and had lowered self-preservation instincts due to my recent final exams. Whatever the reason, I leaned toward the fire and, without even thinking about it, scooped up the piece of map that had caught my eye.
I was so focused on trying to discern which partial coastline I had picked up that it took me a few seconds to realize that the paper was on fire. It took another second after that to realize that the fire didn’t hurt. If anything it felt…warm, like fabric just pulled from the dryer.
I cautiously ran my thumb over the paper, blinking at it, wondering if sleep deprivation had finally made me hallucinate. And then I blinked again, as I ran my thumb over a charred edge, and the blackened paper seemed to uncurl itself, lightening to a more-readable yellowed color and revealing what turned out to be the northern border of Portugal.
…So, yeah, in case anyone wonders about one of the reasons I resonated so strongly with Flinterforge when I first read about the Guilds. Or why I have a palm-sized map of Portugal on copy paper in my jewelry box.
Flames? Are you sure you even slightly calculated the risk in that situation? A sheer lack of whims, though recklessness would be more accurate, is why I’m a Thornmouth. My discovery was much more subtle and, in all honesty, safe.
If our discoveries could be called paths, as I’ve thought of just now. I have walked the Path of Memory. My discovery was extremely gradual.
Recollection was never an issue for me. I gathered knowledge like other people gather gemstones or marbles. Books were more important than anything else. Just knowing things was satisfying. Little did I know, magiq was helping me along. I had a secondary memory. Like an archive. It prevented my brain from forgetting memories deemed unimportant. I discovered it during my early teens.
I was beginning the school year and review was first on the schedule, as always. I always found review unnecessary and I was bored out of my mind. The answers I had learned years before popping into my mind regardless of whether I was listening to the posed question. I found this peculiar. I figured it was my subconscious somehow looking out for me. Luckily I didn’t forget about looking into it. I began intensive research.
My symptoms, I had taken to calling my experiences symptoms, were consistent with things such as photographic memory but the condition has been proven to be fictitious. There was no explanation to be found. I was distraught. The one thing that has allowed me to be so enamored with gathering knowledge was unknown. It was exciting from a research point of view but as a child who knew what has happened to those who have claimed to have similar abilities, I was scared. A life of learning had made me fear what I could not learn from a textbook or a Wikipedia page.
My mental state continued to deteriorate. I grew weary of searching for an explanation, I began to search for a cure. I tried all sorts of pseudoscientific fixes. I trawled magiq message boards, forums, and online libraries. I chatted with psychics and gurus. I deliberated with fortune tellers and gypsies. I wove myself into the magiqal underground, hoping that I could find some answer that science couldn’t provide me. My curse, I was now calling it a curse, was becoming chronic. I would walk through the hallways at school and hear everyone asking questions and that little feeling in the back of my head would chime in the answers. If I’d heard or read them before.
“What’s the height of Mount Kilimanjaro?”
“19,341 feet and the proper term is elevation.”
It was maddening. I just wanted to understand. Why did no one have the answers? I couldn’t forget anything. I could remember every insult ever flung at me, every disappointed sentence that came out of my guardian’s mouth, and everything. It was overwhelming. I thought I was going insane. Then, one day, laying in the grass, I realized something. I had to be doing it myself. Perhaps not actively, but it was some part of my subconscious that needed to know everything.
So I closed my eyes and relaxed. I lulled myself into a slumber. My dream was clear. I met with my curse. It understood what it was. It was an innate magiqal power that grew out of my voracious childhood hunger for knowledge. My desire was so strong that I inadvertently cast a spell on my own memory. I asked if I could reverse it. The Spell knew how I have cast it and it knew how to remove it.
The counterspell was long and complicated. If executed indirectly I could end up losing all my memories, not just the ones the spell was storing for me. The ritual was complicated. It involved an incantation that required it to be said while laying in a pool of rainwater. I had to lay out pots and pans each time it rained. I eventually had filled up the kiddie pool I had purchased with enough water to say the spell. But it failed, or so I thought. Whatever I had done. Whatever I have botched. Had left me the power to turn my ability on and off. I was overjoyed. I ran out of my bedroom, soaking wet and hugged my guardian. I had made my own cure.
I am still unsure how my spell came to be and how exactly I cast it. But the spell allowed me to join a community that introduced me to a whole new world of knowledge. I am happy I found magiq. I am happy my Path of Memory has taken me to such wonderful places.
Side note - I really like the idea of us each naming our Paths with some sort of keyword. Like with me calling it the Path of Memory. Maybe Viv’s can be the Path of Flames, Oracle’s the Path of Wings, and Aug’s the Path of Hearing or Thought. I dunno. It seems apropriate.
@VictorianFlorist Um…no? I’m normally more cautious, I promise, but sometimes the Whims just sort of overtake me. To be fair, my brain was scrambled from post-exam haze. Then again, I manipulate fire in non-magiqal ways as a hobby, so maybe the Path of Flames was inevitable for me in that regard.
BTW, love the “paths” idea and am running with it.
I like “The Path of Hearing.”
It happened a few years ago, during a high school choir trip. We stopped at a mall after our performance, and were told to “Go do something” for the next 4 hours. I was not pleased. We didn’t have time to change, so the entire choir still wore black.
We walked in an exhausted sort of herd, a group of quiet teenagers with slicked back hair and polished shoes.Eventually, we broke up into smaller groups, wandering lethargically.
I found myself nearly alone, with only two other girls beside me. They didn’t seem to care about my presence much. That was fine. I didn’t want to talk anyway. As we were passing by a particular storefront, a window display caught my eye and I hurried into the store to enquire about it.
I was lucky. I left the store with the last copy of a book I’d been looking forward to for ages. I glanced around, but the others had apparently gone ahead without me, leaving me alone in this strange mall, hours from home. I wandered for a bit, book clutched to my chest, looking for someone, anyone I knew, but to no avail. I was furious.
I had been left alone with strangers in the least comfortable shoes possible. To make matters worse, I left my phone in my backpack on the bus, which was gone for repairs. Unable to stand it any longer, I marched to the nearest bench and peeled off my stilettos. Why didn’t anyone warn me to bring flats? I was miserable and just wanted to go home. I checked my watch. One o’clock. There was still two hours until I could leave.
With nothing else to do, I opened my book and lost myself in the story. I was only a few chapters in when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned abruptly, ready to hit someone with the spine of my book, but it was only the choir director, brandishing a cell phone.
“Time to go. Gather your things and head back to the bus.”
It was nearly three according to her phone. Bewildered, I checked my watch, certain I had only been reading for a few minutes. Mine read three pm as well. Thoroughly spooked, I stumbled to my feet and followed the others back to the bus. I reflected on the way beck home that I couldn’t have simply lost track of time while reading. I only got through a few chapters before I was interrupted. I didn’t know what to call it then, but now I’m sure I used a form of time shifting to get through the unpleasantness of my situation. I’m not certain, but I suspect that I’ve used this technique before at family dinners and such, but this was the first time I realized I was doing it.
I discovered my magiq fairly recently, actually. About two months ago, I was on a camping trip with a group of my friends. It was the end of the semester, and everyone was ready to relax. At first I was surprised that I was invited, since I’ve typically been left to my own devices while my friends went out to get wasted. I was ecstatic to be able to hang out with my friends without feeling pressured to use substances. Unfortunately, my friends had other plans.
When we arrived at the place that we were going to camp, we set up our tents around the fire pit. We were surrounded on all sides by a healthy grove of trees, and were deep in the forest. For me, it was the perfect place to relax before finals week. Around sundown, though, one of my friends brought out a handle of cheap vodka; another brought out a small plastic baggie of weed. The rest of my friends cheered: I sulked. I realized that the reason I had been invited was to babysit my friends while they got wasted or high, or both. So, while they were preparing for their festivities, I slipped into the darkening woods, unnoticed by anyone.
I wandered around for what felt like hours. The ground was relatively flat, and dead leaves and fallen branches crunched underfoot as I trudged through the forest, upset at my friends, but also upset with myself for thinking that they would refrain from substances just because we were camping. I finally found myself in another small grove, though this was more rocky and seemingly more natural than the one with the campsite I had helped put together earlier. The moon, which had been mostly obscured while I had been wandering through the forest, was now revealed as a mere sliver. It was extremely dark, and a brisk breeze was starting to blow from the west. I then found that I was now very tired: walking through rugged terrain in the dark after a long day tends to do that. I walked around the clearing a couple of times, trying to find the place that was least affected by the wind. After a couple of minutes of stumbling about, I sank to the ground haphazardly, and curled into a ball at the base of a tree at the edge of the clearing, and drifted into unconsciousness.
When I awoke, the sky was still dark, but the slim crescent of the moon had long ago passed its zenith and was sinking into the western sky. The wind had stopped, but I now found myself covered in a light dew. I had slowly begun to wipe it off of myself, when I realized that I was lost. I hadn’t exactly followed a straight path from the campsite to the clearing I was in now, and I had disoriented myself by wandering about looking for a place to sleep earlier in the night. It was really shaping up to be the worst camping experience of my life.
At this point, I noticed a slight glow in the clearing. It was too bright to be the moon, and too widespread to be a flashlight. Thoroughly confused I looked around me, looking for the source, when I noticed that the light seemed to be coming from my hand. I lifted my hand from the ground and found floating above its center a small glowing object, similar in shape to a compass needle. As I watched it, it seemed to grow to the length of half-depleted pencil, and it began to swing pointedly in the direction of the forest behind me. While many people would have questioned their own sanity at this point, I was out of options. I was alone in the woods without anything but the clothes on my back, and the only people who knew I was out here were either passed out or too intoxicated to be much use. So I followed were the compass pointed me.
As I walked, the world seemed to become brighter around me. Dawn was coming, and though I didn’t recognize the trees around me (it had been quite dark before), I was gaining confidence that I was going the right way. I remember the whole time thinking “Just get me out of this forest. I don’t care where, just out of here.” I finally stumbled my way back into the camp I had left. Most of my friends were collapsed on the ground, resting fitfully. I sighed, and looked back at my palm, to the bright needle of light that had led me here, only to find it shrinking until it was no longer visible. I frowned, and then started the process of moving my friends into the tents that we had set up. That finished, I looked towards the road that we had come up, and watched the sun crest over the horizon. I smiled, and sat down in one of camp chair around the smoldering fire, only to find that there was a small, black book already in the chair. I didn’t realize it until much later that day, but I had used magiq to find my way back to the campsite to do the job I needed to do: take care of those I called my friends.
A few months ago, I sat comfortably in my living room studying a history book I had found stuffed on the top of a book shelf. I wasn’t sure where I had gotten it; perhaps my parents had acquired it years ago from a flea market…or from another family member. The pages were slightly yellowed and the outside was a dark green leather that was visibly aged but held a soft texture.
I opened the book, turning the pages carefully so I wouldn’t rip the fragile paper. It was at one page I stopped my skimming. It was a beautiful map of Africa, I tilted my head to focus on the specific detail of the countries within the continent. On the lower right corner of the page a drawn in compass stood out from the rest of the page’s content. My eyes shifted to the compass and stared at it from quite some time. I suddenly felt light, like my body had lifted from the comfortable couch I had been sitting on. My head felt fuzzy so I closed my eyes to attempt to silence the feeling of drifting off. Within a second or two the feeling went away and I opened my eyes. As I did so a sound filled my ears, the sound of people. Huge amounts of people were striding past me, their loud voices and movements filled the entire area as they made their way through what looked like a small market. Out of shock from the sudden change of surroundings I started to fall back. My arms caught me by placing my hands on the ground to keep myself from completely falling over. I was no longer sitting on my living room couch, I was sitting in the dirt right in the middle of a fairly massive crowd of people.
I stood up quickly, trying to avoid the civilians as they bustled about. My body kept turning around and around to take in where I was. My heart was pounding, the whole situation was so confusing and upsetting that I started to panic. I caught a sign on one of the shops, the symbols written on it were not things I had seen before. But somehow I knew what language it was, and what it said. My mind had figured out it was Amharic and it translated to: “Fresh Fruit Sold here”. I was frozen on the spot, staring at the sign trying to work out how on earth I could understand what the words meant.
I was shaken out of my trance when a women knocked into me, the objects she was carrying toppled and hit the dirt ground with a thud. Out of understandable frustration she shouted at me in Amharic and bent down to pick it all up. I bent down too to assist her and spoke frantically “I’m so sorry. I don’t really know–” but I stopped and blinked, realizing the language I was speaking wasn’t English: but in fact the language that the woman had just shouted at me in. I somehow was speaking a language I had no knowledge of. With a confused expression the stranger grabbed her things and kept moving.
I knew I needed to get out of the crowd if I had any way of assessing the situation I was in properly. I looked around and saw a brief opening to escape the amounts of people going about their business. The air was hot and dry, I could feel the energy draining from my body as I made my way to an open space. The feeling was back, the fuzziness in my brain that I had felt right before all of this had happened. I sat down on the hard dirt ground, closing my eyes to once again try to calm the drifting feeling I felt throughout my limbs. Then, there was silence, I opened my eyes cautiously; unsure of what I would be opening my eyes to. However, to my relief I was sitting in my living room once more, but instead of being on my couch; I now sat on the floor against the wall across the room. I looked down to the still open book and noticed my pointer finger resting on the country Ethiopia. A grin spread across my face, I was definitely going to be doing that again.
I always had a way of being right where he needed to be. Ever since I was little, I knew just when to move to stop someone falling, or avoid a punch, or when to take the next step. I always seemed two steps ahead. To my friends, it was a damn helpful lucky streak. To those who disliked me, it was an annoying tendency. To me though, it was something completely different.
I had always believed in magiq. From the time I was very young, and when he grew. My belief in magiq, true magiq, was shown to be powerful. This tendency was known to me to be something like a compulsion. Like I knew that girl was going to fall in the hall that day. So I stepped over and helped steady her after she tripped. She thanked me for that, and I just said “You’re welcome.” and began walking away. The girl asked, “How’d you know I was going to fall?” “Simple,” I replied, “Magiq.”
As time went on, the compulsion grew, and I began seeing what might happen to people. I pulled people onto paths that led to other places, and saw where people might get injured. I would soon learn the downfall of my sight. One night I saw the girl again, just out with some friends and I noticed something odd. I saw what looked like a faint trail of smoke coming from her and in front of her. So I flagged her down, and said hello. After the pleasantries, we parted ways, and I brushed against her arm on accident. I then saw her path. All, of her path. It stunned me, it was trippy. I saw her life and where it would end, which was three blocks down. I ran after her and just as I had reached her, the car I had seen hitting her spun out toward us. I shielded her with my own body and ended up with a couple casts. But she was saved. She visited me in the hospital and I saw her path again. Her path would diverge from mine, but would continue long onto her eventual death decades from now. There were forks in the road, where a new path could be made, but her path as of then was clear.
I understood after that. I could feel and see the little things, and sometimes the big things on the Path to Terminus. We all follow the path to our own end, but the choices we make create the path ahead. Shortly after my release from the hospital, I found a book, a small iron bird paperweight, and was given a website to follow from a friend of the girl’s. After following that link, everything suddenly came into focus.
Looking back, I can understand why I had such a strong connection to the Convergence. I wanted to help, and my own faith in magiq made the impossible happen. It tapped me into the paths of life, and let me see the small amount of things I could see. My first use of Grim’s Convergence was the night I saved the girl, but I had been using a lesser version for years unconsciously. Magiq guided me to help those who needed it and to save others, but also showed me the ones I couldn’t save, and helped me to understand that idea. Grim, being my persona online?.. Just adds to the connection. I picked it, as a kid, because I thought it felt right. Who knew huh?
(Author’s Note: I’m not super sure how well this reads, and I’m sorry if it seems badly written, I’m fairly out of practice writing like this, Though I’ll be writing 4 more things as well.Lemme know whatcha think!)
I figure I found magiq through grim’s convergence, and was able to grasp the active and passive components with more training. Like im able to act as a medium by focusing the magiq inward to become the beacon, im able to pull people out of their own paths (and able to see what is coming) by focusing the power outward.
actively, the magiq is stronger, but both internally and externally can be used passively.