Thursday, 22 July 2010

The Great Mysteries: Purple, Orange, Green

The Great Mysteries, it is rumored, are a path of eight spells: one for each of the Schools of Magic.

Each great Mystery is the culmination of its School; the ultimate and final insight, and the very School's transformation into something different. If the path is walked, and the eight Mysteries learned, the doors of the Cosmos open wide for the archmage; Transcendence beckons.

Scores of sorcerers, finding the limitation of the sixth level of spells too much for them, have taken up the quest and set foot on the path. Many have fallen by the wayside, laid low by the temptation of misusing these great powers. To stay one's hand and reach Transcendence is the safest and at the same time the most difficult way. Only three, it is said, have done it since the world began.

Indeed, some say that the Great Mysteries of the Black, White, Gold and Brown schools must also be encompassed to reach the legendary final state of Transcendence. If so, then Transcendence is remote indeed; in this broken world where the Mysteries are scattered among the wizards of Man and the priests of the Gods.

The Great Mystery of Purple Magic: Master of Reality

This may be the first Great Mystery , as Purple is the most basic school of high magic. Or maybe the last, as the very essence of all magic is to impose the form of will on the world. Altering all in sight, the master of the Purple school crosses the boundary between seeming and being, and creates a section of the world anew for all who believe. A village of hovels becomes a knightly palace; wet swamp becomes baking desert. Emlo the Chrysanthine created a fool's paradise; Gramnion created a hell for his enemies. Both of them failed to transcend. One believed too much in his creation and became one with it, the other dwindled to a phantom shape, believing too little in himself. This is all that is known of this mystery.

The Great Mystery of Orange Magic: Oracle
Some speak of this mystery as taking the form of a book ... a brass head ... a talking beast ... a magic mirror. Curiously, the spell is also written of as being "found" or "owned" and not "cast." Whatever it may be, the Oracle answers all questions put to it perfectly. Surely there must be limit to the number of questions per day, though the histories do not speak of any such limits. The stories of those who failed at this level imply that the Oracle eats at the mind with each question; Bellagrance went insane with the knowledge she could not stop herself from uncovering, while Fra Ugo ended up with his mind a blank, having to ask the Oracle even what his own name was at the end.

The Great Mystery of Green Magic: Mind Swap
It is fitting that the ultimate expression of domination of one mind over another should involve the actual exchange of mind for mind. The duration of this spell, though unknown, is also irrelevant when used for its most audacious and atrocious purpose: to transfer the mind of a senescent wizard into the fresh body of a youth, who then ensures the death of the former body, sealing the bargain and cheating the Reaper. Sometimes, a thin moralism is imposed over the vile act. Thus, the lich Karces, tired of his old bones, transferred himself into a black gem of great price perched atop a treasure hoard, justifying his possession of the eventual victim's body as a punishment for greed. One could go on living for millennia in this way, spending a lifetime in each body, a lifetime in each place. Many have, and still do, quietly. But such an attachment  is a sure way to lose the Path ... remaining only the master of the human mind, never going beyond, feeling old even at thirty, losing a small piece of the soul with each addictive transfer.

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