A Sorcerer's Tale

By James Walker


Your Grace, this is a copy of a letter found during a routine security check on the exorcist Sandra Bethany. The original has been left untouched, and another copy sent to Judgement.


My dearest Makrathumia,

I am both delighted and concerned by your considerable progress. Delighted with your success, concerned by your desire to finish your studies early. Do you truly believe that I suggested that you serve with the Purifiers on a whim? I am fully aware of how boring the training you have received under The Sword must have seemed. Boring, repetitive, pedantic and overly cautious.

And that, my dearest child, is one of the reasons why I chose the Purifiers for your training. Sorcery is not an art for the impatient, nor for the merely 'gifted'. Your gifts are considerable, but so were those of your great-grandmother: have you forgotten that I was called on to destroy the zombi that was raised from his broken remains? Perhaps your mother did not tell you. If so, know this now - no matter how skilled, or brilliant, or dedicated, or insightful you are, a single error can destroy you utterly, snuffing you out, crushed in the mindless paws of a soulless demon, as your foolish great-grandmother was.

And yes, I am trying to frighten you. Why must you be so impatient? When you were born, so were many other creatures. When you were held in your mothers arms, the insects born on your birthday had already matured. Do you envy them that? Or the dogs which roamed as adults while you were a child - do you envy them the freedom they had? Then why do you envy the pitiful mundanes who have already reached the high point of their lives? Yes, they are pleased with their jobs and their families - but what have they left save a slow wasting away, while you continue to wax strong.

You are acting like a mundane. Were you mundane, your impatience would be understandable, the need to act swiftly before passing into oblivion commendable. But you are not mundane, not mere breeding stock. You are the ultimate goal of their fevered, otherwise pointless lives. The scant score of years you have lived is a blink in the eye compared to the long ages you may rightfully expect to live, strong in the Art and secure in your power. The single decade you had planned to spend learning from the Purifiers (and, I might add, helping to protect the cattle whom we must reluctantly acknowledge as fellow humans) will, looking back, seem all too short an introduction to our Noblest of Arts.

Besides, the resources available to you as a Purifier are not to be scorned. The angels have a broad and detailed understanding of the demons they battle; their only flaw is to refuse to acknowledge that those who were once their brother no longer exist, and that a demon is as unlike an angel as an undead is as unlike a human. The angels can describe in detail the numerous abilities of the Fallen, and suggest countermeasures. But, no doubt you believe that you have learned all they have to teach, merely because you have memorised the books they have provided. So I must use other arguments.

Can you memorise a Malakim escort? Much easier to exorcise a Shedite if the demons' host is restrained by a pair of angels, yes? It will be many long years before you can control demons as powerful as the angels you will be routinely assigned as guards. Without them, who will guard your back while you perform your newly learnt rituals? A handful of feeble gremlins? Or do you trust your own, newly learnt skills with your life & soul? Foolishness. Exorcism in a Sorcerers' last defence, when all else has failed - to use it as your only shield is insane.

How do you hope to replace an angelic rescue party? The angels of The Sword are renowned for rescuing their human allies should it be necessary. No gaggle of bound demonlings and ethereals can be expected to perform the elegant rescues which Heaven delights in. More foolishness.

You are proud - quite rightly given your lineage and calling - so no doubt you are furious at my calling you a fool. So? All your life, you have been surrounded by mundanes and their impatient, mindless beliefs. So it is not surprising that you have yet to dismiss their foolishness. What is surprising is that you show no desire to do so. As a child you showed the intelligence an determination to puzzle through a problem while your siblings wandered away, their feeble brains seeking simpler pleasures. You still possess the determination to succeed - that has been shown by your swift mastery of the tasks set before you by Heaven. You are bored. Very well. Spend your excess time and mind power cleansing yourself of the habits leaned in mortal schooling. Surely the angels have told you that The Media twist the press, encouraging humans to seek simple answers, wrapped in a sound bite, and to expect instant gratification of all pleasures? BY perfecting your self-discipline, you will free yourself of demonic influence - an important first step if you intend to become a proficient summoner.

I hope I have persuaded you to complete your studies. And I would like to finish on a note of praise; when I began reading your letter I feared that your complaints would include (if only implicitly) a loathing of the discipline and moral strictness of The Sword. For a budding sorcerer, morality is a powerful shield, as essential as an eggshell is to a newly laid bird. While you may eventually discard the shattered shell and fly free, ethics currently protects you from causal knocking by the world - particularly from the temptations of the Corrupters. But enough of my concerns.

I trust you will keep in contact, as I do like hearing from you. I have passed on your regards to the White Witch - although I would recommend that you never again, even in jest, even in private, refer to her as my 'Canadian girlfriend'! She did not acquire her position or power by tolerating such banter! I know you will not understand, having grown up in this strange age, but trust me in this.

I remain, as always,
your loving
The Gray-Eyed Lord of Noon,
VIIth of the XII.


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