I was asked to share...

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I was asked to share...

Post by Jeffrey »

This was a personal email, Christine has encouraged me to post it here. I made some minor revisions for purposes of clarity and polishing.


Dearest Madames,

As I write you this, I am listening to “Fire and Water” by Shane Thomas.

I am also still recovering from a lack of sleep.

I’ve looked over the PDF; it is both impassioned and spirited.

I can’t help but thinking of this ordeal in the light of one of my favorite books, “Wizards First Rule” (when I was reading it the first time, I always imaged the wizard Zed to look like modwiz). Some of the details might be slightly off, but the basic idea is there.

In the book, there is additive magic and subtractive magic. With additive magic, you can only create and build upon; with subtractive magic you can only destroy and take away from.

The antagonist wizards in the story use subtractive magic, which is characterized by black lightning-like energy in its raw form.

Zed, who is like a white wizard, has only mastered the use of additive magic.

Richard, one of the main characters, doesn’t know he has potent magical abilities latent within him. His bloodlines stem from two different breeds of wizard — both light and dark. He is born unaware and sheltered from the truth of magic.

Throughout the book, Richards morals and understanding of right use of will are tested rigorously. This isn’t a book for children as some of the trials he encounters are descriptively intense and heavy topics.

He is given a sword at the beginning of his journey and officially made a Seeker by Zed. The sword he now carries — the Sword of Truth — is the magical weapon of a Seeker. It is imbued with it’s own life force and power.

The sword, when held by a worthy Seeker, fills the wielder with a righteous anger. A blood boiling rage that is to be used against those who oppose Truth. When the anger turns to rage, the magic of the sword makes the metal glow with a red hue.

Richard finds the power of the sword to be both dangerous and intimidating.

He cannot ever use the sword on the innocent, it’s impossible and no Seeker has ever been able to do it. Some fallen Seeker’s have tried.

The swords magic only works against those who are truly guilty and it turns Richard into an unstoppable bringer of death. He is the deliverer of uncompromising justice to those who’ve earned the right to taste the red glow of it’s steel.

Once drawn, the ring of the blade drowns out excuses and lies to the contrary.

When he first uses the power of the sword to cut down someone in the name of Truth, it is an act of protecting another from men who are under the influence of dark magic. He shed their blood defending someone he loves using the righteous anger of the Sword of Truth and tapping into his own magic that lay deep within.

He was protecting Kahlan, even though she was perfectly capable of defending herself; but Richard didn’t know this at the time.

After this episode, he quickly discovers the crippling cost of using the sword. His punishment is grace to those he cuts down and he himself pays the toll for using the sword on another.

He feels the pain of destruction in full force; the pain of injuring another and taking away life; the pain of the swords destructive aspect with no filters or suppressive mechanism to protect the user.

The righteous rage of the sword comes back and reverberates within his being, crippling him with the the energy that fueled the hatred of the dark magic controlling those opposed to Truth — those that have unconsciously used their own power to control or harm others.

He feels the utterly overwhelming agony that was locked inside the anger which fueled the wielder of the sword to take the life of another in the name of Truth.

During the course of his journey, he gets captured by a Mord-Sith. The Mord-Sith are all women who were selected at a young age by dark magicians and trained in the art of pain and torture.

As children, the little girls were forced to witness the death of one of their parents by another Mord-Sith. Then they were forced to torture their other parent to death using an Agiel — the tool of a Mord-Sith.

A tool which they have come to know all to well through their training.

The Agiel is infused with a perverse type of dark magic. When used by one who is properly trained, inflicts the most excruciating pain on the victim.

There is no place where the Agiel doesn’t go when one is taken and tortured by a Mord-Sith, who also employ other means of inflicting emotional and psychological pain on their captives.

Richard is such a captive for a long period of time.

In the beginning, when he realizes he cannot escape, he locks a little light from a memory of a loved one deep inside himself.

Part of the magic of a Mord-Sith prevents their captives from thinking anything bad or harboring ill-will towards them. If they even think one bad thought about the Mord-Sith, the magic buckles their mind and body with the fire of an unbelievable type of torment.

So, Richard is forced to find one good quality about his captor and concentrate on that in order to circumvent additional pain.

He decides that he likes her hair, and forces himself to think of how pretty it is as she brings him to a level of suffering he didn’t think was possible.

Over the course of months, which pass by like years, Richard is humiliated and tortured in ways unimaginable. He eventually forgets who he is, who he’s loved, and who’s loved him.

The only thing he knows now is pain.

He has become a personal pet and kept on a leash by the Mord-Sith who captured him — Denna.
I want you to learn. Learn that I can do whatever I want, and there is no way for you to stop me. You must learn that you are totally helpless, and that if you enjoy any time without pain, it is only because I choose it. Not you. — Denna, on training Richard
Thinking of how pretty her hair is has kindled the only love and appreciation he has left in his awareness.

After succumbing to Denna; after countless months of relentless degradation, humilation and pain; after having his spirit completely broken as her pet; the light that Richard had earlier locked inside of him begins calling to him.

At first he doesn’t recognize it.

It slowly begins to remind him of who he is . . . his duty, his love, the beauty of life. Drop by drop he remembers, until finally, with full force, the light breaks through and gushes forth from within; illuminating the Truth of his being once again.

He remembers everything and taps into his own latent magic coursing through him.

He is able to get ahold of his sword once again, but he is different now.

Something has changed, something in his being that wasn’t there before.

Something he gained from the abuse and levels of pain he suffered at the hands of Denna.

It’s a scar.

Deep and sprawling across his heart, like nothing he’s ever had before, it’s totally penetrating and he can’t see the end of it when he looks inside.

Denna gave it to him.

With this new addition to his character, Richard taps into another layer of magic in the sword that no other Seeker had been able to reach in the past.

He takes the sword up with the intention in his mind to use it on Denna, and the sword begins to glow white, not red.

This hasn’t ever happened.

The righteous rage that took him over every other time he had used the sword on the guilty simply wasn’t there, not even a trace of it.

In the place of rage was love. More specifically, it was compassion.

He loved Denna, and felt deeply for her through the empathy he now had seeping from the massive scar in his own heart, a scar that she gave him.

A wound that she had given to many before Richard.

She didn’t know how to express love and had known nothing but pain from being trained as a Mord-Sith since she was a small girl. She couldn’t remember anything before that, but she felt something distantly familiar for Richard. Something other than hatred — love.

Denna loved Richard.

Even if it was only a whisper, even though it was knotted up in dark magic and tarnished by the anguish in Denna’s own being, Richard could still feel that love.

Richard felt deeply for Denna. He knew and understood her pain completely with a type of compassion that was rooted in his relationship and experiences with her.

She welcomed death, she welcomed relief; and as Richard slid the glowing white sword into her chest a tear streamed down her cheek and she said, “Thank you”, because he had reminded her of what it was like to love. He had pierced through the darkness and touched her soul.

That day Richard learned that a Seeker could slay the innocent, but only if the sword was glowing white. His punishment is grace.

This email was longer than I expected. I’m not sure which parts you’ll identify with, but I couldn’t help to think of this story regarding all of this. I know you both are probably feeling a mixture of both compassion and righteous anger. I’m going through some of it too no doubt.

Richard eventually mastered both additive and subtractive magic. He understood that life could not exist without both. He learned about the right use of will too — how to apply his power, in what ways and for what reasons. He found that natural magic is within everyone, that everybody has a sword, and a scabbard.

It's really a beautiful story and there's a lot more in the book.

I think that’s what we are here learning to do, how to apply our magic.

I totally support you in this effort and I’m glad we’re here going through this together.

I’m not sure if this email was entirely helpful in terms of the critical analysis you requested of the PDF, but I really felt a strong urge to write it and share part of that story. It’s my favorite book.

In whatever way, I hope this was helpful.

We’ll talk soon.

By the way, Zed eventually tells Richard and Kahlan (who is Richard's true love and the Mother Confessor) what the Wizard’s First Rule actually is.
"Wizard's First Rule: people are stupid." Richard and Kahlan frowned even more.

"People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People's heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.

"Because of Wizards First Rule, the old wizards created Confessors, and Seekers, as a means of helping find the truth, when the truth is important enough. Darken Rahl knows the Wizard's Rules. He is using the first one. People need an enemy to feel a sense of purpose. It's easy to lead people when they have a sense of purpose. Sense of purpose is more important by far than the truth.

In fact, truth has no bearing in this. Darken Rahl is providing them with an enemy, other than himself, a sense of purpose. People are stupid; they want to believe, so they do. — Zed, Chapter 36, p.560

And there you have it; people are stupid.

Wizard’s first rule.

Love y’all.



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Re: I was asked to share...

Post by Spiritwind »

Well, that cooked my noodle Jeffrey. A lot to ponder on for sure, and on so many levels. Thank you so much, both to the sender of this sharing, and to you Jeffrey for sharing it. I always try to look at things from many points of view as I feel my perceptions are more well rounded and real, and not just what I want them to be. I have to be ready to factor in new information and hold all that I think I know as a working thesis that can be amended at any time. Of course, others can and do fill in the blanks with what they don't know (and, might I add, what hasn't been substantiated), but my focus is more on creating that bridge that allows a conscious flow and interaction between both the outer and the inner world, and between the seen and unseen. Each moment is an opportunity to see through that mirror a little more clearly. In each of us resides a portal that can take us to the truth, if we have the courage to go there knowing we must embrace whatever it is we see (and that maybe we don't, at least consciously, already know all there is to know). Full on love is what I see. It is the ship that can sail us to safe harbor. And ALL can board that ship if they choose. The past and future do not exist, there is only the now.

Love boat here we come!
I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....

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I wasn't asked,... but when do I wait for THAT? Xp

Post by Shezbeth »

Beautifully written Jeffrey, (spoiler alert!) the man with the single, coolest name in the world. ^_~

I hope you won't mind if I follow up with something of a parallel (but not entirely) story/dialogue, sourced instead from the Star Wars novel series, specifically the book "Traitor".

The dialogue is directly between Jacen Solo (son of Han and Leia) and Vergere, an obscure force-master. In context, when he was a prisoner of the Yuuzhan Vong (Galactic Adversary du jour) she regularly subjects Jacen to a degree of torture/pain so overwhelming that all senses are shut down and he experiences a white-out.


Vergere: “What is pain for? Do you ever think about that, Jacen Solo? What is its function? Many of our more devout masters believe that pain is the lash of the True Gods: that suffering is how the True Gods teach us to disdain comfort, our bodies, even life itself. For myself, I say that pain is itself a god: the taskmaster of life. Pain cracks the whip, and all that lives will move. The most basic instinct of life is to retreat from pain. To hide from it. If going here hurts, even a granite slug will go over there; to live is to be a slave to pain. To be ‘beyond pain’ is to be dead, yes?”

Jacen: “Not for me," Jacen answered dully, once his throat opened enough that he could speak. "No matter how dead you say I am, it still hurts.”

Vergere: “Oh, well, yes. That the dead are beyond pain is only an article of faith, isn't it? We should say, we hope that the dead are beyond pain--but there's only one way to find out for sure.”

Jacen: “I don't think anything. I just want it to stop.”

Vergere: “I am such a fool. All this time, I had thought I was speaking to an adult. Ah, self-deception is the cruelest trick of all, isn’t it? I let myself believe that you had once been a true Jedi, when in truth you are only a hatchling, shivering in the nest, squalling because your mother hasn’t fluttered up to feed you.”

Jacen: “You...you...How can you... after what you’ve done...”

Vergere: “What I have done? Oh, no no no, this is about what you have done.”

Jacen: “I haven’t done anything!”

Vergere: “Exactly. Is that not the infant’s tactic? To wail, and wail, and wail, to wriggle its fingers and kick its heals...hoping an adult will notice and care for it?”

Jacen: “What can I do?”

Vergere: “Certainly, among your options is continuing to hang in this room and suffer. And so long as you do that, do you know what will happen?”

Jacen: “What?”

Vergere: “Nothing. Oh, eventually, you’ll go mad, I suppose. If you’re lucky. Someday you may even die. Of old age.”

Jacen: “Is that why you keep coming here? To gloat? To humiliate a defeated enemy?”

Vergere: “Am I gloating? Are we enemies? Are you defeated?”

Jacen: “I don’t understand.”

Vergere: “That, at least, is very clear. I give you a gift, Jacen Solo. I free you from hope of rescue. Can you not see how I am trying to help you?”

Jacen: “Help? When we talk about the kind of things you’ve done to me, help isn’t the word we use.”

Vergere: “No? Then perhaps you are correct: our difficulties may be linguistic. When I was very young, I came upon a shadowmoth at the end of its metamorphosis, still within its cocoon. I had already some touch with the Force; I could feel the shadowmoth’s pain, its panic, its claustrophobia, its hopelessly desperate struggle to free itself. It was as though this particular shadowmoth knew I was beside it, and screamed out to me for help. How could I refuse? So I gave it what you mean by help: I used a small utility cutter to slice the cocoon, to help the shadowmoth get out.”

Jacen: “Oh, you didn't, did you? Please say you didn't.”

Jacen: ‘You can’t help a shadowmoth by cutting its cocoon. It needs the effort; the struggle to break the cocoon forces ichor into its wing veins. If you cut the cocoon—

Vergere: ‘The shadowmoth will be crippled. "Yes. It was a tragic creature--never to fly, never to join its fellows in their nightdance under the moons. Even its wingflutes were stunted, and so it was as mute as it was planetbound. During that long summer, we sometimes heard moonsong through the window of my bedchamber, and from my shadowmoth I would feel always only sadness and bitter envy, that it could never soar beneath the stars, that its voice could never rise in song. I cared for it as best I could-- but the life of a shadowmoth is short, you know; they spend years and years as larvae, storing strength for one single summer of dance and song. I robbed that shadowmoth; I stole its destiny... because I helped it.”

Jacen: "That wasn’t helping. That’s not what help means either.”

Vergere: “No? I saw a creature in agony, crying out in terror, and I undertook to ease its pain, and assuage its fear. If that is not what you mean by help, then my command of Basic is worse than I believed.”

Jacen: “You didn't understand what was happening.”

Vergere: “Neither did the shadowmoth. But tell me this, Jacen Solo: if I had understood what was happening--if I had known what the larva was, and what it must do, and what it must suffer, to become the glorious creature that it could become--what should I have done that you would call, in your Basic(english), help?”

But tell me this, Jacen Solo: what should I have done that you would call help?”

Jacen: “I suppose the best help you could offer would be to keep the cocoon safe. Hawk-bats hunt shadowmoth larvae, and they especially like newly cocooned pupae: that's the stage where they have the most stored fat. So I guess the best help you could offer would be to keep watch over the larva, to protect it from predators--and leave it alone to fight its own battle.”

Vergere: “And, perhaps, also to protect it from other well-intentioned folk—who might wish, in their ignorance, to ‘help’ it with their own utility cutters. And also perhaps, you might stop by from time to time, to let the struggling, desperate, suffering, creature know that it is not alone. That someone cares. That its pain is in service of its destiny.”

Jacen: “Yes...”

Vergere: “Then, Jacen Solo, our definitions of help are identical.”
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