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.
Thinking of how pretty her hair is has kindled the only love and appreciation he has left in his awareness.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
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.