“Sorry your door wasn’t locked, and I let myself in,” Elise said standing in my living room. “This was a mistake.”
“No it’s fine, it’s just you really shouldn’t have been able to get in I have wards strong ones that most people don’t know how to counter,” Corvid replied as he headed in.
Triss following him in added “they aren’t that strong, but it is true that very few people know how to counter or bypass them. Corvid you really should introduce us.”
As she spoke, Triss allowed her eyes to rove over Elise before making eye contact. She gave a satisfied smile of someone who liked what they saw, while somehow also making an offer. Elise blushed looking down.
“Sorry I didn’t notice any wards or anything, I was just,” she trailed off her eyes making their way up Triss’ legs.
“Damn it Triss, you broke her.” Corvid growled, “look, Elise, if you want me to go upstairs turn up some music for a couple of hours while you start your college experimentation phase I totally will.”
“So you won’t sleep with me, but you will offer me out to your friends?”
“Maybe if you weren’t undressing her with your eyes, I didn’t think it was possible for a person to blush that hard.”
“I can’t help it, she’s a virgin they’re just so tasty.”
Elise somehow blushed harder, unable to find something to hide behind in the middle of the living room, here eyes invariably finding themselves back on Triss’ figure. Even then she kept her eyes lowered, as she shifted nervously from foot to foot.
“Ok that’s weird,” Triss said walking forward. She reached out to Elise, who seemed to cringe away from her hand. Pulling her hand back Triss leaned forward and sniffed Elise’s head, reaching out again she cupped Elise’s chin and forced eye contact. “Relax.”
It was an order that carried weight, not an actual spell just intention backed up by power. Corvid could feel it without it being directed at him.
“For fucks sake Triss, not cool.”
“She’s a half demon for all our chaos we’re hierarchical, her kind more than most. I stand equal to the Morningstar, and she could tell.”
Elise for her part sank down onto the sofa looking shell-shocked no longer entirely focused on Triss, who took the opportunity to flee the room into the kitchen leaving Corvid to deal with the fallout.
“What is she?” Elise asked.
“A demon like you apparently, one strong enough to make you skip right over the fight or flight response and straight into submission. Sorry she freaked you out, she’s quite nice I promise,” Corvid answered.
“I’m not a demon.”
“I am almost contractually obligated to believe whatever she says, I am contractually obligated to do whatever she says. So Triss has no reason to lie to me, I don’t see any reason to lie to you, and if anyone can tell it’s her. So yeah you got hellfire in your veins.”
“You’re a thrall or something?”
“Nah, technically I’m bound to her boss who very much isn’t a demon. Triss is even more tightly bound than I am if anything she just passes on the marching orders. For future reference though never sign a contract with a demon, it’s almost guaranteed to screw you over.”
“So I shouldn’t be asking you to teach me magic then?”
“Oh yeah, horrible idea to consort with demons or those who deal with them, but you are already here, and we’re not judgmental about the whole half demon thing.”
“Stop saying that, I’m not a demon.”
“Triss could we,” Corvid started to shout just as Triss walked back into the room carrying two glasses of scotch. “Well don’t you have excellent timing.” Back to Elise, he stated, “fine you’re not a demon.”
“Yes, you are sweetie, probably best to accept that sooner rather than later. If only to take precautions against Vatican exorcists.” Triss said before sashaying out of the room again, leaving the scotch behind.
“She left so you can argue the point with me because I don’t think you can argue with her just yet. It also means you can’t refute the source since my arguments are fallible.” Corvid said before Elise could deny being a demon again. “If you want we could change the topic, do you believe in God?”
“So was I, which is an excellent starting point. Every god you’ve ever heard of is real, some even take a rather active role in the world. The creation myth I was told, and chose to believe states that in the beginning there was everything, and it was correctly ordered.”
Elise, who seemed to take the change in topic with relief straightened up, “don’t most creation myths start with chaos and darkness?”
“Yeah that comes next, the order came from what you might call the Origin or Order. Order presided over all of its creation keeping it static, eventually, however, proving even the Origin of everything isn’t infallible it messed up allowing for just a tiny bit of entropy creating change. From this change the God, which is commonly referred to as Time was born. Also called Entropy or Inevitable Change. To be honest, this myth has been translated so many times I have no idea what the names are supposed to be, just work with the concepts.”
“You’re not very good at this are you?”
“I fix computers, people and, shoot monsters,” Corvid said patting his sidearm, “not you.”
“I’ve been wondering about those.”
“Vampire in Seattle once Time showed up it promptly kicked the ever living crap out of the ordered universe creating chaos and eventually the universe as we know it. A move that has made a lot of people unhappy and is generally viewed as a bad idea.”
“You’re quoting something aren’t you?” Elise asked.
“Shush I like to think I’m funny. Time didn’t have the already known to be fallible omniscience of Order so it created a system of observational drones to watch stuff gather data and eventually bring it back.”
“I’m sensing a but here.”
“Yeah, eventually every physical reaction there was to see was seen and recorded so Time got bored. To deal with that, it had two children and told them to create interesting things for the drones to observe. It’s two kids created a system where the drones were placed in the domain of one of them, and they would be influenced. Once a certain condition was met the drones would be sent over to the other half where they would again be influenced. As long as new drones were introduced the system should, in theory, get more complicated with time.”
“This is where the plot twist is then?” Elise asked.
“Pretty much the two children are Life and Death. The drones are souls who have been shoved into anything capable of observation. We’re currently in Life’s realm just for clarification, but if we were in the afterlife, we might be calling Death Life. Names really don’t matter much. Those are the four gods responsible for the universe as we know it, all other stories are false, or are talking about much smaller events. Also, no one really cares about Order, that one does nothing almost by definition.”
“How do you know any of this is real and not just some superstition?”
“Three reasons, the first is Time doesn’t like it when you crimp on his territory. Any attempts to fuck with time are dealt with swiftly at catastrophically. Second Triss’ boss, that’s Life, third that shadow you see following me she’s a psychopomp employed directly by Death, who I’ve also met. The fourth an unlisted reason is that if it isn’t true I’m so going to hell, but that’s true of anyone who follows religion their way has to be the way or they’re so fucked.”
“You know you sound crazy right?” Elise asked.
“I should bloody well hope so, I sold my sanity for a good price. Others gods exist too for varying levels of godhood. Anyways the whole point of that story is the two rules of magic humans have to follow, the first is don’t fuck with time, the second don’t fuck with death. Time is a bit flexible it’s possible to do some prophetic stuff, but no time travel. The death one is more absolute, don’t be magically connected with someone when they die,” Corvid said.
“What does that mean, and what about Life?” Elise asked.
“Well, Life created you to do whatever the fuck you wanted, the only way to upset life is to corrupt your soul, or mess with the other two gods first. The only way to corrupt your soul is to be magically connected to another human when they die. I could go into details as to why but it doesn’t matter. Incidentally, other people have different theories, but the practical applications are the same. Magic contains a bit of your soul, if you hit someone with it, your soul gets stuck to them for a while. The self-repair mechanism will draw it back to you in anything from two to twenty-four hours. In that time if the person dies they take your soul with them. This leads to homicidal insanity as you try to fix your soul.”
“That seems like a pretty big flaw in the system.”
“I prefer to worship fallible gods, it’s also a lesson in why not to give administrative access to beginners. It only effect humans with other humans, magical creatures can kill humans or each other with magic no problem and we can kill them.”
“That sounds complicated.”
“Oh it really is, magic tends to adapt to use so at this point people have been not killing each other with magic that it’s downright difficult to do, makes killing non-humans hard. Makes me glad I don’t have to fight the vampire,” Corvid said.
“Then why all the guns?”
“Oh they were worried people might be injured and asked me along, I might be a beginner, but I’m still one of the better healers around if only because I’m willing to work on critical cases.”
“So if one of your patients die?” Elise asked.
“There are entire organizations dedicated to hunting me down, it’s fine I bet I could say ahead of them for years.”
“Well that neatly goes back to you being crazy,” Elise said, “can we get to the part where you start teaching me magic?”
“Sure follow me,” Corvid said standing and heading to the second floor Elise following. “Honestly, magic is pretty simple I’ve got books and PDFs for you, it mostly comes down to three things. Ritual, intent, and power. Do the ritual, intend for something to happen and add power, it gets tricky that rituals gain intent the more they’re used, and if your intent doesn’t line up with the purpose of the ritual the spell is weaker.”
“That doesn’t sound like too much of an issue,” Elise commented.
“Keep in mind that some of these rituals have been in use for hundreds if not a thousand years, sometimes passed on with oral tradition. No one knows the original intent of some rituals, but they still use them because of how much power they bring to the table. Basically, every unlocking spell in the modern age includes the words open sesame as part of the ritual. Those words became popular well before the modern lock people even try to use it on electronic locks these days. A pure spell is one where the original intent is known and only cast by individuals who know it, for that reason people tend to be stingy about sharing their magic.”
“But you’ve got books for me?”
“Oh I’m just giving you the publicly available stuff,” Corvid said booting up his workstation and plugging in a random USB drive. “My personal library will remain private. Though if you’re interested I could teach you the system I developed, someone else using it would be nice.”