On the False Claims of the Monks (essay)

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This is a creative work set in the world of Elanthia, attributed to its original author(s). It does not necessarily represent the official lore of GemStone IV.

Title: On the False Claims of the Monks

Author: Lord Silvean Rashere

Among the giantmen there are tribes that engage in festival and ritual to celebrate, appease, and learn from their dead. In this practice we find, once more, that primitive cultures often manifest an intuitive understanding of the basic truths long since sharpened and perfected by urban societies. The giantmen, driven to and fro by their urges and passions, are responsive to a sense of immeasurable debt owed to their ancestors. All of this scurrying and scrambling on their part serves as a memory aid to we sorcerers who bear a responsibility toward our own ancestors. It is our individual and collective responsibility to cast awe into the hearts of our envious despisers. We must seize the promise of sorcery; that we, like those who came before us, shall become incarnations of beauty and power. This is not meant to tantalize. If you seek hot breath against your neck, seek elsewhere. The promise of sorcery places a hold upon us; we find ourselves bound and compelled to demonstrate that our magical tradition is ascendant. It is a matter of honor.

We are now faced with increasingly bold self-assertion from mentalists who claim to channel “psychic energy” into their spells. This psychic energy is so peculiar, they argue, that it merits recognition as a third sphere of magic along with the elemental and spiritual. Insofar as we adhere to the fundamental paradigm of magical spheres, this is a strange claim for the mentalists to make. Elemental magic already includes the diversity of physical entities in the world. It is probable that the mentalists engage innovative ways of bending this elemental energy toward their own purposes but it is unlikely that they harness some entirely new force. Theirs is a sort of bodily alchemy. The mind becomes a crucible or lens through which elemental energy is molded or refracted toward new ends. Fresh water, salt water, and the blood of trolls all possess their own peculiar magical properties but they are all manifestations of water as an elemental form. Each has been worked over by natural processes to such an extent that their resemblance becomes opaque to the casual observer but the identity remains all the same.

I am raising here a vital question of dignity for mentalists. They will not favor my argument but the right ordering of the world requires the right understanding of its properties. Sorcerers must refute all false claims regarding the use and understanding of magic because such claims are ultimately an attack on our rightful place atop the hierarchy of magical arts. We need only look at the effects of this mental magic among the monks to see its limitations. Their emphasis on physicality prevents them from escaping the confines of the physical form even though they may fool themselves into thinking otherwise. Monkish practices tend toward an inwardness that is merely self-indulgent rather than transcendent. I am certain that monks are fit for many tasks in this world, just as fire cats are fit for burning mice, but the promise of sorcery eludes their grasp.

- Lord Silvean Rashere