(From the prologue to Of All Things Real)
Both of my parents were killed when I was 14 years old. I could say murdered; that is what it felt like. But there was no plotting, merely opportunity. They were victims of a roving band of men at war with another roving band of men. That was a dark time. A time before we understood magic.
After their deaths, I had no reason not to wander the world. It was so much larger than I had believed, and full of stories. I assumed that many of these tales were too fantastical to be true. I learned otherwise in a small village. There I saw a helpless woman, tied to a stake and surrounded by shouting men and women. She screamed in anger, focused her fury — and the flames at her feet engulfed her persecutors in a fiery explosion. She called the fire as a sheer act of will. I saw it with my own eyes.
That event set me on a pilgrimage of sorts. For years I tracked down every mad rumor I could find, recording everything I could about the ones I found were true. The true stories all had one element in common. Like that woman, the person responsible for each miracle or curse had previously suffered some sort of injury or trauma, placing them in a coma for a short period of time.
I worked for months, using the skills I learned from my parents, to create a mixture that would put me into a “recoverable” coma of my own. I finally succeeded. That is how I discovered magic — how to touch it, how to control it.
It took many long years to understand why this state was the key. Understand that we are made of three parts: body, soul and spirit. The spirit is our identity and consciousness; the soul is the tether that anchors the spirit to this world. When a person dies, the soul releases, allowing the spirit to move on. However, when a person is in a coma, the soul is tearing. It is caught between letting go and holding on. When this happens the spirit will sometimes brush the edge of the heavens, opening a rift of sorts. This rip in the metaphysical fabric creates a conduit that allows the powerful essence of the heavens to flow into us, filling us like a jar of water.
From this discovery I would later determine three key truths about magic that would shape the world’s fate:
1. Not everyone has equal potential. It depends on how you are made. Not everyone can run quickly, not everyone can jump high — not everyone can develop magic, and not everyone that can develop magic can truly master it.
2. The rift itself is like a muscle. It can be flexed, exercised — made stronger.
3. I had just scratched the surface of the scale of potential power. There would be many, many people capable of much more than me. If they didn’t learn how to use it, they would go mad. If I didn’t act, this madness would summon a great darkness, one that would swallow the world.
That was the core of the discovery that would bring magic into our hands. As I write this, it was a long, long time ago. So long, it almost seems like a dream.
I’ve talked about the inspirations that set me on the road to beginning this project; now I’ve shown you a fragment of the game we’re building and the world that houses it. Next, I’m going to step aside for a bit, and let some of the other people hard at work on our game talk about what we’re making and the processes we’re using. I hope you enjoy the discussion.