It was the itching that woke him up. The Archive jerked upright in the ancient bed. After sleeping in it for almost two centuries, there were only a few brittle boards and a moth eaten blanket left holding his body off the cold stone floor. He absently scratched the itch on his cheek and felt the rather impressive beard that had grown there. By contrast, his muscles had withered away and his body felt terribly weak, but that was to be expected. It happened every time he went through a purge. However, it had never been quite this bad.
Every thousand years or so, the Archive had come to the cavern below Mount Kymermosst to purge the memories of a life lived, keeping only a select few and resigning the rest to his true self. He'd waited much too long last time, thus his current perdicament. His bones creaked and popped when he stood, giving voice to their protests. It was so loud that it caused an echo in the still air of the cave. The Archive grimaced and streched his aching muscles, ignoring the screaing pain.
At least the emotions had gone, vanishing along with their attendant memories. It was necessary, too much emotion could cripple him. It was good to shed the grief and fatigue of years past, and he held a few bright memories tight against the darkness. Archive sighed. Too many depressing thoughts. Time to go be in the world again. He gestured slightly and candles lit all around the room, casting light over the faces carved in stone. Resolutely not looking at any of them, he opened a gate and was gone. After he had left, the candles extinguished one by one until the cave returned to darkness.
Worlds away, the Archive stepped out onto a barren rock suspended on the edge of the cosmos. He spent a few moments looking about with a satisfied look on his face. This would do nicely. It was the right size, the right shape, even a good location. Rolling up the sleeves of his robe, he pulled a hammer and chisel out of one of his many pockets and laughed, thinking of how to proceed. "Upon this rock, I shall build my castle."
Immortals by nature have poor memory recall. This is a safeguard against being driven insane with so much information in our heads. For my kind, a bypass system was created, and added into the mantles. There is a portion of the magic that can record thoughts and store them for playback at a later date, similar to recording voice notes. The main flaw in this system lies in the extreme differences in the minds that are subjected to life beyond the normal span. As each particular mind develops, it will become increasingly distinct; all babies think the exact same things at birth, most adults have at least some differing views and opinions. As age becomes larger, the ways we think begin to take very odd turns.
There is very little study into how the human mind develops when given a potentially unlimited number of years to grow and develop. One commonality is increased function in the unused portions of the brain. Around the hundred year mark, the brain begins to break down the barriers keeping ninty-five percent of our brains locked away. Anywhere between about 150 and 250, the brain is being used to capacity. This brings about effects that increase perception, cognition, reflexes, and intelligence; along with these benefits, psycic powers often develop. These powers are latent in all humans, but are rarely given the time needed to develop. Some never develop these powers, and others develop them so quickly that they are able to gain control of then in their normal life span. Some of the talents include telekenesis, telepathy, empathic powers, and pre-cognition to varying degrees.
Beyond the physical differences that occur in the brain, there are many separate psycological conditions that can and do develop in immortals. So many memories and their accompanying emotional baggage start to strain the mind around 200 years into life, so the brain begins to defend itself by 'deleting' old memories that it percieves as being useless. In the beginning this process is initiated by the subconcious, but it can be controlled with time and training.
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After a rather long time away, I have returned. You all may rejoice.
In any case, I hate to leave a job unfinished so I'm going to finish my series about the Wizards' Rules. This post is dedicated to the third rule; Passion Rules Reason. Letting your emotions control your reason may cause trouble for yourself and those around you. This rule is tricky as it is so closely related to the first rule. In this case, it's a warning to believe logic above all else. Emotions can lead you to make mistakes.
Example; on the news the other day I saw a story about a young mother who drowned in a flood. Her son was trapped, and a rescue boat was on it's way out to him. But his mother, who was unable to swim, charged into the raging waters after her child. She was caught up in the current and drowned. The boy survived, and had to go into an orphanage. Had his mother used logic she would have survived. Instead, she let her emotions guide her into making a fatal mistake.
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He slowly walked along the length of the cave. It had come a long way. Pictures covered the walls, sculped in the stone. Of friends, allies, and the occasional respected enemy. Memories held forever in the granite grasp of the mountain cave he had come to call home.
When he reatched the end he stopped. Instead of another picture, there was a crack in the wall. If one were to duck into that crack they would see that first cave, and that first picture, lit by a glowing crystal that had not been moved in centuries.
A tear escaped, and he shook his head. He would not look at that picture today. He looked at the picture next to the crack. A little girl with blue eyes stared back at him. She was his first casualty. He'd made a mistake, and this innocent child had paid the price. He'd created this second cave to form her picture, a reminder to never forget what the cost of failure would be.
He moved on, fingers trailing lightly over the stone. Here was an older girl. Short blue hair and white eyes. His first student. She'd been like a daughter to him. When she was murdered he'd been thrown into a rage, and had slaughtered the armies that had caused her death.
The next was an enemy. Jason Lu'ander. A misguided genius warped by his own personal tragedies. He was not evil, just crazy. He told me that all that stood between where he was and where I was was a single bad day. At the time I laughed it off, but now that I've had that bad day I thnk I agree with him.
They went on like that, all along the walls of the cathedral-sized cavern. Even where he'd put a simple wodden bed in the corner, there was a picture on the wall behind the bed. This was his home, his sanctuary. Where those who he remembered could live forever.
His steps got slower as he moved, his sholders stooped lower. The weight of the years and memories was growing very heavy. He finally reached the bed and collapsed slowly into it with a pained groan. He closed his eyes and lay still.
One by one, the torches around the walls faded into blackness. As the last one died a faint glimmer of light became visible. Through the crack at the back of the cave a shaft of light was reflected from a melted stone wall. The light fell agross the lifeless body on the bed, painting it the exact same color as the stone.
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Far beneath the earth, the Archive sat. The room was simple, a cave in the bones of Mount Kymermosst. The wooden chair he sat on wasn't comfortable, but it was all that would fit in the tiny room.
The wall before him was smooth granite, formed far deeper than where he now sat. He reached forward and set a finger aginst the wall. With a thought, he heated the stone so that it glowed cherry red. At this heat it was like soft clay, it was able to be formed into any shape he desired.
He closed his eyes for a moment to fix the image in his head, then he carefully started molding the stone. Sweat beaded on his brow from the heat, but it didn't slow him down. He sculpted far into the early hours of the morning, far above him the sun was rising to signal a new day.
Despite the wearyness in his bones, he smiled. His effort was finally finished. For another day he sat there, waiting for the stone to cool. He turned his chair to face the other wall. He wanted to see the effect his effort had wrought, but not until it was done cooling.
In the twilight of the second day he spoke to himself. "I've finally done as I promised. Even if it is far too late." He stood and turned to face the wall, and the moment before he saw his creation he closed his eyes. He ached to see it, but he feared it as well. He knew what the image was, but he had never seen it. The color he'd formed would be visible, the shapes he'd sculped would have changed into what they were ment to be. He hoped his heart could handle the sight.
He opened his eyes and gazed upon the picture. For a moment he was frozen, held in the echoes of memories long buried. After an instant that lasted an eternity he fell to his knees, tears streaming down his face. The memories burst forth in all their glory, joy, and terrible pain. Despite the tears, he smiled. These particular memories did that to him. Even through all the pain, they brought a smile to his face.
Once again, he reached forward to the wall. One area near the bottom had been left intentionally bare. With his fingernail, he carved the words he had been thinking about the entire time he'd been in the cave.
Those who are remembered, live.
"Even if the rst of the world has forgotten, I will not. So long as I remember your legacy shall not fade." From inside his robes he withdrew a small crystal. "You gave this to me, now I give it back to you. May it bring you luck, the luck it brought me."
He opened a gate in the solid stone wall and prepared to step through. He couldn't resist a final glance at the picture. "Fairwell, my friend. May you at last find peace." With that, he stepped through the portal and was gone.
Far below the earth, in a small cave with no entrance or exit, there is a portrait rendered on a canvas of stone. On the ground before it lies a small crystal. There it shall remain for all time.
The Wizard's Second Rule is... The greatest harm can result from the best of intentions.
It sounds a paradox, but kindness and good intentions can be an insidious path to destruction. Sometimes doing what seems right is wrong, and can cause harm. The only counter to it is knowledge, wisdom, forethought, and understanding the First Rule. Even then, that is not always enough. Violation can cause anything from discomfort, to disaster, to death.
Example: If any of you know LexiCat, you know she is often the target of attacks. Why is this? She never offers anyone harm, she dosen't like to fight, and she has hordes of friends ready to rush to her defense. Why would anyone want to attack such a kind and careing soul?
Because of her friends.
Now, that's not to say they attack her to get to her friends, they don't. They attack her because she is a relatively weak target protected by many strong fighters. All the people protecting her are really making her a prime target for the many villans atacking her and her shop.
They believe they are doing the right thing, but their good intentions are putting her in greater danger.
Ladies and gentlemen and assorted other, today I will be starting what I hope to be a series of blogs listing and explaining the Wizard's Rules, as created by Terry Goodkind.
These are not laws, and should not be confused with laws. They are, however extremely powerful when one knows how to use them.
The Wizard's First rule is... People are stupid. They will believe any lie, either because they wish it to be true, or because they are afraid it is true.
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's 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.
For example: Several years ago for April fool's day my girlfriend convinced me to help her play a joke on her father. We went over to her house and sat him down on the couch, saying we had something important to tell him.
My girlfriend, bless her evil little heart, said with a perfectly strait face, "Dad, I'm pregnant."
The poor man almost had a heart attack before we could calm him down and tell him it was a joke.
Here is the point. Her father knew it was April fool's day. He knew she would prank him. (She gets him every year.) He was suspicious when we told him we had something to say to him. But for all of that, he still went into shock upon hearing his daughter say she was pregnant.
He believed it was true, because he was afraid it was true.
I was a Hero, once. I fought the good fight. I thought that good would always prevail over evil.
Gods, I was naive.
Now I'm different. Cast out of my order for my crimes, I can no longer pretend to see the good in fighting evil. Hell, I can't even distinguish evil any more. I've switched to "Them" and "Us" for convienience sake.
I've Killed. I've Stolen. I've Lied. I've cheated. But for all of that, I have always stayed true to the oath I took long ago.