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|Basically, this is a letter from one of the more obscure high mages to his ex-apprentice. Athuine was created as a shadow-mage, but I wanted to explain how darkness can hold such power, since it is a very important aspect in my stories and plots. If I manage, you will see more of my book, where Athuine plays an important role.||
You have felt it too, haven’t you? Walking home on a cold, windy night you feel it prowling your thoughts, seeking entrance. In the basement, you feel it reaching out from the corners, your feel it flowing out from under the tables and boxes. I know, for like all humans I have felt it too. Darkness. We awoke in the darkness before the dawn of time, and ever since we have lived there. Do we not strive to escape from it, sleeping it away and greeting the dawn with joy and hope? But the darkness is still there, as it has always been. Do you not sense them, then, the creatures that live in the shadows. The shifting, unformed horrors your thoughts tell you are there, that haunt you every time you are solitary? When you feel frightened and alone as you pass the cemetery, they reach for you, brush your mind with theirs. We have always been afraid of the dark, for we saw its potential. There is nothing new under the sun, but the shadows of the world can hold anything, and more. Potential. The unknown aspects of our minds are released in the places we do not wish to see, that we strive to avoid. The dark places, beneath the earth, inside our homes, between the stars. Night. Before the world there was night, and it still lingers here, empowered by terror and fear and nightmares. We gave it our fears, so long ago, and they still haunt us.
You asked me, young acolyte, how I can do what I do. Where my power comes from. You scoffed at my explanation, telling me that darkness and shadows and night are nothing, a mere absence of light. You are wrong. From the deep places, from the near places and from the high places I draw my magic, from our past, our present and our future. I use our terrors, our dreams and figments, I control the dark side of us all, which we deny to possess. The night is ancient, and away from our feeble fortresses of light and warmth and sound we all know it prowls, waiting to embrace us in mind-numbing horror once again. You tell me you are not afraid of the dark. Then you have not known true darkness, you have not been entombed beneath the earth, or walked through the nightly woods of the Faërie. You have never crossed a cemetery on a moonless night while the world around you disappear. Alone.
This, my apprentice, is my strength. This is my magic, and my soul. And still you denied me, when I gave you the gift of the oldest wisdom, from the birth of man. I have erred. You will never be more than a trickster, a prestidigitator who dreams of power, for if you cannot feel the mind in the dark places, you will never gain the talents of Sorcery. I will take my leave of you. Soon, you believe you will return to the realm of the human, to reality, to the mundane. What you fail to see is that it is false, a little ring of light raised in defence against chaos, death and oblivion. We will meet again when you fall, as you must, into the last darkness of all. Until then, farewell.
-Athuine Aratalata of Lundos
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