Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Friday, July 03, 2015

Fiction Friday: Hi! What Do You Do? I Break Spells.

I break spells. I work for the Ministry of Disenchantment and I break spells. I am Blackmagistrate of the High Council, and tactical head of Global Division 6 Peacemaking Force - organized under the United Nations, in cooperation with Interpol and the various Intelligence and Security agencies of member nations. We're the division that handles unlicensed mages and basically, I break spells. Wizards generally fucking want to kill me, particularly the bad ones.

Even the good ones though, by a large majority in a silent vote at the last Expo, would very much like at the least a chance to perform what they'd excuse away as a "prank" on me. It's not likely to happen, as they're well aware I'm legally licensed to kill any practitioner of magic who isn't able to successfully defend self against me. It's my Office. Seems a little fucked up, but it fits my particular line. Surviving what I do to you - without getting too technical, if you're unscathed, or even if you're well-scathed but pull through - it ends up being a disproof of your guilt. Say rather: a practical defense against the charge. Proof of reasonable doubt, in any event. You're almost certainly not doing anything to deserve dying over, if you live. But within the natural limitations of how I'm sanctioned to operate, yeah, I'm pretty much MI-8's answer to a double-oh.

I do it all - I'm using "spells" up there very broadly. I cancel ensorcellments (however they spell them), break curses, lift bewitchments, loose enchantments, whatever ya got. I basically smack the crap out of whatever's been put into peoples' way as "bad magic power."

I would love to be able to revoke misspent wishes, but that would take magic. Which I do not have. In practice, I have its opposite.

It's such a fun job! The best part is I get to have such gall. You know what I love to do? I go around canceling all this shit, and then the explanation I give is - I claim it's because the magic involved didn't actually exist. Claiming it never existed! See, its effects are easily dismissible as powerful subconscious action of belief in superstition, often used to top off or fix in place some poor victim's delusion that whatever physical force or psychological effect they've been afflicted by (if any) is supernormal in nature, and therefore, not susceptible to cure or reversal by any normal means. The only recourse this leaves the poor victim is to go deeper down the rabbit hole into la la lu lu land, and frankly - practically all those scumbags have even less magic than ME, you know? And that's saying something. So I like to take the piss a bit, be a huge and ornery "debunker" as I go.

I'll go around doing my rounds, making my calls, busting in doors or visiting the sick or injured on some surreptitious pretext - ideally they have no idea I'm there on business. I'm just all "doop de doo, Oh, Magic, you say? Magic did it to you? That shit's not real dude. Totally not fucking real - look, watch!"

Whatever wammie I put on 'em (or more accurately, unwammie) I excuse away with a wink and a bit of psychological technobabble. Which, okay, I admit to a twinge of conscience, time to time. But who gives a fuck? They get better. And in most cases, recovery brings with it a pretty strong inoculation effect. They're left immunized against the next one who tries, done how I do. Not 100%, but pretty strong.

Total fucking asshole, though! As far as The Community is concerned, or The Industry as I prefer to call it? "Magic doesn't exist," hehehehehehe!

Well, partly I'm absolutely justified. In that it's my job, and damn good at it. The antisuperstition charge is a nice complement to the operation itself. It's got some real therapeutic value. Even if its action is strictly placebo in nature, it does help.

To break a spell, I know no better way than to destroy its physical and psychological direct effects, while simultaneously purging their victim's faith in the typically false, supernatural aspect that was presented - easy meat. I zang the "customer" (or as like to call them "the mark" - but it wasn't me running the con on them; it was the other guy) with my patented "2-Way Wammie": a good double-barrel GLARE EYE gaze-lock to burn a persistence-of-vision rhythm right into their visual cortex - the "eye rhyme," I call it, carried in by their own optic nerve current - and exacerbate THAT with a concurrent/countercordant "chantment" for ya FACE. In through the ears and bounce around, building word on word into a skull-resonant harmonic and a noodle-jiggling staccato shake! Result?

A delightful release of imposed neural modes.

That's one wack-ass combo, prone to induce total meme-seizure and expulsion, leaving all the noncontagious structural and systematic thought and memory elements intact, but cleansed. Purged, but with nothing lost except the hold. The hold over the will, too low to notice for the mark's conscious mind. Basically, I drop a fucking free-form rhymeless NEURO POEM SLAM on 'em with a post-hypnotic recursion ("post-hypnotic" not strictly accurate, but whatever - it works) that has a general effect of relaxing obsessions, removing involuntary induced fixedness from idees fixees, or however you spell it - it leaves the mark in full possession of their memory, and with their same understanding of every thought or idea they've ever held, overthought belaboredly, labored under or worked for all its worth. But from a standpoint of possession, or obsession, and especially, imposed fixation - it's a fucking full-array circuit-breaker reset!

Shakabuku. That's the one word for it.

I try to minimize this aspect, as it's nothing to do with my job, but...on top of what I'm trying to do, a lot of people do seem to spontaneously stop believing in "Intelligent Design," at some point during the process. I hope that's not me! See, it's possible some twist or swerve of the way I do - it's possible I could accidently leave a bit of a thumb's worth of meme-print in the ol' noodle myself. If so, it's something I haven't been able to eradicate despite full mastery of practice, dedication to perfection of union between form and intent - basically, I'm really fucking good ok? And it's the best I can do. I don't think that's getting in from me. Maybe it is, but I don't think so. What if the idea itself is a little bit bankrupt? A decent alternate explanation, maybe?

Man, they give me such shit over this in bible study. I never should have told her. Fleepin' BLABBERMOUTH!

Anyway, at least she's got the whole natural selection part down, now.

It's a fucking cool job, and I assure you, whatever may be involved in chantment - and I am a chanter, primarily, though I'm a pretty much "all-rounder" in terms of all the practices and crossdisciplinaries. I'm an adept all around! Witchcraft, I do dewitchments; Spells, I unbind - if they're pure verbal or if they involve somatic or material components, it hardly fucking matters - you just smack and bang and fuck shit up! Break into their very constituents, demystify their ingredients, rebuke claimed basis, use whatever direct action can best oppose or reverse whatever physical effects are being held bound by the spell. But of course, with impact spells...with a spell that acts at once to create a physical effect, or a physiology-bound psychological effect, and leaves no magic behind to "hold it bound" - those physical effects are simply damage, basically. Damage to the body. Not much you can do about those, because no spell remains to unbind.

Still, you can unbind the victim's mind. It's worth doing. Unbind it from belief that the damage was caused by fucking nonsense, at least. Whatever healing is possible, it's going to begin way better without THAT crap!

My strength, as I say though, is definitely in chantments. Ain't an enchantment woven I can't break edgewise into and buckle up into a self-contradiction. Into recanting itself, basically. My chantments are some fucking "class A" grade. I've never even needed to resort to will contest with the spellcaster! My argument is literally with their words.

Guys, the fact is, there's really nothing magical about it. In terms of what I actually do, I mean. Because obviously, I needed the shitload of training and academic gruntwork I put in on the practices themselves. I wouldn't know the best angle in, otherwise. You've got to know what a superstition believes about itself, if you want to shock the shit out of it and get it to bolt in foaming panic and incomprehension. But in terms of what I actually DO?

Nothing more than a good grasp of public speaking! Voice, body language and elemental psychology, really.

As Chesterton noted, the single most powerful act in oratory is a SUDDEN AND UNEXPECTED CHANGE IN VOLUME. Lowering one's voice to a clear and piercing hush can be as powerful as raising it to a ringing shout - more powerful, depending on the effect you're after. And you've got your understanding of eye contact, of the posture and shapes you throw in another's mind, of the music your voice needs to cast in terms of tone, cadence, texture - and you use picked words. Whatever language you need. I find a combination of the mark's mother tongue and for the "wammie words," some well-drawn neologism works an ace! Sometimes it's a gently altered word, enough to pass for instant recognition, but with that subtle unheimlichness to it - that's the spoonful of medicine that lets the sugar go down so well. Other times, I push the made-up aspect so far from the phonemic analogues and antecedents that the resulting neologisms amount to NONSENSE WORDS. But again - with beguilingly familiar parts, to sound subtle notes of alarm or wrongness, eldritchness. I pick nonsense words chosen for a sound of power, of clangor, of discord they convey. Nonsense words that sprang to life in just that one moment! - yet they pack power and impact that in the mark's mind will feel every bit the equal of whatever supposed "magic words" they were subjected to. And that's why it works. My nonsense words contact and connect and convert their "magic words" into what they actually are. Nonsense. When the two touch, their equivalence is established with a clang and a clash like a cell door slamming open.

Power of association, basically. Put across in a "motherfucker-of-elocution" style - they have called me The Elocutioner, I know, I know, I suggested it - to leave the poor befuddled superstition victim CHARGED, SHOCKED and SHOT THROUGH with a sudden unfuddlement! Reeling in clarity and a sudden release. The sudden unbinding of an attachment to the "magic" that they'd been made to suffer under. The idea that it WAS magic was, more than anything else, what they'd been in thrall to.

They were never really in its thrall, you see. They were simply tricked into a belief in, and consequent complaisant acceptance of, the fact of their thralldom. Only that complaisance made it a fact. It was in essence, their own choice - but tricked into it! A dirty fucking trick. And once they'd been hoodwinked, any renewed effects and persistence of effect were essentially powered by and reinforced by...their own free will. Their free will, trapped with a trick, and misdirected to another's aims.

I fucking can't stand those who go around throwing phenomena at people, damaging and altering bodies even sometimes, but the worst part that puts MY wrath out of joint is when they have the temerity to tell people the abominable shit they just did is magic. They tell them THAT is magic.

It's a fucking unconscionable thing to say. To make someone believe. Whatever they do, by whatever means - and hey, some of these folks are legitimate casters of HARD-CORE PHENOMENA, you know, but I don't give a shit! You try to fuck people up with it and then claim your bullshit... is magic.

Oh boy, you just hit the jurisdiction you son of a bitch. And I don't care who you are, or what color magic you claim yourself, your spell is broke your card revoked. And by law, your self is mine.

FUCK your soul. Not interested.

My absolute favorite is going up against those real wiznerds who do the witchcraft to summon demons (or whatever the fuck you want to call it - supradimensional entities of whatever kind, usually and traditionally bound using some variant of the "true naming" principle), or who employ sorcery to conjure and shape forces into the seemings of demons. I can not fucking stop laughing sometimes, when I come across one of those guys. They're sooooo serious about their fucking hobby!

I don't know what you'd call it except a hobby. No one ever makes a legit living at that crap - how can you? This one guy tried to sell a demon to the army, one time - it wasn't even a demon! It was just some bullshit force-pull he'd crammed into the body his mind had imagined for it. HE was convinced it was a demon! He wasn't even trying to fool anybody else. You have to laugh not to cry with these guys, and I've had to make virtue of necessity. For these encounters, I like to incorporate raucous, mocking laughter into my chant style. Believe me, it makes it even worse because on top of everything else I give them to deal with. They're already extremely put out over my "unprofessionalism," and every added distraction adds to my side of the ledger. The smile on my face, when I kick in the door on some shit like that...the look on theirs, especially if I'm in uniform - which I try to be, for business. Hey man - like I said, I don't care who you are or what you call it! Or what color your fucking ROBE is, or what idiot pseudoreligious draw-rings you circle your protective diagrams with, when you begin your ceremony to "summon the being of otherworldly forces." One good wrong word from me motherfucker, and that thing you think you just pulled into this world is about to make you wish you hadn't.

A lot of the time the look of "uh oh I think I fucked up" in their eyes is so convincing that I literally only need to use one word. And typically, however it's pronounced, all it means is: "Guilty."

If the dude (usually a dude for some reason - and if it's sorcery not witchcraft, the "summoned" "demon" is ALWAYS a rather transparently-designed and improbably-developed female! Does any word but pathetic cover these guys?) seems like basically not a bad sort, I try not to let it go too far. Whatever gruesome thing their personal demon decides (or "decides") to do to them with its new and beautiful but sure-to-be-fleeting freedom. I videotape the proceedings "for my records," and I guess also technically for evidence although it's not required, but I'm not a journalist about it. I'll typically step in at some point before the unbound demon (or "demon") gets too thoroughly involved in whatever nightmarish and humiliating procedure it has uncoiled to perform, suitable to the occasion. I like to time my intervention to just a touch before anything permanent happens.

I think of myself as the lenient sort. But funny or not, it's always a tough call to make. I mean, the danger's probably stopped when I stop it - the immediate danger. But it's a pretty well documented fact. People who play with that kind of fire don't get better, they get worse. Even though 95% of them never descend to the point where they become a world-class or even greater-than-neighborhood-class threat, you simply cannot predict who will and who won't. You'll see two equally unthreatening types, and never be able to say why one goes from relatively harmless, one-step-realer-than-fantasy stuff to a full heel turn. We're talking about someone in a position to be absolute scourge of their victim's life, mind, humanity or personhood. And sometimes, that turn takes less than the blink of an eye.

I do what I can to make sure I wink before they blink.

Anyway! That's me! I hope it's pretty obvious, I fucking love my job.

For the uninitiate, there are six practices (or "disciplines") within magic - though of course there are a great many more names for A) specific acts and effects, such as scry, charm, hex, curse, et cetera, acts and effects which for the most part can be achieved by the alternate means of each practice; B) narrower subdisciplines or specialties within a given practice; or C) crossdisciplinary intersections/combinations of more than one practice. Technically though, there are only seven practices of magic, sometimes called disciplines. There are Sorcery, Witchcraft, Enchantment, Ensorcellment, Alchemy, Physiomancy, Miracle. I have mastery of all six of them.

A lot of misunderstanding and misinformation on some of these - especially Alchemy, but I'd have to write a fucking book, and as it's the one I cross least - who gives a shit, basically. Alchemists are a problem for Vice, primarily, or for the Home Office in certain cases. Physiomancy is often miscalled Neuromancy. No. It's not fucking Neuromancy. The same discipline runs far deeper than some dumb fucking nerve clumpy shit you keep in your thick skull. You do not think with the brain. You perceive with the brain? Okay, maybe, be that way. Limit yourself, but this is not a perception question: you think with your whole fucking body dude - or at least, with a living majority of the structures, coursing or fixed, that fall anywhere between your deepest marrows and the twitchimost tips of your fur. I swear, people! You people with your big "brain-centeredness" complex are the easiest fucking marks out there, and you know what I'm kind of sick of bailing your lame ass out OK? It's BORING. Too easy to bind, and too easy to loose, and you're only going to get bound up in the next dumbass fucking thing you come across that flatters your idiot, limited conception of how self works. Learn some elementary self-defense would you? The most basic grasp would make you ten times harder and sharper to deal with, OK? You are not a thing within your brain. And NO ONE is, and that's a fact that's got fuck all to do with "magic." OR with "spirituality," or with "soul," so-called - as if your eyes ever spotted the least spark of such a thing through its windows. I doubt it. Not even in your own morning mirror eyegazing ritual. Sheeit.

I've never really liked the way they lay out Enchantment and Enscorcellment, but I concede that as similar as their aims are, and even to some extent their methods, the techniques and fundamentals are so alien to each other, so mutually-exclusive that you pretty much have to divide them. To put a spell on with voice is an entirely separate practice than to put a spell on with sigil, mark, rune, and what not - even if a vocal spell can itself burn a permanent mark! There are spellcasters who make a mastery of blending the two, and typically it is a rune-burn that is vocally thrown. That's some hard fucking shit, dude - lucky for me, I don't have to have fuck-all skill at Enscorcellment to bust its shit up. You can do that so easy, man. I got a fucking custom water pistol that heats crayons to liquid wax that I like to use. A few extra ingredients infused at the trigger-pull - I can unspell your fucking vorpal sword midswing if the manufacturer over-relies on rune. And crazy, but way too many of them do. I don't know what the fuck their problem is. That's a QC issue in my book.

But yeah. Primarily, I'm an Exchanter. Dechanter, Mischanter, Dischanter. I do it all. I chant the fuck out of whatever they've put you under.

It's my job!

Seven practices in magic. I have mastery of all six of them. As I like to crack, in a manner I try to pass off as wise. Although I suppose I should probably say "mastery over." A touch more accurate.

The right word can be pretty important!


lacrema said...


dogimo said...

Say, did you get a chance to catch the story arc sketch?

Which I tweaked and cut in about half since posting. The later (cut) stuff could turn out to be non-canonical.