A letter to my friend
Dear Revered Mother,
Thank you for talking to me the other day, it was very kind of you.. I really liked talking to you, you seem really nice and you didn’t get at all angry or upset, which happens a lot when I try and talk about things with other people. I have been reading the book you kindly gave me, and trying to think about what you said. I understand things better now, I think, but I’m still confused about some things. I hope you don’t mind me writing to you about them.
I still don’t really understand Transfigurations 1, verse two. I mean, I understand that mages aren’t supposed to hold positions of authority over other men, like Mayor or Priest or something, but that’s not really what it says is it? It says magic must never rule over man, but surely the only person who really actually rules over men is the King? It can’t really mean just any authority, because surely that would mean that mages can’t hire anyone, since then they’d have some authority over the people they hired. And who is it supposed to serve? Are we supposed to do anything that anyone asks of us, to serve anyone and everyone? What if my interests, or the King’s interests differ from someone else’s interests… from the Chantries interests. Who is my magic supposed to serve then?
I’m also confused about the magic we’ve been taught. A lot of it is focussed on fighting and hurting people but the rest of Transfigurations 1 kind of implies… well, states actually, that anyone who uses magic against the children of the maker is a Maleficar. Does that mean that we should only use spells against people who aren’t children of the maker? I mean, that would rule our spirits and demons since they are the makers first children as it says at the beginning of the chant of light and in Erudition 2, right? And it also says “All men are the work of Our Makers hands”, which would also mean we couldn’t use magic to fight evil men or elves or anyone really? I mean, by this logic I think my teacher, Mr Stormhold, might already be a Maleficar! I’m pretty confused about who is and isn’t children of the maker to be honest, I mean, I thought he made everything?
It just doesn’t seem right. I mean, why would the Chantry set up the Circle and watch over the mages as they teach people spells to hurt things and then be OK with us using them against people we think are bad, or evil, like the guards who tried to kill us, if they are children of the maker too? I don’t really understand why the Chantry made the Circle and hates mages that aren’t in it. I mean, there is nothing in the Chant or the verses or Andrastes teachings I can find that mentions the Circle, so I don’t really understand where it comes from. I heard stories at the Circle about a test called the Harrowing that all mages have to take and that if you fail you die. Or you can refuse to take it and then the Templars do something horrible to you called Tranquilling, or something, where they take your magic and with it your soul and you become like some kind of slave. They might just be stores, but surely if they are true these things would go against Transfigurations 1, verse 4 where it says no one should harm anyone without provocation? Some people might say that not taking the test is provocation but, just saying no isn’t really doing anything wrong like threatening someone and given that we don’t choose whether or not to be mages and then the choice is do this dangerous test or we hurt you… well, it seems like harm to me.
In fact, the more I think about it, the more it seems like the Circle doesn’t have much to do with the Maker and his teachings. It seems to be about controlling people who never had a choice in having a power other people don’t have. I mean, Andraste outlawed slavery, right, but here are people born as mages, without a choice in that, beholden to all men, forced to serve anyone, torn from their families when they are only children (which surely also counts as harm without provocation), forced into an organization (alienage?) called the Circle under the threat of death or soul-stealing terribleness, and then forced to learn magic that hurts people that we can then use against who we are told to use it against! It seems to me that the Maker gave his second children free will, freedom to choose, and yet there is no freedom for mages within the circle. Maybe I’m really, really wrong and confused but this doesn’t sounds like any of this is a good thing to do to people.
And I think I’m starting to see, to understand, why some mages turn really, really bad. I mean, its logical, right. Any mage that doesn’t want to join the circle must spend their lives hunted by the Chantry and the Templars, even if they are good people who’ve done nothing wrong. They know that sooner or later they are going to be caught and whether they can escape or not will depend on whether their magic is more powerful than the Templars or people that find them. And so its suddenly easy to see why, out of fear and desperation, they reach out to powerful but dangerous forms of magic like demons, right, and that this then inevitably ends badly for the mage and anyone else nearby. I mean, what choice do they have, it’s that or death or Tranquilization, right?
I don’t know, maybe I’ve got it all wrong, its pretty confusing, but deep in my tummy I have this horrible feeling that things are all wrong. I hate it that people think mages are evil, that we’re to be feared and hated. I haven’t done anything wrong, I haven’t hurt them, but people act that way anyway and I’m beginning to wonder if it isn’t the Chantry and the Circle that causes it. Does that make me a bad person, someone that the Chantry… you… maybe even the Maker himself hates?
I hope you don’t mind me writing to you about these questions. I know there is not an easy way of you writing back, or even if you’d want to, but just writing these things down is helping me think more clearly about things, I think. Yours with thanks,
Your friend (if you want to call me that),
P.S. I don’t know if it was you who spoke to Daria or Lemore after I had a chat with you but, if it was, then I owe you thanks again. Things are a bit nicer now. Daria still hates me I think, but she is letting me go off on my own every now and then and is even talking to me a bit about things. And Lemore hasn’t even threatened me once since we left Lothering.