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TL;DR Magic in Runeterra: How it exists and is used.

TL;DR Magic in Runeterra: How it exists and is used.
To preface, this post is meant to elucidate some of the properties of magic: how it exists and functions in the world of Runeterra. For the purposes of this post, I will not go into much depth regarding the complex magics, and will instead primarily refer to the main 3 “streams”. Points will be backed up using reliable sources, Scathlocke being the Head of all things Narrative and Worldbuilding-wise in Lore. That being said, until Riot releases information on Universe or Nexus, (while unlikely) things are liable to change regarding information provided by Rioters in twitter and boards replies, thus should be taken with a grain of salt.

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The Origins of Magic:

As Runeterra, an amalgamation of the Spiritual and Material/Physical realms, was created by an unknown race of Celestials using the World Runes, all magic can be said to have roots in the Celestial Realm. While that might make it seem superior, being the originator, think of it more like it fostered the growth of the realms to becoming their own distinct units.

In the League of Legends Universe (main), magic exists in three distinct forms: Celestial, Spiritual and Elemental. From there, you have multiple blends and combinations.
N.B. The energy produced by those of the Void is NOT magic.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1137415463535693824

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Fundamentally, each main stream encompasses specific concepts, one is not inherently better than the other and, to varying extents, each is able to mimic some of the effects of the other:


  • - Celestial Magic deals with creation and pure ideals, thus can also include maintenance, change and destruction.
  • - Spirit Magic deals with mental and emotional concepts, life as well as reality and the perception of it.
  • - Elemental Magic deals with the manipulation of the physical world and the physical laws and rules of reality (Physics).

Magic exists ambiently; flowing as metaphysical rivers and streams throughout the world similar in concept to ley lines. Areas where magic is high in concentration will commonly produce the most number of natural born mages, to the point where it is less likely for one to not possess the ability to use/do magic. The reverse is true for those born in an area where ambient magic is low in concentration. This is evidenced with Ionia and Ixtal, being fonts of Elemental and Spiritual magic respectively, whereas a region like Demacia; surrounded and founded upon magic nullifying petricite, very few mages are produced.
https://nexus.leagueoflegends.com/en-us/2017/04/dev-on-vastayan-evolution/

Each stream of magic flows from an origin source: Celestial magic flows from the Celestial Realm as well as the World Runes, Spiritual Magic originates from the Spiritual Realm, and Elemental Magic from the Physical realm, all suffusing into the material plane.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1229983493188284418
Regions where the barriers between realms are weakest and the magic flows strongest are known as “fonts” of magic. Ionia is an example of this in regards to spirit magic. To varying extents, use of each main branch can mirror the other and produce similar effects, even if not strictly the same source/magic type (e.g. all can produce fire).
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1229983493188284418
As said before, Ionia is a font of spirit magic. The barriers between the mortal and spirit realm are less distinct, thereby allowing the two to interact in strange, exotic manners. As a result, spirit magic suffuses and saturates the lands of Ionia. However, raw concentrated spirit magic has chaotic, unpredictable effects upon reality, making the environment a dangerous place. As such, humans erected Quinlons in Ionia to restrict and filter the flow of magic from the fonts. Quinlons being man-made magical filters that limit the amount of magic flowing from the spirit realm into Ionia... they also filter out the more chaotic/negative energy, concentrating it into a liquid-like substance (IchoTears). When tattooed upon the skin or consumed, this concentrated negative magic enables the use and manipulation of shadow magic (used to great effect by Zed and his Order). Currently, the agreement between humans and Vastaya has been shattered: The Quinlons are restricting too much magic, and Zed’s Order actively alters some to fuel their shadow magic. The vastaya, requiring magic to live similarly to how we need air to live, are understandably not too ecstatic.
https://www.leagueboards.net/thread/8c0b14a1-6a72-420b-a4f7-fe97a02684e2/show-threadhttps://nexus.leagueoflegends.com/en-us/2017/04/dev-on-vastayan-evolution/

Theoretically, Targon would serve as a font of Celestial magic seeing as the barriers between the mortal and Celestial Realm are thinnest near the peak, thereby allowing the easiest interaction and allowing the magic to suffuse onto the physical plane.
A region serving as a font of magic doesn't necessarily mean only that type of magic is present. It just acts as a source.
One doesn't have to be on a ley line/stream to do magic... the effects and efficiency just increase with proximity, similar to a wifi/cell signal. As they encompass the entirety of Runeterra, you are almost always guaranteed to have some signal (barring specific scenarios/anomalies.)
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1257086236704960512https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1257098176290410496

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How Magic is Used:

Anyone and everyone can learn to harness magic, however, not everyone is born with the talent. These lucky individuals are known as mages.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1159016781278789636
From what we’ve seen, mages don't quite generate magic per se, they access what is naturally present, interacting with the ambient magic in the environment rather than directly producing it. More akin to vessels than generators, their strength and aptitude likely depends on how much they can store, channel, shape and emit (as well as restore) at any given time. But, as said by Ryze in “From the Ashes” magic likes to be used, not stored… similar to the air we hold in our lungs… a quite apt comparison that will be explained further below in theory crafting. This is the trend for most mortals.
Those born of magic, those with magic WITHIN them, as part of them, often referred to as "magical" beings, are far more attuned to the magic out there in the world, able to interact and shape magic in ways most can’t even begin to fathom due to their intrinsic link. An example being the Vastaya, who are more innately connected to magic, requiring it to live (like how we need to breathe oxygen to survive). Their use of magic still follows the same principle of not being innately generated, yet their connection allows them to perceive and interact with the worlds in exotic ways. The Vastayashai’rei, the ancient ancestors of our modern Vastaya further demonstrate this: Originally mortals, they learnt how to be completely 1:1 between the material and spirit realms, taking in the spirit realm and becoming deathless, manipulating the magics of each realm… effectively becoming “super mages”.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1273305085360005120

The Axiomata is a system solely related to Elemental Magic and its manipulations to varying effects. It serves as a formulaic/diagrammatic system of understanding and manipulating elemental magic inspired by the flow of the natural “currents” of magic but itself isn't one of the flows, merely one understanding. It's a system of teaching and learning elemental magic, akin to studying strict formulas (or Axioms) based on rules. The benefit to it is that anyone can learn it, Ryze's critique of it would be that it limits and restricts magic's potential.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1242485570854465540

In The Axiomata (Short Story), a ley line was "tapped" and “swum” through, enabling Aliay to interact with the world in a broader, more encompassing fashion thereby allowing him to see and experience the outside world and glimpse ongoing events outside of Ixtal.

In terms of those who seem to directly challenge the established "magic isn't produced innately" principle, in a sense, they don't. Looking at the Aspects (the hosts more so than the actual Celestial Aspects) and the Ascended, they are directly (and indirectly for the Ascended) rigged to the Aspects, thereby serving as conduits and as such, are able to channel their power. Using Leona’s color story, "The Light Bringer" as an example:
“Leona let the fire into her blood, feeling the ancient creature merge its essence with hers more completely, becoming one with her senses and gifting her with perceptions not of this world.”
and
“She reached deep inside herself, drawing on the awesome power from beyond the mountain. The sun emerged from behind its highest peaks as Leona thrust her hand to the light.”
On the other hand, we have Syndra who seemingly produces magic. To an extent this is true, what she presumably does still falls in line with the fundamental concept of mages. While not officially shown on the League Universe, if we go by the original version of "The Dreaming Pool", "The Dreaming Cave" (which was edited for clarity and to cut down on length) Instead of being relegated to only using the ambient natural magics of the physical world, Syndra is able to rip magic directly from the Spiritual Realm.
“Syndra conjured another dark sphere—all of her bitterness, resentment and anger made manifest. Torn from the spirit realm across the threshold into reality, it hovered above her hand, slowly spinning.”

It's something that is unique to her and can be quite dangerous to the natural lands (as we know that pure, concentrated spirit magic flowing can have adverse, chaotic effects.)
https://www.leagueboards.net/thread/74fd339a-b9be-4a95-a933-d9c149777e28/show-thread

Her magic leaches the lands of the natural, ambient magic, thereby causing something akin to "magical fallout" and irradiating the environment. This implies her magic is flooding and washing out the natural magics of the land… replacing it with hers: Raw, concentrated Spirit magic.
We know, from the information about Quinlons, that spirit magic in high concentrations is dangerous and adversely affects the physical realm, particularly when negative. Something further suggested in Syndra’s Biography:
”Such negativity had a strange, unpredictable effect on reality, and Syndra had grown far beyond his ability as a mentor.”
And further falls in line with information given to us about Fae’lor in “The Dreaming Pool” and Sisterhood of War Part 1: Old Wounds regarding the quality of the lands of the island before and after Syndra’s first and second rampages.
The fact that Syndra's mood state mirrors the effect of the Quinlons further substantiates this.
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In regards to the specifics of how mages utilize magic (theory work that falls in line with everything we know):


https://preview.redd.it/z47osvjxe5751.png?width=770&format=png&auto=webp&s=2cc0054b80e620b420db0c1392adc18081f1cbe0
This is a graph detailing the process of breathing, specifically as it relates to the volume of air present in the lungs at any given time. Tidal Volume is the range of normal, unconscious breathing: The volume inhaled and exhaled normally.
As shown in the graph, after breathing out at Tidal Volume (the decline at that level), there's still more air present in your lungs due to them not having fully deflated. Thus, even after breathing out at normal levels)more air may be expelled: Expiratory Reserve Volume.
The reverse is true for the process of inhalation: Inhalation at Tidal Volume, then continuing to inhale to reach the Inspiratory Reserve Volume.
(Deep breath in-> inspiratory reserve volume, deep breath out-> Expiratory reserve volume)... inhaling and exhaling a lot more air than you will in normal breathing... with the normal breathing level being tidal volume.
Big breaths In and Out usually require conscious intent, whereas the Tidal Volume is usually unconsciously regulated. After reaching the Expiratory Reserve Volume, more air still remains in the lungs, known as the Residual Volume. This is almost never accessed and exhaled, requires rigorous intent, and is dangerous to attempt. The total span of these is the Total Lung Capacity.

Now, to apply this concept to mages:
Most mages seemingly don’t consciously draw upon magic, rather they passively draw in and absorb magic, similar to the tidal volume of breathing. Following this logic, there would remain a base level of magic that "exists" within the mage... This doesn’t mean it is innately produced, it is just a sink that's partially filled. (For comparison, relate it to the Expiratory Reserve Volume.)
As such, most mages will only know about emitting magic... not absorbing it, because most of the time, they're just consciously pushing out and manipulating magic, instead of consciously drawing it in.
More adept mages know how to consciously draw in more magic than they'd normally have access to, and know how to regulate the intake, use and emission: Ryze in From the Ashes is an example of this, displayed when trying to teach Kegan:
“You do not create the air you breathe,” the sorcerer said. “You draw it inside you, letting it sustain you. You use it as your body requires, and then release it as you exhale. It is never yours. You are just a vessel for it. You breathe in, you breathe out. You are a channel through which air flows.”
Kegan made to release his breath, though his master shook his head.
“No. Not yet. Feel the air in your lungs, Kegan. Feel it pushing at the cage of your body. Feel it straining to escape.”
And
“Therein lies the problem,” his master observed, reading his posture. “I told you the air was not yours, yet you are thrilled with yourself for how long you kept it inside you. It is the same with magic. You want it, believing it can be owned. You cling to it, forgetting that you are merely a channel through which it passes. You choke it in your heart, and in your hands. And so the magic is strangled in your grip, because you see it as something to bind to your will. It is not, and never will be. It is like air. You must draw in what exists around you, use it for a moment, then let it free.”

Lissandra, in Legend of the Frozen Watchers, is another example:
“Summoning every last iota of the ancient magic around her, including that of her allies, she sacrificed everything to seal the rift-between-realms with True Ice, entombing the Watchers within it.”

When you try to take a deep breath in, the air eventually starts fighting to get out... the balloon is strained; you can't retain that level and, inevitably, the air escapes. Similarly to Ryze's explanation of why Kegan was failing at storing the magic.

From this, I posit what happens with mages around petricite is similar to what happens when you enter a vacuum: Those unaware and not consciously regulating the level of air will have their breath stolen. However, if you are aware, and know about the base concepts of consciously breathing, you will be able to store your air for a period of time before it gets taken. And with training, the level you are able to store, and the duration of which the breath may be held, increases. (You can relate this to holding your breath underwater, you know not to exhale... and if prepared, you know to inhale more than normal and hold your breath.)

Petricite nullifies magic by absorbing it, effectively sapping and stealing the mage’s reserves. For those aware of its properties, and adept at manipulating magic, they would be able to “hold their breath” i.e. hold their magic tightly for a short while, enabling them to continue controlled usage of it. An example of this is seen in the Ryze Cinematic, "Call of Power", when Ryze performs magic in the Petricite Forest.

It should be noted this isn't a literal 1:1 transition of concepts, it’d likely be much harder to recognize and consciously regulate the levels of magic (as displayed by Kegan), but the fundamental concept would remain the same.
To be clear though, this does not speak to the shaping of magic and how it manifests for each mage. How each mage manifests the phenomenon is tied to their ideals and the cultural influences shaping it and to an extent, is ultimately personal: e.g. Lux being tied to "light", and those in The Freljord being more inclined to ice and shamanistic magics etc.
As said before, each person's approach to magic is pretty unique... Even within the Yun Tal, there are proficiencies and unique understandings/perspectives of shaping magic, this is what enables them to keep making new axioms and experiment further).
To use an example that ties back to the theory proposed, Sylas' innate approach is to be able to see/sense it and copy/take that "template"... Akin to a copiecheater in class who takes someone's homework. If he learned, he likely would have the capacity to do his own crafting of spells/magic.
You can consider it the reverse of Lissandra/Ryze... in a sense (theory-wise), he's currently only able to inhale consciously and exhale passively (tidal volume-> Inspiratory Reserve Volume) but not quite able to do it passively. His "tidal volume" is negligible, but his "lungs" are very elastic so can inhale a lot, however, similarly to an untied balloon, would be forced to expel most of the magic once it's not being consciously drawn in. Added to this, there is likely a limit to how much he can take in at any given time, less he risks being overloaded.
The Petricite would therefore act as the containeoxygen tank for the magic absorbed... allowing him to access it whenever needed.. whereas without it, he's constantly been shown to immediately use the magic upon absorbing (can't hold it for long...if at all).
In regards to why he can't consciously absorb ambient magic, it's likely too diffuse and "unconcentrated"/""unstable", whereas the magic stored in petricite and other mages etc already has a stable template... concentrated in once place, thereby enabling to have a firmer "grasp". Sorta like how u can pick up a block of ice, but doing the same with water or vapor is much harder.... it "slips" out. Relating back to if his base volume is low, but the "elastic potential" of his "vessel" is high, the diffuse magic absorbed wouldn't be much in the first place, plus he hasn't innately adapted an application to shaping the magic himself, so he naturally does what he's best suited to: Inflating his proverbial balloon by filling with the concentrated, stabilized templates of others and emitting it (or storing in the petricite).
TLDR on mages, and Scath’s thoughts on the theory:
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1274390411448991746
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1274401745242738688


Relevant Reads on Universe:
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/from-the-ashes/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_GB/story/axiomata/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/leona-color-story/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/champion/syndra/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/the-dreaming-pool/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/ahri-colo
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/legend-of-the-frozen-watchers/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/race/vastaya/
https://www.reddit.com/syndramains/comments/8zpvyx/the_dreaming_cave_short_story_text_for_those_that/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/for-demacia/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/flesh-and-stone/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/galio-color-story/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/shackles-of-belief/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_us/story/demacian-heart
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/xayah-color-story/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/sisterhood-of-war-i/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/sisterhood-of-war-ii/

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Flavor of life information regarding entities seemingly comprised of magic: Spirits and Celestials.

Spirits:
Spirits are the natural denizens of the Spirit Realm, everything that exists upon the physical realm is said to have a spiritual reflection, as learned in Riven's color story, "Seams and Scars".

“I’m a mender,” she said as she held the pottery out to a wide-eyed Riven. “No need to replace anything.”
Riven took the plate and examined it. “How does it work?” she asked, running a finger down a thick black seam.
"Everything has a spirit, and every spirit wants to be whole. I ask them what they need to mend, and give it to them.”
The concept of “time” exists differently from how it does in the physical realm… if it exists at all (Evidenced by Bandle City, as well as the Vastaya Forests). Many spirits seemingly start as something primordial, shapeless, and barely sentient before being tied to varying concepts, fundamentally shaping their interaction with the world, as somewhat evidenced by Evelynn and the nature of the Spirit Gods (Spirit gods, if completely forgotten, revert to the state described). It is not known if this is true for all residents of the spirit realm. Yordles are fundamentally different from other spirits encountered. I.e. they are much more physical and “substantial”.
The Spirit Realm itself is also comprised of “pocket dimensions” that do not have a physical realm correlation. The Glade is an example of this, the dimension of the Fae (of which Lulu’s companion, Pix, is a part of). It is theorized that Bandle City may be an offshoot of The Glade.
When mortals die, their souls are transported to the Spirit Realm, upon whence they’ll be placed in the Afterlife/world. Many "afterlife/afterworld" pocket dimensions exist, Mitna Rachnum (Mordekaiser's death realm) is one of them. Rarely (relatively speaking) do souls make their way into Mordekaiser's realm however. The Shadow Isles deserves mention as the catastrophe that occured warped the rules of the natural worlds, as well as life and death. The raw necromantic (spiritual) magic that suffuses the lands has warped reality and stilled the passage of time. It has become a region of undeath as a result of the trapped souls being unable to truly pass on.

Aside from Yordles, the Fae and souls, other spirits exist, those standing out being Demons and Spirit Gods:

All demons are spirits, not all spirits are demons. I.e. Demons are a specific type of spirit. (This is for actual demons, not entities that have been labelled demonic despite being of human/physical or even celestial origin.) They subsist and feed on emotions, specifically those that are negative or overabundant to the point of negativity/overindulgence. They also perpetuate these feelings either directly, or indirectly in mortals. E.g. Evelynn feeds on agony and pain, and will seduce then torture people, feeding off of their pain. Tahm Kench on the other hand, subsists on misery resulting from greed, gluttony and addiction. He will tempt the person, and when they fall prey to that, will feed off of them. Demons can feed incrementally or devour the person wholly... sometimes literally, sometimes metaphorically. Generally it ultimately results in the person's death.

Spirit Gods are best described as “spiritual embodiments of concepts and cultural ideals”. They are ancient beings granted relevance aeons prior to common mortal existence. They hearken back to when the barriers between realms were ephemeral, thus could gain footholds in the physical plane and mortal cultures. It is theorized that they were originally spirits of certain concepts that managed to link themselves to the culture of mortals, gaining power, form and true sapience due to the increasing worship and cultural attention. Others hypothesize that they themselves were completely “born” of the combined perceptions of a staunch faith. Whatever they may be, it has been noted to be incredibly unlikely for a new Spirit God to form as the conditions of the current worlds do not favor it. Instead it’ll be more likely for an already established entity to fill that attention.
Points to note regarding Spirits:
  • To an extent, every spirit so far has a basis on perception... Not everything is literally "I need you to believe in me for me to live." For demons, their source of "attention" or gaining sustenance is based on the emotion/mental energy that they are draining and perpetuating. Not necessarily a need for belief. Though many do have their own cults of worship, so it's likely that some of that energy can be fed upon too... but ultimately, it's the energy of the emotion/feeling/concept that needs to be there, not a belief.
  • A demon will take shape based on the desired appeal of the person perceiving them. To a lusty, heterosexual man, Eve will appear as an incredibly sexy, sultry lady, thereby tempting him to pursue her. Tahm Kench will appear as a seller or peddler of goods and fortunes, an auctioneer… perhaps even a Casino roulette. Whatever will appeal to and best exploit that person's inner weakness and temptations.
  • Spirits can physically take form by animating and using physical materials nearby, scrapping them together to achieve the desired form (As we see with Fiddlesticks and Volibear)... they can also materialize as condensed raw magic given form. There are rules and limitations guiding how they manifest of which we haven't been privy to. However, we can assume it's based on their current strength, abundance of magic around and the context of the situation. They can choose a form, but often will appear based on the perceptions and inherent beliefs and moods of the surrounding mortals. But yes, they can shapeshift and are the reason why the Vastayashai'rei and their descendants, the Vastaya, have such fluid form.

*Nagakabouros has been confirmed to be a Spirit God, born of the Spirit Realm. The true scope of her being is not known beyond being linked with Life, Chaos and Motion. Other examples of Spirit Gods include Kindred, the Freljordian Demigods and Janna. Demons include Fiddlesticks, Raum, Nocturne, Tahm Kench and Evelynn.

Celestials:
Those of the Celestial Realm are known as Celestials. The antithesis of the Void and its denizens, The Watchers. The Celestial Realm and its inhabitants are heavily centered around creation and maintenance. Not much is known about these timeless entities however they played a key role in the creation of the cosmos as well as Runeterra and its development as a whole. Fate and the celestial machinations guiding mortal existence can be interpreted by looking to the heavens however, to the ire of some, Mortals are not beholden to these preset destinies, and instead often create their own.
The Celestials that we know of are Aurelion Sol, his kin, The Aspects, Bard, and Soraka.
Aspects are the pure ideals/celestial concepts made “personified”, and will occasionally bind with a mortal host and traverse Runeterra to do whatever work is needed.
*(Edited in for clarity:) The Ascended are indirectly rigged to Aspects (celestial concepts). Ascension doesn't necessarily grant them celestial magic, it dramatically magnifies all of their previous traits.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1222583655794524160
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I see you’ve reached the end, my weary traveler. Feast on some cookies and recoup. In regards to any questions and theories, happy to discuss in the comments. If in relation to the various creatures and their more specific interactions with Magic, The Great Chronicler, Sharjo, is doing a TL;DR on the Races of Runeterra which will likely touch on many of those aspects. So I'll leave that to him. For awesome, quick questions or more in depth conversations with fans of the Lore of League, join the discord server :D
https://discord.gg/dYyW6KT
Thanks for bearing with me! Hope this explained things in a clear manner.
submitted by Psyr1x to loreofleague [link] [comments]

[RF] Pale in Comparison

Winter had sucked all the color out of the world.
The prairie in the glory of midsummer had been a surge of green, summer winds sending pulses through the tall grass, causing it to wave like an underwater kelp forest in a strong current. Now, however, it had relinquished its blooming majesty, its former radiance dulled to straw the color of a deerhide. The flowerheads were stripped of their colorful identities, appearing like sepia photographs of themselves; the ghosts of summer past. The sweetclover, which had extended from one horizon to the other back in June, covering the prairie in a blanket of gold, was now skeletonized, its broken-off stems rolling like tumbleweeds in the winter gales.
Trevor was over it. Another South Dakota winter, another four months until the snows would cease and the ice would melt in the creek. In March and April, the spring blizzards would bury the world and on the subsequent sunny days, the combination of blue sky and white land would be startling, like finding oneself living in the center of a bicolored flag.
But for now, a capricious midwinter thaw had left snowdrifts only in the prairie draws, on the north-facing ridges, in the shadows of the ponderosas that speckled the hills. And around the trailer, mud. In a few nights, a deep freeze would turn the sides of the tire ruts into knife edges, testing the suspension of any vehicle that took the approach too fast. Still, that was better than the loamy mud, which could imprison even a 4x4 until freezing cold or drying winds finally freed it.
The view from the front porch could be gorgeous. Back in July, when the church group from Virginia had constructed a wheelchair ramp for the trailer, the evening sun had set the prairie on fire, its light reflected by a thunderstorm hanging in the sky as if by a puppeteer’s strings. “God almighty,” the youth pastor had exclaimed. But now, grays and browns mingled in a decidedly drab palette. Over at the little bird feeder, the goldfinches were no longer yellow-and-black exclamation points, but had acquiesced to dullness, dressed for a time of year when vibrant color seemed to be outlawed by some unseen authority.
Trevor stared at the expanse of mud that spooled out from in front of the trailer and unwound into a ribbon that led over the hill toward the old sundance ground and, eventually, the paved road. He wondered if he would get out today. Always a calculation this time of year. Driving on the muddy channel that was his approach was out of the question; he would set a course across the grass, which would provide enough barrier to keep his tires from sinking in again. Two-tracks radiating out onto the prairie showed how many times he and his family had taken this course of action since the last snow.
It felt ironic that their approach took them by far the long way around – heading north to go south; harder than it needed to be, like so much of life around here. But the way south was blocked by Roanhorse Creek. This wasn’t all bad; the creek provided nice wading in the summer and water for the horses for most of the year. It also gave rise to the only trees on the property, although the cottonwoods whose leaves whispered in the summer breezes now stood dumb and impassive, and resembled skeletal wraiths at nighttime.
A horse would make it, of course. He could saddle up the buckskin, ride cross-country and be in town in twenty minutes. But that would be silly…he snorted at the ludicrousness of this thought. First of all, he had to go way beyond town today. And even if he were just going to his old job at the tribal building, was he supposed to just hitch it up outside for the day? Tie its reins to one of the smokers’ benches by the entrance? What was this, 1895? No, better not to risk TȟatéZi getting stolen or having some gang sign spraypainted on it or some shit. Besides, he needed to pull into his job interview looking halfway decent, not spattered with mud and smelling like horse sweat.
Trevor regarded his truck, sitting smack in the middle of the sloppy mess. Fuck, he thought.
Still, he didn’t really have a choice today. No job interview, no job. No job, no funds. Another calculation, but this one was straightforward. He went back into the trailer and made his way to his bedroom in the back, passing his brothers in the living room. One was sleeping on the couch and the other was crashed out in the recliner, oblivious to the flickering hearth of the muted TV. Let ‘em sleep today, Trevor thought.
In the bedroom, he stepped across piles of clothes – some clean, some dirty – and over the miscellany of his life; a pile of old DVDs, a defunct gaming console, a canister of Bugler and squares of broadcloth for the tobacco ties he was supposed to make for ceremony, a scattering of empty Mountain Dew cans, a 24-pack of ramen, a basketball.
He hunted around in his closet for the dressy clothes that he knew were there. He had worn them once, on the day of his high school graduation, three years before. And there they were; a purple button-down shirt, a solid black tie, and black chinos. Further rummaging found him a pair of brown loafers and a tan braided belt. He would look sharp for this interview – couldn’t hurt.
Trevor took a quick shower. The hot water always took forever to come and once it did, didn’t last long. He got dressed hurriedly, glad the tie that had come as a set with the shirt was a clip-on, and ran a comb through his hair. It wasn’t long enough to do much with other than backcomb it a little with some hair gel, but he figured that looked better than not. He considered putting in big stud earrings to look extra fly, but decided again it; might not be the right look for the occasion.
Now fully dressed and ready, Trevor took stock of his appearance. His summer tan was long gone and his skin was as pale as the white kids he had met during his one semester of college. The same change of season that had desaturated the prairie and garbed the birds in dull colors had undone all those days spent out in the badlands sun – working with the horses, swimming at the dam, helping keep fire at sundance. Too many French fur traders in his lineage. He recalled the book that his eighth grade teacher had assigned them – Part-time Indian or something – and thought, Yup, that’s me. Indian in the summer and wašiču in the winter, like changing plumage.
Trevor envied his brothers their melanin. He had learned that word in one of his college classes and now thought of it nearly every day. Travis was a rich brown complexion even in the dark days of midwinter. Trenton was in between the two but had jet-black Lakota hair and definitely looked “ethnic,” enough to be followed around stores in the border towns. Trevor knew it was his privilege to be exempt from such treatment, but it bugged him nonetheless. He hadn’t asked to be light-skinned. His brothers called him žiží – a reference to his tawny hair. They had gotten into scraps over this, and Trevor even bloodied Travis’ nose in one such altercation. Once one of them had even called Trevor a “half-breed” but Trevor retorted with “Fuck you, boy, you got the same blood as me. Fuckin’ dumbass.” This seemed to put the issue to rest.
Trevor’s brief stint at college had been at an out-of-state school, which now struck him as an ill-advised decision. At least South Dakotans had some experience with Natives. Even the East River kids had at least crossed paths with one at some point, and didn’t think of Indians as something from the pages of a dime novel. Trevor was the first Native in many years – maybe ever – to attend the small-town liberal arts college in a neighboring state. He thought the fact that the college was reasonably selective would mean that the students were smart enough not to ask dumb questions. He was wrong.
The queries were predictable enough, clichéd even; Are you really Indian? (Yes) Do you speak your language? (No) Did you get in because you’re Indian? (Who knows? I’m pretty smart and got good grades.) Does the college have admissions quotas for Indians? (If it did, you’d think more would go here.) What’s it like on the reservation? (I don’t know; different.) Do you prefer “Native American”? (I find the question annoying, to be honest.) Do you like Leslie Marmon Silko? (Who?) Have you seen Dances with Wolves? (Some of it.) Do you know a guy from Pine Ridge named Verdell? He used to work with my dad. (Maybe) His last name was something Horse. Running Horse? (No)
Fielding these questions was exhausting and added another layer of weariness and alienation to his college experience.
He found himself having to answer such inquiries from his roommate, classmates, professors, his R.A…Sometimes they were cloaked in well-meaning concern (I bet you get tired of all these questions, huh?) but they were always there. Most evenings, Trevor would retreat to his room and call his mom. His roommate, Skyler, a cross-country runner who was handsome in an unspectacular way and who monitored his water intake religiously, was hardly ever around. He seemed to have no trouble making friends in college and reveled in the social opportunities around him.
In his phone calls back home, Trevor found himself experiencing a homesickness that inhabited the pit of his stomach like a hunger pang. He had never been gone from home for that long. Really, his only trip away had been the summer before his senior year, to a weeklong STEM camp for Native kids that one of the state colleges had put on. But that had been with a half dozen other students from his high school. Here he was alone.
The subjects of their conversations would leave Trevor feeling a gravitational pull toward home: Trenton got into a fight at school and got suspended. Travis is drinking again. We had sweat for your auntie because they have to amputate her leg after all. Those dogs were back again. Everett hit $200 at the casino on Tuesday night but of course he put it all back in. They’re having a basketball tournament for that boy who got paralyzed in that wreck. Our hot water heater went out but uncle came and fixed it. They still haven’t found that Two Arrows girl that went missing. Travis wants to go up on the hill this spring – maybe that will get him to quit drinking.
Good news, bad news, mundane news…The latter tugged at him the most. Like many who grew up on Pine Ridge, he had a love-hate relationship with the reservation. It was the home of his people after all, and could be so beautiful (“God’s country,” as it was called by even those who had no time for the white man’s God). But the hardships, the tragedies, the death…it all wore away at your spirit, hardened you. Still, the news of day-to-day life going on in his absence; a school powwow, a bingo tournament, tribal council drama, rumors of a Dairy Queen opening. It made him miss home in an ineffable way.
The last vestige of his indecision evaporated after a particular conversation in the lounge of his dorm. He had been sitting on a beanbag chair, discussing random topics with two friends (at least, he considered them friends, in some ill-defined adolescent way). They had all left a dull party that hadn’t livened up even after a couple of drinks, but still felt heady and obligated to prolong the night a little longer. So, they were shooting the shit, in a garishly-lit common space that smelled of burnt popcorn, and Trevor was feeling rather collegiate. An off-campus party, late-night conversation; weren’t these the trappings of university life that he had seen in teen movies, if a much more prosaic version?
Kayleigh, tipsy off Jäger bombs, started the chain of events that would unravel his college experience with a simple, but pointed question: “How Indian are you, anyway?”
Colton snorted at this comment. “Kay, you can’t just ask that!” But he was clearly more amused than disapproving.
“You mean like my blood quantum or what?” Trevor asked.
“Is that what you guys call it?” said Kay, now playing the innocent party. “I just mean, like, you say you’re Indian, I mean like I know you are, like, I know you are on paper…” The alcohol was causing her to trip over her words but she plowed on. “I mean like, okay, if I were to like, run into you on the street…” Kay was now gesturing expansively, as if the meaning of what she was saying wasn’t explicit from words alone. “Like, I wouldn’t be like, ‘Damn, look at that Indian,’ right? I’d just assume you were a white guy. I mean you know what I mean? Ugh, I’m not making sense.”
She was making perfect sense. Colton looked embarrassed, and for a second, Trevor thought he might shut Kay down. But instead, his inhibition similarly worn down by a few shots of German 70-proof, he followed suit. “I think what Kay’s drunk ass is trying to say is, like, your ancestors are Indians, right, like in the history books. Like Geronimo or whatever. But do you consider yourself one of them? Or are you, like, their descendant?”
Trevor could feel the ball of rage growing within him, a sea urchin radiating spikes in his gut. Stop talking, he thought. Just stop talking.
Colton continued, heedlessly. “Okay, so like I’m Irish but I’m not like Irish Irish, like a leprechaun or some shit. Like my ancestors…”
Trevor stood up, his fists balled. He was now stone-cold sober but his anger was its own intoxicant. “It’s none of your fucking business. It’s none of your business what the fuck I am!” He was shouting; he couldn’t help it. He picked up a half-empty can of PBR and threw it at the wall, slamming the door to the lounge on his way out. The sudsy contents of the can leaked onto the ugly orange dorm carpet, as Kayleigh and Colton sat in stunned silence.
“Jesus,” said Colton finally. “Just trying to ask an honest question.”
After that, Trevor had holed up in his room for a few days, skipping classes and avoiding other students. When he told his mom he was dropping out, she hardly sounded surprised. He knew she would be glad to have him back home; the prodigal son returning. Trevor, the one who had his shit together, who had gone to a STEM camp and was almost salutatorian. He knew she thought that once he got back, he could do what she couldn’t; get Travis on a better path, bring another income to the household, fix what needed to be fixed around the trailer, shoot at the stray dogs when they came around. It would all fall to him. His failure was their blessing; they would lean on him as long as he could stand.
So here we fucking go, he now thought, patting his gel-stiffened hair and giving himself one last hazel-eyed glance in the mirror. Gotta get that bread. His brief stint at the tribal building hadn’t panned out. He was a good worker but wet weather made his road too sloppy to get out easily. Too many latenesses had translated into a pink slip. “Shit man we all got bad roads. Gotta leave earlier,” his boss had said.
So, lesson learned, he was giving himself extra time getting ready for this interview. Really, the lady had just told him to come by “around mid-morning,” so he’d probably be okay. The job was off-rez, down at the county livestock auction and sale barn in one of the closest border towns, “white towns,” as Ridgers called it. It was mostly going to be paperwork – inventory and itemizing and that kind of shit – but it was decent pay and Trevor hoped that he could transition over to working with the animals before long. On most days, he preferred their company to dumbass people.
Grabbing his bag, Trevor stuck the loafers inside with his other miscellany. He would need to wear his cowboy boots across the muddy expanse between the bottom step of the porch and the door to his Blazer so he jammed his feet into them. Outside, he walked gingerly so as not to stain his black slacks with muck. Once in the driver’s seat, he figured he would leave the boots on for the drive, since they were already smearing mud on the floor liner, and in case he got stuck and needed to get out. Trevor knew that the people who worked at the sale barn were as countrified as he was and wouldn’t judge muddy boots under most circumstances, but he also knew that being from Pine Ridge meant he had to put his best foot forward, literally in this case.
Trevor fired up the Blazer, put it in four low, and gunned it. His tires found grip and he jerked along, slimy divots of earth spattering his windows and roof like hail. His windshield wipers left a pasty smear that obscured much of his view, but he practically knew the way by feel. As soon as he could, he bumped up onto the grass, gopher holes and clumps of prairie bluestem jolting his ride, testing what was left of his suspension. When he finally hit the pavement, the smoothness was startling as it always was, like a TV being suddenly muted, like silence after a door slamming.
He cruised through town, passing the gas station, the other gas station, the commod building, the quonset hut, the old BIA headquarters…and turned south into Nebraska. He tried to ignore the persistent squeal under the hood that had gotten worse lately. The overcast sky reflected the dullness of the land – as below, so above – and Trevor alternated between zoning out and counting hawks on telephone poles. A handful of miles south of the border, the vehicle gave a jolt and Trevor felt a temporary loss of control. He hit the brakes and steered toward the shoulder, but the Blazer was suddenly steering like an army tank. Fuck, he whispered.
Once he wrestled Blazer off the road, Trevor got out and popped the hood. He already knew what he would find under the rising steam. “Fucking serpentine belt,” he hissed to the universe. Trevor was good with cars but he didn’t have the tools for this fix. Luckily, he thought, out here in the country, somebody who did would be by soon. Lots of Natives on this road, maybe even a cousin would happen by who could at least give him a ride to town. Trevor thought of calling his dad’s brother Everett on his cell, but figured he’d give it a bit. He hated the thought of owing Uncle Ev anything.
Sure enough, in a few minutes, a gunmetal gray truck passed by slowly, hit a u-turn, and pulled up behind him. Trevor felt a twinge of envy over this late-model Dodge Ram MegaCab with duallies. It had county plates on it, so the cowboy-hatted driver was a local guy, and as he got out, his Carhartt overalls and mud-caked boots identified him as a rancher.
“Trouble?” MegaCab asked, giving Trevor an easy smile.
“Serpentine belt busted,” said Trevor, unconsciously smoothing out his rez accent in favor of a more neutral affectation. Code-switching – another term he had learned at college (by the professor who asked him if he prefers “Native American”).
“No shit, huh?” MegaCab considered this information. “I got nothing for that but I could give you a ride somewhere. You call anyone? Someone coming after you?”
“No,” said Trevor. “I’m trying to get down to the sale barn for a job interview.”
MegaCab looked at Trevor as if for the first time. “Oh ok so that’s why you’re all fancied up. Well, hop in if you don’t mind leaving it here.”
Trevor considered this. He was off the rez so there was less of a chance that the Blazer would end up with busted windows or slashed tires. And he was eager to get his interview over and done with.
Before he could answer, MegaCab added “I have to stop in Whiteclay first but then I’ll take you down.”
This was only a few miles out of the way so Trevor assented and climbed into the rancher’s idling behemoth. It still retained some new-truck smell, mixed with a tinge of manure and rich earth. Really, it was almost luxurious.
MegaCab flipped a u-ey again and headed back north toward Whiteclay. Formerly notorious for copious alcohol sales to people from the dry reservation whose border it sat on, Whiteclay’s package stores had been shuttered after the state had revoked their liquor licenses following years of protests over their depredatory business model. Now, it was just a town of a couple small stores and fewer than a dozen permanent residents, its streets empty of vagrants, its ghosts banished.
“So, you from Hot Springs?”
Trevor momentarily wondered where this question had come from, and then remembered that he had 27-plates on the Blazer – Fall River County, a relic of when he bought the car from a white lady over there. He had kept the off-county registration because the plates were far less likely to get you pulled over off-rez than the infamous 65s of Oglala Lakota County.
MegaCab continued without waiting for an answer. “I used to go up to Hot Springs a lot when my dad was in the V.A. hospital up there. Nice town.”
“Yup, it’s pretty nice,” said Trevor, wondering if he would have to sustain this small talk the whole way.
Luckily, MegaCab took it from there, reminiscing about his high school football team dealing Hot Springs a particularly lopsided loss, and then they were at Whiteclay. Trevor played around on his phone while his driver of the moment went into the little grocery store. He looked up his old roommate Skyler on Facebook (why, he didn’t know; certainly not to friend him) and then Googled “Pine Ridge South Dakota Dairy Queen” just to see if there was any truth to that rumor.
MegaCab returned with some mail – Trevor had forgotten that there was a little post office in there – and they turned south toward Rushville.
Two miles and five hawks-on-telephone-poles into their trip, MegaCab got chatty again:
“I still can’t believe that the state revoked the liquor licenses. They had no legal right to do that of course, but just like everyone else these days, they bowed to the pressure from liberal special interest groups. Those store owners – my brother was one of them – followed the damn law to a T but still got their rights taken away. They’re the real victims in all of this.”
Trevor, whose father was found dead in Whiteclay when Trevor was ten years old, didn’t answer.
“You know it’s just going to push the problem down the road. These Indians are gonna get their liquor one way or another. You guys must see that all the time up in Hot Springs.”
These Indians. You guys. Trevor suddenly recognized MegaCab’s presumption, and wondered when if he should correct it.
“If they wanted to buy millions of cans of beer in Whiteclay every year and drink themselves to death, shit, I say let ‘em. It’s a free country, right? Those AIM types are always going on about Native rights and shit, y’know? Well shit, you have the right to drink and die if you want. Not saying that I want that for those people or anything, but the nanny state can’t be protecting everyone from problems of their own making.”
Trevor, whose brother had first gotten jailed for drunk and disorderly at age 14, two years after their father died, said nothing.
MegaCab continued to rhapsodize about “the Indians” and their problems, adopting the tone of an expert, one who knew all about them. Trevor felt the blood rise to his face. Some coloration at least, he thought darkly. In the pit of his stomach, the sea urchin had returned to stab at his insides. What must it be like, he wondered, to live a life in which people aren’t constantly telling you who you are, naming your characteristics like symptoms, trying to trap you like a spirit in a photograph?
The Blazer came in sight on the shoulder ahead. “Can you let me out at my ride?” Trevor asked, his voice hardly recognizable to his own ear, like hearing himself talk underwater.
“Sure, you need to grab something out of it?” said MegaCab, reluctantly pausing his diatribe.
“No it’s okay,” replied Trevor, “I’m gonna call someone to come help me fix this after all.” He fiddled with his phone as if to underscore this intention.
“Well, if you’re sure,” said MegaCab. “And hey,” he added as Trevor stepped down onto the running board. “You be careful around here. One of these rezzers might see you here all by yourself and try to mess you or your car up. And watch out for drunk drivers. You just never know with these Indians.” MegaCab gave a serious nod to accentuate this show of concern. Then he wished Trevor luck and drove off.
Trevor watched the truck recede into the distance until it was merely a gray speck between the monochrome earth and the steely sky. He sat down in the cold front seat of the Blazer and looked into the rearview mirror. Hazel eyes stared back at him under a pale forehead. Fuck it, he thought; people are dumbasses. Let ‘em believe what they want; that he was from Hot Springs, that could be was related to that Apache, Geronimo, that he was only Indian on paper. Trevor saw what they didn’t; the hidden depths beneath the surface, and in their faces, in the spaces between their words, their ignorance displayed like a tattoo.
In another minute or two, he would call Uncle Ev for a ride. In another hour or two, he would be offered a job at the sale barn that would bring another income into his household (and buy him a new serpentine belt). In another day or two, he would finally finish the tobacco ties for ceremony, at which he would pray for Travis’ sobriety and his auntie’s diabetes. In another month or two, the lengthening of the days would be unmistakable.
Spring would come as it always had, first heralded by a single meadowlark piercing the predawn silence with his song. This would be followed by a green sprig on the prairie, pushing up, perhaps, through snow. Then a cluster of pasqueflowers appearing suddenly on a hillside, a skein of geese overhead, sheet lightning on the horizon. Small miracles, one after another. Finally, color would surge back into the world like paint scintillating on a canvas, causing goldfinches to glow like stars and evening thunderheads to stand like towering fires.
The brilliant Dakota sunlight would stoke the melanin in Trevor’s skin, and nobody would mistake who he was. He would go up on the hill for two days and nights with Travis that spring, and Trenton would keep fire for them. He would pray for the coming year, for the survival of his people, for enough blessings to outweigh the hardships. And there, among a sea of undulating green, facing the crimson blaze of sunrise, he would again know himself and find the strength to carry on, in the face of all the peculiar indignities of this world.
submitted by PrairieChild to shortstories [link] [comments]

TL;DR Magic in Runeterra: How it exists and is used.

TL;DR Magic in Runeterra: How it exists and is used.
To preface, this post is meant to elucidate some of the properties of magic in lore: how it exists and functions in the world of Runeterra. For the purposes of this post, I will not go into much depth regarding the complex magics, and will instead primarily refer to the main 3 “streams”. Points will be backed up using reliable sources, Scathlocke being the Head of all things Narrative and Worldbuilding-wise in Lore. That being said, until Riot releases information on Universe or Nexus, (while unlikely) things are liable to change regarding information provided by Rioters in twitter and boards replies, thus should be taken with a grain of salt.

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The Origins of Magic:

As Runeterra, an amalgamation of the Spiritual and Material/Physical realms, was created by an unknown race of Celestials using the World Runes, all magic can be said to have roots in the Celestial Realm. While that might make it seem superior, being the originator, think of it more like it fostered the growth of the realms to becoming their own distinct units.

In the League of Legends Universe (main), magic exists in three distinct forms: Celestial, Spiritual and Elemental. From there, you have multiple blends and combinations.
N.B. The energy produced by those of the Void is NOT magic.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1137415463535693824

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Fundamentally, each main stream encompasses specific concepts, one is not inherently better than the other and, to varying extents, each is able to mimic some of the effects of the other:


  • Celestial Magic deals with creation and pure ideals, thus can also include maintenance, change and destruction.
  • Spirit Magic deals with mental and emotional concepts, life as well as reality and the perception of it.
  • Elemental Magic deals with the manipulation of the physical world and the physical laws and rules of reality (Physics).

Magic exists ambiently; flowing as metaphysical rivers and streams throughout the world similar in concept to ley lines. Areas where magic is high in concentration will commonly produce the most number of natural born mages, to the point where it is less likely for one to not possess the ability to use/do magic. The reverse is true for those born in an area where ambient magic is low in concentration. This is evidenced with Ionia and Ixtal, being fonts of Elemental and Spiritual magic respectively, whereas a region like Demacia; surrounded and founded upon magic nullifying petricite, very few mages are produced.
https://nexus.leagueoflegends.com/en-us/2017/04/dev-on-vastayan-evolution/

Each stream of magic flows from an origin source: Celestial magic flows from the Celestial Realm as well as the World Runes, Spiritual Magic originates from the Spiritual Realm, and Elemental Magic from the Physical realm, all suffusing into the material plane.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1229983493188284418
Regions where the barriers between realms are weakest and the magic flows strongest are known as “fonts” of magic. Ionia is an example of this in regards to spirit magic. To varying extents, use of each main branch can mirror the other and produce similar effects, even if not strictly the same source/magic type (e.g. all can produce fire).

As said before, Ionia is a font of spirit magic. The barriers between the mortal and spirit realm are less distinct, thereby allowing the two to interact in strange, exotic manners. As a result, spirit magic suffuses and saturates the lands of Ionia. However, raw concentrated spirit magic has chaotic, unpredictable effects upon reality, making the environment a dangerous place. As such, humans erected Quinlons in Ionia to restrict and filter the flow of magic from the fonts. Quinlons being man-made magical filters that limit the amount of magic flowing from the spirit realm into Ionia... they also filter out the more chaotic/negative energy, concentrating it into a liquid-like substance (IchoTears). When tattooed upon the skin or consumed, this concentrated negative magic enables the use and manipulation of shadow magic (used to great effect by Zed and his Order). Currently, the agreement between humans and Vastaya has been shattered: The Quinlons are restricting too much magic, and Zed’s Order actively alters some to fuel their shadow magic. The vastaya, requiring magic to live similarly to how we need air to live, are understandably not too ecstatic.
https://www.leagueboards.net/thread/8c0b14a1-6a72-420b-a4f7-fe97a02684e2/show-threadhttps://nexus.leagueoflegends.com/en-us/2017/04/dev-on-vastayan-evolution/

Theoretically, Targon would serve as a font of Celestial magic seeing as the barriers between the mortal and Celestial Realm are thinnest near the peak, thereby allowing the easiest interaction and allowing the magic to suffuse onto the physical plane.
A region serving as a font of magic doesn't necessarily mean only that type of magic is present. It just acts as a source.
One doesn't have to be on a ley line/stream to do magic... the effects and efficiency just increase with proximity, similar to a wifi/cell signal. As they encompass the entirety of Runeterra, you are almost always guaranteed to have some signal (barring specific scenarios/anomalies.)
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1257086236704960512https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1257098176290410496

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How Magic is Used:

Anyone and everyone can learn to harness magic, however, not everyone is born with the talent. These lucky individuals are known as mages.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1159016781278789636
From what we’ve seen, mages don't quite generate magic per se, they access what is naturally present, interacting with the ambient magic in the environment rather than directly producing it. More akin to vessels than generators, their strength and aptitude likely depends on how much they can store, channel, shape and emit (as well as restore) at any given time. But, as said by Ryze in “From the Ashes” magic likes to be used, not stored… similar to the air we hold in our lungs… a quite apt comparison that will be explained further below in theory crafting. This is the trend for most mortals.
Those born of magic, those with magic WITHIN them, as part of them, often referred to as "magical" beings, are far more attuned to the magic out there in the world, able to interact and shape magic in ways most can’t even begin to fathom due to their intrinsic link. An example being the Vastaya, who are more innately connected to magic, requiring it to live (like how we need to breathe oxygen to survive). Their use of magic still follows the same principle of not being innately generated, yet their connection allows them to perceive and interact with the worlds in exotic ways. The Vastayashai’rei, the ancient ancestors of our modern Vastaya further demonstrate this: Originally mortals, they learnt how to be completely 1:1 between the material and spirit realms, taking in the spirit realm and becoming deathless, manipulating the magics of each realm… effectively becoming “super mages”.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1273305085360005120

The Axiomata is a system solely related to Elemental Magic and its manipulations to varying effects. It serves as a formulaic/diagrammatic system of understanding and manipulating elemental magic inspired by the flow of the natural “currents” of magic but itself isn't one of the flows, merely one understanding. It's a system of teaching and learning elemental magic, akin to studying strict formulas (or Axioms) based on rules. The benefit to it is that anyone can learn it, Ryze's critique of it would be that it limits and restricts magic's potential.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1242485570854465540

In The Axiomata (Short Story), a ley line was "tapped" and “swum” through, enabling Aliay to interact with the world in a broader, more encompassing fashion thereby allowing him to see and experience the outside world and glimpse ongoing events outside of Ixtal.

In terms of those who seem to directly challenge the established "magic isn't produced innately" principle, in a sense, they don't. Looking at the Aspects (the hosts more so than the actual Celestial Aspects) and the Ascended, they are directly (and indirectly for the Ascended) rigged to the Aspects, thereby serving as conduits and as such, are able to channel their power. Using Leona’s color story, "The Light Bringer" as an example:
“Leona let the fire into her blood, feeling the ancient creature merge its essence with hers more completely, becoming one with her senses and gifting her with perceptions not of this world.”
and
“She reached deep inside herself, drawing on the awesome power from beyond the mountain. The sun emerged from behind its highest peaks as Leona thrust her hand to the light.”
On the other hand, we have Syndra who seemingly produces magic. To an extent this is true, what she presumably does still falls in line with the fundamental concept of mages. While not officially shown on the League Universe, if we go by the original version of "The Dreaming Pool", "The Dreaming Cave" (which was edited for clarity and to cut down on length) Instead of being relegated to only using the ambient natural magics of the physical world, Syndra is able to rip magic directly from the Spiritual Realm.
“Syndra conjured another dark sphere—all of her bitterness, resentment and anger made manifest. Torn from the spirit realm across the threshold into reality, it hovered above her hand, slowly spinning.”

It's something that is unique to her and can be quite dangerous to the natural lands (as we know that pure, concentrated spirit magic flowing can have adverse, chaotic effects.)
https://www.leagueboards.net/thread/74fd339a-b9be-4a95-a933-d9c149777e28/show-thread

Her magic leaches the lands of the natural, ambient magic, thereby causing something akin to "magical fallout" and irradiating the environment. This implies her magic is flooding and washing out the natural magics of the land… replacing it with hers: Raw, concentrated Spirit magic.
We know, from the information about Quinlons, that spirit magic in high concentrations is dangerous and adversely affects the physical realm, particularly when negative. Something further suggested in Syndra’s Biography:
”Such negativity had a strange, unpredictable effect on reality, and Syndra had grown far beyond his ability as a mentor.”
And further falls in line with information given to us about Fae’lor in “The Dreaming Pool” and Sisterhood of War Part 1: Old Wounds regarding the quality of the lands of the island before and after Syndra’s first and second rampages.
The fact that Syndra's mood state mirrors the effect of the Quinlons further substantiates this.
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In regards to the specifics of how mages utilize magic (theory work that falls in line with everything we know):

https://preview.redd.it/cyl0eju0l4751.png?width=512&format=png&auto=webp&s=b5eec68c1033cb9628b72a5b41fa02b3d650676e
This is a graph detailing the process of breathing, specifically as it relates to the volume of air present in the lungs at any given time. Tidal Volume is the range of normal, unconscious breathing: The volume inhaled and exhaled normally.
As shown in the graph, after breathing out at Tidal Volume (the decline at that level), there's still more air present in your lungs due to them not having fully deflated. Thus, even after breathing out at normal levels)more air may be expelled: Expiratory Reserve Volume.
The reverse is true for the process of inhalation: Inhalation at Tidal Volume, then continuing to inhale to reach the Inspiratory Reserve Volume.
(Deep breath in-> inspiratory reserve volume, deep breath out-> Expiratory reserve volume)... inhaling and exhaling a lot more air than you will in normal breathing... with the normal breathing level being tidal volume.
Big breaths In and Out usually require conscious intent, whereas the Tidal Volume is usually unconsciously regulated. After reaching the Expiratory Reserve Volume, more air still remains in the lungs, known as the Residual Volume. This is almost never accessed and exhaled, requires rigorous intent, and is dangerous to attempt. The total span of these is the Total Lung Capacity.

Now, to apply this concept to mages:
Most mages seemingly don’t consciously draw upon magic, rather they passively draw in and absorb magic, similar to the tidal volume of breathing. Following this logic, there would remain a base level of magic that "exists" within the mage... This doesn’t mean it is innately produced, it is just a sink that's partially filled. (For comparison, relate it to the Expiratory Reserve Volume.)
As such, most mages will only know about emitting magic... not absorbing it, because most of the time, they're just consciously pushing out and manipulating magic, instead of consciously drawing it in.
More adept mages know how to consciously draw in more magic than they'd normally have access to, and know how to regulate the intake, use and emission: Ryze in From the Ashes is an example of this, displayed when trying to teach Kegan:
“You do not create the air you breathe,” the sorcerer said. “You draw it inside you, letting it sustain you. You use it as your body requires, and then release it as you exhale. It is never yours. You are just a vessel for it. You breathe in, you breathe out. You are a channel through which air flows.”
Kegan made to release his breath, though his master shook his head.
“No. Not yet. Feel the air in your lungs, Kegan. Feel it pushing at the cage of your body. Feel it straining to escape.”
And
“Therein lies the problem,” his master observed, reading his posture. “I told you the air was not yours, yet you are thrilled with yourself for how long you kept it inside you. It is the same with magic. You want it, believing it can be owned. You cling to it, forgetting that you are merely a channel through which it passes. You choke it in your heart, and in your hands. And so the magic is strangled in your grip, because you see it as something to bind to your will. It is not, and never will be. It is like air. You must draw in what exists around you, use it for a moment, then let it free.”

Lissandra, in Legend of the Frozen Watchers, is another example:
“Summoning every last iota of the ancient magic around her, including that of her allies, she sacrificed everything to seal the rift-between-realms with True Ice, entombing the Watchers within it.”

When you try to take a deep breath in, the air eventually starts fighting to get out... the balloon is strained; you can't retain that level and, inevitably, the air escapes. Similarly to Ryze's explanation of why Kegan was failing at storing the magic.

From this, I posit what happens with mages around petricite is similar to what happens when you enter a vacuum: Those unaware and not consciously regulating the level of air will have their breath stolen. However, if you are aware, and know about the base concepts of consciously breathing, you will be able to store your air for a period of time before it gets taken. And with training, the level you are able to store, and the duration of which the breath may be held, increases. (You can relate this to holding your breath underwater, you know not to exhale... and if prepared, you know to inhale more than normal and hold your breath.)

Petricite nullifies magic by absorbing it, effectively sapping and stealing the mage’s reserves. For those aware of its properties, and adept at manipulating magic, they would be able to “hold their breath” i.e. hold their magic tightly for a short while, enabling them to continue controlled usage of it. An example of this is seen in the Ryze Cinematic, "Call of Power", when Ryze performs magic in the Petricite Forest.

It should be noted this isn't a literal 1:1 transition of concepts, it’d likely be much harder to recognize and consciously regulate the levels of magic (as displayed by Kegan), but the fundamental concept would remain the same. To be clear though, this does not speak to the shaping of magic and how it manifests for each mage. How each mage manifests the phenomenon is tied to their ideals and the cultural influences shaping it and to an extent, is ultimately personal: e.g. Lux being tied to "light", and those in The Freljord being more inclined to ice and shamanistic magics etc.
As said before, each person's approach to magic is pretty unique... Even within the Yun Tal, there are proficiencies and unique understandings/perspectives of shaping magic, this is what enables them to keep making new axioms and experiment further).
To use an example that ties back to the theory proposed, Sylas' innate approach is to be able to see/sense it and copy/take that "template"... Akin to a copiecheater in class who takes someone's homework. If he learned, he likely would have the capacity to do his own crafting of spells/magic.
You can consider it the reverse of Lissandra/Ryze... in a sense (theory-wise), he's currently only able to inhale consciously and exhale passively (tidal volume-> Inspiratory Reserve Volume) but not quite able to do it passively. His "tidal volume" is negligible, but his "lungs" are very elastic so can inhale a lot, however, similarly to an untied balloon, would be forced to expel most of the magic once it's not being consciously drawn in. Added to this, there is likely a limit to how much he can take in at any given time, less he risks being overloaded.
The Petricite would therefore act as the containeoxygen tank for the magic absorbed... allowing him to access it whenever needed.. whereas without it, he's constantly been shown to immediately use the magic upon absorbing (can't hold it for long...if at all).
In regards to why he can't consciously absorb ambient magic, it's likely too diffuse and "unconcentrated"/""unstable", whereas the magic stored in petricite and other mages etc already has a stable template... concentrated in once place, thereby enabling to have a firmer "grasp". Sorta like how u can pick up a block of ice, but doing the same with water or vapor is much harder.... it "slips" out. Relating back to if his base volume is low, but the "elastic potential" of his "vessel" is high, the diffuse magic absorbed wouldn't be much in the first place, plus he hasn't innately adapted an application to shaping the magic himself, so he naturally does what he's best suited to: Inflating his proverbial balloon by filling with the concentrated, stabilized templates of others and emitting it (or storing in the petricite).
TLDR on mages, and Scath’s thoughts on the theory:
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1274390411448991746
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1274401745242738688

Relevant Reads on Universe:
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/from-the-ashes/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_GB/story/axiomata/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/leona-color-story/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/champion/syndra/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/the-dreaming-pool/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/ahri-colo
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/legend-of-the-frozen-watchers/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/race/vastaya/
https://www.reddit.com/syndramains/comments/8zpvyx/the_dreaming_cave_short_story_text_for_those_that/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/for-demacia/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/flesh-and-stone/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/galio-color-story/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/shackles-of-belief/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_us/story/demacian-heart
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/xayah-color-story/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/sisterhood-of-war-i/
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/sisterhood-of-war-ii/

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Flavor of life information regarding entities seemingly comprised of magic: Spirits and Celestials.

Spirits:
Spirits are the natural denizens of the Spirit Realm, everything that exists upon the physical realm is said to have a spiritual reflection, as learned in Riven's color story, "Seams and Scars".

“I’m a mender,” she said as she held the pottery out to a wide-eyed Riven. “No need to replace anything.”
Riven took the plate and examined it. “How does it work?” she asked, running a finger down a thick black seam.
"Everything has a spirit, and every spirit wants to be whole. I ask them what they need to mend, and give it to them.”
The concept of “time” exists differently from how it does in the physical realm… if it exists at all (Evidenced by Bandle City, as well as the Vastaya Forests). Many spirits seemingly start as something primordial, shapeless, and barely sentient before being tied to varying concepts, fundamentally shaping their interaction with the world, as somewhat evidenced by Evelynn and the nature of the Spirit Gods (Spirit gods, if completely forgotten, revert to the state described). It is not known if this is true for all residents of the spirit realm. Yordles are fundamentally different from other spirits encountered. I.e. they are much more physical and “substantial”.
The Spirit Realm itself is also comprised of “pocket dimensions” that do not have a physical realm correlation. The Glade is an example of this, the dimension of the Fae (of which Lulu’s companion, Pix, is a part of). It is theorized that Bandle City may be an offshoot of The Glade.
When mortals die, their souls are transported to the Spirit Realm, upon whence they’ll be placed in the Afterlife/world. Many "afterlife/afterworld" pocket dimensions exist, Mitna Rachnum (Mordekaiser's death realm) is one of them. Rarely (relatively speaking) do souls make their way into Mordekaiser's realm however. The Shadow Isles deserves mention as the catastrophe that occurred warped the rules of the natural worlds, as well as life and death. The raw necromantic (spiritual) magic that suffuses the lands has warped reality and stilled the passage of time. It has become a region of undeath as a result of the trapped souls being unable to truly pass on.

Aside from Yordles, the Fae and souls, other spirits exist, those standing out being Demons and Spirit Gods:

All demons are spirits, not all spirits are demons. I.e. Demons are a specific type of spirit. (This is for actual demons, not entities that have been labelled demonic despite being of human/physical or even celestial origin.) They subsist and feed on emotions, specifically those that are negative or overabundant to the point of negativity/overindulgence. They also perpetuate these feelings either directly, or indirectly in mortals. E.g. Evelynn feeds on agony and pain, and will seduce then torture people, feeding off of their pain. Tahm Kench on the other hand, subsists on misery resulting from greed, gluttony and addiction. He will tempt the person, and when they fall prey to that, will feed off of them. Demons can feed incrementally or devour the person wholly... sometimes literally, sometimes metaphorically. Generally it ultimately results in the person's death.

Spirit Gods are best described as “spiritual embodiments of concepts and cultural ideals”. They are ancient beings granted relevance aeons prior to common mortal existence. They hearken back to when the barriers between realms were ephemeral, thus could gain footholds in the physical plane and mortal cultures. It is theorized that they were originally spirits of certain concepts that managed to link themselves to the culture of mortals, gaining power, form and true sapience due to the increasing worship and cultural attention. Others hypothesize that they themselves were completely “born” of the combined perceptions of a staunch faith. Whatever they may be, it has been noted to be incredibly unlikely for a new Spirit God to form as the conditions of the current worlds do not favor it. Instead it’ll be more likely for an already established entity to fill that attention.
Points to note regarding Spirits:
  • To an extent, every spirit so far has a basis on perception... Not everything is literally "I need you to believe in me for me to live." For demons, their source of "attention" or gaining sustenance is based on the emotion/mental energy that they are draining and perpetuating. Not necessarily a need for belief. Though many do have their own cults of worship, so it's likely that some of that energy can be fed upon too... but ultimately, it's the energy of the emotion/feeling/concept that needs to be there, not a belief.
  • A demon will take shape based on the desired appeal of the person perceiving them. To a lusty, heterosexual man, Eve will appear as an incredibly sexy, sultry lady, thereby tempting him to pursue her. Tahm Kench will appear as a seller or peddler of goods and fortunes, an auctioneer… perhaps even a Casino roulette. Whatever will appeal to and best exploit that person's inner weakness and temptations.
  • Spirits can physically take form by animating and using physical materials nearby, scrapping them together to achieve the desired form (As we see with Fiddlesticks and Volibear)... they can also materialize as condensed raw magic given form. There are rules and limitations guiding how they manifest of which we haven't been privy to. However, we can assume it's based on their current strength, abundance of magic around and the context of the situation. They can choose a form, but often will appear based on the perceptions and inherent beliefs and moods of the surrounding mortals. But yes, they can shapeshift and are the reason why the Vastayashai'rei and their descendants, the Vastaya, have such fluid form.

*Nagakabouros has been confirmed to be a Spirit God, born of the Spirit Realm. The true scope of her being is not known beyond being linked with Life, Chaos and Motion. Other examples of Spirit Gods include Kindred, the Freljordian Demigods and Janna. Demons include Fiddlesticks, Raum, Nocturne, Tahm Kench and Evelynn.

Celestials:
Those of the Celestial Realm are known as Celestials. The antithesis of the Void and its denizens, The Watchers. The Celestial Realm and its inhabitants are heavily centered around creation and maintenance. Not much is known about these timeless entities however they played a key role in the creation of the cosmos as well as Runeterra and its development as a whole. Fate and the celestial machinations guiding mortal existence can be interpreted by looking to the heavens however, to the ire of some, Mortals are not beholden to these preset destinies, and instead often create their own.
The Celestials that we know of are Aurelion Sol, his kin, The Aspects, Bard, and Soraka.
Aspects are the pure ideals/celestial concepts made “personified”, and will occasionally bind with a mortal host and traverse Runeterra to do whatever work is needed.
*(Edited in for clarity:) The Ascended are indirectly rigged to Aspects (celestial concepts). Ascension doesn't necessarily grant them celestial magic, it dramatically magnifies all of their previous traits.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1222583655794524160
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I see you’ve reached the end, my weary traveler. Feast on some cookies and recoup. In regards to any questions and theories, happy to discuss in the comments. If in relation to the various creatures and their more specific interactions with Magic, The Great Chronicler, Sharjo, is doing a TL;DR on the Races of Runeterra which will likely touch on many of those aspects. So I'll leave that to him. For awesome, quick questions or more in depth conversations with fans of the Lore of League, join the discord server :D
https://discord.gg/dYyW6KT
Thanks for bearing with me! Hope this explained things in a clear manner.
submitted by Psyr1x to leagueoflegends [link] [comments]

TL;DR Magic in Runeterra: How it exists and is used.

TL;DR Magic in Runeterra: How it exists and is used.
To preface, this post is meant to elucidate some of the properties of magic in lore: how it exists and functions in the world of Runeterra. For the purposes of this post, I will not go into much depth regarding the complex magics, and will instead primarily refer to the main 3 “streams”. Points will be backed up using reliable sources, Scathlocke being the Head of all things Narrative and Worldbuilding-wise in Lore. That being said, until Riot releases information on Universe or Nexus, (while unlikely) things are liable to change regarding information provided by Rioters in twitter and boards replies, thus should be taken with a grain of salt.

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The Origins of Magic:

As Runeterra, an amalgamation of the Spiritual and Material/Physical realms, was created by an unknown race of Celestials using the World Runes, all magic can be said to have roots in the Celestial Realm. While that might make it seem superior, being the originator, think of it more like it fostered the growth of the realms to becoming their own distinct units.
In the League of Legends Universe (main), magic exists in three distinct forms: Celestial, Spiritual and Elemental. From there, you have multiple blends and combinations.
N.B. The energy produced by those of the Void is NOT magic.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1137415463535693824

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Fundamentally, each main stream encompasses specific concepts, one is not inherently better than the other and, to varying extents, each is able to mimic some of the effects of the other:

  • Celestial Magic deals with creation and pure ideals, thus can also include maintenance, change and destruction.
  • Spirit Magic deals with mental and emotional concepts, life as well as reality and the perception of it.
  • Elemental Magic deals with the manipulation of the physical world and the physical laws and rules of reality (Physics).

Magic exists ambiently; flowing as metaphysical rivers and streams throughout the world similar in concept to ley lines. Areas where magic is high in concentration will commonly produce the most number of natural born mages, to the point where it is less likely for one to not possess the ability to use/do magic. The reverse is true for those born in an area where ambient magic is low in concentration. This is evidenced with Ionia and Ixtal, being fonts of Elemental and Spiritual magic respectively, whereas a region like Demacia; surrounded and founded upon magic nullifying petricite, very few mages are produced.
https://nexus.leagueoflegends.com/en-us/2017/04/dev-on-vastayan-evolution/

Each stream of magic flows from an origin source: Celestial magic flows from the Celestial Realm as well as the World Runes, Spiritual Magic originates from the Spiritual Realm, and Elemental Magic from the Physical realm, all suffusing into the material plane.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1229983493188284418

Regions where the barriers between realms are weakest and the magic flows strongest are known as “fonts” of magic. Ionia is an example of this in regards to spirit magic. To varying extents, use of each main branch can mirror the other and produce similar effects, even if not strictly the same source/magic type (e.g. all can produce fire).
As said before, Ionia is a font of spirit magic. The barriers between the mortal and spirit realm are less distinct, thereby allowing the two to interact in strange, exotic manners. As a result, spirit magic suffuses and saturates the lands of Ionia. However, raw concentrated spirit magic has chaotic, unpredictable effects upon reality, making the environment a dangerous place. As such, humans erected Quinlons in Ionia to restrict and filter the flow of magic from the fonts. Quinlons being man-made magical filters that limit the amount of magic flowing from the spirit realm into Ionia... they also filter out the more chaotic/negative energy, concentrating it into a liquid-like substance (IchoTears). When tattooed upon the skin or consumed, this concentrated negative magic enables the use and manipulation of shadow magic (used to great effect by Zed and his Order). Currently, the agreement between humans and Vastaya has been shattered: The Quinlons are restricting too much magic, and Zed’s Order actively alters some to fuel their shadow magic. The vastaya, requiring magic to live similarly to how we need air to live, are understandably not too ecstatic.
https://www.leagueboards.net/thread/8c0b14a1-6a72-420b-a4f7-fe97a02684e2/show-threadhttps://nexus.leagueoflegends.com/en-us/2017/04/dev-on-vastayan-evolution/
Theoretically, Targon would serve as a font of Celestial magic seeing as the barriers between the mortal and Celestial Realm are thinnest near the peak, thereby allowing the easiest interaction and allowing the magic to suffuse onto the physical plane.

A region serving as a font of magic doesn't necessarily mean only that type of magic is present. It just acts as a source.
One doesn't have to be on a ley line/stream to do magic... the effects and efficiency just increase with proximity, similar to a wifi/cell signal. As they encompass the entirety of Runeterra, you are almost always guaranteed to have some signal (barring specific scenarios/anomalies.)
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1257086236704960512https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1257098176290410496

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How Magic is Used:

Anyone and everyone can learn to harness magic, however, not everyone is born with the talent. These lucky individuals are known as mages.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1159016781278789636
From what we’ve seen, mages don't quite generate magic per se, they access what is naturally present, interacting with the ambient magic in the environment rather than directly producing it. More akin to vessels than generators, their strength and aptitude likely depends on how much they can store, channel, shape and emit (as well as restore) at any given time. But, as said by Ryze in “From the Ashes” magic likes to be used, not stored… similar to the air we hold in our lungs… a quite apt comparison that will be explained further below in theory crafting. This is the trend for most mortals.

Those born of magic, those with magic WITHIN them, as part of them, often referred to as "magical" beings, are far more attuned to the magic out there in the world, able to interact and shape magic in ways most can’t even begin to fathom due to their intrinsic link. An example being the Vastaya, who are more innately connected to magic, requiring it to live (like how we need to breathe oxygen to survive). Their use of magic still follows the same principle of not being innately generated, yet their connection allows them to perceive and interact with the worlds in exotic ways. The Vastayashai’rei, the ancient ancestors of our modern Vastaya further demonstrate this: Originally mortals, they learnt how to be completely 1:1 between the material and spirit realms, taking in the spirit realm and becoming deathless, manipulating the magics of each realm… effectively becoming “super mages”.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1273305085360005120

The Axiomata is a system solely related to Elemental Magic and its manipulations to varying effects. It serves as a formulaic/diagrammatic system of understanding and manipulating elemental magic inspired by the flow of the natural “currents” of magic but itself isn't one of the flows, merely one understanding. It's a system of teaching and learning elemental magic, akin to studying strict formulas (or Axioms) based on rules. The benefit to it is that anyone can learn it, Ryze's critique of it would be that it limits and restricts magic's potential.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1242485570854465540
In The Axiomata (Short Story), a ley line was "tapped" and “swum” through, enabling Aliay to interact with the world in a broader, more encompassing fashion thereby allowing him to see and experience the outside world and glimpse ongoing events outside of Ixtal.

In terms of those who seem to directly challenge the established "magic isn't produced innately" principle, in a sense, they don't. Looking at the Aspects (the hosts more so than the actual Celestial Aspects) and the Ascended, they are directly (and indirectly for the Ascended) rigged to the Aspects, thereby serving as conduits and as such, are able to channel their power. Using Leona’s color story, "The Light Bringer" as an example:
“Leona let the fire into her blood, feeling the ancient creature merge its essence with hers more completely, becoming one with her senses and gifting her with perceptions not of this world.”
and
“She reached deep inside herself, drawing on the awesome power from beyond the mountain. The sun emerged from behind its highest peaks as Leona thrust her hand to the light.”

On the other hand, we have Syndra who seemingly produces magic. To an extent this is true, what she presumably does still falls in line with the fundamental concept of mages. While not officially shown on the League Universe, if we go by the original version of "The Dreaming Pool", "The Dreaming Cave" (which was edited for clarity and to cut down on length) Instead of being relegated to only using the ambient natural magics of the physical world, Syndra is able to rip magic directly from the Spiritual Realm.
“Syndra conjured another dark sphere—all of her bitterness, resentment and anger made manifest. Torn from the spirit realm across the threshold into reality, it hovered above her hand, slowly spinning.”
It's something that is unique to her and can be quite dangerous to the natural lands (as we know that pure, concentrated spirit magic flowing can have adverse, chaotic effects.)
https://www.leagueboards.net/thread/74fd339a-b9be-4a95-a933-d9c149777e28/show-thread
Her magic leaches the lands of the natural, ambient magic, thereby causing something akin to "magical fallout" and irradiating the environment. This implies her magic is flooding and washing out the natural magics of the land… replacing it with hers: Raw, concentrated Spirit magic.

We know, from the information about Quinlons, that spirit magic in high concentrations is dangerous and adversely affects the physical realm, particularly when negative. Something further suggested in Syndra’s Biography:
”Such negativity had a strange, unpredictable effect on reality, and Syndra had grown far beyond his ability as a mentor.”
And further falls in line with information given to us about Fae’lor in “The Dreaming Pool” and Sisterhood of War Part 1: Old Wounds regarding the quality of the lands of the island before and after Syndra’s first and second rampages.
The fact that Syndra's mood state mirrors the effect of the Quinlons further substantiates this.

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In regards to the specifics of how mages utilize magic (theory work that falls in line with everything we know):


https://preview.redd.it/jjzkxm9gwud51.png?width=770&format=png&auto=webp&s=ffd090eed5d8322403af7a85462e025aa99fd724
This is a graph detailing the process of breathing, specifically as it relates to the volume of air present in the lungs at any given time. Tidal Volume is the range of normal, unconscious breathing: The volume inhaled and exhaled normally.
As shown in the graph, after breathing out at Tidal Volume (the decline at that level), there's still more air present in your lungs due to them not having fully deflated. Thus, even after breathing out at normal levels)more air may be expelled: Expiratory Reserve Volume.
The reverse is true for the process of inhalation: Inhalation at Tidal Volume, then continuing to inhale to reach the Inspiratory Reserve Volume.
(Deep breath in-> inspiratory reserve volume, deep breath out-> Expiratory reserve volume)... Inhaling and exhaling a lot more air than you will in normal breathing... with the normal breathing level being tidal volume.
Big breaths In and Out usually require conscious intent, whereas the Tidal Volume is usually unconsciously regulated. After reaching the Expiratory Reserve Volume, more air still remains in the lungs, known as the Residual Volume. This is almost never accessed and exhaled, requires rigorous intent, and is dangerous to attempt. The total span of these is the Total Lung Capacity.

Now, to apply this concept to mages:
Most mages seemingly don’t consciously draw upon magic, rather they passively draw in and absorb magic, similar to the tidal volume of breathing. Following this logic, there would remain a base level of magic that "exists" within the mage... This doesn’t mean it is innately produced, it is just a sink that's partially filled. (For comparison, relate it to the Expiratory Reserve Volume.)
As such, most mages will only know about emitting magic... not absorbing it, because most of the time, they're just consciously pushing out and manipulating magic, instead of consciously drawing it in.
More adept mages know how to consciously draw in more magic than they'd normally have access to, and know how to regulate the intake, use and emission: Ryze in From the Ashes is an example of this, displayed when trying to teach Kegan:
“You do not create the air you breathe,” the sorcerer said. “You draw it inside you, letting it sustain you. You use it as your body requires, and then release it as you exhale. It is never yours. You are just a vessel for it. You breathe in, you breathe out. You are a channel through which air flows.”
Kegan made to release his breath, though his master shook his head.
“No. Not yet. Feel the air in your lungs, Kegan. Feel it pushing at the cage of your body. Feel it straining to escape.”
And
"Therein lies the problem,” his master observed, reading his posture. “I told you the air was not yours, yet you are thrilled with yourself for how long you kept it inside you. It is the same with magic. You want it, believing it can be owned. You cling to it, forgetting that you are merely a channel through which it passes. You choke it in your heart, and in your hands. And so the magic is strangled in your grip, because you see it as something to bind to your will. It is not, and never will be. It is like air. You must draw in what exists around you, use it for a moment, then let it free.”

Lissandra, in Legend of the Frozen Watchers, is another example:
“Summoning every last iota of the ancient magic around her, including that of her allies, she sacrificed everything to seal the rift-between-realms with True Ice, entombing the Watchers within it.”

When you try to take a deep breath in, the air eventually starts fighting to get out... the balloon is strained; you can't retain that level and, inevitably, the air escapes. Similarly to Ryze's explanation of why Kegan was failing at storing the magic.

From this, I posit what happens with mages around petricite is similar to what happens when you enter a vacuum: Those unaware and not consciously regulating the level of air will have their breath stolen. However, if you are aware, and know about the base concepts of consciously breathing, you will be able to store your air for a period of time before it gets taken. And with training, the level you are able to store, and the duration of which the breath may be held, increases. (You can relate this to holding your breath underwater, you know not to exhale... and if prepared, you know to inhale more than normal and hold your breath.)
Petricite nullifies magic by absorbing it, effectively sapping and stealing the mage’s reserves. For those aware of its properties, and adept at manipulating magic, they would be able to “hold their breath” i.e. hold their magic tightly for a short while, enabling them to continue controlled usage of it. An example of this is seen in the Ryze Cinematic, "Call of Power", when Ryze performs magic in the Petricite Forest.

It should be noted this isn't a literal 1:1 transition of concepts, it’d likely be much harder to recognize and consciously regulate the levels of magic (as displayed by Kegan), but the fundamental concept would remain the same. To be clear though, this does not speak to the shaping of magic and how it manifests for each mage. How each mage manifests the phenomenon is tied to their ideals and the cultural influences shaping it and to an extent, is ultimately personal: e.g. Lux being tied to "light", and those in The Freljord being more inclined to ice and shamanistic magics etc.
As said before, each person's approach to magic is pretty unique... Even within the Yun Tal, there are proficiencies and unique understandings/perspectives of shaping magic, this is what enables them to keep making new axioms and experiment further).
To use an example that ties back to the theory proposed, Sylas' innate approach is to be able to see/sense it and copy/take that "template"... Akin to a copiecheater in class who takes someone's homework. If he learned, he likely would have the capacity to do his own crafting of spells/magic.
You can consider it the reverse of Lissandra/Ryze... in a sense (theory-wise), he's currently only able to inhale consciously and exhale passively (tidal volume-> Inspiratory Reserve Volume) but not quite able to do it passively. His "tidal volume" is negligible, but his "lungs" are very elastic so can inhale a lot, however, similarly to an untied balloon, would be forced to expel most of the magic once it's not being consciously drawn in. Added to this, there is likely a limit to how much he can take in at any given time, less he risks being overloaded.
The Petricite would therefore act as the containeoxygen tank for the magic absorbed... allowing him to access it whenever needed.. whereas without it, he's constantly been shown to immediately use the magic upon absorbing (can't hold it for long...if at all).
In regards to why he can't consciously absorb ambient magic, it's likely too diffuse and "unconcentrated"/""unstable", whereas the magic stored in petricite and other mages etc already has a stable template... concentrated in once place, thereby enabling to have a firmer "grasp". Sorta like how u can pick up a block of ice, but doing the same with water or vapor is much harder.... it "slips" out. Relating back to if his base volume is low, but the "elastic potential" of his "vessel" is high, the diffuse magic absorbed wouldn't be much in the first place, plus he hasn't innately adapted an application to shaping the magic himself, so he naturally does what he's best suited to: Inflating his proverbial balloon by filling with the concentrated, stabilized templates of others and emitting it (or storing in the petricite).
TL;DR on mages, and Scath’s thoughts on the theory:
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1274390411448991746https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1274401745242738688


Relevant Reads on Universe:
https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/from-the-ashes/https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_GB/story/axiomata/https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/leona-color-story/https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/champion/syndra/https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/the-dreaming-pool/https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/ahri-colohttps://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/legend-of-the-frozen-watchers/https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/race/vastaya/https://www.reddit.com/syndramains/comments/8zpvyx/the_dreaming_cave_short_story_text_for_those_that/https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/for-demacia/https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/flesh-and-stone/https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/galio-color-story/https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/shackles-of-belief/https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_us/story/demacian-hearthttps://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/xayah-color-story/https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/sisterhood-of-war-i/https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/story/sisterhood-of-war-ii/

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Flavor of life information regarding entities seemingly comprised of magic: Spirits and Celestials.

Spirits:
Spirits are the natural denizens of the Spirit Realm, everything that exists upon the physical realm is said to have a spiritual reflection, as learned in Riven's color story, "Seams and Scars".
“I’m a mender,” she said as she held the pottery out to a wide-eyed Riven. “No need to replace anything.”
Riven took the plate and examined it. “How does it work?” she asked, running a finger down a thick black seam.
"Everything has a spirit, and every spirit wants to be whole. I ask them what they need to mend, and give it to them.”
The concept of “time” exists differently from how it does in the physical realm… if it exists at all (Evidenced by Bandle City, as well as the Vastaya Forests). Many spirits seemingly start as something primordial, shapeless, and barely sentient before being tied to varying concepts, fundamentally shaping their interaction with the world, as somewhat evidenced by Evelynn and the nature of the Spirit Gods (Spirit gods, if completely forgotten, revert to the state described). It is not known if this is true for all residents of the spirit realm. Yordles are fundamentally different from other spirits encountered. I.e. they are much more physical and “substantial”.
The Spirit Realm itself is also comprised of “pocket dimensions” that do not have a physical realm correlation. The Glade is an example of this, the dimension of the Fae (of which Lulu’s companion, Pix, is a part of). It is theorized that Bandle City may be an offshoot of The Glade.
When mortals die, their souls are transported to the Spirit Realm, upon whence they’ll be placed in the Afterlife/world. Many "afterlife/afterworld" pocket dimensions exist, Mitna Rachnum (Mordekaiser's death realm) is one of them. Rarely (relatively speaking) do souls make their way into Mordekaiser's realm however. The Shadow Isles deserves mention as the catastrophe that occurred warped the rules of the natural worlds, as well as life and death. The raw necromantic (spiritual) magic that suffuses the lands has warped reality and stilled the passage of time. It has become a region of undeath as a result of the trapped souls being unable to truly pass on.

Aside from Yordles, the Fae and souls, other spirits exist, those standing out being Demons and Spirit Gods:

All demons are spirits, not all spirits are demons. I.e. Demons are a specific type of spirit. (This is for actual demons, not entities that have been labelled demonic despite being of human/physical or even celestial origin.) They subsist and feed on emotions, specifically those that are negative or overabundant to the point of negativity/overindulgence. They also perpetuate these feelings either directly, or indirectly in mortals. E.g. Evelynn feeds on agony and pain, and will seduce then torture people, feeding off of their pain. Tahm Kench on the other hand, subsists on misery resulting from greed, gluttony and addiction. He will tempt the person, and when they fall prey to that, will feed off of them. Demons can feed incrementally or devour the person wholly... sometimes literally, sometimes metaphorically. Generally it ultimately results in the person's death.

Spirit Gods are best described as “spiritual embodiments of concepts and cultural ideals”. They are ancient beings granted relevance aeons prior to common mortal existence. They hearken back to when the barriers between realms were ephemeral, thus could gain footholds in the physical plane and mortal cultures. It is theorized that they were originally spirits of certain concepts that managed to link themselves to the culture of mortals, gaining power, form and true sapience due to the increasing worship and cultural attention. Others hypothesize that they themselves were completely “born” of the combined perceptions of a staunch faith. Whatever they may be, it has been noted to be incredibly unlikely for a new Spirit God to form as the conditions of the current worlds do not favor it. Instead it’ll be more likely for an already established entity to fill that attention.
Points to note regarding Spirits:
  • To an extent, every spirit so far has a basis on perception... Not everything is literally "I need you to believe in me for me to live." For demons, their source of "attention" or gaining sustenance is based on the emotion/mental energy that they are draining and perpetuating. Not necessarily a need for belief. Though many do have their own cults of worship, so it's likely that some of that energy can be fed upon too... but ultimately, it's the energy of the emotion/feeling/concept that needs to be there, not a belief.
  • A demon will take shape based on the desired appeal of the person perceiving them. To a lusty, heterosexual man, Eve will appear as an incredibly sexy, sultry lady, thereby tempting him to pursue her. Tahm Kench will appear as a seller or peddler of goods and fortunes, an auctioneer… perhaps even a Casino roulette. Whatever will appeal to and best exploit that person's inner weakness and temptations.
  • Spirits can physically take form by animating and using physical materials nearby, scrapping them together to achieve the desired form (As we see with Fiddlesticks and Volibear)... they can also materialize as condensed raw magic given form. There are rules and limitations guiding how they manifest of which we haven't been privy to. However, we can assume it's based on their current strength, abundance of magic around and the context of the situation. They can choose a form, but often will appear based on the perceptions and inherent beliefs and moods of the surrounding mortals. But yes, they can shapeshift and are the reason why the Vastayashai'rei and their descendants, the Vastaya, have such fluid form.

*Nagakabouros has been confirmed to be a Spirit God, born of the Spirit Realm. The true scope of her being is not known beyond being linked to the concepts of Life, Chaos and Motion. Other examples of Spirit Gods include Kindred, the Freljordian Demigods and Janna. Demons include Fiddlesticks, Raum, Nocturne, Tahm Kench and Evelynn.


Celestials:
Those of the Celestial Realm are known as Celestials. The antithesis of the Void and its denizens, The Watchers. The Celestial Realm and its inhabitants are heavily centered around creation and maintenance. Not much is known about these timeless entities however they played a key role in the creation of the cosmos as well as Runeterra and its development as a whole. Fate and the celestial machinations guiding mortal existence can be interpreted by looking to the heavens however, to the ire of some, Mortals are not beholden to these preset destinies, and instead often create their own.
The Celestials that we know of are Aurelion Sol, his kin, The Aspects, Bard, and Soraka.
Aspects are the pure ideals/celestial concepts made “personified”, and will occasionally bind with a mortal host and traverse Runeterra to do whatever work is needed.
*(Edited in for clarity:) The Ascended are indirectly rigged to Aspects (celestial concepts). Ascension doesn't necessarily grant them celestial magic, it dramatically magnifies all of their previous traits.
https://twitter.com/LaurieGoulding/status/1222583655794524160
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I see you’ve reached the end, my weary traveler. Feast on some cookies and recoup. In regards to any questions and theories, happy to discuss in the comments. If in relation to the various creatures and their more specific interactions with Magic, The Great Chronicler, Sharjo, is doing a TL;DR on the Races of Runeterra which will likely touch on many of those aspects. So I'll leave that to him. For awesome, quick questions or more in depth conversations with fans of the Lore of League, join the discord server :D
https://discord.gg/dYyW6KT
Thanks for bearing with me! Hope this explained things in a clear manner.
submitted by Psyr1x to loreofruneterra [link] [comments]

OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – Just take a hard left at Daeseong-dong…9

Continuing...
“I say that you’re way the fuck out of line, Chuckles. Are you an educated, experienced, fully licensed and internationally renowned master blaster?” I asked.
“No, but…” he tried to continue.
“But nothing, Scooter.” I said, “What, other than your insane xenophobia and nationalism, causes you to come to such unfounded, not to say stupid, conclusions?”
He looked down at the deck. Evidently, he was not used to being challenged in such a manner. He realized he walked face-first into a metaphorical wood chipper.
“I’m waiting for your answer, pally.” I continued.
Still nothing. He was either deep in thought or ill at ease from newly soggy undergarments.
“Want to know why I chose what I did? Fine, meet back here in 15 damn minutes.”
He looks at me with a most perplexed, and ignorant, look on his face.
“Dax, Cliff? I need you.” I say.
We go back to the weapons locker and I explain my idea.
“Let’s load a case of typical, TYPICAL Chinese-made dynamite. Then let’s load a case of American C-4. Be very careful with that leaky Chinese shit. Wait one. I’ll do it if you want and you can handle the C-4.” I say.
“Ah, Rock; yeah. We’d appreciate it. You being the Pro from Dover, after all.” Cliff agrees.
“No worries”, I say, “I got this. You make me up a nice, tightly packed case of C-4. For demonstration purposes.”
I find a near-empty case of dynamite and begin to judiciously fill the thing with random samples of shitty and leaky Chinese manufactured and Korean not-too-well-cared-for dynamite.
This stuff was so incredibly shitty and poorly manufactured that even when leaking and nasty, it was nowhere near as dangerous as its Western counterpart. It was loaded with so much and many interstitials, like sawdust, diatomaceous earth, literal horseshit, and shredded newspaper, the nitro denatured itself to some degree as it oozed out.
Plus, in the non-climate controlled weapons locker; the high humidity, salt air, and poor circulation from the small open grate facing the sea, the nitro had desensitized somewhat and evaporated. It left only sticky, thin, fly-ridden films rather than the usual ‘waiting for a good reason to explode’ puddles.
It was in no way as twitchy as that locker back in Nevada. Oh, but be assured, it was still a shit show.
If I really wanted to, I could blow myself, this boat and all occupants into the next dimension rather easily, but it was nothing like that old locker back in that disused Nevada mine. I still needed to be scrupulously careful as there could potentially be puddles of the pale yellow, viscous liquid explody stuff, instead of the thin films I was mostly finding.
Either way, it required caution and judiciousness.
Nitro’s twitchy as fuck and the last thing I need is a dropped nail, blasting cap, or hunk of the rotten box falling into an errant nitro wet patch…
Extra attention was exercised.
Dax and Cliff are halfway through, and I’m still picking through the leaky, smelly bundles.
“Next time”, I mused to myself, “I‘m writing in a ‘Handling fucked-up explosives”-clause in my contract. No matter how much I’m being paid for this, it ain’t enough…”
We find a couple of expendable, dry-rotted ‘life preserver’ floaty-rings, upon which we secure both cases of explosives. They’re tethered with a rope and primed with a number of blasting caps.
I let the head local Korean crank examine both to ensure that I’m not trying to pull a fast one.
He did not notice the 3-pound bag of Tannerite (an impact-actuated explosive) I snuck in the middle of the box of Chinese TNT.
“Now. Satisfied that they’re equal?” I asked. “Nothing fishy here. Just dynamite in bundles, with caps. Then, over here, C-4 blocks with cap. OK?”
He was satisfied; but only after letting a couple of the shiny suit squad check as well.
“Well”, I smirked,” So much for your ‘covert observation’, asshole.” This guy was DPRK secret service or equivalent.
“Holy cold-pack cheese-food product fuck”, I cogitate, “They are so goddamned suspicious”.
I ask Dax to go over to the pilothouse and borrow the mauled AK-47 I saw hanging on the bulkhead there. They keep it for run-ins with cranky sharks, walruses, and lovesick blue-footed boobies evidently.
“OK, here’s what we’ll do. We’ll float each out, and I‘ll trail with demolition wire. Once we’re a few hundred meters out, you can press the big, shiny, green button and detonate your dynamite. I even used 6 blasting caps, to give each bundle its own. You saw that. We green?” I ask.
He was, although suspicious of what I had in mind. He agreed although he refused to use my terminology, the stodgy prick.
So float away the dynamite case we did.
The case of Chinese dynamite floated out and away from the boat, leaving an oily slick in its wake. As it got to around 200-225 meters or so, I requested a rendition of the Korean version of the Safety Dance, as it was just too fucking hilarious to watch.
Once completed, I handed Doubting Korean Thomas the detonator.
“Your turn, Tweedles”, I said, “Hit the button to spark off your “much-better-than-the-West’s” Oriental dynamite.”
He grabbed the detonator, gnashed a tooth in my direction, and mashed down on the big, shiny, green button with a vengeance.
PFftt! PAH-foof! fuff
There was a cheery little pop, a puff of acrid smoke, and not much else.
Let it be said from the onset that I just selected examples of the Oriental manufactured dynamite at random. I didn’t look for the worst or leakiest. Though truthfully I really didn’t have much too choice in the matter.
“You! You swindled me! You knew the dynamite wouldn’t explode! Somehow you knew it!!” he swore in my general direction.
“Try it again”, I said after retrieving the detonator and doing a quick re-wire to another bank of blasting caps.
Gumeong-e bul!” [“Fire in the hole!”].
MASH goes the big, shiny, green button anew.
Pfffft!” *Pop. Poooof! Piffle. Blerp.
Nothing but a cute little pop, a poof, and a few acrid puffs of smoke.
He was crestfallen.
He had taken on the Motherfucking Pro from Dover in a necessarily explosive subject, with inevitably disastrous results.
I asked if anyone here was weapons trained. A couple of Coasties raised their hands.
“And you are? “ I asked the closest one.
“Lt. P'an Tae-Hyun, Sir”, as he snaps a snappy salute.
“Groovy.”, I reply and retrieve the AK from Dax.
“Can you squeeze off a couple of shots and hit that floating box of dynamite?” I asked.
“Yes, sir!” he replied, smiling.
“OK then”, I replied and turned to the crowd.
“Dynamite is usually pretty stable stuff and won’t detonate without a blasting cap or impulse source. A bullet will most certainly not detonate it. However, I’ve stuck in 3 pounds, imperial, of Tannerite, which is a type of binary explosive used for targeting. Tannerite will most definitely and energetically explode when impacted by a high-velocity bullet. I think we can agree that an AK-47 round is high-velocity?” I asked.
There were nods and a buzz of general agreement.
“Now, there’s the better part of a case of unexploded dynamite out there. That’s what we in the business call very, very fucking dangerous. Now those three pounds of Tannerite should vaporize everything within a 10-meter radius if it detonates as designed. Agreed?” I asked.
Again, there were nods and a buzz of general agreement.
“Lieutenant P'an?” I asked, “At your discretion. Fire at will. Or the dynamite case, as it were.”
He nodded. He walked over to the furthest point on the stern, checked to see everyone was back and out of harm’s way, as he was a consummate professional. He futzed around with the old AK for a bit and took a shot.
It was low and outside.
“Ball one”, I snickered.
“Sights are off. Not any problems.” He remarked.
The next round found its mark. The Tannerite exploded adeptly.
It threw sticks of unexploded Chinese dynamite over a 20-meter radius. They each sank into the briny deep leaving only an oily spot to mark their entry and eventual watery grave.
The top of the case of dynamite was blown off, but the floaty ring remained. We reeled it back in to find a few more scorched, but unexploded, sticks of fine Oriental manufacture explosive on the bottom of the case.
These were motherfuckingly dangerous. Cantankerous dynamite has no place on a ship.
I remarked, however, that this would be no problem. Dax and Cliff brought up the case of C-4, which I had wired with one single blasting cap and booster.
We had Korean Doubting Thomas and his shiny suit buddies give it the once over to ensure I wasn’t trying to pull a fast one.
He agreed, it was nothing but C-4 as advertised.
One of the more expendable Coasties jumped down on the stern transom-rack which is just above the waterline on the back of the boat. He wired the two rings together and set them adrift, tethered by a good nylon rope with my nasty, silky demolition wires trailing.
Dax was working the rope and I was handling the spool of demolition wire. I had a good 350 meters of the stuff on the spool and wasn’t about to return a single centimeter.
Old habits and all.
As they floated away, Mr. Kwan asked if we’d like a bit of refreshment, as, gosh, it sure was dusty out here today.
Of course, we agreed in unison.
Good old Mr. Kwan.
So, we’re unspooling our lines slowly, drinking our end of the day refreshers, smoking cigars, and watching our Oriental colleagues getting antsier every minute.
I knew what a case of C-4 was going to do when detonated. It would be one hell of a show.
I was so confident with my design I had Lt. P’ay return the AK to the pilothouse. Wouldn’t work here anyways if the C-4 failed to detonate.
But that’s not going to happen.
Dr. Pro from Dover Rocknocker has spoken.
Finally, I’m almost out of demolition wire, and Dax has tied off the tether.
I motion over to Herr Doubting Thomas and hand him the detonator.
“For ye of little faith”, I smiled, recalling the entreaty that even Satan quotes the Bible for his own nefarious uses.
But first, an encore of the Korean Safety Dance. They're guaranteed to raise a smile.
I look to the character fumbling with the detonator.
“At your convenience, good sir”, I say, dripping insincerity.
Gumeong-e bul!” [“Fire in the hole!”]. Mash goes the big, shiny, green button.
KA-MOTHERING-FUCKINGLY-HUGE-BOOM!
Even over 300 meters away, every one of us not only saw but felt that shock wave. It was like a solid Savate kick to the chest. The boat even rocked a bit in appreciation.
I smile, retrieved the detonator, safe it, and reply: “And that is the singular reason why I used good old American manufacture C-4 as a sonic seismic source rather than shitty, leaky Oriental dynamite. Any further questions?”
He shook his head in agreement, bowed slightly in my direction, slunk away, and that was the very last we ever saw of Mr. Korean Doubting Thomas.
The Captain saw and felt the detonation. He put the boat in park, actually, he handed it over to the sub-pilot for station keeping and came back to the fantail.
He wanted to know if we were now officially finished with our project.
We maintained that we were and it had come off very, very successfully; in no small degree because of his boat handling abilities.
He came over to me and shanghaied one of the translators.
“Doctor Stone?” he asked.
“Hrmph. Close enough.” I smiled.
“May I be first to congratulate your team. In eight sorties, you and your teams are the first to fulfill mission parameters. I am pleased to say that this will go on all our permanent records. It will mean bonuses for all present. I salute you.” And does with a naval flourish.
“No shit? Well, thanks, Cap”, I reply, “But I’m just the den mother for this special education class. Without them, and all their hard work, it’d never have happened.”
“I knew you would say this”, he smiled, “You are leader of men. We see that. You are teacher, but also not afraid to work. You should do this more often. Use your education and experience to train and teach others.” He says, shaking my hand.
Now it’s time for me to wonder. Did he hear of my offer back home? I don’t think he did, I’ve been playing those cards very close to the vest, as it were. I am now officially confused and bebothered.
But, since I don’t believe in anything, much less coincidence, I’m going to chalk it up to happenstance and just gratefully consider the source.
He asks that we wait here and he’ll return forthwith.
“On a boat this size, there are not too many places we can sneak off to…” I chuckle.
He returns with a very, very old bottle of something quite unidentifiable since it appears to be lacking a label. He yells something in official Korean and suddenly, a tray with little, itty-bitty demitasse-style glasses appear along with some smoked fish, I think, nibbles of some kind.
He pours a dram for all present. No one dares take as much as a preemptory sniff until he’s finished with the ceremony.
Everyone thusly charged, he begins a toast.
“Shoo-buddy”, I think, “I’ve been down this road before.”
It was quick, succinct, brief, and laudatory.
According to him, we had ‘hung the moon’.
I liked this style of toasting. Left more time to drink and for camaraderie.
The project thus finished, as we were running out of potables, especially freshwater, victuals, and toilet paper; we were headed back to base. That is, back to the hotel to see what our comrades who chose to stay onshore had developed.
But, that was going to be for another day. First, we needed to chug our way back to port, both literally and figuratively.
Ahem.
Before which, though, there were some housekeeping and paperwork chores. Dax, Cliff, and I did a quick reconnaissance of the explosives locker and created a ‘used’ manifest; which all three of us signed.
They may be officious, they may be obtrusive, but damn, they certainly love their goddamned paperwork over here.
We gave copies to the head shiny suit, one for the Captain, and we retained copies for our records. Along with notes that we expended two rounds from the pilothouse AK, as we were trying to out-officious these officious paper-pushers.
We made certain the keys were returned and logged in the proper logbooks and the explosives locker was locked securely, solidly, and soundly. Before which, we policed up the weapons locker and actually offered to the gods of the briny deep, quite the quantity of unsafe, leaky dynamite, and other ordinance that was more a disaster waiting to happen rather than inventory.
Seawater would neutralize the nasties and in the case of anything metallic, it’d be gone within a fortnight. and the phosphates might provide some nice fertilizer for some lucky passing Cnidarians. We were in water of near 45 fathoms. This stuff would never hurt another living thing.
The Captain was very pleased that we had taken that task upon ourselves. He wasn’t allowed to do anything about what was in the locker, but he was responsible for it and keeping the wrong people out of it. I commented that was a fairly stupid way of handling things, and he mentioned that he’d appreciate it if I made an official note of it to the powers that be once we go feet-dry, i.e., get back to shore.
I assured him we most certainly would.
From then on, all we had to do was putt-putt our way back to port.
It was going to take some hours and we’d end up berthing during the wee hours. This would not be a problem as our bus and driver would be waiting for us no matter what the time. He would briskly and without fanfare, return us to our hotel.
That we were actually looking forward to bunking back in the old hotel sort of gave one an idea of the Spartan arrangements we had endured for the last three days.
Most of the Westerners groused and complained in a humorous manner. Hell, it was only three bloody days. Some of our Oriental friends were so totally aghast they vowed to lodge formal complaints once they returned to dry land.
Landlubbers.
Odd that once we hit the beach, they all scattered to the four winds and not a single letter nor either a peep of protest was ever forthcoming.
Yes, this is an intensely weird place.
We wandered down the gangplank, cigars a-fume, and drinks recently and for one last time, refreshed by Mr. Kwan. The shiny suit squad was supervising the offloaded of the seismic data we had collected and had seen it soundly sealed and concealed in the very living bowels of the bus. It was to return with us to the hotel, where we’d demand a receipt. Then it would be off to the ‘Technological Center” on Scientific Street for processing.
They assured us that they’d handle that themselves. Evidently we were good enough to acquire the data, but not good enough to see the finished product.
Ack, Volna, and Ivan chuckled.
“OK, you pirates. What did you do?” I asked
“They can try with all their might. But without the decryption key, they’ll spend years processing encoded compressed nonsense.” They snickered. “We did offer to come and help set up the decryption for the decompression of the raw data, but they said they could handle it themselves. Oh, well. We tried. Seriously, we did.” Ack and Volna snickered.
“Well, keep it handy in case they come to their senses before we get out of here,” I said.
“Always our intention, Herr Denmother”, Volna chuckles.
“Oh, you heard that?” I snickered quietly.
Back at the hotel, the majority of us sent our sea-gear to our rooms via the on-site laundry. That being settled, the majority of us retired to the catacombs of the basement.
We needed strong drink, decent, non-tinned food, and seats that didn’t slop around every time you sat down.
Well, with the acquisition of our sea legs, two out of three wasn’t bad.
Since the hour was much too late, I decide that tomorrow, well, later today, would be a day of R&R for everyone.
Moreover, I was informed that tomorrow would be the “Day of the Sun” celebration, the insanely earnest celebration birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung, founder and Eternal President of North Korea. It’s supposed to be some sort of big, hairy nationwide deal. But aside from a couple of small posters, we heard little and knew less about the holiday and its celebration.
Everyone’s being even more uncharacteristically low key. It’s odd like there’s something weird going on here.
“What? Something weird and covert and sneaky going on in Best Korea? Pshaw, you old fart. You’re letting the paranoids get to you!”, I mused to myself.
This place will do that to you after a while.
I asked the front desk to place a note that made the rest of today a day of R&R in everyone’s mailbox. After another cigar, some decent prawn stir-fry, and a couple-twelve really stiff drinks, we were all ready to invade the land of Nod for a few hours.
I went downstairs for a drink, a nosh, and a smoke. I ran out of NK won as we tend to use them in Western Expat high-stakes poker games, so I needed to trade some of my weird Middle Eastern currency for weird Best Korea currency.
I was used to the 900:1 won:US dollar (equivalent) trade-off, but after cashing in the equivalent of US$500 in Middle Eastern dinero, I walked off with 650,000 won, not 450,000.
“Pardon me, Ms. Cashier”, I said to the nice little local woman behind the bird-cage security wires, “I do think you gave me too much.”
She took my stack, re-counted it, and proclaimed it correct.
“I thought the exchange rate was 900 to the dollar?” I asked.
“No”, she remarked, “Now 1,336.”
“Any idea what’s causing the fluctuations?” I asked.
She just smiled and shook her head ‘no’. I smiled back and tipped her 50 UAE dirhams for the information.
“Weird. Now what?” I mused.
Little did I know…
The next morning dawned dim and early as there some sort of something going on outside.
Oh, yes, it was ‘The Day of the Sun’ celebration. I discovered it was is an annual public holiday in North Korea celebrating the birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung, founder, and Eternal President and local Poobah-in-Charge of North Korea. It is the most important national holiday in the country, and is considered to be the North Korean pseudo-secular equivalent of Christmas.
“Well,” I thought to myself, “I picked a damn good day to call for an R&R break.”
Then I found out, why no one told us about any of this is still unknown, that the next two days after the holiday would also be considered a holiday.
Come to find out, there are all sorts of intrusive, inconvenient, and wholly unnecessary nonsense that accompany these high holy days here in Best Korea. There are exhibitions, fireworks, song and dance events, athletics competitions, idea seminars: “Think about it!”, and visits to places connected with Kim Il-sung's life, including his birthplace in Mangyongdae.
Shops close, the hotel televisions block any other ‘programming’ and show only ‘special’ movies. Either ridiculously fake documentaries on the life of the also ever so ronrey Kim Il-sung or movies he especially enjoyed. People parade to his statue on Mansu Hill to deposit flowers; later in the day, it resembled a pollinated glacier.
There’s general obviously forced elation, all of which is extraordinarily strained and appears fake. People are trucked by the groaning busload to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where the dead maniac lies in state.
“Fuck this”, I said in the exact spirit of international amity, “I’m going to the bar.”
I go downstairs to the basement bar, and even though it’s a high holy day, it’s open early. It didn’t used to be open until the afternoon, but since we’ve arrived, they have adjusted their hours for us.
They have also doubled their daily receipts. So they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.
One of my favorite barkeeps was station keeping that morning. I greeted him in the usual style and expressed to Mr. Ho Gun the best holiday wishes.
“Hi! Ho!”, I said, “Annyeonghaseyo”, which comes out ‘Annie young eez-yo!’ in my Baja Canuckian dialect.
Mr. Ho laughs at my attempt at Korean, but he does appreciate the effort.
“Doctor Rock”, he says, “Dawn greetings. You will drink what?”
Nice and direct, I like that.
“Ye’ ken Greenland Coffee, me ol’ mucker?” I asked in a swirl of different dizzying dialects.
Koran confounds me, so I thought I’d return the favor.
“No, but I’m sure it’s coffee with some of your usual high-proof liquors, correct?” he smiles as I hand him a nice, oily Oscuro cigar.
“For Best Most Happy Returns: Day of the Sun”, I said, waggling the stogie, as I hand it over.
“However, you are correct. Normally, ‘authentic’ Greenland Coffee is a paltry 1/3rd ounce each of Whiskey, Kahlua, and Grand Marnier with excess coffee. Well, I don’t cotton to those liquors or measures. So my Greenland Coffee recipe, really from Greenland, by the way, is Siku Vodka, or any other high-octane vodka, as long as it’s premium. Then Immiak, which is Greenland’s version of Jagermeister, so let’s just go with Jager. Then finish it off with a shot of Tia Maria or Kahlua, if available. Oh, yes, then hot coffee. Silly me, almost forgot…” I conclude.
“And measures?” Mr. Ho asked.
“Whatever fills the cup”, I replied, in a bastardization of an old Russian toast.
“OK, how about a 35 mils (~1 ounce) stiff shot each booze, then hot coffee to fill your mug? With a chilled vodka chaser, as per usual?” He asks.
“Make it so, Mr. Ho,” I say. “No whipped cream or crème liqueurs, please. I’m lactose intolerant, and, well, no one wants to hear that…”
He laughs and whips together a very nice morning sunriser.
It’s a real day off.
In a very, very weird land.
It’s Festival outside and I stayed up most of the night calling people back in the world, creating and updating dossiers, doing explosives-tracking paperwork, worrying over logistics, and how and when the fuck we’re going to eventually get out of here.
Fuck it, double front. I’m doing my ‘people watch’, perched high on Mahogany Ridge. I’m taking, for the first time since, hell, I left the Middle East, some real downtime.
I figured I deserved it.
I was the only one at the bar, but after a short time, there were festival-goers who infiltrated down into the hotel's subterranean catacombs. They didn’t know of the bar’s recently expanded hours and when they saw me sitting high up on Mahogany Ridge, smoking my ubiquitous cigar, they rejoiced.
Obligatory Festival and alcohol! Better than beer and power tools.
In the Baja Canada time-honored tradition, I have a pile of the local currency sitting on the bar. At the new exchange rate of 1,386 won to the dollar, I’m making out like a bandit.
Drinks here are cheap, really cheap, to begin with. With this fluctuation in exchange rates, which I figured reflected the holiday, I was flush. In the chips. Well-heeled. I've got a lot of what it takes to get along.
So, I was feeling magnanimous. I was tipping people very well.
“Paper?” one local asked.
“Sure. How much for a week-old English version of the Daily Worker’s Manifest and Pork Belly Futures Digest? 100 won? Here’s 1,000. Keep the change.”
Not wanting to become over-caffeinated, I switched from Greenland Coffees after a couple to my usual potato juice and citrus concoction. Each one came in a tall, frosted gimlet glass, a very nice touch, and was expertly made my Mr. Ho after I showed him once when we first arrived.
Each one, with the current exchange rate, was about 500 won; an exorbitant sum for any local. It was about US$0.40 for me. I bought several for people who bellied up to the bar and tried to engage me in conversation.
I was used to handing out business cards, hell, one never knew where contacts could lead; and not receiving one in return.
Today, I collected four new business cards; two from various European ex-pats, and two from locals.
I guess Festival! time brings out the best and least paranoid in people.
It’s only 1000 hours in the AM and people here are already seriously lubricated.
This will be a fun few days.
I decided to get a rather tall drink in one of my 100-ounce Kum-n-Go travel cups. With all the hoo-ha going on around here, I haven’t seen a handler, translator, or guide since we got off the boat. I decide with all the shenanigans and goings-on around the place on this festival day, no one would give me nor my wardrobe a second look if I were to venture outdoors for a walkabout.
Besides, we’re on a bloody island. It’s not like I can go too damned far.
So, quicker than a bunny fucks, I get my drink, fire up a cigar, and walk around the lobby of the hotel. There are the usual comings and goings of tourists, local workers, the security forces, and all that allied tat.
I wait until a tour bus pulls up and all eyes are somewhere besides me.
Pfft! And I’m standing outside the hotel, looking at all the sights.
Which, truth be told, weren’t much.
Yanggak Island is a slovenly-manicured island with shrubberies, tracks, trails, and assorted support buildings. The river is basically hidden behind stunted shrubs and nevergreens, and the remains of the defunct golf course. There’s a stadium on the island, which was thronging with festival-goers today. I don’t know what sport, if any, they play there, and didn’t care enough to ask anyone.
There was a cinema hall, which was currently empty and looking in need of some dire repair. There’s some sort of Chinese health complex in the process of being built or torn down, it was hard to tell which. Needless to say, the scenery paled almost immediately.
I did, after a concerted effort, find a small platform that overlooked the Taedong River. It was a very nice little observation platform with a couple of new-Tudor-esque electrical replica gas lights and two concrete benches where a weary traveler could sit and just watch the river.
So I did.
I was interested in the fish of the river, and wondered if any of the locals did any fishing; or if it was forbidden, as are so many ‘proletariat’ activities are in town.
I did see a few locals, huddled out of plain sight, down by the shores of the river fishing with long, 10 meter, reel-less poles. In Britain, they would call this type of fishing ‘noodling’.
I didn’t see them catch anything, but in the bar later, I spoke with a local who told me that they catch various species of fish here. These include Asian Aroana, Blue Guppy, Catfish, Crab, Eel, Halibut, Hucho Perryi, Octopus, Orange Guppy, Pacific Flying Squid, Rainbow Trout, Salmon, and Tuna.
I’m not saying my informant was lying or embroidering the tale, but from the nasty condition of the river, I think Coney Island Whitefish, Cotton River Horse, Dumpster Trout, and Bugle-Mouthed Salmon would be the more common species.
I had enough perambulation and even though I wasn’t given the least look, I felt a bit uncomfortable out here. That unfiltered sun and equally unfiltered air. After that, I wandered back to the hotel and went to enter to go to my room.
“HALT! Who goes there?” some door guard yelled at me.
“An American tourista who was out on a walk”, I replied.
“Impossible!”, he replied, “Tourists are not allowed out without their guides.”
“Look, Herr Mac”, I said, “I’m Dr. Rocknocker, and I am an invited Western Petroleum Scientist with the UN special-invited group here to evaluate the country’s oil and gas potential.”
“You are not allowed.” He replied loudly.
“My good man”, I replied, equally loudly, "Not allowed? Not allowed? I’m a geologist, I’m allowed everywhere.”
With that, I grab the handle of the ornate door, take a slurp out of my drink, and sally forth into the hotel.
Of course, he goes non-linear. He follows me and is making all sorts of bad noise. He is almost literally dancing around me, pointing, and exclaiming that I’m not allowed.
Then, he made a bit of a mistake.
He grabbed my arm.
Really, really poor career move.
I switched my drink to my left hand and executed a pretty spiffy opposite-side wrist grab on the noisy little nerf herder.
He was so shocked by this turn of events, he went slightly white and was rendered mute for a short time.
I frog marched the little irritant up to the front desk and asked the head clerk there to explain to my captive audience who I was and why I was here.
The clerk smiled and gave the character whom I was dragging around a quick background on the guy who was currently holding him captive. When I heard “닥터 락 노커” [dagteo lag nokeo, “Dr. Rocknocker”], I dropped this guy’s hand and just took a few steps back.
After a minute or two, he comes over, very, very abashed. He apologizes as he wasn’t told that any Americans were allowed outside the hotel.
I told him ‘No problem’, as I really didn’t have any special permission and didn’t want to get the guy into any trouble. I offered him a cigar, which he refused, but he readily accepted the half-pack of Sobranie pastel cigarettes I had in the pocket of my Hawaiian shirt.
I decided from that point to just stay inside the hotel to smoke, drink, and avoid any further Imperial entanglements.
I wandered on down to the casino because I was bored and it was unusually quiet. Too hepped-up to sleep, too tired to work, it was that odd interarea between “should I be giving a fuck” and “who the fuck cares?”
Leaving the basement, I wandered around the ground floor, just taking in the sights, and looking at the “Festival Specials” at the hotel shops.
I found an empty, unlocked conference room that looked inviting. About two dozen chairs, a large wooden table, TV monitors, and a southern view of the city from slightly above ground level.
I walked in like I owned the place, as it is always monumentally easier to get forgiveness than permission, sat down at the head of the table, propped my feet up, found an ashtray, and began playing with the remote to see what was available.
Evidently, these rooms were available for rent by various factions, cadres, and other sorts of like-minded individuals. However, whoever was here last forgot to re-set the filters on the satellite television.
There was real the BBC, real-time. There was German TV, Russian TV, Japanese TV, and even some American TV; all the best of the absolutely prohibited hit parade.
I shut it down and left immediately. I went to find my comrades. They simply had to see this.
I located Dax first, as he was losing won at a rapid rate down at the basement casino. He said he’d spread the word to any of the team members down in the tunnels and we’d meet at Conference Room #1.
I had taken the precaution before leaving to move the “Occupied/Unoccupied” placard to indicate it was in use and that if you hadn’t reserved the room, you’d do best to stay the fuck out.
I waited the obligatory 20 minutes for the elevator and went up to ‘our’ floor.
I knocked on all the doors where I knew they were occupied by our occupants. I found a few of our team and informed them that if they were so inclined, there would be an unannounced, impromptu, and wholly illicit meeting down in Conference room number 1; complete with refreshments and real, uncensored television. They all agreed and said they’d rouse the rest of our team on the floor.
I was feeling so brazen, that when I went down to the ground floor, I stopped at the front desk and ordered lunch and drinks for my team in Conference Room #1.
“Oh, sir”, the desk clerk responded, “We don’t have any reservations today for Conference Room #1.”
“Well”, I replied, “We are in there and if it wasn’t reserved, how would that have happened? The room would have been marked as unavailable, which it clearly was not; as it was open and available and we are now occupying it. Therefore, it wasn’t marked unavailable so it must have been available; not unavailable as you postulate. It’s almost a simple example of the single equation theory of universal containment. So we are meeting there now and requiring refreshments. It’s simply a logical progression of the facts of the matter.”
“You are, of course, correct”, she immediately responded, distracted by all the Festival goings-on in the hotel, “Now, you said you’d like to order 4 dozen assorted meat and cheese sandwiches, two cases of beer, and a mixed case of bottled liquor?”
“Yes”, I replied, “You see, it’s only going to be a brief meeting. I’ll also need ice, carbonated and non-carbonated mixers, sliced citrus fruit, and an on-call bartender if you have one available.”
“Oh, yes sir,”, she replied, “That will be immediately arranged. Anything else?”
“Yes”, I replied, “I’ll need about a dozen ashtrays, of the larger variety. Also, I am going to leave explicit instructions with you to disseminate to hotel staff that we are not to be disturbed. This is a very high-level meeting of the scientists of the IUPG. We will be discussing, umm, ‘sensitive information’”.
I used the international ‘don’t-even-think-of-bothering-us’ buzzword to let her know were being very serious indeed.
“Oh, yes sir”, she stiffened.
“Marvelous”, I said and slipped her 1000 won for her troubles. All sighs of nervousness instantly disappeared.
“Excellent. Excellent service.”, I said, rubbing both hands together most Mr. Burnsly.
I go over to the conference room and see that our order has begun to already arrive. Have to hand it to them, you call for room service and you get room service. Especially if you’re well known around the hotel to be free with imported cigars, pastel cigarettes, and lavish tips.
One by one, my teammates filtered in. There was everyone from out earlier pleasure cruise, and most of the force that remained back in the hotel to prepare the paperwork for our ground assault.
Cigars, cigarettes, and pipes were lit. Sandwiches consumed and drinks were downed. After everyone had a chance to see their home-town, or at least home-county, version of the news, I decided that it would indeed be a good time to have a bit of a meeting. It was going nuts outside with the Festival, and as long as we were in here, we were being left alone.
After the obligatory facilities break, I returned from a 40-minute round trip to my room to get a couple of my field notebooks. I wanted a record of the proceedings, no matter how spur-of-the-moment.
When I returned, I thought the room looked a bit spare. I did a quick headcount and I noted we were missing someone. I glanced through my notes and saw that our Bulgarian geomechanic, Dr. Iskren Dragomirov Dinev, or ‘Iskren’ was not present.
“Hey, guys”, I asked aloud, “Anyone seen Iskren lately?”
There was a brief conclave and the answer was a solid negative.
I called the front desk and got his room number. I asked them to ring his room for me. His room phone rang and rang and rang, but no answer.
“Who last saw Iskren?” I asked the assembled crew.
The Finnish PT, Joon, recalls drinking with him at the casino the night before last. He seemed normally jovial as was normal for him.
“Anyone else? Or since?” I asked.
Again, the answer was negative.
“Something’s not right”, I thought, my rock sense was tingling. “Dax, Cliff, you’re with me.”
We all left, stopped by the front desk, and asked for medical assistance. We explained where we were going and the sudden absence of our Bulgarian friend. We expressed deep concern.
25 minutes later, Dax, Cliff, me, the hotel security chief, and hotel doctor were standing outside Iskren’s room. We had pounded on the door for a good 3 minutes. He certainly wasn’t in the shower.
No answer.
“Fuck this. Open it”, I said.
“Under whose authority?” the chief of hotel security asked.
“Mine. Dr. Rocknocker. I’m the team leader of the IUPG crew. Do it.” I said.
The door was laboriously opened, as both door bolt locks had to be breached. The room was dark, silent, and entirely unnerving. In the gloom, it appeared that there was a human form, unmoving, on the bed.
“I’m a rock Doctor. I think we need a medical doctor here.” I said to the hotel sawbones.
The hotel doctor went in without switching on the lights nor touching anything. He examined the mound on the bed. Apparently, it wasn’t a pile of dirty laundry.
“Was the occupant of this room a large Caucasian male, approximately 60-65 years of age?” He asked.
“Yes”, we all answered together.
“I’m afraid he’s dead.” The doctor replied.
Dax looked at Cliff who looked at me. In unison, all that was heard was a tripartite:
“Oh…fuck.”
To be continued...
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