I thought it best, given the circumstances, that I write down my experiences. This journal will serve as a record of my works—whether as a testament to excellence or as a warning to my folly remains to be seen.
My name is Enzo. My family has fished on the banks for the river Gorscht for generations upon generations. Those sickly waters brought good fish, but also disease, vermin, and toil.
I longed to rid myself of those smells as soon as I learned it was possible to do so.
I now know of many worlds, but on the plane of my birth—the one on which I am still trapped—magic is revealed thusly:
The base conduits that transmit the fundamental energies of the firmament into reality are very rarely attainable by mortal hand alone. By far, the easiest route to tap into those conduits—to gain access to the current of creation—is to court those foul beings from below the bed, the denizens of the deep: demons. For a price, demons will readily serve as both gatekeeper and guide to foolish persons looking for power, but often by claiming the caster’s soul. Because of this flaw, the practice of arcana is deeply forbidden by the state. The study, however—the study of spells can be incredibly academic; heavy tomes of research exist in many libraries.
I first learned of this second river while still living on the first. The brackish waters of the Gorscht often brought outsiders to our village. These outsiders often came as emissaries of the state, making sure that we were fulfilling our duties and submitting our tithes as is the custom and law. One outsider, was different.
Under the pretense of research, a wizard came to us to bathe their mind in the flow of the Gorscht. In my time—I know not if things have changed in the times of the reader of this journal—a wizard is one who is licensed by the state to study magic. To study magic is to look at tomes of spells and their constituent parts so that we may learn of the world as a whole; magic is the true interdisciplinary endeavour. Because of the dangers of falling to demonic temptation, to study magic is also to submit review, board, and state: you must prove that you have not become a sorcerer—a practitioner of magic.
Those who’ve tapped the well of creation are sorcerers and a danger to the status quo. The structures of our lands and its masters say it is the people they worry for, and that the end-state of the sorceror is destruction of self, people, and lands, but their true worry is a sorcerer who succeeds in mastering the flow of the firmament. They fear the Magus.
As you have guessed, it was in the early hours before sunrise that I saw the wizard was indeed a sorcerer. I was a mending a fishing net when I saw their thaumaturgic arts reveal themselves as light coursing through the Gorscht, cleaning the waters so the sorcerer could drink it without fear of disease.
At first I was scared, but quickly—within my deepest heart—I felt something different. This would be my escape from my foul master, the Gorscht.
I confronted him, but carefully. I promised to keep his secret, if he but showed me the arts and let me be his apprentice. Over the next months, he showed me his ways, and on the eve of our return to the great cities beyond the Gorscht, he showed how to summon an imp and request my first access to the font.
The circles drawn and the salt laid, we lit the black fire and brought forth a winged, shriveled man with a salamander’s face in the circle. It declared itself Iqq. The sorcerer then turned to me, revealing a knife and his true purpose for allowing me into his world.
I was to be his price for Iqq’s power.
We struggled physically—for the sorcerer underestimated the strength needed to fish the Gorscht—and while we did so, I entreated Iqq, offering a better deal. Not only would I offer the sorcerer’s blood, but I would offer the sorcerer’s very name. The sorcerer himself was stunned by my offer, enough that I could plunge the dagger back into him, allowing him to fall into the circle and into the black flame itself.
Iqq laughed and agreed, taking the terrified and struggling sorcerer with him to some infernal realm. I then felt the power within me, ready to be used.
The sorcerer’s stumble broke the circle, however, releasing the black flame into full reality, and burned down three fishing huts. When I emerged, the villagers—my family—were horrified at what they witnessed. When I pleaded with them that it was the sorcerer who had done this, they knew not of whom I spoke.
My deal was paid, and it was my exile.
I took the sorcerer’s things—including what was now a blank license. I wrote my name in the place of the missing sorcerer’s and left the Gorscht for good.