Chapter 21: Chapter (5)
Though he knew he should simplify his explanation to make it easier on the boy, Pincheno had never taught magic to someone so young before, let alone someone with a clear lack basic knowledge. Therefore, he had resorted to thinking about what he wished to say, break it down in his head, make sure it was appropriate, and then speak.
“I’ll try to simplify it for you. Magic is turning imagination into reality. No, let me try again. It’s taking the things you imagine inside your head and making them into something tangible here, in the real world.”
“But you said magic wasn’t about making things.”
The boy was indeed an intelligent child. He was simply ignorant. This was fixed easily enough, though. All Pincheno had to do was take his time in teaching him new things to fill the blanks.
“That’s right. Well, hmm… For example, can you think of an object right now?”
Pincheno broke a branch off from a tree and swung it around a few times.
“What is it?”
“… A ball.”
“Good. Magic is what pulls that ball out of your head into your hands.”
“Through the power of magic? I’m only joking. Well, half-joking. Anyway, let’s connect this to what we learned earlier. I used your head as an example, but it’s not really pulling it directly out of it. It’s coming from Ratio. To elaborate on Ratio, it’s where the true form of all things and notions exist. For example, when you thought of a ball, you thought of the shape of a ball, correct?”
“But not all the balls in the world are equal and alike.”
“They can be different shapes and colors, and some bounce off the ground differently than others.”
Pincheno stretched his hand out and drew a circle on the ground with the stick he had just procured.
“But no matter its appearance, we still call it a ball. That means that the things we know as balls all share a common feature. It also means that all things that possess this feature can be classified as balls. Do you follow?”
The boy’s mind went blank for a moment, but the wheels and cogs in his brain soon began to turn like a high-speed engine, breaking down this newly learned definition and reassembling it through logical deduction to grasp the concept as a whole.
“I think so.”
“You’re a clever one. So, about Ratio. I’ve told you that Ratio is where the true form of an object is. A true form means just that: the true, fundamental form of an object. Let’s go back to your ball. Inside Ratio, there lies the true form of all the balls that exist in this world. It’s not defined by a shape or a color, but only by its innate feature. So, what form would this ball take?”
“I don’t know.”
“It is impossible for the human mind to comprehend. As soon as you try to imagine it, you assign the ball with specific properties, which separates it from the true form of Ratio.”
Lucid took a moment to organize his thoughts about what he had just learned. The first thing he had thought of was a soccer ball. However, he knew from his experience in the courtyard that even soccer balls came in many different designs. Not only that, but there were also tennis balls, baseballs, and all sorts of different balls. Yet, they were all still known as balls. This meant that a ball possessed some unique quality that brought all these different designs together into one. A ball that existed solely as this unique quality was called the “true form,” and a true form cannot be imagined.
“Does that mean that everything that exists inside of Ratio is outside the realm of imagination? Because they only exist as concepts?”
That was the conclusion Lucid had drawn after pondering over it for a while, and Pincheno couldn’t help but be mesmerized once again. He was surprised that the boy had grasped the meaning of all of his words, even the rather tricky ones, and that he had interpreted complex notions and come up with his own method of understanding them. Was he truly from a desolate peasant town? Perhaps he was an aristocrat, kidnapped at a young age. But even that made little sense, as no child his age, rich or poor, would have ever learned advanced linguistics. Indeed, this child was simply a genius.
“That’s right. And that is also why the true forms that exist in Ratio don’t change with time. They are eternal. Look at this tree. And that tree, over there. These trees which we call cedars are all different when we look at them, but in Ratio, only the true form of the cedar exists. It is innate and unique to the cedar alone.”
Pincheno was suddenly holding his cup. Though he had seen this happen earlier, Lucid was still amazed by the phenomenon. Once Pincheno had quenched his thirst, they resumed their walk, and the explanation began anew.
“Ratio harbors the true form of all objects. That means that, in turn, this world is just a modified copy of Ratio.”
“Yes, even humans. But we shan’t speak of humans’ true form yet. It’s somewhat taboo in magic. Now, look at this cup. There are countless cups in the world, but what makes something a cup? Tell me all the features of a cup that come to your mind.”
“A cup… Has a round bottom… And a handle.”
“You can put water inside of it…”
“Let’s see now. You said a cup has a round bottom, but is a cup no longer a cup if it has a square bottom?” Asked Pincheno as he showed Lucid the bottom of his cup.
“Hmm… No. I don’t think the shape of the bottom matters all that much.”
“Which means it’s not an innate feature, right?”
“And the handle?”
“I don’t think handles are necessary.”
“So, handles are also not innate.”
“Oh dear, would you look at how far we got! Looks like we’ll start climbing the mountain now.”
Without realizing, they had already walked past the edge of the forest. Lucid was torn. He wanted to climb the mountain as soon as possible, but he also wished to learn more about magic. It would be difficult to speak once they were up in the mountains. Noticing his dilemma, Pincheno spoke up.
“Let’s rest for a bit before we get to the mountain.”
The two settled their breathing and Pincheno soon resumed his teaching.
“Now, Lucid. What could a cup’s innate feature be?”
“I don’t know.”
“What’s a cup?”
“Something… that holds water?”
“Then I suppose we could call it a receptacle for water. This means that as long as an object possesses this feature, it can be called a cup regardless of its shape. That’s what we refer to as “charactiras,” or fundamental property.”
Perhaps it had been a bad idea to use a ball as the first example, as Lucid had tried to find the cup’s innate feature based on its appearance, which was not the right approach.
“Charactiras includes inward features as well as outward ones. Anyway, once you understand it, you can pretty much begin to use magic. Knowing charactiras means knowing the true form of things, or “forma” in the language of sorcerers. A sorcerer must know and fully understand the charactiras of the forma he wishes to materialize, or it won’t work properly. To elaborate, you cannot materialize a forma of which charactiras you don’t know. Also, just because you don’t know the charactiras, it doesn’t mean that the forma doesn’t exist. Forma always exists, whether we know it or not. Do you understand?”
As Lucid nodded, Pincheno decided to conclude this first lecture.
“I’m sure it’s confusing, what with all the terms and definitions, but it’ll do you good to remember them all. Just like with objects, the words we use, and their definitions also have their own forma. Forma is the essence of all things, tangible and intangible. It is absolute and unique. The first task for any sorcerer is to understand forma, and it becomes a lifelong research. But as I said, we cannot directly experience forma, so we must study its copy. That’s our world. I suppose it’s somewhat like restoring an original from a replica. I’ll explain one more thing about magic materialization, and then this learning session is over. Sorcerers cannot bring the forma itself into the real world. That’s obvious, isn’t it? So, we materialize forma with a specific shape. Like this cup. The process of shaping forma occurs in the sorcerer’s mental space, which, put simply, is in your head. When you materialize the newly shaped forma, that’s magic.”
Lucid’s face lit up as he continued to listen to Pincheno, focusing on each word he was hearing.
“Mental training is when you practice the process of shaping forma in your mental space. We sorcerers refer to it as “chapter.” Taking this cup as an example. I took a forma of which charactira was a “container for water,” and added other features such as its material, in this case wood, a rounded bottom, and a handle. It’s considered a fundamental training process for all aspiring sorcerers.”
“Forma, charactiras. Chapter…”
The boy’s lips twitched in excitement as he reviewed what he had learned, etching everything on his memory. The fact that he was once again learning something was enough to fill him with immense joy.