This challenge was to describe the magic system of the fantasy setting in which people write in 5-7 sentences, in character. Thanks to Dimanagul for the prompt and for help with critiquing what I’d written.
‘Magic is unreliable and unpredictable. There are those who can actively wield it, and those who only benefit from random psychic talents. Those that change their own form, and those that influence other forms. A priest or wise woman of the gods can heal by hand or sacrament, but cannot bring a person back from the dead. They work alongside the so-called ‘scientific’ doctors, who sometimes have these talents themselves(1). Spirits and ghosts can guide mortals, but their words are coloured by the motivations of the human they speak through. Because of this, never shall the words of the dead be used to judge the living. Angels guard the weak and powerless, but walk among us unaware of their real identity(2).
‘And destiny is like a mountain. We may be able to see the summit, but we must find the path to the top.’
— Biruta Berzina, priestess of Minerva and shaman, Achava, in a diary found after her arrest and death.
Editor’s Footnote (1) – the greatest surgeon and magical healer of the pre-revolutionary era was Dr Arvid Chislenko, who was also the supervisor at the military hospital in Kubice after the war.
Editor’s Footnote (2) – the warden of the Ludlin workhouse, Andrew Russell, was believed by scholars of philosophy and prophecy to be such a ‘valkyrie’, but the inmates there at the time of his stewardship believed the angel to be Deirdre the cook, who was always feeding people extra food from the master’s kitchen.