Ch:4 Children of Atlantis pt1

“The Children of Atlantis,” Charles explained, “are a group opposed to the Archmagi. They say we’re keeping important magical technologies from the general public and we effectively operate as a cabal that secretly influence human affairs.”

“Sounds like a perceptive group, where do I join?” Charles shot Kyle a glare but he refused to back down. They’d had this argument before, but neither man was willing to back away from their side of the debate. “You know I don’t agree with the way the tekhnikos are kept from the general public.”

Charles sighed. “And you know it’s done for a good reason. A society that comes to depend on magic always hits a wall. They discover some powerful spell or spells, build their lives around it, do it more and more, and it finally grows too expensive to perform enough to support them. At that point, you either get haves and have-nots, a civil war, or a complete collapse of the whole society.”

“I know. I know. Half the mythological cities where real places and all of their islands sank because they over-used their spells.” Kyle and Charles had already had this conversation several times.

“Yes! I mean, to the best of my knowledge Atlantis was just a foray into science fiction writing by Plato, but Annwn and Thule where both real places before their names and history inspired legends.”

Kyle, Jessie, and Charles were sitting on the patio eating brunch. It was a pleasant Caribbean day and little puffs of white cloud were scuttling across the sky. The food was something tropical and unfamiliar, but it had been expertly prepared and tasted great. Kyle’s as yet unnamed familiar was napping in the shade under their table. Jessie was eyeing both Charles and Kyle as they talked, argued really, but she wasn’t saying anything herself. Mostly, she was slowly demolishing a large plate of food. Kyle knew, her combat spell made her very hungry even after it had been turned off. Healing only exacerbated the effect.

Kyle gestured dismissively with his fork. “That’s ordinary spells. The tekhnikos avoid the non-scalar law. They don’t get harder to work as more people use them, and that’s the magic I’m talking about.”

Charles shook his head. “They don’t avoid non-scalar effects, they skirt them.”

“You’ve said that before, but I fail to see the distinction.”

“OK, think about Lux. Let’s say everyone on Earth tried to use it for light. We’d need to invent, hundreds of billions of light spells. More if we tried to use Oratio for communication. And if we’re doing that then everyone all over the world will need to cast their communication spell at once so they don’t step on one another.”

“Yeah but that’s a straw man!” Kyle was getting annoyed. “We’d keep using light bulbs for light and phones for long distance communication.”

“Those things would never have been invented if the tekhnikos were public knowledge. Look it up. Franklin tried to use magic for his light at one point. He only stopped when he realized whatever he found wouldn’t be extensible. If we introduce the tekhnikos now what new technology get’s stomped on?” Charles took another bite of food and then continued in a more conciliatory tone, “It’s a matter of resources. If everyone learns how to do magic then they won’t learn how to do technology. So far, you’ve spent more of your life in school than out of it and you’re still only half trained in magic. We’d lose a lot of our best minds if everyone tried to learn and use magic, and using magic would still be a lot harder than using tech. Compare that spell we did last night to changing your oil.”

“Yeah, but I’m not saying everyone should use magic.”

“Then why are you focused on the tekhnikos? Their advantage is they can be used indiscriminately.”

Kyle actually had to think about that for a minute, “They should be used more, but by experts, to benefit people.”

“In that case I’m glad you agree with the current approach!”

“How is that the current approach?”

“How is it not? The Archmagi have invested in K&J Paranormal Communications heavily explicitly so you have a channel to introduce new illusions to the general public. It’s just like Thomas used to do, and you’re not the only business doing it. As I understand it your firm is doing pretty well.”

That was something Kyle couldn’t debate. He wasn’t rich yet, but the illusion marketing firm he’d started when he’d discovered tekhnikos lux was growing rapidly and bringing in good money. It could operate more cheaply than other illusion firms because whenever they needed a new light spell Kyle could “invent” one. Well, that and it had a huge amount of seed capital from some very wealthy angel investors. “Sure, but that’s all for a profit.”

Charles tapped his food. “I hate to break it to you, but this was grown for a profit. Food is more important than magic, more important than most things, and we get it from farmers trying to make a profit. It goes back to what I was saying earlier; profit and payment balances scarce resources.”

“Alright, well maybe more people should be profiting. You’re a secret cabal! That just makes me uncomfortable.”

“We regulate ourselves, you know that. Thomas was punished for his actions, wasn’t he?”

‘Punished’ was something of a euphemism. An eldritch horror had chopped Thomas the Illusionist into so many pieces the police had needed to identify his body via DNA. Well, body was also a euphemism. ‘The resulting slurry,’ was probably a more accurate way to put it. Kyle shuddered thinking about that. He’d been there. “Well, I haven’t run to the press or anything. I’m just,” he paused and looked for the right words, “keeping my eyes open.”

“And that’s good. In fact, I do want you to join the Children of Atlantis.”

“What?”

“Well, it’s more of an infiltration. As I was saying, before we got side-tracked, they used to be a fairly harmless organization. Cranks that would post about all of our dire doings online, including a few things we actually did. but they never got up to much trouble. Recently, they’ve been radicalized. They’re tossing around fire magic in our national parks. That makes Smokey Bear and me very angry, and I want to know what happened and what they’re up to now. Given your interactions with Thomas they should believe you’re a willing convert with only a little more proof. Plus, if you find them to be sane and sensible you can turn your coat and join the cause for real. Still, you’ve got a good head on your shoulders, I don’t think that will happen.”

Ch3: Ninja Training pt3
Ch:4 Children of Atlantis pt2

For some reason I cannot adequately explain, even to myself, I'm trying to write and to write better. So if you like my story let me know. All feedback is appreciated.

Posted in The Beginners Guide to Magical Site Licensing Tagged with: ,
3 comments on “Ch:4 Children of Atlantis pt1
  1. Dave L says:

    I really enjoy this story. The whole “magic scales” is very creative.

    >“In that case I’m glad you agree with the current approach!”
    How long has Charles been doing this? How many discussions and debates has he had? Kyle argues well, Charles argues better. BTW, good job on having an argument where both sides are intelligent, knowledgeable, and well-reasoned, no straw men (despite what Kyle said). I know that that can be tough to do.

    >Plus, if you find them to be sane and sensible you can turn your coat and join the cause for real.

    I wonder if Kyle should actually be honest, go in telling them what he’s doing, and giving them a fair chance to convert him. Or will he be in the same situation Jessie was in when they first met?

    I’m definitely going to stick around to see how this comes out.

    • Thaumaturgical_Support says:

      I see Charles as between 2 and 3 hundred years old. He’s definitely had time to nail down his positions and his logic for those positions. Kyle is coming from a more emotional place so his arguments aren’t quite as well articulated.

      I’m glad you like how the uncertainty about who’s right is playing out. I wanted to flip things on their head by having Kyle working with the Archmagi in this book and I wanted some ambiguity about what they are doing to be part of that. Clear cut villains can be a lot of fun, but in the real world everyone thinks they’re right, so I tried to shoot for that this time around.

      I’ve got a few surprises planned for how it will all work out.

  2. Bart says:

    Typo thread
    Half the mythological cities where real places
    Were, not where
    what new technology get’s stomped on?
    No apostrophe in get’s
    have invested in K&J Paranormal Communications heavily explicitly so you have a channel to
    Remove heavily

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