The Path of Hubris

“Yes, Jehan, I know I didn’t have to bring you the evening meal, I just felt like spending some time with you after Chant. This land of Stragosa is a wondrous and frustrating place for me and I thought I might share stories about it with you.”

“Stragosa..? …It’s a place in Gotha, far west of Sha’ra and our mountain homeland. We’ve been here for almost a year now. Very complicated to describe its history. It has seemingly existed as a town for hundreds of years off and on, only to seemingly be ‘rediscovered’ time after time as a new place to come to full of ruins. Who knows how many expeditions have come here…”

“Why do people come here if no one thinks there is anything here? Well, there is thing thing called the Miracle, it’s one of the primary reasons why I and many others came here. You see, it is a stone which can bring people back from the dead once per day.”

“It does sound pretty incredible to talk about. I guess that’s why so many people come here despite the fact that so many people are suffering in the streets from disease, or simply unable to find joy in their daily lives…anyway, I wanted to talk about someone named Akim ibin Haqim though.”

“No I hadn’t expected you would have known him. He was a part of the Temple of Water, of the Second Circle when he lived in Sha’ra. Was because he apparently has come to live here in Stragosa, among a group of thieves and other renegade mages called the Hollow Men. They’re a group of dissidents in the city these days with a complicated history it sounds like.”

“No, I’m not sure why they’re called that. Maybe because they are hollow inside with all the terrible things they have done to distract themselves from the path. Anyway, Akim used to be part of the guild until recently, but notably he seems to have turned to darker methods of pursuing his primary goal in life, personal power.

“So that was my question too. Why would someone whose primary goal in life is personal power be accepted within the Temple. Either someone of particular significance permitted it or, and perhaps more likely, he turned from the Temple because of some spell he performed beyond his abilities and lost his mind and path. That would also explain his turn toward darker methods as well.”

“Why am I telling you this? I guess…I don’t know. You know how much ti-…I spend a lot of time in the lab tower working on spells. There are a lot of problems here. I could easily accidentally do something wrong, push myself too far and end up insane as a result…and without some pretty immediate help, could I guess end up in a similar situation to this guy. Or if you’d rather, I met an air mage last week, like just sitting at a wedding feast he just says out loud to the world, “I’m an Air Mage” as if it wasn’t a thing. And my first thought after sighing was, “I’ve been needing an air mage to do these various Navigator things for me.” And so, here I am probably taking too many risks with magic invention, casting spells to cure disease to the point where one of the District Magistrates carried me to bed, and wanting to use hubristic magic to accomplish my goals because I don’t see other options, so I guess I feel like I’m not too many choices different than Akim and that makes me uncomfortable considering that he’s likely to get murdered and clearly has fallen so far from his path.”

“You’re right, I should be more careful and I will try to be in the future. It feels like we only have a few months until Stragosa may turn back into a ruin which has to be found again and so it would be wrong not to try to whatever I can to salvage it, despite the risk and people whom I have to work with. I guess, that doesn’t sound very much like ‘and I will try to be in the future’ does it? Hmm, I guess careful doesn’t mean changing your path so much as taking precautions, maybe that’s something I can work on more easily.”

“Stragosa? Oh…its the city in Gotha we’re in, far to the west of Sha’ra and our mountain homeland. We’ve been here almost a year now. Anyway, it seems like you’ve finished your food. Is there anything else I can get you tonight before bed, Jehan?”

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