Report #00012: Practice Safe Spellcasting – Use a Rune
When I was recovering from my injuries and illness after we lost Gnomeregan, Greta brought me books to read on nearly anything I could have asked for books about. For the first time in my life I was able to devote entire days to reading without seeing one mention of overloaded circuitry, proper drilling and bolting methods, or schematics for robotic scribes… intended for mass production of copies of schematics, of course. Instead, I read about the history of Azeroth, the Light, the travels of Brann Bronzebeard, and many other non-engineering topics. The world felt more open to me than it ever had before, even though I was stuck in bed deep inside Ironforge Mountain.
With all those choices in front of me… all those things I’d never given so much thought to before and never truly experienced… how did I end up training with mages? The priests wouldn’t train me. Aye, it was a life devoted to service of the Light that I really wanted. The priests were against the idea of training such a “fresh convert” for the priesthood, though, and I think some of the questions I asked put them off a bit. It wasn’t that I ever tried to challeneg their faith in the Light… I just wanted to understand my own a bit better. They smiled the way people smile at small children who ask inappropriate questions and told me the Light isn’t going anywhere, so maybe I should find something else to pursue until I’m ready for the priesthood.
They did it kindly, but they turned me away. The mages didn’t.
I can’t help feeling like I’ve wasted a bloody lot of time learning from mages, though. Fel, I haven’t even learned very much from them! I have repeatedly failed to be able to do what they do the way they do it. I certainly understood what I was being taught… how difficult can it be, really, to understand opening yourself up to the flow of the energy and focusing your intent to shape that energy into your desired result? I don’t see why so many new mages have such a problem with the very idea that it can be done. The energy is already in everything. You don’t have to work very hard to make ale flow down your throat and into your stomach, and the flow of energy is just as simple.
It is in theory, anyway. Those mages who have trouble grasping the ideas at first leave me far behind when it comes to application. I bloody well understand what I’m supposed to be doing, but just can’t seem to do it. I’ve wrestled with every spell I’ve ever tried to cast the way the mages taught. Many of them have never produced results, and most of them are weaker than they should be. Eventually, I realized the reason for this is my being a dwarf. Being part-gnome may be what made it possible for me to do this at all… to reach beyond the arcane limitations that seem to come from being, essentially, descended from living rocks.
I’ve found ways around the trouble when I can. I learned to reach out to the elemental energies. Not the way shaman do… I can’t communicate with elemental spirits, or anything like that. Everything just works so much better when I work with an element I can see and feel, like water. Not fire. By the Light, not fire! Enough beards got singed when I tried that.
I finally just stopped going to mages for training. I suppose I should have held my tongue a bit when I said I wasn’t going to be training with them anymore, but I’m sure it wasn’t the first time anyone involved with the Kirin Tor was told what to go do with themself. It doesn’t even seem to have affected my reputation within Dalaran very much.
My decision to stop training with them has left me feeling more free to explore other methods used in spellcasting, and I’ve taken notice of what some of the peoples of Northrend… the ones Brann Bronzebeard called “seed races”… are doing. They’re using runes. Not much different at all from the runes I use for opening portals, or the glyphs many people buy from scribes to enhance their spellbooks. Even the marks of the druids are a type of rune, so I suppose there’s a lot of rune-use that I simply never thought so much about before. These people in Northrend call their mages things like “runecaster” or “runeweaver”, and that made me start thinking about Runeweaver Square in Dalaran… which sent me back to the library to find those books written by Archmage Runeweaver.
I didn’t find many of them, and the ones I did find didn’t have the information I was looking for. In fact, I’m not sure how that man even got the bloody name Runeweaver. I can’t see that he ever instructed anyone on using runes.
I didn’t find nearly enough information in the other books I studied. I was in the library so long that Historian Karnik actually started to seem worried about me, as opposed to how he usually just looks annoyed. I put together enough to allow me to develop the MechaMind prototype for Jeeves, but not enough to solve my own problems with spellcasting. I’m not giving up, though!
It seems to me that rune-use would get rid of the risk of arcane addiction, which I’ve feared since early on in my training. The books written by the bloody elves say that the end result for a mage will always be addiction, assuming they continue drawing on arcane energy long enough. Everyone I asked told me that wasn’t much of a bloody risk, really, but look who I asked… a warlock, a dwarf paladin (and a great hero, my brother is!), a few elves who seemed eager to distance themselves from the attitudes of some of their people about mages, and a bunch of mages. I have to admit to myself that this was not a very scientific way of collecting data, and the results may have been compromised from the very start.
I’m beginning to think the elves may have pretty much invented arcane addiction. Bloody gits… tapped straight into the largest concentrated source of arcane energy on the planet! Any good engineer can tell you why that’s the wrong thing to do. The bad ones do it and blow themselves up. Maybe it’s a good thing that you don’t see too many night elf engineers.
The runes, though, seem to take the risk out of this. They follow paths present in the physical world. Some of it has to do with how the leylines run, but it seems there are other shapes involved, as well. All of these shapes occur somehow in nature. That’s the trouble with mages… they teach you to use your will to focus the energy. I think that’s where the risk of addiction comes in! The arcane energy was put here by the Titans to serve a purpose. When you bend it to your own will, isn’t that a bit like deciding your will is more important than the will of the Titans? But the runes follow the paths the Titans laid out. Using the runes would mean making the will of the Titans your own, following the path they’ve laid before you.
I need to learn more about this, but progress has been difficult. For one thing, information is scarce. Or well hidden. For another thing, most folks are bloody gits. They don’t take new ideas very well… not even when those new ideas may be old information. Whatever it is the Lich King did to make the death knights use runic power, it doesn’t seem to work the same as the sort of rune-use I’m looking at. It does seem to be the only sort of rune-use most folks know anything about, though. I have spoken with a death knight who at least seems open to the idea that there is something to be uncovered and understood here, and she’s agreed to look for information for me. I’m not expecting much to come of it. I suppose the Ebon Hold has more information about their own rune-powered abilities than any other uses for runes, but I don’t want to completely rule that out just yet.
There was an elf who walked past while I was discussing this with the death knight, though, and said the strangest thing. They said that if the Titans hadn’t intended for us to use magic, they wouldn’t have given us a guardian for it. I suppose that’s bloody elves for you… sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong and speaking as if they have any bloody idea what they’re talking about. I’m not saying the Titans didn’t want us to use magic. I’m saying I think the mages have been harnassing it in a way the Titans didn’t intend… and they did learn that from the elves, don’t forget! And, aye… look at the guardian of magic. Look at what became of Malygos.
I spent a lot of time reading about the Aspects when Greta brought the books to me. I had no idea that Malygos had been so different before he went insane! Neltharion betrayed everyone when he became Deathwing, but I always think he betrayed some more than others. Certainly, he betrayed the Earthen, and I sometimes wonder how Khaz’Goroth would deal with him if the Titans came back. But I’m not sure he betrayed anyone more than Malygos. I don’t suppose I can really believe there’s been a guardian of magic for a very long time. The guardian was unfit for being one. That wasn’t his fault. But what if that’s why Malygos was, in some ways, correct about us mortal races and our use of the arcane? Maybe we are unfit to weild those powers… we had no true guardian.
Brann Bronzebeard and the Explorers League have made so many discoveries! So many things we didn’t know before… and there’s still so much to find out! I think it may be time for everyone to help. These are not just dwarven discoveries. Finding out more about what the Titans intended with the runes and arcane energy can be of benefit to everyone.
I wish I knew what was written in one of those Lexicons of Power.