There exists so little written on the mechanics of magic and the nature of reality. What literature that does exist that is open to esoteric concepts is often a mishmash of eastern ideology and misunderstood science dressed up in some new age prom dress. More helpful information is found in the staid books of contemporary physics, environmental science, and theoretical biology. But these tend to adhere to an overwhelming cynicism in regards to the beyond, despite decades of being proven incorrect.
In considering the mechanics of the actions of magic one must consider the nature of what is commonly understood to be the boundaries of reality. What is “real” and what is unreal in the minds of the worlds inhabitants. These boundaries vary based on the culture and the languages of that culture, but universally are bound by the limited scope of the human senses.
Much like we see only a portion of the total spectrum of light our perceptions of all energy and mass are limited to a very narrow field of awareness. We exist between two planes of reality much like life on earth exists in the narrow gaseous film on the exterior of the planet.
This spectrum of perceptual reality is based on evolutionary need to survive in the ecosystem of earth. Our dietary needs, and thus the senses required to fulfill those needs, are based on the specific set of variables present in our current terran ecosystem.
At the threshold of our perception exists a vast degree of energy and matter we are absolutely unaware of, much as we are unaware of the air that is all around us unless the wind blows. In that spectrum of energy and matter beyond our perception exist other forms of being. Entities that have evolved much the way we have, contained much in the way we are to the variables inherent on this planet.
Yet their bodies, if we are to use that term, are manifest in forms of matter beyond our current perceptual awareness. Their existence centered on forms of energy, wavelengths, that are outside of our normal sense of reality. It is only at the far edges of our mathematics, of our physics, that we have knowledge of these forms of matter. And in that science we are still in our infancy of understanding the nature of reality outside of the “real”.
Although the most cutting edge science is just now beginning to understand those fields of energy the common folk of earth have long known of the existence of some other at the edge of reality. We have, through evolutionary design, not totally become oblivious to those things at the edge of our conscious. Those beings and energies that manifest continuously around us but of which only a few, and often only in brief moments of focus/unfocus, are truly aware.
This was not so for mankind less than two centuries ago. It is our modern way of living, our constant focus on language (as opposed to experience) as the center of learning, that has pushed us away from nature. And in our psychological disconnection from nature we have lost the awareness of those things that exist just beyond the edge of what we call the real.
But what are those “things”? What is it that we once knew well and now only stumble upon in the rarest instances? At the corner of our eyes periphery?
Life is manifest as the organization of elements into the path of greatest energy distribution. The pools and eddies of this distribution pattern have coalesced into the forms on earth we call life. But just as evolution has limited our access to some forms of energy it has given access to other lifeforms. The bird is aware of the electromagnetic field of the earth in the way we are aware of the clouds. The dolphin perceives the underwater world as a giant 360˙ three dimensional shape, finely detailed down to moving objects within the range of the dolphins “hearing”.
Within the field of the earth there are complex patterns of energies - both known and unknown. These patterns have formed entities in the way that water and carbon have formed entities. They exist as part of the necessary pattern of energy in the universe. They evolve just as other forms of life do, though variables like reproduction, birth, and death vary with the nature of the materials they are composed from.
“Let anyone who possesses a vivid imagination and a highly-wrought nervous system, even now, in this century, with all the advantages of learning and science, go and sit among the rocks, or in the depths of the wood, and think of immortality, and all that that word really means, and by-and-by a mysterious awe will creep into the mind, and it will half believe in the possibility of seeing or meeting something - something - it knows not exactly what.” - Richard Jefferies, World’s End
How we perceive these entities is more a measure of the culture doing the perceiving than it is of the beings themselves. Our language in particular casts a mold for how we will project our socio-normative constructions onto the incoming data our senses give us about these beings.
Fairies, wights, sprites, goblin, dybbuk, trolls, kitsune, sidhe. The names we give them are a hallmark for the role they play. We project onto them our culture, and the narrative our culture has developed for what these experiences are. Those subtle beings of energy made manifest, lingering among the recesses of the natural world, receding into the last of the ancient forests as man encroaches on their spaces. We name them, and in naming them we give them power over us. Power that they may grant back to us through favor, spite and happenstance.
To fully grasp the field of energy that exists beyond the edge of our senses we must unlearn the confines of human language. We must push past the boundaries inherent in our cultural perceptions of what is real, and dictated to us by the language in which our thoughts form. Regardless of the tools and techniques we chose to overcome these limitations we must strive to break down barriers, to cross thresholds, to eliminate the boundaries of our cultural and evolutionary paradigms and to rend aside the Veil.
'Troll Bridge' Review by Counter Monkey John Arminio
It’s that Neil Gaiman story that’s a mature fairy tale for adults with the pale, wan protagonist dressed in black.
Um, I need more.
You know, the one where childhood sins have a lifelong effect on the soul of the main character? With art by Coleen Doran?
Um, can you be more specific?
Heavy implementation of magical realism with a sympathetic antagonist and lettering by Todd Klein?
I need more….
Hardy har har. In all seriousness, I am a sucker for Neil Gaiman and
one would be hard pressed to find something of his I don’t love. But why should anyone else love him, and Troll Bridge, the way that I do?
Troll Bridge is a graphic novel adaptation of a Neil Gaiman short story originally published in 1998, two years after the conclusion of his magnum opus in the comic book world, the Universe-spanning Sandman series. Troll Bridge itself is sort of a distillation of every Neil Gaiman trope and why they work and how they are conducive to compelling storytelling. Since the 1980s, Neil Gaiman has picked or has attracted talented and perfectly suited collaborators; creative individuals who complement and enhance his work. Colleen Doran is one such collaborator, one who has been illustrating Gaiman’s writing since the Sandman days. Her ability to manifest the fantastical tales that Gaiman creates in lucid dreaming detail is unparalleled. Her characters are immediate and realistically rendered, even when they are mystical beings like trolls, but the worlds they inhabit, the environs they cross, are straight out of our shared dreams.
Troll Bridge’s protagonist is as archetypal a character as can be envisioned; a young boy exploring a newly discovered path. Such journeying youths are familiar to anyone who has read Gaiman’s comics or novels, or fantasy literature in general. What makes this venture so engrossing is the landscape Gaiman’s character chooses to traverse across is initially a meadow so pristine and glowing, it brings to mind suggestions of Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World. Like Wyeth’s painting though, there is an air of foreboding mystery, a sense of something lurking, waiting to entrap us. And oh, is there ever.
The titular troll’s entrance is both shocking and expected. Sure, we go from golden meadow to a Mirkwood-like maze of gnarled trees and shade of unnatural darkness, but our protagonist’s curiosity and urgency in pressing forward provide a certain veil of security. Seeing the troll’s tusks, giant stature, and wiry-haired nakedness break this bucolic boyhood fantasy of woodsy exploration is thrilling; a sudden material danger in a world previously devoid of it (or at least concrete forms of it). When the troll declares that he wishes to “eat your life,” it is almost as if he means the reader just as much as the young boy who has wandered too far into this land of tangible dreams.
Since this encounter occurs so early in the book, it’s obvious that the boy’s life is not eaten, but his method of escape lends an air of dark foreboding to the man he might become.
Like the boy, the future of his idyllic childhood town, tucked away in a countryside of memory, is only destined for darker things. Such is the synchronicity of so much of Gaiman’s work. The same horrors are occurring to the boy as are committed by the boy as are enacted upon the land the story takes place in. Even the reader is not immune to this effect, as the caress of the troll’s gnarled, clawed hands reach out from Doran’s luminous pages and Gaiman’s glowing prose to caress our face just as they threatens the boy’s.
As Troll Bridge progresses, this multi-mirrored storytelling continues. The town of our protagonist’s birth drifts further and further from the form he once knew just as he becomes more cynical and distant, drifting further and further from the boy he once was. His own language matures but, at the same time, is more inhuman in its lack of hope. He walks across plains more purgatorial than fantastical; endless plateaus of steam and smoke with soulless prefabricated homes dotting the dreamscape. There certainly has been some “life-eating,” but who has done the feasting and to whom is open to interpretation.
Ultimately, Troll Bridge is a dark fairy tale and the narrative follows the path laid out by the form of such stories. However, like much of Gaiman’s work (and the best of fairy tales in general), Troll Bridge uses these paths to find something new within us, something nascent and unexplored. It is touching and tragic but leaves us better for having experienced it.
What would the Sakamakis and the Mukamis do if they found a tiny person?
((Matt- Tiny person….? Well, you didn’t specify what type of tiny person, so I’ll try.))
Shu- He stared at the leprechaun, blinking his eyes a few times to make sure he was actually seeing what he thought he was seeing, “… Hey…”
Reiji- His lover rushed in at the scene of her love on his knees on the floor, holding something. Reiji faced her, lifting his hand up to show her and with a whisper, he uttered, “Honey, I shrunk the kids…”
Ayato- “HAH, YOU ARE LIKE A FOOT TALL YOU LITTLE- AH WHAT THE FUCK-” Ayato fell to the ground, holding his jewels as the midget, now above him, cracked his knuckles.
Laito- Laito stared as he saw a small, ugly troll passing his path, mumbling mean words under his throat, “Kanato? Are you okay?”
Kanato- Kanato did it. Finally, he caught an elf. He strapped it down with bandaids and rubber bands, “TELL ME. IS THIS MORTAL THING CALLED SANTA TRUE? DO YOU WORK FOR HIM?”
Subaru- He sighed as he closed his eyes, relaxing. Suddenly, he felt a light touch on his nose and he opened his eyes to see a flying fairy, giggling. He blushed softly as she kissed his cheek before flying away.
Kino- Kino strolled down the halls, checking his snapchat when all of a sudden he heard a cry from below him. Stopping, he looked around and saw… nothing… Hesitantly he walked onwards.
I’ve always grappled with labels, specifically on the subject of sexuality. I get angry when people focus too closely on them, when they get too complex or too simplistic.The “boxes” rub me the wrong way.
But even in all this, I struggle with my own label. “Lesbian” is pretty easy, as I went and married one. But I get rude (and not so rude) inboxes about my posting endless pictures of men on my blog. (I post women and funny dogs, too, but we won’t troll down that path.) I write stories in which men are involved in those sexual encounters I include in the plot. Admittedly, this is confusing.
I’ve considered the distinct possibility of my being bisexual. It certainly traipses closer to the truth, but it was something I was wary to bring up to my wife. Saying I was bisexual felt not quite right. It felt like I was saying I wanted to have sex with men, too, when, really, that’s not very true. But I felt like I was lying, saying “lesbian” over and over so I told her.
I said it out loud and she said something back.
“Oh, honey, I think you’re asexual.”
This is the intensely personal part of the post I was talking about. This is that little facet of me that has, thus far, been known to only those few, few people I have had intimate relationships with: I have very little (if any) interest in having sex. This is something that has always been true and has been the catalyst in the ending of previous relationships. I always assumed it was a libido thing, a frigid bitch thing but–
I cried when she said this.
I still have a lot of stuff to work through, and I really hope to not get any huge waves of negative feedback over this, but my god this feels the closest to right. I find people beautiful, I find so much comfort in the intimacy of non-sexual contact, and I feel like I can finally breathe easier knowing that, maybe, there isn’t something wrong with me.
I’m so lucky to have a wife who knows me better than I know myself and who is content to spend night after night after night holding my hand and kissing my forehead and patiently loving me the way I always needed.
Not putting under a cut because this is important to me.
Closed AU rp with the-motherfucking-rageplayers: Small but Deadly
*The young child sits in an alleyway fiddling with knife until the sound of footsteps catches her attention. She pears around the corner to see a troll walking down the path in her direction. A grin crosses her face and she slides the knife behind herself sitting so he’ll see her as he passes by. She forces herself to tear up and look as sad as possible; her torn, dirty clothes assisting her in achieving the desired look of innocence and misfortune.*
life is gonna come at you with hard times and tough choices
Happy birthday, roachpatrol! Thanks for all the amazing fic and art. Have a fic in return.
Fandom: Homestuck Words: 1297 Synopsis: To survive, sometimes you’ve got to make sacrifices and try something new. Or; Karkat Vantas decides to get a job on a smuggler’s ship.
carcinoGeneticist started trolling estuarineSloth!
CG: I HEAR YOU’RE LOOKING FOR CREWMEMBERS CG: I’D LIKE TO CG: I’D LIKE TO OFFER MY SERVICES ES: Lordlick Tavern on morrow’s eve CG: WHAT? ES: I’ll be there, dipstick ES: if you’re not scared shitless by the place ES: come by for an interview CG: I’LL BE THERE.
You’ve actually decided to get out and walk around today, the hiss of the gasmask strangely comforting to you. You look up lazily, the moonlight peeking through the trees a little blinding to you. This is a very rare occasion, but it’s not anything special, really. You take a deep breath, pulling your hand up to tighten the stitching around your wrist. You don’t have anyone to fix you up at the moment so you can’t let that unravel. Your ears perk up as another troll crosses your path. The gasmask hisses loudly as you take another deep breath, whispering at the stranger. “Who?” That’s all you can manage to say right now, since you don’t have the strength to otherwise. You’re actually just unreasonably lazy right now, and you sigh, flipping your hair from your face. It’s a smaller troll, dressed in black and purple. You squint a little bit, raising your guard. “Why?”