Beginning To Learn

Eilam has a question for Kazuo. Kazuo is slightly alarmed. (And has a lot of theory in trade.)

Date: 2017-11-19
Pose Count: 9
Kazuo Takeba 2017-11-19 03:37:52 86659
Early morning in Pikarigaoka, and it's chilly, but it's dry ... which means that as November goes, it's one of the safer mornings for someone of frail constitution to be out.

It's also one of the safer mornings to be running, without cold rain to soak body heat out almost before it has a chance to exist in the first place. Which means that Kazuo hasn't needed to start layering clothing, not on a run as long as this one; long sleeves, yes, jacket no. He's dressed mostly in black, only a couple of reflective stripes and the pale flag of his tied-back white hair to give predawn drivers warning. Late enough now for there to be light out, though.

And even at a distance, that hair and that build are enough to be recognizable.
Eilam Hisakawa 2017-11-19 03:56:50 86661
    Normally Eilam was not out at this time of day. If he had something that he wanted at this time, someone else would generally be out getting it. Today, though, for some reason, he felt a little stircrazy. enough that as he was seated on a bench out here at the park, staring off at nothing. His fingers could be seem moving a little as he laid back onto the bench lengthwise, head resting on one of the arm rests. Facing up at the sky, one might almost consider him a homeless type except his outfit - wrapped in that fancy light jacket, was quite expensive-looking. Not to mention the stave he always had with him, resting beside him on the ground within arms reach.

    It was only when he noticed someone vaguely familiar running in his direction that Eilam waited until they were close enough to confirm who it was, and speak up when they got close enough. "Think you can take time out of your... run, to speak with me?" His knees bent, shifting a bit so there was room on the other end of the bench should Kazuo wish to sit instead of just taking it up fully himself with his laying down. Though he notedly didn't get up or sit upright.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-11-19 04:05:32 86662
Odds that Kazuo takes this meeting as coincidence: not high. Yes, that would mean Eilam had arranged to have him watched long enough to learn his routes, and how he varies them, and where the usual decision points are. But Eilam made it clear quite some time ago that he had that capability.

Whatever Kazuo believes about it, though, he lifts a hand in answer, and slows his pace. By the time he reaches the bench, he's settled to a walk, and though he doesn't precisely stop, he at least confines himself to pacing within Eilam's easy field of vision. "Good morning," he says, with an inclination of his head in place of a bow. "Keeping warm enough?"
Eilam Hisakawa 2017-11-19 04:10:15 86663
    It actually was coincidence! Not that he had any reason to believe it, nor was there any indication given. "As warm as I like." was the response that was given, which likely came off a bit more curt than intended. Though he did nod towards the taller fellow. "Meeting you here was unintentional, so to avoid taking up too much of your time... let me ask a question to the point? At least, it lies with what I was thinking about when you happened to run by. ...what exactly does it take for someone to learn to use magic? Surely it is not just something one is born with or some mystic star or silly nonsense like that."

    Yes, he still considers such stuff nonsense... even though he's now more aware that it's likely perfectly plausible. Maybe it's just annoyance and not wanting to accept it. "And how much of magic is what you wish it to be, compared to... specific things?"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-11-19 04:24:04 86664
"In my case," Kazuo answers, "it was something I was born with. So I may be a poor target for your question." He leans into a stretch, holds it as he considers more, straightens and regards Eilam more directly again ... without pacing, this time. "I was born in a previous incarnation with a significant amount of potential; I retained at least some part of that potential in this life, though this time it didn't manifest properly until I was exposed to a significant amount from outside. I've seen others follow that pattern whose magic is of a similar nature to mine, and at least one follow that pattern for the first time in this life."

He shifts weight, not remaining entirely still. "There are other types of magic. Some involve the acquisition of a focus item of some kind, which may or may not require an innate compatibility. Some involve befriending a patron. Some involve yielding up one's will or freedom to a patron. Some involve creating a narrative that catches the attention and suits the need of a magical force. Some involve absorbing significant amounts of corruptive energy in a degenerative cycle that grants temporary but significant power in trade for self-destruction. Some do, in fact, involve mystic stars."

Kazuo tilts his head for a moment, considering Eilam. "I can't answer your second question usefully, because the answer is 'it varies.' There tends most often to be a tradeoff between power and flexibility. People who can do only a few things with their power tend to be very strong in those few things; but that may well be because they become very practiced in a specific focus. People who have more flexibility most often have a specific focus that that flexibility works within. Actual wishes are ... very rare. And generally very costly."
Eilam Hisakawa 2017-11-19 04:38:25 86665
    Somehow part of that sounded like a lecture against dark magic. At least, what he assumed was a lecture against dark magic, given the tone. "If I am going to live forever, now that I know magic is real, I do not believe I will ever be able to just... exist without trying to learn more, or... reobtain some measure of security like I thought I had obtained until I learned magic was real. I would much rather go about this in a manner which will not cause any conflict, certainly, so I do hope there is not going to be an issue of anyone trying to be... protective of magic, or people who may think it their duties to gatekeep entry into such knowledge?"

    Really, he wasn't remotely sure how such things were handled. Going in blind like he was, it was largely left to the imagination and as he went back to staring at the sky, his fingers once again moving slightly as if he was thinking about something. "I have no desire for... power or anything like that, though I also have no problem with it. I have never been powerful in any way in my lifetime, my security is solely a foundation I have built myself, money buys a lot. But with magic... I am uncertain what money can buy that is not transient. If I am going to consider an eternity in the same world as Norie, then... I cannot very well put myself towards whatever light magic I believe you and your boyfriend? seem to use." He wasn't even sure there, simply an assumption on his part. "Who or where should I go if I am seeking the opposite? I would think it obvious, but I am not asking her for a reason. Her own... introduction to such and history has been pained and I wish not to dredge that up for her."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-11-19 04:56:43 86666
The tone of voice, at least, was matter-of-fact. Water is wet, rain comes from clouds if not from other forms of condensation, dark magic starts a downward spiral of power and irrationality that leads to some form of doom, these things just happen.

"There are always people who desire to keep their secrets," Kazuo answers Eilam's first question. "I believe you're familiar with the principle. But they tend to be interested primarily in their own secrets, and those of their allies, rather than in the concepts of magic as a whole. Those -- often they keep themselves, to a certain extent."

Again, though, when Eilam continues -- that changes the tone of things. Kazuo regards him in silence for a few moments. Not considering what he's going to say; not introspective. Only studying Eilam.

"You have," he says, "made a number of inaccurate assumptions. Both my liege and I are capable of working alongside Norie without causing her pain. It is easier for me, granted. But, while forms of magic exist that are naturally inimical to her own energies, not all forms of magic that are not corruptive are so inimical. Let me ask you a question, instead. What do you presently believe magic is?"
Eilam Hisakawa 2017-11-19 05:04:53 86667
    "I do not believe it is anything."

    The answer might even seem a bit silly, honestly, considering the entire conversation.

    "I know nothing of magic except from others I have been around. Part of me still has a hard time accepting that it is even real. You might find this ironic, but despite whatever is causing me to be like I am, despite being alive for so long... part of me was ignorant, or perhaps in denial, of magic. I have seen so many people come and go over my life that claimed to use magic, or those who believed things were magic simply because they didn't understand things... that even now part of me is skeptical and I'm having a hard time accepting it."

    Eilam took a moment to try and say something, though he had a hard time wording it. "If this seems callous to you, then so be it, but... I do not care about others. I do not care about the world, or... or trying to change anything, or impose my desires. All I want is to be safe, and feel in control of my own life, of my own surroundings. And... and to be able to be with Norie even if as only a friend, because I am looking forward to things in a different scale of time than you might consider. I know nothing of magic, but part of me is starting to believe I have to try and learn even if I think it is all madness, because how can I keep her interests and my own interests safe... if I am ignorant?"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-11-19 05:40:46 86668
"I don't find that unlikely at all," Kazuo replies, matter-of-fact. "I am aware of people who looked at me when I was a disembodied spirit and failed to notice or perceive the fact that I was translucent at the time and overlapped with furniture. Humans as a whole are excellent at not perceiving things they do not have to perceive. And still more so at not perceiving things they do not wish to perceive -- in much the same way that you have become aware on multiple occasions that I retain memory when I reincarnate, and yet still somehow believe that you and Lacrima are the only ones thinking past a single human lifespan." There's a note of humor in that last, but it's a faint one, and it passes.

Kazuo draws a longer breath, and lets it out, and then reaches up to push a stray strand of hair back behind an ear. That one's introspective. Searching for ways to put something.

"Technology," he says finally, "is the manipulation of matter and energy through objective methods. Given that, we might describe magic as the manipulation of matter and energy through subjective methods. Methods in which the results are affected by the state of mind and emotional condition of the one performing the experiment. This is generally also a feedback loop: the state of mind and emotional condition of the one performing the magic are in turn affected by the energies they work with and the ends to which they work. That means that dark magicians are almost always inherently unstable.

"Lacrima has a degree of protection against this effect, both due to her own curse, and due to outside support, and due to a number of her own precautions including recruiting outside support on a regular basis, and also due to the fact that she does care about others. For you -- your curse preserves your life. It seems much less likely to preserve your sanity.

"Still. The core of magical ability, the thread that connects all of the types of magic I am aware of, is caring. Hope is a strong secondary element; without hope of some kind, even that present in vindictive despair, no magic is possible. But caring predicts results better.

"Caring about others tends, though not universally, to preserve a mage's sanity. Controlling or damaging others tends to destroy it; focusing on one's own benefit tends to damage it. This does not have to be some ..." Kazuo's expression twitches with distaste, and he makes a dismissive gesture with one hand. "Some wide-eyed breathless advertisement for making friends with all living things. Loyalty can be sufficient, for instance, if strongly enough felt. So I would suggest to you: before you take other steps, look for things outside yourself that you can bring yourself to care about. You have one possibility. More than one is safer. When you take those other steps, consider how they may affect what you care about. After that, your primary risk is of lying to yourself about those effects. Particularly if you do opt to pursue dark magic. Dark magic, by its nature, makes lying to oneself easy. Natural. The only counter to that is the one that Lacrima uses: outside connections to people who do not use dark magic, as a check against the distortion of her own perceptions. You prefer to isolate yourself. That puts you at ... particularly high risk."