People think in binary. Black and white. Ten-Are-Two and Not-Ten-Are-Two. Nature-magic and the Dark. Good and evil. Us and Them.

Every so often… not in every class, but more than a few, each decade… every so often, I encounter a young student, self-declared genius, who has seen the myriad problems of the world and devised a way to fix it.

In between pathetic adolescent rants of self-pity and self-loathing, the usual “no one understands my brilliant ideas, why can’t I make them see?” load, their notion is that the world is the way it is because of the tapping of the Dark wells of power, and that all misery stems ultimately from the rejection of the natural world in favor of the cold paths to power represented by the whole of the Undying aristocracy, the cerebral runes, and the ethereal mentalism of the akashics. Witchery is often cited as a positive alternative, but the real pride of place belongs to nature-magic.

Nature-magic, they’ll spout, nature-magic is the key. The Green is ever so much safer and cleaner and healthier than the Dark. Look at the Apple-Yards of Rrerrshbarr, they’ll say, citing its potent fruits as evidence of the kind of benefits living harmony with the Green might bring us. They overlook the state of constant warfare which has existed between the Empire of Perfection and Rrerrshbarr for the last two hundred years, more or less uninterrupted since Reunification. Every year sees another three thousand or so dead in the orchards, their blood feeding the apple-trees and giving up its lustrous red color to the very fruits of death.

Or they’ll go on, at great and unnecessary length, with the story of Jawbreaker, the Green Knight, as told by Immerstate in “All’s Fair in Life and Death.” Or they’ll misinterpret the parable of the Greenhouses of Ab-Adduct, displaying their willful ignorance of the Runemother’s teachings.

The point of the story — what they miss — is that the blossoms are in no way superior to the mystery fae. The blossoms and the fae are both morally neutral; they do not judge one another any more than they judge Ab-Adduct. Ab-Adduct was destroyed by the Smelter of Souls not because he was too good or too evil, but because he was too distracted. His focus was imperfect, because he’d been distracted by the mystery fae. But the mystery fae weren’t sent by some vengeful parent-figure to punish him for his botany, they were merely doing that which is natural to mystery fae.

The parable is not an indictment of study and use of the Dark. If anything, it’s the opposite! Ab-Adduct’s loss comes from lack of understanding, not lack of moral fiber or innate weakness of will. Only by understanding may we triumph over death and oblivion, and it’s a poor craftsman who not only blames, but outright rejects his tools.

(From the Collected Lectures of the Viscount-Professor Lord Systematic Analysis of Flaws, published in the 1491st year of the Eternal City.)

“But Ab-Adduct did not understand. ‘I have stood on the threshold and I have passed into the light,’ he said, ‘and I refuse to surrender hard-won wisdom to the undeserving!’ For who beneath the Celestial Firmament is not undeserving?”

(Line from the parable of the Greenhouses of Ab-Adduct, and epigraph of On Dominance, by Ol-Rasta the Silver Marquise)

SEE ALSO the Apple-Yards of Rrerrshbarr, Jawbreaker the Green Knight, Nature-Magic


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