A word on Mages…

Witches get a lot of attention in Empty Spaces, but little notice is often paid to their magical counterparts: Mages. The Witch is symbolically connected to the High Priestess card in the traditional Major Arcana. Card II in most decks, it has symbolic connotations of dualities and superpositions, queering the betweens and collapsing the wavefunction with magic and grit.

The Mage, as the magical counterweight to the Witch, is represented by The Magician, the immediately preceding Major Arcana. Both figures are magically powerful, but the ways they understand and manipulate reality are subtly different.

Cunning, disguise, trickery, transformation, deception, magic. Is the Magician a guru or a hustler? You won’t find out until the wavefunction collapses in a few cards, but out here on the edges of reality, maybe it’s both, or neither, or maybe that’s just your perception.

Mages are a softer hand then Witches, preferring to occupy the side of the Unreal where truth and lies haplessly intermingle. A Witch carves her world into being, whereas a Mage…you aren’t sure if they ever do anything at all, and yet their world unfolds around them.

Was that a spell, or was it all a trick? Is there really a difference between aura reading and cold reading? The Mage doesn’t really care one way or the other, she’ll tell you whichever answer serves her best. Enlightened, or just telling herself that? You tell me.

Mages tend to form associations or federations or other such organizations, when everyone is playing ten levels of chess and a reality warper, you need some way to keep the world from ending in ten minutes. They tend to feud with Witches, who are more solitary.

The power of the Mage is to define and redefine your reality, her control is not direct or overt, the closest thing she gives to an order is a mildly bemused suggestion. She sets the rules and gets to play the game as the house, and in her game the house always wins.

How do you control an Angel whose purpose is as fixed as the firmament? Well who said the firmament was fixed anyway? How do you best a witch whose magic infests the very particles of reality? RIP to your particles I guess but I would simply be a wave instead.

Technical knowledge, mockery, arcane wisdom, grifting, social engineering, sleight of hand. There is an unexpressed duality here and Mages easily dance those betweens, skirting the line between Real and Unreal, as comfortable in The Backrooms as you are in your dollhole.

Did those seemingly random actions of hers really set off that Rube Goldbergesque chain of events or did you imagine it? What do you think she’d say if you asked, and would you believe either answer if she told it to you?

She won’t usually start a fight…usually…but she will pull out the wackiest contraption you’ve ever seen to end it. She typically tries to turn enemies into allies instead of fighting them directly for power, but she’s planned ten moves into your duel anyway.

She’s not fighting you but that doesn’t mean she’s not setting your downfall in motion and even if she’s not doing that she might still take credit for it after the fact. In a realm of half truths and half uncollapsed possibilities, all of those might be true at once.

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