File: magic

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A Thaum is the basic unit of magical strength.  It has been universally
established as the amount of magic needed to create one small white pigeon
or three normal sized billiard balls.
		-- Terry Pratchett, "The Light Fantastic"
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"A wizard cannot do everything; a fact most magicians are reticent to admit,
let alone discuss with prospective clients.  Still, the fact remains that
there are certain objects, and people, that are, for one reason or another,
completely immune to any direct magical spell.  It is for this group of
beings that the magician learns the subtleties of using indirect spells.
It also does no harm, in dealing with these matters, to carry a large club
near your person at all times."
		-- The Teachings of Ebenezum, Volume VIII
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An ancient proverb summed it up: when a wizard is tired of looking for
broken glass in his dinner, it ran, he is tired of life.
		-- Terry Pratchett, "The Light Fantastic"
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Chaos is King and Magic is loose in the world.
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Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they become soggy and hard to
light.
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Do not throw cigarette butts in the urinal, for they are subtle and
quick to anger.
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"Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for you are crunchy and good
with ketchup."
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Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
		-- Aleister Crowley
%
Eight was also the Number of Bel-Shamharoth, which was why a sensible wizard
would never mention the number if he could avoid it.  Or you'll be eight
alive, apprentices were jocularly warned.  Bel-Shamharoth was especially
attracted to dabblers in magic who, by being as it were beachcombers on the
shores of the unnatural, were already half-enmeshed in his nets.
Rincewind's room number in his hall of residence had been 7a.  He hadn't
been surprised.
		-- Terry Pratchett, "The Sending of Eight"
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"How do you know she is a unicorn?" Molly demanded.  "And why were you afraid
to let her touch you?  I saw you.  You were afraid of her."
	"I doubt that I will feel like talking for very long," the cat
replied without rancor.  "I would not waste time in foolishness if I were
you.  As to your first question, no cat out of its first fur can ever be
deceived by appearances.  Unlike human beings, who enjoy them.  As for your
second question --"  Here he faltered, and suddenly became very interested
in washing; nor would he speak until he had licked himself fluffy and then
licked himself smooth again.  Even then he would not look at Molly, but
examined his claws.
	"If she had touched me," he said very softly, "I would have been
hers and not my own, not ever again."
		-- Peter S. Beagle, "The Last Unicorn"
%
It is a well known fact that warriors and wizards do not get along, because
one side considers the other side to be a collection of bloodthirsty idiots
who can't walk and think at the same time, while the other side is naturally
suspicious of a body of men who mumble a lot and wear long dresses.  Oh, say
the wizards, if we're going to be like that, then, what about all those
studded collars and oiled muscles down at the Young Men's Pagan Association?
To which the heroes reply, that's a pretty good allegation from a bunch of
wimpsoes who won't go near a woman on account, can you believe it, of their
mystical power being sort of drained out.  Right, say the wizards, that just
about does it, you and your leather posing pouches.  Oh yeah, say the the
heroes, why don't you ...
		-- Terry Pratchett, "The Light Fantastic"
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It is well known that *things* from undesirable universes are always seeking
an entrance into this one, which is the psychic equivalent of handy for the
buses and closer to the shops.
		-- Terry Pratchett, "The Light Fantastic"
%
	It seems there's this magician working one of the luxury cruise ships
for a few years.  He doesn't have to change his routines much as the audiences
change over fairly often, and he's got a good life.   The only problem is the
ship's parrot, who perches in the hall and watches him night after night, year
after year.  Finally, the parrot figures out how almost every trick works and
starts giving it away for the audience.  For example, when the magician makes
a bouquet of flowers disappear, the parrot squawks "Behind his back!  Behind
his back!"  Well, the magician is really annoyed at this, but there's not much
he can do about it as the parrot is a ship's mascot and very popular with the
passengers.
	One night, the ship strikes some floating debris, and sinks without
a trace.  Almost everyone aboard was lost, except for the magician and the
parrot.  For three days and nights they just drift, with the magician clinging
to one end of a piece of driftwood and the parrot perched on the other end.
As the sun rises on the morning of the fourth day, the parrot walks over to
the magician's end of the log.  With obvious disgust in his voice, he snaps
"OK, you win, I give up.  Where did you hide the ship?"
%
Knowledge is power -- knowledge shared is power lost.
		-- Aleister Crowley
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Magic is always the best solution -- especially reliable magic.
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No matter how subtle the wizard, a knife in the shoulder blades will seriously
cramp his style.
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Rincewind had generally been considered by his tutors to be a natural wizard
in the same way that fish are natural mountaineers.  He probably would have
been thrown out of Unseen University anyway--he couldn't remember spells and
smoking made him feel ill.
		-- Terry Pratchett, "The Light Fantastic"
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Somewhere, just out of sight, the unicorns are gathering.
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The default Magic Word, "Abracadabra", actually is a corruption of the
Hebrew phrase "ha-Bracha dab'ra" which means "pronounce the blessing".
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"The first rule of magic is simple.  Don't waste your time waving your
hands and hoping when a rock or a club will do."
		-- McCloctnik the Lucid
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	The seven eyes of Ningauble the Wizard floated back to his hood as he
reported to Fafhrd: "I have seen much, yet cannot explain all.  The Gray
Mouser is exactly twenty-five feet below the deepest cellar in the palace
of Gilpkerio Kistomerces.  Even though twenty-four parts in twenty-five of
him are dead, he is alive.
	"Now about Lankhmar.  She's been invaded, her walls breached
everywhere and desperate fighting is going on in the streets, by a fierce
host which out-numbers Lankhamar's inhabitants by fifty to one -- and
equipped with all modern weapons.  Yet you can save the city."
	"How?" demanded Fafhrd.
	Ningauble shrugged.  "You're a hero.  You should know."
		-- Fritz Leiber, "The Swords of Lankhmar"
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	"Then what is magic for?" Prince Lir demanded wildly.  "What use is
wizardry if it cannot save a unicorn?"  He gripped the magician's shoulder
hard, to keep from falling.
	Schmendrick did not turn his head.  With a touch of sad mockery in
his voice, he said, "That's what heroes are for."
...
	"Yes, of course," he [Prince Lir] said.  "That is exactly what heroes
are for.  Wizards make no difference, so they say that nothing does, but
heroes are meant to die for unicorns."
		-- Peter Beagle, "The Last Unicorn"
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There are those who claim that magic is like the tide; that it swells and
fades over the surface of the earth, collecting in concentrated pools here
and there, almost disappearing from other spots, leaving them parched for
wonder.  There are also those who believe that if you stick your fingers up
your nose and blow, it will increase your intelligence.
		-- The Teachings of Ebenezum, Volume VII
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Unseen University had never admitted women, muttering something about
problems with the plumbing, but the real reason was an unspoken dread that
if women were allowed to mess around with magic they would probably be
embarrassingly good at it ...
		-- Terry Pratchett, "The Light Fantastic"
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Using words to describe magic is like using a screwdriver to cut roast beef.
		-- Tom Robbins
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	"Verily and forsooth," replied Goodgulf darkly.  "In the past year
strange and fearful wonders I have seen.  Fields sown with barley reap
crabgrass and fungus, and even small gardens reject their artichoke hearts.
There has been a hot day in December and a blue moon.  Calendars are made with
a month of Sundays and a blue-ribbon Holstein bore alive two insurance
salesmen.  The earth splits and the entrails of a goat were found tied in
square knots.  The face of the sun blackens and the skies have rained down
soggy potato chips."
	"But what do all these things mean?" gasped Frito.
	"Beats me," said Goodgulf with a shrug, "but I thought it made good
copy."
		-- Harvard Lampoon, "Bored of the Rings"
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Watch Rincewind.

Look at him.  Scrawny, like most wizards, and clad in a dark red robe on
which a few mystic sigils were embroidered in tarnished sequins. Some might
have taken him for a mere apprentice enchanter who had run away from his
master out of defiance, boredom, fear and a lingering taste for
heterosexuality.  Yet around his neck was a chain bearing the bronze octagon
that marked him as an alumnus of Unseen University, the high school of magic
whose time-and-space transcendent campus is never precisely Here or There.
Graduates were usually destined for mageship at least, but Rincewind--after
an unfortunate event--had left knowing only one spell and made a living of
sorts around the town by capitalizing on an innate gift for languages.  He
avoided work as a rule, but had a quickness of wit that put his
acquaintances in mind of a bright rodent.
		-- Terry Pratchett, "The Colour of Magic"
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What is a magician but a practising theorist?
		-- Obi-Wan Kenobi
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What use is magic if it can't save a unicorn?
		-- Peter S. Beagle, "The Last Unicorn"
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When I say the magic word to all these people, they will vanish forever.
I will then say the magic words to you, and you, too, will vanish -- never
to be seen again.
		-- Kurt Vonnegut Jr., "Between Time and Timbuktu"
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