The Only Constant
Solanjey Agni ibn Yasmina
Sorcerer and agent of chaos.
It’s been said that if you can control your power, you don’t have enough of it.
I don’t know if that’s entirely true, but I do know this: chaos is power, and power is chaos, and if you want one, you have to have the other.
Me? I want lots and lots of both.
See, I’m a sorcerer. Magic’s not some wispy cloud or garbled word to me. It’s life, and life is ever changing. Sometimes it flows like a lazy stream, sometimes it rages like a stormy ocean, sometimes it’s cold and hard and sharp as a frozen lake. And one thing’s for sure – magic sure as hell isn’t what it used to be.
Oh, hello, Leeland. I didn’t see you sitting there. Am I getting ahead of myself? Start at the beginning, you say. Of course, oh wise one, you always know just how the stars smile.
All right. Here goes. My name is Solanjey Agni, but everyone mostly calls me Jey. I was born in Feronia, son of a brave and beautiful woman called Yasmina. She and the rest of her harem sisters raised me in secrecy. When my father, Odgan the Crimson (may his name erode like the desert sands, may everything he ever built crumble to dust, may he be forever NOTHING) finally learned that I existed and came to destroy me, my mothers helped me escape. He killed them all, of course. He burned them alive. He melted their flesh and scorched their bones…and they weren’t the only ones…brothers and sisters reduced to tiny trophies with hollow eye sockets, staring at me…waiting for vengeance…I tried to get to them, but the flames…
Yes, I know. Focus. Focus. Think in a line, not in a circle. Tell the story. Maybe I’ll just go with a short version. Short like a duck, or a dwarf.
I grew up, as children so often do, joined a caravan and found a family within the perfumed wagons of the Jhasin. It was a good life, but lacking in challenge. I wasn’t going to find a way to destroy my father by whoring, drinking, and playing games. So I found a group of adventurers, and I joined them on their travels.
That was fun. Adventuring, I mean. And my companions…well, for the most part, they never really took me very seriously. But it was good, nonetheless. Until I made a deal with a devil. That was not so good. And then I was marked by Baalzebul and sent to the maggot pits and almost turned into a slimy blobby devil thing. Also – not so good. But my companions saved me, or at least some of them did, and I managed to stay a not-devil, and they all decided that we should destroy my father because my hatred for him was causing me to make some questionable decisions. So we went to Feronia, which the maps said didn’t exist, but it totally did.
Yes, Leeland, your part’s coming up soon. I’ll tell it my own way, all right? If you’d be quiet, I could smell my thoughts better, and we’d all be in a pretty pickled beet right now. So shush.
Where was I? Oh yes. Feronia. Turns out that there was an ancient prophesy about me, and a group of scholars who had been awaiting my return for years! The prophesy told me that I was the Seed, and I would destroy the tree of death. Then I found my mother Karma and a special dagger, but before I could do anything about it, I turned to mummy dust and died. Luckily, my companions figured out how to bring me back, and it was a good thing, too, because Kelemvor’s city was grey and awful and boring. Except for the chain devil who tried to destroy me. But my mothers saved me again, only this time, they were in a wall.
Skip to the end. Karma betrayed us. She pretended to love me, but she hated me for what I was, and she hated my father for what he did, and she wanted us both to kill each other. My companions and I (and the water elemental who had grabbed onto my spirit in the afterlife, there you go, Leeland) faced Odgan in his palace, failed horrifically, and then returned to destroy him. I sacrificed my fire and instead absorbed Leeland’s powers…and so my father perished, encrusted in ice, still bellowing about how I was the same as him, how he would live on in me.
Except he wouldn’t. Because I’m no longer me. I killed the old Jey: he’s gone, and I’m just what’s left. I don’t mourn him – he probably deserved to die – but I do miss him sometimes. I miss red and fuschia and driving warmth, dark eyes looking back from the glass, melting snow and rising flames…
Is this making sense? It feels clear enough to me, but I’m not the best judge of clarity anymore. I know I’m not quite…together. Ever since I gave up my fire and killed my father, I can feel that my mind has changed. Something is broken in there, rattling around like pieces of a shattered mirror. The broken pieces reflect strange things sometimes, half-images and ragged edges of thoughts, things that aren’t really there and things that want to be. I hear bodiless people speaking about me, dissecting my past and my future, helping and chastising and nattering on about nothing at all. Sometimes they’re nice, and sometimes they’re mean. Mostly, they’re just there.
And when I reach out to the magic…when I touch the edge of that beautiful, roiling chaos and call it closer…things get even stranger. The magic moves through me…it sings deep inside me, vibrates and shivers, and there is no such thing as reality. There is only the power, and the power is me, and we are uncontrolled, we are rapturous, we are unbound and we are everywhere.
And then the enemies fall and the spells end, and I’m stuck. People talk to me, and I try to tell them what it feels like, but the words are all weird, all muddled, all perfect and complete and why can’t they understand something so pure and exquisite but they’re telling me to come back from it and I don’t want to but I have to, or I’ll be lost forever, won’t I?
And then I breathe. I focus. And things get clearer, at least for a while. I know that the voices will speak to me again soon, and Leeland will come back to tell me things I need to know, but for a moment, there’s a dull peace in my head. I honestly don’t know why I’m like this. Whether it’s the unbound state of magic, or too many trips across the veil of death, or just a glitch in my own unnatural being, I’m not sure I care. The world is different now than it ever was, but then again, so am I. I’ve already finished what I was born to do, so everything from here on out is just gravy atop the emeralds. Good on top of good, you know? And I may be the happiest I’ve ever been. It’s hard to tell, really, but even in my moments of starkest sanity, I tend to smile.
So I’ll start over. Commune with the chaos and gather more power. Listen to the voices but remember that they’re not in charge of me. Nurture freedom. Topple tyrants. Flatter lovely girls and wink at handsome boys. Live, messily and fully, and find happiness where I can. And when the chaos comes, when the magic takes me over and the hidden things show themselves to me, I’m not going to be afraid. Chaos is life. Magic is power.
And I? I want it all.