Why I Include
In my Fantasy
In the first post of Why I Include Magic in my Fantasy, I mentioned that I do not personally care to use the term “witch” for anything other than evil. The reason for this is that true witchcraft, as defined by the Bible, is part of idolatrous demonic worship. A wizard is also associated in the Bible with idolatry, so you might be wondering after Part 2 about Jabal the wizard. Who is he, and why did I choose to call him a wizard?
This is my third post describing the three types of magic I include in my book, Hidden Knight: A Novel of a Bear. There is supernatural magic, both good and evil. All magic in the world of Altremon descends from the supernatural. Evil supernatural magic is a distortion and twisting of the good. In my novel, Zhi seeks to consume the magic of Altremon, using for evil what the Ancient of Days created for good. Nature magic, which is instinctually used by the wolves, is also sourced from the supernatural. Without the supernatural, the natural would not exist. The final magic found in my book is the scientific magic. Science is the study of the natural. The scientific magic uses nature, but differs from nature magic in that it is not intrinsic to nature, and may even go against what is natural.
Like all the other magics, the scientific magic can be used for good or evil. Ethical concerns and unforeseen consequences surrounding its use is a common concern on Altremon, just as certain scientific advancements have been on Earth. It is natural for us to study our world and use the gifts God has given us, but there are those that seek to destroy or twist the things God intended to be used for good. We usually think of witchcraft as being all about spells, incantations, or summoning demonic spirits, but the Bible says “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” (I Samuel 15:23). When we rebel against God’s purposes, we are committing a type of “witchcraft” or at least a sin like unto it. I read not long ago about those creating human-animal hybrid embryos. I believe that it is not inaccurate to call this type of scientific experimentation “witchcraft” as it is in rebellion against God’s natural plan for humankind. Even those that don’t believe in God have questioned the ethics of these types of experimentations.
We live in a time where, in a sense, science is worshipped. One of the worse insults it seems in this modern day is to call someone a “science denier.” We are frequently admonished to “trust science.” This all sounds good until we consider that our understanding of the world is ever changing. Science is never truly “settled” because science relies on experimentation, observation, and subjective interpretation by fallible humans. All we have to do to see the changing nature of science is to take a look at history and some of the prevalent scientific beliefs of the past that are no longer considered accurate today. No doubt in the future, things we take as fact today may one day be proven false. This is the course of science, and those that say we must “trust science” without question are asking us to have “faith” in something that may or may not be accurate and that puts it in the realm of religion. The Bible warns us of this error. Our only sure foundation for faith is in God’s word:
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.—1 Timothy 6:20-21
The Ancient Sciences
The wolves live in harmony with nature and have the ability to control the winds with their howls or blend into their surroundings. It comes as naturally to them as bird learning to fly. Scientific magic manipulates nature and must be studied. Humans on Altremon refer to it as the “ancient sciences” while the Berardians (i.e. bearfolk) just call it “magic.” So is it magic, or is it science? That all depends on who you ask.
“It is forbidden!” The general slammed his mug on the rough wooden table. His dark eyes briefly glinted green in the fire’s dim light.
“The ancient sciences were forbidden to protect this world,” the duke said impatiently. “Now the danger is greater if we do not use them.”
“Magic!” General Argo spat out the word as if it poisoned his tongue.
“What your people call ‘magic’ is only the ancient science all but forgotten.”
“Call it what you will, but it’s your people’s ‘science’ that brought evil into the world. I don’t trust it, and neither do I trust a man that hides in the lair of a giant, so he can illegally practice his wizardry.”
A later conversation:
Sliding down the tree, Chloe met the wizard at the bottom.
“What was in that wagon?”
“Explosives,” Jabal said, “But enhanced by me, of course.”
Chloe viewed the strange blue flame surrounding them. A Berardian on their side tried to retreat through it, only to instantly be consumed. Now Chloe knew why the army of bearfolk kept their distance. “Is it…magic?”
“Magic, science. On Altremon the line is blurred, and Berardians fear both.”
On Altremon, the world of my novel, the humans that live there originated from Earth. A small group of persecuted people on Earth discovered a way to create a portal. They fled to Altremon trying to escape evil but unknowingly brought it with them. Indeed, Zhi chased them there to gain access to Altremon.
They came seeking a new home led by the Great Wizard, Enosh. But they brought with them an ancient evil.
~Excerpt from the Histories
For this reason, the Berardians view the humans’ “magic” as evil and banned the study of the “ancient sciences” to protect their world from the possibility of another portal being opened.
“How are there humans, or Enoshites, whatever you call yourselves, in this universe?”
“That’s a long and somewhat shrouded history, but in short we came to Altremon sometime over a thousand years ago through a similar use of the ancient sciences. Part of our agreement with the Berardians was the banning of all such practices.”
“If it was banned, then how did you get to Earth with Kelem and Beau?”
“I broke the law,” Abel stated flatly.
The Berardians, though intelligent, are not curious by nature and enjoy a simplistic life. They came to adapt some of the ways of the humans who lived among them, but they avoid anything they don’t understand. They distrust the wolves and their magic because some of the sided with serpents and Zhi. They likewise distrust the humans’ sciences because Zhi exploited them.
Kelem looked up from the messy wooden table he had converted into a workbench. It was covered in wires, tools, and gadgets most of which Kelem had either made or had someone make for him. “Hey, Beau.”
“Thought I’d find you here,” Beau said. Kelem’s Glock sat atop a couple of large books on the table, and Beau wondered that Kelem kept it as it was useless without ammunition. “Trying to bring this archaic society up to twenty-first century Earth?”
“Hardly. But, think how useful radio transmission will be, particularly for the military.”
“You know what General Argo would say to all this.” Beau waved a paw. “Even if you could get it to work, he won’t have anything to do with ‘magic.’”
Jabal the wizard could perhaps be more accurately called a scientist or perhaps an old fashioned “wise man.” He’s a student of nature and of books. I don’t go much into his backstory in the novel, but it’s hinted that he’s been to Earth. I chose to call him a wizard because in the eyes of the Berardians, he is dabbling in magic. It also aligns more with what people would expect in a fantasy novel. It’s never quite clear whether he’s simply experimenting in science or with magic. What he does is not really explained because neither the humans of Altremon nor the Berardians have any clue, since “wizardry” was outlawed. Even Jabal’s understanding is limited. What did become clear to Jabal was that he made a serious mistake in his pursuit of knowledge.
“I created another portal, many years prior to the invasion, when I was experimenting with the ancient science,” Jabal said softly. “I believe, Zhi began to raise up his army at that time.”
A slow rage burned inside Kelem’s chest. “You—you triggered the invasion that killed my parents and left me exiled on Earth?” Kelem closed his hands into fists to keep them from trembling.
Jabal held Kelem’s gaze though his eyes held no challenge, only sorrow. “In my arrogance, I only studied the sciences. Like many, I believed Zhi was nothing more than a child’s fable. After the invasion, I began digging into the Prophecies and realized my mistake. Yet, that mistake may also be our redemption. The Prophecies foretold Another would follow through the portal to defeat Zhi.
Zhi is patient. He’s content to allow ancient sins and old grudges to tear the people of Altremon apart. Many humans fear the Berardians. The Berardians mistrust humans and hate the wolves. The wolves have withdrawn deep into the forest and refuse to have anything to do with Berardians and humans alike. Divided, they do Zhi’s work for him, and only united do they have any chance of defeating him. Unfortunately, the people of Altremon cannot see past their differences. Zhi gains strength and the young heirs to the kingdom are driven to Earth. And that is where the story begins.
I gave the bearfolk on Altremon the name Berardians because “Berard” means “bear.” The Berardians call the humans on Altremon “Enoshites” after their first leader, Enosh. I chose that name as a play on words because “Enosh” translates to “human.” So “Berardians” and “Enoshites” simply means “bears” and “humans.”