Any sufficiently advanced system of magic would be indistinguishable from a technology.
Raymond's Second Law

Age of Magic

[The majority of the audience remain in a state of confusion and anguish, perhaps struggling to form a view on the proposition the young speaker is putting forward.]

"So what became this so-called science, this technology? I don't know: no clear records remain and even the most potent of the oracles have been persuaded to forget. But there are faint clues and subtle suggestions in the records that its disappearance was carefully arranged. Perhaps we will never know how."

[The declaration of ignorance seems to pacify some of the listeners, but the speaker senses that most are still waiting for the penny to drop.]

"But let us return to why? I have made two key observations: firstly, all knowledge of an ancient and capable 'Technology' has been carefully and deliberately suppressed from our memories and our libraries. And secondly, against all the odds, we - the human species - continue to persist, millennia after millennia, unchanging and unchanged. These observations are not unrelated, I contend, but are cause and effect."

[The majority of the audience are now paying close attention to the speaker, setting aside their scrolls and shambles.]

"The ignorance of what it is that permeates our lives is itself what gives our society its stability, its stasis in a galaxy full of change and chance, happenstance and historical accident. We have kept ourselves stupid, not noticeably smarter than those most distant ancestors, and have carefully not allowed ourselves to sense the true complexity, the unknowable mystery of the universe in which we live."

[The noise in the auditorium rises sharply as the import of the speaker's statements is understood.]

"We have returned to a new age of Unconsciousness, an age of planned, wilful ignorance, where what exists is what we believe to exist, what we want to exist, where the behaviour of the universe matches our instinctive, that is, our deepest unconscious expectations. Truly the universe is tailored to our requirements, our needs - because we have made it so, to our every perception and interaction. The Magical universe is made for humans to live in."

[The noise from the audience reaches a crescendo, debate and consternation and denial echoing around the room. The speaker waits patently for a minute, then gestures with his hands for silence. He is ignored. He raises his voice to a roar, aided by the magical amplification.]

"There is yet more!"

[The audience settles a little, the numerous heated debates continuing in lowered voices. The speaker continues in a more level tone.]

"I need to come to one last point. You will have noticed - perhaps even irritated - by the fact that I have been addressing you in an ancient spoken form this day. It is one I have studied, as part of my researches, but my usage has forced most of you - perhaps all of you - to engage translation glamours to comprehend my meaning."

[Those few members of the audience who are still paying close attention to the speaker appear confused by this direction. Most, however, continue to argue amongst themselves.]

“Maybe you considered it a mere idiosyncrasy, an affectation, a pose entirely for effect. Perhaps just so. But now I must hesitate, for there is another reason for this mode of address, an approach I believe was once know as Security through Obscurity. I suspect that there is still true knowledge somewhere, hidden deeper than I have managed to probe in the Oracles. So let us together discover what happens if I express my key thesis in a more common form."

[The speaker utters a series of phrases in a rolling, sonorous tongue, one which would have been entirely unintelligible to any listeners alive when English was spoken by more than a handful of scholars and historians. The speaker manages no more than a half-dozen phrases when the entire auditorium is suddenly engulfed in a fog which makes it impossible to see more then a few feet. The smoke deadens all sound and, as the speaker rapidly discovers, seems to nullify the effect of any glamour or hex he is able to conjure. He speaks aloud, even though he may be addressing only himself.]

"A confirmation, final proof of my hypothesis."

[As the smoke clears, the speaker finds himself alone in the room. No, not quite alone: a lone figure in a dark robe is still sitting apparently unperturbed in the centre of the auditorium, a figure which, now that the speaker's attention is drawn to him, appears to have been unreacting and motionless throughout the presentation. The lone figure speaks, using the same speech of rolling syllables, but his meaning is clear.]

Unfortunately, you are entirely correct in the conclusions of your thesis. Surely you must understand that this knowledge cannot become known outside the most closed of inner circles. So, what are we going to do with you now?

Part 4

...Then a Miracle Occurs Book Cover If you have enjoyed this story, then why not take a look at the others in this collection? An eclectic mixture of science fiction and mystery/ghost stories under the title ...Then a Miracle Occurs.

Four Square Less One Book Cover You may also enjoy my earlier collection of fifteen interlinked short stories under the title Four Square Less One. Can you work out the hidden connections between all of the stories?

New Bridge to Lyndesfarne Book Cover Bridge at War Book Cover Death on the New Bridge Book Cover Bridge of Stone and Magic Book Cover Why not take a look at my Lyndesfarne Bridge series of novels: New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Bridge at War, Death on the New Bridge and Bridge of Stone and Magic.

Findo Gask - Goblin Detective Book Cover I am now working on a new series of Private Eye fantasy novels. The first is called Findo Gask - Goblin Detective, featuring the eponymous Private Eye, Findo Gask himself.