Perhaps survival is my punishment. When I set out to destroy Cepheus and his Terrgat, I expected to die as well. Somehow, I was spared. And now I must live with the fact that I devastated an entire city, an entire corner of the world.
The rune Sowelu, wholeness, stares up at me from my casting. I had to face what I had done. Own it as part of myself. Only then could I be reconciled with myself. Only then could I be whole. But how to do that?
Everyone seemed to know that a mage – or, on some tellings, dozens of mages – had wreaked such terrible destruction. I even heard my name whispered now and again. Rather than save my comrades, I have confirmed all the suspicions planted by the king and his soldiers. Mages were hated, and the Terrgat had the support of the people, more than ever. They should have been finished, but those away from the capital now had the people’s sympathies.
All of this because of me. And that accounting does not include the loss of life that I brought about with the ritual. Was it grief that drove me? Or vengeance? Or maybe merely an overconfidence in my own ability to control and predict the forces I unleashed?
The temptation to wallow in my failure, even to swear off using magic ever again is great. Though it would undo nothing, my conscience might be eased by such an empty gesture. Sowelu warns against that course, however.
I am a mage. Denying magic would mean denying part of myself. Preventing wholeness. Magic is but a tool, and one I have used carelessly. But giving up the tool solves nothing. Being more thoughtful on how the tool is used is what is called for here.
I cannot save this world from itself. I know that now. But I am not helpless, and my survival has made it clear that I am not done here. I may need to learn how to live with myself, but I gain nothing from denying who I am. I am a mage. Now I need to find out what that might mean in this new situation I have brought about.