Magnisi: The Nightengale Club and Fantasma

My favorite place to enjoy an evening when I visit Magnisi is a small night club in Columbia.  The food is good, the dancing is fun, and the music is beautiful.  Most nights, Fantasma comes out to sing a few songs with the band around 7:00 pm.  She sings a mixture of swing and blues, but she does more than just sing.  She has the ability to bring the songs to life, as if the story were happening to you at that moment.  I’ve tried to get recordings of her songs, but they never live up to her performances.  In fact, on tape she sounds average at best.  This leads me to believe that she might be one of Magnisi’s few remaining mages.

Fantasma does not talk much after her songs.  She will often linger in the club either acting like a hostess for the manager when he has special guests or drinking at the bar, but she does not interact with anyone whom the manager has not introduced her to.  Amazingly few people even try to talk to her, especially considering that she is pretty on top of singing well.  On the nights when I have observed her after her show, she and the crowd seem perfectly happy ignoring each other.  It is as though she turns invisible to those close to her.

My final hypothesis is that Fantasma is some form of telepath.  This could explain the projection of the songs and also her invisibility.

Fantasma’s drinking concerns me, however.  There are very few planets where magic and alcohol mix well.  In fact, on Chaldor it is illegal for mages to become drunk, or for telepaths to drink at all.  This is because natural magic users, such as mages, cannot control their powers when drunk, but neither can a natural user stop using the powers.  I compare it with drunk driving: a wizard or technomage can choose whether or not they want to drive (or cast spells) when drinking, but a mage is always driving, so to speak.

It is possible that Fantasma does not realize what she is, or how dangerous drinking is for her.  After all, the majority of Magnisi’s mages are unaware of their powers.  One of the effects that alcohol can have on a telepath is a muffling of the voices that she hears in her head.  Because of this, many telepaths are prone to becoming alcoholics if left unchecked.  I have tried to warn her, but whenever I get close she disappears.  My mind shield is apparently no more useful against her than the rest of the crowd’s.  This is promising because it means that she may be controlling how much she drinks so that she can remain invisible.  Then again it could mean that invisibility is her natural state of mind.

In my talks with the locals, I have found surprisingly little information about her, considering that she lives in a small town, and in all worlds small towns are infamous for their gossip.  They know that she and her father always kept to themselves, and that after her father’s death (9 years ago), she has been living completely alone.  She used to sing on the corner for passing tourists until the Nightingale’s manager found her and hired her.  Now she is very rarely seen outside of the club.  Some of the locals say that her spirit died with her father and she is now little more than a ghost herself.  This is where the name Fantasma came from.  They have forgotten what she was called before.

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Magnisi: Parallel World, M Class

I came across Magnisi about a year ago during my tour of the parallels. It is a fascinating world. In some aspects, it seems almost identical to ours. For example, many of its monarchies have been replaced with some degree of democracy, monopolies are often called evil, and its children uniformly dislike leeks.

Magnisi is an M class parallel, but it was very nearly reduced to an N class between the 12th and 18th centuries. Nearly all its history before this time has been lost, but it is known that mages ruled or strongly influenced 9 out of 10 countries. In 1132, the Just Reaper plague appeared (so called by the Norm brotherhood, which appeared soon after). The Just Reaper had a 99% fatality rate. No mage that caught it survived. Even the healers, who had never before been affected by disease or illness, were wiped out. In fact, their power seemed to accelerate, not hinder, the plague. The non-magical people, however, were completely immune. The mage population was nearly eradicated over the next 20 years. Only isolated tribes and hermits survived.

The Norm brotherhood began hunting the remaining mages around 1150, claiming that the plague had been a judgment from god, and it was now their turn to finish the job. The Norm continued their hunt until the late 1700’s. By that time, most people believed magic to be merely a superstition—in part because the mages’ numbers had fallen so low and because of the great number of charlatans claiming to have magic, but also because the Norms had been destroying all historical references to the true mages. Witch hunts became a  means to get rid of rivals, and the brotherhood began to fall apart as its purpose was forgotten.

Now, in the early 21st century, the mage population is finally starting to recover. Many of its number are untrained. In fact, many mages are unaware of their own powers. The few mages who know what happened tend to be unwilling to reveal themselves for fear that history will repeat.