Dawn Harshaw / Dream Magic: Awakenings / Chapter 11 - Portal Magic

Chapter 11 - Portal Magic


The holographic principle states that any number of dimensions equals any number of dimensions. When the local supersymmetry breaks in order to accommodate awareness, dimensional collapse occurs.

1D to 0D is a distinguishable point. 2D to 0D is a circle or torus, and 2D to 1D is a line or polarity field. 3D to 0D is a black hole, 3D to 1D is a field along a line, and 3D to 2D is a field along a plane. For an extensive list of meta-geometrical shapes resolving in various observed dimensions, as well as related fractal imagery, consult a reality-weaver.

- Zeno Walks Funny: The Holographic Principle and the Folding Equations, Dreamer's Handbook

"When forming a portal, you have to prop it up from within to create a contained collapse and not a total breakdown. You know that," Master Joe said.

"I wasn't trying to make a portal..." Annie's tone was low and her body tense.

"Oh? What were you doing then?"

"Trying to make the heaviest sphere I could."

Master Joe laughed. "Isn't that something!"

"Raw talent is worthless if your knowledge of theory is lacking," Mr. Smith remarked.

Annie clenched her lips and bowed her head. A tear escaped her eye.

"There, there," Master Joe raised a hand to Annie's face. "He meant to say you have more potential than you give yourself credit for. You could pack this whole realm into a sphere and you still wouldn't reach your limit."

Annie was crying. "No, it's true... I have less brain than talent," she sobbed, and grasped Master Joe's hand.

Master Joe embraced her in a hug. "You have skill and you have brains too. Talent is just a useless word," he consoled. "No harm's done. Johnny and I will find out what went wrong, and until then, how about you familiarize the youngsters with portal magic? It's not every day they see something like this. Can you do that?"

Annie slowly nodded and reinforced it by saying "Yes." She stepped back, wiped her tears, and turned away to compose herself.

Eric, Rose and Lucy watched the adults' commotion silently. Before when Annie told them to run, they did, but they didn't get very far before Master Joe and Mr. Smith showed up. The strange, twisting and nauseating feeling vanished at once, and all was right with the world.

Except for the area with Annie's handiwork. Part of it dark, part of it light - a semi-translucent contortion of space was floating violently near the edge of the cliff. When he gazed long enough, Eric thought he could see geometrical shapes within, but every subsequent moment the twisting void would change into something else that defied not only Eric's description of it, but also his comprehension.

Annie walked back to them, her face showing masked evidence of crying and a forced smile. "I messed that up, didn't I? I guess I'm not the one who should be chastising others for being irresponsible." She shook her head and facepalmed.

Eric chose to interpret the question as rhetorical, and remained silent. He did feel a tinge of guilt, since he was the one who asked Annie to push it further, but he wasn't going to beat himself up about it.

Rose and Lucy did not seem too phased either. They were still breathing heavily as an aftermath of their minds switching suddenly in and out of survival mode, but they were just startled rather than afraid.

"Anyway... portal magic has all these theories and interpretations that you have to study if you want to make a portal. Personally, I find teleportation much easier, but if you want to teleport a lot of people, especially back and forth across different realms, making a portal is the way to go. I studied a few theories that work with the air element, but obviously you can make a portal through the earth element as well if you're not careful..." Annie frowned and pointed to the mysterious space-bending thing. "Live and learn."

"Here's how I understood the basics... Imagine a circle, just floating around in the middle of nothingness. Look at it, and then zoom out more and more, until you get bored: the view from this perspective is called a 'point'. Now pick another circle, and look at the circumference of the circle. Zoom in, more and more, until you get bored. What you see is called a 'line'. Now, pick a point and throw a bunch of lines at it. Depending on how many lines you threw together, what you get is that-many-dimensional space. Easy, right?"

"I don't get it."

Annie sighed. "It's like nothing is really nothing, right? Even the nothing is a sandwich of perspectives, a bunch of circles stitched together, moving and waving and looking. When you make a portal, you're just magnifying a connection that's already there, and you make it stable so you don't really have to work at that level anymore."

"That sounds really strange."

"Yeah, I know. That's why symbol-weavers make all these metaphysical theories; to make it less strange for portal mages to work with. I don't know how else to explain..." Annie's face brightened. "We have a master symbol-weaver right here, we'll ask him."

Annie stepped towards Mr. Smith with a raised hand and about to ask a question, but he and Master Joe were engaged in a discussion. She waited for a more opportune spot to interrupt.

"...should we just draw the shaman in and teach him a lesson?"

"I like the way you think, but he's not alone anymore. Skillful little booger, tunneling below the fluctuations of the realm and hijacking the anomaly... We could be wasting a valuable opportunity."

Mr. Smith stood silent for a few moments. "A show of force, then?"

"That's more like it! We could..." Master Joe noticed Annie standing there awkwardly. "Yes?"

"I was hoping Mr. Smith could shed some light on the connection between portal magic and symbol-weaving. I'm afraid I'm just confusing the kids."

Master Joe waved down Mr. Smith before he could reply. "I'll go, keep an eye here and we'll compare plans after."

Annie walked back to the kids with Master Joe.

"Portal magic is an advanced subject; it can make you crazy if you try too hard to understand it," Master Joe said. "How about a joke instead? It goes like this..."

* * *

A mathematician goes for a walk, carves the formula "v = s / t" onto the trunk of a tree, and walks on by.

Later on, a physicist walks by the same tree, notices the carving, and says to himself: "Velocity equals distance per time, what a practical equation! If I measure two of the variables, I can calculate the third for free!" He walks away.

A generalist mage walks by the tree, notices the carving, and says to himself: "Imagination equals space per time, what a useful operational precept! By centering myself, my imagination can move the world!" He walks away.

A portal mage, who hopes to be a reality-weaver one day, walks by the tree, notices the carving, and says to himself: "Awareness is supersymmetry per broken symmetry, what a deep realization! Thanks to it, I can spread my identity across multiple realities and enact portals." He walks away.

A zen practitioner walks by the tree and notices the carving. He shakes his fist, and speaks out loudly: "It's that vandal mathematician again!"

* * *

Master Joe was slapping his knees and laughing so hard he was almost rolling on the ground. Annie stood there awkwardly with a polite smile on her face. Was that supposed to be a joke? I bet the old guy's just trolling us.

Lucy was lost in her thoughts, but Rose seemed amused. Master Joe's enjoyment was genuine, and his odd behavior prompted Eric to start laughing too. The old guy is hilarious even if his joke sucks. Laughter infected Rose, then Lucy and Annie as well.

"Funny, right?" Master Joe was obviously proud of the joke and its successful telling. He was rewarded by reluctant nods and smiling faces.

"Would you care to explain the meaning of this story?" Lucy asked.

Master Joe shook his head and waved dismissively. "Jokes don't have to make sense to be funny. Portal magic is an advanced subject anyway; you kids should just focus on having fun." He pointed to Annie. "You, however, should look into the higher order analogues of equations, especially the earth related ones. You could start with Einstein's famous 'E = mc²'."

"Why that one?" Annie asked, but she didn't receive an answer and started mumbling to herself. "Hmm... square of c... solving for m... folding by fixed measure... Oh, so that's what I did! That's what they mean by making a portal through the earth element!"

"Indeed," Joe confirmed. "As they say, one stone in the hand is worth two in the bush. Still, you're approximating circles with squares, so remember to normalize your equations to keep errors from popping up in the wrong places."

Eric very much doubted that was a real saying.

In the real world, when adults talked about things he didn't understand or care about, Eric would just let it pass over. They talk about stupid things, anyway. Here, it was a little different for him: like the persons talking carried a torch through his mind, enlightening it. Eric would see little images of ideas, and the things they talked about made some sense to him while they were talking. After the torch disappeared into the darkness, things were back to not making sense.

It wasn't that ideas ran away from him, but more like he somehow failed to catch them with the framework of his understanding. Like the scent of a flower you smell for a moment, and then it's gone. He found the experience interesting.

"Come, I'll show you," Master Joe said to Annie, gesturing as the two of them walked towards the anomaly. "You see that part there? The rippling hasn't steadied yet. That direction has to be magnified and stabilized for the portal to be functional, and after..."

Chapter 10 - Earth Attunement   Dream Magic   Chapter 12 - Focus Magic


Dawn Harshaw / Dream Magic: Awakenings / Chapter 11 - Portal Magic