Part of a conversation between Torrullin and Lian in The Sleeper Sword:
“What is reality? The tangible, the controllable? Fate, death? The three dimensions your senses deal in? What, then, is a sunset? Nature’s spectacle, the reality of scientific factors colliding, yes, but what does it invoke in those who stop to experience? Do they merely accept the scientific reality or are they moved, awed, uplifted, romanced?
“Not one of the five senses there; no touch, no taste, no hearing, no smell, no sight – no sight, for even in blindness can it be, and cause emotion. That is magic. Why does a man stand in the first rains after a dry spell? Is he checking that it is real, is he giving thanks to his deity – which is magical also – or is he out there to glory in the wonder of the water that is life? He cries, he revels, he dances, he kneels. As long as there is emotion, there is magic, for neither emotion nor imagination belong to the world of three dimensions. Magic will not die while one sentient lives.”
“What you have described is natural …”
“Then all would experience it as part of genetic makeup. I have known men and women who have never looked at a sunset and not because they were unable to or there was no sun, but because they looked and did not see. They were unaffected. A sunset is natural, but how one reacts is the magic.”
“Granted, but it is natural magic, if you will. There is nothing supernatural in feeling uplifted after seeing something beautiful.”
“You become aware of your insignificance and you are aware what is happening around you is bigger than you, more powerful, it is beyond your ability to control, touch or change. It happens despite you. That is why you are moved, and say what you will, that is more magical than anything I can do.”
She did not answer.
Relentless, he continued. “Consider Breem, the linguist. He has never left the caverns and had never seen the view from the windows. If you were he, why do you have a likeness of a forest on your wall or a picture of an ocean from whence dolphins leap out into the sun? How do you know what it is and understand? Race memories? Perhaps, but is that not supernatural? All of it is bigger than you and is part of your soul and would be even in the darkest pit. It is inexplicable, complicated and magical.”
“I hear you and your words begin to change me. I am intrigued by your need to say it, however.”
He rested his forehead briefly upon his arms and drew breath. “I see the magic even in my sleep. It will not die and therefore some of us have reached for rebirth. A magic that gifts us the magic longer. Unfortunately the pain and loss eventually overcomes the selfishness, but that too I consider part of the magic. In all things there is two, equal and opposite. Thus, we reach for death, the final magic where loss and love go hand in hand, and in that understanding comes peace. I have died, and now I can no longer do so. Magic and magic. And nobody knows how fantastical that is.”
She moved on. “Looking at that painting I can feel the cool, the slight breeze, and I can hear the birds, the rustling in the undergrowth. God, I miss it!”
He rose and fetched his pack. He withdrew a slim book. Handing it to her, he said, “My son put this in. It is my favourite book; I want you to have it.”
Surprised, she opened the unassuming volume and read a while, and lifted a smiling face. “Poetry.”
“Descriptions of the imagination, about my world, its people and places. If you cannot come with me, then allow your imagination to take you there – the magic is in words also.”
She closed her eyes and clasped the book to her. “Thank you.”