The facts of it are simple enough. New Jersey-born, Montana-blooded, Colorado-raised. Three sisters. Blue-eyed, brown hair, organ donor. Middling height but broad, and prone to moods of stentorian opinion.

But these are facts, and no one has any use for facts—save for journalists, whose minds are clicking iron typewriters, and who have forgotten that facts and truth are not the same. Facts are flat and static; there is no magic in them, no mystery. Those who claim facts to be unalterable, unassailable truth have forgotten the shape of the world. Legends are truth, only held beneath a different lamp.

This is his story, and it is true.

He was born as summer crawled to its grave. He came at dawn, in a miry and cloud-cloaked place, given to a woman of music and a man of silence. That day, like the boy it brought, was unremarkable. No stars marked his arrival. No great leaders died, nor did any man set foot on other worlds. That day went unnoticed in history.

The boy grew up silent and cautious. He did not thirst for adventure, did not break things he touched, did not yell or cry or cause panic, for he had no taste for chaos. What he ached for was not adventure, but magic.

He had known from the first breath that it existed, and knew it was his birthright. He had glimpsed the edges of the world, and had knowledge of the three shades of magic: that which is sung, that which is spoken into silence, and that which is caged in pages, held by chains of ink.

His mother was of the magic that is sung; his father of that which burgeons in silence. But he sought the last secret: the mystery of written things. 

In his sixth year, he learned to shape the words, with ink and stone and wood for tools, and began to study the mysteries. For many years, they were all he saw. He knew the coarse texture of paper, the curlicues of ink.

But he was a faithless student, and though he courted written words, he flirted with other forms. Music, the magic that flows and flowers, came first, finding its home in his fingers and his voice, and he learned through theft and audacity the art that brings souls together. It seduced him away from the written magic, and for a time it was all he knew.

(Oh, he played at his heart’s studies for a time, but he had forgotten his purpose.)

Enticed away by music, he delved next into his father’s gift of the perfectly spoken word. He never mastered it but once, when he stood before a multitude and spun their golden silence into silver words, and tuned their minds to his.

Now he seeks his first and final mystery: the tangled, murky enchantments of written words.
That is the story, and it is truth—for truth and facts are cousins. Legends are true, too. 


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