In the first Wizard’s Wit and Wisdom column, The Rule of Three was discussed. To review, the Rule of Three states that magic folk should have:
One to bear;
One to spare;
One to share.
Sharing is the “free-giving” (no stated or hidden financial or other “strings” attached) of objects or magic powers to others. For example, one might “back-up” with one’s CHI (power) another wizard’s magical work that demands a large amount of energy/power (or, it is dangerous, etc.). The magical being who shares to help another does not normally demand formal payment. In fact, and this occurs quite often in modern magical times, smaller favors are taken for granted and soon forgotten after a polite “thank you”! De nada, de rien, no problem, etc.
However, this is not so in Deep Magic. The practitioners of Deep Magic commit themselves to the ancient Rule of Reciprocity, which holds fast for all sharing acts or gifts—small or large. Essentially, the rule states that whatever object or power/energy is “accepted” must be “repaid”—either in the same manner and amount, or in a manner which equals the value of the given object or the amount of energy expended. Even should the sharer or donor desire to “release” the recipient from the debt created by the Rule of Reciprocity, the debt still stands as a “Debt of Honor.” The recipient will be obligated to repay it in some way equal to the value of the original sharing. Thus, if a bottle of water is shared, something equal to that bottle of water (usually another one!) must be repaid at some point because in Deep Magic it is required to be paid and therefore it is assumed it will be repaid.
This is the “catch” to the Rule of Reciprocity! The being who is owed the replacement of an object or of power also shoulders a responsibility. This involves helping the other wizard (who owes) find a way or opportunity to make the repayment in an HONORABLE fashion. Usually, such opportunities occur during the normal course of Life. If not, the sensitive magical being will try to tactfully create such an opportunity. One can imagine that if a large gift of power or extremely valuable object is given, that the “saved” wizard may feel overburdened with the weight of Reciprocity and wonder how to repay that gift. The giving wizard might request several smaller gifts or favors back, or ask that the repayment be held back until really needed (and the owing wizard has become stronger and better able to repay the debt). Obviously, larger debts of honor, such as repaying of a life saved, may have to be passed along for several generations before a naturally occurring opportunity arises which affords a chance of repayment! In this case, the families of both original magical beings are “bound” to each other in order to honor the Rule of reciprocity. Even should one or both of these beings die, the remaining members of the beings’ families would still owe the “debt of honor”
A magic being who does lots of “little” favors may find that the total reciprocity owed back creates a large amount of power owed in return! If the magical being’s life is calm and “normal” (however one would define that), then these favors may be paid back as the debtors find the abilities and times to do so. Still, if the magical being faces a dire problem or danger, then these debts of honor may be “called in” all at once in order to help solve the problem or overcome the danger. .
Reciprocity is one reason why some creatures and practitioners of Deep Magic tend to be a bit more solitary than modern magical beings. Many of them think that they can avoid creating debts of reciprocity by remaining isolated, reclusive, and not interactive with other magical beings. However, as we all know, the MOST powerful magic beings are those who do maintain loyal and active friendships, for this love of friends enriches and empowers them and creates bonds of respect and trust. These friends share magic and powerful objects all the time and are totally bound to each other through their generosity and honor. (In fact, close friends’ reciprocity “debts” usually balance out over time because of the constant “give and take.”)
Thus, what is known as the Golden Rule in non magical realms, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” exists in our magical realms as The Rule of Reciprocity. For every act of sharing (kindness), you may expect at least the same in return, and if it involves the Rule of Three, then threefold the gift will return to you! Perhaps, if all the world’s beings, magical and non magical, lived by either of these two rules, there would be neither violence nor other evil.
May the heavens always find you well! Prof. Opal Dragonfly