"This is where the magic happens." Starr gestured into the room.

I looked in. There were no windows. Just a few lamps scattered around various parts of the room.

"It doesn't look as impressive as I imagined," I remarked.

"It's really not what's inside that counts," said Starr. "It's what comes out."

I went inside and started examining it, but the room was so dark that I had to pick up one of the lamps to see all its details clearly. Not many artifacts of Lin were still known to exist, and this was the largest one.

This was where she supposedly made some of the greatest plans and decisions for our world. In the beginning, it was just a normal table, but through extensive use by Lin and her assistants, the spells they wrote down slowly began to imprint into its surface. In time, her table began to take on magical properties. And that was before she and her successors began to actively etch their enchantments into it.

Now it was the seat of power in Starr's realm. Discussions here were reserved for the most important of issues, lest the magic remaining in the table be wasted on frivolous pursuits. The wood in the table would have long deteriorated, were it not for the spells and enchantments carved in ancient lettering into it.

Legends of Lin were so far in the past that they now bordered on myth, but the stories say she was one of the first known magicians in recorded history. Some stories said she was born without the ability to move. A child like that would have usually been left on the hillside in those days, left to die of exposure. But her family refused to let her go, and made enough sacrifices of time and ingenuity, managing to keep her alive long after other families would have given up.

They say everything we do has an effect on the world. Lin only had use of her mind and little else. But through some secret known only to her, she eventually learned to affect the world around her using only her thoughts. That was how magic came into her world. Or so the stories say.

She learned to use the magic to heal herself, and in time gained full mobility. By then her power was already amazing to behold, even without movement. It is said she resorted to words and gestures in her magic only to make her thoughts reach the world in more immediate fashion, but even if bound and gagged, her thoughts could not be stopped. Merely inconvenienced.

Not that it was likely for her to be captured in any way at that point. She had already taught her spells to so many of her assistants, and together they had already surrounded themselves with so many enchantments, that it was essentially impossible to approach them without being ensnared in at least one of the charms cast by her assistants.

Some have claimed that she was the inventor of the alphabet we use today, just to have a way to write down her spells in order to teach her assistants to cast them. Many of the most powerful ones were etched into the table, as a reminder of the many weapons available to them, if ever they should feel helpless.

Lin eventually disappeared from our world. The legends differ as to how and why she's gone, but no one as original as her has appeared since. Today we only make copies of what she's done, and attempt to refine and extract the core essences of her enchantments, rather than come up with our own. Some more desperate successors in history have even chipped away parts of the table, in order to use the physical etchings to conjure and invoke the full spells in their original intensity.

Long after she disappeared, a backlash eventually formed. Her legacy was considered too powerful, too dangerous. By one method or another, sometimes even making use of her own spells, her opponents began to develop counter-enchantments. They spread throughout the realms, planting counter-enchantments wherever they could, in order to limit outbreaks of her magic. Eventually books filled with counterspells were spread to schools far and wide, to teach even children how to dismantle her magic.

Slowly Lin's magic began to drain from our world. But her original followers didn't go down easily. Though many of her original signs and incantations no longer had the same effect, her followers were able to modify some of the surface manifestations of the spellcasting, in order to find ways around the counter-enchantments already in place, and the counterspells already widely known.

It turned into a cat and mouse game. For each new modification by her followers, her opponents would start investigating methods to counter them. As a result, magic had to go underground, to only be used in dire situations because the more often it was seen, the more likely her opponents would develop ways to neutralize it.

Most of the original spells carved on her table were now considered quaint and useless. However they were still used to form the core of new spells and enchantments being developed by Starr and his colleagues.

This was the first time I had ever come into contact with one of Lin's artifacts. Legends point to many more, perhaps some still jealously guarded by others, for fear their magic would be nullified before they could be used. We simply didn't know what else was out there, but we had our own piece of history.

It was almost enough just sitting around something that had changed so much of our past, discussing things that suddenly took on new significance simply because of where we were. Perhaps for that reason, Starr didn't want me to stay inside for too long. They had their own futures to protect, and couldn't risk it on the passing fancy of a temporary visitor.

"I'll invite you back when we have more important things to discuss," he said.

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