My husband and I are fond observers of what we call “human magic.” These are social norms, governmental procedures, or pieces of etiquette that hang on because of circular logic: they work precisely because everyone agrees they work, and everyone supports them because that’s just how things are.
Formal or informal, they have their own specific symbols, words, and artifacts. Whether as involved as the rite of marriage or as mundane as “dinner before dessert,” there’s something uniquely human about these rituals and rules. Usually these wonders are defined in constitutions, county codes, or process manuals… but what if they were actually magic? Reimagine the most boring aspects of our adult lives as powerful artifacts that bewitch and beguile, entrancing our daily humdrum.
Any sorcerer worth their salt knows how easy it is to leave the kingdom. Whether on the wings of a dragon, vanishing into the Silent Dark, or simply getting in the car, anyone can cross a border. Of course, 70 percent of the borders of our great kingdom connect to other countries, or at least planes of existence with a solid enough floor that you can drive on them. So when you’re leaving America, chances are that you’re entering another country.
Now that the 2016 election season is over, countless Americans tried to make good on their vow to leave permanently on November 9th. But they forgot one straightforward, if complex, spell and were turned away, subjected to the rule of Trump for at least another 2 months.
They forgot their Passports.
While most people think their Passports let them enter other countries, they actually exist to let you leave our fair kingdom. The idea, of course, is that most people who leave America probably want to return. The U.S. government used to just let everyone say the Magic Word to get back into the country, but since the 1856 outbreak of Umbrus vivantus, it’s become crucial to make sure we know who’s who.
Now, your Passport is a necessity to leave, regardless of whether or not you’ll stay gone.
– One Scroll of Living Record, attesting that you are indeed a person and not a Living Shadow.
– Your driver’s license, military I.D., or other federal governmentally issued form of identification.
– A homunculus, either imprinted with your visage or unimprinted.
– The homunculus will be consumed in the process, so do not bring one that you use for crucial chores, that your loved ones have developed an attachment to, or that is currently prohibiting any of the Unnamed to cross over into the daytime.
– 5 drops of fairy-kissed morning dew, collected from a divot in the blossom of a lily.
– Appropriate fees: currently $110, subject to change based on laws binding the Department of State and whether or not the Cult of Numeracy has redefined the number 3 again.
– An amulet made of pure antimony.
– This spell has no verbal components, although several curses are sometimes uttered during the process and there is often the usual muttering under the breath when dealing with government officials.
– As with most governmental magic, there is no specific somatic component on the mage’s side. However, the official in question will need to affix his/her Seal upon the process.
Prepare the material components and travel to your desired Passport processing facility. (Many of these are located in libraries, post offices, and in apothecary-notary shops.) Before stepping onto the grounds of the facility itself, ensure the antimony amulet is secured around your neck to avoid being targeted by the Living Shadows.
Once safely in the facility, obtain a copy of “DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport.” Fill out the application, making sure to check the appropriate boxes whether you are requesting a passport for yourself, your familiar, or your child.
Submit the application, the $110, and the homunculus to the processing agent. Have your Scroll of Identity and drivers license, etc. available for review. If the homunculus has not been imprinted with your visage, the processing agent will ask you to do so before proceeding.
Once you have an imprinted homunculus, the processing agent will shear off its third dimension and then deactivate it, leaving a fixed and immobile representation of you with an expression bordering on terrified pain. Unfortunately, you will not be allowed to submit a friendlier-looking homunculus, nor will you be allowed to question why they shear off the dimension before deactivating, when doing it the other way round would probably look better.
Once all the components are in place, the processing agent will affix his/her rubber stamp on the application and place it in a rosewood or teak drawer. After 4-6 weeks, the Passport will arise from the application fully formed and be mailed to you.
If for some reason this does not happen, pixies probably stole the paperwork during development. This is usually the case if the drawer was made of simple cedar or fir or the processing agent didn’t stamp the form hard enough to imbue it with the Essence of Officiality. Rather than question the inefficiencies of the process and start all over, simply reverse time to when you were filling out the application and sprinkle the morning dew over the application. Lily-scented fairy-kissed morning dew is toxic to pixies, and even turning back time is easier than trying to streamline the application process, demanding accountability of the Department of State, or investing in sensible pixie regulation.