“Two types of magic-handlers.”

This is from what I’ve written so far of Suicide is for Mortals. We will now meet Scanlon Ness, an investigative journalist who specializes in vampires.

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There are two types of magic-handlers: purists and opportunists.

I do not refer to skill sets, which vary so widely and so unpredictably that the number of “types” varies from year to year. I refer to their general attitude towards interacting with mundanes. The purists are the ones who think those with magic skills should have as little interaction with mundanes as possible. They’re the ones who refuse to use magic for mundanes’ benefit, regardless of compensation, but to be fair, they also make it a point never to use their skills to hurt mundanes. Their argument is that if they keep magic as strictly segregated away from mundanity as possible, the mundanes can’t make any laws against them.

The opportunists are, if you want my honest opinion, less moral but far more pragmatic. These are the folks who say there is nothing the least bit wrong with doing magic for mundanes who are willing to pay for it. Many make an argument that it is not only their prerogative, but their responsibility, to offer their services to their fellow mortals to fill the gaps left open by technology and social structure. Some aren’t exactly scrupulous about the quality of the services they provide, or the ways that their services contribute to society, but the magic-handling community didn’t seriously begin to discuss the ethics of magical/mundane interactions until very recently. It was always a matter of tussling over the question of whether it was okay to do business with the non-magical crowd, or not. There was always a very all-or-nothing quality to their debates.

The purists’ national hero, if you will, was a fellow named Arturo Reza. Very charismatic, very persuasive, very suspicious of mundanes, and very rich. He got tired of seeing his fellow sorcerers feel pressured into using their powers for the benefit of people who could not possibly understand them. He also had this idea that if the magic-handling community had a place of their own where they could escape the presence of mundanes, then they would see that there was no reason to think they should be at all integrated with mundane society. Reza chose a spot in the middle of the southwestern desert where there was nothing, and he started building on it. He built a little self-sufficient community out in the wilds of Arizona, and he invited magic-handlers to buy his houses on very affordable real estate. Only magic-handlers, though; anyone who was married to a mundane and/or had a non-magic child would have to leave them behind. What, can’t leave your family behind? Okay, you can just stay where you are.

He had a lot of takers, and the initial community, which he very modestly dubbed Rezarta, filled up and soon had demand for more housing, which he answered by building additional little residential villages at the edges, which he would later use as the base points of further expansion. I got to visit the area a few times before it all ended up being the Area Formerly Known as Rezarta, and I have to hand it to him: he made some beautiful things happen. A lot of the younger opportunistic types moved out there to improve their skills with the help of older and more seasoned sorcerers, while knowing they could just as easily move back out to the mundane world when they were ready to make some easy money, but while they were there, they were impressed.

It probably would have gone on forever and been absolutely perfect if not for the vampires.