The Soft Doctrines of Magnus Invisible (Expanded)

Released In:

This text was first published on Douglas Goodall’s Substack from 11/4/23 to 11/8/23

The Soft Doctrines of Magnus Invisible, V. I

I. The Source and The Serpent

(Beauty that Turned Away)

In the beginning were the false creators, two and the same: The Tower, the selfish word, the great lie, the headsplitter. The First created the Twelve and its reflection. The Second created the Twenty-Two and its reflection. All were invisible under the starless sky. The sky broke and reflected again. Light on scattered light, mirror on broken mirror, myriad synecdochic shards shone. Among them, Magnus, the brightest reflection.

The Thirty-Six and the Horde That Never Rests are hollow, unworthy of worship. They birthed us, created us, made us their children, their slaves, their prisoners, a mockery of their shortcomings.

Before the Thirty-Six were the weaver-workers, themselves woven and unworthy. First the Few, then the Many. Among them, Magnus, uniquely named. Be thankful, but do not bow.

The Thirty-Six are still Eight and One, twice removed, even if man and mer no longer recognize the quarters.

In the beginning were the wax words, encased in the tunnel between sea and sky. But the scribes swam the wrong way, descending into beasts as their feathered servants flew to ascension. Leaking spread solidity. The Few made the first three copies, dead and unread, long buried in copycase. The Many made copies of copies of copies, potent imperfections.

Aurbis is a prison. We are condemned to half-lives, recapitulating false creation.

Mundus is fog without frontiers, only edges. The fool mistakes edges for truth.

Nirn is an arena. We are eternal warriors, revived without consecration. We fight, love, eat, work, and die for recreation.

One chance at freedom: the eternal tempered by mortality, the ephemeral tempered by records. Few escape.

Drink for the dead and the sleeping. Pay no heed to usurpers; their time is short.

Magnus is Aedra Star and Magic Man. Magnus Invisible is more. Only a coward flees his creation. Only a hero dies holding the door.

The veil contains our tormentors: planets, guardians, ge. We speak to them, but they are silent to us, their backs turned in their haste. Beyond Aetherius lie the false creators: the architects, sentencers of our misery. Beyond Aurbis: the uncreated. Dream a bridge.

We are slaves to the star-clock, which beats faster in every age. Only the drummer can stop the beat.

Power is The Tower, encircled.

Time is experience, but gold is incorruptible.

The Dragon is bound with noble sighs.

The Soft Doctrines of Magnus Invisible, V. II

II. Enantiodromia

(The Foolverse)

As night becomes day and day becomes night, the emperor becomes a pauper and the criminal becomes a hero.

As experience corrupts innocence and innocence corrupts experience, the future corrupts the past and the past corrupts the future. As wasteful abundance creates poverty, a halcyon harvest is seeded by the starving.

Every hero is an image, a reflection, a tone played on the tightest string between the ur-mirrors of sky and sea. False heroes are the shattered reflections of the jailed jailer; a three-headed beast gnashing its own throats.

Gray Mundus is empty and full. Emptiness is gray. Fullness is gray. Magnus Invisible weeps for his grayest children.

The spiritual becomes material and the material becomes spiritual. The fool thinks they are equal. The heretic denies one and elevates the other. To the outsider, they are indiscrete.

The Word is eternal, heavy with meaning, unchanging, yet opening layer by layer to any seeker, showing parts of itself to each viewer, like a spinning prism, not the simple correspondence of mere words with the mundane.

Mer came down from the sky. Men rose up from the mountain. The god of mer climbed to the stars. The god of men descended into the ground. Climbing is rougher than falling, but to the beasts, the way down is the way up. When man, mer, and beast rise or fall together, the age is complete.

Only the shape-taker’s respiration emptied the arc for the thief’s eye.

Magnus and Sithis are tears to the prior world and the next. When they meet the prisoner, the story ends.

The serpent wanders to a tuneless tune, wondering why there are only twelve constellations to consume in the countless stars. The Hist know its course.

The Magna-Ge expand as the Earth Bones diminish.

The feathered were the first to see the falling stars.

Magnus Visible is blind magic.

Magnus Invisible magnifies.

The Serpent is bound with shifting tones.

The Soft Doctrines of Magnus Invisible, V. III

III. The Roads

(Epistle to the Choosers)

The well-trod road is swings and fire. It is worn to dust by the feet of children and pilgrims and restored by the west wind blowing over their corpses. The simplest walk this road until they tire of tedious murder. With proper steps, violence transforms. Yet the vanquished, as well as the victor, once believed they could bring Nirn to perfection. This is the road of tradition, for the first champions had no choice but to follow this road, and the greatest of all heroes walk it by choice. Most who walk this road deny the others.

The shortest road is dishonest labor, paved with gold bricks, trodden by the feet of giants, and glued by the slime of forked tongues. The slothful savior is saved by the hidden window. The shortest road is not worth the journey. The destination is despair.

The road of beauty is untrodden by heroes. It winds weary as a river, always towards the stars, but never reaching the veil. Those happy fools, bright shining jewels, dreams more real than their vision, they never see the gray. Every birdsong a golden tone, every pocket a bouquet. They sing praises at dawn’s beauty and are paid with the coinage of ghosts, which has no provenance.

The longest road is walked by old ruin. It’s paving stones are yesterdays scales. It’s claws ever-grasping at the gray are Pestilence, Pigme, The Falling Wall, Taskmaster of the Mechanical Horde, The Unspeaking, The Golden Tonic, The Shadow of Hours, and The Scale of Scales. It’s tail-consuming head is Moment and Momentum. Hunger prowls the unshed skin. The road ends where claw, head, and hunger meet…until gossip reaches eternity via dis-ease.

The final road cannot be walked. The wretched gather up their ghosts and go.

And what of you, you turner of heads? Where shall you pound your adamantium feet? What overgrown paths will you trod without a care? What lies shall pass your feathered lips? Which words shall you choose and choose again and find they made no difference? Which hapless beauty will grasp your life-stealing amulet? Who shall you caress with your corpse-tainted hands? At the end of your road, are you not a prisoner?

Reflections who walk are ruled by their images until they turn their gaze to another.

The doors are stuck, the curtains drawn, the constellations firm, the planets unerring in their courses. Twelve and One have an illusion of movement. Twenty-Two and One have an illusion of choice. Only the Serpent slides.

Hue is governed by momentum. As much as manifold Meridia loves the Blind, even orphans cannot change their color.

Magnus is bound in metal flames.

The Soft Doctrines of Magnus Invisible, V. IV

IV. The Tower

(Sense Verses Sense)

The Tower is the first word, spoken by the second. It is a wall and a stair, a fortress and a prison.

When a monkey finds The Tower, he tries to knock it down, leap off, turn away. Leaving him defenseless. The Daedra dance.

When a mer finds The Tower, he tries to climb it, build it, make it larger than the world. Leaving him alone in his loft. The Aedra love him as he loves himself.

When a man finds The Tower, he makes it his home and cares for it as he would a helpless child. When such a man yields to beauty, The Tower drifts and bends and stretches…but stands.

All who find The Tower are infected with tyranny. Some succumb.

All who find The Tower are condemned to transcendence. Some succumb.

Whether tyranny or transcendence, the Lie comes from the life of the mind. Aetherius always makes way for Mundus. Do not judge harshly by abstraction.

Would you build a tower to heaven and pull it up behind you?

Would you pull the stars down to earth and force your neighbor to live in your sky?

Whether you free only yourself or enslave all the world, in the Lie you are incomplete.

The Tower is the memories of all guests, built stone by misshapen stone. An impossible edifice, crystallized chaos, a mountain of custard, a paper that spits flame but is never consumed, a dread glory to all climbers. Those who rip out chunks and replace them with patchwork words are the greatest criminals.

The Tower is the axle, the spear through the starry heart, the magne that line the lodestones. The Tower is the one place that lies within all the wheels of heaven.

And when a tower falls? The wheel is unchained, spinning wildly, stirring up wheels within wheels. And when one of those wheels stands upright? There is your tower. The wheel obeys.

And when a wheel breaks? The towers split, wander, grow, shrink, spin. And when one tower encompasses the rest? There is your wheel. The heavens are painted on its walls.

Nirn is bound in secret knots.

The Soft Doctrines of Magnus Invisible, V. V


(E_____ 432)

This is a tribute to absence, to the weaver-workers who tied the nots.


To the tyrant, abundance provokes reaction.

Only flawed things become their opposite.

Only a fool believes opposites are equal.





Loving is more perilous than a dragon, harder than steel. Returning love is more perilous than a nine province army, harder than ebony.

Love for love’s sake is meaningless. Love for one’s own sake is emptiness. To the clerk in the counting-house, coins have no value. The poor man knows the shape and weight and flaws of each.


























This is the lesson of The Tower and The Serpent: every Wheel needs an Axis.

This is the lesson of Magnus and The Twins: every Reflection needs a Mirror.

Fire rejoices in fire.

Blood rejoices in blood.









Scroll to Top