Gunfighting Wizards: Prologue

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

This foreword was approved by the Department of Homeland Security with allowances for editing afforded to the National Security Agency. The accounts of the events of October 2022 - May 2023 have been scrutinized for both accuracy and safety. Now, years later, and after the exposure of Magicked Peoples in our society, I hope that my brief history that follows will help shine a light on the story that follows. - Former Deputy Direct of DOWA, Merlin Brownstone

Our World of Wizards

Our society is not an iceberg. While it holds an impossible number of secrets, there is no waterline to shove them under. Even the ocean floor isn’t bottomless enough to hide every hushed detail. Eventually they would pile up and surface for all to see.

And so we have learned to camouflage our information. We are among cloaked observers, actors , and informants. As species within the jungles of the Amazon have developed a varied set of methods to avoid detection, we have done the same.

Wizards elicit images of pointed hats, beards, and wide-sleeved robes. The tropes of fantasy wiggle their way into our media and literature often. This is an advantage to the magically imbued. The world has a narrow idea of what magic can be, and thus would not recognize a spell cast directly in front of them. Makers of jackets with extra pockets for handkerchiefs and doves help the stage magician create the illusion of what magic would be if it were real. These are interference operations. The audience member who fancies themselves a clever attendee would busy their mind looking for the card up the sleeve of a performer, understanding that items don’t just teleport. The truth is that not only does dimensional transposition exist, but that we rely on it every single day.

Wizards are among us. The Men in Black movie franchise saw deeper than any conspiracist or Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast had before. Make no mistake, they are with us. For centuries we lived symbiotically, utilizing both magic and technology to keep order and solve issues we have faced; such as hunger and disease. Those evils may still exist, but have waned in the last handful of decades. Users of magic and the governments of the world kept a close fraternity of altruistic men and women that held the course of our planet on one of steady progress. Between Wizards and the rest of us, there was peace.

Until Kennedy.

A Brief History

Magic historians will lament the brevity I exercise in this telling, but this document is necessitates it. I will give you what is pertinent to understand about the Wizards in the United States at large.

Magic has been innate in very few humans throughout history. Often, those with magic imbued would fulfill positions as spiritual leaders, shamans, healers, and other traditionally regarded roles of importance and mystery. However, just as long as there have been those to use magic to aid their societies, there have been those looking for personal gain - or even more nefarious motives.

The tracking down Wizards that preferred to remain separate from societal structures has long been a chief mission of the Church. The position of Pope morphed over the years from one of religious guidance to one of tactical leadership. There has not been a Pope in two centuries that wasn’t a veteran witch hunter or magical historian (of which John Paul II, my personal favorite, was particularly notable for his skill with a crossbow and insisted on its viability well into the 21st century).

Every society has lived peacefully with Wizards, with few exceptions that were quickly dispatched. While it was never quite a secret, Wizards were so rare that the public at large was hugely unaware of them. That mindset changed after the events of World War One, when such technological advancements made war deadlier than history could have before conceived. Magical development was employed to find a new edge and swiftly became the programs of priority in every major world power.

England, France, Italy, and the United States agreed to secrecy together. Plans were to pressure the new Bolsheviks into the same agreement, but to no avail. The revolutionary powers were so anti-Wizards that their quiet extermination became a major goal. This has caused much of the historic hardship in the Soviet Union and Russia. The open embrace of Rasputin was the last straw for many under the Tsar, but they knew not of what successes they had and how it stemmed from Hermeticism.

Germany embraced Wizards, utilizing them to rebuild their national strength in such a swift manner; and, of course, aiding the machine that churned towards World War Two. Many countries began to accelerate their programs, including the United States. The Department of Wizard Affairs was created in June of 1934 and was overseen by the Army. Its initial goal was purely military advancement. This directly lead to such innovations as the ████████████████ ████████████████ ████████████████████████ ████████.

Famously, without the help of defecting German Wizards, we would not have attained the atom bomb. This event was more catastrophic than many could have ever realized. The release of nuclear energy through repeated testing affected the magic innate in our world that all Wizards are attuned to. The science behind it is still debated, but what we know is that the occurrence of Wizards in later generations declined sharply. Where previously 1 in every 100,00 would have magic imbued to some degree, now we’re lucky that it is 1 in every 1,000,000.

The magical community was thrown into distress. Many were angry, some lashed out. Some Wizards under government employment went AWOL, and rogue agents cropped up exponentially. The situation was becoming difficult to keep under wraps. It was everything the world powers could do to keep its people focused on Communism as a distraction from the powerful magical threat that existed right in their own backyards.

In 1961 the first and only Catholic president of the United States took office. Sympathetic to the long-maligned feelings of the Church on magic, it only took two months before the Department of Wizard Affairs (DOWA) received more funding and a fundamental change in mission. Rather than creating new advancements for the military and society, it became almost solely focused on quelling Wizard uprisings. Many were wiped out with little ceremony.

In 2003 the DOWA was reorganized and placed under the newly founded Department of Homeland Security. Technology had surpassed magic in scale and ability, and no longer was magic required for military advancement. Like many other sister organizations (US Coast Guard, Secret Service, Customs and Border Control) there has been an increase in Law Enforcement recruiting and integration, and specialty groups began to crop up mirroring special operations military units. Included is the unit of our particular interest, the Special Weapons and Magical Tactics (SWAMT) detachment of DOWA.

SWAMT originally conducted a very specific set of jobs, but as time grew, so did the amount of missions. In the decades since Kennedy, however, the world turned towards a new breed of fear. The Global War on Terror created a paranoia in the country previously unknown to the average citizen. To those in the DOWA, we became doubly concerned. Wizards of ill intent took bold inspiration from groups such as Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or ISIS. Our war uncovered a strong network of Poppy Shamans that provided magical guidance and assistance to these groups, and we knew their influence could extend to American soil.

In 2022 we became aware of a separatist group that had begun operations to unleash magical attacks on the citizens of the United States, blowing the lid on the great global secret, and hoping to establish a new government on a magical basis. We were savvy towards their plans, but failed to predict when they would launch. That began Operation Brannigan, and the grand chess match commanded by ████████ ████████. The beginning of the Secret Great Lakes War were swiftly upon us.

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