Three generations ago the self-sustaining and self-contained Kingdom of Tang-ji was invaded and opened up by foreign powers who variously wanted new markets for their goods, to loot the fabled kingdom’s treasures or to destroy what they could not and did not want to understand. The Kingdom was forced to change its political structures at gun point, to become ‘modern’, and sign unfavourable trade agreements. Life, however, went on.
Despite the great sorcerers of the realm having been overwhelmed by the enemy forces, the interim government decided in secret and private session that the problem was not that the nation had depended too heavily on sorcery but that there had been far too few sorcerers. They decided that, rather than being confined solely to the particularly talented, the study of sorcery should be opened up to all of the populace who were capable of learning any snippet of it.
They quietly commissioned the surviving sorcerers to design a cut-down and pared-back system of power manipulation. What they came up with was both that and a competitive system based on a long tradition of sorcerous duels. Because one of the stated aims of the invasion was to ‘free the people of Tang-ji from the tyranny of superstition, including sorcery and subservience to allegedly reincarnated rulers’, another name needed to be used. The sorcerers chose ‘gi’, an old word used to describe the simple first exercises of sorcerous training.
Like the introduction of railways, gi was one of the few popular changes that came out of the invasion. Within ten years it was the national sport. Little old village women did gi-based exercises for their arthritis. Within fifty years almost every six year old in the country routinely embarked on at least a year or two of lessons. It was taught in schools, there were national competitions and professional leagues.
Like their reincarnated leaders and scholars, the sorcery of Tang-ji has never really gone away.