The Long Retreat No. 25

“Why?” Sif said, brow furrowed.

Falthejn shrugged. “Nobody knows for sure. To some degree, the very fact that a thing exists means that it has a weave-shape, and no thing—well, few things, and none we should name here—has a weave-shape that does not also exist in the physical world.”

Sif’s head canted, and her expression put Falthejn in mind of the few examples of dweorgr clockwork he’d witnessed in more peaceful times. “That’s… strange.”

Falthejn looked over at her for a moment. “I suppose so. I began my training when I was very young. I’ve never had another way to look at things.”

Sif seemed on the verge of saying something else, but Alfhilde spoke before she could. “While you are revealing your secrets, what of spirits? How do they fit into this weave you speak of?”

Falthejn glanced over his shoulder to see Alfhilde and Hrothgar, both listening attentively. He’d not realized he had an audience. “That, at least, is not difficult. A weave-shape, in the manner of those I mentioned, can be simple or complicated. As a weave-shape grows in its complexity, its effects on the physical world grow stronger. A weave-shape of sufficient strength becomes a mind, of sorts—a being that can communicate, if you know its language, and reason, if in its own way.”

“Mm,” Alfhilde said, satisfied.

They forged ahead. The road here had been built by magiker, in simpler days when the risks of magic were less known. Fifteen men could march abreast along the smooth stone. The jordenmagiker had formed it in one piece, twisting and curving to fit snugly into the landscape.

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