The Long Retreat No. 39

“Falthejn,” Sif said. The diviner opened his eyes. Sif stood a long pace away, holding out the carved stick at arm’s length. He took it, and she stepped back. “Will it work?”

He turned it over in his hands. “Yes, it should be fine. Thank you.” He gave her a close look. “Are you alright?”

She crossed her arms in front of her, looking down and to one side, and waved a hand vaguely. “It’s like there’s something buzzing in my head.”

Falthejn raised an eyebrow. Sif had been near magical workings for some time now, but it wouldn’t have bothered most of the untrained. The girl did seem of the quiet, mindful persuasion, though, and the guilds were stuffed with her sort. At the least, he’d have to teach her how to ignore it. If his preparations bothered her, the feel of power flowing by once he got started would sweep her away. He pushed his supplies aside and stepped carefully out of his circle. “Now is as good a time as any, I suppose.”

“For what?” Sif said, following him to the very edge of the sheltering overhang.

“To answer your question about magic—or how we use it. Do you remember the example?”

The girl held out her arm and used her fingers to frame part of her sleeve.

“Right. Now, squeeze it.”

She did. The fabric bunched between her fingers. Her brow arrayed itself similarly as she thought. “This is the foundation of the world. So you.. change the shape of that, and that changes things in the world?”

“Well done. Now, suppose you were to stretch your sleeve even further—beyond the strength of the cloth.”

“It would tear.” She blinked. “You could tear the world?”

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