the heft and the edge 2141414/9/2017 wkj fantasy
This is a piece of writing from
The Twist Inside (Song of Ages V. 2)
It is a small scene from the start of Part 2 - Inventions
A novel is made up of so many scenes. It is the job of the author to make sure that each of those scenes has a purpose. This one is a “set-up” scene. I am just trying to seed an idea that will come to fruition later - in this case much later.
The Lens of God
Seama, with Sirl, stayed for some while after Angren, Gumb and the others had left by the Northgate – the gate that had been destroyed by Uh Bib in his flight from the city. Seama was oddly reluctant to let them out of his sight. Especially Angren.
“I bet he’s still swearing about it.”
“Angren? Oh, not a half so much as he would be trying to get the horses through the rubble on Hocha Street. It’ll be days before the engineers get it clear. And in any case, it’s not so far out of their way once they’ve crossed over to West Rd. What’s a few miles to someone traveling five hundred more?”
“I think he counts it a bad omen, Sirl. A journey that starts ill, goes ill – you know the kind of thing.”
“Well, given the destruction in the south city, I think they’ll have the better of it. Quite of bit of destruction here too, but a bit more forgiving.” Sirl poked the toe of his shoe into a mound of fine shingle and dust that had been brushed up to the side of the road. “An impressive spell, Seama. How was it done?”
“I almost know. I heard him speak it, and since then I’ve been thinking about what I heard. It was a command. It called to the smallest part and required movement. Or rather, every smallest part.”
“You don’t just mean the smallest stones?”
“No, much closer in than that. The gate is made of stone, the stone is made of grains – of sand, given that it was built of sandstone. And yet, there’s something more in it that makes me wonder. The words he used, well perhaps I should have translated them as “smallest piece” rather than part. Because the question in my head asks what could be smaller than a single grain of sand. Have you ever looked through Oxter’s Glass? No? It is a simple instrument in a way, but so powerful. Oxter made a tube that carried three separate lenses. Each lens many times the power of the glass of your average telescope, and the purpose the same: to make what is viewed greater to the eye. Two together when adjusted for focal length reveal such depths: the ridges of skin on your fingertip are made to seem like valleys and hills. A revelation in itself. But when the third lens is added something much more important happens. You would think that you have the eyes of God himself. You should see it, Sirl. In each of those valleys of skin is a field, a canton, a country. The skin itself disappears in favour of a web work, a lattice of interwoven strands, or patterns – I have not the words. It makes me wonder very much how close we can go. Is there ever an ending? Could we add another lens and another? And what would we see? A grain of sand would seem to made of many parts, though it is all of a piece. Just as we can break the stone to reveal the grain, can we not break the grain to reveal another depth? And discover perhaps an ultimate part that is not divided, or changed, whatever the power of sight we can bring upon it? Oxter is working to that end as we speak. He never sleeps. How deep can he delve? The quest possesses him.”
“I must travel to Errensea to see this wonder. But where are you going with this line of thought, Seama?”
“Towards a conclusion I find terrifying and exciting in equal measure. When Uh Bib thought to destroy this gate, he tried to speak to the smallest piece, with a command that it should shake asunder from its neighbour. A simple command but look at the result.”
“A frightening result.”
“It is indeed. And this just from grains of sand working against each other. But what if each grain of sand is itself made up of those smaller parts that Oxter seeks, and what if each of those smaller parts is made up of elements deeper, tighter, and what if eventually there is a thing that cannot be divided?”
“Well then, what?”
“Looking at this destruction all around, I wonder what power of devastation there could be if the very smallest, indivisible thing could be broken.”
“Is that not what has happened here, if uh Bib’s spell called to the smallest thing?”
Seama reached down and picked up a handful of the detritus, pushed it this way and that in his palm with a forefinger. “I can see the grains. And with Oxter’s Glass each of them may be the size of a country. Each of them may be a world in and of itself. But like a world each of them would be made up of pieces, of parts, smaller and smaller. Uh Bib didn’t have the right word to go deeper, to go deepest. Somewhere in the Language of Command there will be a correct word that will speak to that very smallest part. If Uh Bib had used that word instead, I think that we would not be standing here now.”
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