Sesskia’s Diary, part 25

After breakfast

Still headachy. I’m going to forgo a bath this morning—and no, that’s not going to make me stinky, I bathed yesterday and I can afford to miss one day—so I can write more about the pouvra. I haven’t come close to mastering it yet, of course, and I didn’t expect to. It has a strange shape, much more angular than the others, and I think it’s because the madman who described it was working from all manner of wrong assumptions. But I know it will work. I can feel it, deep inside, where my magic responds to the pouvrin and my will bends to meet them. What’s interesting is that part of what the madman did makes the underlying reasoning behind the pouvra more obvious, which means I’ll probably learn this one more rapidly than the others, all except the fire-starting pouvra, of course.

I’ve written so often about the process of learning a new pouvra that I don’t know that I need to do it here—but then, I’ve lost the other five books, and it’s unlikely I’ll ever get them back. And although I don’t intend anyone but myself to read it, there’s always a chance this could end up important to historians in some far distant time—hopefully a very far distant time, I don’t want Cederic ever to see some of the things I wrote about him, assuming he learns to read my language—so I might as well be thorough.

The first step is to know a pouvra exists. I don’t know how the first pouvrin were created, but as far as my experience goes, it’s not enough to simply wish to be able to do something; you have to have a shape for it. But the shapes aren’t physical, though I always describe them in those terms because they are able to affect the physical world. They’re more like…no matter how often I explain this, I never do get it exactly right. They’re like the memory of a place, a room, for example. You never just remember the size of the room and the things that were in it, you also remember how it smelled and what the lighting was like and, most importantly, how you felt when you were there. And some memories of places are so strong that when you remember them, it’s as if you were there once more. Every pouvra has a different form that’s multidimensional in that way. In my mind, they have texture and color and taste and smell, though for some reason they never have a sound. They’re like physical things that only exist because your mind and your body make them real.

I suppose it’s possible to create pouvrin, I just don’t know how. All the pouvrin I’ve learned have been shapes laid down by other mages. But—think how hard it is to describe a place so well that the other person sees it accurately. Impossible, maybe. Then think of describing an object whose characteristics are completely non-physical and yet have a tangibility in memory. That’s so much harder. So it’s not as simple as one mage writing a description that another can read and understand. All pouvrin are described figuratively, like poetry, and understanding them is a matter of learning the language of that description. I’ve written that I’ve read hundreds of books over the last ten years—well, only a few of them actually described pouvrin. The rest taught me how to understand those few. Some of them I read and moved on, others I stole and hid again, with clues, in the hope that some other mage might find them one day. This is how I could tell the madman’s book contained a pouvra; there’s a consistency to the language that’s like a clue for other mages that here is something worth knowing.

My stomach’s growling at me again. I’d better go eat something before I have to get to work. I hope Cederic isn’t dragging as much as I am.