I’ve been going back and forth from elation to feeling like a complete idiot, trying to tell myself that there was really no way I could have known this, when really it’s that with one thing and another I forgot about the collenna. Well, no wonder, when all I could see for days was the master’s neck snapping. And I know I told Cederic, but I can’t have made it make sense or he would have seen it. Probably.
Oh, I’m so excited—everyone is, even though we don’t know what use it will be—but I’m having trouble keeping my thoughts from flitting all over the place like a pod of baby dolphins, so:
- Pouvrin and th’an ARE related.
- We may be able to combine a pouvra with the merging kathana.
- Creating new pouvrin is now more likely.
- Using pouvrin in the merging kathana is unlikely no matter how successful we are, thanks to damned Vorantor and his pride.
It was a dream I had last night that did it. I was touring Colosse with Cederic, and we were both in our underclothes (no mystery about that; it had been six days since we made love), and Terrael was driving the God-Empress’s rose-colored collenna. Only instead of painting the th’an in the grooves of the brass plate, he was drawing them in mid-air, making it three-dimensional instead of flat.
And I saw it.
The reason it felt familiar is that it’s the mind-moving pouvra! Missing pieces, and flat instead of multidimensional, but once I saw it in the dream it all fell into place.
I wrenched myself out of the dream and startled Cederic awake, and then I started babbling until he hushed me (that still works on me, and I hope it doesn’t become a problem for us later) and made me explain everything more slowly. He went very still, of course, as I explained, then when I’d wound down he said, “But you never recognized th’an before.”
“No, it all makes sense now,” I said. Honestly, I thought I might leap out of the bed, I was so excited. “I’ve been looking at individual th’an, or maybe two or three combined, and that’s like…like recognizing a person by being shown their heel and big toe. Pouvrin are far more complicated than that, have many more parts—many more th’an, is another way of looking at it. So on the lowest level, there’s the th’an you use to lift things—not to disparage your ability—”
“I understand,” Cederic said. “Then the next step up are the th’an combinations used to power a collenna, and your pouvra is another degree of complexity beyond that.”
“Right,” I said. “And if the collenna th’an is similar to, but isn’t as complex as, the mind-moving pouvra, that means there are individual th’an that could be added to it to make it do what the pouvra does. Which means I might be able to turn any large group of th’an into a pouvra by adding the right th’an to it!”
Cederic nodded, slowly. “But you don’t know enough about th’an to know which ones,” he said.
That sobered me up a bit. “No, and I have no idea how it can help the kathana,” I said. “I mean, I could see how, in theory, a pouvra could be substituted for a group of th’an or a step in the kathana, but I only know the seven pouvrin, and even if we could use one of them, Vorantor would never agree to it.”
“We need to look at Denril’s kathana and determine which groups you can turn into a pouvra,” Cederic said. “And you are correct that he will resist that. So leave him to me. Tomorrow you and the mages will begin work on the collenna th’an to turn it into a true representation of your pouvra. That should be good practice for the real thing. And if I cannot convince Denril to cooperate, I can at least extrapolate from what I do know and possibly establish what th’an you should work on.”
I think that’s what he said, there at the end, because his hands were sliding under my sleep shirt and pulling it off over my head, and I was so busy kissing him while he stroked my breasts that I wasn’t really paying attention. We really shouldn’t go that long without sex again, though I have to admit it was probably more spectacular for being so long delayed.
Today I shared the news with our mages, and they were as excited as I was, and then we were all angry that Vorantor is still monopolizing Terrael’s time, because he knows more th’an than anyone except Cederic, and what we needed was a lexicon of th’an that might be the missing parts of the pouvra.
But Sovrin had the clever idea of drawing out the collenna th’an a piece at a time, in colored chalks so it was obvious which part of the two-dimensional shape went to which th’an, and then letting me fill in the spaces as best I could with ink. Then she erased the chalk and what was left was…well, not much of anything that made sense, but she directed everyone to start looking up th’an to see if we could find anything that matched those shapes. We didn’t have any luck, but morale is high because at last we have a direction!
Cederic, on the other hand, looked as if he were barely containing his anger. I saw him talking to Vorantor a couple of times, and the first time Vorantor didn’t seem to pay him much attention and continued to write on his board the whole time Cederic was talking to him.
The second time, Cederic pulled him off to one side and they had an increasingly heated exchange, which ended with Cederic storming off (except that, because it was Cederic, “storming off” meant he walked away at his usual pace but more expressionless than he’d been all day). It’s only a matter of time before one or both of them explodes.