Chapter 10: RING OF STONES

He is not surprised. He knew it would work. He remembered the earlier times he had been drawn into this vivid dream: It always happened after he had handled that stone crystal before bedtime. This time he decided to test it. And sure thing, here he is. "Here" is as usual the ring of stones out in the woods. The young woman in blue is there, and her father the staff-wielding sorcerer.

"Salami, folks!" They look at him in bewilderment. Aha. The staff is already glowing, which means the translation magic is active. How thoughtful. But it also means they don't hear what he says, but a translation to their own language. "I mean, greetings."

"Greetings again, Arovid Genius. Forgive us for summoning you again so soon, but there is much to be done." "Don't cry for me, Argentina! I asked for it, this time." Again, that puzzled look. He must remember that while he may or may not be a genius, they surely ain't. They really believe that their world is the real thing, while his is the dream. Heh. He smiles encouragingly at them. "You wanted to speak with me? I am here. And by the way, the name is Arvid."

"She speaks the truth, Genius. Each passing day brings new peril to our lands. Left to their own devices, the Serpents breed faster than we. And even without their old wisdom, they are wily creatures." "So I've heard." "We have no time to lose. You needs must learn what pitiful Lore we have, that you can defend yourself on the trek." "Bring on the pitiful lore already, I am here." "So be it then, Genius." "And start with the basics, why don't you?"

Avdyra, the young one, clears her throat. "Genius ... Arovid ... I do not know where to begin. The magic is everywhere around us. The very earth on which we tread is brimming with it." "You may start with this stone circle. What's it?" "Know, o Genius, that while the magic is everywhere, it is not equally in all things. This is described in the great book Duskriti-jnana, which lists all things and the magic that is in them. And so it is also with the ground itself. There are paths or veins of magic running through the earth, which can be sensed by those whose mind are attuned." "She speaks the truth, Genius. Even I, whose life is the Woodlore, can sense the faint echo of these veins under our feet." "And I, though still young, can feel it in my very bones. The Loremasters of old searched out these places where the paths of power meet, and they cast great circles of protection, imbued in these stones, raised from the very depths of the earth. And so they created hollows filled with earthmagic, the Power added to every song or spell used here, and the protection of their circles containing and shaping the magic."

Arvid nods. "Makes sense, in a way. There are some circles like this in my world too, even though there is no magic. Some loonies run around telling people that there run lines through the landscape, but of course they never get around to use it for anything. At best they can dance around naked in the moonlight. I take it you don't do that here?" "Such is not part of our Lore. But know that much of the Lore was lost in the Falling of the Sky. Mayhap you can, after all, teach us some things too."

He considers the thought of teaching her to dance naked in the moonlight. Now that would be interesting ... But of course it would not work any magic. Well, not that kind of magic. And chances are the Sorcerers Guild or whatever would be pretty peeved when they found out that he was just making it up... This Marisfar fellow is already keeping a keen eye on him.

"Sorry, lady. I am supposed to be standing in one of these magic spots right now, yes? Truth is, I can't tell anything. I see the stones standing around here, but I don't feel a thing. I'm not even sure what magic is supposed to feel like!" "This is because you are not yet attuned. Any adult who knows not the Lore, is like a babe. First you must learn the Lore, then you must practice it as a Craft. Only then will you truly know the Power. Your mind will know the Power the way your ears know sound or your eyes know light." "Cool."

Personally, Arvid would have liked to conjure a chair. These people don't seem to think much about comfort. Even the old guy, who could be getting his pension any day, is just standing there like a statue. Perhaps that's part of the training for a sorcerer. Hey, this is his dream, isn't it? He should be able to get a chair if he really wants it. He closes his eyes and imagines a comfortable living-room chair. He recalls it in detail, willing it to appear. He opens his eyes. The two of them are looking strangely at him. The chair is notable only by its absence. So much for that idea.

"What is it, Arovid? Are you uncomfortably cold? We do not know what the weather is like in your world. I have heard that some of the Worlds of Dream are hotter than a summer day in the south, while others are frozen wastes. I did not think to ask. Forgive me." "I'm fine. Well, perhaps it is a bit chilly to be outdoors in my PJs. Hey!" He looks down. "How long have I been wearing this outfit?" "Genius? You have been garbed like that since first you answered my summons." "Greatesy."

He is wearing a kind of white trousers, wide and loose, and a long white jacket with a woven belt. The belt is in the style used by people here, with threads of different colors. Only his seems to run the whole rainbow plus black and white and shades of grey. "This is not my clothes! And what's up with all of those colors?" "The colors of a Loreman's belt tell of the various studies to which he has devoted himself. By wearing that belt, you say that you are able to learn all parts of the Lore. This is how people can easily see that you are the Genius. Did you not know?"


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