Winter in Hieron 21: The Shield of Our Will

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Something is wrong.

I am no great pattern worker. I know a few techniques that aid me in my duty: How to lower the light of an already dim bar room; how to sharpen a blade without a whetstone; how to make voice twice itself. Even to call these ‘techniques,’ feels false: They are tricks. I know that. But I also know this: The world is askew.

There is a simple pattern I do when trying to find mirrors: I break an egg onto a large, north-facing rock and then break the yolk with something made of copper. The yolk splits in two, and from how it falls, I know which direction to travel. Except for the past month, the yolk doesn’t split, it shatters.

But even that is not why I write you, Tel. Patterns change, we know this. The earth shakes 20 days from here and that upsets the alignment. Sure. Fine. But my mundane efforts should not be affected. I am not a successful Collector because of some gimmick, but because I can track a horse’s path over stone, Tel, but I lost one in the mud last week. Because I can see in a face the construction of a white lie, but had a thief tell me he was a philanthropist and I believed him. Because I can track the smells of certain plants across distances you would not believe—but I’ve lost track of a man covered in its scent.

What is happening, Tel? And how can I help?


This week on Friends at the Table: The Shield of Our Will


Your instinct is right, of course—your technique has not faltered, it is only the world that is changing. I write these next words only because I trust that they will go no further:

Something is wrong. The Original Pattern has come out of alignment. H, K, and I work on it still. We are close to achieving a route to it, but we must send the right agent.

Your quarry is not lost on the wind, my young friend. He is drifting towards where he is needed most.


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