Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nineteenth Beginning 14: Worldshore

“And if you have some of the names of the folk in Farside, that would help.  But maybe those will come up in the genealogies.”

“Some of them will.  Others were born there and might not be listed.  Can you think of anything else?”

“A couple of songs wouldn’t hurt.”  The voice came from a woman with very dark hair, streaked with pure white.  Morganzer hadn’t ever seen that sort of variegation.  She was holding a stack of so many books that she almost couldn’t see over the top of them.”

“Well met, Mackah.” said her sister.  “This is Morganzer, also called Ferntickle.  She doesn’t like her father name, though, and doesn’t use it much.”

“I think it’s cute,” said Mackah, dropping the books onto the table and mostly missing the writing.  “I’ve never seen a real fern, but the pictures they have in the library are graceful.  I’d think being tickled with one might be interesting.”

“It’s a nemen word for freckle or small spot.  I don’t know why, but when I was a baby Bor was sure that I’d have a lot of freckles.  Something about my skin being pale.  I’ve had a few freckles from time to time, but nothing noticeable.  So bedsides being belittling, it doesn’t even fit.”

“Ah.  I didn’t know that.  So few of us get freckles.  They don’t come up in the conversation.”  Mackah was still smiling pleasantly.  “Did you know that there’s an old poem that implies that folk used to believe that fern seeds were invisible and that you could use them to make a potion to make yourself invisible.  They don’t have invisible seeds, of course, just seeds too small to see.  Magicians call them spores, not seeds.  Boffa says there’s a reason for that.  Not just that they’re small.  The plants make seeds one way and spores another.  It’s a difference in process.”

“Pay her no attention, if you like.  She’s interested in a lot of things that other folks have no patience with.  Although her words were dismissive, Kholack seemed pleased, perhaps even proud of her sister.  Or was it aunt.  Morganzer wasn’t sure how Downsider’s reckoned things.  Once you threw mothers into a community, things got picky.

“So, is Mackah my aunt, too?”

“Yes, sweets, I’m Kholach’s youngest sister.  Your mother was born between us.  We were all Hallacha’s daughters.  I’m Daisy’s aunt, too.  Each of you is one of my sisters’ daughter.  That makes Daisy your cousin.”


“Yes.  A cousin is someone who is the child of one of your parents’ siblings.  A mother’s brother’s daughter.  A father’s sister’s son.  Some languages have different words for different kinds of cousin, but the main point is that you share at least one grandparent.”

“More likely,” Kholach added, “you’ll find languages that have a different word for boy-cousins and girl-cousins.”

“Or,” said Mackah, “you won’t run into other languages at all, except for the nemen language, unless you travel way to the south.  That’s where all the offshore trading happens.”

“So what books did you bring?” asked Kholach.  “We’re trying to decide where to start.  According to the scrying, she has maybe three days before she has to leave.”

“I’ve got a summary of the prophecies.  A genealogy of the first settlement.  A journal of travels on the north.  A herbology.  Two of three books on philosophy – “

“I’d rather scry for myself to begin,” Morganzer cut in.  There was a small pause.

“Fair enough.”  Mackah wasn’t the least bit put out.   “Lets introduce you to the books, though, first.  Then we can spread them out and you can scry between them.  Also between asking questions in the meal room or library.”

“Or in the bath room,” Kholach added.  “Or the infirmary.”

“I’m interested in other people’s scrying on the problem.”

“That’s here in this folder.  It’s new, so it’s still unbound.  And I also brought a trailside cookbook and Newander’s oldest poetry.  He was born Topside and exiled to Farside.  He’s got some interesting information and a searching turn of mind.”  Mackah obviously approved of both. 

“How much quiet do you need for the scrying?”  Kholach was of a practical turn of mind.  “How much darkness?”

“Not much of either, really, as long as no one is asking me questions and expecting an answer.”

“Any preferences as to the bowl?”

“Wide and flat.  And clay works better than wood.”

“Ever tried metal?”


“Want to?”

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