Gesula Forest, Lenyol
Kesia stood by Kengar at the edge of a large and perfect circle carved in the earth. In it stood a ring of large standing stones socked with moss, their diameter no less than thirty yards. Though Midsummer was past, the grass within the stones was thick and the earth moist.
‘What kind of secret is this?’ Kesia asked, stepping down the embankment with care. ‘It must be almost the size of the Claes!’
Kesia shivered at the energy vibrating between the stones. She followed her uncle’s lead and took to the ground in their centre with crossed legs.
It was early morning two days after Kengar’s return. Kengar had woken his niece at an unreasonable hour and led her silently west, deep into the forest flanking Gesula.
Kesia looked up, beyond the stones. In the predawn light the trees were silent and still, seeped in grey. The neutral aura of the forest began to disturb Kesia and she realised it was as mute as the stones. She shifted her position and turned to Kengar.
‘This is a place I came with your father when we were apprenticed to our own father. Some maps mark it, but it is difficult to find, and I would that it stayed as such.’
‘Mellena…’ he halted, awkward.
‘She is your apprentice also.’
‘She is Miggestian.’
Kesia knew her uncle to be a fair man, and let her need to defend her friend rest while an explanation came. It didn’t.
‘This is a place for you alone to come. Here you can practice your trade, and be enhanced by the power of the stones.’
The peak of the forest canopy was lightening with the coming of day. Again she noticed the lack of sound.
Kengar followed her frown and knew her mind. ‘The centre here is…outside of the forest. I will teach you a shield in time, allowing you to go unseen by any passing by.’ He rubbed his hands. ‘In my travels I have collected a number of volumes which may interest you. You have been robbed of your education, and Tàvae claims you thirst for knowledge. If I am called away again, you are to study these texts.’
‘I will divide your lessons with Mellena, teaching you separately and together according to my own judgement. However, the texts are for you to share.’ He straightened his back; Kesia mirrored him. ‘Let us begin our first lesson, revising some of the things you already know.’ He opened his hands and something white, like vapour, rose from them. ‘All elements of nature are compiled of the same base which pulsates through existence. Energy permeates all things that were… are… and will be. This is the thing you must connect with, the thing you will learn to steer to your own design.’
She looked at him. ‘I can connect to this, and have it manifest in wisps of colour. I practice from time to time.’ She closed her eyes and summoned from the earth a small mass of golden energy. Faint, it took the vague form of a moth before gently disintegrating.
Kengar gave her a fond look. ‘Otàmil taught you this?’ She nodded. He drew a fold of parchment from his cloak. ‘Perhaps he also taught you this?’
Kesia took the offered parchment and smiled. ‘The Weaver’s Creed.’
‘Before I teach you to weave, you must swear to the Creed. Arise.’
She took to her feet with Kengar, who stepped backward. He turned his open hands toward the ground, and a haze of white was drawn up from the earth. ‘Begin.’
Kesia read: ‘“I speak today the Weaver’s Creed and hope never to stray from its promise.”’ She lowered the parchment and spoke the following from memory, as the mist swelled about her:
‘It is my will to do no harm
I speak a thousand words less than I hear
Knowing time and reflection judge best.
My strength is sworn to justice
My heart is sworn to good
It is my duty to protect the meek
It is my purpose to serve the Revered Ones.
My transgressions invite misfortune sevenfold
As my virtuous deeds are met with everlasting life
I live free from corruption
And die free from regret
It is my will to do no harm.’
Shroud in white, and gooseflesh, Kesia lowered the text.
‘Learn its lessons well, and remember the oath you swore today.’
She held the parchment against her chest. Kengar indicated that they sit again, as the mist faded, and so began their first day of training.