It’s not complicated, Aladdin told himself fiercely, trying to sort through the wisdom of ten modern minds, two Djinn, and the poking demands of all the rukh that had lived and died in this tower. It’s star-stuff, and volcanoes, and lightning, it can’t be that complicated….
Only it really, really is.
Radioactivity and particles and isotopes and how things decayed and how life was damaged and fell apart-
A crackle of ancient fire. :Lean on us, young Magi.:
Alan and Amon. Fire and faith, steady as lighthouses shining on the sea.
This is where we are, Alan’s rukh, Alibaba’s rukh murmured, holding an image of invisible fire that tore at cells with unseen talons, and pointing toward the stable sense of iron, air, earth. There is where we need to get to. We’ve got the ends; you just find the things between, and we’ll hold it!
Find what came in-between. Aladdin winced, tempted to just scoop up all the slime and shove it back down the odd tunnel the Shays had left leading to a pool of water. That tank was meant to hold this deadly ichor, all he’d have to do was bury it….
But it might get out. I won’t let that happen!
Find the pieces. Mind by mind, he reached outward.
These are the forms of invisible fire, Ja’far’s rukh murmured. This is the damage it does; this is how you mend it, and bar it from tearing deep….
This is how it sparks in lightning. Baal and Simon, sharp and uncompromising as the Djinn’s sword. It’s part of nature. We live with it. All we need to do is lower the dose.
This is the threat of threats. Drakon, not quite a dragon’s rumble. The source of fear. But not all is alike. There are isotopes, other-forms….
This is what I learned in chemistry. Sarah, fresh and hopeful as a sea breeze. Harmful forms can change to safe ones, it just takes some time… and maybe a star….
This is the alchemist’s task, Callimachus snarled. Matter is mutable; here is how the rukh can change it, if there’s only enough power!