Arvil breathed a silent sigh of relief, glad for the past two days on the road and the Wens filling him and Graya in on more than they had ever wanted to know on ghosts, monsters, Pelagirs weirdness, and what might cause them all. “Everything that lives has energy. It’s what Heralds use for our Gifts. Most of the time it flows like small streams; smooth, quiet, just enough for everything that breathes. Apparently in the Pelagirs it’s as if someone threw down rockslides. Some places the energy is blocked. Some, it’s narrowed down and too fast. Some-”
Willam’s lips thinned, looking at the portrait of the altered plant that had taken young lives. “The rock dam gives way all at once, and things… Change?”
“Yes,” Arvil agreed. “But the Wen clan has ways to smooth out the flow again.” He still couldn’t quite believe inked paper could do magic. Yet he couldn’t deny what he’d seen these past days. Blankets warmed without fire or hot stones. Pots of water tapped, all the mud and leaf-bits rising to the surface to fly away on the breeze. Goat’s milk mixed with herbs and changed, so little Banli could feed as well as if he’d been wet-nursed, until Wen Qing could get Meifeng’s own milk to come in.
The Wens were a clan of mages. Not all of them could create magic; he thought maybe a dozen, all told. But all of them knew how to use it.
How in the Havens did they get into Valdemar?
“Smoothing it out permanently will take a lot of work,” Master Wei had said soberly. “What I’m planning to do is – it’s like a river. First, we’re going to build a dyke to divert some of the rapids away from the village. Then, over the long term, we’ll want to lay out channels to spread the energy out enough to be safe, or let it flood into specific areas that won’t hurt anyone. If you bring out a map of the village, I can show you….”
And he did, Arvil thought now, comparing Rabbit Hole’s records from last fall with the most recent weather observations. Without ever mentioning that what he was doing was magic.