I’ve been going back to the warren. I’ve even spent two nights there. I was worried at first about getting back, or losing time, but that’s passed.
I spent an entire day at the window, watching the sky, which is blue like ours, but there are streams of aquamarine swirling in the blue. Like a Van Gogh. The clouds look like clouds sometimes and sometimes they have sharp, faceted edges, like milky white jewels hanging in the air, their prismatic surfaces changing color, reflecting the world below.
And they don’t just drift by, they change shape, form animals and mountain ranges and things that look like treasure maps… And they collide with each other and merge, or sometimes shatter, slowly… small fragments breaking off and then breaking again, over and over, until they wisp away like smoke.
I spent an afternoon painting them in the journal Cole gave me, entirely unable to do them justice. I see how my dad could get lost here. I see how Cole could be concerned about this place. I do. But I also want to get out and explore it.
There’s no way to get the door to the warren open. Maybe that’s how dad wanted it. A sort of home base. But I need to see more, and if I’m supposed to find the red house, I know I have to find another way out.
Or another way in.
The truth is…
I’ve just been to another part of Neithernor. I know I should’ve told you or Cole before I went, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in this place, this search.
The first time I went I used the directions that the chronocompass gave to knock back on the knocking door. It’s like a combination lock. Lower left, upper left, left, right, lower right, upper right, right.
That combination led me to the warren.
But I’ve also been catching up on the forum and I found that you had another set from the first time you unlocked the chronocompass.
So I called a door and knocked: Left, upper left, upper left, lower left, right, upper right. It worked. I think each knock sequence is connected to a different door in Neithernor. There could be thousands, millions of doors…
I took the book, the stick, and I went through.
This door was connected to a small folly in an absolutely massive walled grove.
I call it The Grove Hall. It’s shaded, and full of towering white trees that explode into a white and silver canopy above. The endless trees are planted in a perfect grid so they resemble marble columns in some great hall and their white branches and silver leaves slope into a nearly perfect replica of a vaulted ceiling. Very little sunlight makes it through but what does is bounced off the white tree trunks and leaves a serene glow below. Grass grows, but it’s a deep blue-green. Like a night sky over a sea.
There are old stone benches, some still “uncrumbled” but the bottoms of the trees spread out wide, leaving comfortable little nestly spots to lie in between the roots. It’s the definition of tranquil.
But I’ve spent two days there and have yet to find a way out, except back home through the folly. It took me one day to find another perpendicular stone wall and almost got lost coming back. I can only assume walls surround it on all sides. Which makes me wonder how you get in otherwise.
I guess my dad isn’t ready to send me into the wilds of Neithernor yet.
I came home last night and found Cole waiting. We both felt awful about last week, both trying to take sole responsibility. I missed him terribly. I wanted to show him the grove but he’s not ready to go back. Given the circumstances, I understand. I told him I wasn’t ready to go back to Hoboken. We decided to take some time, for ourselves. Not a break up by any means, never, just a moment to explore what we’re each going through so we can better be there for each other.
In the grove I found a new entry in the journal I think will be of interest to you.
It’s titled: The Three Manners of Magiq
My father said he found writings left behind (I assume somewhere outside the grove hall) when Monarch’s Mountain forgot about Neithernor and eventually fell apart. He found compendiums of “lost memories,” chronicles of things that people have remembered about the other time, and he found studies of magic. Sorry, magiq.
He learned in his exploration of Neithernor that there are three currently known schools or “manners” of magic. “Currently” being the last time anyone came to Neithernor, which was a long time ago.
There’s the mundane or Material Magiq, which is the simplest of magic used in our world and the “time before.” It’s mostly charms and rituals that affect the world in small ways. Finding lost objects, remembering forgotten things, subtle changes in the weather… He says that’s mostly what you (the mountaineers) have performed so far. It borrows power from the surrounding world, and then gives it back when the charm or ritual is finished.
On the other end of the spectrum there’s primal or Wrought Magiq. Magic that draws energy from other things and places, nature, magical objects, people, and then repurposes it. But by doing so, also destroys it. It’s dangerous, unpredictable, and powerful, but not necessarily “bad,” though it’s often used by those who don’t care about the destruction of magic. Monarch’s Mountain also thought that Wrought Magic is what makes adepts, people born with a specific, innate power. Without realising, they instinctively draw from the world around them to perform their magic. (He says magiq is finite in our mundane world, so wrought magic is a fading talent that is also diminishing all other magic. Sorry, trying to get the “q” down.)
Then there is the third manner of magic that falls in between the other two.
It can be taught but is most powerful in those with the innate gift of creativity. He says it’s essentially storyteller magic. MM never had a name for it (there was mention that either it shouldn’t be named or its actual name shouldn’t be spoken) but they colloquially called it “Figuration.” It’s the only way, MM believed, that new magic could be created. There is power when new things, new worlds are “thoroughly thought up,” when rich stories are told. And the characters, the settings, the themes and meanings can all be creatively repurposed to perform magiq. But “storytelling” can be used in all sorts of creativity, not just writing. Anything that joins disparate elements into a new creation (which includes all sorts of crafts) can be used to create minor magiq.
But stories are the focus of figuration. It is the rarest magiq in our world and near impossible to perform now. It’s how he cast the protection spell on me. Well, partly. He did it by writing the story and then borrowing power from the six corners and also using power from Central Park to bring it to life. He had to use the other two manners to manage the minor figuration.
He said it’s difficult to learn, and near impossible to master… And to find the red house I’m going to have to perform it myself.
And if I don’t find it, all that you’re doing now will be for nothing.
Okay. So… Okay.