blood runs true

(in the discorruption of flesh – books! and cleverness!)

Artwaltzes, as a rule, are generally good with their hands. This is just a thing that is: It is common sense passed down through the generations with all the obviousness of the sky's blueness and the earth's roundness. It is such an ordinary thing that it is not even presented in the ancient fairy-tale manner of the Holy Sword's innate justice.

(Before this mess, your father always used to make you tiny creatures out of paper and golden wire, one for each day of audiences that he could not see you, and you lined your shelves with them in a pale parade. They were so perfect that they almost seemed to breathe.)

You gather up the pieces, one after another. Beneath your hands are fragments of iridescent shell, spun gold, freshwater pearl, foreign metals you can't possibly discern by touch: all spun so finely that they feel almost as though they might shatter even further if you just touch them wrong. Prayers could not have held this staff together, you think.

As far as the history of your family can tell you, the gift is weak in you. Things don't dance themselves to life underneath your fingertips. You can barely fix ordinary broken objects, even when they are made out of metals and glass. So doing anything to help the state of this staff that the voice inside you so grieves over is going to be difficult.

But difficulty has never stopped you once before in your life, and even here in this bizarre world with a body that feels somehow alien to you in ways you can't possibly explain, difficult does not mean impossible.

You gather up the pieces, one after another, walk carefully up the treasury stairs, and sit down in the garden. You can do this, you think, and lay out the broken staff in the grass.