Friday, February 2, 2018

Page 1515

Royo moved his hand up and down, to and fro, marveling at the sight before him.

The duplicates faded after a moment, however.

He did it again. He bumped his soul against the ardor sword, and he was prepared this time, so he was able to sense the ardor resonate briefly, like a kind of invisible flash.

The duplicate arms and swords returned, but Royo wasn’t satisfied. It had to be capable of more than just this, he felt. He bumped his soul into it again and held it there, trying get a more complete feel of both the ardor and the blade itself.

He needed to know the sword, to see it completely and understand all of its components. Examining its ardor could help with that, potentially. Ardor adapted itself to whatever structure it dwelled within. More specifically, it was the “flow” of ardor which adapted itself, and to a trained mind like Royo’s, that flow was discernible.

It was a shame that ardor wasn’t more common in the Undercrust, Royo had always felt. This training would have been far more versatile and valuable, if that were the case.

He found it. The flow of ardor. He had to concentrate harder to see patterns in it, as if holding up an imaginary magnifying glass to reveal its secrets.

The smaller, jagged distortions in the flow indicated the material of the sword. Gold and silver made up most of it, along with several trace elements he wasn’t trained to recognize. There was, however, one long, thin vein of either iron or nickel running right down the middle.

Not terribly surprising. Ardor famously flowed through iron and nickel so smoothly and cleanly that the two elements were indistinguishable from one another, when judging solely from their flow patterns. No other elements acted as such perfect conduits, as far as Royo knew.

But that wasn’t all he was interested in, here and now. He wanted to know where the ardor’s “pressure points” were.

Any object crafted by human hands would have structural weaknesses. That was one reason why it was so desirable to place ardor into it--because the ardor would compensate for those flaws. But to do so, the flow of the ardor would have to be disrupted, which often left detectable “whirlpools,” as it were.

As far as the physical structure was concerned, these whirlpools balanced everything out, eliminating weaknesses entirely, but that was fine, because Royo didn’t want to destroy the sword. Far from it. He only wanted to know where it would be best to apply pressure from his own soul. And he immediately found one whirlpool in the hilt.


The designer had probably intended for it to be there. But Royo also sensed eleven more along the length of the blade, the last one sitting just below the tip.

He bumped his soul into the hilt a little stronger, and when it appeared to do nothing, he realized that it was the same whirlpool that he’d been using all along. It wasn’t that it did nothing. It was simply already in use, maintaining the duplicate images that Royo was currently seeing.

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