Water Logic [Elemental Logic Series Book 3]
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by Laurie J. Marks
Category: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Description: Amid assassinations, rebellions, and the pyres of too many dead, a new government forms in the land of Shaftal--a government of soldiers and farmers, scholars and elemental talents, all weary of war and longing for peace. But some cannot forget their losses, and some cannot imagine a place for themselves in an enemy land. Before memory, before recorded history, something happened that now must be remembered. Zanja na'Tarwein, the crosser of boundaries, born in fire and wedded to earth, has fallen under the ice. Now, by water logic, the logic of patterns repeated, of laughter and music, the lost must be found--or the found may forever be lost. By water logic, a cow doctor becomes a politician. A soldier becomes a flower farmer. A lost book contains a lost future. The patterns of history are made and unmade.
eBook Publisher: Small Beer Press, 2007 2007
eBookwise Release Date: August 2007
10 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [526 KB]
Reading time: 335-470 min.
"Frankly, it's mind-bending stuff, and refreshing."--James Schellenberg, The Cultural Gutter
"How gifts from the past, often unknown or unacknowledged, bless future generations; how things that look like disasters or mistakes may be parts of a much bigger pattern that produces greater, farther-reaching good results."--Booklist (Starred Review)
"Finely drawn characters and a lack of bias toward sexual orientation make this a thoughtful, challenging read."--Library Journal
"Marks's characters are real people who breathe and sleep and sweat and love; the food has flavor and the landscape can break your heart. You don't find this often in any contemporary fiction, much less in fantasy: a world you can plunge yourself into utterly and live in with great delight, while the pages turn, and dream of after."--Ellen Kushner
"Marks plays the fantasy of her unfolding epic more subtly here than in previous volumes, and the resulting depiction of intransigent cultures in conflict, rich with insight into human nature and motives, will resonate for modern readers."--Publishers Weekly
By winter's end, the field of rubble had become famous. The new councilors of Shaftal had begun to arrive in Watfield from far and near, and all came to view the remains of the destroyed wall. Seth went there as soon as she and her Paladin companion entered the city, even before they sought a place to lay down their heavy packs and thaw their frozen fingers.
The massive wall had surrounded Watfield Garrison. Now the stones lay in a swath through the city. Seth squatted down, took off her gloves, and with numb fingers broke a small stone loose from its icy mortar. She set it atop a much larger one, the surface of which had been flattened by the stone mason's chisel. The small stone shuddered sideways off its wide base, to impinge upon another, which cracked free from the ice that pinned it down, and rolled away. Now, that stone touched two others, which also hitched themselves sideways. The chain reaction quickly spread, from a few stones to many, until noisy waves of movement rippled ponderously in both directions, between the buildings, out of sight.
Seth had stood up to watch. She felt cold air on her teeth and realized she was gaping. Everyone spoke of this wonder--but she had not truly believed it.
"You'd better put your gloves back on," the Paladin said.
It seemed impossible Seth could still be in her familiar world. Yet she pulled on her gloves, which like her hat and jerkin were tightly knit of unwashed, undyed wool. The grease that repelled snow and rain from her hat and gloves still smelled like dirty sheep, and the busy city continued to clatter, shout, slam, ring, and rattle even as the crack and thud of the supernatural stones faded into the distance. Seth said, "The wall can't be rebuilt. These stones will always refuse to remain one on top of the other--to even touch each other."
The Paladin, as pragmatic as Seth but even less talkative, shuffled her feet, as if to remind Seth how cold they were and how welcome a hot meal would be. "The G'deon lives in the city center, in a house called Travesty." She gestured towards a busy artisan's district, where an oversized shoe advertised a cobbler's shop, a normal-sized wheel the wheelwright's, and a gigantic needle and thread the tailor's. Seth felt offended by the asymmetry of these displays.
"You go," she said to the Paladin. "I'll find my own way."
They parted ways, in the manner of strangers thrown together who had never become friends. Alone now, Seth walked along the edge of the rubble, following the mostly obscured road that once had abutted the garrison wall. On the opposite side of the restless debris stood what once had been an orderly group of garrison buildings. Some were fire-scarred, and others were heaps of charred beams and wrecked furniture. Many were being rebuilt. She could hear the carpenters chanting breathlessly as they pulled on the ropes that lifted a center beam. The banging of hammers punctuated the racket of the city. Roofers swarmed over the top of one building, shouting cheerful curses at each other. At another, the carpenters were hanging clapboards as fast as they could drive in the nails. Some of them wore soldier's gray, but most of them wore Shaftali longshirts, several layers, so they could take them off and put them on again depending on how cold the day became and how vigorously they worked.
The main gate lay flat on its face, embedded in dirty ice. There, two soldiers were gathering stone blocks that had begun to clutter the passage. In their wheelbarrow, the stones banged the wooden sides as they struggled to get away from each other, but the soldiers seemed accustomed to this extraordinary behavior.
The woman soldier looked up as Seth began picking her way through the passage. "Carefulness," she advised. "Rocks move much."
The man soldier had stopped his work to watch a grinding wave of movement he had inadvertently instigated in the field of stones. His wave encountered another coming from the other direction, and there was a brief confusion. A raven that had been perched on one of the stones flew up in startlement. The waves separated and continued on, and more rocks rolled into the passageway he had just cleared. The soldier rolled his eyes comically. The raven landed nearby and began preening its flight feathers.
"I would like to speak to the general," said Seth. "Is that possible?"
"The general is in quarters," said the man soldier. "Will I--I will show you the way."
Seth followed the soldier in dumb surprise, feeling as if a door she'd expected to stick had swung easily open, without even a squeak of the hinges. The soldier said, "I am Damon. You have traveled far?"
"I'm Seth, a Basdown cow doctor. Now I'm a councilor."
The soldier said, "A councilor? Your mission will be difficult. I follow orders only--easier, eh?" He gestured meaningfully at the sky.
Puzzled, Seth looked up. The raven she had noticed at the gate now floated overhead. Why did this soldier find the bird significant? She said, "Is that a G'deon's raven?"
"That one has not talked today, so I am not certain. Still, I have been polite to it." He grinned.
When Seth first realized Clement was a soldier, the woman's darkness of spirit, her bouts of formality, and even her ravening hunger had made sense to Seth. But this soldier's friendliness and humor were as surprising as the supernatural raven. Fortunately, the sound of hammers and saws rose around them in such a din that Seth could not have answered the soldier had she been able to think of something to say.