"We do not call it smithing, other-kin. It is not our understanding and it is so much more than metal-working." I was growing a touch impatient. For the last few hours I was rolling a ball of stone on the floor with the palm of one hand.
"I don't understand how this is supposed to help." I urged.
"Understanding, comprehension, knowing - BAH! All of these things are nothing if you do not have the paths. Paths take you through the woods, guide you to the wide-waters ..." He went on and on in that half-comprehensible way this entire time. I still was no closer to discovering the secret to creating such tools as I had received from them and he thought I was supposed to understand his philosophical soliloquies. What passed for a smithy - or not - looked more like a bar. Just across from the long house, this building had somewhat more furnishing than the meetinghouse of the elders. The most interesting thing in the building was a stone counter only a meter high. It was fashioned of four smooth stone slabs that were stacked atop one another. Set into the floor around it were a series of stone slabs like the others. Behind me Kalandrin sat at a table with a bench that wrapped around two sides. I sat on the wooden floor rolling a small stone ball about the size of a baseball around on the floor.
"Your problem is that you are not a shaper. You are just some other-kin rolling a stone sphere around on a dusty wooden floor." I stopped as frustration and annoyance collided with these words in my mind to make a burning anger. I didn't want to lash out but let the anger boil inside me, coursing through my veins.
"I doubt I could ever train one who is as separate from everything." his pointless words just kept stoking the fire growing in my heart and I slammed the ball on the floor.
"This is fucking stupid!" my mind raged,"What is the point of all these pointless words and philosophical musings? All that you have told me of use is that what I am doing is frustratingly futile!"
"Very well, you may go." the elder looked on the floor where I was sitting and stood. "But you may want to know that you are ready to train."
"What is that supposed to mean?" my voice was still harsh.
"See for yourself." I followed his gaze to the floor where I left the stone orb. At first I thought I had put it through the floor, but as I looked I noticed it was no longer round; it was flat. I walked over and picked up the disc, turning it over in my hands. The side I pressed into the floor was hot to the touch and the top-side was cold. My eyes returned to the elder, the question in my eyes leaping from my mind.
"Your anger. Emotion. What are you, other-kin?"
"I... I am human."
"And what am I?"
"You are... folkin."
"But in our language I am only us-kin. Who is 'us'?" I hesitated a moment.
"All of you. The Patron, the Healer, yourself, my friend and the rest."
"Why is there no word for each of our bodies?" it was obvious to me.
"You all look the same." Kalandrin ruffled his feathers and shrugged his shoulders. I heard chuckling in my mind.
"No, other-kin. To us we look different. We only look the same to you because of the vast dissimilarities between our bodies. Believe me, there are noticeable differences between each of us." I thought about what the Patron told me in his longhouse and reconstructed my response.
"Because your light-self is what is truly individual?"
"That is also incorrect. Our light-selves are each made from shades of the same light. The sun glows yellow, the moon glows white, the sky glows blue, the stars are blue and red and yellow and white." He stopped deliberately.
"But they are all shades of the same light."
"As our bodies are all shaped of the same sort of things as the earth." another deliberate stop.
"Which again is just another shade of the same light."
"What then, other-kin, is more important? The shade or the light?" my mind was swimming and I could barely follow him. Part of me thought it was just another frustrating drill but I held my calm .
"I am not sure." my eyes fell to the floor and I was embarrassed.
"Calm down, other-kin. Bear these words in mind always as they are the first words of the Shaper's Path. The shade is the essence of individual self, the light is the essence of the universe. Shape is the element that links the two and identifies one to the other." Outside the sky fermented into the colors of sunset.
"Now is not the time to go, other-kin, but I have nowhere for you to sleep. Go to the Healer, she can find you a bed."I placed the disc on the table and went out into the twilight, making for the Healer's temple, the first words of the Shaper's path rolling over and over in my mind.