TWO | Two Wolves at War, Pt. 1

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Surprisingly, there isn't much to do when you're marching toward destiny.

There's a great deal of marching, obviously. And a great deal of setting up camp, eating and sleeping by a fire, breaking down camp, starting again. The fact that the fabric of reality in the Long Land was "stretchy" did not help matters at all. And so, after a week or so of this, I was just plain bored.

"Training," Gram said when I complained about the monotony.

"I can't exactly just start playing around with the knotwork as we walk."

"But you can start learning from the braid. So train."

I hated when she was right. I hated it even worse when I realized I should have thought of that myself. It wasn't like it was a new concept. I had actually used the knotwork to learn a few things in the past. I had even discovered I was a little better at it than most Teth. I could 'search' the braid, sort of like a mental Google search, and focus on the things I needed or wanted to know. It wasn't even that difficult, and it did pass the time.

Except ...

Except the last time I dipped into the knotwork of the woven necklace I wore, I found myself stuck and mired in a battle with Aeodymus, who had nearly beat me by remote control. I was trapped by a snare of dark knotwork, and the despair and hopelessness of that still lingered. It was the braid that gave me a means of escape, though—by allowing my mother to make contact with me. My mother, who was herself trapped right alongside Aeodymus, in a shredded universe that Xander and some of the Teth had fashioned into a prison.

So, to be honest, I was little gun shy. The thought of dipping back into the stream of the braid's knotwork—not just observing it but actively entangling myself in it, as I had before—it scared me.

Gram must have caught my hesitation. "It's ok, Sawyer. I'm here. I'll watch you, and make sure you're safe. I can tether to you, give you a lifeline out. If you sense any trouble, you follow that."

"Is it that simple?" I asked.

She laughed. "There's nothing simple about it, but it's that straightforward, at least. If you use a tether, you're never fully engaged. You wouldn't be able to make the sorts of changes you've made with Edgar or within the necklace. But you can observe. You can make small adjustments. It's as safe as you're going to get."

I nodded, and watched as Gram used a piece of twine that had been wrapped around her wrist. She made a complex pattern that told a story of linking one person to another, of forming an anchor and even a bridge. As I watched, the knotwork wove outward from the twine, extending beyond the physical pattern until its more 'energized' pattern included both me and Gram. I felt an odd sort of tingle in the back of my skull, as if someone was watching me. And I could sense Gram there, even as I turned and looked in other directions.

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