Limassol, Easter, 1925. “Gwen, dear — “
Gwen, dear —
Won’t make it to Alex this time, sorry. Flatter myself you’ll be disappointed. But your ma thinks I’m a bad influence, so silver lining, eh, and I’ll answer the questions I can, here.
You wanted to know about the Invisible Arts and the Great Arts and if there’s a difference. Had to think about this one. Spose an invisible art is any art the Suppression Bureau wants to lock up. And the great Arts count, but you can argue about what counts as an invisible art, and no-one argues about what counts as a Great Art. No-one who matters, anyway.
So the Nine: three Bright, three Night, three Unregarded. The nights are nyctodromy, skolekosophy, husher, the brights are horomachistry and that one I can never spell right and that sort of Persian one. Unregarded are a bit infra dig, tell you the truth. I’m a fair nyctodromist, smattering of some of the rest. But ‘nyctodromist’ means I’ve sharpened up my fet, know my way around the house in the wood, how to catch seventy-seven winks, how to cut corners through the world without getting in trouble. Bit about thresholds, bit about the sea-powers, little bit of Vak. (But Vak makes my teeth twitch.)
(Don’t know how up on your animatomy you are. Fet’s the bit you poke into the Mansus when you go, sort of like poking your tongue in somehwere special. Tell you what, wish I hadn’t written that. Thinking about crossing it out.)
Memory serves, last time you asked me if I was an adept, I started trying to explain, your ma got frosty, I didn’t want to cause a stink, changed the topic. So look. No-one’s got any business calling himself an adept unless he’s been through the Stag Door (and most of ’em are ‘him’, you know how it is). But not everyone who’s been through the Stag Door is an adept. I’m not. Adept’s a state of mind I spose. Scholars know things, adepts do things. Cept scholars also do things and adepts know things! And I do things and I wouldn’t call myself an adept. Spose I don’t mind getting my hands dirty. State of mind.
But don’t say ‘magician’, Gwen, dear. Magicians are trade. Or rabbit-botherers. Don’t know which is worse.
Come to think about it, invisible arts are an adept thing and Great Arts are a scholar thing. Put it like that, adepts are the eones Suppression Bureau locks up and scholars are the ones they don’t. (They try to lock me up now and then but I’ve made it pretty clear I’m not having it.)
My advice honestly is stay away from the whole business. Far away. So why am I in it? Because I couldn’t stay away from it, and if you can’t either, you won’t, and that’s how you’ll know, and that’s how it’ll be. My other advice: read two books on skolekosophy so you know what you’re staying away from, and then stay away from the rest of it. And if you’re going to sharpen your own fet, make sure you dampen down your phost or beef up your trist, because you’ll stick out like a nun in a you-know-what. Never think the House is safer than the Wood. Better lit is all.
Pots of love