15 Chapter 15 - Conversations with Selena
Their conversation ended up lasting all day. They were so entrenched in there talk, that they barely noticed when food was placed before them at lunch, and then supper time. Joseph was sure his father and the tutors would overlook his absence. He couldn't bear to pull himself away.
"FIRE is alive! You need to feed it, to keep it going, just as you would any living person. I'm just frustrated with not being able to do anything with fire for fear of burning someone or something."
Joseph could tell she was really frustrated with her limitations. Maybe he could speak with his father. They talked about turning her whole body into fire, in order to maybe fix the issue with her eyes, but she wasn't sure.
"I see FIRE as a force, or energy. It travels through the air like light. You can't see it, but you can feel it. Kind of like how the sun provides warmth. I know that there are animals that can see heat, so it must be like seeing as we do with light."
"Yet, you are alive, and you travel through the air, granted you are tied to the ground, but it is the same to me. FIRE is just more free, able to move swifter and more fluid then we who have solid bodies."
"It has no body, and can spread from areas with high energy to low energy. Certain materials can channel this energy easily and others are resistant. This is why the outside of a brick oven won't bake bread but the other side of a skillet can cook eggs and bacon."
"Very true," she conceded, but he could tell she still believed it was alive. So, he tried from a different angle.
"I think everything is made of smaller and smaller particles. As these particles get energy, they wish to be free. You can see this because ice is cold and hard and solid. As it warms, the particles have more energy so they aren't held so rigidly and it becomes water. Finally, as the water gets hot enough, the energy exceeds the forces holding the particles together entirely and they escape as air. Fire never destroys anything but the freed particles can leave and we think they are gone but they are just somewhere else. This is also how hot air warms your face as the escaping particles bump into you and give some of their energy to your face to warm it. I think a fire hot enough could turn everything into particles floating in the air. I think normal air has some kind of special particle that helps fire burn but it can be used up. This explains why cutting off the air by burying a fire stops it from burning."
She was silent for a long time. "You have given me a lot to think on."
Joseph knew that what she believed could have some truth in this world. He remembered in his past life, people who talked about heat death. As everything slowly grows colder, all life would be impossible. Even stars have died. Maybe fire being alive in that aspect isn't wrong.
As he lay in his bed that night, he thought over everything they had talked about. When he dreamt that night, it was winter. A blizzard had blown in, knocking out power, and people were freezing. He had to burn furniture to stay warm. All of the potted plants he had in his apartment died. When he woke, he was chilled to the bone. His blanket had fallen off in all of his tossing and turning. It took all through breakfast for him to warm up. Stella was afraid he had taken sick, but he assured her he was fine.
He turned his thoughts to the craftsmen he would meet that day. Taking his book of notes with him, they headed to the carpenters.
The head carpenters were a man and a woman. They were obviously not related, nor in a relation with each other, other than their working one. The woman faded back, paying attention to the conversation, but allowing the man to talk.
Joseph explained his ideas for a water driven saw mill and normal mills. The man explained about their current mills. They had three in a line, the first for hulling the grains, the second for grinding coarse flours, and the last for the fine fancy flours. The concept of having the same water that drove the grain mills also cutting the lumber excited them both. The woman told him to take Joseph straight to the blacksmiths right that minute to see what was necessary to get it going.
Joseph explained everything about the lumber mill to the blacksmiths, all over again, giving them more detail because they understood what the carpenter didn't. Then he went on to talk about the whisk, noodle extruder, water driven power hammer, potato masher, egg slicer, cheese slicer, and hand crank mixer. They became so excited between them, with the carpenter adding comments, that they completely forgot about him.
He watched as they took his drawings and notes and left the room, talking excitedly between them. Standing there, feeling a bit of their excitement, he left and headed for the tailors. He was hoping to speak to them about some more of his ideas, but they didn't have a master class person for him to talk to. They had all been back in the town with Stu.
Looking over the hand and peddle powered sewing machines and weaving looms that his dad had already given them, he decided he probably couldn't add much at this time for them.
"They're a bit fancy, but they do the job far faster than we ever could by hand," said one of the women, cheerfully.
"I've never seen anything like them before."
"Well, I've been told that they aren't anywhere else in the world. The master makes enough clothes for all us slaves, but no more. He doesn't like to disrupt trade guilds."
"I had some clothing designs, that I was hoping to talk to someone about, but there's no masters here."
"No, sorry, they're at the training town, one stop back. I could look at them? I'm not sure how much good that would do you?"
After looking at his drawings, she shook her head with a laugh. "These are all way over my head. They're beautiful designs that I'm sure some noble or prince would love, but I wouldn't even begin to know where to start to make these."
Joseph nodded. He figured, but it was nice to talk to someone about it. Wishing her a good day, he headed off to eat lunch with his dad.
"I heard you spent all day with Selena yesterday," his dad said as he sat down.
"I really enjoyed talking to her. She had a lot of input for me about how magic works."
"I hear you were wanting me to make her a house made of stone?"
"If she doesn't fear burning anything, she could be freer to continue her progress. I can tell that she's holding so much back because she doesn't want to hurt anyone."
Nodding thoughtfully, his dad chewed on the bread that went with their meal.
"I also saw the tradesmen, and I have to say, the looms at the tailors and seamstresses, were amazing."
"You saw them?" The twinkle in William's eyes promised boasting was about to commence, so, Joseph settled in to listen as his dad began to tell him about the adventures attached with the equipment. As was true of all his stories, Joseph was quickly drawn in, and several hours passed.
"I'm afraid Selena won't be able to travel with us. With the current political situation, traveling with a fire mage, even one as crippled as her, would be seen in a bad light. So, you probably need to spend as much time learning from her as you can before we leave here."
"She can't write notes for me like Stu, seeing as how she can't write…" agreed Joseph. Bidding his father goodbye, he hurried to go see her again. He couldn't wait to hear what her thoughts were on their last conversation, now that she'd had a chance to think on it.