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were so like weaving. If he had some of those tapestries, it would give him another way of understanding her work. All that was left, though, was the scarf. Her gift to him. He knew she had encoded a message for him within it, but he had not yet been able to decipher it. In truth, he did not know if he wanted to decipher it. Yet he felt the scarf held his only hope for translating her more complex spells.

He preferred to study it in private, but now time was short. They would arrive at Thenothk in less than an hour, and he had not yet accomplished what he must.

He ran his fingertips over the irregularly spaced bumps, as if reading braille. Grains of dirt imbedded in the weave scratched his raw skin. The dirt, of course, had come from the mines where he had taken her, where she-

He turned his thoughts away. He must not lose control here, in front of Blaylock.

Handling the scarf, as studying her files, unsettled him. Her spells reflected the way she thought. They were pieces of her. Pieces she had given him as she'd struggled for her last breaths. He did not want to go back to that time, to that place. He did not want to remember.

When he studied her spells on his ship, alone, and the memories became too much for him, he had found two solutions. If he stopped himself soon enough, he could simply move on to another task. The task that most helped to order and focus his thoughts was organizing his own spells, grouping them into progressions as he had begun to do so long ago. Already he had defined two other progressions, spells that built on one another, becoming more and more complex, their equations containing more and more terms. And following those progressions backward, he had discovered a one-term equation lying at the base of each, just as he had discovered
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