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Spirits of Potential

A person's life is a series of choices, expanding constantly outward into an inifinite number of outcomes. Were we to graph these choices before they were made, the resulting branching figure would resemble a hugely complex tree, and each possible point of death the leaf at the end.

The image that results is a basic fractal. Viewed from far away, only a few of the most important choices are immediately noticeable. And yet, when examined closer, there are hundreds of choices every instant. Some lines run parallel for so long they are nearly indistinguishable. And yet, at every level of viewing, the same branching pattern is seen.

The spirits are like leaves and branches, constantly growing, able to be pruned. Each spirit, when viewed from afar, has this similar branching pattern, which upon closer inspection is repeated even in the finest viewable detail. The representation of both the chaos and the order in potential, and the relationship between the two aspects, should be clearly obvious to anyone who can see the emergent pattern.


Potential's throne is roughly hewn from a single mangrove tree; more specifically, a type of mangrove tree only found on Mayapore. Large parts were left uncarved. The parts that have been carved, however, were done to such a fine detail and integrated so finely that they seem almost natural, as if the tree was simply grown that way.

An intricate branching pattern is etched into the wood. The pattern is very similar to that of the potential spirits, a chaotic system of varying thicknesses. The effect is such that a tree-like pattern is visible from the doorway, and grows ever more detailed as one moves closer. Even under a fine magnifying glass, the pattern is seen in ever smaller lines, disappearing into infinity, or trailing off into the unhewn bark. The only other feature to the throne are the carved flowers around the base, aster and star of Bethlehem, curling intertwined and merged naturally out of the line pattern so there is no break in the feeling of continuity.

If anyone bothers to find out, the tree was grown this way, fell down of natural causes, and was carried into the throne room without ever being changed. Things have the potential to grow up in the strangest ways when god-like power takes a direct guiding hand.

Of Gardens and Mazes and Hallways

Li loves to walk through the chancel. Her mind may have been greatly sharpened by Prasinos' powers, but she still has trouble comprending the four-dimensionality of the physical space. Leave that to the young ones and the power of logic. She is more happy to simply walk through the land. The hedge mazes provide plenty of ground to cover, and the hallways a full of places to explore on a rainy day. And Wallace's garden is absolutely magnificent.

But if you turn through the maze just right - in at least one spot this involves turning exactly 180 degrees and seemingly retracing one's steps - you will find yourself in a small clearing. A plot of land, about 20 feet on each side, sits squarely within the junction of three hedge paths. Where a fourth path would lead out, a door is set perfectly into the hedge. The door, of course, usually leads back into the mansion. Second floor, turn right from the main stairs then right again at the junction, three doors down. Except when it needs to serve as a gateway back to reality.

The plot of land is striking in that it's perfectly featureless. The soil looks fertile enough. In fact, it is as fine as any soil in the chancel. The lack of vegetation is deliberate. Here, Li comes when she has tired of walking, and here, she tends to her own little garden. It is the representation of a potential for a garden to grow. The seeds are planted and watered with great care, the soil fertilized. And every weed is lovingly plucked away, even those planted by the gardener herself; anything actually bursting forth from the soil is an unwanted plant and therefore a weed.

The spot is strange to a normal observer, but to Koh Li-Leng, it makes perfect sense.

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Last edited 20 October 2003 2:03 pm by Nick (diff)