Witchy Newton

Thalanes dug into Calvin’s pack and pulled out his powderhorn.  He shook a pinch of the gunpowder into the palm of one hand.  “I want you to use this gunpowder as a material component of the gramarye.  “Just like you used three drops of blood back in Nashville, in your love-charm in Father Angleton’s tent.”

Sarah blushed, thinking of poor Calvin, still smitten.  “I think I can do that,” she agreed.

“The gunpowder serves the same function as the words,” Thalanes explained.  “They both just build a bridge, to get power from you into the fire.”

“Of course,” Sarah said, feeling slightly offended.  “Just like the blood in my love-charm.”

“Forgive me a little lecture,” Thalanes said, “but I am, after all, a priest.  Sir Isaac Newton, you probably know, was a great wizard.”

“Everyone knows that.”

“He was a great practicing magician and an even greater theoretical one.”

“He wrote the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Magica just the year before he joined John Churchill’s Glorious Revolution against the Necromancer’s Eternal Commonwealth.  Everyone knows that, too.”

Thalanes smiled.  “Perhaps not everyone.”

“Okay, but I know it.”

“Have you read the book?”

Sarah shook her head.  “The Elector’s got a library, but it isn’t that good.”

“Read it when you can.  Newton formulated two laws to explain the efficacy of a material component in any work of gramarye.”

“This I don’t know.”

“I’m glad to hear I am finally able to teach you something you don’t already know.”  Thalanes laughed.  “Newton’s Law of Sympathy states that things that appear to be connected, are in fact connected.  And his Law of Contagion states that things that have once been together, are always together.”

Sarah screwed on her thinking cap and tried to apply Newton’s laws to the lighting of the fire and the little pile of gunpowder in Thalanes’s palm.  “So the gunpowder is an efficacious material component,” she said slowly, “because gunpowder and fire appear to be connected, so they really are.”

“Very good.”

She considered further.  “I suppose if I hold the gunpowder in my hand and then throw it into the fire when I cast, then I also catch up the Law of Contagion.  Me, the gunpowder and the fire will always be together.”

“Excellent,” Thalanes said.  “You would have run circles even around old Palindres.”  He poured the gunpowder into her hand, carefully dusting all of the grains off his fingers into the neat little pile.

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