A Thread of (Mis)Fortune
Every Alarian adult and child knew the Weavers could weave Threads of influence into the fabric of reality. It wasn’t one of them popular myths either; it was fact.
“Nasty little buggers, them Weavers. Make a Weaver mad” – people often gossiped – “and they’ll knit you right up into a nice ball of yarn!”
Of course, Alarians’ mingled fear and fascination with those who could “influence reality from a distance” was more than justified. It was a known fact that the Guild of Weavers’ aura of mystery preceded their reputation.
Long orange cloaks, tattoos-scarring and mystical chants aside, word had it the Weavers commanded the power of gods. What word also had – and quickly lost – was the impression that Weavers were naturally born into their jobs. In truth, most Weavers started at internship level, and slowly made their way to junior level. When it came to altering the substance of reality, even gods needed bureaucratic management.
‘Oi! Brother-in-training Luus,’ cried a gangly little hooded figure from across the cosmic loom of all things. ‘Wouldn’t happen to have a bit of spare No.4 by any chance?’
In a thickset of colour-flashing Threads emerged a face full of pimples. From within his baggy orange gown he painfully extricated a book so enormous it could have fitted the history of the multiverse in its annex. ‘Which one’s that again, Eerik?’
‘Brother-in-training Eerik,’ the eponymous boy corrected him. ‘Page forty-two of The Little Weaver’s Manual. Chapter five: My First Cosmic Pattern.’
‘Right you are then,’ said Brother-in-training Luus, flipping the enormous pages in a rush. ‘No.4 you said?’
‘You mean Bestmeyer’s No.4 double-twisted Palladium Thread with little fluffy bits hanging out?’
‘Sounds about right. Got any of it to spare?’
‘Keep your cloak on!’ said Brother-in-training Luus, giving his prepubescent pimples a quick scratch. He snatched The Little Weaver’s First Weaving Kit and plunged himself nose-first into the mess of Weaving paraphernalia, his aluminium eyes reflecting the infinite colours of the Pattern. He resurfaced a while later, holding a small coil of metallic Thread between his teeth.
‘Here you are!’ he threw the coil across the cosmic loom, only to be inexpertly caught-and-dropped by his partner, who seemed to have forgotten he had telekinetic powers. ‘Try to bring yours next time, Eerik!’
‘Brother-in-training Eerik,’ he corrected him again. ‘Well now! I brought it last waiting, didn’t I?’
‘Yes, but you didn’t have to. I was to bring The Little Weaver’s Manual,’ said Brother-in-training Luus, giving the gargantuan book a demonstrative wave. ‘Karura be praised, I’ve been bringing it for two consecutive waitings now and I’m—’ he stopped in mid-sentence, sniffing the air. ‘You cooking again?’
Brother-in-training Luus pointed at the cosmic loom. ‘Is the smoke part of your assignment?’
The Pattern of Threads – the most noble and ancient Alarian technology, capable of translating a Weaver’s intent into the substance of the multiverse – was smoking itself soggy, filling its cosmic lungs with fumes of Chaos and Carnage. In laymen’s terms, that meant the populace of the cosmos was currently a burning anthill under the Weavers’ boot – a boot which momentarily contained the bowel contents of Brother-in-training Eerik.
Brother-in-training Luus let out a long whistle. ‘Umbra of Kavi! You’ve— you’ve— What did you do, actually?’
‘I ain’t done a bloody thing!’ said Brother-in-training Eerik a little too quickly.
‘Mate, you’d— you’d better not lie. To lie is to “alter the multiverse”’, said Brother-in-training Luus, concern coursing through his uneven complexion. ‘Lies easily imbibe the substance of reality, substituting truth for deception.’
Brother-in-training Eerik garbled something about unwiring the obnoxious little brat with ginger hair and a bit of a pout from the Pattern of Souls.
‘That kid over there you mean?’ said Luus, abandoning all former labels and titles related to Weaving. ‘Mate, you were supposed to unwire him.’
‘Thought I did!’ said Eerik.
‘No, you’ve just made the lad the luckiest man in Existence.’
From across the fabric of reality, the spoiled ginger kid was unknowingly getting every odd woven in his favour. For the longest of time, Eerik and Luus watched in awe how the little boy bent every cosmic law of decency and morality without the smallest consequence.
‘S’alright. It’ll be over soon,’ said Eerik through a mouthful of fingernails. ‘Kid’s just a middling. They don’t live very long, middlings. Besides, what possible harm could one overly-lucky, insane middling do?’
Luus stared into the thickset of Threads. ‘He’s just acquired a lot of—’
‘—he won’t do anything with it,’ Eerik shook his head.
‘Maybe not, but he doesn’t much care for reality. In fact, he seems to deny it altogether—’
‘—that shouldn’t mean anything,’ Eerik insisted.
‘He’s just been elected leader of middlings.’
Eerik rolled his eyes. ‘He’s an old man now. No one will take him seriously.’
‘Fifteen middling nations are now at war because of something he said—’
‘—ALRIGHT!’ bellowed Eerik, pulling a portable spindle from his robes. ‘I’LL TAKE HIS DARN LUCK AWAY!’
A crisis had been averted. The Pattern of Threads – the eerie loom that mapped with subatomic precision the totality of cosmic reality – was smoking no more. It was a long while before the two trainee-Weavers had managed to unweave the damaged Thread and restore the universal balance of things. Many cycles later, however, the Alarians continued to spread stories of the ginger middling who “nearly-ruined” the human world, and the two heroic Weavers-in-training who saved it.
As for the “malfunctioning Thread” – well, the Guild of Weavers made sure his like would never be seen again...