Words of Power form a core concept in The Dragon’s Bones novels.
These supernatural commands have remarkable capabilities. My villain, Zorasch, exercises them to subjugate and direct rampaging elephants and ferocious tigers in his defeat of the defenders of a city.
On the other hand, it takes focus to deploy them. Warrick has been learning the Words for much of his youth. Now, he studies them more diligently by reading the writings of his mentor, Sternen. Not everything happens as planned as shown in this excerpt from Wielding the Words.
”Not all the reading went so well. In the morning, Warrick encountered a wall he never experienced in learning from Falcon. The warder’s instructions read,
‘You may have already been taught the Words of Gathering of Flocks or the Words of Quieting of Horses. These come easily to the young. Words of Puzzlement and Confusion are much more difficult. They have a tendency to befuddle even the speaker. You must master the power of the Words, draw in their essence and channel their force outward. Never be a listener as the Words flow from you. Just start them on their way and retreat to let them work.’
Sternen then furnished The Words of Puzzlement and Confusion with the recommendation to apply them on a sparrow, field mouse or like small animal first. Warrick studied them, reviewing the sounds of the syllables in the text. He squatted under a tree at the far end of the goat pasture when he spied a barn swallow playing in the evening wind currents. Then, he released the Words at the unsuspecting bird. Sternen’s words predicted what came next.
Marta found Warrick on the second night, howling like a Mountain wolf at the full moon. Without cleaning up, he hastened to read Sternen’s explanation. Twigs and briars still tangled in his dark hair as he read. Mud still stained his trousers and a cattail stuck out of the back of his shirt.
‘If you are reading these words after having observed the bedazzlement of your subject, you may feel some beginning sense of mastery over the Words of Power. If, on the other hand, you slink back to the book after a few days of crazed running in the woods, please return to the beginning of my discourse and concentrate more fully.’”
Some of our gifts are like that, aren’t they? Sometimes we experience clever success. At other times, a scratchy cattail rises up from the back of our shirt.
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