He's angry at Wilem and he's angry at Sim. He'd lost a little more at corners than he had intended to, and he decides to try and play for Auri. It is no use heading for the fishery like this: Kilvin would hopefully send him back before he broke something, even with his fingers. He doesn't see her on the roof, so he tries down below, in her secret passageways. One door, then another, and that one seems awful strange. Almost like the stones are...glowing? It should be interesting, if nothing else. He heads inside.
...Asher pulls back. "Sorry. I think I misread things."
He's safe. Asher is no Ambrose. He has to hold in the sigh of relief. "New world. New customs. The fault is mine."
"...no, pretty sure it's mine. I was just unclear on why someone would eat an entire bowl of gumbo with that much hot sauce if it wasn't an ill-advised attempt to impress their crush."
He lets himself out to laugh, easily and brightly. Look, you are forgiven. Look, that was funny. Look, all is well. "Laughter is the end of tension", Illien wrote, and it is a lesson he learned well from..., well, that hurts too much to think about. He smiles. "I'm not accustomed to losing."
"I can tell. --Artists in Auradon often like people of the same sex as them."
He's happy to change the topic. "I am Kvothe, of the Edema Ruh, which doesn't mean anything to you. Suffice it to say that I was born to art in the way that third sons of nobles are born to unjustified arrogance and certain women are born to attention. We took in many sorts who wanted to escape their town for whatever reason, though most don't stay. Artists in steel or paint are regarded very differently: we don't have a uniform perception like you."
"Ah, yes, that'd be different. --Here artists are... expected to be rather strange and bohemian, and it is a profession taken up by those... inclined a certain way. And for reasons I do not understand this still holds true even when the people with those inclinations are not aware they have them."
"Artists are perhaps allowed a little more leeway than most, but in general they are expected to reflect well upon their patron, and that means fairly conventional behavior, at least in public. But I can't imagine not being aware of my own preferences like that."
Asher snorts. "In a lot of countries here most people don't know homosexuality is even possible."
"That must be frustrating for you!"
"Well, I can clear up the misunderstandings well enough. --Find out anything interesting?"
"The world has smallest parts! Molecules and atoms! We had an understanding of specific reactions, but we had to memorize them between substances. We couldn't break down into 'this much oxygen and this much iron'."
"Any of the things we know-- make sygaldry easier?"
"I'm left more confused, not less.We have a rune for water, and we've experimented and found it works better with spring water than ocean water, and dissolving materials in water makes the link worse. But we have another rune for rock, and that one does not seem to link to any of your elements. I'll have to try some things out."
"Might be worth checking to see if the rock rune works here. Could be we have different elements than you do."
"How would that even work? They're based off of these atoms, right? And the chemical reactions that I recognize make sense. Still, you're right it's worth trying. Though I'll need to find something to carve the stone with."
"What else do you need to do sygaldry and sympathy?"
"Sympathy relies on knowing the bindings and a strong Alar. Sygaldry requires knowledge of runes and how they fit together, and the ability to inscribe them."
"I meant more in terms of supplies."
"Whatever you want the sygaldry to happen to, and tools to carve those runes in. It varies with the material: metal is usually done with a mold, clay with knives and spoons and brushes, wood with knives, and so on. A source of fire is useful for any sympathist, but it isn't strictly speaking required."
"Ideally we'd figure out something your magic could do that other magic-- can't, or not cheaply. It would be best if you could teach people, of course. --What's an Alar?"
"The ability to believe what is, and is not, at the same time, with absolute certainty. The will to withstand reality."
"...that sounds paradoxical."
He shrugs. "It is. Not everyone takes it well. It can lead to some interesting situations when you're hiding memories from yourself."
"...now that sounds useful for spies."