The Sixth Tenet

“WHAT!?”

Patches’ voice boomed through the shop.  Her eyes turned a reddish pink, and a little of that dark look I’d seen before came through again.

“WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU NEED MY PATCHES!?”

I returned my own look, stern and stolid.  “It’s part of the bargain, and I’ll need them for my next step.”

“What could you possibly be scheming with that whore that would need my patches!?  They’re my everything!  need them!”  The threads crossing her skin and cloth lit up all at once with the same deep pink as her eyes.

I reached out with my blackened hand and grabbed hers.  I looked into her eyes and smiled, and she began to calm down.  “Master, your apprentice needs a refresher on the tenets.  Could you recite them to me once again?”

I had flustered her a little with that one.  She looked at me with a questioning stare.  “Why?  That doesn’t really seem to be relevant.”

“Please, could you recite them to me?”

“Well, I guess.  Live simply, live purely, trust yourself, trust the patches, live selflessly.  Now, what does that have to do with anything?”

“I’ve learned something about the tenets since I’ve been here.  They’re the guiding principles that keep you in check and stop you from consuming the magic whole-heartedly.  But the other way, that’s important, too.”

Patches looked confused. “How so?”

“As a runewarden, my magic is held back from completely consuming me by the limit of what I can do.  The runes do what they’re designed to do, no more and no less.  But for patch magic, that’s a different story.  What is there to keep me from being consumed by the patches themselves?  I am not to outshine them, but what if they outshine me?”

The question seemed to have baffled Patches entirely.  “What do you mean?  That’s the entire point of the magic.  Let it be your guide, and it will reward you in kind.”

“But that’s the thing.  There’s a difference between being a guide and being a slave master.  Don’t walk over it, but don’t be its doormat, either.  Listen, heed its warnings, and take its advice when its prudent.  As the five tenets say, don’t let the magic’s use revolve around you, but also your life shouldn’t revolve around it.”

Patches’ eyes narrowed at that remark.  “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying I’ve learned the sixth tenet — Live authentically.  Imitation and facsimile are just as terrible as vanity and narcissism.  As a craftsman first and a servant second, your duty is to your inspiration, not the people.  The magic of the patches requires you, it is your duty to use it to its fullest.

“Pandora, I’m saying you’ve been violating the sixth tenet most your life, and that your patches have been punishing you with each of your apprentices.”

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