The Magic Engineer
inception until its destruction at the hands of the White Wizards?”
    “That has to be Westwind, or you wouldn’t have asked the question.”
    Dorrin wishes that he could think as quickly as Brede, or handle a blade as deftly, or…He catches his thoughts. Wishing will do no good.
    “And what is the only country in the world that truly followed the Legend?” Lortren pursues.
    “Westwind.” Brede is matter-of-fact. “That only proves the Legend held together a country based on female might of arms. It doesn’t prove the truth or untruth of the Legend. And, in the end, the white magic won out.”
    “Where did Creslin come from? And why do you enjoy freedom from chaos?”
    “Westwind. But he was rebelling against the Legend.”
    Lortren smiles, faintly. “Brede is correct in his reasoning—so far as it goes. We will deal with that later, however. Back to the question of the moment—why is the Legend patently untrue on its face?” The black eyes scan the room. “Kadara?”
    The redhead with the clean profile and clear skin nods momentarily. “Unless they had special wizardry or special machines, they couldn’t have had children. If they had chaos wizardry, that doesn’t fit, and the Legend doesn’t mention machines or men…”
    “So you are saying, in effect, that the Legend lies by omission?”
    Kadara nods.
    “For now, that is enough about the truth of the Legend. We’ve avoided the Legend’s social basis, although Brede spelled it out rather bluntly.”
    The blond youth looks at the floor, as if displeased at the attention.
    Kadara smiles. Dorrin swallows as he watches her eyes light on Brede.
    “Why is the Legend effective?” Lortren points at Mergan.
    Mergan glances helplessly at the floor, at the window, and finally back at the white-haired magistra before mumbling, “I don’t know, magistra.”
    “Think about it,” suggests Lortren. “Arcol is sitting there ready to strangle Brede, nearly twice his size, because Brede doubts the truth of the Legend. Westwind was the longest single continuing stable government in Candar, or in the world, and the only one which was guided since its beginning by the Legend. The next most stable and long-running is that of Recluce, founded by someone raised in the Legend. What do those things tell you?”
    “I don’t know.” Mergan looks at the stones in front of her leather pillow-seat.
    “Is that because people believe in it?”
    “Correct. Any government supported by a deep and widely-held belief will remain effective and stable so long as that doctrine remains widely believed. Why did Westwind hold to the Legend, despite the clear factual inaccuracies?”
    “Because the Legend worked for Westwind.” Brede’s polite words are almost sardonic, but not quite.
    Dorrin shakes his head. Beliefs! Machines and tools are much more solid than all the talk about governments and cultures. Even weapons are more solid than beliefs. He wishes he were back in his room, where he could work on the drawings of the new engine. His eyes turn toward the red-headed young woman, whose eyes, in turn, are upon the athletic and poised Brede.
    “…then why are the Whites so successful…?”
    Dorrin purses his lips. Lortren doesn’t understand, either, though she knows more than his father. Beliefs and blades are not all that can move the world, yet how can he prove that?
    “…most people in Fairhaven are pleased with their lives. Why? Tell me why that might be, Arcol?”
    Dorrin looks toward Arcol, whose mouth is open like a dying fish. He ignores the glimmer in Kadara’s eyes as she watches Brede, who, in turn, disregards that warmth bestowed upon him.

    “Why do I have to study weapons?” protests the wiry youth.
    “First, we live in an uncertain world,” says the muscular white-haired woman. “Second, because the skills will improve your physical condition and mental processes. And third, because you will need them in Candar.”
    “What? I’m

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