“I don’t know who the haggard man was,” Peter said, “but I do know he was industrious. He hurried about as if time was of the essence, and he was following a well-practiced plan.” The man chocked the oxcart’s wheels, unhitched the team, then unloaded the packhorses and tethered them farther away. Finally, he clambered onto the bed of the oxcart and pulled the tarpaulin off its cargo. Looming in the bed of the cart was a machine consisting of a cube-shaped frame of sturdy oak timbers reinforced with iron plate; with each edge measuring a man-and-a-half long. Mounted inside the wooden framework were three distinctly different parts, each stacked one atop the other.

“When I was a waggoner, I hauled many strange contraptions and doobry for clever artisans, woodworkers, metalsmiths, stargazers, and wizards,” Peter said. “I tell you this now, m’lord, to make it clear that I’m used to the far-fetched notions of Land Folk. But never before have I seen a machine that seemed to combine so many different arts into one. It was part craftsmanship, part alchemy, and part sorcery.” 

Abruptly, Peter stopped talking, and began fidgeting. An uncomfortable silence fell across the room while Peter began looking here and there at nothing in particular. To this, Kevin said nothing. Finally, Peter blurted apologetically, “I don’t know how to put into words what I saw next, sir.” A keen sense of guilt constricted his chest as he said, “I saw it, but I can make no sense of what I saw.”

Galwynn opened his eyes three-quarters way and scoffed, “Nonsense, Peter. You’re doing quite well. In fact, many of my First Year apprentices at the Academy Lux would have difficulty telling a story as well as you have done already. 

“Listen, my friend, don’t try to explain what you saw. Leave that to me,” said the Master of Enlightenment. “Instead, concentrate on describing what you saw. I sometimes tell my apprentices who are as full of doubt as you, that it might help if you took a moment to think and break down what you saw into parts you recognize. Don’t worry about not understanding the purpose of the parts. Just describe them in terms of familiar examples from your own life.”

Kevin smiled warmly. “I have faith in you, friend Peter. You can do it.”

The shepherd looked at Galwynn skeptically for a moment. Then he gazed up at the ceiling, took a deep breath, and then, putting his faith in the advice of a younger man who seemed to know more than most about recounting a tale, began describing the machine he had seen on Mt. Majestic.

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