Reaching the hallway, Malley turned left, ran past the strange mosaic of a sun with a scowling face and pushed through the curtain. She ran along the corridor and then paused. Wasn’t this the upstairs corridor? She must have taken the wrong route. Quickly she doubled back and opened the door opposite. The chamber beyond was dark and half full of barrels. No matter, there was no time to find another way. She ran to the far door and slipped through it into a wood-panelled corridor. From there she turned left, then right, then stopped. She was at the top of the servants’ stairs.
Malley’s stunned silence was interrupted by the slow approach of the footsteps. It must be a different staircase. It just looked the same. She doubled back once more and ran back towards the bedrooms, thinking she could perhaps risk a jump from a window if it meant avoiding capture. No, wait, the bedrooms were on the floor above, so they wouldn’t be there. She tried a door anyway and found a bedroom, but the light was odd. Looking up, she saw the broad, sash window had moved from the wall to the ceiling. Malley stood with her mouth open until she once again heard the footsteps.
Finally Malley’s desperate flight ended in a well-furnished lounge with biscuits and tea laid out on a tray. She heard the footsteps approach once more; this time there was no way out. But it was no guard, it was the old woman she had seen sleeping in the tower earlier.
“Put down my belongings, young visitor. If you make no more trouble you may take tea with me and then I will show you the way out.”
The secret of geometry is one of the two great arts of the Lossanbrant, alongside alchemy. It has been practised, studied and taught there since the founding of Granmark and much of the nation’s exceptional architecture is due to the skills of the geometers.
Geometry is not simply a matter of calculation as many laypersons assume. A skilled geometer can find shortcuts to routes which are shorter than a direct path, perceive tiny details within scenes of extraordinary complexity, bend light along paths of their choosing and direct arrows in flight.
It is said that the true masters of the art can cause distant doorways to connect to one another, amend the topology of chains to unlink them without breaking them and that they know at once of any event that takes place nearby due to the changes it makes to the pattern of the world.
It is not only humans who practise geometry. There are geometric gateways spanning many miles, which no human geometer could possibly have the skill to construct. Most such structures date from the mythic epoch and their original purpose is lost to history.
Use of this secret takes time. This fact has had a considerable impact on the politics of the Lossanbrant, since it is much easier for the nation’s geometers to build impregnable fortresses than to have much impact on a battlefield. Similarly, the geometers within the Order or Cartographer adepts never travelled unaccompanied, since any hazard on their journeys which presented an immediate threat would find no remedy in geometry.