Crucible of Worlds

“What does it mean to be a worldsmith?”

The little girl stood in a dark chamber, wide-eyed with admiration. A tall figure stood before her, silhouetted against the faint light, cast by an old lamp. She leaned over a book, watching the maelstrom that swirled below the chamber. Hints of images and shapes flickered in the vortex as she wrote. She answered without turning.

“Why, it’s exactly as the name suggests, my dear. We build worlds.” Sensing her pupil’s dissatisfaction, she continued. “Many ephemeral worlds are born in these chambers. They flicker out in an instant. It takes work to build a living, breathing world full of people with hopes and dreams and aspirations. We must lovingly write the fates of these worlds and those who inhabit them, for, without love, they shrivel into lifeless husks.”

“If you love them so much, why do so many of them have such cruel fates? Why do you write so much sorrow?” asked the little girl, still watching the master closely.

A smile tugged at the master worldsmith’s lips. She was pleased that her pupil was asking the right questions, but she was careful not to show it. As she replaced her stylus, the ink rushed back into the inkwell, swirling and glinting just like the starry cosmos that stretched around them. The little girl’s eyes sparkled every time she saw it happen. The master spoke again, softly this time.

“Because sorrow is a vital component of any world. It lends meaning to joy, it brings colors to the world that otherwise would be left wanting. And because it is so compelling! Remember this, child: Those who aren’t ken to sorrow cannot build a world. Those absorbed by sorrow must not build a world.”

Watching her young pupil absorb these words with such enthusiasm, she couldn’t help but let her smile blossom.

“And most importantly, remember not to leave their fates hanging. Once you start building a world, you must see it through. The ink must always flow… Even if it means getting ink on your hands.”

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