piratekitten has declared February world-building month.
Every day in February, I will answer one question about any one of my settings.
The question post is here, please feel free to add more questions!
Is perceiving and manipulating strands innate or learned? How do people acquire and develop these abilities?
The ability to see or manipulate the Strands is an inheritable innate ability.
There are those who believe that, at one time, all humans had this power, but most of them are poo-pooed; studies show that almost every case of a known Strand-Weavers can be traced genealogically to a handful of magically inclined people in approx. 450 AD.
The innate power comes in a number of different types: not everyone who can work with the Strands can do the same things, and, indeed, the categories barely overlap at all. Thus, Spring’s ability to be a Tangler versus her brother Winter’s ability to smooth and calm the Strands, and so on.
Of course, part of the reason that the known strand-weavers can be traced back to the same people has to do less with insularity of genetics and more with insularity of training, knowledge, and literature.
The innate abilities – any of them – can be problematic without training, and can in some cases lead to abuses of the power, either accidental or purposeful. The organizations that exist to train and educate new strand-weavers can be very harsh with those caught in abuses. (Some say this is because they want to keep all the power controlled, others because they don’t want word to get around that rogue magicians, such as they are, are capable of hurting people and throwing around dangerous “spells.”)
Thus, most people who are “known” to be Strand-Weavers are educated by the same group of people, and thus know the same group of people (and thus, often, marry or at least have children with the same group of people).
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