Sarah stayed at Kedrik’s homestead for a time. She found out that it was called the Raven’s Den. Inacurate on the surface, the name made a lot of sense after a time.

She spent most of her time there in conversation between sleeping and wandering the woods. Kedrik showed her some of the work that went into creating the Totems and Relics but it became clear to both of them that it was not Sarah’s passion. Luckily so, because she didn’t seem to have a knack for it.

Still, the studio fascinated her. It was an array of archaic tools that probably matched their 18th century counterparts, and some so modern it was intimidating.

At first she had expected to see Kedrik’s character emerge as some sort of old-world entity lost in the modern world. She quickly found that assumption to be off the mark.

She entered what she felt was a medieval encampment and found herself in the middle of a synergistic mix of all things. Even the theory about food was amusingly mixed. A dizzying array of nootropics, nutrient optimization, and ‘ideal cooking methods’ swirled with what seemed outdated to her.

Some nights they ate duck hunted by Kedrik himself. Other nights they ate deliciously complex vegan protein substitutes. There was cheese, but not very much, and often something other than cow. She found that butter ended up in her coffee as often as raw eggs, but occasionally it was just creamer. Or black.

At first the contradictions seemed to be everywhere. She was skeptical simply by the lack of consistency, but something at the back of her mind told her to be patient. To watch. And to wait.

It didn’t take long before something of a system became apparent. Some way of integrating ideas in the kitchen to concepts in the studio, constantly informed by what happened right outside the windows in the wild spaces that surrounded the house. Everything from the architecture to his creations were assembled with a healthy dose of, as Kedrik put it, “whatever works and feeds the soul”.

They were sitting in the living room, where they’d first sat weeks earlier, sipping tea that Sarah was positive had some sort of herbal infusion in it, when Sarah spoke up.

“I think I’ve figured you out.”

Kedrik grinned and sat back in his chair, bringing feet up to tuck under his knees. “Oh, this is fun. You’ve figured me out have you? Three weeks and it’s sorted? Well let’s hear it.”

“Well, I wouldn’t say I’ve figured you entirely out. But I do think I have discovered some sort of thread… that runs through all of it,” She replied, hesitating.

He simply looked at her, a unique indicator that she should continue.

“Well. You study nootropics and nutrition, but you don’t stick to it as a rule. You create totemic objects that contain primal energy, but you use tools from nearly every period of technological evolution. You follow some sort of inner code, but it seems to be flexible and malleable…” She was dancing around the point, hesitant to say what she had been thinking for most of the day.

Again, he simply looked.

“You navigate the world with such a strong conviction in ‘mind over matter’ that everything lines up… you will it into place with your conviction. It’s impressive,” She finally said, closing her mouth resolutely.

Kedrik grinned and sat up in his chair, sipped his tea, and set the cup down.

“Well, you have the concept right, mind definitely over matter. But there’s more to it. Do you want to keep exploring or shall I give you some hints?”

Her turn. She looked at him, letting her eyebrows lift ever so slightly.

Kedrik laughed out loud. “Well, I must be rubbing off on you. Alright. Mind is over matter. But energy is over mind. And somewhere in there emotion turns and dances around the others. And yet matter can influence the others. The state of your body will determine how well the mechanism of your mind can focus. Emotional states can completely change energetic ones, and visa versa. It’s all mixing and turning. And our purpose, the thing we really came here to do, that’s Soul. That’s the deepest part of you. And while the others can’t necessarily influence it, they can be in such chaos that Soul is buried.

What I try to do with my life is embrace this. Find the overlap, the synergy, the shared space, the easiest track, or the best mix of complexity to achieve the goal with ease. All models are wrong, some are useful. I found pieces of architecture from different areas worked well for me, so I used them. I find nutritional information that works well. I adopt tools and technologies that work well.

When we become rigid in our sources we lose the opportunity to really build something powerful that fits us. There are a lot of synergies around this place that you’ll find. But ultimately the common ground that they all share is me.

And in this human experience, when we’re building our reality, that’s enough.”

Sarah’s head spun. It made perfect sense. Why had she not seen the bigger picture? She felt foolish.

Again, as if reading her thoughts, Kedrik continued, “You’ve got an eye for detail. Most people don’t even notice the surface-level contradictions. They just glide past all of it. A true Metaphyst in the making. Not that anyone is making you anything. Except you. Hah!”

She couldn’t help but smile.

“So,” she prepared herself, “What if you find that something you’re doing is wrong? That some method or nutrition fact is off base?”

“Well that’s simple enough. I change it,” He replied.

Sarah wasn’t done yet, “Easy as that? Just change it, what if it’s something you’ve been doing for a while? You just drop it without a care?”

“The fact that I do care is why I would drop something that was was harmful or didn’t fit. I’m not attached to anything here any longer than it would take to say ‘Well, damn, that was fun’. We’re here to grow, Sarah.” Kedrik picked up his tea cup and took a sip.

“We’re dynamic creatures capable of exponential innovation and reinvention. Literally evolved to adapt to the environments we create and do it all over again the next day,” He continued, “I’m learning constantly. People visit often with new techniques, information, expertise… and I incorporate what fits, what works better, and what improves the whole picture. What good would I be if I didn’t?”

Sarah thought for a moment. The notion excited her.

“I want to be like that with my life.”

“You already are.”

She sat with that one for a bit. He was right. She was so busy trying to be dynamic about her life that she didn’t realize she was already doing it. He must have seen something change in her facial expression, because Kedrik laughed and teased, “Did you just realize you’re a badass, Sarah?”