“You’ve no doubt heard some story or other about darkwood,” she continues. “It’s not the only wood with unusual properties; supposedly there’s some purple wood in the swamp that messes with ether. And many mages use wooden staffs to help them cast.”
“Are you going somewhere with this?” you ask. “You’re saying it’s some kind of magical wood?”
“Not magical. So far as I know, there’s no wood that’s magic in and of itself, but it can interact with ether in unusual ways. And there’s an interesting property of darkwood that doesn’t usually make it into this stories.” She holds her hand out. “I think this wood may share it. Could you let me see it for a moment?”
“Wait. What’s this property you’re talking about? And for that matter, why do you think that? Just a guess?”
“Not purely a guess,” she says. “I’ve studied it. Darkwood is actually a hybrid – there are no trees made from it in the wild. The main reason it’s so rare is that one of the component trees is something we’ve never been able to identify.” She grabs the handle of the makeshift shovel. “And from what I can see of the grain, it would explain everything if this was the missing piece. Especially if it shares this same property.”
You aren’t sure how much of that really makes sense. Neither ether nor trees are really your specialty. But you suppose there’s no harm in letting her try something.
“So are you going to explain what this property is?” you ask, releasing your grip on the shovel.
“If I’m right, it will become very clear in a moment,” she says. “Though it wouldn’t hurt you to stand back a little, just in case.”
You drag Arlene and the priest away with you, since you don’t want them getting hurt either. Not much you can do except watch now, you suppose.