A Childhood Interest
As a young girl growing up on Venna, Gredin te Balamont discovered at a very young age that certain stones she came across ‘spoke’ to her, as if asking to be gathered. Often, these stones changed appearance dramatically after being held in her hand. She called this Becoming, and explained that not all stones wanted to Become. Over the course of her girlhood, she acquired twelve such stones, as well as one that was given to her by her Chosen, Dreff.
The stone presented to Gredin by Dreff, on the night of their Choosing, was a flamestone of great color and clarity. Dreff likened the vivid blue in the stone to the color of Gredin’s eyes, as well as to the color of the ildarian blossoms in the gardens of House Balamont. The deep orange-red tones in the stone demonstrate why such stones are commonly referred to as flamestones. This particular flamestone accompanied Gredin to Tradepoint, along with her other stones, and it eventually gained notoriety for the pivotal part it played in diplomatic relations between the Vennans and the Hesch.
Although Gredin had been fond of her stones since early childhood, and had long since acquired the habit of carrying them with her everywhere in a small pouch sewn for her by Ingarra te Balamont, it was only after Gredin traveled to Tradepoint that a new and deeper connection developed between the stones and Gredin. There on the space station, away from her birth world, Gredin sensed a predictive capacity in her stones, and she soon began to consult them when she was faced with major decisions. In part, as she explained the matter, contact with one or more of the stones helped her to focus and clarify her thoughts. In addition, however, the stones began to express a certain sentience when she removed them from the pouch and allowed them to scatter freely. There is no precedent for such divination in Vennan culture, and it is arguable that Gredin was simply using the inanimate stones as a means of accessing her own intuition, but Gredin grew to believe strongly in the ability of the stones to advise and guide her, and the success of many of her more unconventional decisions might well bear that out. What more they may become capable of doing, in time to come, remains to be seen.