There have been a lot of Smedries over the centuries," he said, "and a lot of Talents. Many of them tend to be similar, in the long run. There are four kinds: Talents that affect space, time, knowledge, and the physical world." "Take my talent, for instance," he continued. "I change things in space. I can get lost, then get found again." "What about grandpa Smedry?" "Time," Kas said. "He arrives late to things. Australia, however, has a Talent that can change the physical world--in this case, her own shape. Her Talent is fairly specific, and not as broad as your grandfather's. For instance, there was a Smedry a couple of centuries back who could look ugly any time he wanted, not just when he woke up in the morning. Other have been able to change anyone's appearance, not just their own. Understand?" I shrugged. "I guess so." "The closer the Talent gets to its purest form, the more powerful it is," Kaz said. "Your grandfather's Talent is very pure--he can manipulate time in a lot of different circumstances. Your father and I have very similar Talents--I can get lost and Attica can lose things--and both are flexible." "What about Sing?" I asked. "Tripping. That's what we call a knowledge Talent--he knows how to do something normal with extraordinary ability. Like Australia, though, his power isn't very flexible." I nodded slowly. "So...what does this have to do with me?" "Well, it's hard to say," Kaz said. "You're getting into some deep philosophy now, kid. There are those who argue that the Breaking Talent is simply a physical-world Talent, but one that is very versatile and very powerful. There are others who argue that the Breaking Talent is much more. It seems to be able to do things that affect all four areas. Legends say that one of your ancestors--one of only two others to have this Talent--broke time and space together, forming a little bubble where nothing aged. Other records speak of breakings equally marvelous. Breakings that change people's memory or their abilities. What is it to 'break' something? What can you change? How far can the Talent go?