Pymary, also called spellery or the Arts, is the use of the language Old Tainish to manipulate the khert in order to achieve otherwise unlikely ends.
In Unsounded, the whole of reality exists atop a spectral scaffolding called the khert. This ceaselessly shifting spectral plane holds all natural laws, governing Time, Dimension, Gravity, and other phenomena crucial to a stable and functioning world. Among these is a special set of laws called Aspects. All physical matter is shaped by its khert-defined myriad Aspects, concrete attributes which define how it interacts with other matter. Aspects identify matter as hot or cold, hard or soft, blunt or sharp. Aspects define colour and shape, smell and sound, and on and on.
While pymary cannot cause the spontaneous creation of Aspects nor matter, what it can do is manipulate Aspects already present and reassign them. In this way a wright can concentrate local atmospheric Heat to start a fire, or take the Edge from a sword to create a cutting gust of wind. Much more benign reassignments are common, such as switching the colours of objects, removing unpleasant smells, or twisting the light around an object to create a glamour, changing its appearance.
Certain Aspects are identified as Core Aspects. Removing these Core Aspects from matter will cause the khert to destroy that matter, as it can no longer function in reality. For instance, removing the solidity from a block of stone leaves its State undefined. The stone cannot exist without a defined State, and the khert will dissolve it from the physical world.
Mythology dictates that the Aspects of the world were first put in place by the Gefendur Twin Gods, who spoke the First Language, Old Tainish. Using this language, wrights coax Aspects into listening to their commands.
Because pymary is intrinsically so dangerous, each government has its own laws dictating how it may be used, and no wright may legally write original spells. Instead, in every country there is an official database of spells created by the authorities and taught in all universities. These spells exist inside the khert itself, and are called forward by wrights with trigger phrases. The spells then accept spoken local variables and manifest, using the presumably available Aspects to perform their function. Deviating from these approved spells is a serious crime.
Because the manipulation and isolation of Aspects can become quite complicated quite quickly, most wrights are thankful to have these pre-written and tested spells, which have saved countless lives since they were first put into practise. Composing spells is a tedious, dangerous enterprise.
Nevertheless there is an alternate method of pymary called gruftgramary which relies on reverse engineering to access the khert and manipulate Aspects via a new form of Tainish. Wrights who practise this strange art are called gruftgrammers, or greywrights, and face criminal charges if they are caught in the act.