The floor of the cloister itself was covered with thousands of identical, horn-shaped, nine-sided tiles that had been joined together with machine-tool precision into a nonrepeating double-spiral pattern that was giving me motion sickness just looking at it. I turned my back on this and looked at a loaf of bread that was resting on the table. This was so fresh that steam was gushing out of the end — Arsibalt, an infamous heel-filcher, had already got to it. The loaf had been made by braiding several ropes of dough together in a nontrivial pattern that, I feared, had deep knot-theoretical significance and was named after some Elkhazgian Saunt.