I\’ve become positively obsessed with Allen Turner\’s Ehdrigohr the Roleplaying Game. It is a unique world I learned of after having a review from BoingBoing passed on to me. I like D&D. I haven\’t played it much but I like it and I\’m coming to love pen and paper RPGs. But There\’s that thing in me that doesn\’t want to do what everybody is doing. Ehdrigohr is a phenomenal alternative, more focused on narrative and awesome moments than crunching numbers. I\’ll end up writing a full post about it, and it\’s world, later but for now here is a bit of fiction I\’ve written set in the southwestern portion of the world.
Six-Monkey-Gazing-Wind moved quickly, but not quickly enough. She felt her hands, her fingertips glide along the smooth bark of the nut tree; her thighs and knees burned with each foot she slid. She enjoyed the power in her legs as she leapt from that nut tree to the rock face, felt her joints turn as she grappled with a hanging vine and pivoted through an open window and into a cavernous courtyard. Gazing-Wind even counted the number of steps her bare feet took to reach the other side of that courtyard, sliding past a small group of Zul gathered for who-knew-what, and launched herself through another opening and onto another tree.
Beautiful and free as they were, her acrobatics were still not quick enough and she knew it. For as she leapt to the next tree a blur passed between her and the cliff before her and a curse growled its way out of her mouth. She swore she heard laughter coming from that blur. Gazing-Wind stopped. She waited. She sighed. And soon the blur came back, upwards this time, and took the form of another girl lodged on a tree branch above her, a branch that would be reckoned the size of a tree trunk in the rest of the world.
‘Ah, hurry up Gazing-Wind!’ the other girl said. A gracious white smile smile beamed against her dark skin. Gazing-Wind thought it a ridiculous smile. The older girl said nothing and started running again.
The problem with Two-Spider was that she was like a spider, a flying one, some sort of spirit that decided to take form and grow wings. Somehow she called upon the winds and they listened and they pushed her along ever so slightly. Gazing-Wind thought her annoying and couldn’t imagine the Mysteries tolerating such pride, but Two-Spider-Fading-Rain took great joy in it, and her joy drew the Mysteries closer to herself.
The girls, teenagers both, raced on; the older one leaping, swinging, pushing herself as hard as she could; harder than she ought to. The younger one moving in much the same fashion, but with the oddest, almost unnoticeable pops from unseen puffs of air that pushed her higher and farther than she ought to be able to go. In one dramatic flourish she plummeted downwards towards the lower jungle canopy in an owl’s swooping dive, and with a call of song she was shoved upwards again to land softly on top of one of the lesser trees. Gazing-Wind would take a little longer to find her way down.
It was said that the Zul were fading. If the history spoken by the Tellers was true, then their people had once been the greatest, the epitome of the rule of men. Theirs was the most majestic of empires, the final hold of the Myndilkin before the Sundering. Great learning was there, mighty Way Wardens and Tellers who knew the most challenging pages of lore. They were also the first to fall when the Stirring came. Everything has changed for them, as it has for all the People. The Zul fly among the cliffs and trees and bring light to ruins and jungles, but terror is born in those jungles around and below them. The Waywalkers struggle, if they are not overcome entirely. The other tribes have strife of their own, and few champions are spared. Islands of trouble are the Sunder now, truly.
They rested in a decrepit ruin. Vines dangled and branches hung low, but the sun still poked her rays inside the great brick hold. Two-Spider toyed with one of her braids, and they were many. She stared at Gazing-Wind, who would not look back. The older girl sat cross-legged on the far side of the hold saying and doing nothing.
‘He’s got to be somewhere nearby,’ said Two-Spider. When Gazing-Wind continued to do what she had been doing, nothing, Two-Spider began to sing. It was a merry song, accompanied by gestures of Hand Talk. It was a merry song, but silly, speaking of birds and their queer ways and monkeys in trees.
Up went monkey into her tree
Down came snake and cross was he
Came to take the monkey-child
But monkey’s mood was none but mild
It went on like this for long enough, the younger girl showing no signs of ceasing her song. Air responded, winds puffing in seeming rhythm with the bizarre tune. And then it stopped. And Two-Spider stopped and it was quiet. And after a while Gazing-Wind spoke.
‘Was it always so strong with you?’
Two-Spider shrugged. ‘I expect so. Mother said that when the rains began, when I was an infant, the wind picked up when I would cry. Can’t say how sure I am of her meaning, but I’ve always felt the Mysteries. At the least the Air listens to me.’
‘Have you been to Traveler’s Stair yet?’
‘Me?’ Two-Spider nearly blushed. ‘No. Not yet. My time’s not come yet but mother says soon.’
‘Soon as we find One-Heron,’ said Gazing-Wind.
‘Yes.’ Two-Spider trailed off, tapped her leg and sucked in a long breathe.
‘And the sooner we get that done the sooner we can go home. I won’t become a shiver’s toy today.’
It was Two-Spider who had volunteered for the mission. In SkyBreak, word quickly burned through the Reach Town of the disappearance of One-Heron-Still-Fog, the Waywalker. He was no mere Waywalker but one of legend; an Owl whose staff was the one to defeat the headsman Chainsbreaker; his leadership the guiding force behind countless raids into the jungles and beyond to the cliffs of the sea; his feet the ones to travel to Gatherings in the Shil and further journeys to beseech the other tribes to come and lend aid to the Sunder.
‘I go where the Temple deems and Destiny goes with me and upon me,’ he had said. When questioned he would only say that he would remain in this part of the Sunder. ‘Deep, but not far,’ were his words. Such was his certainty that he declared he would only be gone for half a moon. The wise of SkyBreak allowed one sunset after his declared return before organizing a search. A council was called upon and a great part of the people of the Reach Town, and those in surrounding settlements, came and met atop one of the high cliffs. Upon a tiled circle, marked with halved pillars and one mighty Spirit Tower in the center, they gathered, young and old. The elders shared their concern.
‘The Waywalkers are our greatest asset,’ they said. ‘And the loss of so mighty a one as One-Heron, an Owl of great power, cannot be borne. At the least we will find him so that Sorrow cannot.’
All agreed and many would step forward to heed the call of the elders. Young warriors and mystics, seasoned veterans with braids to their heels, veiled men with lances, all would go for glory and tribe. One would even offer to venture into The Road and see if he had gone there to escape at great need. But Two-Spider was the first to speak up. She rested carelessly atop one of the ancient pillars and grinned. The instant the chief elder finished speaking she waved her hand and dropped down like an acorn.
‘I will go!’ she cried happily.
There was a collective murmur at that and others, those stronger and more seasoned, shouldered through the circle and presented themselves before the elders. Two-Spider was relentless. She burst through the throng as the first warrior presented his claim, leaping between him and the council.
‘I am Two-Spider-Fading-Rain,’ she declared. ‘I ride on the winds; the Air hears my song; Three-Spider-Wailing-Thunder is my mother, whose doings need no telling here. I will be a Waywalker like One-Heron, or so say my dreams. I fear no shadow, no darkness of the Twain.’
The warrior behind her tapped his foot and adjusted his veil, waiting for the elders to dismiss her, or perhaps beat the insolence out of her. The chief elder felt compelled to do so but deferred to his fellow councilors, turning to read their faces and hear their words. Two shook their heads. The rest were stone faced. A moment later one of the men stood.
‘Let this child go. If a Waywalker she is to be then why delay her? Give her this task. It is hers to fail,’ he said. ‘But my granddaughter will go with her.’
Had Gazing-Wind been there she would have blanched and given silent protest, but she was not there. She rested at home, having no interest in the search, leaving it to those who knew the jungle better, who would risk themselves. And yet she was drawn in just the same.
In the end it was decided that four parties would set out, one to go forth in each direction from SkyBreak. Gazing-Wind and Two-Spider would go west, all the way to the sea if needed. It was her grandfather who broke the news. He knew that Gazing-Wind would obey, even grudgingly, and with little trouble. She was a quiet girl, moody and with little knowledge of herself. She showed no aptitude for the Mysteries, no proficiency with a blade. But she could run and jump and swing as well as anyone on the island, or better.
‘What’s more,’ he told her. ‘I see you and Two-Spider together. You know the story of the macaw and the kingfisher.’
She nodded, her mouth a strong straight line.
‘So it is with the two of you…or so I believe. Your stories are bound. Do you doubt me?’
She shook her head. Everyone knew that her grandfather, Six-Monkey-Staring-Sun, was a Rook and a strong one. He had never joined the society properly; he wore black but did not cover his head; none had ever seen him shirtless but doubtless his body was covered in tattoos. No incident had ever occurred on his part and so he was mostly left alone. Those who feared him ask nothing of him and he gave nothing in return. But when he spoke of story even a skeptic perked her ears up. His wisdom and commitment to tribe had been enough for him to join the council.
Gazing-Wind could only look at her grandfather and try to keep a respectful composure. Inside she wanted to wail and shout, to pick a fight, but she was decidedly defeated. Perhaps a pocket somewhere in her heart believed him; Destiny called.
‘One-Heron is a friend to our family. We are in his debt. Besides,’ finished the old man. ‘I think you may be the only one on the island who can keep up with Two-Spider.’
The fear was becoming real now.
Gazing-Wind had been in the jungle before. The lower levels of SkyBreak were well within the canopy and she had gone down to the bottom more than once; sometimes on a dare, sometimes for sheer curiosity. It was not wholly dangerous as the jungle was not so dark there; the trees were not the tight-knit canopy of the deep jungle. Few lived at the bottom, but Waywalkers stayed there from time to time. Masked soldiers, Callers, those who felt compelled to venture forth might stay on the ground. Then there was the true dark, the deeps of the jungle where it was said to always be night, where one could not hear for the din of animal sounds and the screams of beasts taken by shivers. Raiding parties would go into the deeps and put fear into the shivers, to make them know that they were interlopers if abominations can be taught such things. All of this, though, was an idea to the two girls. Two-Spider had never been and even Gazing-Wind’s brief rompings were nothing compared to the dense darkness that waited before them. They were, very clearly, at the edge of all they knew, far away from home, about to step into the deep jungle.
They stood side by side, staring into the black. Two-Spider reached, unconsciously taking Gazing-Wind by the hand. The older girl looked at her hand, now folded into Two-Spider’s, and thought of yanking it away. She yielded and returned her sight to the void before her.
Two-Spider began to chant, invoking the Owl Prince, calling for protection, and as if in response the blare of noise from the dark seemed to quiet a bit. A songbird flitted by and, somehow, the girls felt bolstered. Just the same, though, Gazing-Wind untied the hatchet from its place on her back. They walked in.
The elders of SkyBreak beseeched the order of J’va and the order gave them access to the maps. Cartographers had pinpointed ruins throughout the jungle about the Reach Town all the way to the coastal cliffs and, went the reasoning, One-Heron was likely at one of these ruins. If he was on task from Sky Falling Temple then this was to do with their strange rituals. Surely what he wanted would not be found elsewhere. A scout was sent to the Temple in preparation for the worst, if One-Heron was not found soon. The ruins were sparse and far apart. Only two lay to the west and so Two-Spider and Gazing-Wind went that way with clear purpose, made clearer now that the first one had been investigated.
That way took them through dense, cavernous jungle.
Inside it now brought them a blending of terror and hope; terror for what surely lay before them and hope that all was not as dark as it seemed here. Once their eyes adjusted they saw that it was not a complete black, not a whole absence of light, but the jungle seemed to glow with an almost imperceivable glow of its own. The faintest sunshine bouncing off leaves, luminescent animals, the torches the young women had brought. It was less a cavern and more like a deep body of water; dim, not dark, with faint light piercing through the water-top and filtering through its density.
It was still afternoon when they entered, the sun still shone somewhere above the dense treetops. But that mattered very little here: it was said that the jungle got so dark that shivers lived and roamed even during the daytime without fear of the Withering. The girls pressed on through that jungle, wondering just how dark it would get and if the little dim light found was enough to protect them. Their feet crunched on leaves; they climbed over fallen tree trunks; more than once they had to ascend the trees and swing on the vines to clear the denser parts of the woods (not an easy task for those bearing torches, but possible for D’Zul). Gazing-Wind even used her hatchet to hack up dense branches in their path. They moved slowly but steadily, all the while noticing that what was dim and faint, a suggestion of the idea of light, was becoming a strict darkness, black as the night sky. Black as the Twain.
If terror was still upon Two-Spider and Gazing-Wind they did not show it, for pride or sheer distraction. Inside each of them things were a bit different. Gazing-Wind felt her blood pump, heard some kind of distorted hum even above the noise of the jungle. The fear came in lapping waves, as did the resentment she had been harboring against her grandfather. What she wouldn’t give to feel the safe, high breeze of SkyBreak against her now, not this thick, wet air that could not escape the jungle.
Gazing-Wind’s heart hopped up to her throat.
Two-Spider dashed back to the older girl and grabbed her arm. ‘I think I saw a building!’ she hissed.
Gazing-Wind gave a tense nod.
‘Just wait here,’ said Two-Spider. She smiled but Gazing-Wind could barely see it even though the other girl was only a few feet away from her. She swiftly ran across the jungle floor to a huge nut tree. Gazing-wind thought it looked more like she was flying towards it, and quickly she ascended.
Gazing-Wind waited. And waited. As if only remembering it in that moment, she pulled a water skin from her hip and took a long drink. The water felt good on her dry throat, but the tiny respite was broken when she heard another cry, louder than the last one, from a surprised Two-Spider. Her eyes shot up. And though it was dark, though her eyes could not be sure, she knew it: Two-Spider was falling.
Without a thought Gazing-Wind took off running, unconsciously hopping over roots and branches, pushing her long legs as hard as they might go. There was not time. She was quick, but not quick enough. Fear was back, piercing her chest. Two-Spider would die and her family would know the pain of loss. Thoughts turned to herself. Fear became panic became terror: Six-Monkey-Gazing-Wind alone in the deep jungle with a dead Two-Spider and a lost One-Heron. The shivers would devour her whole and release her soul like it was nothing.
‘No!’ she bellowed. Her voice filled the jungle, bounced from tree to tree, silenced the endless chittering of insect and animal. Later she would not be able to explain why she did it, why she cried out like that, or how she felt something release with in her. ‘Grace,’ her grandfather would say to her, and she would not know what he meant. But it happened all the same, like a silent thunderclap careening forth in a circle from her to still this part of the jungle. And as if in Dream, Two-Spider’s flailing descent slowed. The closer Gazing-Wind got, legs pumping, feet dancing, the more the younger girl’s fall seemed to slow. And though Gazing-Wind herself did not slow, skidding on her heels to reach Two-Spider, she could have taken her time and strolled to the landing point. Just as she held out her hands the moment was over and Two-Spider fell a few short feet into her arms and the two collapsed to the ground.
Their eyes locked, both wide in wonder. Two-Spider’s body shook and tears fell down her cheeks. There was no time to discuss the moment, whatever had happened, for the tree that Two-Spider had fallen from was coming to life.
Not the whole tree, but the upper branches, or something on the upper branches, slithered and bubbled high above them. Was it a vine? An arm? Whatever it was it did not belong here in the Waking Lands. Even so far below, even though the darkness made it difficult to see, it was abominable; a black darker than the darkness around it. Everything inside Gazing-Wind and Two-Spider wanted to melt and seep back into the earth from which it came, to undo this hour of their life, but it could not be. It was Gazing-Wind who came to her senses first.
Grabbing Two-Spider by the forearm she dashed on, hatchet in hand, cutting down anything in their path. What she wouldn’t give to be able to ascend a tree and leap from branch to branch, vine to vine, to take the highway of the jungle. Trapped on the floor of the jungle felt just as it was: a trap. So they ran and did not stop running. After a short while Two-Spider composed herself and took the lead, veering them in the direction of the ruins she had clearly seen from atop the tree before…before whatever it was tried to take her. She had perceived it well before she saw it, a slithering drip on her neck, unclean and altogether wrong. And once the realization struck, that a shiver or something like it was there with her, she simply reacted and fell backwards into nothing. The wind did not answer her cry. She just…fell.
Though the thought troubled her she pushed it out of mind and ran, focusing only on finding a path to the ruins before more shivers could arrive. The path was found. Then jumping, now leaping, then running again, step by step, emitting the occasional peep of fear, the pair reached the smallest of clearings and before them was a ruined structure. Brick upon brick it rose three levels in a great triangular stair woven with vines and debris. One side was completely gone, a pile of stone sleeping on the jungle floor. The rest was mostly intact. Gazing-Wind gasped and pointed up to salvation: high above them, directly over the ruin itself, was a gap in the canopy wide as a cave-mouth. Come morning the place would be bathed in sunlight. For now, however, it was night and their safest move was to stay in the ruins. The pile of rock was not sacrosanct, nothing was to shivers, but it was a hopeful enough place to hide and pray and, should they be swarmed, defend themselves.
Pressing the instep of her foot against the first hard, stone step, moss-covered as it was, was a step homewards for Gazing-Wind. Compared to the mushy, uncomfortable jungle floor it was quite literally a move to solid ground and she felt it inside. Most D’Zul at least wore sandals but she preferred to go barefoot as most of her family did, letting the soles of their feet grow calloused and hard, tools honed with endless use. Two-Spider wore thin sandals threaded around her feet and ankles so the tactility of the step was not so real, if it was noticed at all. Quiet as cats they prowled upwards, peeking into the first door to find it completely dark even with a third of its walls missing. They relit their torches but found very little: shattered pottery and overturned tables spread throughout myriad rooms. There were tools they could not recognize on the floor and tied to the walls; even a tall, man-shaped box that leaned against a wall. A great circular face was chiseled into the center of the floor where the passageways met. Examining it in the stillness leant their ears time to sharpen and they heard it, just above them, a scratching sound.
Two-Spider exhaled sharply and slowly and pointed upwards. Gazing-Wind nodded. There was no hiding here. Whatever was above them, beast or shiver, must be driven away if not slain. On the far end of one of the passageways they saw a ladder going upwards. Too vulnerable. They exited the way they’d come in, ascending the exterior stair again to the next level. The portal crumbled inwards here, creating a hole rather than a doorway. When Two-Spider went to creep in Gazing-Wind stopped her and went first, hatchet poised low but ready, torch held high in warding against the shiver or whatever it was.
Two-Spider followed but went the opposite direction, spreading out as the hunters do in the jungle, flanking and circling their prey to sever its escape. The girls felt no fear. They had left it behind them in the black jungle. Stepping into the ruins, had they taken the time to put words on it, was a rite. They would not be the same. Each of their passageways circled around to a wide central opening, where the carved face had been on the lower level, and each made their way towards it. Gazing-Wind peered around the corner and saw nothing but the vague outline of structure, doorways and brick walls at right angles. She prowled on until she heard something like breathing. She swung her torch around and there before her was One-Heron-Still-Fog.
There was no mistaking the Waywalker. Tall as a giant with skin dark as treebark, two long braids draping over his shoulder as a mantle. He sat against the wall, legs sprawled on the floor, breathing heavily. His eyes were closed.
‘I thought you might come. Though I don’t know why it would be two young girls,’ he murmured.
Two-Spider hailed him and introduced herself along with Gazing-Wind.
‘A monkey and a spider,’ said One-Heron. ‘By my father…’
‘Are you wounded, sir?’ asked Gazing-Wind. She thought of calling him ‘uncle’, but decided against it. Their families were connected but she had never met the man.
One-Heron made no reply. His breathing grew more ragged. Besides their breath there was only silence. Two-Spider, for perhaps the first time in her life, was unsure of what to say, either to lighten things or fix them. The three of them could only wait in the silence, in the dark, thinking what to do.
It happened as one. Two-Spider began inspecting One-Heron, moving his arms and checking his torso for wounds. Just as she did so Gazing-Wind’s body jolted. She felt the story come to her, felt it seep out of One-Heron, felt his fear and his struggle. His mind was at war and had been for many days. But against whom? The story had many faces. One woman, a child, a man. A man who appeared to be…he was dark, nearly as dark as the Zul. His face changed, grew grotesque, and shattered in an explosion of jungle leaves raining down upon the desert. The images were faint and oddly hazy. Gazing-Wind had never experienced anything like this before. Is this what it’s like to take receive sicun? Where did One-Heron get this story? Who was the man she saw? One-Heron? No.
‘It has him,’ she said finally.
‘What? Wait, who? Who has him?’ asked Two-Spider.
‘It’s a…a haint!’
Two-Spider’s face went dark. ‘A haint? How do you know?’
‘I just…I just know, okay?’
‘He’s just sick from his wounds.’
One-Heron groaned, his mouth moving soundlessly. Then at last he spoke. ‘He was a principaler a generation ago. I came for his secrets. He wants his wife.’
The girls looked at each other. ‘Can we not just drag him out of here? He has a nasty gash in his side, probably from a tiger or something.’ suggested Two-Spider.
‘I don’t know. I don’t think so. We–’
‘That explains it!’ exploded Two-Spider in sudden realization. ‘This must have been a burial place. I thought he was just in some kind of fever dream from the wound but if this was a burial place then maybe a haint is here after all! This spirit has lingered here, bound up with intent. One-Heron came looking for him…’
‘If it’s a burial place, are we safe?’ asked Gazing-Wind.
‘Can’t say. Usually a Spirit Tower will just…wear out left alone for too long.’
The air around them crackled and they felt the hairs on their arms stand on edge. It happened again, a brief, white flash that lit the room up. Far below them, through the shattered wall to their right and down to the jungle floor, they saw shapes moving about beyond the eaves of the ruin.
Two-Spider cursed under her breath. ‘At least we know this Tower is working…for now.’
Gazing-Wind began to pace, glancing back and forth between Two-Spider, the shivers, and One-Heron whose condition showed no signs of improvement. ‘Well,’ she began. ‘Well we have to do something.’
‘You don’t say.’
‘Just…why don’t you get up to the Tower. You call the air like it was nothing, surely you can do something about that Tower!’
‘I’ve never done anything like that before!’
‘Try it, will you?’ cried Gazing-Wind.
Two-Spider set her face and nodded. In a moment she was out of the ruin and ascending the steps outside, bee-lining for the Tower that topped the brick structure.
Below, Gazing-Wind stared at One-Heron with pleading eyes, silently begging him to tell her what to do. She took his hand and began to chant. It was a rhyme her grandfather had taught her, the meaning of which she didn’t know. It seemed to help anyway. One-Heron seemed to lighten. He fidgeted less. Her presence strengthened him. The threshold of the Spirit Tower crackled again.
Gazing-Wind leapt up and looked down. Nothing had entered the building. Whatever Two-Spider did was working.
‘Ah Assa’ad.’ One-Heron’s voice was strong. ‘Ah Assa’ad, I have brought you what you seek. I have brought you your wife, long estranged from far away.’
The threshold pulsated rapidly. More shivers were throwing themselves at it. It seemed a horde of them was outside.
Eyes still shut, the Waywalker raised his arms. Gazing-Wind saw nothing, but felt it; he called upon the Principles, bolstering his words with love. She began to see the vague shape of a man seep up from the floor, through cracks in the brick. It dribbled upwards, manifesting itself anomalously, lopsided, like an artist working from an image of something it barely recalled. It reached out to her.
From above Two-Spider called out. The shivers were through.
The haint’s arms went as to caress Gazing-Wind. What were arms became like tendrils of smoke, the visible manifestation of its spirit. They wound around her and she tensed, fearing the worst, fearing sorrow, fearing the unknown.
Two-Spider leapt down behind Gazing-Wind, arms flailing wildly as she called upon the winds. Large pieces of rock went here and there, crashing against the shivers who had leapt up the ladder from below, blocking their way. But the abhorrent things found holes to squeeze through and ledges to climb upon.
‘Gazing-Wind!’ she screamed.
The haint sighed in deep relief, the sigh of a man whose troubles are at once laid to rest. The sigh did not end though. It trailed on, rose in tone and volume, became a shrill cry. The odd man-shape reached out his arms, his legs, and his being began to trail apart in all directions, the spirit was coming undone like a sandstorm without wind. And as they dove at the travelers the shivers made terrible, fearful chittering sounds and were no more. The haint was gone, the air was calm. Even the jungle seemed quieter.
The night passed without further event. Two-Spider even slept a little. One-Heron said nothing. Gazing-Wind tended to his wound and rested without sleep. When the sun rose, pouring a shaft of light upon the ruin, they rose with it. Wordlessly they began making their way through the dense, dark jungle. The fear that threatened them as they left the safety of the ruin was lessened; having a Waywalker with them, even one spent and wounded, was a great protection. Even limping, his height, his cloak, the staff tied to his back, his long braid, amounted to an imposing figure in the dark wood. As the day waned on and they felt themselves drawing closer to SkyBreak, he at last began to explain things.
‘There was a principaler years ago,’ he said, ‘Who had powerful medicine. He knew songs and rituals that, it was said, would keep the Woes asleep and the Temples readied for years to come. He came from the Beyduuni deserts. The viziers hunted him. They hated him for he was not one to stay silent. His endless criticism and prophesy haunted them. They took his wife, his child, slew them both. He fled here and was lost. Sky Falling Temple thought they had some idea where he might be found, or at least where some secrets might be divined and that is why I went.’
Though they were full of them, the girls asked no questions. One-Heron stopped and looked upwards at the dark canopy, growing lighter as they journeyed.
‘Thank you,’ he said simply. ‘The Mysteries are strong with each of you. What is to come of your story, I wonder?’
Again, they said nothing. Not even Two-Spider dare interrupt the musings of the strong wanderer.
‘I expect whatever is to come will come of you together.’ As if he had convinced himself, the enigmatic man nodded and walked on to SkyBreak.