In Pantarctican mythology, we see references to a period of poetic pseudo-history during which the waters below and the sky above were one, and not yet divided. In that famous epic, the Supreme Administrator determines the provisioning and administration of these domains would be more efficacious independent of one another, and makes it so through decree.

By contrast, in Quatrian mythology, no such legislative division of ocean and sky has occurred or yet been contemplated by even the Long Lines of Bards, High Augurs, and Archpoets. In fact, the two realms are as yet contiguous. The motive-original for Delrin’s voyage to Threx was to rendezvous and strengthen trade relations with certain sailors capable of making the passage to these Buorthern Realms.

Though Delrin’s tale took her not to Threx (or at least not in extant recorded versions), she did rendezvous after a fashion with her intended target. Elum’s family, though Forest People through and through, originally descended from Buortherners escaping one of the Old Crises. And he navigated the Great Forest trails as though they were a vast surface of changing seas, currents and eddies converging, propelled onward ever floating, skimming the surface, barely touching earth, leaving almost no trace, but for the light of their passing. For Delrin ran too now on these winged feet, and they together traced the madman Andal, captain of her father’s Best Men, as he fled back in the direction of Abdazon.

As they passed through the wood in chase, Elum hummed and sang out the tune of an old Majonan voyaging melody, to which he set the following lyrics, extemporaneously, which have been transmitted to us via the ancient Quatrian texts:

“A shadow clouds the light of his passing.
The Betrayer leaves many false trails
Through the Dark Wood, and the Light of Day.
He steps at times with great
Force and gravity, turning in an
Instant untraceable and appearing
At another location at an impossible distance.
Wings he has not, but a kind of flight,
A leaving and returning,
Passing through unseen doors and tunnels
He has mastered.

Would that my skill as a woodsman
Were sufficient, but the lands
Walked by the Betrayer
Are not all of these Daylight Lands
Where walk now we.

Though on this confusion of trails
We two cannot rely,
Clear is the direction of movement:
Toward that rich and happy city, Abdazon.

Your father’s Best Man, I fear
Becomes his worst enemy,
Wearing the mask of fidelity —
A deception against which natural compassion
May lead to ruin.

Andal will not be challenged by the
Guards watching over the Great Bridge.
His captain’s livery they will recognize,
Though his wild eyes they may not.

A younger guard will escort him
Forthwith to your Father’s Hold,
Expecting news of his daughter.

Though the Betrayer have only half hold,
It will be enough to control that
Best Man’s tongue, to tell your Father:

‘The Betrayer is coming
and he has hold of your daughter, Delrin.
He is of the Forest People,
and he has slain poor Ayad and Ayar,
brother guards and Best Men,
and comes to take your head.’”

Elum’s song trailed off into empty space.

After a time, Delrin asked him in the plain tongue, “How come you to have these dark thoughts?”

Elum responded, “Deceptions shown to me by the Betrayer when the blow of my bow landed on the head of Ayad. Through touch.”

“Deceptions?” Delrin replied. “If they are deceptions, then they cannot be trusted. They are not fated to come to pass.”

“Aye, but deceptions may serve truth, as in the case of predator and prey. Who survives deceives, outwits, outruns. Likewise truths too may serve the purposes of deception in the hands of the Betrayer.”

“The many trails are one,” said Delrin softly.

“As the boughs and branches and twigs of the Tree of Anthuor,” Elum agreed. “Still… my heart is heavy.”