Waterwandering Tamvaasa mark their wanderings on their limbs, as everyone knows. —, the longwise lines mark the wandering, and the ǀǀǀ shortwise marks the kills. That way, ever Wanderer can remember his life and the lives he took with him.
I do not know how those Folkin who wander the land do it, or even if they do it. We do it heeding Gaal’s call to mark those we have taken before him. The balance we owe must be reckoned, and repaid.
I have taken many, so I owe much ere I join Gaal where his fiery craft rises.
These early rings are all from the Pillager’s coast, I ran out of limb and had to use my chest for the wandering in the lands of the Long South.
It was this journey which lasted so many cycles of Gaal, that deserves the longest telling. For there I belooked many things that may yet impact even our Folkin of the Long North.
The world is getting smaller and the ambitions of Aflatan burn hot under Gaal.
Where do I begin? My desire was not originally to push the boundaries of the known world to the South. I desired the great shining conquest that is Kunazem. So my partners in Waterwandering, who worked with me to enhand the watercraft Hal, plotted a course that wound far to the East, so avoiding any rumour of our arrival. –even then the Shinse kept a close watch on the northerly approaches to their Grand Settlement.—
Few wanderers are willing to make such a risk, given the many tales of treacherous shoals and ravenous beasts beyond the Waterpaths.
But so it became us that Mighty Klara had her own designs, for she handed us a mighty blow out there beyond the Waterpaths.
So forceful was she, our entire company had to lash ourselves to the oars and benches lest we be taken.
Reckoning how long Klara blew is not easy, for she shut Gaal out in her fury, and many of us were knocked beyond our senses.
When we did come awake, it was to belook Gaal rising, a vengeful red against the dark clouds of Klara’s receding fury.
Despite powerful swells, all was calm. Our company began toiling West, hoping to sight a familiar land marking.
The water felt different and even tasted different. We caught in a strange flow and it was leading us.
This is a lesson hard won by a waterwanderer in the open: Great forces guide our paths. They are impossible to gainsay. Struggling only increases their power. So the only thing to be done in meeting these forces is to accept them, awaiting what they might bring or where they might lead.
So we waited, consuming our stores slowly and by the half measure. Beloved Hal is marked with the number of those passages—four octaves and five—and each one Gaal’s gaze burnt a little more furiously. All feared a great fear then, for it seemed we were much nearer his bright visage, every passage bringing us a little closer.
But in the Fourth octave and four, Kut from our company descried a cloud that whipped and roiled like Jonderail over the hearth.
Then the cloud began to change shape and move, against the wind.
There was nothing we could do to hide—the cloud descended upon us, transformed into a swarm of skylings, armed with razor beaks and hungry, empty black eyes.
They scratched and pecked at all the flesh they could find. We were in a great pain then and without hope, for whenever we stripped a skyling off, three would replace it.
The ravenous creatures ripped and tore at us in our wasted state. Desperate for protection, we wrapped ourselves in Hal’s windcatchers, our armor lying packed away. The windcatchers did little to hold back the swarm.
Then we came to our senses, and dove into the water. The skylings did not pursue us there, though they remained above—the smell of our blood driving them into a frenzy.
Several of our company died that day, their mouths and faces eaten up as they screamed. I still hold their memories, for their floating corpses proved a distraction just long enough for the rest of our exhausted crew to find helmets for protection, treading water and hoping the darkness would see the skylings off.
In all that time we lost the course and did not notice it, until with a crash we were aland…