Part 12 | Part 14

Heroic Balwyn was to have it much better from henceforth, he and the Nymph married

The Nymph taught Balwyn how to work her trades, her secret tools, and the ways of her tongue

Balwyn made great progress, learning powers and potions, new possibilities and the First Principles

The couple cooperated to create a calm and plentiful life, without chaos.

Gaal’s light lit their lives in the gentle land—the long seasons giving way, one by one.

Then one kind passage, the treacherous kiss of old Klara killed Balwyn’s peace, the call of his Kin.

Balwyn knew nothing he or the Nymph could do to nullify its pull, like a net, to the North.

With anticipation he asked her to attempt the journey, although he already knew her response

–Forsaking my fellows in the Land Far From Here, I will not fall in with new ones—she said

–But you must, your years will weigh on you if you don’t.

So, saddled with sorrow but sure of his return, Balwyn again strode out.

Many long lengths his lower limbs brought him a-long.

Until the ugly trees he passed under made him grow uneasy and unsure of his way.

Their darkness was deep and concealed many dangers, But Balwyn determined to accomplish the deed.

To ensure he exited the way he entered, Balwyn etched a sign on every tree he passed.

This took more time than he had supplied for the trip

And soon his store of sustenance was slim, though he sought more by hunting, he wasn’t successful.

Cursing himself for considering this course he carried on carefully

Gradually Gaal no longer guided him, Balwyn unsure if he was going North or had gotten off track.

So it was, while sleeping after wandering the wild several passages without food or drink

A band of boisterous boys came upon sleeping Balwyn, instantly bowing in fear

For they thought that they had found a Thainkoar [an Ancient one, descendent of the Thains]

Sensing he had company, Balwyn lifted his head and straightways his weapon.

–what is this ignominious gaggle of inclining idolators in my way? Surely no Kin of mine!

Jumping up at the sound of their tongue, the joyful boys jabbered and offered him a jar of Jonderail

Balwyn accepted, and drained a jar-full before asking the boys wherefrom they arrived.

With great excitement they exclaimed and examined the foreigner, eager to hear an explanation

Balwyn offered only brief and obvious answers, eager for the opportunity to move onwards

So they led him to the Lake and to the settlements that looked much larger since he had left.

Great crowds grew to see the Giant as he got closer, led by the gaggle of boys.

Balwyn, tall and tan, appeared twice the size of the average Tamvaasa—taking them by surprise.

Bright eyes blazing, his hair bleached and braided, Balwyn brought awe and staring wherever he went.

The fanfare fed itself into a frenzy as Balwyn followed the boys to the famed Hall of the Fathers.

Entering the Hall, Balwyn examined and was examined expertly by many of the elders gathered

But the dark silence and dour faces did not last long, soon the elders declared a fest, desiring all attend.

No celebration neared the feast’s greatness: Neither in the number of attendants nor the quality of food

Balwyn played reels on his Rift, raising spirits and roaring with pleasure across the Great Room.

When all had ate, and accomplished great merriment, an elder asked Balwyn to tell of his travels

So Balwyn sat on the high seat, and when silence descended, began to speak.

He did not hurry the history, handling every harrowing detail with care

Gaal was glimmering gold through the Great Room’s windows when he got to the end

The listeners were filled with awe about the wideness of the world and the wonders within it.

But the peace turned to panic when a town protector plunged into the Room, saying pilferers had come.

Part 12 | Part 14