Tothelea: Chapter 21

Trevor left them, fetched his staff from the other hut, and ran down to the
place by the lake that Faralien had indicated.

Faralien was already there, practicing a series of moves.  Galethane was, it
seemed, not there yet.  Trevor gave an inward sigh of relief.  Faralien
paused, extended his hand to Trevor, and greeted him.  "Indethelerul!"

Trevor nodded, wishing he knew at least a little bit of their speech.  At
least enough to know how to greet someone properly.  Perhaps later, he could
get Harmony or Emathane or someone to teach him a few words.

Galethane arrived.  He did look to be older than his brother, Galembrion, the
village elder.  Faralien spoke quickly to him, motioning to Trevor, apparently
explaining that Trevor wanted to learn the staff as well.

Galethane walked up to Trevor, and stood very close.  "Barabaturu?" he asked.

"Sioa ibarabata, asentoat," Faralien said.

Galethane did not look pleased.  He looked Trevor up and down, and, tossing
his staff to Faralien for the moment, motioned for Trevor to hand over his
staff.  He rapped his knuckles on it, making the iron ring.  With difficulty,
he picked the staff up and moved it through several positions.  Then he heaved
it aside, clanging on the ground.  "Irul," He pronounced.  

Galethane turned to Faralien and gave a series of commands Trevor couldn't
even begin to follow.  Faralien gave Galethane his staff back, and handed his
own to Trevor.  It felt impossibly light.  Faralien then ran off somewhere to
complete his orders.

"Vo aparetan ionatan."

Galethane took up his own staff, and held it diagonally across his body,
standing in front of Trevor.  Trevor took his up, tentatively.  Was he going
to attack?  Trevor held his staff in, as far as he could remember, the most
applicable of the defensive positions Yun had shown him.

Galethane shook his head, and through gestures and looks of frustration,
conveyed to that Trevor should imitate him.  They did this for a while, the
movements starting slow and simple, and increasing in speed and complexity.
Faralien rejoined them only a few minutes later, and picked up along with

Trevor followed along as best he could.  At length, he was glad for the wooden
staff.  The moves were so fast now, and so complex, he could never have
followed along with his own.  Too, he had clumsily hit himself on the shins
several times and in the head once or twice, something he was entirely glad to
have done with wood instead of iron.

Finally, Galethane stopped.  Faralien and Trevor stopped a heartbeat later.
"Ke!" he commanded.  Faralien laughed, and set down his staff.

Galethane turned to leave the training area.  Trevor was unsure if they were
supposed to follow.  Faralien clapped his shoulder.  "Ultaraturu," he said,
and then quickly trotted down to the lake shore.  He motioned for Trevor to

I guess the lesson's over, thought Trevor, as he followed Faralien.  Faralien
splashed water on his head and neck, and scooped up a handful to drink.
Trevor did the same.  How long had they practiced?  The sun seemed to have
moved quite a ways, and Trevor had worked up a thirst to match his sweat.

Faralien said goodbye--or at least, Trevor assumed that's what he was
saying--and went his way as well.  Now what do I do with myself, Trevor
wondered.  Surely Beleden and Harmony would pause at some point to have a
mid-day meal, and someone would come get him.  Lacking anything else to do, he
took up his iron staff, and--carefully--began to practice the day's lessons
again, with it.

His suspicious proved correct, for Emathane came to him some while later.

"Come eat," she said.  "they are waiting."

Over the food, Harmony and Beleden caught him up on their progress.  Which,
sadly, wasn't really any.

"Harmony and I are going to try to recover some of her memories," Beleden
explained, "The last ones from Aramonea."

Harmony added, "I can only recall up to my banishment.  But if I could
remember where I died--where poor Eman buried me--we would know where to find

"Any luck so far?" Trevor asked.

"No.  I only have a vague sense of falling.  But that much was in the legend."

"How long do you think it will take?"

"No way to know, lad," Beleden said.  "But we'll find them.  I won't rest
until we do."  

"I'm sure you will," Trevor said.

Beleden went on.  "I believe though, and Harmony agrees, that the rest of the
village deserves to know what is happening.  We believe Aramathokoa to be
waiting--vainly--in Olanton.  But we cannot discount the possibility that he may
begin his search again, before we are done here.  And that would bring danger
to the Fair folk here.  They deserve to know."

Trevor nodded.  It was only fair.

"When we are through eating, I will call the village together, and tell them.
It will, I'm afraid, cause a fair amount of chaos.  You should be prepared to
help Harmony back here to my hut quickly after I have spoken."

Beleden spotted the concerned look on Trevor's face.  "Oh, only a precaution,
lad.  Not to worry.  In all my life I have never known people as peaceful as
these Fair folk here.  And I include in that those few Fair folk I have met in
other places."

The speech went about as Beleden had predicted.  Trevor couldn't understand a
word of it, of course, but it did cause chaos.  There were gasps of surprise,
and a palpable sense of confusion from the villagers.  Trevor smiled wanly.
He knew how they felt.  But Beleden had their respect, and he was able to
quiet them and patiently answer their questions, as best as he could.

When he was done, he turned to Harmony and said "Many of them wish to approach
you.  Shall I allow it?"

Harmony looked uncomfortable at the thought, but nodded her assent.  Quietly,
reverently, they approached her.  Bowing or kneeling, they offered her smiles
and kind words.  Beleden translated enough for Trevor that he got the sense
that these villagers loved her.  For different reasons that he did, of course,
but that their love for her was not less genuine than his own.

When they were finished, Galethane approached Trevor, with Emathane at his

"He says he wants to help you more," she translated.  "To learn the staff.  He
will teach you, all day and every day, so long as you are here, and so long as
he has anything left to teach."

Trevor held out his hand, palm-up, as seemed to be the custom.  "Thank you,"
he said.  "Thank you very much.  I am grateful to share in your knowledge."

Galethane clasped hands with him while Emathane translated.  Then, because
there were still several hours of daylight left, he said "Then let us begin."
He motioned Trevor to follow him back down by the lake, and for Emathane to
join them.

"He says it will be faster if I can talk for him," she translated.

Galethane proved to be a demanding teacher.  He drilled Trevor without
stopping until sunset.  Mostly he was able to instruct Trevor just by showing,
but more often than Trevor's pride would have liked, Emathane had to translate
some subtle correction to his stance, his grip on the staff, or his motions.

When the day was done, Trevor bathed in the lake and returned to the village.
He arrived, his hair still dripping, in time for the evening meal.  The
village seemed much bigger.  Trevor was puzzled for a moment, then realized
that word must have spread to the other village, the one up in the trees.
There were many more Fair folk here now, about half of them dressed
differently enough for Trevor to tell them apart from the lake dwellers.

After the day's exercises, Trevor was famished.  He ate vigorously,
and--although he knew she hated it--was glad that everyone else's attention was
on Harmony.  When the meal was finished, Harmony was again inundated with well
wishers, whom she received graciously, if not enthusiastically.  Trevor stayed
by her, offering familiar company if nothing else, while the tree dwellers
filed by.

When at last everyone was gone, Trevor and Harmony went back to their hut to
sleep.  She seemed as tired as he was.

"Did you learn anything?" he asked.

"No.  We could make no progress this afternoon.  After Beleden's speech, there
was simply not a quiet moment.  I am so tired, Trevor!  So many people!  So
much talking!"

Even as a goddess, she must have been shy, Trevor mused.

"Well, they've had their look.  I expect they will mostly leave you alone now.
Especially since they know that you have work to do with Beleden.  And if not,
I'm sure Galembrion will be happy to post a guard outside Beleden's door, to
make sure you're left alone."

"Yes.  You're probably right."  She yawned in the darkness.  "Good night,

"Good night Harmony."

"Love you, Trev," she added, softly.

Trevor blessed the darkness for hiding his tears.  "I love you too, Harmony."

In the end, it took another two weeks to uncover the memories they sought.
Trevor trained with Galethane, day in and day out.  Trevor learned well and
fairly quickly, although not well enough to plase Galethane.  Faralien still
joined them in the mornings, but he had other responsibilities to attend to as
well, so most of the day Trevor had the teacher all to himself.

 After three days, Galethane pronounced Trevor competent enough to work with
 his own iron staff.  It felt very heavy after working with the wooden staff,
 and after the fourth day, Trevor's arms ached from the extra weight.  Upon
 reflection, it had been quite a long time since his time in Yun's smithy had
 ended, since his arms had been taxed in this way.  He had lost some of his
 strength, and now worked hard to get it back.

When two weeks had passed, Trevor was Faralien's equal, when they sparred with
their own staffs.  If Trevor used the wooden staff, he was too fast for
Faralien.  Faralien was a good sparring partner, though, and took his defeats
with good humor.  Although certainly, he had his own share of victories.

Trevor was even able, some of the time, to claim victory over Galethane, but
only if he used the wood.  And in truth, he didn't want to try his own staff
against his teacher, after the memory of what it had done to Aramathokoa.

At last, though, on that evening two weeks later, Beleden and Harmony greeted
him with the news that they had found what they sought.

"I remember," Harmony said, when he returned to the hut after the day's
training.  Her smile beamed.

"That's great!" Trevor exclaimed.  "Where is it"

"Monolshoeat lies far to the east."

The Spine Mountains ran more or less east-west.  They ran all the way out to
the sea.  He had heard sailors at his father's boathouse talking about sailing
"'round the tailbone," as they referred to the farthest point of mountains
that stuck out into the Divide.  Trevor did not relish the weeks and weeks of
rough mountain travel it would take to get out there.  It had taken them,
what, three weeks just to get from the loop road to this valley?  On his map,
the distance to the end of the Spine was much, much farther.

"At the other end of the Spine?" He asked.

"No," said Beleden. "Farther.  In the far east of Tithora."

Trevor swallowed hard.  Tithora.  A strange, foreign land, the subject of many
stories to frighten children.  Trevor had played Soldiers and Tithorans as a
boy, just like every other kid in Hardal.  Staging mock battles on the beach,
pretending they were fighting to defend the Beaches of Sorrow from the
invading Tithoran hordes.  And more than once, when he had misbehaved, his
mother had threatened to send him to Tithora if he didn't behave.  

Tithora.  Aramathokoa's home country.  Why did it have to be there?  But then,
that didn't really matter, did it?  He had to help Harmony, no matter what.

"How do we get there?"

"We sail, of course.  It's too far to go any other way."

For all his years of living by the sea, Trevor had never actually been to sea.
He had been fishing, of course, in small boats.  But never farther out than he
could swim back.  He wondered what sea travel would be like, and voiced the

"It will be a new experience for me as well," Harmony said.  I never had need
of boats when I was counted among the Aran.  And if I ever sailed before this
life, those memories remain lost to me."

"Well, I have, many years ago," said Beleden.  "In my youth, I made several
trips to Wesso, that's the capital city of Tithora, you know, and to Volunur,
for my studies.  But those were short voyages, compared to what we'll have to
do.  To reach the eastern parts of Tithora, we shall have to sail south down
the Divide, around the southern tip of Tithora, and then back up north."

"How long will it take?"

"I don't rightly know, lad.  But come come, let us not worry over such matters
tonight.  We have much to be glad for, and there will be time tomorrow to make
our plans.  Tonight, we will tell the Fair folk that our departure is to come
soon.  They will help us prepare."

Beleden made the announcement during the communal evening meal.  There was
much talk among the villagers, which Trevor could still make neither head nor
tail of, but which Harmony translated for him.  It amounted to arguments about
what supplies and provisions they should take, what route they should take,
and who might go with them.  In the end, it was decided that they would go to
Olanton to find a ship, that Faralien would accompany them at least as far as
that, and that their packs would be filled before morning.

Trevor had his doubts about going to Olanton.  Aramathokoa was waiting there!
But, no sense in arguing over it all night.  It would be much easier, after
they left, to rethink that decision with the only Harmony, Beleden, and
Faralien to convince.

That night, Trevor sat up a while with his map.  He wished the map showed
Tithora, as well, but it stopped at the water's edge.  Even Volunur wasn't
shown, although Trevor had a vague notion of where the island lay.

Also unfortunate, the map showed that Olanton was really much closer than any
other port.  Church was next, but looked to be about twice as far.  And
besides, he told himself, it has been well past a month since that abandoned
village.  Aramathokoa may well have moved on by now.  In which case, getting
to sea quickly was an important goal.  Trevor sighed.  No, we have to go to
Olanton.  If for no other reason, it's the biggest port in all of Hardal, and
the chances of finding a ship going where we want will be much better there.
I'll just have to be on my guard, that's all.