81st Turn, Seventh Year, Eighteenth Cycle, Skalday
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From the Journal of Aframos Longjourney, Pilgrim

With notes by Avos Torr, Scholar of Rheve Library

Skalday, Eighteenth Cycle, Seventh Year, 81st Turn

Thirty-Ninth Day in the Trees

Four days we have been travelling in this swamp. This is the first day that we have found a place dry enough that I dared open the journal to write.

Never have I seen so much water! There is very little ground, only small islands. Those islands have grown fewer and fewer as we walk further through.

We are walking on a wooden path now, since the land has been swallowed by this water. At first, there was only a bridge here, and another there, where water collected at one place or another. Then there was more water, and the bridges became more numerous. Then the path was a series of bridges, punctuated by little spots of land, peeking above the water. Now the path is tied to the trees, for there is no longer enough land to support it.

The trees are as large as any others I have seen, save the red giants. Not in height, for they do not rise that high above us, but in breadth. Some grow through the water, like giant reeds, while others float on rafts made from their roots and other debris. The water is deep. I am not certain how deep, for it is muddy, but I have seen large animals moving below us, appearing as shadows in the water.

There are insects everywhere. They range from small midges barely visible to dragonflies as long as my forearm. Souja sometimes jumps at them as they pass by. Once, she frightened me by nearly falling over the side. I rushed to rescue her, but she regained her balance.

Even the water is strange, for it grows deeper and shallower as the day progresses1. Twice a day, it changes its depth. It never reaches the path, but sometimes it is close enough that I can reach it with my tail. Other times, I would have to hang by my feet from the edge of the path to reach the water below us. It is very unnerving to me. Torne thinks it is normal, but what if it does not stop rising one morning? What if it continues rising until we are covered?

What if one of those shadows comes along then?

I never thought that water could be frightening.

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