From the Journal of Aframos Longjourney, Pilgrim
With notes by Avos Torr, Scholar of Rheve Library
Byrday, Seventeenth Cycle, Seventh Year, 81st Turn
Thirtieth Day in the Trees
While we were walking today, Torne asked about the Baro. I told him about us. I told him about how we travel through the Desert, going from oasis to oasis. I told him about our neighbors, in Narlifron, on the Trescu. He asked the name of the Desert, and I told him it was the Baro. He asked if the desert was named for us. I told him no. He then asked if we were named for the desert.
My first-father was right. Outsiders never understand.
We found an odd tree this evening, odder even than the needle trees. It grew upside down.
The crown of the tree was suspended over our heads, pointing downwards1. The leafy canopy was caged in by massive roots which grew from the top, going up, and then curving until they pointed downwards, like great columns. Branches show out from between the roots, making it easy for Torne to climb up to the top.
I warned him not to, for it was very high, but he would not heed me, and soon had removed his boots and was climbing as though he were a monkey. I watched, worried that he might fall and break his neck, but he was surefooted and kept his grip on the branches.
He reported that there was a great nest of some sort in the roots. There were eggs in it as large as his head, though he saw nothing warming them2. After watching the skies around him, he snuck close, and retrieved a feather. It was as long as his arm, and red-gold in color. He secreted it away, claiming it for a project of his. He will not tell me the details of it. He is a very strange man.
We made camp under the tree. The roots make it easily defended against predators. Once the dead leaves and other debris were cleared away from the fire, it was almost ideal.
One day, the trees try to kill us. Today, one shelters us. I cannot make up my mind if I like this forest or if it terrifies me.