What the River Sees
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I begin in the peaks of the Sefilia mountains, where the air is so chill that only my churning waves can remain unfrozen, I rush rapidly down its rocky face into Meloth, the forest littered with bones of brave men who thought they could become something greater than food for the soilworms, where the beasts are free to drink deep from me without fear of the hunt, a place where great spirits, more ancient even than I, come to rest by my banks, and as I go past, seeing the secrets they know reflected in their shifting forms, I wonder in my youthful naivete why they tolerate me, why they allow my waters to pass through their woods crashing and cracking and smashing and crushing against jagged stone, roiling white until I leap forth from the grove into in the gentle embrace of the Iayata plains, the only place where hope can grow in this loveless world, those hundreds of miles of softly waving grass, where the sun burns gold shining through the stalks each morning, on which the seven great civilizations have built their homes, each raised drinking my clear waters, so dependent on me that they name me “Mother of Creation”, “The Path of Life” and “Teyanma’s Gift”, and in return for this I love everyone that drinks from my waters or bathes between my banks, I remember the name of each person who whispers to their lover by my side, every king who drips his blood into my waves for good luck, every old woman who returns to die by the water she swam in as a child, I love them with everything I have, would love them forever if I could, but alas, their lives are nothing, they must pass on, as my waters must flow on into the parched earth of the Po, the desert where, starved of the rain that gives me life, I almost vanish into nothing, I become only the barest trickle between a crack in the earth, so small that a starving wolf searching for a single drop may not be able to find me, I twist, and moan, and gasp, and beg until, when I am almost nothing, when I am little more than a spilled tear, I feel from deep underground a spring cry out, bursting up to fill me once more with beautiful life, giving me the strength to roll on across The Crow King’s Land, where I almost wish that I had vanished, for I flow through nothing but death, death, death filling my water with corpses and blood, victims of the weeping King whose hate cannot ever be slaked no matter how many he butchers, I mourn for them, I know many came from the plain and even those from elsewhere did not deserve this fate, I want to cry out as the King’s lopsided hybrids steal my water to use in their foul work, to fuel their vicious machines, I want to reach up my waves, drown them all in my darkest depths, yet there is nothing I can do but drift on as bodies sink into me, pollute me with rot, I can only listen to the grinding of their city-sized torture machines and the screams of those trapped inside, drift until I am free, until my waters are clean again, running through the silent hills of Narivor, a land filled with fog which I find strangely peaceful, for no life grows there but moss on stones, for the only movement other than my rippling waves is the shuddering of the small, strange machines which crawl across rock like thousands of lonely metal crabs, who have existed since long before I flowed through this place, whose purpose I cannot tell, who slowly build strange structures out of stones as I watch in wonder, who I have come to believe are the creatures most like me, my only true friends, even more eternal than I, and I flow through this shrouded land until finally I reach my place of true joy, the vast, sparkling, bluest, beckoning sea, for which my water has travelled all these hundreds of miles, into which I pour, and as each drop of me touches that seemingly endless expanse, that place where all water unites to become One, that true origin of life, as I twine my fingers through its waiting hand, as it pulls me close, I know that my work is a little more complete, by emptying myself I am becoming more whole, all I have seen is only the beginning, the next journey will not be from mountaintop to sea but through the infinite, starry void, my sister sky and my brother ground travelling together with me as one life, keeping our duty to protect all we carry, even the hated King, as we dance together in this universe, sustained by the love of our Mother Endless as she watches from beyond creation.

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