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Jeniah had gone into the trees, and remained there, as they skirted the edges of the Poisoned Lands. She was lost in her awarenesses, Aletris and Kaivelt winding together, becoming more and more a part of her being, with first one and then the other dominating.

Vaara wondered if this was a great danger, or a blessing, but she could not know enough of the variables to begin to formulate a useful equation.

Since it was quite likely that she would be seriously mind-injured if Vaara or anyone else interfered before she was done, there was little point in attempting to take her attention.

~Sima garo provides.~

It was a sleepy, half-dreaming thought, and she wasn’t sure Kaivelt meant to send it to her, or even if he knew he had thought it. But there was a certain peace in it, and Vaara knew he would not feel so if there were danger to Jeniah in this sharing with Aletris.

So she settled into wary ease…Jeniah’s presence in her mind was at once highly attuned to her surroundings, and vague with the depth of the new sharing, and the fire-traced edges of Kaivelt’s dreamings.

She could feel that things were being shared, between her sister and the planet herself- for Aletris was indeed self-aware, and, moreover, utterly certain of her ever-shifting places, in Everdeep and in the lives of her diversity of children. But she could not spare all the focus that was needed to be fully aware of these strange Otherworlders, and she couldn’t know them as she did her own children, born of her earth and sustained by her.

As she skirted the edges of the Poisoned Lands, where the snow was still as it had always been, Vaara kept her focus outward, on the details Jeniah might easily miss, during her joining.

They had had no plan – there were too many Tribed, and too maddened by the poison they might have been ingesting for many sunrounds. They could not contain them all, not in the time they had to them.


inspiration for Vaara’s journey – photo property of NPS and are in the public domain.