Written by Alexander Greco
May 3, 2019
My travels have taken me to the Maelulos Forest, in
search of the Autonsitor. How do I describe either of these? How do I describe
what drew me here? How do I describe what I actually believe I am doing here?
I had been drinking with wily company in Sairn, the
City by the Sea, and listening to weathered travelers tell half-remembered
tales. Something was in the air, you could smell it above the hops and the
pipe-smoke—you could feel it like a static in the air. Yet, it was approached
with caution. The Maelulos would be mentioned, and there was a quiet, knowing
look in everyone’s eyes. Then the conversations would be diverted—consciously
or unconsciously—to something else.
After a story about whaling and battling leviathans
off the Garvreil Peninsula, I asked, “What’s the Maelulos? I keep hearing you
all mention it, I’m curious. What is it? What’s there?”
Everyone looked at me. I had been quiet for most of
the night—laughing yes, jabbing a tease and asking a few questions, sure, but I
hadn’t directed the conversation at all until now. A woman who had been a
traveler and a woods-woman for the first half of her life, and then a farmer’s
wife until three years ago. “You’ve never heard of the Maelulos?” she asked,
“The Maelulos Forest?”
“No,” I said, “I’m not from around here.”
“You don’t have to be from around here to ‘ave heard o’
the Maelulos,” a thick-bearded man piped in.
“I’m from far away,” I told him. “Worlds away.”
The bearded man gave me a long look, then the woman
spoke up and I turned back to her. “The Maelulos is a forest in Sha’Haro where
the Aether spills over into the land. It’s—“
“Aether?” I interrupted.
“What?” the woman asked.
“Did you jus’ ask what Aether is?” the bearded man
asked. “How foreign are you? How do you not—”
“Just get on with the story, Freirdei,” a second man—a
tall, wiry man with rough stubble—interjected. “We can’t give ‘im physicka
lessons tonight, give ‘im directions to the Uni’ if he doesn’t know.”
The woman sighed. “The Maelulos is a forest in
Sha’Haro—its own forest, isolated from all the others by miles of plains on all
sides—where the Aether… Think of… It’s magic, it’s part of magic, but smarter
people than I—or anyone else here—say its more. It’s a part of the fabric of
everything, we just can’t see it. They’ve been trying to measure it like
electricity or like brain-waves for years, but they haven’t yet. It doesn’t
“Freirdei,” the thin man interrupted.
“Right,” she said, “the Maelulos. It’s… It’s like
walking into a dream. Things aren’t real there the same way they are here.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“The fabric of things is torn there, or perhaps it’s
that it blends together there. What separates the physical dimensions from the
Aetheric dimension, it’s not there—the borders begin to blur. It glows with
colored lights, but there’s no source of the light. There’s things there—there’s things that happen there that can’t be explained. It’s
like a dream and an ocean and a storm all at once.”
“But… it’s a forest?”
“Aye,” said Freirdei, “in the easiest of words, it’s a
“Home of the Autonsitors,” said the thin man, “the
only place in the world they live.”
“Autonsitors?” I asked.
“The Lords of the Maelulos,” said the bearded man.
“Not the Druids nor even the Veritasians dispute it.
No one owns those woods but the Autonsitors.”
“Who are they?” I asked.
“They are not a ‘who’,” said Freirdi, “they’re
“Beasts’ doesn’t do them justice, Freirdi,” said the
thin man, “they’re equals with the Dragons.”
“Well, what are
they?” I asked, “What are these beasts, or whatever they are?”
There was a small silence. I could see in all three of
my companions’ eyes that they were searching for words. The bearded man spoke
first. “They make bears look like puppies.”
“They’ve got these tusks,” Freirdi began, “they move
like a tiger, and-“
“You’ve never seen a tiger,” said the bearded man.
“Fine, it moves like a mountain lion, you can’t tell
me I ‘ahven’t seen those. And it’s got a wolf’s maw, ‘cept its teeth are as
long as your forearm.”
“They’re ferocious,” said the bearded man, “they’ll
let you into their forest, but you ‘ad better not disturb a single leaf.”
“It sees things,” said the thin man, “that’s what’s
important. Something can be big, something can have teeth, and something be
fierce, but the Autonsitor sees things. It knows things—like the Dragons, an’
the Elves know things. They spend their entire lives in the Maelulos; their
entire lives with those eyes of theirs.”
“That’s enough,” said the bearded man, “let’s-“
“’Ave you ever seen its eyes?” asked the thin man,
turning to his bearded compatriot. “Have you ever seen it open its-“
Pater,” the bearded man said to the thin one.
“Aye, enough,” said Freirdei, “tell us about Korsik,”
The bearded man stared at Pater for a long moment,
then smiled slightly. Any tension slowly dissolved as he spoke. “Mah favorite
story,” he said, “don’t know why I’ve never been back.”
More stories were told for another hour or so. All the
while, the static in the air still hung. I would listen to it ringing, and I
would begin to imagine the Maelulos. My mind’s eye would wonder to the Autonsitor.
And every time, I would catch Pater looking at me. I’d catch his stare for a
moment, and he’d seem to smile with the crease of his eyes. Then he’d look
away, back to whoever was telling the story.
Eventually, we all grew tired enough to call it a
night. As I was walking up the stairs of the inn, going to my bed, Pater
“Are you interested in the Autonsitor?” he asked.
“Interested?” I asked.
“In finding it,” he said, “in going to the Maelulos.”
I stared at Pater for a moment, silently rolling the
thought over in my head. “Yes,” I said. I was.
In the morning, just as this world’s star—the Sozl, I
believe they called it in this country—rose above the horizon, I boarded a
train—engine #64, just as Pater had told me to. It wasn’t a long journey to
Sha’Haro from the southern hill country of Veritas. Pater had given me a map to
the Maelulos, along with some directions and words of advice:
“Stay on the roads. Don’t journey into the forests—it’s
the Druids’ land. Once you enter the Mael—the plains surrounding the Maelulos—keep
your eye to the Rais [their word for East]. You’ll eventually see the Maelulos
from the road.”
Once my train arrived in Sha’Haro, I began walking
down the Vahn’Ozl road to the South. For a long time, there was nothing but
forest. The first night on the road, I slept just off the side of the road,
though I didn’t go any farther than the nearest tree. On the second day, around
noon, a merchant came by with a horse-led wagon and offered to let me ride with
him. By the end of the second day, we had made it to the Mael.
Night was falling, so we camped out in the grass a few
yards from the edge of the road. When I woke up the next day, the Sozl was just
beginning to rise on the Mael. It stretched on for miles and miles—a seemingly
infinite stretch of grasslands. The merchant and I took to the road again, and
by the afternoon, I could see the Maelulos to the East. It looked like a normal
forest, though we were still miles away.
An hour or so later, when we were parallel to the
Maelulos, I told the merchant to stop so I could get off and go on to the
forest. He looked at me for a moment as though I was insane, then nodded and
slowed to a stop. He didn’t say anything while I got off and collected my
belongings, but as I was about to thank him, he interrupted me and asked, “Are
I didn’t understand the question at first, it seemed
taken out of context, but then it clicked, “Yes, I’m sure,” I said, “thank you
for the ride.”
The merchant nodded and grunted something, then went
on his way.
I began walking across the plains toward the Maelulos.
As I near the Maelulos, it seems stranger than when I
had first seen it, and with each step it seems to grow wilder—less constrained
by any words an individual might craft for such an occasion. Within a mile of
its edge, the Maelulos has become a storm of green arms reaching up into the
sky. It is comprised of trees, yes, but not like trees I’d ever seen. Not trees
of our world, nor trees I’ve seen in other parts of this world.
Maelulos, the Glowing Wood, Pater called it. I am
closer now; the Sozl is falling onto the horizon behind me. The forest begins
to emanate soft, blue light. The Sozl is now beyond the horizon. All that’s
left of it are deep reds and violets exploding into the night’s deep indigo.
I am approaching the edge of the forest now, despite
the fall of night. Pater told me the Autonsitor is an animal that never sleeps,
but it only walks through the Maelulos at night. By day, it exists invisibly
and universally in the leaves and vines and branches of the forest, and in the
flowers, seeds and fruits of the forest.
The light blue of the forest is now becoming infused
with every color imaginable. Yellow lights like wil-o-wisps dance between
shifting boughs of the sprawling, monolithic trees. Indigos of the night sky
seem to drift and swirl about with the green of glowing leaves, and echoes the
sky blue glimmer permeating the air. Currents of orange, wild violet and burnt
red swim between trees like autumnal whales swimming through the forest’s
At the threshold of the forest, I see red fireflies
dancing in the air with white moths. In the distance is a great bird—it looks
like a giant shoebill, or some monstrous crane. Its feathers are grey shadows
painted across snowy fields, and its eyes are yellow gems with piercing abysses
cut across them. Fish as large as my head are swimming through the air—possibly
propelling through the invisible “Aether”.
The static from the night I first heard of the
Maelulos seems to return. Something hums through the air. A ringing brushes
across my body like a cool breeze. Why am I here? I wonder. The question is
like ice running across my nerves. I couldn’t answer it. My same words that
fail to describe the Maelulos begin failing to describe me, or my motivations.
I couldn’t tell you why I was here. Could the Maelulos tell me why it was here?
The static and the hum and the ringing grow, drowning
out my thoughts until all I hear are the shapes of the trees. All I can think
are the colors of the air.
I’ve entered the forest now. My grip on reality begins
to fade here, or perhaps there’s simply less reality to hold onto. Less than
fifteen minutes of walking—as far as I can tell—and a mouth formed from tree
roots and loamy earth opens up, and from its lips fly flocks of birds. They all
chirp with distinct melodies in a unified rhythm, and their small, ringing
noises form a chaotic yet beautiful and haunting song—a composition that was
easily far more complex than even the Elvish symphonies could produce.
Further into the forest. I don’t know how far I’ve
walked. I watch a deer bite the air—nothing in the air, it bit the air itself—and
tear a hole open. From that hole, a rabbit, a crow and a moth, each the size of
my chest, emerge. They all walk together through the forest.
I want to follow, but I realize I’m watching them from
above. I realize I’m standing in a canopy of branches and leaves. I thought I
was standing in grass and earthen debris, but I realize I must climb back down.
A giant earthworm emerges from the ground. It rises up
into the air, then splits into seven. These all become the boughs of a tree,
while the part of the tree that remains unified becomes the trunk. A black beak
the size of sailing vessel crashes through the forest and plucks at the tree,
but pulls a worm from the ground.
I look up to see the crow again. I realize the worm
was not giant, and the beak was not the size of a ship. I realize I had been
staring at the ground, watching the earthworm, and my eyes had only been inches
from the ground. I am sprawled out across the ground, covered in dried leaves
The deer, the moth and the rabbit are here as well. I
stand up and follow the four animals. As I walk, I seem to be traversing
through a tunnel of leaves, boughs and museum exhibits, though I couldn’t tell
you which displays I saw. All that stayed constant, all that I can really
remember, were the four animals.
So, I come back to my first question, how to describe
I couldn’t say the Maelulos is a forest anymore. That
wouldn’t do. That wouldn’t begin to describe what I see.
As I step into a clearing with the four animals, I
watch a small star—one of the wil-o-wisps—burst into a spiraling flower stock
that hangs in the air. The bud of this flower opens into an endless pit of
sunlight and fire. What I thought were seven golden petals begin to move, and I
realize they are seven yellow bees standing on the edge of this fiery pit. They
lean in and pluck seven strings from the inferno of sunlight, then fly off into
the forest—weaving the seven strings throughout the trees and bushes and limbs
and creatures and colors and lights.
But even that doesn’t describe what I see. How do I describe this? How doI describe an object I hear with my
body? How do I describe a thought I see with my hands? How do I describe a
sound that I feel in my thoughts? Because that’s what I saw, a storm of perception
wrapped inside of a single event.
From this clearing, we follow one of the bees as it
weaves through the trees. Flower to flower, wrapping a curving vector about the
forest. We step inside the hollow of a tree. The tree was no more than three
feet thick from the outside, but suddenly we’re walking through a dark hallway
carved into the tree, following this bee. We come to a small, circular room,
with a hole in the floor. From the floor comes a golden light.
The bee flies into the hole. I look down and see three
naked women—one with white hair, one with blonde and one with copper hair. I
couldn’t say if they were beautiful or ugly, I couldn’t say if they seemed
clean or unkempt, and I couldn’t say if they were happy or furious at the
arrival of the bee. They were like oil paintings in the air, their features
were crisp yet distant, and I wanted to climb into the golden light to be with
From yards away, they might seem perfect. Examining
them inches from my face, I might see the Truth. But, from right here, I only
saw confusion. I only saw the ideal and the material meeting in the middle, and
blurring like rivers of opposing thoughts crashing into each other.
The animals kept walking, and I followed.
We move past the golden light, and onward across this
hall through the dark. For a moment, I wonder if the darkness will swallow me,
if there will never be an end to it, if I will ever return. Then I see a light
at the end of the hall. Now we’re walking out of the hallway, into the forest
once more. The descends from the air above us, still carrying its string, and
we follow it once more.
How do I describe this?
The Maelulos is like an estuary of what is and what
could be. It is where the briny depths of life’s oceans mix with the meltwater
of snowcapped epiphanies. It’s where reality doesn’t have to be real anymore,
and the thoughts of ours that can never be step foot on solid ground.
I tell you this, I tell you what I’ve seen here, and
now I have just as much difficulty telling you what has drawn me here. How do I
tell you what pulls me? How do I tell you what strings tug at my joints? How do
I tell you what thoughts I followed to find this forest?
Like the search for something you’ve seen once and
forgotten. Like the investigation of a dream lost to time. Like you’ve been
following a map you didn’t know was in your hands, hunting for something you
never knew you needed. How else could I describe it?
It is unknowable, ungraspable and undefinable, yet it
is so real. When it brushes up against you in your dreams, it feels far more
real than anything you’ve held in your waking hands. When you dance along the
edge of reason and the irrational, it embraces you like a star embracing the
empty vacuum surrounding it.
This—whatever it is; whatever unknowable angels dance
through my head—has drawn me to the Maelulos.
And so I tell you that I search for the Autonsitor,
but I tell you also that I search for more. I tell you I hunt for the
Autonsitor, but, if you knew the Autonsitor, you would understand what I truly
hope to find.
The four animals and I follow the bee on through the
We are walking in a space where reality seems to have
calmed down once again. I can think again, I can look around, and I can see
myself as an individual nested in reality again. Then I hear it. A roar, a
howl, a cry—something I’ve never heard in my life, yet it couldn’t be mistaken.
The Autonsitor. I hear it from deep in the forest ahead of us, but then I watch
as the bee flies into a river, still carrying the string. The four animals
follow. I hear the cry once more and hesitate, but I know—for whatever reason;
the same reason for why I must search for the Autonsitor—I must follow the four
animals into the river.
All of the animals and the bee immediately submerge
beneath the water, unafraid of its current, and unafraid of having no air to
breathe. I step into the water, and it’s freezing. I walk in as quickly as I
can, though I don’t have the same disinhibition as the animals and the bee. The
water is up to my waist, then my chest, then my chin. I take a long breath,
then submerge my head into the cold water.
On the other side of the river’s surface, I open my
eyes and see normally, as if there were no water. Everything around me—the
plants, my clothes, the rabbit’s fur—all move as if they were underwater, but I
don’t feel the water itself, and I find that I can move normally, as if there
was no water. I sip the river into my mouth, and find that I’ve sipped in air.
Cautiously, I exhale my breath, then inhale normally. I can breathe underwater,
The animals and I walk across the silt of the
riverbed, following the bee. I glance down the river to either side of me and
see fish, but not normal fish. They’ve all got heads of various animals—elephants,
tigers, monkeys, goats and snakes—and their dorsal fins were made out of arms,
while their tailfins were like long trailing flowers.
As we walked across the riverbed, I watched each fish
pick up a stone with its mouth, then carry it to another fish. Two fish would
meet with each other, and pick the rocks from each other’s mouths with one of
the hands on their dorsal fins, then go to pick up another rock and meet
another fish. Eventually, a fish would have every hand of its dorsal arms full
of different rocks of different shapes, sizes, colors and origins, and they
would find some safe place along the riverbed—either a sunken log, the roots of
a tree, or a bush of reeds—and lay down to set every rock in a pile around it.
I watched this for as long as I could, but then I saw
from the corner of my eye that we were approaching something. I turned forward,
toward the animals and the bee, and I saw we were nearing the bank of the
river’s other side, except the bank was opening up like a dark mouth—the same
mouth I’d seen the birds fly out of earlier.
Together, the animals and I follow the golden bee into
this earthen mouth underwater. The riverbed swallows us into its dark silt. We
are walking, though I begin to lose feeling of my body. I know I move my legs,
though I don’t feel them move. Maybe it’s too cold to feel anything. A part of
me wonders if I’m dead. It seems foolish, I acknowledge that, but it seems to
make sense as well.
Warm light shines from ahead. Soon, we are stepping
through a tunnel of soil and clay. Ahead, I think I can see buildings where the
tunnel opens up. They’re buildings made of metal, I think. They’re buildings
made of tree roots, car frames and engine blocks, and a mismatching of many
different bricks—red bricks, cobblestones, fired clay, cement blocks, and so
Eventually we come to the end of this tunnel. There is
a city, I can see it fully now. There are people here, I see them now. They are
like geometric shapes painted into the riverwater-that-isn’t-water. Their faces
are squares and triangles, and circles inside of circles, and their bodies are
gaunt rectangles, hobbling trapezoids and tall, thin triangles.
We pass the first two blocks on our left and right.
Then the bee flies into an open doorway. We follow it, take a staircase to the
basement floor. Except the staircase keeps going. And going. And going. It
enters my mind, how long has the bee been pulling its string from the flower?
How many paths has it woven through? How many paths have the six other bees
woven? It enters my mind that—
But we’ve come to the end of the staircase. It empties
out into a vast underground—a cavern. A cavern, with doors everywhere. The
animals and I follow the bee through one of the doors. There’s sunlight down
here, though I don’t know from where. We walk into a hallway, and it leads to
endless hallways streaming with sunlight. Hallway after hallway—how many places
has the bee’s string woven through by now?
We step out to a dark, midnight beach—the sunlight
stays in the halls behind us—and we behold an ocean ahead of us. I wonder how
there can be an ocean when we’re already in a river. I don’t know. I couldn’t
tell you. But I know there’s a ship waiting for us just offshore. We’re
swimming in black water now. My legs are treading air, and my head is
underwater, but we’re moving. Now we’re climbing the sides of the ship.
The animals and I stand on the sides of the deck. The
bee wraps its string around the masts, and ties a knot around the bowsprit. The
bee is pulling now on the ship, pulling the ship through the ocean. We sail for
hours, it seems like, across charcoal black waters. Above us, the sky begins to
crack and shimmer with color. The sky becomes a wine bottle green, cracks of
light barely escaping the underground sky.
In the distance, I see a massive black shape
converging to a point above the horizon. Eventually, I realize that this is our
destination. We crawl across the water. As time passes, I see phantom shapes
find life in the air. I see mice run across the water. I see the ghost-forms of
foxes dance in the dark. I see tresses of pale vines climb through the air and
Then I see the moon come out. It means something. I
don’t know what it means. It’s telling me something. The still image of the
moon opens an invisible mouth and speaks. What is it saying?
A sudden jolt, a crash. The ship has hit land. The
animals begin walking toward the bowsprit. I follow. I end up walking faster
than them and make it to the bowsprit first. I climb down from the side of the
ship, and my feet touch solid ground. The ship begins to move. I turn around
and see the bee pulling the ship away from the coast, the animals still on it.
For a moment, I wonder if I should try climbing back
aboard the ship, but I know it’s too late. The ship has left land. It’s gone. I
watch to see if the animals turn to look at me, a part of me wants to wave at
them, but they don’t.
I turn back.
I am standing at the summit of a black mountain, I
realize. I am standing at the summit of a mountain made from the darkest
substance I could imagine—something beyond charcoal, something beyond simple
shadow, something wholly un-seeable—ore of a black-hole, perhaps, mined from the
I know I must begin climbing.
There are rocks beneath my feet, and stones against my
hand, but there is no seeing them. Far above me, at what I assume to be the
peak, I see a faint light. Hand over hand, I climb this un-seeable mountain. As
I do, I feel the pressure of the water I’m in grow stronger and stronger. It
grows until I think I feel a hand gripping my entire body, and I wonder how
much more I can take. Above me I see the light still, so I go on. Hand over
hand, I go on, until the pressure is so great, and the light is so near that I
am nothing but a war with myself. The pressure grows, and the light comes
closer until I am nothing but collisions of thoughts.
Then my hand finds nothing but water—thick water,
which squeezes my hand in a crushing grip. I reach down, and I feel a rounded,
pyramidal point where the mountain must end. Above me, there is a small point
of light. Then, above me, there is a call.
Above me, I hear a long, trailing keen. If a single
saxophone could howl like a wolf, roar like a lion, screech like an eagle, and
still croon sweet, blue lullabies in the quiet of the night, it might sound
like this keen. It might sound like the call of the Autonsitor.
From the top of the mountain I have climbed, I breach
the earthen ceiling with my hands and pull myself through the dirt, back into
the forest. The abyssal pressure is gone. I crawl into the hollow of a tree,
and turn the bark’s door handle. I crack the door of the tree open just enough
to peek outside, into the woods.
There, it stands. The Autonsitor.
It has the body of an ashen-furred lion, except it
stands as tall as an elephant at its shoulders. Its head has an elongated
snout, like a wolf’s. Thick tusks emerge from its mouth, bent backwards beyond
its shoulder blades. Its back is covered in twigs, branches and thick tree
boughs all laden with deep, green leaves. It looks just as Pater had described
it to me.
I step out of the hollow in the tree and step into the
forest. I watch it, and wonder what the Autonsitor is doing. It seems agitated.
It seems confused. This wasn’t what I had expected. Sure, it looked like a
creature of beauty and elegance, but not in the way it moved.
Lumbering about as though it were in pain or scared,
the Autonsitor walked further into the woods—it’s head moving side to side as
it did, searching. I follow after it. The woods have seemed to congeal into a
less frantic reality here. It is no longer shifting between reality and dream,
but rather seems to be one or the other. Whichever one it is—whichever of the
two that the forest has chosen—it seems to be holding true.
The Autonsitor stops in a clearing. I come to a stop
several yards outside of the clearing. The beast looks around, then its eyes
become fixated on something to its left. A song is playing somewhere in the
forest, and it gets closer and closer. The Autonsitor begins to open its mouth.
A flock of birds—the source of the music in the woods—comes flying directly at
the Autonsitor. It opens its mouth, and they all fly into the beast’s mouth.
I step forward to get a better look. The Autonsitor
tenses up suddenly. The odd panic in the creature’s body seem to peak. Each
movement of its body is quick—its head jerks to one side, it’s legs move to
reposition its body, its back arches, ready to lash out. What’s making it so
It turns, and I see its face from the front now. It
has two light blue eyes—the same color as the light permeating this forest—then
a single, closed eye at the crown of its skull. It is sniffing the air and turning
its head slowly to scan the forest. Its eyes stop on me—it sees me now, I know
For a moment, all the Autonsitor does is stare at me.
All I can do is stare back. Then, step by step, it begins to move toward me.
There is no running away, so I don’t even try. I just stand there and stare
back into the beast’s eyes. It comes to a stop only a few yards away. My fate
seems indeterminate for a moment. Then the Autonsitor rumbles and closes its
The eye at its crown opens. It is white, with a black
From this black center, I see seven bees holding seven
strings crawl out and fly into the forest. The Autonsitor stands motionless now
as the bees fly all around me, wrapping me with their string. Is it looking
through its white eye now? Through the black pit at its center? Through the
eyes of the seven bees? Is it searching for something? And what does it search
The bees wrap me entirely with strings, and I let
them. They form something like a chrysalis around my body. The strings cover my
face until I can see no more, and then they all melt into my skin, melting me
with them. I open my eyes again, and I am floating in an endless, white space,
with spirals of color spinning all around me.
Then, the spirals coalesce into a single circle. The
circle shimmers. It becomes a mirror. I look into it and see photographs of
myself. They are photographs of me from the day I was born until the day I die.
They are all layered on top of each other, yet transparent, so I can see them
all at once, and so they form one face. In the reflection of the mirror, I see
a mirror behind me.
I seem to have no body here, so all I see are two
mirrors reflecting each other infinitely, and all the photographs in between. I
am just an ethereal body here, watching these two. I move toward the first
mirror, and try to push myself through the glass.
The mirror is like a liquid, and my body—whatever my
body is—moves into the mirror as though I am emerging from water. My body
breaks through the liquid surface of the mirror. I stumble out of it onto
grass. It is nighttime. No. I see light on the horizon, it must be morning
time. All around me is grasslands, plains—the Mael.
I turn around, and I see Maelulos just behind me—the
edge of the woods calling for me to return. But, I know I must leave, though I
don’t know why (I assume I must leave for the same reasons I came here,
whatever they were). I turn to the horizon, and watch as the Sozl rises above
the edge of the horizon. A new morning is here, and I must travel on. I turn to
look once more at the Maelulos.
At the heart of this forest is a great animal,
searching for something. It turns itself into an instrument. It turns itself
into a telescope that scours the surface of pebbles. It turns itself into a
tool that navigates from flower to flower, color to color, life to life—a tool
prying at the night, prying at the forest, prying at its reflection.
Perhaps one day I will return to the Maelulos.
Perhaps one day I will lose myself in the Maelulos.
Perhaps one day I will find myself still wandering through