The Atavian's Daughter
By: Elyan Posted on: March 23, 2007
There are several writings attributed to a poetess, known simply as "The Atavian's Daughter", who lived several centuries ago. Her true name is not known now (if it ever was) and it was long thought that such a person never existed, for records of her are few and unclear, and none of her works were ever found.
Yet when I journeyed to the Tsol'aa village in the depths of the Aalen, I chanced to speak with Ta'hena the sage, who claimed that the poetess has spent her last years there. Moreover, she claimed to have known the poetess in person. This is certainly not impossible, considering the long life of that race, and I begged her to tell me more.
The poetess' father (so the tale went) was a bard from Arcadia, the ancient home of the Atavians. Her mother was a woman of the village, who died in childbed, and her mother's kin would have nothing to do with the child. Therefore the girl spent her first years on the road with her father, who told her tales of his native city, and of his kin who dwelt there. Then, in her nineteenth year, he died of a sudden sickness, and the girl was alone, knowing of no home save the floating city her father had spoken of, and which she had never seen.
Yet by cruel chance the poetess had not the wings of the Atavians (nor, as was evidenced later, the longevity of the Tsol'aa) and Erymanthus in that time could only be reached by flight. She could only wander the lands alone, and it was in that time that she made her first and most famous work, by which later men named her: the Song of the Atavian's Daughter. It was this song that Ta'hena sang to me:
I dream of Erymanthus isle,
Pure and bright and undefiled,
Mist-encloaked, surpassing fair,
A vision of beauty beyond compare.
I walk, and gaze upon the sight
Of scented roses, snowy-white
And in full bloom, and flitting wings
Of bright-hued songbirds as they sing.
Sheer cliffs fall before my feet
Into seas of cloud and sleet,
But high above me sunlight calls,
And turns the lofty waterfall
To diamonds on a silver chain.
I soar towards the cool soft rain
Of mist-like foam upon my face.
I fly in that enchanted place;
Upon my wings, blinding-bright,
Shines the sun's life-giving light.
Higher, higher, to the great summit,
Beside the shining waterfall's plummet.
There is the city, there the sharp glitter
Of Arcadia's spires of crystal and silver.
There are the carven marble streets,
The flowering gardens green and sweet.
The guardian smiles, receives me in,
And greets me as his distant kin.
Children hover here and there,
Tiny feathers ruffling my hair.
I smile and pass them by.
Tier by tier, upwards I fly,
To the fifth circle, the Temple of the Sky.
The healer-priestess raises her arms,
As if in greeting-- myriad charms
Jingle in the wind. She speaks, and I hearken;
Then the thunder rolls and darkens.
I fall, and falling wake, finding I had dreamed.
Nothing is as beautiful as in my sleep it seemed.
I have no wings with which to fly.
I have no wings to claim the sky.
The story goes that many in the land heard her song and wept, and at last by chance or fate it came even to Arcadia itself, and it was this that moved the winged people to open the planar gate that leads betwixt Sapience and Erymanthus. But it was too late for the Atavian's Daughter, for she had grown old according to the measure of the Atavians, and died before ever she saw the white city she had dreamed of.
This tale I cannot verify, for I have not the wisdom to know when or how the connection between planes come into being; but true or false it moved me also, and I believe that, in this isolated corner of Sapience, I have found a story or true sorrow and beauty to share with you, my hearers.