The porters had taken one of the canoes but left much of the food. Their note, apologetic, described their fear at seeing the dazzling lights in the sky, the men from their village that had not returned from the far north.

“I suppose I cannot ask you to come any further with me, then,” Tiris said. “I had planned and prepared for this eventuality, to seek the Dreaming Moon in the farthest north alone.”

Farciya was silent a moment. “I will accompany you, she said in time.

“Why?” Tiris said. “I release whatever hold I, as your employer, may once have had on you.”

“When you came upon me, I had long tired of the dreamlands as I had once tired of waking life, many years ago. I had begun looking for ways to pass beyond, into the Next Dream, the Dream-to-Come, the Deepest Dream. But surrender is not my way.”

“You came here to die,” Tiris said, shocked.

“I would accept success, and life, just as I would accept perishing in the attempt.”

Farciya let her words hang over the last refuge for a time.

“Why do you seek the Dreaming Moon?” she said. “I have unburdened myself to you unbidden; to pay me the same tribute is the least I can ask.”

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