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And his hand, with the grace
of the falconer's hand
or the falcon herself,
unjessed in the diving air,
was the hand of the People,
the left hand, the off-hand,
the hand that steadies the bow.
And so it would be, my sons and fathers,
until the night
of the dancing moons
when the sky to the east
was silver and black,
red the sky in the westland falling,
the night when we bring forth the daughters.
Robed in the friends of the people,
robed in eland, robed in the fox,
in the falcon's high feathers
ten winters counting,
came forth the daughter of chieftains,
the daughter unwed to man or to sorrow,
unwed to the things she could not be.
Grace of the fathers
dove through her veins
like a wind that the world obeyed.
Heart of the hunter she was
at the heart of the wandering,
gold of the eyes imagining
gold of the moon descended her naming night,
and Riverwind knew that the journey,
the truce with horizons, was ending
in light and the promise of light.
And holy the days he drew near her,
holy the air that carried
his songs of endearment,
the country behind him
a song like a choir of bees
at the edge of hearing, telling him
HERE IS GREAT SWEETNESS HERE IS PAIN
AND YOU WILL HAVE TO LEARN ABOUT THIS.
And seven the summers
in which she eluded him, winters
in which the cold and the country
collapsed on the words CHIEFTAIN'S DAUGHTER.
The halved heart of the eland
steamed from the spinning ground below him
and Old Man, Grandfather,
Wanderer, reader of skies,
reading the face of the boy arising
out of the face of the man,
as the binding of moons on his naming night,
repeating the words like a charm, like a warding,
CHIEFTAIN'S DAUGHTER, the old
enduring story of love and of distance,
of the borders at which
the heart bows down