The king called for a feastday to honor their guests, bringing them into kinship with his house, before they fully prepared departure the day following. It was guessed by Zhera’ that his homelands lie hence some forty leagues south and west, as the crow flies. He feared to inquire of the king, however, to strain his kinship’s offer by revelation of his clan. The home of his daughters his [he] could only guess, given their varied memories, some from early days of childhood, and perhaps not all six even came from the same land, though being named some of Zilpah, and some of Bilha. Zhera’ feared these clan names, known to him from stories and folklore of his own clan, being applied, unrightly; and yet without malice or deception, perhaps (by the daughters’ masters).
He grudged not the wait and forced delay in Kiliath, hoping to meet here Doral, bearing knowledge, a map, some guide to her homeland; and still he lingered in desire for understanding Ifariel, that maybe in a private meeting an account be given of her claims, now known false. Yet he also grudged her not this adventure, its rest amid the beauty of the Gorge, where pillars of rock iridescent shimmered in the dawn and falling twilight, some carven as trees or ruined pillars of ancient fains, others left to their native forms, as stacked boxes of metal, one upon another; some pillared to heights of twenty men, a score high. Yet now he had leave to find the unknown lands of his daughters’ homes, little did he desire to depart, for kinship indeed came to his heart for the chief Janus; but neither could he linger, receiving a livelihood amid shortage, while risking also some hunter discovering his name and history; or a shadow smothering one of his beloved ones, disappearing under night.
So the family prepared to pass north, and to come in wide circle at last to Zhera’s home, roundabout, called by his house “Zourgos.”
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