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In the dim dawn of the first time, when Ivimwi first crawled from the muck and started to question the world around them, was Farwalk. The Ivimwi of hir village called hir that because zie was prone to walking great distances, out to the edge of the continental shelf where the sea dropped away into an unfathomable abyss, or along the landcoast one way or the other, to see if it went forever. That was how zie found the Others, a whole village of Ivimwi none of hir people had ever met. They used strange and difficult gestures, but in time the two came to be friends. The Others had stories none had ever heard, fanciful tales of the great Vim-Sphere, like a Vimwa but far larger and, well, a sphere, who dwelt in the Forest and created the younglings, only for the terror of Hir presence and the horror of Trees to drive them out into the world, where they could be found and brought to the village and raised as new Ivimwi. In exchange, the Real People had given the Others the ancient secret of making badmuck-rings to concentrate the bloom.
On this morning, Farwalk woke with all three bladders full, so zie began by walking down to the scampi-midden. Zie found a fresh patch of silt with the thin shoots of shoreweed growing in it, perfect for muck, and carefully, slowly emptied hir badmuck bladder while walking in a ring around it, using hir lower claws to blend it into the silt and form a continuous ring in an action that every youngling learned their first year, until it was instinct. That done, zie sprayed hir heavy sourmuck bladder with relief, watching as the green cloud sank slowly down and settled heavily on the seafloor silt.
That done, zie went searching for a fresh patch of sourmuck silt and sprayed it with a large black cloud of bittermuck. It was a good patch, with a strong border and an intense sour smell; with hir own bittermuck it would produce plenty of scampi in three or four days. Zie’d have to remember it, and make sure to get up early, before anybody else snagged it.
Today zie was up before basically everyone, and managed to find a large swarm of scampi all to herself, floating together, unable to cross the edges of their patch. Zie wondered, sometimes, how it worked; could the scampi sense the badmuck days after it was laid down? Did it have a smell that frightened them? Perhaps they felt the same kind of holy dread that Ivimwi did toward the Forest, and that was what kept them sealed in their little patch, waiting for an Vimwa to come along and devour them.
Which Farwalk did, with relish, flinging herself into the air and letting the grooves and fluting of her shell turn her descent into a slow, graceful twirl, all six lower claws snatching scampi out of the water and feeding them to her three hungry mouths. She landed lightly on the far side of the patch, then immediately sprang again. After the third time she was sated, and let the remaining scampi go. They swam off toward the continental shelf, to live whatever lives scampi lived. Zie wondered if they would tell stories of hir, in the deeps, and if they would be flattering.
But enough of that. Hir belly was full and her bladders empty; it was time to attempt her quest. Zie had a private, secret belief, and now zie was going to see for hirself if it was true, what none of her village believed but the Others did: that there was only one Forest, and the Others and Real People both came from it.
And to do learn the truth, zie was going to do what no Vimwa had ever done: zie was going to go back to the Forest.