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To those who read, good flight.

It is Hloch of the Stormgate Choth who writes, on the peak of Mount Anrovil in the Weathermother. His Wyvan, Tariat son of Lythran and Blawsa, has asked this. Weak though his grip upon the matter be, bloodpride requires he undertake the task.

Judge, O people. The father of Hloch was Ferannian and the mother was Rennhi. They held the country around Spearhead Lake. He was an engineer who was often in Gray, Centauri, and other towns, dealing with humans. They in their turn came often thither, for travel routes crisscrossed above and there was, too, a copper mine not far off. Hloch's parents were guest-free and would house whoever pleased them for days in line, giving these leave to roam and hunt. Moreover, as you well know, because of its nearness to populous Gray, our choth receives more humans into membership than most. Hence we younglings grew up friendly with many of this race and familiar with no few of the winds that blow on their souls.

Rennhi was a quester into the centuries, remembered for her scholarship and for the flame she kindled in those whom she saw fit to teach. High above all, she is remembered for writing The Sky Book of Stormgate. In this, as you well know, she traced and described the whole history of our choth. Of the ancestors upon Ythri; of the founders here upon Avalon; of the descendants and their doings unto her own years; of how past and present and future have forever been intermingled and, in living minds, ever begetting each other—of this does her work pursue the truth, and will as long as thought flies over our world.

God stooped upon her before she could begin the next chronicle. Already she had gathered in much that was needful, aided in small compass by her son Hloch. Then came the Terran War, and when it had passed by, ruined landscapes lay underneath skies gone strange. We are still raising our lives anew from the wreckage left by that hurricane. Hloch, who had served in space, afterward found himself upon Imperial planets, member of a merchant crew, as trade was reborn. Thus maychance he gained some further sight across the human species.

So did the Wyvan Tariat think of late, when Hloch had wearied of the void and returned to the winds. His word: "We have need to grasp the realness of those folk, both those who dwell among us and those who are of the Empire. For this, your mother knew, it is best to fly their ways and see through their eyes—ancestral still more than incarnate, that we may sense what is rising ahead of us in time. Hloch, write the book she did not live to write."

Therefore, behold these annals, from the Discovery and on through the World-Taking. They are garnered from different trees, and few of them will seem at once to grow toward the same sun. Yet they do, they all do. This is the tale, told afresh, of how Avalon came to settlement and thus our choth to being. This is the tale as told, not by Rennhi and those on whom she drew for the Sky Book, but by Terrans, who walk the earth. Hloch will seek to explain what is alien: though only by swinging your mind into that same alienness may you hope to seize the knowledge behind.

Then read.

Hloch of the Stormgate Choth
The Earth Book of Stormgate


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