Not to the forest, but instead to the vast seas fled these fugitives from the fallen Palace.
(WaveDancers Special 1, Metamorphosis, EQ II 1-2, 5, 21, 23-24, 27-28, 30-31)
This section is by D. Aviva Rothschild with some edits for continuity and detail
This story introduces a completely new set of elves to the World of Two Moons: the ocean-faring Wavedancers, who magically shape their bodies to be able to breathe for long periods of time underwater and on land. They live on a coral reef which they call Crest Point. They are led by Snakeskin (male).
The story opens as the jolly Spine (male) comforts Brill (female), who is upset because her lovemate Skimback has recently Recognized Sandsparkle, who is now joyfully pregnant. Elsewhere, pups Moonmirror (female) and Tumble (male) abandon the younger Puffer (male) to ride on some “slap-tails“ (dolphins). Unfortunately, they leave the boundaries of the tribe just as some human vessels appear. The tribe must struggle to free the two children, and the fight draws out the long-missing Surge (male), the tribe's former chief. Surge destroys the vessels with a powerful wave, using his magical power to control water, and the elves return to their beach to plan their next move. Surge counsels flight, which astonishes his son Snakeskin, and they argue.
Meanwhile, a human ship's captain named Ardan Djarum, a merchant descended from Grohmul Djun, plots destruction on the sea-elves for killing his son Kahram, who was on one of the vessels Surge destroyed. Ardan Djarum gloats over a sinister substance guaranteed to kill elves.
The Wavedancers continue to hold council, debating what to do. Snakeskin wants to reshape the coral surrounding their home to be a spiky trap that will destroy ships as they approach, but Surge points out that the humans will continue to send ships regardless. Reluctantly Snakeskin decides to send a search party out for a new place to live, though the memory of the lost party is still strong. But for now they just sit around and talk, with the chief and Surge trying to understand one another again. Surge recognizes that Snakeskin is a budding healer and injures himself to force his son's powers to the fore.
A day later, a scouting party is sent to make sure the elves have a clear path through the sea. One of the party, Darshek, picks up a ring from the sunken human ship before continuing on. Later, he spies Ardan Djarum's ships and sends a dolphin back with a mental picture, then sneaks aboard one of the ships. He is promptly captured, and Djarum and his pet alchemist, Bran Porak, try some of that evil substance (a parasite) on him. The Djarum screams at poor Darshek about where his people are and abuses him for wearing his son's ring, but Darshek doesn't understand him and just lies there in increasing misery.
The other Wavedancers are worried about him, of course, and send out search parties. Instead of Darshek, however, they find a huge kill of fish that died oddly, without any sign of poison or violence. The searchers return to the others and hold council again, deciding to remain until they locate Darshek.
The humans start dropping explosives in the sea. From the fish-kill, Djarum plucks a dead dolphin and threatens Darshek with the destruction of more if he doesn't tell the merchant where the other elves are. Of course, Darshek isn't able to understand or answer the man. The merchant's sailors do, however, and they're getting more and more leery of the insanely driven man. And when he tells Bran Porak that he intends to dump his huge supply of the parasite into the sea, Bran realizes that the man's thirst for vengeance could very well destroy the seas themselves. Bran gives Ardan what he thinks are false directions to the demons' home. Some of the sailors abandon ship, while others plot to kill Ardan.
The Wavedancers begin to make preparations to leave their home of Crest Point in order to save the tribe, although they have not yet found Darshek, and Krill and Longfin are also missing. Krill and Longfin are searching for Darshek, who though badly injured, escapes from the ship because the sailors are in the midst of a mutiny. He falls into the sea and goes into shock, but before he faints, Krill and Longfin find him.
Back at Crest Point the elves are almost ready to leave. Spine suddenly falls to the floor in pain, and Skimback heals him, saying that it is a head injury he had healed previously. Skimback asks Snakeskin to check Spine for anything he missed since he wasn't able to fully heal him. Snakeskin discovers that there are parasites in Spine's brain (the ones used by Ardan), which is why he wasn't fully healed by Skimback before. The two healers don't know how to solve the problem.
The tribe continues preparations to leave, when Krill and Longfin arrive with Darshek. The two healers immediately realize that Darshek also has the parasites in his head and is much worse off than Spine. The Broken One approaches and tells them how to get rid of the parasites: by using their healing magic in reverse to kill them (as he remembers Winnowill doing).
On Ardan's ship, the crew refuse to obey his orders. They tell him he's mad for sailing in bad weather, killing more fish than can be used, and bringing a 'demon' on board. Ardan retorts that he killed the 'demon' and if they stand with him they can kill the others too. The sailors' spokesman reminds Ardan what happened when his ancestors tried to battle demons (they lost). Ardan replies that it was humans who betrayed the Djun and he won't make the same mistake but will kill the human traitors and then wipe out the demons. At that moment, a sailor calls "Land Ho!" They are within view of Crest Point. Bran, who doesn't realize the elves actually live there, convinces the sailors to abandon Ardan there. They come within sight of the land, just as the healers are finishing the killing of the parasites in Spine and Darshek, which has postponed the sea elves' planned departure. The elves realize that it's now too late to escape, and prepare to do battle.
A long way away in the land of the Forevergreen is an elf named Wavecatcher, the last of a small party of Wavedancers that went exploring and was largely wiped out by humans. Wavecatcher is searching for others of his kind, especially a female elf that he glimpsed on land many years ago (this was Yun, when she visited the Forevergreen with a group of elves from the Sun Village; see the “Forevergreen” section). Wavecatcher approaches the humans to ask about other spirits. Wavecatcher finds the humans friendly but of little use in his search for more elves. He catches sight of a huge four-fingered hand statue and decides to investigate. The statue is a recreation by the remnants of the human Hungtsho tribe who still live in the area, hoping that their “sky spirit“ Door will return to them. The half-Glider/half-Wolfrider elf Windkin meets Wavecatcher in the forest, and is intrigued by but distrustful of the strange sea-elf.
Windkin and Wavecatcher discover a female elf who was raised by a tribe of humans and has been living with them for several human generations. She doesn't realizes she's anything but a spirit and is happy to discover others of her kind. She tells the two elves her story, and Wavecatcher realizes that she is Wavelet, a Wavedancer elf who had been lost as a baby.
The humans with whom she lives hold a celebration in honor of the two visiting 'spirits.' Wavecatcher is understandably cold toward the humans' overtures. Windkin and Wavecatcher try to decide how to explain the truth to Wavelet. Wavecatcher starts to tell Wavelet her history, but doesn't finish because he feels too close to the situation since he knew her parents, and fears he would not explain it well.
During the celebration there is dancing, and Wavelet, who has been flirting with both the male elves, starts to dance with Windkin and makes it clear she wants to do what she's seen humans doing for generations that produces babies. Windkin tries to slow her down so he can explain her history to her, but she's not listening, and Wavecatcher breaks them up, thinking Windkin is neglecting his promise to tell her. He takes Windkin away to confront him. Wavelet comes to seek them out and overhears them talking about how humans have murdered so many of their kind including her parents. She runs away very upset, thinking that the elves must be lying and that they mean to harm her. The two elves, not knowing that she overheard them, settle their dispute and go to look for her to tell her everything. In the meantime she has told the chief of the tribe what she heard, and the chief leaves her, with a 'determined' look on his face.
The story ends here, unconcluded.
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