Hedene was the daughter of Mayalaph by Angusin, whom she instructed in the arts of love, before his heart was given to Linfal. She was pregnant with her when Tu was created, and bore her a week before Tjisir was born to Sashang.

Hedene was, like her mother, strongly allied to nature, and her especial province was plantlife, and rather than uncontrolled growth, of gardening, farming, and careful cultivation. In form she was like a dryad, a plantlike or treelike female, with green hair and eyes and dress. She had loved moody Tjisir for centuries, but he was too busy with other things for much time for love...and then, to her regret, Tjisir fell in love with the mortal woman Japastea. Hedene had lovers among the dryads, and many of the dryads had Kaanblood in them from her descendents, but she always loved Tjisir from afar. Japastea died in childbirth, and Tjisir raged, entering Zaer's dread lands to try to wrest his wife's spirit...but it was too late, the spirit had already been sent to the Greater World. In sorrow, Tjisir sent cold and withering snow and ice on the world, and Hedene to her horror saw many of her plants die, and her chosen people, the dryads, wither.

Hedene entered the Halls of Thunder, where Tjisir brooded on Chialta, and Tjisir said,"Go away."

"No. For you are, in your grief, killing the world that C'Don made. Tu is withering, the plants are dying, the dryads are in a coma and close to death."

"No one knows my sorrow."

"No one? Others have taken lovers among the people who pass, the mortals who live for a short span. You gave your heart as well as your body to Japastea, and it was nobly done. But you knew this time would come. She would die in decades regardless, and she died...because your seed grew too big in her, and her children were giants, twice or three times as large as other children of her race."

"Yes; better if I had never met her...for her."

"Then why kill Tu in your grief. Angusin sympathizes, but he cannot wait much longer. He will have to take action. All your life you have fought against your inheritance as Sagin's son...but in your grief you are hurting the world much more than Sagin ever did. For a woman who would have faded in a very short time, as the Kaanho reckon time. If you would have seen her when she was old and withered...I do not doubt your love...but think what a torture it would have been, to see you, hale and hearty, when she was old and hobbling. Perhaps...it was a mercy for her."

"Some mercy."

"Now she is in the Greater World, free of the encumberances of the body, and her ka wanders the misty lands of Zaer. Would you have killed the world when she died of old age?"

"But there is no sorrow like my sorrow."

"No. There is a greater. You at least had happiness for a hauntingly brief time. It is even harder, to long for someone...and realize they do not notice you."

Tjisir looked up, and really noticed Hedene for the first time in a long time.

"Because we pracically grew up together...for only we two were close in age of all the Kaanho...for a long time I thought of you as too familiar. You were the brat I played with and mocked rather than anyone new and exciting. I thought of you like a sister, or someone too, too familiar to be romantically exciting.

"But now...I look at you, and for the first time I actually look at you, in centuries, without seeing the child you were. And I see a slim, beautiful, lady in green....and wonder how I could have been so blind."

"But I will always be second to the ghost of the dead mortal. So in this, the weakness of the mortal has defeated the power of the Kaan."

"I will not lie to you, Hedene. I will never forget Japastea, and love her. But that does not mean I cannot love you, in a different way...and certainly I will love you far longer, as centuries go on."

So they were wedded, and all nature rejoiced, and men rejoiced to see the Sping.

Every year after that, in honor of the memory of Japastea, Tjisir sends cold weather for a time, and much of nature slumbers. Then, as the anniversay of his wedding to Hedene draws nigh, the cold weather is withdrawn, and all nature blooms again.

Their four daughters, the Arieuset, are the Four Winds who accompany their father on his stormy rounds, or just fly free over the surface of two, blowing things around, delighting in the disorder they created.

Those interested with comments, suggestions, things I have forgotten, things I messed up, contact me at... E-Mail:a l.schroeder@nashville.com

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