They caught the Odlum while he was sleeping, bound his hands so he couldn’t scratch them with his poisons, gagged him so he couldn’t call their names and curse them, covered his eyes so he couldn’t look on them and wither their hearts. They caught him like you’d catch a poisonous spider: cautiously and a little sadly.

When the land slipped down into the river of Ocean he felt it and knew that they’d made up their minds finally. “Odlum,” said one of them while the others shipped the oars, “we do this not out of anger, and not out of fear. Do not take these with you down into the waters. You were one of us, once, and are one of us still. We do not ask forgiveness. We ask nothing save memory.” The bag caught on the oarlocks when they dropped him over, but the Odlum kept his eyes shut tight against the knowing, hurtful glance.

In the bowl of the water blue men and women waited for him, gentle-fingered and kind, whom his eyes couldn’t hurt and his breath couldn’t blight. He opened his mouth to sing to them and they brushed him closed again. Their hands were gentle and cold and their eyes sharp as their teeth.