Anatinus shivers when they cross the line; even after so many voyages the moment itself sends a frisson down hir spine to hir toes. Deeper waters, these, if grown familiar over the years; xie imagines xie can feel the land dropping away beneath the hull and the space yawning open beneath them like a mouth. Not an unfriendly one, but not friendly, either; you take your chances out here.

Hir first tattoo was a snail, as was traditional, someplace close to the bone; on hir collarbone, in this instance, though others prefer the inside of the wrist or close to the ankle under the spurs. A reminder that home is a place you carry with you, and that no place is every truly strange.

They’re going further out than ever before, this time; the coast is a memory vanished in the haze of the horizon, past the islands, through the gates of Herakles, to where only the stars, the clocks, and the logs keep their location fixed. They are here to categorize, to split, to separate the waters above from the waters below, two to four to sixteen to sixty-four and beyond, world without end.

Hir latest tattoo, high on hir thigh, is a human figure with the head of a dog, sitting in a field, his hands raised in supplication or instruction, clothes ragged, eyes dark, a memory of their last voyage, to where the map had ended then, of the people they found there. No matter how far they push, no space is ever truly new, truly unknown; there is home and life on either side of the line.

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