Even Beyond All Other Lands
by Bounce

He sits on the dragon Kalessin's back, Ged slumped against him, wrapped in his cloak and blankets. The mage's body is stick thin and frail, and feverish hot. The metallic plates of the dragon's mail creak softly as she flies.

He sits again in the Court of The Fountain. And he looks over at fountain, at the glimmering, glittering droplets of water. It is high summer, and the light is soft, green, filtered through the leaves of a rowan tree. He met Ged here, when the man was still Archmage. There had been an air of contained power about him that day. An older man, with greying hair and a white woolen cloak. He would have done anything for that man. For the sight of a rare smile, the nod of approval.

He remembers the Children of the Open Sea, and walking the length of a raft, talking softly with Ged.

Ged showed him Gont once. An illusion shimmering across the open surface of a water casket. He had laughed that day and later he had called down a thunder storm. He had seen Ged, Sparrowhawk, standing in the prow of Lookfar, drenched to the skin and laughing in delight at the fury of the storm that he had called to replenish the water in their casks.

A man, terrible with power and surrounded by crackling energy who had rescued him from the hold of a slaver even though he had failed him Hort Town. After he had failed Ged and allowed Hare to betray them. Ged had been patient with him. Rescued him and comforted him through the next days, when the slaver's shadows had lain heavy over his world.

He sits on the back of the dragon Kalessin, Ged held before him. The man's terrible, terrifying power is gone now, he is - human again. But how human could a man such as he truly be? Ged, the only living Dragonlord, he who had found the ring of Erreth-Akbe, and once Archmage on Roke. Of whom the songs claimed deeds beyond even those. How human could he be? The man's body is frail now. Thin, wasted, and feverish hot from the heat of Kalessin's scales.

He walks across the hills of Roke, as an icy wind tugs at his hair and billows his cloak out around him.


"Soon, my lord. Soon. There are things that need to be done, first." And there were. Laws to be made, to be upheld. Trade routes re-established. Messengers sent out and a Kingdom prepared for its long lost King. A thousand, thousand things to be done. That always, always needed to be done now, this moment. And he never had the time to walk alone across Roke's hills, to feel the wind in his hair and remember passing through the dark place on the other side of Life.

He waited as he could, wondering when - if - Ged would return. The knowledge that he would have to go to Havnor soon enough was always there, shadowing his thoughts, his movements, his days, but a day, and another could pass before he did so. And truly, there were so many thousand, thousand things to be made ready before his coronation. His thoughts though, never strayed far from a single image - Ged, laughing and soaked to the skin as he called down a thunder storm, in the middle of the open sea.

"He is done with doing. He goes home.'" The keeper of the door of the House of Roke had told him that, as Kalessin bore Ged away across the ocean and over the Islands of the Archipelago. He had known the truth of those words, though longing and hope made him deny them again and again.

He'd waited as he could, as long as he could, while a thousand things were made ready for the King in Havnor. And the days turned on, till he could wait no longer. "You are to go to Gont, to the house of Ogion the Silent. If any knows where Sparrowhawk is now, it will be him. Tell him that Lebannen, King in Havnor wishes to have his lord and friend, the Archmage, Sparrowhawk of Gont at his coronation at the turning of Autumn. That I wish for him to make me ready for the coronation and crown me if he will."

The messenger had nodded and bowed. "Yes, my lord." And hurried from the room.

The days passed. He walked across the hills of Roke, seeing often, in the far distance, the Immanent Grove, the center of the world. He remembered dragging Ged across the Mountains of Pain, in a place on the other side of life, following the man beyond the edge of the world. The days passed, and he waited as long as he could, until at last an exhausted messenger came from Gont. A bearer of bad news. Ogion the Silent was dead, an old woman called Goha, Flint's Widow was living with a monster child in his house. And no one knew where Ged was.

He stands in the prow of the Dolphin. The hot summer wind tugs at his hair, and salt spray soaks through his clothes. Finer clothes than ever he'd worn as Prince Arren of Enlad, finer than he'd ever worn wandering, searching, across the world's oceans with Ged. He hopes against hope that he will find him here, on Gont.

The ship crests a wave and far away there's a shadow hardly visible against the cloudy northern sky. Gont. He remembers sailing across the open sea in high summer, flying on a dragon's back, a dying, crippled man in his arms. He'd followed him beyond the borders of the world, beyond the boundaries of life and he follows still.

The turning of the days weighs heavy on him. It is almost the turning of Autumn, almost the day of his coronation, the day that the lost King returns to Havnor. But he has time to make this one trip. Time to hope against hope that he will find Ged here. To find the man that love had driven him to follow so far and for so long. To follow him beyond all other lands and the boundaries of life itself.


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