Greenweave untangles knots. It is what Greenweave does. He has yet to meet the knot that was his equal. All it takes are patience of mind, deft hands, a calm and steadfast heart. Greenweave was born for this. His hands are smooth and dancing, fingers swift and easy to find the threads, the winding course, the thickened, wrestled center, and he traces one into another into another and tugs it all clean out, with his heart tireless, easily subtle.
Knots appear everywhere in the holt, in the winding and turning life of the tribe. Knots worm their way into their lives as winds blow and water comes and goes, in the creeping paths of vines and branches. Knots enwrap laces, leathers and hair, fur and strings. Greenweave is patient and abides. Knots form and he loosens them again, safely knowing that they would come up once more, sooner rather than later.
Sometimes it is by the river, when the starlight splashes inside the water and the moons rest in heavy silver under the waves. He sits with Suddendusk and they untangle nets, over and again, this way and that, prying and tugging and slipping, probing along the twisted wireways to the center. Suddendusk is easy company to sit in silence with and untangle knots. They sit sometimes for hours, while Evervale fishes on a rock nearby, hefting up her spear and beaming as she shows her pride-puffed father her latest catch, making the sitting brighter. Occasionally Crackle comes along too, and then whatever work gets done gets undone just as fast, but Suddendusk is never tired of untangling Crackle’s knots. Greenweave watches him sink his fingers into her red hair, pulling lightly and rescuing a spider, a pebble. And while he is at it Greenweave’s fingers keep to the nets, delicate and sure, full in awareness of all he is doing without needing to even look down. He feels the subtle weights and cores, how a tug on one corner tugs on another. He knows.
Sometimes when a knot is particularly stubborn or hopeless in Crackle’s hair, Suddendusk would come to him. Nor is he the only one. The tribe relies on Greenweave’s good, clever hands. He pries the leaves out of Crackle’s hair, or the painful thrush-tangles out of Windsong’s braids. Whispersilk trusts him to run his fingers through her great and midnight rushes, to keep them silk-smooth like a blanket of night sky for her lifemate. Moss sits for hours in silence, while Greenweave puts in bead after bead and feather after feather. Willow too, allows him near, to rub out and draw and unmake and remake her long braid.
And sometimes there is a waterfall of pale gold between his fingers, and a cloud of dawn glory all around him, enveloping his senses like sweet smoke. And beneath it warm skin, when his fingers rest a moment. And there is never a knot therein that he cannot draw out, be it with patience or with a quick if cruel tug. In the end Cloudfern lies down by him in their den to be his blanket and pillow, his coat in wintertime, and Greenweave lies dreaming and content on an endless smoothness without a single knot.
Greenweave untangles knots. It is what Greenweave does. And his tribe knows it. It takes patience, it takes skill. It takes the knowing of how much is to free and how much is to pry, how much to loosen and how much to hurt.
And sometimes he tugs a Preserver web free of someone’s hair, or gently removes it from the feathers of caught prey. He knows much of untangling wrapstuff. He falls to imagining, while his fingers work on their own. He unwraps and his thoughts are full of gold, rolling in ringlets, drifting in clouds, crowned in feathers.
He untangles and wonders what he really knows about knots at all.
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