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Prologue

Even the smallest grain of sand creates ripples.

There was a time when I did not know this, for from where I sat there stood only sand. I was a child of the desert. And in the desert, water is hard to come by. There aren't many people here, but they tend to give you a strange look if you do anything with water except drink it.

We were Wingless. This is the name we call ourselves as we wander across thousands of sand dunes. My people are Wingless, and they raised me with the name Eurus, the Eastern Wind. I never asked where I had come from, or where we were going. We were always constantly in motion, and the question seemed irrelevant.

I once asked the Elder if he thought that perhaps we were traveling in circles. And he smiled. He told me that the entire universe was dizzily spinning in circles. And when I looked up at him in confusion he simply laughed and shook his head. I could not yet understand the vastness of the desert, much less the extent of a billion-billion galaxies and stars.

We were family, bound more by the sand than by blood. We moved where the winds swept us. And sometimes someone would vanish from the herd. There were times that they were never heard from again, swallowed by the earth. Other times they would somehow always find their way back even when the Wingless had moved on. We blessed each grain and each step of the cloak between worlds. One was what we could see with our eyes. The other was beyond what we could imagine.

The day would come when Elder would bestow a gift of a test of faith. I was to be cast out from everything I knew and into the mouth of the dragon in the vast unknown. It was to be a journey across the chasm between child and adult, but my journey was not to be so simple.

They called me Eurus, the Eastern Wind because my birth fortune foretold that I would see the Twin Peaks of Oracle, the gateway to the Gods. It laid thousands of miles and a million-billion worlds away. And from my first sip of Caravan tea, I was destined to be the one Wingless foolish enough to try flying anyway.