knot by Tristan Levine, words by Mike Selinker, illustration by Aviv Or
Born of the glider that harbingers strife,
Carved by the woodsman who lives by his knife,
Sundered by darkness, engulfed by the ebb,
The hunter breaks free from the harvestman’s web.
The Twainward knot is the knot of two paths. When you are cruelly bound by your own fate, tie this knot and an exit will manifest. But not all paths are safe. Listen sharp for hissing sounds, and begin.
Begin with twofold cords, gingerly bound. Ask your elder for your village’s camping spike, and keep it at the ready.
Work with speed, for the spike cannot be freed from the ground for long, lest the village move suddenly within the Eyrewood. Tie the cords tight.
Bring the first rope across the spike.
Wrap it around, careful not to slice it lest blood be shed.
And around again.
Now the same, but with the other cord. Again, the spike must not draw blood today.
Pull it tight and free the spike from the cord. A camping spike of such quality cannot be bound.
What’s this? A root snake? Note how it slithers in from both sides.
It is no match for your arrow. Catch it by both ends and pull it through the cords.
With the root snake bound, flip the cords over.
Untie only the first of your knots. No more, or you are much in peril.
Cross your cords, then bring the tail of the snake over and around.
Ha! The head of the snake thought it could slither free! Repeat your efforts.
And end the snake’s escape.
To be certain, tie the snake’s head with its tail, and the opposite way round.
Serves you right, serpent! But we are not done. Bring one cord back around and tie off the tail.
The head suffers a similar fate.
Now the huntsman’s blade arrives to finish the task.
The Twainward Knot is complete. No root snake shall trouble you this eve!