The High Royal Order of Tinmen, a prologue

Antarctica is something Pre-Cambrian in age. The continent, on the whole, is a great thrustal uplift of limestone and sandstone. The continental rock sits atop dead seas, fossilized and regularly sedimented. Ice covers everything.

It’s ironic: Antarctica houses the global majority of freshwater, but it remains a desert. To date, the highest, driest desert in the world. Antarctica’s wonderment extends outward into the Southern Ocean where—as winds warm the seas and polypnas of calm and unfrozen waters form in between measures of pack ice—life blooms in explosions of phytoplankton and krill; great pink and green sub-oceanic clouds hemmed in by circular tides; heavy salts precipitating into bottom waters. These are waters populated by barnacle-crusted baleen whales, by penguins; and these are waters, by virtue of movement and density, that create convergent lines definitively separating south from north.

In June of 2011, somewhere amid this all, an emperor penguin got lost. Invariably lost. Serendipity doesn’t usually pair well with lostness by virtue of language or circumstance but that’s how I met Delaney: in the crux of it all, the in between space where south and north meet. Turns out words, too, seam a convergence.



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