Of course, one of the reasons I am so suspicious about the notion of measured and organisable ‘time’ is that I have spent so many seasons of the world engrossed in myth, legend, fairy-tale, science fiction and fantasy. Gods are immortal – ‘time’ doesn’t bother them. There was once a golden ‘age’ when things were better and even humans lived longer. The Fair Folk live beyond the dimensions of our world, and ‘time’ is not the same there, it flows at a different rate. It’s not surprising that I ended up writing about some of this in my own fiction.
On the island of the West Wind Iranor’s children grew; their mother played with them and told them tales; of mortals – their foolishness and joys and sorrows; of her mother Ellanna and the making of the world. And she told how she herself had made the runes for her children. “There are eleven runes, and these are their shapes,” she said, drawing the outlines in the sand. The two children quickly learnt the shapes and sounds, and were able to put them together to make all the words they knew.
“What clever children you are!” said Iranor, delighted. “As a reward I will do for you what I did for my other children: I will invent runes for you that will call up the sounds of your names for all time, for eternity beyond the end of Skorn itself. For the runes are immortal as you are, and you and each of your runes will exist together forever.”
There’s a nice mixture of ‘times’ for you quite early in the book. Saranna gets thoroughly confused later on :
They made good time, and came into the Gap of Imm by early evening. Footsore but happy, they strolled towards the little port of Dor. Saranna looked up at the great rock-faces on either hand.
“It is as if some giant had chopped through the rock with a huge axe,” she said.
“The people of Dor believe that the gap was made in the time of the Grief of Iranor, when she cast the moon into the heavens and wept for her lost children.”
Saranna stood still with a gasp. “These cliffs are so old, Kor-Sen!”
“Indeed. And immeasurably old is the tale of the Grief of Iranor. In the time before time her children were lost to her, and cast away on the sea, they say.”
She stared at him. “But – – then I do not understand the workings of time, Kor-Sen.”