‘Eleander Ropp goes up . . . up, Never did she dare to look down . . . down.’

The young Fleetfoot looking out over the horizon, flexing her hands to the beat. The birds drawing nearer.

duum . . . duum . . . duum . . . duum.

The fingers of gods dancing among the clouds . . . calling, crying, carrying closer. Reaching for that feeling in her chest, her luck. As ever, it not burning; never having a drop.

A Fleetfoot forever cut from the petals of fortune.

Instead of shaking her to splinters, it only steadying her thrumming heart. Waiting, her fear held at bay. Having nothing left for it to hold on to. Struck with affliction none could scorn, seeking the one thing youth, in all it’s immortal nature, never escapes.

The Albatross blasting under the tiny craft, the wood rocking wildly with each thunderous beat. Remembering how she saw them as a child. Watching the crimson heads of friends dancing and weaving tricks uncanny. Enormous birds passing overhead.

She fell hard for the sight of them then, fell hard for the sight of them now. With something so beautiful, falling in love is a forever affair.

Wanting to see them once more . . . before giving herself to sky.

Seeing her fill  . . . it being time.

Eleander leaping.

Amongst an endless wave of beasts . . . meeting the unexpectedly obvious occurrence . . .

She accidentally landed on one.

Though prepared to die, Eleander clinging hard to bird, to life.

Fighting . . . holding tight and true . . .

Every time something first truly happens, ripples flow across the world.

Somehow, Eleander bonding herself to that Albatross, close as any Lifestay and Sunstrider.

Finding his name was Ropp.

She leapt to die and found life anew.

Forevermore, Eleander Ropp being gifted to clouds, living among the sun’s warm embrace. Never setting foot on a ship again. Soaring all over Sora for years untold, coasting the East tide to The Reach, along the spined trenches of Erenmore, to the endless shrouds of Oriander. Knowing the skies every corner and fold, singing the caress of all the wind.

Luck finally found her, the restraints broken at long last.

Since that time, races from all over Sora trying their hand at the Albatross. Many succeeding, many more being lost to Darksky. For young Fleetfeet in particular, the challenge of Albatross a way of finding their own luck, understanding where they might belong. For centuries, the skies filling with riders everlasting.

Every Fleetfoot with a last name owes it to an Albatross.

Age wearing their hands and feathers smooth. The weight of time growing heavier than wings could carry. Eleander Ropp knowing it was time to die.

They still had one final gift to give.

Flying high into the sky, higher than the coldest peaks of Kiern, higher than the graceful touch of the moon. Flying higher still . . . up . . . up.

Never slowing until the Sun’s burning embers were upon them.

With their final breath, Albatross and Fleetfoot reaching to touch fire, exploding in a brilliant flash to burn across the stars.

The constellation Ropp’s Wings blooming into life from that day evermore. It twinkling to remind us all as hearts are growing long, when lost and seeking our place, courage is found by looking up . . . and leaping.  

‘Eleander Ropp goes up . . . up, Never did she dare to look down . . . down.’

—Threepwin’s Treasure and Tales, page 34

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