Kaia’s nimble fingers wove the complex knot in the strong rope. She finished with tying on a bight with an overhand loop and dressed the knot. The knotter next to her slid her working end into Kaia’s loop, finished the knot, and dressed it.
Kaia looked up, and all along the line the knotters were dressing their knots. The flag man waved his flag and the yellow flag on the other side of the gorge waved back. The birds were raucous in the greeness surrounding them.
The ropers on the other end were ready to pull the bridge across and secure it on their end. The Master Knotters attached the end of the bridge to the ropes and all the knotters lined up along the edge of the precipice to watch the event.
The strongest men in the village were there to control the extension and prevent the bridge from falling and pulling the ropers on the other end down with it.
It was silent on their end, but they could hear the deep chants the men on the other side used to synchronize their strength.
Kaia watched the end dip into the mist rising from the falls below. The bridge slithered into the white vapors and the knotters held their breath.
Thirty seconds passed and they began breathing again, but the end had not come back up out of the mist yet. Kaia watched the rope rungs and railings extend. It was woven from the finest fibers by the ropers on the other side. Kompolog and Kamilog had been connected for generations by the bridge and each generation repaired and rewove it.
This was her second time weaving the bridge, as it was for most of the other knotters. The invasion from the west six months ago had forced those from Kamilog across the bridge to Kompolog, at which point they’d cut the bridge. The invaders could go no farther.
Kaia saw the end of the bridge come up out of the mist. There was a sigh from the knotters. This would be the most difficult part for the ropers. They supported the entire weight of the bridge now. Kaia’s new Kamilogian friend gripped her hand.
“He’ll be fine, Jamie,” Kaia told her friend. Jamie’s brother was one of the ropers pulling the bridge across.
Jamie’s nod was short and quick and her hand tightened around Kaia’s. Jamie’s brother, Corbin, along with the other strong men pulling now, had climbed down the gorge and back up on the Kamilog side three days ago. Kaia was confident that if he could survive that peril, he would be safe when pulling.
They saw the end come up over the lip of the gorge and held their breath. The loops the knotters had created were thrown over the anchor boulders, which had grooves in them to hold the rope.
Everyone cheered, and the roar echoed back down the canyon at them. The ropers cinched it tight. A man waved. Jamie jumped up and down and threw her arms in the air.
“My brother!” she shouted. “He’s safe!”