It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. - Seneca

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Excerpt from, "Children of the Mist"


On the shingle of the boulder-strewn shore, several small boats bobbed against their moorings. After ensuring his pack was securely fastened around his waist, he climbed into one, and lashed the torch to the prow. He cast off, and took up the paddle. The river bore the craft along at a tremendous rate and it needed all his skill and attention to save the craft from dashing against the rocks. He'd heard about the fabled river of Mimir, but this was not the tranquil stream of his imagination. The walls still reflected a phosphorescent glow. Vidarh noticed several gigantic, human-like statues on the banks as he passed, but had no time to contemplate or admire them. Rounding a bend, he came upon a wall of water ahead, cascading from the roof in a fury of white froth. The torrent boiled and raced. He gritted his teeth as he headed into the maelstrom.
There was no way he could control the boat's frantic motions as it heaved and bucked like an unbroken colt. He threw down the paddle, gripped the sides of the vessel, and sent a desperate message through the ether.
Tamarith, I'm in trouble. Please—send me images of your location, quickly. I need to know what it looks like where you are.
The raging current tossed the boat around with relentless fury. All Vidarh's attention focused on maintaining contact with Tamarith, and even his finely-tuned powers could not prevent the craft from capsizing. Gasping as he hit the icy flood, he struck out with his arms in desperation, and tried to keep the watery demons from pulling him under.

Into his head came a shimmering picture of mountains and a snowy plain beyond, like the one he had recently crossed. A path before the mouth of a cave wound down the declivity to the plain. He closed his eyes and forced himself to concentrate on the image, while trying to keep his head above the water.
The mountains and the plain solidified in his mind. He saw a group of people gathered at the entrance to the cave, halfway down the craggy slope. Four sturdy ponies stood tethered a short distance away. Vidarh struck a barrage of water with a force that winded him. Myriad rainbow colours flashed before his eyes. For a nanosecond, he sped through a vortex of black nothingness, sucked through the eye of a raging whirlwind. He hit hard ground and rolled over onto his side. A few moments passed before he could catch his breath and scramble to his feet. He stood in embarrassment, aware of the slightly shocked expressions on the faces of the three people gathered before him.
Welcome, Vidarh. Not quite how we were expecting you to arrive.

The young woman, at whose feet he had fallen, was pleasing to look at, even if her expression was one of bemusement. He'd formed a vague picture in his mind and thought she would be attractive, although he had not expected her to be so stunning. Large, dark eyes framed with feathery lashes lit up her delicate features. Thick black hair in a long braid reached almost to her feet, and the close-fitting riding gear she wore emphasised a petite, shapely figure.
Tamarith smiled, an action that made her seem even lovelier, and extended her fingers in the Nifl custom. How did you do that?

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