The storm was over. All the waves, previously malignant, furious
and roaring now became lazily rolling curbs. Just occasional splashes
were heard; the sky cleared and a sunset glowed peacefully.
1. The arrival
Nlaminer awakened to find that Rhissa was not in the cave.
Stretching, he sat and tried to recall all events of the previous
hours. The boat, he thought with a bitterness, is now a pile of
wooden pieces. How will we leave this island ?
He crawled to the entrance and looked out, blinking. The ocean
was completely calm; seagulls were flying over him, their cries
bringing him back to reality.
The boat lay on the sand just in front of the entrance.
Amazing, he thought. How could it survive ? Then he noticed tiny
blue sparks between planks, felt once more the leaden fatigue and
thought with satisfaction, "At least I have spared our boat." After
hours of trying to keep their boat afloat, it was hard enough to
breathe... And the spell was still working. Nlaminer ceased his
concentration on the spell and sparks died one by one.
There were no signs of Rhissa around. It was a good omen. If
something dangerous were nearby, he wouldn't be left to sleep. The
island was mostly rocky; no big predators were here, so Rhissa had
something to do. Undoubtedly she will return to the same cave. There
is time to scout the surroundings, while the sun still provides some
Nlaminer drew the boat to a safer place (though the storm was
over, it could happen again) and began walking clockwise, in the
direction of the purple sun just ahead. The island was a rough
circle, a steep cliff one hundred feet high, with no hints of safe
climbing. If we do not find some place to ascend, thought Nlaminer
gloomily, we will have to sail north again. With no water and no food
supplies, the journey can be the last one.
The cliff was dark and sturdy. Only sand, a ring of sand twenty
feet wide - all that separated the cliff from the ocean. In the
morning, while they tried to find a haven and found none, the words
about curse befallen this island seemed not only a dark joke; the
lightnings, striking the rocky circle, the mighty waves trying to
smash adventurers to death - as if some hostile will was trying to
prevent them from getting ashore. The tiny pool of quiet water around
the boat - the only effect of his spell - was not safe enough, when
waves fell from above and the tons of foamy water tried to swallow
them. And now, this unsafe barrier between rock and water was not
promising any good shelter.
The recollection ended after they had crawled into a natural
cave; Nlaminer had fallen asleep right on the spot. As far as he
could guess it was about nine o'clock now. He slept for... for
fourteen hours. The spell drained him too much. Deep in his
thoughts, Nlaminer made several paces more and had a first look at
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