Книги о Ралионе
  Энциклопедия Ралиона

The Guardian
1. The arrival

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.

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 light.

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 the Ladder.

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-- mecenat --

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