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Chapter 33



He got off the bucket seat as soon as Yerril had lowered it enough that he felt he could drop off safely. He stood there shaking.

"Don't ever ask me to go up there again! There is no way in the demon's pits that I am ever going up in that thing again! It's not fit for man nor beast!" The job of tracing the runes for the rigging and such had been an ordeal for Derrl, whose barely contained fear of heights was not aided at all by the swaying caused by the wind against the seat on the rope. Thankfully, that task was finished, and he could begin blasting away the sand that held the Pribe in place. Yerril was sympathetic for him. He had seen many good sailors ruined because they could not handle the height when they were changing the rigging. And a few who gave up on their fear and let themselves be given up to the unrelenting power that pulled them back to earth, so strong was the urge. Derrl was left shaking as he stood on the decking on the ship. He disliked the sickening sensation in the very pit of his soul as he swayed far above his only friend, solid ground. Should he let go to return to his friend, it would instantly be the enemy, no longer offering comfort to his soul from the fearful sky, no longer offering its comforting embrace. He would meet it head on with a sickening impact that was worse than the fall itself. Once he had sat in a tavern listening to an old cripple who had once been a seaman until he lost the use of his legs falling from the mast and colliding with the deck. He could recall the old man's exact words. "The fall was otherworldly. For an instant, I felt free, and then it ended. Now, I know that I am not afraid of falling. It's the sudden stop that scares the life out of me." Derrl executed a leap over the rail, and hit the sand in a roll. He got up, brushed off the sand and cleared his mind. He began to fill it once more, but with purpose. He stretched his hands out, almost as if beckoning to something to come to him. Opening his arms to welcome and embrace whatever it was he could see behind his closed lids. He could not see the ship with his eyes closed, but he did not need too. He stretched his senses out and saw the entirety of the massive rune that was now the ship. The entire image filled the vast reaches of the limitless expanse of his mind. It radiated solidity. It beamed reassurances of stability. It had an extraordinary calming effect on him, but what surprised him was not that. It was that he had almost expected it to. His arms were motionless in the air, out to his sides, with the palms of his hands facing upward and forward, almost in a sign of blessing. Slowly, ever so slowly, his hands came together in front of his chest as he traced a complex rune around the stability that was the Pribe. He had an inspiration that enabled him to envision a variation of the firelance that was so completely unlike a firelance as to be said that they had no connection, but he saw the connection, for he had made it. He had done away with the beam of tightly harnessed energy hurtling towards the intended target with impossible speed. He had conserved the initial reaction with the target, which was to create a concussion that would hurtle objects in all directions. He had made it more efficient almost. It no longer lost any energy in the travel to the target, because it originated at the target. He could sense it build in force, and he began to trace another rune in his mind. It was unlike anything he had encountered, but he knew it would suit his need. In his mind, he had extended the runes that covered the Pribe to enclose the bottom of the craft. But even below that, just slightly below that, he formed his new rune, he could sense an ordering of elements under the ship, a solidifying of something that was not solid. It was as if he was making something tangible out of something that did not even exist in his real world. He was about to unleash the forces that he had pent up, and released the runes that held it back. He could sense the forces slipping their bindings and knew there was no holding them back anymore. And as the detonation spread out, it was as if the world had slowed, or he had sped up. In an instant, without any conscious thought, or any volition of his own, he had thrown up a protective barrier, the instant before the wave of debris hit him.

The horrid sound of earth shaking loose its bonds and coming just shy of tearing itself apart reached the warehouse along with the muted, but somehow not, sound of a subterranean explosion. This was not the only place to be hit by the incredible wave of sound. It reached the farthest ends of the city, and persisted off into the countryside for leagues more, where it was heard by human ears. Beyond that, there were no human ears to hear it, because the domain of the water-breathing denizens of the world cut off the land of men abruptly. People on a nearby island were far enough away that they did not hear it, but they felt that something had just happened as a subconscious thought. But it was reinforced by odd and frightening behavior on the part of the schools of fish that some were following. And on another beach, a family of small grey colored whales beached themselves, which was viewed by the locals as a powerful omen. They both feared and respected the large creatures of the sea. They knew their cunning and their intelligence, and more than a few locals had heard of old tales of sailors rescued by such creatures. They knew that something tremendous must have happened to cause such behavior in these lords of the waters.

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