A while later, Astra saw light at the end of the tunnel. Shortly
afterwards, the river
emerged into a narrow valley with wooded hills on either side. I've
done it! she
thought. I've escaped from the dragon's domain. But though the
dragon might not
come looking for her, unbeknown to her there was someone who would.
Astra was able gradually to make her way to the bank. She dragged herself out of the water, and wondered which way she should head now. She had no idea where she was, or in which direction Aquilaria lay.
Meanwhile the guard was prostrating himself in front of Zodin, a tall imperious woman with long black hair. "You let this woman get away with my hairclasp? Fool! Dolt!" The guard thought to himself that if Zodin hadn't been so careless as to lose her hairclasp then this could never have happened, but he had enough sense to hold his tongue. Whilst Zodin's magical powers were much reduced without the clasp, there was nothing to stop her ordering him put to death in some non-magical way should she feel like it.
Fortunately for the guard, rather than order his execution Zodin said: "Well, you know where the river comes out. Take a party of men and go and look for her. She can't have got far. When you find her, bring her to me - alive if possible, dead if it can't be avoided...
5/25/2000 1:33:09 PM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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