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.Beside the bowls were the cuttings from some of the dart spitting plants, the large bulbs cleaned and stripped of their outer skins, looking white and almost inviting.He suspected that the mush in the bowls had been made from the plants.They were edible?Bewildered, he reached out and grabbed one of the skins, then carried it over toward Burke.He dribbled a little of the life giving liquid onto his lips, then did the same with Tara.He checked each, and found they appeared well, and were in a deep sleep.He sat between them and tried to gather his thoughts.He was momentarily interrupted by the sharp call of one of the high flying birds they had sought to follow, and his eyes watched as a pair descended from the sky to land in one of the taller trees on the far side of the pond.One laid something from its beak on the limb, and the two of them began to tear at the flesh of their prize.Given the normalcy of the current surroundings, Rigo held his breath and tested his magic.It worked! He could feel his abilities had returned.Quickly he attempted to make a Bypass, and was rewarded with the appearance of the familiar arch.Part of him wanted to stand up and run into it, but knowing it was possible was enough.He let the arch fade away.He’d make another when they had all recovered and had a long look at this miracle that had saved them.Now that he was fully awake, Rigo could recall a strange jumble of unlikely memories.He thought he could envision riding atop a Hoplani, supported between a pair of short, oddly dressed natives.They had been short, coming only to the middle of his chest, with skin colored almost to match the sands of the Ruins.Their hair was thick and white, with heavy eyebrows and eyes that were pale and white.Only the faintest ring and change in color marked the white from the iris of the eye.More visions, he hesitated to call them memories, were flooding in.The small nomads, his rescuers if he believed what his mind was telling him, carried long spears with glowing white blades.He was certain he recalled one of the natives using one of the swords to kill and then cut into one of the Hoplani.What kind of blade could do that? He had never known a blade that could penetrate the magical hides of the creatures.For that matter, how could they wander among the beasts with impunity and even control them to provide transport like an ordinary bison?He was certain the nomads had transported them for a considerable distance.His sense was they had spent many glass atop the lumbering Hoplani, although how much he could trust any of the visions he was uncertain.He thought he could recall snatches of strange language, and being urged to eat.He suspected he had been drugged with the food, probably to ensure he would sleep and his body given time to recover.He looked around the oasis, which he could tell wasn’t very large.He guessed it might be nearly a hundred large paces wide, and perhaps five times that long.If the nomads had been here, they were now long gone.Burke made a low sound in his throat and rolled onto his back.Rigo rose to go check on him, and as he knelt over his companion, the eyes of the other slowly opened.Rigo watched as they came into focus and realized who he was.“Where are we?” Burke managed to utter, his eyes taking in the large tree behind Rigo.“I don’t know,” Rigo told him truthfully.“Still in the Ruins, but in some kind of oasis.There is food and water, and almost as welcome, shade.”He reached out and took Burke’s arm and helped him sit up.Once Burke was upright, Rigo passed him the waterskin.“Drink as much as you like.We can easily refill it from the pond a dozen paces behind you.”Burke looked over his shoulder, his eyes widening at the sight of open water flowing against the backdrop of the Ruins he could see beyond.“Did you find this? I remember you shouting something about seeing something you were going to investigate.”Rigo shook his head.“I didn’t.I woke just like you to find us here.Do you have any other memories?”Burke thought for a moment.“Some snatches of impossible events.Small men herding Hoplani.Hallucinations, I would guess.”“I’m not so certain,” Rigo said.“I have similar memories, and someone brought us here.Someone filled the waterskins, and it looks that they fed us as well.The food was not something any of us would have considered, so I suspect those visions are real.”Tara started moving while they spoke.Burke, who was closest, reached over and shook her.A few moments passed before she opened her eyes, then she sat up suddenly, looking around her in amazement.Burke passed her the waterskin, and she drank eagerly.“How?” she asked after drinking her fill.“Burke and I were just discussing that,” Rigo replied [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]