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.From behind them, the city echoed with the sounds of cries and shrieks as the wraiths attacked the civilian population once more, bringing a fear for their families to those on the wall, many turned and ran back into the city to protect their loved ones.Quint crossed to Pardigan and shouted over the sounds of screaming and clashing steel.‘Where’s Mahra?’Pardigan was pulling his knife free from a corpse at his feet but glanced to his side.‘She went after two that got past us into the city; she’ll be back.Oh Source, here they come again.’ As he stood up at the wall, an arrow hit him in the shoulder spinning him round before falling to the floor.The mail shirt he was wearing beneath his jerkin had stopped the arrow, but he was hurt.‘Auugh! Source.that burns, he exclaimed, flexing his arm and wincing as the bruising made it stiffen, and then the grimace turned to a smile as Mahra loped up onto the walkway again, her tongue lolling from the side of her mouth.She transformed from panther into girl and Quint couldn’t help but look to see if her tongue would still be hanging out, it wasn’t.Seeing that Pardigan was hurt she ran over and started to heal him, laying her hands on his shoulder and ignoring another group of warriors that were coming over the wall behind her.Quint leapt forward to protect his friends and the battle continued amid the dust and heat of the fierce desert sun.****Magician Falk was exhausted.The thought of propelling the balloon any more, pushing the peddles around and around was, quite frankly, distressing.He wasn’t really sure how he had managed to push them around for this many turns of the glass.It had been an awfully long night of battling changing winds and defending again and again against the dragon.A colossal sandstorm had sprung up sometime after daybreak, coming from nowhere, and had sent him back some distance, spinning and jolting his fragile craft, forcing him off course once again, further away into the desert - the dragon had followed.He was rather proud of his latest incantation of defence.Created out of desperation, necessity and pure magical genius, he concluded, this one was a blue glowing energy form, the same as various others he had created, but shaped as a mirror image of the dragon.As the real dragon had returned, beating its huge wings to gain altitude, it was angry, bellowing out fire and roaring in a most terrifying manner.He had cast the magic but slipped at the last moment as the balloon was buffeted by the wind and rather than sending the illusion close to the dragon as he had previously done, he had sent it way off target.Luckily, the dragon had been incensed that there was another of its kind close to its intended meal and had turned to pursue it as the rival disappeared towards the distant mountains.The ruse had allowed him time to recuperate a little and take a more methodical approach in reaching the beleaguered city.For almost three turns of the glass, he had peddled steadily, his leg muscles burning while he listened to the thrum, thrum, thrum of the huge propeller turning behind him.He had been taking a little rest, nibbling on dry crackers and the last of the cheese, when he noticed that, unfortunately, the dragon was back.Quickly moving to the side of the balloon, he gazed down at the city far below him.He hadn’t realised how high the balloon had risen, it must have been silently drifting up on the warm air currents of the early day.It was impossible to see what was happening down there, he was far too high to make out any detail.But the sky was clear, no sign of any sandstorms, and there didn’t appear to be any crosswinds.He pondered the situation for a moment.The dropping bag could be steered and as long as he landed within the walls of the city he should be safe enough.With one last glance across to where the dragon was circling, Magician Falk clambered up to take a precarious perch on the side of the basket.It creaked and swayed as he stepped up and positioned himself gripping tightly to the corner rope, wobbling precariously before finding the right balance.Glancing down between his knees, he took a deep breath and regarded the target far below.He silently reassured himself that the dropping bag was completely safe because that annoying little spy person had confirmed that.With a last silent prayer to the Source, he slowly pitched forward.and fell.The rush of air was immediate and alarming, his brain screaming at him that this wasn’t a normal sensible thing to do, and now he was falling, very, very fast.It was only once he was falling that he realised that he hadn’t tied the rope onto the side of the basket so that the dropping bag could be pulled free.‘Aaaaaaahhhhhhh.’ Plummeting towards the desert and quickly blinded by tears from the rush of air, Magician Falk frantically grabbed at the empty air behind his pack in search of the rope.Firstly with his left hand and then with his right but there was nothing to grab.If he could get the rope he could pull it, and the bag would emerge, but he couldn’t find it.‘Aaaaaaaaahhhhhh.’ Screaming didn’t do any good of course but it did make him feel better.Of course, he realised as he was falling then the rope must surely be trailing behind, which would be up.He reached up and twisted which made him spin alarmingly, but the rope wrapped around him and he fumbled his fingers along it until it tightened on the back of the pack.Now holding the rope, he had to steady the rate he was spinning before he could pull it [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]