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.Now we might as well be Istarans, dwarves even-we are as enthralled with gold as any people on Krynn.”“You know…” Moreen hesitated, choosing her words.“I… that is, we, will miss you very much.”He almost winced.That was how it was with her-everything was about the tribe, nothing about herself.“You should know that I will miss all of you.I’m only starting to realize how much,” he responded levelly.He would miss her the most of all, Kerrick knew, but he lacked the words, the human brashness, to articulate that sentiment.“You are welcome to return, any time you want to come back,” Moreen continued.“In fact, I do hope we-I-will see you again.” She gazed across the harbor, out the narrow gap onto the sea beyond.“Perhaps it won’t be during my lifetime,” she mused ruefully.“You could still be a young man, and come back to find our grandchildren as the new masters of Brackenrock.”“I… I want to be back before then,” he said awkwardly.The difference in their life spans-he had centuries of adulthood waiting before him, a trackless road ahead of him, while she would become an old woman in forty, fifty, or some other finite number of years-had always yawned like a gulf between them.Now he felt an irrational tickle of guilt.“Know that if you don’t come back for a hundred years, the Arktos will remember you and make you welcome,” she said quietly.For the first time ever he saw a tear shimmer in her eye.“For all those years, and longer, I will carry the memory of this place, of your people-and of you-close to my heart,” he said somberly.Kerrick held Moreen for several heartbeats, feeling the fierce strength of her embrace, the wiry muscle of her body, and he found himself wishing it could be forever.But it was she who broke the embrace, blinked, and said, “May Zivilyn Greentree ride with you across the waters! And Chislev Wilder wait for you in the forests on the other side!”The blessing of their two gods was like a benediction around his shoulders.Kerrick could think of nothing else to say, so he climbed aboard his boat, raised the mainsail, and started toward the beckoning sea.* * * * *Cutter burst from the Bluewater Strait like a cork exploding from a bottle.A cold south wind gusted from the direction of Winterheim and the Icewall, a reminder of winter so lately departed.Still, Kerrick welcomed the breeze, for it had strength and would bear him in the direction he wanted to go.The sky was cloudy now, a slate color perfectly matched by the sea.The hue matched the elven sailor’s mood.Playing out the jib, riding straight before the wind, he flew northward until the bulwark of land that was Brackenrock vanished from his view.Even then he continued, reckoning by compass, imagining the miles … twenty, fifty… eighty and more… passing under his keel.Only when the sun angled into the western sea did he haul in the jib and turn the mainsail to lessen his headlong speed.He watched the long, slow sunset, realized that it was prolonged by his northern position.Within a week the sun itself would remain visible, low on the southern horizon, throughout every night, and many weeks would pass before it again set below Bracken-rock’s horizon.He chuckled as he thought of the phenomenon that the Arktos called the midnight sun.Certainly he would describe it to the elves of Silvanesti, but he didn’t expect that they would believe him.Setting the tiller and boom with ropes tied to hold a steady course, Kerrick went into his cabin and opened his sea chest.From there he took out a delicate tube, a container shaped by Dinekki from a whale’s tusk.Carefully he extracted the scroll of sheepskin and spread the supple cloth across his table, where he could see clearly in the daylight spilling through the porthole.It was a crude map by the standards of cartographic mastery, but it was a work that had occupied him for much of the past eight years.Every voyage he had taken in Cutter, every trip back and forth on the White Bear Sea, had been logged here, with coastlines drawn and redrawn, islands discovered and circumnavigated, great glaciers rendered into ink strokes, a mockery of their dazzling majesty.The shore of the mostly landlocked White Bear Sea Kerrick had completely mapped several years ago.Despite the bothersome presence of the ogre galley Gold-wing, the elf sailed those waters with impunity [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]