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Part II: The Revival
Reality
"Malas?" Greyn scanned the horizon. The sun made quick mirages flash and fade over the hot sands, but other than his brother, the two strangers and their horses, no sign of life could be seen. "I've never heard of such a place."

Fallah avoided meeting eyes with Greyn. "You wouldn't have." She stared at her feet.

Grevel cleared his throat and looked at the boys with sadness in his eyes. "Lads, there's something I must tell you of this place and it is not going to be easy to hear. You're both very lucky to be alive after traveling through the whirlpool."

"How did you know about the whirlpool?" Mordin asked. "We saw no other ships nearby and we were so far out at sea that…"

"Everyone in Malas knows of the whirlpool," Grevel interrupted. "It sends people here. That's why we call this lake the Gatewater, everyone caught in the whirlpool arrives on these shores." Grevel paused. "For decades now people have searched for a way to return to Britannia but no one has found one. I'm afraid you boys are trapped here."

Mordin's eyes widened and he hopped backwards beside Greyn. "You mean we're prisoners?!"

"No, son, no. You're in no danger from the people here. You're cast-a-ways, not prisoners." Grevel held a jug of water out to Mordin who slowly took it from him and then slurped down the contents. "Fallah and I were brought here 10 years ago. Some have been here only a few years, others have been here for more than 20. We have a village a short ride from here."

Greyn walked back towards the edge of the water. "But it was just a storm at sea! A large one to be sure, but how could it have brought us so far that we could not sail home again…wait, did you say lake?"

"We have no seas here," Fallah said softly.

Grevel clasped one of his hands on each of the boys' shoulders. "We have a great deal to tell you and show you, and we can get you both some clean clothes and a hot meal. I know this is quite a bit to take in for you, but we should start heading back, the desert gets rather cold at night."

Greyn nodded. "Your generosity honors us, Grevel." He shook hands with his rescuer. "My name is Greyn Grimmswind, and this is my brother, Mordin."

Both Fallah and Grevel froze and their faces went blank.

"Grimmswind, you say?" Grevel paused and sadly looked at Greyn. "As in, Brevinor Grimmswind?"

Mordin spun around. "You know father! He's here!" Mordin grabbed Greyn by the shoulders. "I told you, Greyn! You wanted to give up, but I told you we would find him!"

"He was here, lad. I hate to bear terrible news twice in one day but…he's gone now."

"But you said there was no way to leave this place!" Mordin said.

"Son, your father, Brevinor, he was killed 4 months ago. I wish I could tell you otherwise. We think a crystal elemental got to him on his way back from one of his cartography outings. When we found him he was far beyond our help. Your father was very important to our village; he did a great deal for us in the time he was here. We would have done anything to bring him back, and we know he would have done anything to see you lads again. He never lost hope that he would find a way home again to see you both."

Tears streaked down Mordin's face as he buried his head in his hands and sunk to his knees.

*     *     *

The four rode slowly back to the village, with Mordin riding in front of Grevel on one horse and Greyn behind Fallah on the other. As they traveled further north, the desert gave way to fields of grass and flowers.

"It sounds like father has done his usual bragging for his sons," Greyn smiled. "As much as he could go on about us I'm surprised he didn't have paintings of us made up so everyone would know what we looked like before we arrived."

"He couldn't have been more proud of you both," Grevel said. "You were going to be Britannia's greatest Knight and Mordin here was going to turn the world on its ear with his magic--the man was sure of it! By the way, we have a decent blacksmith here; Greyn, you could probably get a good sword from him. There's also a cache of magic supplies we found on shore a few years ago that I'm sure no one would mind Mordin having."

Mordin's face remained blank as his head loosely bobbed with the walking of the horse. "Perhaps."

"One thing still confuses me," Greyn said. "Fallah, you said there are no seas here? Is Malas surrounded by mountains?"

Fallah's large brown eyes looked towards her father for help. He grinned and looked forward again. Fallah leaned back slightly and whispered to Greyn, "You're about to find out."

As the horses came over a slight hill, Greyn's eyes grew to the size of plates. "By the light of the virtues!" He kicked the horse into a gallop as Fallah yelped with surprise and laughed. In the distance, he could see the small village Fallah and Grevel spoke of, resting on the edge of a cliff, but beyond the cliff he saw nothing. Leaning over Fallah, Greyn rode the horse harder and harder, right through the middle of the village, before pulling on the reins once they were near the edge of the cliff and leaping off. He ran the rest of the way and skidded to a halt on his hands and knees, looking over the edge. It looked as if all of Malas floated above the night sky. "By the virtues--by the virtues, it's a sea of stars! Mordin come quickly, it's a sea of stars!"

Greyn felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Fallah smiling at him. "Perhaps we do have a sea here, depending on how you look at it." She blushed slightly and turned to watch her father and Mordin approaching.

"I'll let the village know you lads are here," Grevel said. "People will hardly believe me when I tell them Brevinor's boys have arrived."

Mordin walked slowly to Greyn's side and stood beside him, gazing into the void of stars.

"Greyn?"

"Yes Mordin?"

"Grevel said father made many maps of this place, didn't he?"

"Yes, he did. He said we could have them."

Mordin stared for ages into the emptiness, contemplating what he had been through this day and thinking of his father.

"Greyn?"

"Yes?"

"Let's explore this place."

*     *     *

In the blackest part of the darkness, the minds of shadows joined together to create one harmonious thought… Use them, and it all begins again!

Published: February 2003
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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