A Voyage to Arcturus HTML version

Chapter 17. Corpang
Maskull did not awaken till long after Blodsombre. Leehallfae was standing by his side,
looking down at him. It was doubtful whether ae had slept at all.
"What time is it?" Maskull asked, rubbing his eyes and sitting up.
"The day is passing," was the vague reply.
Maskull got on to his feet, and gazed up at the cliff. "Now I'm going to climb that. No
need for both of us to risk our necks, so you wait here, and if I find anything on top I'll
call you."
Ale phaen glanced at him strangely. "There's nothing up there except a bare hillside. I've
been there often. Have you anything special in mind?"
"Heights often bring me inspiration. Sit down, and wait."
Refreshed by his sleep, Maskull immediately attacked the face of the cliff, and took the
first twenty feet at a single rush. Then it grew precipitous, and the ascent demanded
greater circumspection and intelligence. There were few hand- or footholds: he had to
reflect before every step. On the other hand, it was sound rock, and he was no novice at
the sport. Branchspell glared full on the wall, so that it half blinded him with its glittering
After many doubts and pauses he drew near the top. He was hot, sweating copiously, and
rather dizzy. To reach a ledge he caught hold of two projecting rocks, one with each
hand, at the same time scrambling upward, his legs between the rocks. The left-hand
rock, which was the larger of the two, became dislodged by his weight, and, flying like a
huge, dark shadow past his head, crashed down with a terrifying sound to the foot of the
precipice, followed by an avalanche of smaller stones. Maskull steadied himself as well
as he could, but it was some moments before he dared to look down behind him.
At first he could not distinguish Leehallfae. Then he caught sight of legs and hindquarters
a few feet up the cliff from the bottom. He perceived that the phaen had aer head in a
cavity and was scrutinising something, and waited for aer to reappear.
Ae emerged, looked up to Maskull, and called out in aer hornlike voice, "The entrance is
"I'm coming down!" roared Maskull. "Wait for me!"
He descended swiftly - without taking too much care, for he thought he recognised his
"luck" in this discovery - and within twenty minutes was standing beside the phaen.