A Voyage to Arcturus HTML version

Chapter 8. The Lusion Plain
Maskull awoke before the others. He got up, stretched himself, and walked out into the
sunlight. Branchspell was already declining. He climbed to the top of the crater edge and
looked away toward Ifdawn. The afterglow of Alppain had by now completely
disappeared. The mountains stood up wild and grand.
They impressed him like a simple musical theme, the notes of which are widely separated
in the scale; a spirit of rashness, daring, and adventure seemed to call to him from them.
It was at that moment that the determination flashed into his heart to walk to the Marest
and explore its dangers.
He returned to the cavern to say good - by to his hosts.
Joiwind looked at him with her brave and honest eyes. "Is this selfishness, Maskull?" she
asked, "or are you drawn by something stronger than yourself?"
"We must be reasonable," he answered, smiling. "I can't settle down in Poolingdred
before I have found out something about this surprising new planet of yours. Remember
what a long way I have come.... But very likely I shall come back here."
"Will you make me a promise?"
Maskull hesitated. "Ask nothing difficult, for I hardly know my powers yet."
"It is not hard, and I wish it. Promise this - never to raise your hand against a living
creature, either to strike, pluck, or eat, without first recollecting its mother, who suffered
for it."
"Perhaps I won't promise that," said Maskull slowly, "but I'll undertake something more
tangible. I will never lift my hand against a living creature without first recollecting you,
She turned a little pale. "Now if Panawe knew that Panawe existed, he might be jealous."
Panawe put his hand on her gently. "You would not talk like that in Shaping's presence,"
he said.
"No. Forgive me! I'm not quite myself. Perhaps it is Maskull's . blood in my veins.... Now
let us bid him adieu. Let us pray that he will do only honourable deeds, wherever he may
"I'll set Maskull on his way," said Panawe.
"There's no need," replied Maskull. "The way is plain."