The Aeolian Master - Book One - Revival HTML version

would hide her from the searching eyes above, and as she lay wearily beneath it, her last thoughts were of
wonderment of the stranger, then she fell asleep.
An hour later she awoke with a start, not because she felt refreshed, which she certainly didn’t, but because
there was something in the back of her mind telling her it was time to get up and move on.
In half an hour the sun would rise over the far horizon, but for now it was still semi-dark with the moons
shedding a little light on the surrounding environment. She looked at the stranger who was sitting twenty paces
from her. "I wish they would have given you a voice and the ability to talk," she whispered as if she didn’t want
the patrollers or the toral to hear her.
She bent down and scooped up a handful of water, watching the moonlight shimmer off the surface of the
small pond. She lifted the water to her lips. In all directions the beams glimmered away. "I guess I'll have to
decide what to do next," she sighed wishing she had someone to talk to.
The stranger sat on the rock near the pond staring at her and said nothing.
"I didn’t think you would object," she continued, "In that case, I think we had better begin our journey up the
mountain. When we get far enough from the toral to be safe, we'll find a place to hide then we’ll get some more
sleep before we travel on. Near the end of the day we should be able to find one of the villages of the mountain
people, and from them we’ll get directions to Everette’s village."
She took him by the hand, and they began their way up the gradual incline. Climbing, at first, was easy, but
as they progressed, the incline became steeper and the climbing became more difficult. Viella and the stranger,
at times, had to look for a way around large boulders, which seemed to sit vicariously on the side of the
mountain waiting for a small quake to send them hurtling down the slides and onto the plains. The light of the
moons was nearly gone making it more difficult to climb. The smaller moon had already set behind the Eastern
horizon and the larger one was disappearing behind the taller peaks.
It wasn't long, however, until the sun sent its dim rays across the tops of the mountains, lighting the way for
the weary traveler. After awhile they stopped, and she slept for a couple of hours under a lone tree which had
sprouted from the jagged landscape, then she rose, and they continued the climb.
Viella looked up the mountain and stopped for a moment. "We have a long way to go," she said. She didn't
expect an answer. "The mountain people live as far from the plains as possible."
She brushed her hair out of her face and wiped her forehead. She was beginning to feel the strain of the past
fourteen hours. As a city girl whose exercise time had always been limited, she was climbing a mountain where
the air was becoming thinner and colder with every step. And, at the very least, she was on her way to a rugged
life with the mountain people. She would probably never see her family again.
I hope my part will contribute something to the cause, she thought. Then she tried to figure out what her
contribution had been. Nothing, since the underground would never got the firearms, which her and her brother
were supposed to hide in a secret chamber. Her perilous journey of the night had been all for naught.
She shook her head in disgust, then took the android, at least she believed he was an android, by the hand
and they began to climb. (It confused her that he had drunk water at the pond).
They climbed for several hours until they came over a small rise and onto a rocky plateau. Viella stopped.
In front of them, not more than a hundred yards, was a small wooden shack. Smoke spiraled into the sky from a
tin-pipe chimney.
What is this? she wondered in mild surprise. She hadn't expected to find any mountain people this far down
the mountain. She was told, and in a proud way, by several of her mountain people friends that they lived in the
high valleys where life was hard, but good. There they panned for precious metals and mined for magnetic
drive crystals.
Then who could this be?
She felt hesitant about approaching the shack in which someone, maybe a patroller, could be waiting to
apprehend them and send them back to the city and a sentence of death. Indeed, they had come too far to be
caught now.
To the left and a short distance behind the shack was a small hill. Half of it had been excavated in strip
mining. She could tell it had been a long, slow process. The older trailings were becoming part of the ground
again, and there were green plants growing over it.
"A miner," she said, knowing the stranger wouldn't answer. "He must be one of the mountain people.” This
gave her added courage. "Let's talk to him."
They made their way slowly, cautiously toward the broken down shack. As they approached, they
continually had to step over old tin cans, once an old rubber boot, and over or around other sorts of trash.