“Something here is influencing our minds.” Cronos said, his voice deceptively calm. “Trying to frighten us away would be my guess.”
“What risk do we run by accepting the challenge?” Vilhylm asked, his face set in angry lines. “I’ve never backed down from a head on fight before. Why should I now? They’ve thrown down the gauntlet, I say we take it up.”
“Where is the Hand pointing Tryst?” Callindra asked, her voice haunted. “If it’s in there we don’t have a choice do we?”
Gill reefed the sails and The Flounder slowed, not entering the pass. “What’s it gonna be?” He asked, looking at them in turn.
Tryst withdrew the Hand from beneath his armor and focused on it. The hand swiveled above his palm and pointed directly toward the twin pillars of stone. He sighed and put it back beneath his breastplate. “Well, it looks fairly clear. Our resolve is being tested.”
“Wait, are you serious?” Callindra looked nervously at him, “Seems like this was more of a warning that we shouldn’t take lightly.”
“I hate to agree with her, but the vision I had didn’t leave a lot of room for success.” Cronos said with a dour look. “Even if I was able to barely escape things didn’t go well for the rest of you.”
“Wait. You survived in your vision?” Callindra asked, her brow furrowing. “I didn’t survive in mine.”
“I watched you all die.” Vilhylm said in a flat tone.
“Everyone else perished in my vision as well.” Tryst said, “What happened in yours sister?”
Callindra swallowed hard, “I tried to stop the walls from falling in, but I couldn’t keep the walls out and the ship moving forward at the same time. The magic was too much for my blade.” She closed her eyes and remembered what she had seen.
Cronos put his hand on her shoulder. “I know what that sword means to you.” He said softly.
“No you don’t.” She said bitterly, “Without him to help me I lost control. I killed us all Cronos. My magic tore us all to shreds.”
They all sat still for a moment. Callindra opened her mouth to answer, but Tryst responded first. “I do not believe you would ever do such a thing Callindra.”
“I’ve seen you fight against things that should have sent you running.” Vilhylm said with a calm certainty. “You’ve fought for us, for strangers and for what is right.”
“You’re crazy, but you aren’t that crazy.” Cronos said, his tone dry. “I’m not worried about fighting next to you, even if you sometimes cut me with that damn pig sticker I know you’re more dangerous to my enemies than to me.”
They didn’t understand, but she was too overcome with gratitude to correct them. She knew all too well how dangerous losing her control could be. Visions of the ancient tree in her Master’s front yard disintegrating, followed by the recent vision of destroying her family. Wiping tears from her eyes, she turned to face the pillars.
“I’m not going to let this storm cursed thing stop me with visions.” She touched Brightfang’s hilt briefly and smiled at her family. “It doesn’t have any power over us and I refuse to allow it to stop me from accomplishing my goal.”
“Right.” Tryst also stood straight and faced the strait. “I am with you sister. Instead of running from this, we must work together to overcome it. I cannot stop the stones from falling but I can shield us from them slightly.”
“I can raise the wind to ensure it blows us swiftly and in the right direction.” Callindra said with a smile.
“I may be able to cause any plants beneath us to pull us through or possibly restrain the walls and slow their fall.” Vilhylm said, placing the mask he had carved from Jorda’s gift over his face.
“When the walls begin to fall, I believe I can slow their descent with a spell.” Cronos said frowning, “I’ve never tried it against something that wasn’t living, but the principle is the same.”
“You all are sun mad.” Gil said, “If the walls fall, The Flounder will be swamped and if she is not, we will have no way of getting out. I am not risking The Flounder.”
“We’ll take the longboat then.” Callindra said, “It’ll take a little time to rig a sail so we can use wind power, but I think you can manage it. You built this thing out of leftover scraps after all.”
Gill gave her a flat look, but shrugged. “I suppose. I’ll need a deposit in case you sink my longboat though.”
Tryst sighed and handed over another pouch of gold. Gill grunted and got to work fitting a makeshift mast and sails to his longboat. By the next morning the boat was ready.