Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  95 / 168 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 95 / 168 Next Page
Page Background


The sun shone.

Slowly, Dusk stirred, surprised he was alive. When he had closed

his eyes, he felt sure he would end up standing in front of the

Thousand Hells, where flames wrapped scalding hot sheets around

black iron gates.

But this was assuredly the land of the living, lit by the sun and

plagued by thirst. Dusk coughed and rolled over, grimacing at the

dryness in his throat. When was the last time he’d had something

to drink?

‘Too damn long,’ he whispered, or tried to. What came out was an

incoherent, sticky retching. He tried rolling over, and almost toppled

into the sea. Slowly, he braced his hands against the raft and felt

along the edges, trying to judge its size.

The answer he got was no more encouraging than anything else.

The raft measured almost three arm-lengths on each side. He would

have to curl almost double to lie on it.

How had this happened? Only a day earlier he had been aboard

The Widow’s Nest

. She had certainly been the fastest of the ships available

inAnniporHarbour, whereDusk had arrived to return home after long

years of being fostered by the Grand Thaumaturge. The winds had

been against them for most of the journey, but the oarsmen had seen

them safely past the rocky coast and into the open sea.

Then the storm had come.

For a moment, panic tried to grip him. He could die quite easily

here, far away from any form of civilisation, and certainly far away

from Dragon’s Nest, where they all waited for him. Night, all kind

concern for her younger brother. His father, Lord Fell, soberly proud

of his son’s decision to study magic across the sea in Annipor.

But the panic soon slid off. It simply could not gain purchase

when pain and thirst were already fighting for dominance. The

throbbing in his head seemed much more bearable if he closed

his eyes…

He wasn’t entirely sure when he woke next, but he woke up under

the stars, and a rushing wind that at least cooled him. He coughed,

harshly, and tried to lever himself up into a sitting position.

I should

get some shelter from the sun,

he thought. Talking seemed like too much

of an effort now.

I should get something to drink.

Painfully, he turned his head and stared out across the dazzling

surface of the ocean. None of the waves showed any inclination of

Dusk Falls

Hannah Winspear-


Isobelle Carmody Award

for Creative Writing