Besides the added distance, I can't put a signal through to any airport before this current burst of solar interference has calmed down." Next "night" he broke out his remaining equipment and set it up. Her countenance recalled Aphrodite of Milos, whose picture Barbro had often seen in the realms of men, save that the Queen's was more fair, and more majesty dwelt upon it and in the night-blue eyes.She recognized some of it, such as the thermal detector. But you stay." A sighing went through the twilight. Around her the gardens woke to new reality, the court of the Dwellers and the heaven-climbing spires.Actually there's nothing spooky about the phenomenon. The pooks were gone in a whirl of frightened wings. The mountain stood bare under icy moons, save for rocks, crags, and farther off a glacier in whose depths the auroral light pulsed blue. Thither folk streamed, seeking refuge underground. Some were human of blood, some grotesques like the pooks and nicors and wraiths; but most were lean, scaly, long-tailed, long-beaked, not remotely men or Outlings.It was studied and fairly well defined centuries ago, on Earth. The nicors flung their bodies against the unalive invader and were consumed, until their Mother cried to them to retreat. For an instant, even as Jimmy wailed at her breast— perhaps as much because the enchantment had been wrecked as because he was afraid—Barbro pitied the Queen who stood alone in her nakedness."You need somebody who knows outway conditions; and I'm a better shot than average." "M-m-m ...it would involve considerable delay too, wouldn't it? Very tall she was in her robes woven of northlights, and her starry crown and her garlands of kiss-me-never." She fled from the chamber, upstairs to her guest bedroom. That was about seventy hours later, camped in the steeps where rangers dared not fare.
Elsewhere—" one fist clenched on a chair arm and went slack again—" 's not wise to go." "It's been done, hasn't it? And some came back all right, or so they claimed, though I've heard they were never lucky afterward. And some who returned babbled of wonders and horrors, and stayed witlings the rest of their lives. More sharply than before, he felt himself a stranger.Regardless of how true that may be, I found him a useful model. Bunks were made up, side by side, and the humans lay in them. A burst of hailstones hit the tiles like knocking knuckles. " Sherrinford responded, more challenge than question.Yet the man had not touched her, though THE QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS 349 hers was a bonny body, and nothing that had passed between them suggested he meant to do so. You could feel how distant your neighbors were, Sherrinford thought. "No outwayer calls it anything but Troll Scarp," Bar-bro said.Not for a long tune has anybody been rash enough to break the pact and overtread the bounds." Irons looked at Barbro almost entreatingly. He was a child of cities and technics, above all a child of the skeptical intelligence. It was disquieting to see more than a touch of their acceptance in Barbro's slow nod.