Sword of Ictis
All around them the vastness of the marsh buzzed and purred with life greeting the morning. The vivid colour of the flowers reflected in sky-blue pools, shouted at the eye. Gloriously painted butterflies dithered from bloom to boom. A deliciously cool breeze came from the distant blue hills in the north, sweeping away the fetid smells liberated by their passage.
Behind them the water stilled again, showing no sign of their encounter.
Around midday the terrain gradually altered with deeper and wider stretches of water interspersed with smaller clumps of land, held from total dissolution by the desperate clutch of tree roots.
The horses swam these wider passages with ease, splashing and stumbling ashore, stepping fastidiously through the tangle of mud and roots. Without a horse, Hal reflected wryly to himself, a man would never see his friends again.
The day grew hot and the noon sun burnt the mud of the low-lying islands powder dry so it clung to the wet legs of the horses.
Huish and Hal trekked across the last of the transitory mud and gravel banks towards their goal, a grassy tree-lined island towering above the salt-marsh. Hal breathed a small sigh of relief when at last they stood on the island, never had trees and grass seemed so welcoming.
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