Jadde ndash; the fragile.., p.21
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       Jadde – The Fragile Sanctuary, p.21

           Clive Ousley


  Olaff struggled to focus on the blurred faces before him. They resolved into two bearded men, one much older than the other. He focused on the elder; his beard was laced with grey and plaited, his skin leathery and wrinkled. The other was younger and his beard appeared dyed with purple streaks. He had a healthy tan and looked determined and intelligent. They both wore a look of concern and the younger one started binding his wounds with strips of cloth. He struggled to rise and the older man helped him to a sitting position whilst the other gave him a drink from a goatskin water container.

  'Seara?' he asked, but it came out as a feeble whisper.

  'Girl be well, just bump on head.' The man spoke the same language as him but in a strange clipped accent. The figures danced before his eyes and he realised he couldn't raise enough strength to sit unaided. He glanced to the ground on which he sprawled; his blood stained it and spread further as he watched.

  A third concerned face added to the others.

  'Olaff, I'm sorry.' Seara gripped his hand and he smiled, everything was fine and he didn't care about himself.

  'Are you . . . hurt?' he asked in a faint whisper.

  'I'm fine Olaff, but I worry for you. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have left Brightwater. I delayed you and look what's happened.'

  'It would have happened anyway. You did well . . . with the bow . . . I give you the winning Jadde-star . . . for shooting straight.'

  'Palreth and Aldred of the Sylve are going to look after us. All is going to be fine Olaff my dear.’

  He realised her warm hands were on his injuries and knew she was attempting her healing highsense on him. And he also knew it would be to no avail, he had suffered too much in the fight. She was creating some temporary strength in him and it gave him a sudden flash of an idea.

  He knew it would be the last thing he did; but if he succeeded he could pass on something valuable. He would use a technique never attempted before. He created pathways in his mind, looked inward and knew he could do it. He found Seara’s hand, squeezed goodbye and released it. Then he raised his hand to the younger of the two men.

  The man intuitively grasped his cold hand and Olaff summoned his highsense for one last time. He altered it and channelled the energy into a new path. His gift now glowed within him, changing from blue fire to a green river. It coursed through his mind. His cold hand warmed.

  The man looked startled, and his grip slackened.

  'No,' Olaff said, his whisper strengthened, and he held on to the hand. 'I want to give you a gift like no other. For my time in this world has ended and I must not leave without giving you something that Jadde blessed me with.’

  The man nodded.

  Olaff summoned his last strength and groped his highsense into the man’s body searching for his mind with glowing tendrils of green power. He felt his strength finally leave him and then his heart faltered. With a final effort he sent his highsense gift into the man's mind. The face before him darkened, but in that last second before oblivion, shock filled the man's eyes.

  Olaff knew he had succeeded.

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