At last the mortals began to leave the forest and came upon a new country. The trees grew sparse and then vanished altogether. The land rose in rocky hills, and in the distance mountains could be seen raising their snow-capped heads high into the air. The going became more difficult as the flat stretches of grass turned into high cliffs and stony plateaus.

One night they all were sitting on a large mound of rocks sheltered below the face of a low cliff. They still were having difficulty finding enough food for everyone, and so were having to ration what they had. The thief continued to steal periodically, but the pains the others went through to keep watch over the food forced him to use great care and patience.

Ethina complained for the third time that night about the lack of food. “I am sick of having the food rationed. I can never get enough to eat, and I’m hungry.”

“As much as you complain, you’re just like a younger version of Elma,” Arnol commented.

“Don’t identify me with her,” Ethina replied angrily. “I would never try to kill one of our own people.”

“We all wish there was more food,” Eveli said. “But as long as we are wandering, we have to make do with what we can find in the wild. I wonder if we will ever be able to find a new home, and bring an end to our wanderings. Then we could perhaps plant and grow our own food, and we would have plenty.”

“Do you really think we could settle down somewhere again?” Arnol asked, brightening up.

“There would be numerous advantages to building a new home,” Anson said. “We could build a wall that would protect us from dangerous wild animals, and any other creatures that threatened our safety.”

“But are we allowed to build a new home?” asked Arralor doubtfully. “We were exiled to wander the earth as punishment.”

“We were never told we could not build a new city,” answered Arnol. “To tell the truth, I always believed there would come a time when our wandering days would be over, and we could settle down and live in a new home. We have traveled far, and maybe that time is close at hand.”

Suddenly cries from nearby broke out, and Anson went to see what was going on. A huge beast had entered their camp, bigger than any they had yet seen. All of its fur was jet-black, and it snarled viciously at them. Anson stepped forward, along with several others, all armed with knives and spears. The beast charged, and its size and ferocity made the others step back a pace, but Anson stood firm. The beast slashed at him with its claws and he jumped back as they tore big rents in his clothes. Then he plunged his spear into the beast’s open mouth, and it came out the back of its neck. It seemed like nothing could kill Anson.


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