This isn’t a new condition—he’s been out of shape ever since his first concussion—but it’s never been quite this bad. His time on the island took more out of him than he wants to admit.
His sides are burning before he gets anywhere close to the main complex, but he doesn’t dare stop. He can feel the magic getting stronger, an invisible noose slowly tightening, and he knows that they don’t have much time to prepare. He ignores the pain, ignores the knives stabbing at his lungs every time he draws breath, ignores the agony in his ribs and sides, and forces his legs to move. He’s running as fast as he can, not bothering to stop for apologies or explanations.
David Bernard sits at the end of the pier, conjuring orbs of darkness as he watches the ocean roll by.
Robert Thorpe’s artificial island is an impressive feat of engineering—in some places it’s indistinguishable from the real thing—but here, at the end of the pier, something is different. He’s not sure if his new connection to Artigenian’s power has altered his senses, or if his knowledge the island is fake is convincing him to doubt what he sees, but he’s half-convinced he can feel a point just a few feet from the pier where the island falls away, and ocean depths begin.
No, it’s not his imagination: he can feel it. In his mind’s eye he can feel the cold of the ocean drawing him down. If he closes his eyes he can almost see it—a dark, murky green, the only light coming from the sun filtering through the surface, steadily dimming until it’s little more than the barest hint of suffused luminescence. Finally all light disappears, and his perception of the water changes: no longer shades of light and dark, but shades of motion and stillness, currents and the ripples of things swimming through, all the while the water growing ever colder…