And afterward, we made proper for the journey; and when we had gotten our gear together, I went downward of the rock, and gave the Maid help to come down. And when we did stand at last upon the bottom of the rock, I askt Naani how she did feel, and whether her feet did hurt. And she answered that she did be very well and had no soreness in her feet.
And we went forward then, and she close unto me; and odd whiles with low speech, but more oft with silence, because that we did need that we hark alway for any danger or horror; and also there did be so utter a silence upon that part of the Land, which did be the bottom of the olden sea. And we eat and drank at the sixth and the twelfth hours; and in the fifteenth hour, we came upon a great slope of the earth; and lo! it did be the far side of the sea. And we went upward for a long hour; and so came to the upward part, and did be able once more to look over the greatness of that Land.
THE HOMEWARD WAY
Now, truly, it did seem very light, after the horrid and lonesome gloom that did lie all-ways in the bottom of the olden sea; and I saw that I was come out upon a part of the Land that did be surely to the right of that place where I made entry into the sea-bed, on mine outward going. And there did be a great plenty of fire-holes, so that mine heart was warmed to see them; yet did I mind to be wary in coming unto them; for, as you do know, there did so oft be life of this kind and that about these fires.
And I lookt now down to the Maid, and she upward to me, and did come more anigh to me, and truly she did be most wondrous pretty and sweet; yet did seem very awearied and pale in the face; so that I made blame upon myself that I had overwalked her; for, in verity, I do think that I was so strong and hard as that I had been made from iron; and she but a dear and tender Maid. Yet did she refuse that I should so reproach myself; and did but stand anigh to me and look at me with eyes that were very beautiful. And so I put mine arms about her, and kist her; and afterward lookt again over the Land, that I should shape out our further journeying.
And from that place where I did stand, there spread out all before me the blue shining that I had seen from the mouth-part of the Upward Gorge; yet did it be a great way off. And, indeed, I should tell you in this place, that it was by the glimmering of this shine within the sky of the night that I had steered, as we did come across the olden sea-bed. And, truly, it was but a broad thing to go toward; but yet did serve me, in that it told me that I went toward the far side of the sea-bed, and made not to go all about in blind circles in the night.
And after that I had considered a while, I did know somewhat where the Gorge should be, and perceived that I should go unto my left; but not overmuch, for indeed I saw the red-shining of the giants’ hole that lay at a great space that way; and surely I must go so that I missed the place of the giants so much as I might, and in the same going, come not overnear unto the blue-shining that lay before me, across all the far part of that Country; for, in verity, I Mistrusted the place where that shining did be.