A Stone In Heaven by Poul Anderson

By Poul Anderson

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A mighty wind rushed downward from it, smote like hammers, roared like thunder. Statues and tree boles toppled before the blow. Earth shuddered. Hill-huge masses broke from the sliding precipice, flew, struck, smashed and buried what they hit. Behind them came the doom-fall itself. Yewwl never remembered what happened. Surely she vaulted to a stance on her saddle and sprang from it, spreading her vanes, as if she were about to attack game on an open plain. Surely she went gliding, and she did not come down soon enough to be engulfed.

Today we come back and find all gone dead and hollow. " She straightened in her saddle. "Strike it down! " Ych crossed a root of the mountain and dropped out of sight. In a moment, his shout rang over ice and rock. He had spied the Shrine. His kin urged their onsars to speed, from shamble to swing. Four massive legs went to and fro; sparks flew where hoofs smote rock. Between, the thick extensors did more than help support the body; they gripped, pulled, shoved, let go, seized hold afresh on the ground.

He didn't notice that he nearly caused the coffee to spill. Flandry kept silence. Had he, in this place, let anyone but Chives attend him, the Shalmuan's heart would have cracked open. Flandry regarded the short green form--something like a hairless human with a long tail, if you ignored countless differences in shapes and proportions of features--through eyes that veiled concern. This early, Chives wore merely a kilt. Wrinkles, skinniness, stiff movements were far too plain to sight. No research institution had ever considered developing the means to slow down aging in the folk of his backward world.

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