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Just as we got set to cast off, I spied something in the water, and the boat sensed it too: flick of a palm-leaf tail. And we were off, so fast that the pots of tea leapt from the table and were on me like freezing rain and I was on the floor. The merchant yelled louder, shouting at me to stop it, but what could I do? I tried, pounding on the floor like a fool and saying no, no, not now! But I knew we'd go till the boat lost the fish—or caught it.
Elerit felt a rush of arid wind as the daemon brushed past him. Released from his invisible bonds, he dashed after it, leaped onto the handcar, and began pumping. When he shot into the open air it was already far ahead. It was like a tall, black lemur, a living shadow crowned with two bifurcating branches. It turned and looked at him with eyes that were small and round and yellow. Then it was gone.