The hike down to the falls proved more difficult than either the boy or the warrior imagined. Attempting to stay inside the outside edge of the forest, in order to remain invisible from any observers that might be located up on the canyon rim, was difficult. The closer they moved toward the falls, where the canyon rim descended to near river level, the denser the forest became. From climbing over fallen limbs, avoiding holes and mud hidden rocks covered with slippery lichen to a complete inability to move through the stuff at all also hid places where the hundreds of years old debris was two-man lengths or more high. By the time the sound of the falling water impacting at the bottom of the falls drowned out every other sound Tama and Cetan were creeping along the west bank fully and uncomfortably exposed.

Crossing the fast-moving water wasn’t nearly as physical a problem as it was mental. The big rocks stringing themselves out, in almost equal lengths from one another, could fairly easily be negotiated from one bank to the other. The very self-evident problem was that if one misstep took place, and the water was encountered, then the next experience would be going over the falls, and after that, there would be no other experiences.

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