Gaal the Conqueror
destroying
it! It sounds crazy. How could I? Its enormous."
    They discussed which of the magic treasures to try, and finally selected the orb. But they were by no means clear why they
did so. For the longest time John stared at the ledge that jutted
behind the falls to where the wheel was turning. He saw that
he could probably just about touch the wheel with the tip of his
fingers if he leaned out beyond the ledge. It looked dangerous.
And he was extremely weary and desperately thirsty. Yet the
more he stared at the ledge, the more certain he felt that he
must climb up to it.
    Wearily he worked his way up to the ledge, taking the orb
with him. "Be careful-do be careful," Eleanor shrieked. But John never heard her.

    The thunder of the waterfall numbed his brain. The wheel
whirled dangerously fast. Its spokes were like immense whirling
teeth waiting to crush and devour him. Strangely, he felt no
fear. He turned to look down at Eleanor whose lips were moving, but whose hands gripped the side of her head in terror.
But the roar of the water prevented him from hearing her.
Slowly he wriggled forward over the wet and slippery ledge until
his shoulders extended beyond it. Spray soaked his clothing. A
dark abyss behind the fall was filled with the monstrous whirling wheel. Terror and dizziness had him in their grip in an
instant. He closed his eyes for several seconds. "I'm all right.
I won't fall. An' I won't look down again."
    Nevertheless, his whole body shook as gripping the orb in his
right hand he extended it forward as far as he could. He could
feel it vibrating in his hand, extending flashes of clear blue
light into the darkness of the abyss from its burning jewels.
Somehow it steadied him, so that his trembling subsided. But
it failed to reach the whirling wheel. He gritted his teeth, conscious of the drop beneath him but determined to focus on the
job at hand. Then he wriggled forward until the upper part of
his chest was over nothing.
    He almost fell as he extended his hand further and pulled
it back sharply, wriggling back a little. In spite of the chill from
the spray, sweat mingled with water running down his face.
With utmost caution he extended the orb again. Slowly it pulled
forward almost out of his control. There was a vivid flash and
above the roar of falling water he both heard and felt a loud
crack. Instinctively, not knowing why he did so he pulled back,
still gripping the orb, scrambled away from the fall and back
on to the hillside.
    Then as he turned to look he saw that blue flames had enveloped the wheel and that it had stopped turning. It was being
battered mercilessly by the awesome waters. Clouds of spray soon obscured the view, and he scrambled down to where Eleanor was standing. For several minutes giant blue flames continued to shoot through the cloud of spray that covered the
falls. Then with a final flash, the spray was gone and the fire
swept down to cover the pool of Taavath-Basar below.

    There was a crash behind them that was louder than the
thunder of the falls. They turned and saw that the obelisk had
fallen and lay shattered in myriad pieces. For two full minutes
neither of them spoke, staring alternately at each other and at
the falls. Suddenly John's face lit with wonder. "I'm going to
drink from the pool and then bathe in it," John shouted.
    "Oh, no! You mustn't." Eleanor's face was white.
    "It's O.K. Don't you see? The spell's broken. The water's pure
now. The fire cleaned it out."
    "How can you be sure?"
    "I just am."
    Wearily he stumbled down to the edge of the pool, selecting
a point where the water was almost calm. Then as he had done
by the larger pool earlier, he knelt and scooped up water in his
hands. But this time he drank. He scooped more and drank
again. And again. And again. Then cautiously, and without
bothering to remove any of his clothing, he put in his legs first
standing waist-high in the water.
    "It's freezing!" he cried

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