The cliffs they faced looked like a mouth full of closely cropped fangs. Each one, the color of old bone, was a spire ending in a sharp peak. They were of various widths and heights, and put together so closely that climbers never reached a flat expanse over a yard square. They had to climb carefully up and down one smooth conical peak after another, with no place to rest with any comfort.
It took them less than an hour to realize how fortunate they were to have had that instruction. They saw three skeletons lying at the bottom of the second cliff they scaled. One was not so much a skeleton as a body. The scavengers had barely started on him. A long piece of frayed rope stretched across his chest and face and a rock hammer was still clutched in his furry hand.
According to the men that had come to Groakpod from the villages across the treacherous terrain, lone travelers seldom survived the attempted journey. Two or three traveling together stood a much better chance.
Feldspar led the way. Although they were identical twins, there were differences in attitudes and preferences just as in temperament. Since youth Feldspar enjoyed exercises that increased strength while Gypsum preferred sprints and other work that increased his speed. The differences between the two were not especially notable but they were real. Therefore Feldspar initiated the climbs and broke the trail up or down the rock faces while his brother anchored him with the rope until the older one had achieved a solid and roomy base. Then Feldspar would anchor while his brother made the climb, removing pitons as he passed them.
Only once did disaster threaten. Once was enough.