Edwyn le Fay got up and looked around. At least he was alive, which he wouldn’t have been if he hadn’t jumped into the vortex.
Everything looked red. At first he thought that there was something wrong with his vision. Then he looked up at the sky.
The sun was high up in the sky. But it was red, not white. It was also much larger than it should have been. That was why everything looked red to him. This was a Red World, as he would come to think of it.
It was also much warmer than the world which he had left. Le Fay began to sweat.
He looked around the landscape. He had landed on hard baked ground. There were a few rocks around where he was. He was glad that he hadn’t landed on those. He could not see any trees. But he could see the sea in the distance.
With the heat and the red light Edwyn le Fay did wonder if this was Hell, and Trevelyan had been correct. But he chose to believe that it was not, and just some other alternate reality. He had already been to one alternate reality before. This was the second. He hoped that this place was nicer than the Grey World. That had been a pretty dour place.
The first thing to do, though, was to see if he could detect the maelstrom which had brought him here. He wanted to be able to go back home, at some time. Wherever this place was he did not want to get stuck here for the rest of his life.
It occurred to le Fay that the Magickal doorway which he had opened might only be one way. If it was then that would explain why the men, women and children of the Lost Colony of Roanoke had not been able to return.
He got out his mythometer. It was on the same settings as before. He cast a spell of detection. He got a reading, but only a weak one. It was nowhere near strong enough for le Fay to access the vortex – not without his oscillator to open it. Even with his oscillator it might not have worked. It was possible that he had taken part in a one-way journey. He was stuck here. But at least he was still alive. And while there was life, there was hope that he might somehow get back to his own world. It was certainly better than being shot dead by a Black Magician.
It occurred to le Fay that Trevelyan might follow him through the maelstrom, and that Trevelyan had a gun. The Black Magician had already tried to kill him once. Le Fay did not intend to give him a second opportunity.
Le Fay made for the shore. He’d walk along the shore and hope to come across some town of men.
He walked to the sand of the beach. The sand looked almost as though it had been dyed in blood, under the red light of the too-large sun. At the top of the beach there were a few small bones of some animal, possibly some sort of fish. The bones had been picked clean. They would have looked white in normal light.
Le Fay walked along the beach, kicking at the sand. He stopped, and shaded his eyes against the redness. He looked up into the sky in search of birds. But he couldn’t see a single one in the sky.
He walked to the edge of the sea. He stared down into the water, hoping to see fish swimming about. But he could not see a single one.
He began to get worried. If things like the fish and the birds were all dead where was his next meal going to come from? Not that he had intended to go hunting. Or fishing. He had no skills in that area.
He decided to walk all around the island. If he had appeared on the Roanoke Island of this world then he hoped that he would come on some settlement. Perhaps it might even be the one which he sought. He reminded himself that he had come to rescue the descendants of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. This was why he was here, after all.
He listened out for sounds as he walked along the beach. Specifically he listened for the sounds of the human voice. But all that he could hear was the sea lapping against the shore. There were no voices. Nor could he hear any birds. For all that he knew he was alone in this world.
He carried on walking around the shore. There were no ships in the sea – none that he could see, anyway. But he told himself that there could easily be a ship over the horizon. For all that he knew there might be some big steamship, like the one on which he had come to America.
Then he saw something in front of him. There were the remains of what looked like had once been a settlement. At first le Fay almost did not recognise what it was, as there were now only trace elements of rotten wood and a few stone lintels to mark out what had once been some village. But it looked like the place had been abandoned for a very long time. Scrub grass was covering the remains of civilisation. The island had returned to the wild.
Edwyn le Fay stared at the fragments in despair. Was this what had happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island? Was this all that was left of it?
He walked around the area, looking for more evidence of what had happened. But after hundreds of years there was very little to see.
It occurred to him that there were no gravestones. If everybody had died, perhaps of some disease, there would be gravestones, wouldn’t there? And there weren’t any.
Maybe they had not had enough stone. It was possible that there had been plain wooden crosses. Those would not be around three hundred years later.
A settlement had been founded here, though, even if it had failed. It occurred to le Fay that perhaps they had moved the settlement inland. This might just be the remains of the first town.
Edwyn le Fay stopped walking along the shore. He turned to face the inland part of the island. He walked forwards, the red sun above him.
He thought about calling out as he walked. But he was scared that Trevelyan had followed him through the vortex into this world. The last thing that he wanted was to encounter Trevelyan again – especially as the Black Magician had a gun.
Maybe he should have acquired a gun, as well, as America was the Land of the Gun. But the idea had not occurred to him. He had always relied on his Magick. It was too late now, anyway. He did not think that that he would find any place selling guns any time soon.
He walked until he reached the highest point of the place – or, at least, the highest point that he could see. When he was on it he looked around. Without trees or buildings he could see a lot of the place, and it was definitely an island. Moreover, he recognised its shape. It was Roanoke Island. It was a Roanoke Island without any vines, without the original colony, and without the town of Kitty Hawk. He felt like Robinson Crusoe.
He was on an island. There was nobody alive on it, and there was no way off it without a boat. Not unless Magick was used…