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The Wishing Map
Chapter Twenty-One: “Hey-fah for the Sea!” (Continued)
Previously: Gina’s sword kept tugging her toward the water in search of the Questing Beast. So the fisher folk agreed to take her and her brother to sea.
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The Dores had seen Maerith and Shelcor’s sloop from a distance, but never up close. Now, as they boarded, they saw that it had no quarters for sleeping, presumably because it was only taken out during the day. It was remarkably graceful with its up-swept bow, raked mainmast, and submerged seal-tail stern; it seemed almost as if it were made of sea and sky.
“OK! We’re going!” Gina shouted at her sword. “Gimme a break!”
Shelcor smiled. “I’ll secure that sword for yer.”
“Trust me, it’s not going anywhere without me.”
“Yer cannot be too certain. The Kellish Way is roughsome fierce.” He reached inside his shirt and took hold of a leather cord, then slipped it off over his head. There was a small sack hanging from the end. He used the cord to bind the sword handle to the sheath opening, gave the sword a hearty yank, and judged the arrangement “snug as a mud-cockle.” Then he turned and, with Maerith’s help, began raising the main sail. Within moments the graceful craft was gliding toward the opening of Kellansend Bay.
“Hey-fah for the sea!” Shelcor and Maerith shouted, their eyes shining.
When they reached the edge of the inlet, Shelcor raised the spinnaker. It bloomed like a morning glory and began hauling them out of the protective shallows. Zack and Gina’s hearts raced.
There was nothing ahead but open sea.
Assuming Gina’s sword continued to urge her eastward, the plan was to sail to Doviclé, the nearest point on the western coast of Frenga. Although Doviclé was only eighty quamtomurs (about 53 miles) from Kellansend, it could be an arduous trip: the Kellish Way was notoriously stormy. Maerith laid out two stiff blankets on the deck. They smelled like the oily old tarps Grandpa Ruecher loved so much; they weren’t comfy, but they kept away the salt spray and, surprisingly, the cold.
After a couple of hours, Shelcor said, “Sleep as best yer can, cheldings. Fairhap it will be good sailing. More like as not.”
Maerith lashed them to the deck with braided kelp: “Ter keep yer from hoving inter the deep.”
Just before she drifted off, Gina asked, “Why is the Temple of Uol under water?”
“Yer know little of the selchies (fisher folk), do yer?” Maerith replied.
Zack was jerked awake by the sloop’s reeling. It took a moment for him to recognize Shelcor’s voice; it was urgent, raspy, different. He thought he must be have been dreaming, but then he heard the voice again: “Yer must abandon, cheldings!
Yer must abandon!”
Thoughts: There is nothing we fear and desire in such equal measure as the unknown.
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