Around an unconscious child were the battered remains of a woman, on her face an expression of terror.

Clumsily the three men liberated the child from its mothers deathly grasp, Fredrik climbed the ladder with the child over his shoulder. “Martin, Josephus, ready the backboard boat!” Johns voice tore Sarah from her terrified gaze. Torn between terror and curiosity she pondered whether she should ask to join the party, but one look in Johns eyes told her she wouldn’t get permission.

Aboard the ship he had full command, there was no use of attempting to appeal to him when he was as determined as he appeared in that moment.

Without turning his weary eyes away from the mist around the ship John stayed at the bow of the ship, his crew had taken the barge on board, but other than poor Mary-Jane there was no clue of any conflict. The boat was in excellent shape, as was the cloth. It had not been torn from its place.

News of the tragedy travelled fast on the ship. People tried talk to him, tried to look into the barge. John felt glad that he had not let all people leave the ship. Perhaps some of them felt the same way.

After gruesome two hours the boat with his armed men returned. All of the men he had sent to investigate were present, but there was not one additional person with them.

“They’re all gone!” Josephus bowed his head, he was disturbed by what he had seen. The tall man seemingly made of nothing but muscles seemed as frightened as little boy. “No signs of any battle, not a drop of blood. All tents but one are unharmed.” again he sighed. “Tracks?” John had turned away, facing the shrouded shore again. “We followed them to the ridge above camp, but we dared no further.” Grinding his teeth John closed his eyes, it took all his strength not to lash out to Josephus. “Dismissed.”

All the people vanished, they were his responsibility, they had trusted him with their lives, their uncertain fate weighed down upon him.