Praethon stood in a provisional shelter the warriors had constructed, he stared out to the sea, not to catch a glimpse of Elthan, but to assess the next step he and the trek under his command would take. “We’ll need some sort of boat.” Sashja stood bent over the map. “Boats.” Praethon kept staring at the waters, he thought it best if the trek was on several boats, if one sank the others could continue, and not all was lost. “Around twenty on each one. Three boats.” he turned to her. “I want you to commandeer one, I will command one and the third will be led by Johly.” Sashja inhaled to protest, not only because of personal reasons did she want to stay close to Praethon, but also because of the Naga. In his determined look however did she read that he was not to be swayed in his decision. Perhaps the Naga threat was just a cover story for her personal agenda. “I would be honored.” he voice sounded thinner than she wanted. “I have the highest confidence in you.” in his smile was more than just the confidence in her skills. Over the previous few weeks Johly had stayed away from him as much as she could, Praethon was honor bound to respect her wishes. He had spent a lot of time with Sashja, partially because she was the highest ranking officer in the expedition. Partially because he really enjoyed her company. “By my estimates we will be traveling at least three days, if the winds are right.” she bent back to face the map, regaining some volume to her voice.

“Good, provisions for at least five days.” he stepped closer to her standing next to her. “And don’t be alarmed.” Sashja got up, turning towards him. “Alarmed over?” “Me sending you to command a vessel on your own. I’d rather have you close to me.” Sashja blushed, noticing that Praethon did so as well. “I, feel, well, I am,” she stuttered incoherent words, not sure what to say or do. “Just arrive there in safety, as I will. From there on out we’ll see.” he whispered, he longed to kiss her, uncertain how their professional relationship would hold out he hesitated. “That we will.” she smiled, leaning in to steal a tender kiss from his lips. Quickly she retreated. “I will give the instructions to build the three vessels.” Soft gentle waves stroke the shallow beach as three boats reached the huge island in the middle of the sweetwater sea, Johly had scouted ahead while the others of the expedition secured the boats by pulling them above the tidal line. Vegetation around the beach was thick and undisturbed for long times, but a narrow passage where nothing taller than grass would grow. Thigh high grass that had been disturbed shortly before her arrival. Curiously Johly examined the ground. Soil was only shallow in the grassy patch, beneath the thin layer of soil were pavement stones. Surprised she looked up ahead, went onward towards the center of the island.

To the sides of the paved road was thick forest, occasionally a clearing with shrubberies. No structures that would tell of the true purpose of the paved road beneath her feet. After a while she found what she had anticipated, Elthans boat. The carvings on the bow were distinctly of Reedheim. But no where around the small craft was any sign of the high priestess. Battling her own curiosity for exploration Johly turned around. “That might be a problem.” Praethon sighed after hearing of Elthans badly damaged boat. Although she had no Jal’bothan that he knew of he knew that Elthan was resourceful and could’ve made preparations for them.

An all to familiar croak drew the attention of him and Johly. “That’s my Phoenix!” Johly rushed to the ethereal bird that sat near the boats on a log. Praethon too recognized the bird as the one that had drawn the map for them. “I guess we have arrived?” Sashja stood next to him, both watched Johly as she let the Phoenix land on her arm, and caressed its head and neck. “I guess so.” he mumbled. “Now to find Elthan.” as the grudge rose in him he felt Sashjas calming hand on his shoulder. “She can’t be gone. Don’t rush.” Johly led an away team with Praethon and Sashja to the ancient road and up to the place she had found the boat before. Her rediscovered Phoenix friend sat on her shoulder all the while. Praethon and Sashja turned to the sweetwater sea far behind and below their location. It was vaguely visible through the forest as the road had no direct line shape to the beach.

Advertisements