Leif sat under a fir near the house waiting for Eric. “You came!” Eric sounded surprised as he emerged from the darkness behind Leif. “Theobald paid us a visit just today, he was worried for you, in two days he had not seen so much as a thread of your cloak, let alone you. He figures you stowed away somewhere in that keep of yours.” Leif smirked, such was his intention, the old knight needed not to know where he had been.With slight envy Leif studied the stubs on his father’s face. He had hidden for two day sin the forest, oher than a smell and some dirt, no one could tell. But there was not a single hair sprouting on hos cheeks and chin. Obviously his father hadn’t shaved in those two days, sporting a manly stub. “So what did you.want me to come here for?” Leif had had time to calm down but the reminder of his shortcomings on his father’s face made him angry again. “Come.” Eric smiled, turning away from the farn again. His guests thought him ill, lying in a cabin in the woods where he and Thorsten woukd retreat to when surprised by heavier-than-usual storms while working their fields, so not a single one of them would be missing him. “I had promised your moher to raise Erica to a woman she’d be proud in. It wounds me deeply I probably won’t be able to do so.” he announced as they wandered through the darkness of the woods. The conifers around them darkened the land further, not that it hadn’t been dark before. Stronger wind gusts told of the forest lightening up ahead of them, soon giving way to some undergrowth, berries most like. From the shelter cabin that Eric was supposedly lying in their path went further to the west. Through now empty fields, sheltered from the winds ferocious zeal by undergrowth and trees, nothing more than clearings in the forest. As they passed through a group of treestumps in he middle of the forest Leif felt painfully reminded of the boat his brothers in the order were building. “There we are.” Eric’s voice was laden with pride.Gently waves caressed the prow of the little ship, though the wind blew quite violently, and soft rain mixed with spray from the ocean blew with the gusts, the ship only rocked a little. Undoubtedly both due to its design and he small bay it lay in. Waves of the sea only rolled ashore there when the tide went in. From the deck came gentle light from a lantern hung at the mast, one of the lanterns that snuffed the flame if the winds should sweep it off and shatter the tank holding the oil. “Thorsten helped me build her whenever time allowed us.” Eric climbed a knotted rope at the side of the ship. Leif followed, still lost for words. “Your.order might have taken your idea into their own hands, but you and I will leave the pole in pursuit of your endeavor.” “You are coming as well?” finally having found his tongue again Leif stopped gazing around the ship long enough to stare at his father. “There is no way I’m letting you go alone, Erica will be raised by Thorsten and his wife. Most like she’ll be raised as their daughter, with her nephew as brother of the same age.” Eric looked up the mast with dismay. “Unless the lass birthens a girl too!” he added, wishing he could stay and raise Erica, doung right by Yngrid, but the dire tones Leif had sung when talking about the perils their people faced drove him to do otherwise. Thorsten was not only understanding but more than willing to agree to not selling Erica into a marriage agreement before she was of an age, and consenting. Both Thorstens wife and Yngrid had always been insistent on the consent of their potential daughters. Most marriage arrangements were consensual, although some families tried to get an arrangement before time. Navigating the ship through the narrows of the bay was the hardest part, no ne alive on the pole had much experience in sailing, although there were a few fishermen in the eastern village. They were positioned inside a bay that experienced little waves, unless a heavy storm wreaked havoc on the land, outside the bay waves crushed at the rocks, ebbed down on the narrow opening, allowing the people of the bay to sail. “Westward, until the storms end.” Eric announced after he and Leif had successfully left their little bay, and braved the waves that rose out in the sea. Behind them the sun rose, and turned the clouds into colorful specs in a dark gray sky. Soon the color vanished again and the sky turned from a sea of color, ranging from dark gray to rosé and pink, as well as orange and blood like crimson, into a mixture of different grays. All the while rain was driven around the pole in a clockwise motion by the winds.Soaked by both rain and spray from the waves that broke against the backboard side of the ship and its prow, Eric manned the rudder. Leif had his hands full keeping the sail from ripping and he ropes from tangling. The design of the small vessel provided shelter from most of what the angry sea thad to throw at them, but some waves managed to reach the railing and unload water onto the deck. Using his.knowledge from keeping his granary sealed Eric had made certain that the lower compartment of the ship remained dry.

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