“I knew that I’d meet you again.” the frail looking, but robust Danarien smiled at Fathala as the Naga landed on deck. She had flown the last hundred meters to the Albin vessel, restlessness had gotten the best of her. “What happened to your polar friends?” immediately tears shot to Fathala’s eyes.

Stern and yet warmly she took the Naga’s hand. “That bad? Come.” she led her to the cooking fire, shooing off the other crew members.

All the hardship, love and loss, betrayal and sadness of the past weeks seemed to melt together into one big boulder if crushing feelings weighing Fathala down. Over a cup if Danarien’s tea she told the Albin all that had happened after she had left them, spilling out her heart and her secret with Eric. Only keeping to herself that she saw a Naga shaped, ghostly version of Eric. From the corner if her eyes she saw him sniffing the tea in the kettle. “We haven’t had much better fairings either, the storms around the pole knocked us about pretty good, and eventually we ended up badly damaged, leaking and with close to no sails left. It took us long to reach shore and begin repairs, and the modifications. But here we are.” she managed a smile. There had been casualties, three Naga, seven humans, three from the Norsers, four from Galnerra, and eight Albin. But no one Fathala knew particularly well.

“In any case,” Danarien turned to face the commander of the ship standing in the door, “we better get going, circumstances are dire.” Moments later commands were barked, followed by the sails snapping as air filled them once again. Smoothly the ship continued its voyage, leaving Eric’s small ship behind. Where might the others be? The order set out to send a small like this out. No word about them. Did they suffer at the winds of the storms?

“I recon they came off course and landed far away. Perhaps the fungal empire, or their small republican brothers. Mayhaps north east of the pole. Maybe south east.” Naga Eric stared out to the raging sea next to Fathala, leaned against the door frame. I hope you’re right my love.

Sunlight danced on top of the towering waves. Storm gusts hit the waters, spray flew against the hull of the ship. “Eerie weather, is it not?” Danarien stood next to Fathala. The unusual mixture of storm and sunshine irritated most of the crew. A bad omen they reconed.

“Not all.” a tranquil smile played around Fathala’s lips. “This is sunny weather here in our homeland.” Danarien knew it was the mixture of Eric and Fathala speaking. Between the towering waves every so often land appeared in sight. “Captain! East south east.” the voice of Naga fought against the thundering waves and winds, with success. Relaying the course corrections to the man at the rudder, the Captain was glad to have her on board, despite what other magic users thought of what she had done with Eric.

That way she knew her way around the pole.

Between foaming rocks a gap appeared in the coast. Beyond that gap the sea seemed a lot calmer. Navigating into the bay was like threading a needle, in a violent storm.

Fathala provided little information she had on the bay. “Fisher’s bay it’s called.” a crude map was spread on the tabpe before her, the captain and Danarien stood to her sides. Just like the people of fallhus, they had reacted with astonishment when she had donned her clothes again after they had finally dried. The arrow had left a hole in the cloth, as much as her skin and flesh. From time to time the cortorized wound itched, but Fathala ignored it.

“The village lies about here, some fifteen ships will be in there.” her finger pointed at the bay, not any particular point, “I expect they won’t exactly be forthcoming, they know no strangers from beyond the seas.” “Will they attack us?” Military thinking. Rightly so he’s a captain!

“Not like, they will mistrust you,” she paused, closed her eyes tooka deep breath of annoyance. “us. They won’t trust us.”, between Danarien and the Captain, Naga Eric slithered into the light of the lamp, smiling peacefully.