There were twenty-five floating boats in the cove, and not a woman to be seen, by the time Postlavanderon concluded a deal that would get them waterborne. There had been some ferrying by folk in smaller boats who were consoled by the sight of so many other men in boats. A few of them even got out of the boats and walked along to talk to neighbors.
A merchant barge whose crew recognized the name of
Postlavanderon’s family consented to sell him a shore boat with a sail,
suitable for navigating the southern islands with up to four passengers, five,
if they were friendly. The price even
came within a magnitude or two of being fair.
With a great deal more light and noise than was needed,
Narnemvar released the spell, with, of course, the prince’s permission. He thanked all concerned and apologized in
the prince’s name for their disaccommodation (not the parent of a
disnegative). Then he magically puffed
the boat onto the beach and pulled it up far enough for the prince to alight,
Lavvi wouldn’t have minded getting wet, but they were both
caught up in the theater of the thing.
Satbada brought the packs and Narnemvar stowed them. Postlavanderon regally waved his rescuers
(for so Narnemvar had called them) off.
They waited until the waters had cleared somewhat and the beach was bare
before they set off. The wind was in the
right direction and Postlavanderon took the tiller.
“My prince?” said Narnemvar.
“Yes, my humble servant?”
While the spell was in effect, I could feel a few boats in
the area trying to come, but failing.”
“I can see that this would distress you.”
“yes, but personal pride aside, I believe these boats were
like the first ones. But scuttled with
magic, rather than stones. I’d like your
permission to unbind them.”
“Didn’t you once have a little trouble with unbinding?”
“I’ll take more care this time. A common unbinding spell with only enough
power to cover, say a mile.”
“That’s still a lot of unbinding.”
“and colored so that it will only unbind magic ties.”
“magic ties is still rather broad for such a large area.
perhaps a smaller one?
“magic ties used to imprison? That means there would have to be a bone in
the boat for it to work. loving families
waiting for news and all?
“I concede to your request.
you may unbind at will.
There was no theatricality at all in Narnemvar’s spell
casting. If Lavvi hadn’t known, he
wouldn’t have guessed. Narnemvar seemed
to be almost his old self again, irritating as that was likely to become.
Suddenly there was a scream back on the beach. The men looked back to see a large shadow
hovering over and around the house. It
was a shaggy shadow, all black hair and cloth with occasional flashes of
extremely pale skin. A louder scream
came from the house, rising to an incredible pitch and volume before breaking
off suddenly. The shadow puffed out of
existence, or at least out of sight. A
moment later the house exploded into flame.
“Oh, dear,” said a satisfied prince. “you seem to have unbound something
“And I do try so.” He leaned back
and let ‘his prince’ drive him onward.
Satbada wondered how long it would take him to be picking at his scabs
again. He wished there were other
servants around. It never did to have
opinions on the masters or on the masters friends and guests. But a little betting pool wasn’t forming an
opinion. It was merely an
amusement. And if the actual guesses
were kept discretely hidden, no harm was done.
If a pool were running he would have wagered that the wizard
would be twitching and scratching within four hours. Narnemvar outdid that guess by six
hours. But then he fell asleep through
six of those, so Satbada felt he had morally won.
Ten hours after setting sail they were having lunch on the
little boat, while a tied tiller kept them on course. It was rather a good lunch as boat lunches
go. Although if your cyurgeon was one of
those who believed that too much fruit cooled the blood, you might have wanted
to give it a miss.
The women had been generous back when they though that
they’d be getting back more than they gave.
Fruit, cheese, good bread, raw turnips, which no one but Narnemvar ate,
and a small bottle of beer, which was reserved for the prince by common
moment they were eating and talking. The
next, only the prince was talking. Then
everyone was silent for a moment.
Narnemvar got out of the boat and started pacing around it, his feet apparently
not noticing the difference between the water and a well mown lawn.