Thursday, December 6, 2012

Nineteenth Beginning 34: Worldshore

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, unwetted. 

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?”

“A boon?”

What boon?

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 unintended.”

Narnemvar sighed.  “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 consent.

One moment they were eating and talking.  The next, only the prince was talking.  Then everyone was silent for a moment.

Then 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.

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