The sound of thudding feet and shouting voices woke Cerene. She crawled from her place beneath the ladder and stretched. What was happening? She waited for the hatch to open and frowned. What did the wizards have to offer as a trade? She couldn’t think of a thing. After sipping water from the leather flask, she climbed the ladder and peered through the crack in the cover and watched the activity on deck.
Sailors bustled about. Sails were raised to catch the wind. When she saw her father, Zondo and another wizard, she nearly fled down the ladder. As the ship moved away from the dock, she realized the three intended to travel aboard and she believed she knew their destination.
How many days away was the
She knew they meant to bring trouble there. What evil had they planned to lure
a priestess to the shore? Island of Fyre
Zondo turned his head. He seemed to be looking in her direction. She scrambled down the ladder and returned to her hiding place. Being discovered now would thwart her plans to escape.
She huddled against the wall of the hold. The light from the crack in the hatch cover momentarily vanished. She tensed and pulled her knife from the sheath. To her relief and surprise, a huge tawny feline came down the ladder. The cat entered her hiding place and stared. She reached to touch the soft fur. The creature remained silent for a short time, then meowed and set off to explore the nearly empty hold.
Cerene reached into her pack and selected a piece of flatbread and cheese. She ate and sipped water between bites. The cat approached and rubbed against her legs. She broke off a piece of cheese and set the tidbit on the deck. The cat purred and ate.
Some time later, she regretted the brief meal. The swaying motion of the ship caused her stomach to lurch. For what seemed like hours, she fought to keep from spewing. Finally her stomach settled. With a knife, she cut a notch on the ship’s ladder to keep track of her time aboard. Thus began her journey.